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I am retired from government, law enforcement, politics and all other pointless endeavors. I eat when I am hungry and sleep when I am tired.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


After a gracious and very welcome hat tip from John Debyshire of the National Review I caught myself reading a piece by Mark Steyn poking fun at the Saudis. For neo-con's like Steyn the propaganda war against all things Arab or Muslim never ends. As though we need a timely reminder that the Muslims have nothing in common with us.

According to him Saudi women must deal with male clerks to purchase intimate lingerie. I have no idea if this is true but let's assume it is. Unfortunately Steyn just couldn't resist the temptation to end this priceless revelation with a crack about "Edible Thongs." Even for the new breed of NR writer this is pretty sordid. And appearing just a few inches away from some electronic shrine to William F. Buckley it seemed all the more so. I don't remember NR as a bill board for bathroom jokes. It used to be noted for a certain high minded, elegant prose. A bit prudish perhaps, but one sensed that this was not just the Catholic ethic of Buckley but a desire to be taken seriously by behaving seriously.

It seems to me that if we are in a war of civilizations we might as well fight like gentlemen. I see no point in needlessly defaming Muslims. They give us plenty of cause to censure them. I also detect as certain tendency of the defenders of Israel, like Steyn, to inflame Muslims while foisting loathsome images of Muslims at we who will bear the brunt of any future wars. It's too much like a game of let's you and him fight.

Steyn was a very amusing movie critic for the London Spectator before venturing into international affairs. I wish he would go back to what he knows best instead of acting as agent provocateur.


  1. For being a political and government retiree, you sure seem ignorant to what's happening in the world and what is transpiring. It's people like you that people like Mark are trying to protect. May I suggest you back off your "high minded, elegant prose" mentality and at least consider Mark's positions ....before it's too late.

  2. I've read Steyn for many years. I meant what I said about his excellent movie reviews. But if his idea of "defending me" is to make disgusting, pointless jokes in a once eminent publication, he needs to go off and defend someone else.

    If you bothered to scroll back and see what I have written about the danger of Islam to the West you wouldn't assume I need his help.

    Finally, some of that government service was in a blue uniform defending you.

  3. The devil....cannot endure to be mocked. Thomas More

  4. Oh come on- don’t be such a prude. The halal thong was the funniest thing I’ve read in ages- Steyn outdid even himself. I emailed his link to about 20 people- unfortunately for one recipient, it happened to be the second post-operative day (after a Caesarian section) and the surgical wound literally split because she laughed so uncontrollably.

  5. I tried to start my own blog but found that other people were making the same arguments as me in a more entertaining way, so I quit.

    Now I see that all you've got to do is quote someone and say, "I have no idea if this is true...". No need for pesky fact-checking. This opens up a whole new world of possibilities for me. I think I gave up on blogging too quickly.

  6. If you go all Marquess of Queensberry about ribald words in a fight to which the other party brings bomb vests and beheadings, heaven help us all. That makes you just another free speech censor, on the basis of "poor taste" of which you are the judge, presumably.

  7. T.O.M.

    Thanks for your service and your comments. I happen to like Steyn's writing and general viewpoint, but I too wish he'd leave the raunch out. It's a bit disconcerting and adds nothing to his arguments. It also makes it more difficult to read his stuff out loud to the family.

  8. Steynophile, I can't quarrel with St. Thomas More, after whom I was named. But I think the quotation had to do with the law and the tendency to resort to expediency in a good cause only to find ourselves disarmed by the very measures we took.. Stretching things a bit, I could say that applies here. By getting in the gutter with our enemies, we make it harder to win.

    Jennifer, read some more of my postings. You'll find that I'm anything but a prude. But I don't like Mark Steyn's emergence as a policy wonk/clown. I think he has an agenda and I don't like being used.

    Simon, you're right to point out that I didn't confirm the story. It was Steyn's story after all. But you're right. It should be confirmed. I'm in the process of doing that now. Check back in a day or two. But do understand, the point isn't if it's true, but if Steyn's comment was in bad taste.

  9. May I add one more comment: fellow Steyniacs who are tempted to flame this man, please read some of his other entries (like I just did); you are on by and large very friendly, thought-provoking, and entertaining ground here, replete with a (dare I say it) Steynian grasp of history and a dry wit.

  10. And one more thing: you had no obligation to fact-check Steyn on this. You were making a point about HIS comments, not the Saudis lingerie policies, and you made that plain. Blog on.

