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Fred's son

Registered: 10/19/00
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Steyn on G8, Live8, the WTC, and Durban and Durbin
    #4386960 - 07/09/05 04:07 PM (11 years, 3 months ago)

Normally I would just provide a link to the essay below, but The Spectator makes you go through a lengthy sign-up process, then spams your e-mail account forever after, so I have cut and pasted it from http://www.spectator.co.uk/article.php?id=6340&page=2 for your convenience.

Though he does tend from time to time to ramble off for a sentence or two with references to people few non-Brits have ever heard of (just who the heck are Morecambe and Wise? Or Graham Norton?) his main points are as always right on the money.

Un-American activities
Mark Steyn

The mainstreaming of ?well-known cranks? like Moore is one reason the Dems have become such reliable losers every other November. Reacting to Karl Rove?s recent assault on American liberals as unreliable on national security and war, big-time Democrats huffed indignantly that this was an outrage given their support over the Afghan campaign. OK, but even taking that at face value it was three and a half years ago: what have you done since? Bitched about Abu Ghraib and Gitmo and whined that Jacques Chirac doesn?t want to be friends any more. These days, heavyweight Dems lumber on to the Senate floor to do Noam Chomsky impressions: the other day it was Dick Durbin of Illinois comparing the US military at Guantanamo with Nazis and the Khmer Rouge.

But the co-option of Durbin, and Ted Kennedy and Howard Dean et al. (as in Gore) is small potatoes compared with the counter-tribalist Left?s most audacious appropriation yet. While the Bush administration and most of the rest of the country were focused on Afghanistan and Iraq, Ground Zero in New York got snaffled up for something called the ?World Trade Center Memorial?. An unexceptional name that would lead you to expect ...what? The names of the dead? A tribute to the courageous firemen who died in their hundreds heading up the stairwells and into the flames? A recreation of the iconic image of the three rescue workers raising the flag and evoking Iwo Jima?

But somehow the World Trade Center Memorial Cultural Complex has wound up mostly in the hands of something called the ?International Freedom Center?, on whom millions of taxpayers? dollars have been lavished in return for a display that will place the events that took place on that ground in the ?broader context? of Native American genocide, black lynchings, Pinochet, the Holocaust, not to mention Gitmo and Abu Ghraib. Most Americans were unaware of this amazing heist until Debra Burlingame, a member of the board of the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation and sister of the pilot of one of the hijacked planes, revealed the extent of the subversion. The leading figures in the International Freedom Center are:

? Tom Bernstein, a Hollywood financier whose organisation Human Rights First recently filed a lawsuit against Don Rumsfeld on behalf of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan.

? Michael Posner, who heads the ?Stop Torture Now? campaign directed exclusively at the US military.

? Eric Foner, the Columbia University professor who shortly after 9/11 wrote, ?I?m not sure which is more frightening: the horror that engulfed New York City or the apocalyptic rhetoric emanating daily from the White House.?

? and, of course, George Soros, the billionaire sterling-destabiliser who was one of the first to compare Bush to the Nazis.

According to the International Freedom Center, the cultural centre will ?nurture a global conversation on freedom in our world today?. In other words, Ground Zero is going to be turned into what the columnist Michelle Malkin calls the Ultimate Guilt Complex. Thus, early plans for a mural showing an Iraqi going to the polls were ditched in favour of a picture of Martin Luther King. Nothing wrong with folks learning about civil rights and Pinochet?s victims, but not at the site of the bloodiest attack on the American mainland.

I never cared for the Twin Towers, which were never anything more than a couple of oversized slabs of Seventies tat. But once the Islamonutters had taken them down and the various ?internationally acclaimed architects? began submitting designs of ever more limpid tastefulness, I decided Donald Trump had it right: rebuild the ugly muthas but make ?em taller, and stick a giant extended middle finger on the top of each one, or maybe pose that Saddam statue hanging sideways off the roof so he?s being toppled in perpetuity. The latest hastily revised design for the new Freedom Tower eliminates the ?life-affirming vertical gardens? and other milquetoast features proposed by the architect Daniel Libeskind but it?s still a feeble un-American wimp-out.

Nonetheless, even though I was resigned to architectural disappointment, it never occurred to me that the internal display would be so easily hijacked. Inevitably, once Miss Burlingame went public with her concerns, the New York Times and co. decided the controversy was all about the right of brave artists to challenge preconceptions: it would be a terrible thing, declared the Times, if ?the vital impulses represented by the arts are handcuffed in the name of freedom...?. Do they have a software programme that generates that kind of portentous boilerplate or does some poor editorialist have to try to stay awake while typing it in by hand?

Who cares about the ?vital impulses? of the ?arts?? When did Ground Zero become just another outpost for lame provocations by publicly funded ?artists?? If that?s your bag, there?s a zillion places in town. Needless to say, that?s not how the alleged artists feel, their general line boiling down to: but enough about the 3,000 dead ? let?s talk about me.

