Van is the Man

Programming note: Mark is back on the telly this evening. Catch him with Tucker Carlson on Fox News at 8:00pm ET / 5:00pm PT.

Check back tomorrow, Thursday, for another live Clubland Q&A, kicking off at 4:00pm ET / 1:00pm PT (or 1:45am Friday morning Nepal Time, for those asking).

Hello again and welcome to this week’s edition of Laura’s Links, once again from the forever locked down land of southern Ontario, Canada.

I remember listening to a podcast some time ago with author Lionel Shriver. She was riffing on cultural appropriation and was rightly outraged by the idea that she should or could be forbidden from writing whatever she damned well pleased, whether fiction or nonfiction. She explained that once she has a conversation or interaction with someone, her thoughts on that interaction, and any ideas or characters or plots she develops in her own mind after that interaction, are hers and hers alone. They are nobody else’s and nobody else’s business, and nobody but she has any right to control them. She put it so well, and I never forgot it (for more great conversation and similarly inspiring ideas, you can see Mark Steyn’s long form interview with Ms Shriver here).

I was thinking about her words lately as I realized how, among so many other truly evil things, the lockdowns have deprived people of regular human contact and banter. For most people, this has been depressing and soul-sucking. For writers in particular, it has also smothered a major source of inspiration. I cannot even begin to estimate the amount of writing I have done that has been inspired by a moment of conversation with a stranger or friend or acquaintance, or merely a brief observation of an interesting person walking down a street. Observational and reflective writing things to observe and reflect upon. Sadly, I am finding that the only place where people can interact now in Ontario is at the grocery store, or on a walk outside. And even then, strangers deal with one another with grave trepidation.

Today, my major outing was to the grocery store in pursuit of lunch items for the family.

At the deli counter, an older and well-dressed gentleman, struggling to speak through his mask (and thus I was struggling to hear him), asked if there was tongue. I looked in the counter but there wasn’t. I told him there was pastrami, smoked turkey and bologna among other things. He looked at me sadly and said, “I have trouble swallowing”. I said that I was so sorry to hear that. He then said “I can’t drink water”. I asked him if it was because it was not viscous enough. Does it slide down too fast? He nodded. I told him my son had trouble swallowing as well. I asked him if he saw that there were prepared soups just down the aisle from us that were thicker and probably easier to swallow. He looked at me, paused for a moment and said, “You’re a nice lady”. I told him that I wasn’t sure that I was nice, that I was just OK at best and then his wife came to the counter, put her hand on his arm and pointed out other things that he might like and then gently led him away to another area of the store.

I’ve been thinking about that interaction and various other somewhat difficult conversations I had through the day, and I’m not sure how to shake the sad feeling that lingers. I’m not sure about being nice. I’m not sure that being minimally polite and interested in a pained stranger should constitute nice – and about what that means for our society. And I’m not even sure about being okay amidst all this, but I guess that’s human and okay as well.

Some related (but unfortunately, no more uplifting) things I have been thinking about are here, here and here:

“‘We are being told, simultaneously, that we have successful vaccines and that major restrictions on everyday life must continue indefinitely. Both propositions cannot be true,‘ the scientists write. ‘We need to give more weight to the data on the actual success of the vaccines.”

If you missed any of Mark’s musings over the week, you can catch Mark with Tucker Carlson here on Race to the Bottom, and check out his take on Earth Day here. A new episode of The Mark Steyn Show covered The Eyes Don’t Have It. In Mark at the Movies, you can consider his perspective on Spectre. He also shared a new episode of The Hundred Years Ago Show, and the Song of the Week was “We’ll Gather Lilacs“.

Take care, and I’ll see you in the comments.

~

North America:

Ron DeSantis: the Chinese Communist Party should be held accountable for abetting the pandemic. Amen.

Nothing to see here.

Imagine my surprise.

“To save the republic, destroy the media.” Endorsed.

D’UH. The six foot “social distancing” thing is BALONEY.

What’s wrong with the Virginia GOP? Geez.

Be. This. Mom.

I’m in love (language alert).

“I’ll throw her a goodbye party.”

Sue. Their. Butts. Off.

Possibly some good news from Canada.

Demographics are destiny.

~

Jews and Israel:

Things that make Jew-haters sad.

Things that make Jew-haters REALLY sad.

Jewish wisdom: “According to the Talmud, gossip ‘kills’ three people: the speaker, the listener, and the object of the gossip.”

I dunno, she seems to really suck at antisemitism.

~

The Formerly Great Britain:

Van is the man.

Resisting tyranny in London.

I guess this is the wrong take, but one thing nobody can ever accuse me of is political correctness. This is stupid, but I would probably be flattered if someone thought that I was capable of sexual harassment at 91.

Honour Thy Parents

~

Barbarians:

Someone please explain to me why any civilized lives should have been wasted for these savages? Anyone? I’ll wait…

~

Kook Left:

Don’t send your children to government schools, continued…

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Europe:

How France lost her dignity.

Also in France: demanding justice for the murder of Sarah Halimi.

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Random Nice:

Hum along if you like.

~

Human Grace:

Searching for a unicorn.

Meet the Beep Beep Bubbie.

“You’re pregnant.”

Who says there’s no such thing as Santa?

G-d bless the healers, this little girl and her parents.

Mensch.

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