  11. Thank you DOC. There is this phenomenon wherein people cannot abide or even detect nuance on certain topics. I'm appalled by the immigration policies of both my country and the EU. Allowing large scale Muslim immigration is close to suicide, especially in the case of Europe and the UK. The solution is quite simple. Stop letting these people in. And deport those already here if they deviate legally in the slightest, or fail to assimilate. It's simple but hard due to the multicultural cowardice of our leaders.

    Steyn is on the right side but with another agenda. He is closely allied with the Neoconservatives. As an American, I don't appreciate Canadians like Steyn, Frum and Krauthammer wandering accross the border and ginning up wars for Israel. They are part of the faction that gave us the Iraq fiasco and are trying now to start a war with Iran. It is in this light I see his bathroom jokes about Muslims. His joke wasn't about making people laugh. It was to further desensitize readers for the next round of war. There has been a spate of articles appearing on the net in the last few days about the curious and creepy sexual customs of Arabs. These are clearly orchestrated and constitute propaganda.

  12. Come on guys- lighten up! Yes, the mention of edible underwear is indeed very “common” (as my Grandmother would say) but the halal element just makes it silly- and very amusing.

  13. Taste is in the mouth of the beholder. I'm hardly one to support needless "raunch", but halal thong is tasteless?

    Me thinks you doth protest too much.

    Oh, and if all it takes is three Canadian neocons moving to the US to make the only superpower in the world invade Iraq and potentially start a war with Iran, you have bigger problems to worry about.

  14. With all due respect, it’s paleoconservatives’ obsessions with the old school order, (thinking that ‘high-mindedness’ and ‘elegant prose,’ must be synonymous for example), is what has stunted the movement’s growth. Like it or not, conservatism is passing you by. Look, we’re the products of contemporary pop culture and, yeah, we admire WFB AND South Park pretty much equally. Deal with it. Steyn gets that and that’s why he’s one of the few pundits to appeal to both young and veteran conservatives and Libertarians. High or low brow, I don’t care as long as it makes me think, laugh, and doesn’t bore me.

    By the way, how intellectually lazy is it of you to brush off Steyn as some film critic who took a liking to geopolitics and has now, in your words, emerged as a “policy wonk/clown.” What, people can’t evolve? A water fetcher at a newspaper fresh out of J school can’t grow to become an editor on his way to being a syndicated columnist? And after getting hired at some of the best newspapers in the word, selling thousands of copies of his books, who would be shallow enough to keep reminding him, “yeah, but I remember when you used to fetch coffee for the city desk editor?” I mean, look at you. You’re a self-confessed ‘government services-law enforcement’ official, but here you are waxing on the value (or lack thereof) of Steynian prose, high-minded magazines, the cultural threat of Islamofascism etc. I’m glad you consider yourself capable – and maybe you are – but considering Steyn’s as well-read as any political commentator in the West, as favored as he is hated by some of the world’s most influential politicians; not to mention his unique command of history AND understanding of contemporary political and cultural trends, surly he deserves the same benefit of the doubt as a post-retirement blogger, despite what you may think of his conclusions? I’m not sure how pointing out the guy is as passionate about theater and film as much as politics should in itself somehow disqualify him as a worthy commentator.

    It’s almost as silly as trying to link decades of American foreign policy to a Canadian cabal. Did you, by the way, have something to do with that documentary aired on Iranian state TV that claimed Harry Potter movies are really secretly coded Zionist blueprints to take over the world? You don’t know what I’m talking about do you? Dude, it’s the jokes about Islamic undergarments that will trigger a clash of civilizations? Seriously? What you don’t get is Islam’s unwillingness to accept that there are any jokes at all – not in their lands, obviously, but evermore, not in the west either and countries like Britain and Holland are quickly learning. But that’s OK right, because it’s my generation and my kids that will have to deal with not being able to read the books they want, having to stand trial for the movies they make or freakin’ cartoons they draw, not allowed to place porcelain figurines of Porky Pig in the workplace, right? (It would be really cute if I actually was being facetious, wouldn’t it?)

    Whatever. It’ll be the crazy Canadian warmongering movie critic clowns that make kids are reading. Guys like you won’t help them make sense of how the world is changing. But go ahead, keep bloggin’

  15. Mr. Meehan, in writing to exhort Mark Steyn and your readers to employ decorous speech, I should think you would have taken care not to leave your prose laced with such a string of regretable images as "end...with a crack about 'Edible Thongs'." But perhaps if you choose to oppose Dionysus, you must expect to share the fate of Pentheus!

