Two of the Finest Essays I’ve Ever Read

Of course they come from Mark Steyn, the king of the bon mot, the Babe Ruth, Jack Nicklaus, Roger Federer and PG Wodehouse of the cleverly-turned phrase. P.J. O’Rourke’s worthy successor and the one who surpassed the great, but fading, PJO.

One of these essays is deadly serious, and unleashes Steyn’s ability to use the written word to eviscerate an unfortunate target — in this case, Democrat U.S. Senators.

The second essay is hilarious beyond my ability to describe hilarity. It’s a review of Jerry Bruckheimer’s King Arthur, and if you appreciate a pun or word play of any kind — from the subtlest to the most tortured possible — then it’s a must read for you.

Here’s a rundown of the first essay, the serious one: The Turning Point

And here are some choice passages (standout passages highlighted in red):

I mentioned with Tucker [FOX News’ Tucker Carlson] the other night the condescension of Gentleman Jim Acosta, who airily presumes that, if you’re a woman, any woman, you believe the accuser and assume this Kavanaugh guy is a serial gang-rapist. That’s how it goes: Identity politics makes moron cultures of formerly sophisticated societies. So it was inevitable that when a picture from yesterday’s hearing popped up, of the judge with three females sitting behind him, the wankerati of Twitter immediately assumed that they were just three regular all-American women staring in disgust at the rape beast of Bethesda.

In fact, they were Kavanaugh’s wife, mother, and one of their dearest friends. And the reason they look like that is because they’re crushed and broken by what Dianne Feinstein, Blumenthal, Whitehouse and the other whatever-it-takes Democrats chose to do to them. It is a testament to the thoroughness with which these malign carbuncles on the body politic set about their task that, in a certain sense, one could forgive the Twitter mob its carelessness: Mrs Kavanaugh was all but unrecognizable from the woman who’d sat behind her husband just a fortnight ago. She was, indeed, a different person, and she will be for the rest of her life.

Malign carbuncles.” Yep. That seems about right.

Another passage? Okay:

Dianne Feinstein did that to her, consciously. The Ranking Member is in a tricky position back home. She’s on the California ballot this November, but, having been outflanked on her left, she is not the official Democrat nominee. So she cannot afford to be insufficiently “progressive”, and thus concluded it was necessary to, in Kavanaugh’s words, “destroy” his family.

Nothing personal, just business. Roger L Simon writes today with cold fury:

A real rape had taken place but it wasn’t the one everyone was talking about. It was simultaneously a rape of Judge Kavanaugh, his family, and the American people themselves. The collateral damage was Dr. Ford, her friends, and her family. And the perpetrator was the Democratic Party, principally their Judiciary Committee members, their ranking member, and the minority leader.

Nothing personal. I mean it wasn’t as if it was Feinstein’s, or Blumenthal’s, or Whitehouse’s families, right? So it was okay to rape, pillage, slash and burn Kavanaugh’s family and friends with crap accusations that, well, had no supporting evidence whatsoever, but which… couldn’t be disproved.

For that matter, well, I can’t disprove that Richard Blumenthal, sleazebag Senator from Connecticut (the home of sleazebag Senators), is a child molester. And he was already  caught in a pretty serious lie when he was running for the Senate: he said he’d served in Vietnam, when he hadn’t. By the Senate Democrats’ very own logic, then, Blumenthal’s a child molester. Because I just made the allegation. And he can’t disprove it.(1)

Some more Steyn? It’s worth the read:

And then the human sacrifice himself entered the room. His raw, real opening statement changed the course of the day. As longtime readers may recall, in my own appearance before the Senate I pushed back against the stupid and boorish behavior of Senator Markey, a pompous twerp who, having insulted the witnesses, then sneered that he hadn’t given us leave to respond. So we responded anyway:

I’ve been told that there’s never been an occasion where two witnesses turned the tables on a senator and bombarded him with questions. If that’s the case, Americans shouldn’t wait another 200 years to do it again. No citizen should consent to be insulted to her face by a mere elected representative.

Certainly, Senator Markey, like so many cowardly bullies, didn’t take it well. He was supposed to come back for his scheduled second round of questions. But, after that exchange, he declined to return.

Everything about these stupid hearings is insulting, including the height of the Senators’ dais relative to the witness below. Earth to Senate: It might help if you return to ground level. So I was thrilled to see Kavanaugh push back, and I urge more American citizens to do so if summoned before this cabal of over-entouraged poseurs.

Yes, Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts is a pompous twerp. The only problem with that phrase is that it’s way too charitable. Markey’s a brain-dead, half-witted, poltroon. Oh, and he’s a child molester too. And you know what? He can’t disprove that.

This from Steyn is perfect: “No citizen should consent to be insulted to her face by a mere elected representative.

Exactly! That one’s worth reading, and re-reading, and re-reading again, until it’s seared in your memory.

Who do these pompous, posturing, unpopped pustules think they are? We’re their bosses! We don’t have to be interrogated by themthey need to be interrogated by us. Whenever we’d like to interrogate the bastards. Am I guilty of contempt of Congress? Yep. Contempt of Congress, contempt for Congress, contempt about Congress… I have nothing but contempt as far as the eyes can see for these gum-flapping, brain-benumbed, corrupt, power-mad, overpaid, entitled, incompetent, unprincipled, scum-sucking jackasses.

Just a bit more Steyn:

After the judge’s opening statement, it was back to the anodyne pseudo-deposition technique of that County Attorney. Not enough, not any more it wasn’t. So one senator reclaimed his time:

Graham — a media dandy — stepped up for decency, honor, and the rule of law.

