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Hugh Hewitt Book Club
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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

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HH: It’s that time of the year. It’s A Marshmallow World time of the year, and my guest, Mark Steyn, Columnist To the World, did not put out a new CD of Christmas music this year, so we’re bereft, and we’re using last year’s Marshmallow World, Disco Fever edition. Hello, Mark Steyn.

MS: Hi, Hugh. I don’t make many claims for myself, but I do believe that is the best Christmas disco single out there.

HH: I think you’re right. But you know, Duane is pushing to have you sign with Fox to produce an annual Christmas special, because very few people could take the place of Andy Williams doing a Christmas special. But you’re one of them, Mark Steyn.

MS: Well, I don’t know about that. The very first Christmas show I ever did on radio years and years ago when I was a teenaged disc jockey was one with Andy Williams. And it was a terrible disaster, because I got the big Andy Williams exclusive, and I got it on reel to reel tape. And I took it home, and I had a little kitten called Elliott who then got all tangled up in the front half of it, and managed to chew up the bit where he said hi, everybody, this is Andy Williams.

HH: Oh, no.

MS: And I had to reconstruct it from equivalent syllables later in the interview. And so it came out as (garbled) Andy Williams. So I have a great respect for Andy Williams’ decades of successful Christmas shows, because it’s a lot harder than it looks.

HH: Well, put it down on the to-do list. I want people to go over, by the way, to There’s a big Christmas opportunity to shop there. I believe in Cyber Friday and Cyber Thursday, and all the products you need for a fully Steyn Christmas are available. My favorite, Mark, is The Passing Parade. I’ve said this many times on the show. I love your obituaries. You used to do them for The Atlantic. And what a ripe period. You could be doing one for Andy Williams and Larry Hagman, sort of a joint obit right now.

MS: Yeah, I know. I always like writing about people, and I think it’s actually, you can’t write about, sum up a man’s life unless you have some kind of respect for them at all level. And all the people, even the wicked people, the dictators that are in that book, or there’s some big time polygamist in there, unless you’ve got some kind of way of opening up a little human corner on them, you can’t write about them. And I like, that’s my, I think I said on C-Span, that’s my favorite of all my books, and I feel that’s my best writing, is actually in that book.

HH: Well, I think it is wonderful stuff. I’m very leery of profiles. And in fact, I got a request today from a Mackenzie Weinger over at Politico wanting to do a big profile piece of me. And I said well, come on the air and talk about it. She’s not eager to do that. Mark Steyn, do you ever agree to be profiled? I kind of view it as sitting down and letting them get the sights on you.

MS: No, I’m asked to do it occasionally, and I always turn it down, because I find I always come out sounding like an idiot anyway, so they might as well do that on their time rather than my time.

HH: That’s why…

MS: And I’ve had some, there was years ago a guy at Toronto Life Magazine, Robert Fulson, wrote a terrific profile on me based on the fact that I was so enigmatic, he was the first guy I’d profiled who had absolutely refused to speak to him. But I think that’s, for anyone who knows, if you’ve ever been, if you work in media, and you’ve ever been interviewed, and you have this thing when you agree to do an interview, you say well, come on my show. So you in a sense have the master tape.

HH: Yes.

MS: So they can’t do to you what Katie Couric or whoever it was did to Sarah Palin.

HH: Exactly.

MS: So they can’t do that thing. If you listen to 60 Minutes, which is a very successful show, but if you listen to their so-called interviews without the picture, you realize that those are the most super-edited conversations in the history of the planet. I’d love to know what those guys are actually, what the actual regular human conversation sounds like. So I don’t think it’s a useful thing to do on the whole, that sort of stuff.

HH: I don’t, either. And so we’ll see if she agrees. If she’ll come on and interview me on the air, I don’t much mind. It always makes for good fodder. But otherwise…now I want to go back to the Mark Steyn store, because Broadway Babes are in there, and you wrote about Broadway, how many years ago did you write the Broadway book?

MS: Well, I wrote that book, that book was published in 1997, and I’m happy to say it’s still in print.

HH: Of course. It never goes out of style, because the musicals keep coming back. But Broadway was the subject on the show this week. David Mamet came by and talked to me about his new play, The Anarchist.

MS: Right.

HH: Have you been to see it, yet, when you were in New York?

MS: I haven’t seen it, but it has two of my favorite actresses. Debra Winger, I think, was perhaps my favorite actress to emerge in the 1980s. And Patti Lupone, I actually was called in to do a master class in theater at Oxford University on acting with Patti Lupone…

HH: Wow.