  16. Again the multicultural pieties by people too finicky to really look at the various cultures they invite in holus bolus but not too finicky to call evidence based criticism of some cultures "propaganda", an offensive term for the truth.

    Bring at least the same critical eye you cast on Mark Steyn to bear on hate-spewing imams in North American mosques. Can't do it? Incapable of holding anyone but white males to your high standard of polite discourse even when discussing an enemy who preaches your demise? "That German chap, bit of a pain in the neck, what?"

    If so, surely there's the whiff of noblesse oblige in the air - brown people cannot be expected to behave properly or take criticism like us ultra civilized people? Even Steyn while being presented as a relative barbarian in our tribe is not going to shout down your right to criticize him or kill some innocent in a fit of pique but that can't be said about the people he is "propagandizing" against, can it?

  17. I think it is hysterical that you don't like Steyn's thong comment but that you have several ads for lingerie at the top of your blog. Also, I do love Mark Steyn. I think he is a marvelous writer and that he has a wonderful view of life these days. Thank God for people like him. Finally, who the hell has ever heard of you?

  18. Hello T O

    I only read this piece as it was a link on Mr Steyn's site as 'Reader of the Day.'
    I love Steyn's style and he could be a great journalist, but your comment of 'March 4, 2009 4:29 PM' is spot on about the big picture.
    I think Steyn is too intelligent not to see through what he is doing in the Big Picture - and I would LOVE to know what he was doing at the Bilderberg conference. I cannot square the man's obvious humanity (seriously - to just be able to write about popular music like that - and he is relaxed in person, never uptight) with his support of these terrible senseless large scale slaughters. More than anybody I can think of, he is an enigma to me - for example, on the odd occasion he refers to his sincere Christianity, I believe it, as it is rare and he never makes a show of it. With Obama/Bush/Clinton/Blair (all far less intelligent men) it is pure fake.

    All the best


  19. "Someone needs to explain to the Arab media that the culturally correct way to show disagreement with our President is to moon him."

    T.O., I have no problem with the use of sophomoric humour to illustrate a point or close the show, so to speak. However I think it unlikely that the Catholic ethic of Buckley would have considered your writing posted above as high minded, elegant prose. Pot, allow me to introduce you to kettle.

    That said, it strikes me that your quibble with Steyn is not with the arguments he makes but with his apparently hidden motives for making the arguments in the first place. As I understand it, his crime is not the case he makes but that he makes it in defence of Israel.

  20. Woe unto him that runs afoul of the Mark Steyn fan club! There are more than a few comments since my last comment so I'll try to deal with the general themes and then address some specifics.

    It's sad that so many commenters seem to think that though I state unequivocally, that Muslim immigration should be halted and that a lot of those let in should be deported, I'm never the less a naive multiculturalist, who just needs Mark to enlighten me to the evils of Islam. Perhaps if you actually read my other posts you would have a clue. Some of you have and I thank you for it.

    I gather that reference was made to this blog on Steyn's site. I couldn't find it. Perhaps one of you might let me know what it says. In any event, I'm content to have the traffic.

    Two of you seem to think it's somehow unfitting for me to take a crack at Mark. Well, the whole point of having a blog is to write, praise, criticize, blow off steam and generally do as one pleases.
    And this is what I do.

    I'm also criticized for mentioning Steyn's past as a reviewer. My point is that he is a better theater critic than geopolitical pundit. He's not alone in this category. Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and others share the stage with Mark as entertainers posing as sages. They're free to do so, but I am not required to take them seriously.

    Anonymous points out that there were lingerie ads on my blog. Fair enough. The ads are controlled by Google. I suspect that there is an algorithm that detects given terms on the blogs and adjusts the ads accordingly. Perhaps I should slip the term Mercedes Benz into posts more often and see what happens. BTW. I don't hang out on the blog all day so I really don't know what is being advertised.

    B Clarkson comments that my reference to "Mooning" in another post would also not pass muster in the old National Review. This is true as well but misses the point. I didn't submit the post to NR. Steyn did submit his. In the unlikely event that I did submit something to NR, the mooning reference would be left out. Then again my point was also that if I did write about mooning people, the new juvenile NR might well print it anyway.

    I'm thankful to be aquainted with the term Holus Bolus. I have no idea what it means but It's much too evocative not to steal. You don't have it copyrighted do you?

    Kralizec foresees my death at the hands of crazed Dionysiacs. As strange as it seems, living as close to Princeton as I do, this is a real possibility.

    Guy, thanks for your thoughtful comment. It's hard to know what goes on in people's hearts. My strategy is to pay attention to what people DO.