That was a genuine parliamentary moment in a chamber full of posturing tosspots most of whom, like Markey, are helpless without their staffers. Charles Lane Tweeted:

It was almost as if in the middle of @LindseyGrahamSC’s speech every phone line in every Republican committee member’s office lit up with people screaming “why the hell aren’t you doing that too?”

To which Don Surber adds:

Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes!

In that passage, Steyn tells of the greatest moment in the political life of Lindsey Graham, the Republican Senator from South Carolina, who finally achieved greatness. It was a great moment. Was it enough to save America, as Don Surber says it was? I hope so. However, the most important part of that passage is this one:

It was almost as if in the middle of @LindseyGrahamSC’s speech every phone line in every Republican committee member’s office lit up with people screaming “why the hell aren’t you doing that too?”

Ummm… Ya think?

We should have been lighting up Republican phone lines for decades now, and saying the very same thing. We never should have allowed the travesty that happened to Judge Bork. We never should have allowed Clarence Thomas to be publicly lynched. If Republicans have finally got their spines, then it’s a very, very good thing… and long, long, long overdue.

Steyn’s finish:

But GOP voters saw yesterday the difference one or two stout-hearted men can make. Kavanaugh de-Borked himself, and Graham sealed the deal. That is a rare victory over the sewer divers. Minutes ago, the nomination passed the Judiciary Committee, but with the tepid and conditional support of the rather less stout-hearted Jeff Flake, who was behind the arras doing a side-deal with the Dems. We will see in the days ahead whether the Kavanaugh-Graham moment was merely that.

UPDATE: I think most of the base would prefer the Thursday Graham GOP to the Friday Flake GOP. There’s little I loathe more than twits who stage public bouts of conscience-wrestling.

Yep again. We all prefer the Graham GOP to the Flake GOP.

It’s vitally important to find out whether that great moment of Lindsey Graham’s was, but a moment. Or was it a real, genuine, no-foolin’ turning point?

Please, please, please read the essay. Here’s the link again. I’ve quoted extensively, but there’s more, and every word Mark Steyn writes is worth reading.

As I might have mentioned at top, the Great Mr. Steyn contributed another essay to the world. It’s a review of Jerry Bruckheimer’s King Arthur. (here)

If I were to try to give you all the clever twists and turns of phrase that the author does, I’d have to reproduce the entire essay right here. It’s jam-paccked, stuffed-to-the-gills, overloaded, overcrowded, over-populated, over-the-top crammed with clever word play. Steyn causes the average writer to despair, as he sees the Olympian heights to which Steyn seems to climb effortlessly, essay-in and essay-out. There’s subtle and outrageous, groaner and laugh-out-louder, and all points in-between. It’s worth several reads, as I’ve done.

Okay, okay… just one brief sample. I’ve highlighted in red the parts that made me laugh (and laugh).

For the Sarmatian knights – Lancelot, Galahad, Gawain, Tristan, Dagonet and Bors – it’s time to hit the road after years of hitting the Woad. They’re on the last day of their decade-and-a-half contract and enjoying a final night of wenching and carousing before heading back to Sarmatia. But the duplicitous Bishop Germanius demands of them one last mission, to rescue some beleaguered Roman bigshots far north of the wall. Reluctantly, the lads agree and turn in for the night, after one for my baby and one more for the Woad.

The following morning, the gates of Hadrian’s Wall are opened up and the knights ride out. But there’s a complicating factor. A huge Saxon army has just hit the beach and they’re also interested in the bigshot Romans, as potentially lucrative hostages. If you think there’s too much Saxon violence in the movies these days, wait’ll you see these guys. Their general Sir Dick – or, as I discovered in the closing credits, Cerdic – is a mountain of blond hair extensions. Perhaps some insensitive locals tittered at him as he waded ashore, but, for whatever reason, the Saxons slaughter everyone they come across in a frenzy of Woad rage. As Cerdic, Stellan Skarsgård hams up his dialogue with a throaty rumble that sounds like he came first in that year’s Stockholm round of the Nick Nolte karaoke competition. When he hears about the Roman estate nearby, he dispatches a rape’n’pillage squad led by his son Cynric, because it takes his child to raze a village. His son is bald, which explains where dad’s hair extensions came from.

Meanwhile, even though the whole of Scotland is shrouded in fog, smoke, mist and large billowing snowflakes, Arthur’s knights have managed to find the Roman in the gloamin’, and are about to skedaddle back south when they discover the imperial A-lister has been keeping some tortured Woads down in the dungeon. So what if they’re tortured, sneers the Roman, I got a right to singe the blues.

“It takes his child to raze a village!” Love it!

Granted, the subject is packed with perfect words for word play — Woad(s), Cerdic, Cynric, Roman, knights and Keira Knightley — but only Steyn can do with those words what only he does.

Want a small example of what Steyn does to Knightley? Why not: Miss Knightley turns the demure heroine role into a kick-ass celebration of her sylph-esteem. 

The entire review is so well worth it, and you’re denying yourself a chance to see what a master of word play can do if unleashed on a given topic and given some choice vocabulary to play with.

Don’t deny yourself that. Here’s the link again

— xPraetorius


(1) For the record, I am not accusing the execrable Blumenthal, or anyone else, of child molestation in this essay, but I could… After all, they couldn’t disprove it. If this has the whiff of the fascistic to it, that’s because that’s where this damnable tactic — first used here in America against the deeply honorable, decent, brilliant Robert Bork all the way back in the eighties — came from. In Stalin’s Soviet Union, as fascistic a place as has ever existed, all that was required for a man to disappear forever, either into the insatiable maw of the Gulag, or to eat nine grams of lead in Lefortovo, was an allegation from someone… anyone. Nothing more than an allegation was needed, and it was as if the man being informed on had never existed.





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