In some perverse way, I half hope the Soros crowd and the ?Stop Rumsfeld Now? set get away with it. It would in a sense be a very fitting monument to the indestructibility of the banal tropes of the Left. And it would remind outraged visitors to Ground Zero that, while this kind of thinking doesn?t command much support among the American people, it has a hammerlock on the heights of our culture. Given its grip on the academy, the media, the Congregational and Episcopal Churches, the ?arts? and Hollywood, why wouldn?t it also effortlessly consume the 9/11 site and transform a straightforward patriotic memorial into just another lesson in how flawed we are? A ?warts and all? representation that?s all warts. The only surprise is that they didn?t invite the Wahabis to build a memorial madrasa on the site, in the interests of multicultural outreach.

It feels like summer. Summer 2001, that is. Then, as now, Africa was in the news. There was a big UN conference on ?racism? in Durban the week before 11 September. Remember that? They demanded America pay reparations ? for the Rwandan genocide. And Robert Mugabe was cheered to the rafters when he called on the United States and the United Kingdom to ?apologise unreservedly for their crimes against humanity?.

Four years later, plus ?a change. The only difference is that His Homophobic Excellency was too busy razing mosques and destroying crops back home to attend Live 8, so they had to get Pink Floyd and George Michael instead. In terms of the reviews, that?s not a bad move. But the message stayed pretty much the same: Africa is our fault, and we need to pay up for it. For, as Sir Bob Geldof put it, ?Something must be done, even if it doesn?t work.? No wonder that bloke from Coldplay who?s married to Gwyneth described Live 8 as ?the greatest thing that?s ever been organised probably in the history of the world?.

At first, they said half the population of the entire planet watched. Then they revised it down to two billion. Hmm. In my small corner of the planet, I couldn?t find a single neighbour who caught the concerts. But I assumed that was just our hard-hearted Granite State parochialism. In Britain 10 million people watched Live 8, which works out at about half of what a Morecambe and Wise Christmas show would have pulled, but isn?t bad in these deregulated times. They had a big hit ? and 83 per cent of the population didn?t need to be involved. For purposes of comparison, the 4 June episode of Casualty on BBC1 got 7.83 million viewers or, if you want a musical point of reference, Strictly Dance Fever with Graham Norton got 6.34 million viewers. In other words, you put together a unique once-in-a-lifetime bill with Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Elton John, Her Grace the Madonna of that Ilk, the Who and the first performance by Pink Floyd since the Second Crusades, and together they pull an audience that is 50 per cent bigger than the anonymous house orchestra on a BBC talent show.

The only difference is that Strictly Dance Fever didn?t generate front-page news around the world from Vancouver to New York to London to Sydney the way Live 8 did. Those session musicians in that BBC house band can?t command private audiences of G8 heads of government the way Sir Bob and Lord Bono of the Reeks can. The every pronouncement of Graham Norton?s second trombonist is not relayed to the world as avidly as each geopolitical morsel that falls from the pink tongue of Pink Floyd?s Dave Gilmour.

So I?d say David Davis?s line that the Tories must ?embrace the spirit of Live 8? is a lot of hooey. By the time you read this, it may well have induced the G8 chaps to make some forlorn genuflection in their direction, but the ?spirit of Live 8? is already on the wane. Because there?s no such thing. At the French concert at Versailles ?16-year-old Hugo Viollier sat on the grass drinking beer with friends? and told Reuters, ?I came because it?s free and not very far from where I live. I didn?t even know it had anything to do with Africa until you told me but that?s a good thing.? At the Canadian concert in Barrie, Ontario, Marty Gradwell said he was there ?to rock out and enjoy the start of a warm summer?. Asked by the Globe and Mail what cause the worldwide concerts were raising ?awareness? of, he gamely took a shot: ?For Aids in Afghanistan, is it??

Close enough. Maybe when Marty and Hugo have finished drinking beer and rocking out, the stirring message of the day will linger like a haunting refrain. But I?ll wait and see how effective the trickle-down populism is. When Bob Geldof chided G8 leaders with his post-gig triumphalism ? ?Now feel the force of the gale that?s hit you? ? that light breeze was mainly one man?s hot air. Live 8 is elites speaking to elites ? knighted rockers to heads of government ? because that?s the level at which celebrities are comfortable interacting. Indeed, in its malign progress from leftist activists to impressionable celebrities to doting media to squishy politicians, it?s a perfect paradigm of how the most comprehensively failed Sixties nostrums get continuously recycled as ?revolutionary? ?popular? ?idealism?.

When Cromwell instructed his portraitist to paint him ?warts and all?, he meant both halves of that equation. To teach the warts alone is morbid and unhealthy. That?s why I argued that, in that immediate post-9/11 period, Bush should have expended some of his political capital and spectacular approval ratings in a conscious assault on the most debilitating aspects of our culture. Alas, that?s not his style. So in different ways, at Ground Zero and in Hyde Park, we?ve taken four years to come back to where we were on 10 September 2001.


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Re: Steyn on G8, Live8, the WTC, and Durban and Durbin [Re: Phred]
    #4389397 - 07/10/05 11:25 AM (11 years, 3 months ago)

too ignorant and incoherent to even speak on. love your posts.

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Re: Steyn on G8, Live8, the WTC, and Durban and Durbin [Re: Phred]
    #4389876 - 07/10/05 03:48 PM (11 years, 3 months ago)

Well written and right on target.

You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. What one person receives without working for another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for that my dear friend is the beginning of the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it. ~ Adrian Rogers

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