01m01s Our national reality crisis. (Gnats and camels.)
13m42s What's the matter with Oklahoma? (The sooner we find out, the better.)
21m16s The war against race preferences. (News from the front.)
26m51s Congressgals in the news. (Cheney, AOC, and MTG.)
39m28s White House onomastics. (Were there too many Sakis?)
41m31s Small coup in Burma. (Not many dead.)
42m39s Knock knock knockin' on humor's door. (The kids don't know.)
44m06s Down with acronyms! (SFUSDAD says they're racist.)
46m04s What killed Officer Sicknick? (They don't want to tell us.)
47m37s Plant nanobionics. (An email from your asparagus.)
48m43s Signoff. (The oldest social conflict.)
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Greetings, listeners, from your anthropologically genial host John Derbyshire with news from all over: from New York, Oklahoma, Academia, Congress of course, the White House, Burma, San Francisco, and Nottingham. Yes, we span the world here at Radio Derb.
First, another outrage from the Gray Lady.
02 — Our national reality crisis. A leading candidate for the title Truer Words Were Never Said is surely T.S. Eliot's observation, in his poem "Burnt Norton," that, quote:
… human kind
Cannot bear very much reality
If you want a set, that quote pairs off nicely with Philip K. Dick's observation in a speech he gave in 1978 that, quote:
Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.
There is of course a great deal more than that to be said about the nature of reality — a very great deal more. This is one of the oldest topics in philosophy, overlapping with theology, psychology, physics, and other disciplines.
Neuroscience, for example. There's a mental condition called anosognosia that I mentioned in a column here at VDARE once. Longish quote from myself.
Anosognosia is a condition in which the patient is suffering some severe neurological impairment but does not know it. The impairment is strictly neurological, in the higher processing regions of the brain. You might, for example, be suffering from paralysis of a limb, yet be unaware of it.
There are even some extreme cases recorded in which the sufferer is blind but does not know it! The eyes and optic nerves have normal function, but the brain centers that process visual stimulus are not working. To compensate, the brain makes up a visual field, trying to use cues from memory and the other senses.
It doesn't work very well. You keep falling over things, but you can't understand why.
Western society seems to have fallen into something like a social anosognosia. Our collective senses are gathering information OK, more than ever before in history in fact. But our collective brain is failing to process it, and compensates by making stuff up.
These things all came to mind when I read this February 2nd column by the New York Times technology correspondent Kevin Roose, headline: "How the Biden Administration Can Help Solve Our Reality Crisis."
Roose locates the reality crisis in two areas, quote: "extremist groups and conspiracy theory movements."
The only people he actually names as being an "extremist group" are the Proud Boys. His other references are to unnamed "white supremacist groups" and "far-right militias." Ctrl-F "black lives matter" … no hits. Ctrl-F "antifa" … no hits.
In the other area of his reality crisis, "conspiracy theory movements," Roose includes believers in the QAnon theory, people skeptical of Joe Biden's election victory, and those who think Covid-19 was manufactured in a Chinese lab. Roose actually uses the word "baseless" to describe the beliefs of both latter groups.
The QAnon theory sounds loopy to me, although no loopier than the stuff a lot of harmless, productive, otherwise-sane folk carry around in their heads.
The other two points, election tampering and a lab origin for Covid, are well within the scope of possibility, not at all "baseless." Much stranger things have turned out to be the case. If Roose had said "improbable," I might have passed it without comment, but "baseless"? This is highly slanted journalism, even by the dismal standards of the Times.
Roose tells us that he called around some "experts" to get ideas about how we might restore a proper respect for reality. Who were they, these "experts"? He doesn't supply a full roster, but names a few names.
I confess I haven't had time to do my due diligence and look up these people's professional output, but the job titles don't inspire confidence. "Disinformation researcher"? Uh-huh. Anyone who pays attention knows that the word "disinformation" has at this point been bled dry of all honest significance. It's just a woke word, a CultMarx expletive for any true facts the ruling class wants suppressed.
Several of the experts, Roose tells us, said the Biden administration should assemble a task force to tackle the reality crisis. This task force would be led by a Reality Czar. Roose allows that this sounds, quote, "a little dystopian." Ya think?
My own overall response to Roose's column corresponds quite precisely with Jesus Christ's reproof to the Pharisees, quote:
Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.
