Sunday, June 8

Only Steyn

Before I got involved with Section 13 matters I'd read Mark Steyn maybe three times, so one of the unexpected perks of my efforts to stay abreast of the doings in Canada is that I visit Steyn's website every day.

I try to limit my reading while there to Section 13 stuff but invariably I am tempted by a catchy title, which is how I came to have trouble remembering Steyn's first name. That's because I send so many correspondents snippets from a Steyn essay with the note, "Only Steyn" or "Steyn, who else?"

Who else, indeed, would pop out with 'you know, honkys have their own oral tradition' and mention ancient Greek poems, while everyone else was saying, 'well I never!' and beating their chest over Rev. Jeremiah Wright's assertion that blacks are genetically wired for orality. Only Steyn.

It's not that he can't be serious, and he certainly tackles grim enough topics, and yet there is a kind of divine silliness about the way he can see things that puts even the most calamitous human follies in perspective. This observation holds even for the terribly grim subject of Barack Obama -- a subject that gets grimmer with each revelation about Obama's associations. Who could tangle himself up with Obama's pretentiousness in such a hilarious way?
A few months back, just after the New Hampshire primary, a Canadian reader of mine – John Gross of Quebec – sent me an all-purpose stump speech for the 2008 campaign:

"My friends, we live in the greatest nation in the history of the world. I hope you'll join with me as we try to change it."

I thought this was so cute, I posted it on the Web at National Review. Whereupon one of those Internetty-type things happened, and three links and a Google search later the line was being attributed not to my correspondent but to Sen. Obama, and a few weeks after that I started getting e-mails from reporters from Florida to Oregon, asking if I could recall at which campaign stop the senator, in fact, uttered these words. And I'd patiently write back and explain that they're John Gross' words, and that not even Barack would be dumb enough to say such a thing in public. Yet last week his demand in his victory speech that we "come together to remake this great nation" came awful close.

Speaking personally, I don't want to remake America. I'm an immigrant, and one reason I came here is because most of the rest of the Western world remade itself along the lines Sen. Obama has in mind. This is pretty much the end of the line for me. If he remakes America, there's nowhere for me to go – although presumably once he's lowered sea levels around the planet there should be a few new atolls popping up here and there. ...
Steyn, who else? Only Steyn.

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