MS: …and Jonathan Pryce, who starred in Miss Saigon, and was the big Bond villain in, I think it was Tomorrow Never Dies. And Patti was absolutely delightful, and I have enormous respect for her.

HH: Well, I wrote a great review, because it’s a fascinating, I mean it’s a very provocative and brilliantly written play. And I’ve just got to ask you about Frank Rich. So I write this thing, and Mamet comes on, and we talk about the play. It’s just sort of a standard interview, and it’s very interesting. And Frank Rich tweets out “Right wing talker, Hugh Hewitt, given priority over Broadway critics to rave Mamet’s Anarchist week before opening.” That’s just insane. It’s like he lives in a different world, Mark Steyn.

MS: Well, it is, but it’s the insecurity of the left. I talked about this a little on Rush a couple of days ago, because with Rush, they don’t mind Rush having the talk show, having the radio show. But they get frantic if he breaks out of that into ESPN, or he’s a guest on some animated sitcom out in Hollywood or whatever. They’re terrified of the right actually having a voice in the broader culture. And that’s why when David Mamet embarked on his transition, and your radio show helped him to do that, he’s a big fan of yours, but immediately, that was followed by oh, well, you know, Mamet, okay, he was good in the 80s, but he was always overrated, and let’s face it, he’s way past his best now. Same thing with Clint Eastwood when Clint agreed to do…

HH: Yup.

MS: Well, you know, Clint’s past it, and you’ve got to feel sorry for the guy and all the rest of it. This idea, and it’s the complete opposite of the way we are on the right. You know Alan and Marilyn Bergman…

HH: Yes.

MS: …Barbra Streisand’s songwriters who write all Barbra’s silly special material that she sings at Democrat fundraisers. And you’re like a lot of people. You know, you say oh, yeah, I bought the new Barbra Streisand CD. She’s a terrible lefty, but you know, I still like to listen to her.

HH: Exactly.

MS: On the right, it’s exactly the opposite. And by the way, if we didn’t do that on the right, we would have no CD’s, no movies, no plays, no nothing.

HH: Yeah, who knows who makes Skyfall, right? I have no idea if Bond’s populated with lefties. I don’t know what Judi Dench’s politics are. You tell me.

MS: Well, I’ll tell you, Daniel Craig in 2008, he was asked who would make the best Bond, whether it would be Obama or McCain. And he said Obama. I see McCain as doing a desk job like M. McCain has actually lived Bond’s life.

HH: Yes.

MS: He’s fallen out of a plane like Roger Moore did in Octopussy. He’s survived a big ship blowing up like Sean Connery in Thunderball. He’s been tortured for months on end like Pierce Brosnan pretended to have been in the beginning of Die Another Day. And yet Daniel Craig thinks Obama is the action hero, a man who’s never broken a sweat in his life.

HH: Oh, it’s a different…

MS: But you can’t, so we have to make allowances for that. Frank Rich doesn’t want to have to make allowances. He’d rather banish David Mamet.

HH: Well, it’s just a different universe. I had a great, new lefty on, Joy Reid, who’s often on MSNBC, and she edits a couple of their newspaper things, and she writes for the Miami Herald. And I just let her talk at length, and my audience was stunned, Mark, because the left really is clueless about basic things like how much money you can print. Not one of them has ever read After America, I would dare say, or has a concept of what we are headed towards. I think she thinks we can just print enough money until everyone is employed, and then we can stop printing money.

MS: Yeah, and I think there’s not really, and I would have say in that sense, I find the American left far less serious than the European left. I mean, whatever one feels about Scandinavians, Norway spends about 46%, the government accounts for about 46% of GDP, and their tax revenues are about 41% of GDP. So they’re kind of in the ballpark. Here, the left wants Norwegian levels of spending, but without Norwegian levels of taxation. And they do think that somehow you can just do a little bit of funny bookkeeping, and you don’t have to pay for this stuff.

HH: Yeah, that’s it.

MS: And in that sense, the American left is more dishonest than the Scandinavians.

HH: It’s the holiday shopping season without a credit card every coming due, and there will be charges from if you go and buy all the material. I assume you’re not running a Democratic shop. You’re not just giving it away.

MS: No, that’s right. It’s not one of these things where, you know, in 30 years time, the bill comes due. We expect to be paid up front. We’re not operating on the Harry Reid system here.

HH: Go to Do all your Christmas shopping. In fact, send some of that stuff to the White House. Go over there and send the President a bunch of that. I’ll be right back, America. Thank you, Mark Steyn.

End of interview.


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