The gnat here is actually plural: the Proud Boys, plus QAnon believers, plus those intruders in the Capitol, plus election skeptics, plus the Covid lab theorists. So, with all proper respect to the Savior, it's "gnats," plural.
How many city-center businesses have these gnats trashed and looted? How many police stations have they burned down? How many fine old statues and monuments have they vandalized or destroyed? How big a spike in homicides has resulted from their anti-police agitation?
All that, all that latter mayhem, is the camel. This fool Roose and his experts have swallowed it, as has most of the political establishment and the ruling class. Now, with busy pen and fevered brow, they are straining at the gnats.
Problems with reality? How about Joe Biden saying after the Capitol disturbances, that, quote:
No one can tell me if it had been a group of Black Lives Matter protesting yesterday, they wouldn't have been treated very, very differently than the mob of thugs that stormed the Capitol. We all know that's true.
It is indeed true, although in a sense opposite to the one Joe intended. As Gregory Hood pointed out in an earlier column, if BLM had raided the Capitol, our political classes would have fallen over each other to appease them, kneeling reverently and draping themselves in kente cloth. The media would have cheered to the rafters such a bold act of resistance, and corporations would have poured in donations.
If Capitol Police had then arrested any of the BLM intruders, compliant prosecutors would have dismissed all charges. Had any of the intruders been black — I believe there are a few blacks in the BLM movement — and if by mischance he had been shot dead by a white Capitol Hill police officer, there would have been national frenzy on a scale that beggars the imagination.
If the deceased had been a black female, shot without warning by a white male cop — well, the Earth would have left its orbit and gone crashing into the Sun.
Yes, Joe, BLM intruders would have been treated very, very differently. That's reality. And yes, we have a national crisis of reality, with tens of millions of Americans believing, like you, preposterous things that defy all reason and evidence.
And no, I'm not talking about QAnon or election validity or the source of Covid. Those are gnats. I'm talking about the camel.
[Clip: "O-o-o-o-oklahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the plain …"]
Yes, folks, this segment concerns the Sooner State.
Way back in the George W. Bush administration a lefty writer named Thomas Frank took it upon himself to explain to his fellow gentry liberals how the people of the Midwest had become so deplorably deplorable, voting for conservatives like Bush when their fathers and grandfathers had been sensible Prairie Progressives. The title of Frank's book was "What's the matter with Kansas?"
In this segment I shall attempt something similar, although much briefer. So: What's the matter with Oklahoma?
What turned my attention to Oklahoma was an email from a listener there, a teacher in an Oklahoma City public school. My listener is a middle-aged white male American, sensible and thoughtful. He told me how his public-school system there in Oklahoma City is being dragged over into the anti-white camp by the Superintendent, a chap named Sean McDaniel — white, of course — who took over the system in July of 2018.
Last July Oklahoma City teachers all had to participate in a one-and-a-half-day "virtual workshop" on, actual title, "Mental Health in The Dual Pandemics of COVID and Systemic Racism." My listener attached to his email the 12-page booklet that accompanied this workshop. It's instructive.
The title gives away the game the authors are playing here. Yes, they're saying systemic racism is a pandemic, just like Covid. From the text inside, quote:
Students, educators, and administrators are experiencing unprecedented impacts from two concurrent pandemics. COVID-19 and Violence against Black and Brown People continue to threaten lives, safety, health, jobs, family structure, and communities.
If you have ever taken the trouble to look up statistics on interpersonal violence, you'll know that "violence against black and brown people" is overwhelmingly committed by, yes, black and brown people; and that if you limit your enquiry to violence between persons of different races, that is overwhelmingly black assaults on nonblacks.
The whole premise of this "workshop" is, in other words, a lie. Note that it is being imposed on schoolteachers, who presumably have better intelligence and more understanding than the average.
As I pointed out in my December Diary, and many others have seen, the purpose here is not instruction but humiliation. By obliging intelligent people to nod assent to this rancid gibberish for fear of losing their jobs, you are asserting your power over them and breaking their spirits.
Note also that this is Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweepin' down the plain. As Allan Wall pointed out the same week I got that email, quote from Allan:
Oklahoma is one of the reddest states in the Union. All of its 77 counties voted GOP in the past five presidential elections … Gov. Kevin Stitt and all elected state officials are Republican; the GOP has super-majorities in both chambers of its legislature.
Although, as Allan also noted, Oklahoma's junior senator James Lankford is an exceptionally spineless critter even by the standards of institutional Republicanism, with a D grade on immigration from NumbersUSA.
The senior senator, Jim Inhofe, is somewhat better, with a B grade; but he's also 86 years old, elected to his sixth senate term this past November. If he stands for re-election in 2026 he'll be 91. So Senate-wise the state has a spineless cuck and a seriously old guy who ought to have retired to a nice little ranch long since.
Whoa! Even as I'm finalizing notes for this segment, I see Allan Wall is posting again about Oklahoma. A college in Oklahoma City has removed a monument to the achievement of the state's pioneers — to the achievement, that is, of the near ancestors of today's Oklahomans. Very near ancestors: The monument celebrates the Land Run of 1889, in which year my own grandparents were all teenagers.
And the schoolteachers are doing workshops on Critical Race Theory. I can't imagine what Curly and Laurey would say.
So once again: What's the matter with Oklahoma?
04 — The war against race preferences: news from the front. Continuing the education theme, we — I mean, we who favor public policies that respect reality — we suffered two setbacks this week, both in the area of higher education.
One of the setbacks seems actually to have happened last month, while Trump was still in the White House. We only heard news of the setback this week.
This was the investigation announced last September by Trump's Department of Education into racism at Princeton University.
Following the George Floyd riots and accompanying race hysteria, Princeton's president, a jellyfish named Eisgruber, broke off from flagellating himself for a moment to sob that, quote:
Racism and the damage it does to people of color nevertheless persist at Princeton as in our society.
That, said the Department, amounted to a confession of having violated federal anti-discrimination laws — grounds for a federal prosecution.
Those of us who detest the racial favoritism of higher education, with their anti-white quotas hidden behind weasel phrases like "holistic admissions"; those of us who would like to see the federal government do to the Ivy League what Henry the Eighth did to the monasteries; we were rolling around laughing at this open assault on academic hypocrisy.
After its initial letter to us, the Department of Education took no substantial action on its bogus "investigation" except to close it as the Trump administration left office.
Apparently in this instance, as in so many other of its hopeful initiatives, the Trump administration was all bark but no bite.
The new administration shows more determination. This week we heard that Joe Biden's Justice Department has dropped a Trump administration lawsuit filed in October last year against Yale University. The lawsuit followed an investigation that was carried out, a two-year investigation into Yale's discriminating against White and Asian students in admissions while favoring Blacks and Hispanics.
And to be fair to Yale, race preferences are at least in the spirit of the Civil Rights Act if not the letter. The Civil Rights Act was a sop to blacks; nobody thought it had anything to offer whites, still less Asians.
There is a glimmer of hope that Yale might end up paying for its race favoritism, though. Eric Lendrum over at American Greatness has a report on this, from which, quote:
Despite the formal setback, Yale's legal troubles may not be over yet. A student activist group, Students for Fair Admissions, says it will re-file a similar suit on its own. The president of SFA, Edward Blum, said in a statement that while [inner quote] "it is disappointing that the Department of Justice withdrew from this important lawsuit … it is important that this lawsuit continues to be vigorously litigated through the courts during the coming months and years if necessary." [End inner quote.]
I still favor my Henry the Eighth solution … but I'll take what I can get.
I have mixed feelings myself. When I see Nancy Pelosi babbling in full flood or hear Mrs Clinton's fingernails-down-the-chalkboard voice or accidentally catch some of The View when channel-surfing, for a moment I'm ready to agree it has all been a ghastly mistake. Then, on the shelves above my liquor cabinet, I catch sight of my Margaret Thatcher mug and repent my sinful thoughts.
Well, three congressgals have been in the news this week, all with seats in the House of Representatives. They are: Liz Cheney, the über-neocon member for the entire state of Wyoming; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, universally known as "AOC," member for a working-class, heavily-Hispanic district of New York City, and Marjorie Taylor Greene, who seems never to have been known as "MTG," representing Georgia's 14th district, which is 84 percent white by complexion but only 43 percent white by collar.
To take their cases in turn: Liz Cheney is the daughter of Dick Cheney, George W. Bush's Vice President, so her neoconnery is likely genetic. She has recently become a focus of the GOP's intra-party conflict between Trumpists and anti-Trumpists. She is of course anti-Trump, and was one of the ten House Republicans to vote for Trump's impeachment — the second impeachment, that is, for supposedly causing the ruckus in the Capitol January 6th.
Following that there was a move by Trumpists to force her out from her position as number three in the House GOP leadership, but that move was defeated at a meeting of House Republicans Wednesday this week by 145 votes to 61.
Ms Cheney isn't off the hook, though. Her House colleagues may support her, but out in her constituency — which is the whole of Wyoming, remember — a lot of voters are unhappy with her. Wyoming is real Trump country. In the November vote he took the state by 70 percent, his biggest margin in any state.
So, Liz Cheney: Likely to face a primary challenge in 2022? I would say.
And then, AOC, currently in a tangle over claims she made about having been terrified by the intruders in the Capitol January 6th. There are considerable problems with her story, not the least of them being that nobody thinks the intruders were terrifying — nothing like as terrifying as an Antifa mob.
Still more bothersome is the fact that AOC was not in the Capitol Rotunda when the intruders intruded, she was in a different building a third of a mile away which was never intruded upon. The fearsome person who came to her office with, actual quote from AOC, "anger and hostility in his eyes" turned out to be a cop wanting to guide her even further away from the Capitol ruckus.
And it's not just the intruders who AOC claims to have feared. Last week, when Senator Ted Cruz tweeted support for her position on the GameStop matter, AOC gave him one of her sharp little elbows, quote:
I am happy to work with Republicans on this issue where there's common ground, but you almost had me murdered 3 weeks ago so you can sit this one out.
So AOC is being mocked as a female equivalent of Jussie Smollett. That's not altogether fair. Sure, both sought publicity by falsehood and traded on their victim status — black, female. Jussie staged and paid for an elaborate hoax, though, while AOC only engaged in wild exaggeration.
Perhaps she did feel uncomfortable knowing that unauthorized people were in the Rotunda. Dissident Right tweeter Jack Posobiec took care of that rather neatly, re-tweeting an AOC tweet from early December in which the lady said, tweet:
To folks who complain protest demands make others uncomfortable … that's the point.
Latest I've heard, AOC has retreated into subjectivity, mumbling about her "lived experience" and referring vaguely to some past sexual assault she'd endured. So here we are back to issues with reality and millenial airheads squealing about "my truth." There isn't any your truth, pal. There's only truth.
Finally, the third of our congressgals in the news, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, who I am going to call "MTG." This lady is a freshman, just elected to the House in November. She was given places on two House committees, Education and Budget. This week's news is, she has been dropped from both those committee assignments.
This was a power play by House Democrats, pretending to be outraged at some remarks MTG had made in her pre-congressional life. They forced a vote on her committee assignments and won it 230 to 199, with eleven House Republicans joining them.
So you can think of MTG as a sort of mirror image of Liz Cheney, definitely on the Trumpish side of the GOP's divide. That works in another way, too, as we shall see.
Reviewing the remarks of MTG's that so offended House Democrats, I see some wackiness for sure, but also a lot of fair comment.
And so on. All of these supposed offenses were committed before MTG went to Congress. She's offered some qualified apologies.
I haven't seen a poll of MTG's congressional district but on general grounds I'll hazard a guess that she's a better re-election prospect for 2022 than Liz Cheney. So again, the two ladies are mirror-images.
And for all MTG's harmless past wackiness, at least she hasn't offered up her "lived experience" as an excuse, or unsubstantiated claims of sexual assault.
So … three gals in Congress making news: one cuck, one commie, and one who looks good with an AR-15. Female suffrage? Not a total mistake.
Imprimis: This new White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki's been getting poor reviews, at least on my side of the wire. I couldn't say; I've never seen any point in watching White House pressers unless the President himself is at the lectern.
Googling around, I see some hopeful signs. From yesterday's New York Post, quote:
White House press secretary Jen Psaki has come under fire for referring to Sen. Lindsey Graham as "Lady G" in an old tweet that's being slammed as off base and homophobic.
Hey, I feel a bit warmer towards the lady. My main issue with taking her seriously is that name. Not the whole name, although I'll admit to having been unable to get a satisfactory anagram out of "Jen Psaki," although it looks like there should be one.
No, it's that initial P-s. It always brings to mind P.G. Wodehouse's fictional character Psmith, who admitted to being a plain Smith but added the "P" because there are too many Smiths. Did Jen Psaki, or her Dad, think there were too many Sakis? Does she, like Psmith, prefer the "P" not pronounced?
So many mysteries. I should ask someone more clued in to Washington, D.C. — perhaps the senior senator for my state, Chuck Pschumer.
Meanwhile, for a hint as to what is most likely going on here, just spin your globe of the world round until you're looking right at Burma. Notice anything? Right: Burma sits broad and square between China to its east and the Bay of Bengal to its west.
Would China like a nice accessible client state next door with a fourteen-hundred-mile coastline facing across to India and no messy nonsense about democracy in its politics? I don't know. Couldn't say. No idea.
Item: Our culture is really on life support, especially that part of our culture that makes us laugh. A recent survey in the English city of Nottingham found that one in five inhabitants under the age of thirty have never heard a knock-knock joke.
I'm asking for trouble here. My email box is going to fill up with the durn things. Please, listeners, please first check the news story where I read about this, in the Daily Mail Online, February 1st. Only send me your knock-knock joke if it's not included in that story.
I already knew most of the ones that are included there, anyway. Of the exceptions, the best one, which the author of the story attributes to Dorothy Parker, and which certainly has the authentic Dorothy Parker flavor, goes as follows.
Hiawatha nice girl till I met you.
Item: Just when you thought wokeness couldn't get any more insane you read something like this, which I have taken from a story at ABC News in — of course! — San Francisco.
You've heard, I'm sure, that San Francisco School Board wants to rename 44 of the city's schools because they bear the names of bad people who did bad things. Well, the school system has an Arts Department, formally the Department of Visual And Performing Arts, or VAPA for short.
That, say the people at VAPA is … what's the cant word? Oh yes: problematic.
What's problematic, and why? VAPA, the acronym VAPA for "Visual And Performing Arts." Why is that problematic? Because, actual quote: "acronyms are a symptom of white supremacy culture." I bet you didn't know that.
VAPA will henceforth be known as SFUSD Arts Department. And if you don't want to be arrested and dragged off for re-education, don't you dare let me hear you call it SFUSDAD.
We were originally told that he'd been whacked with a fire extinguisher. There does seem to have been a guy swinging at cops with a fire extinguisher, but Officer Sicknick was not nearby.
All we hear from D.C.'s Chief Medical Examiner is that an official cause of death remains pending. Really? It takes more than a month for pathologists to determine cause of death? Couldn't they at least tell us whether blunt force trauma was involved? It's all starting to seem a bit fishy. Don't the authorities know it's starting to seem a bit fishy?
Officer Sicknick's casket lay in state at the Rotunda this week before he was interred at Arlington National Cemetery. It was all properly dignified, and I hope Officer Sicknick rests in peace and his loved ones find comfort. But … how did he die?
Item: This one is positively creepy. It's from EuroNews, February 2nd. Scientists have trained spinach to send emails.
Actually they have inserted carbon nanotubes into the plants to detect undesirable chemicals in groundwater. When some such is detected, the plant's leaves beep out a signal, which is picked up and turned into an email to alert scientists.
This is all part of a new technology called "plant nanobionics": engineering teeny electronic components into plants. The purpose of it all is …
Sorry, I have to deal with this. It's an email from my wife's cucumber patch.
Oklahoma, yes. To see us out, here's one of my favorite numbers from the show: "The Farmer and the Cowman." Not only is it a fun heel-kickin', toe-tappin' number (once you've figured out the physiomechanics of kicking your heels while simultaneously tapping your toes), it also has deep anthropological significance. One of the oldest social conflicts in our history is the one between the agriculturalist who wants to fence off a bit of land and grow grain in it, and the pastoralist who wants open range for his meat animals to graze on. It's also the first fatal personal conflict in the Bible. Genesis 4.ii:
Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
Social conflict has of course gotten much more sophisticated in the last few millennia. Nowadays it's between people who believe "systemic racism" is a real thing and those of us who think it's just another empty phrase for elites to use when giving non-elites the shaft.
There will be more in the same bitter, clinging spirit from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: From Oklahoma, "The Farmer and the Cowman."]