Mark Steyn Wishes He Were As Funky As Those Funky Chinamen From That Funky Chinatown
HH: I begin today, though, with Columnist To the World, Mark Steyn. You can read everything at www.steyonline.com that Mark writes. Mark, I was listening to you substitute for Rush today. And you brought to my attention that Elton John was not only at Rush’s wedding, he’ll also be at William’s wedding tomorrow. He is at every Hollywood Oscars. I’m pretty sure he was at Obama’s inauguration. Now that we’ve lost the birther controversy, how about Elton John as a Bilderberger?
MS: (laughing) Everything, Elton John is behind everything. He’s the great unifying conspiracy theory.
HH: That’s where I’m going, because you pointed out to me, there are very few dots connected between tomorrow and Rush’s wedding and Hollywood.
MS: Well, that’s true. I believe Sir Elton will be the only man on the planet who can claim to have been at both Rush’s wedding and at Prince William’s wedding. Now you’re not telling me that’s a coincidence.
MS: Come on, Hugh, you know better than that.
HH: I’m just sayin’. Then, there’s another shocking development which rocked my world today as I was getting ready for the program, and I visited www.steynonline.com. I am the proud son and brother of Oberlin graduates. But I personally never go near the place, because it may be the most left-wing lunatic campus in America.
HH: And yet Mark Steyn is going to Oberlin.
MS: Yeah, I’m appearing there, I think it’s one day next week. I think it’s some clerical error.
MS: And I think it’s one of those computer malfunctions. They were running Windows 98 on Mozilla or something, and something went wrong, and I got booked to speak at Oberlin. And I’m glad you mentioned it, because the official college website is being very coy about any official mention of me.
HH: Oh, I think this might be a transplant that doesn’t take. I went there to watch my brother play football when they crowned a man as the homecoming queen in 1972. That was Oberlin when it was in its non-radical phase. So you’re going to be there on May 5, 2011, 8pm. Is that open to the public, Mark?
MS: Yeah, yes it is, because nobody from the college will want to go (laughing), so I think it will be the great unwashed masses of the greater Oberlin area who will be making the audience.
HH: Well, I want my WHK audience to stream out over to Oberlin on next Thursday night to hear Mark. Now settling down to the serious stuff, Mark, today you also talked about the fact that we dare not sing Kung Fu Fighting in a pub in Britain.
MS: No, this is a guy who is a singer in a bar on oldie’s night, and he was singing Kung Fu Fighting, which as I’m sure you know, Hugh, was Billboard’s number one record in the United States in December, 1974.
HH: Oh, you bet.
MS: And a couple of people happened to be passing by and heard the song, and they were Chinese. And they reported it to the police, and the police on the Isle of Wight arrested this guy for racism, for committing a racially aggravated offense. As I said, this was a number one record in the United States, number one record in the United Kingdom, in Australia, all over the world. But apparently it’s now a hate crime. And on a certain level, it’s funny. But at a certain level, the stupidity of Western civilization is reaching a tipping point. And I’m tired of this stuff, which is why I don’t regard Kung Fu Fighting as the acme of Western civilization. But we are committed now to defending this song to the end. I’m in favor of it, I don’t know whether the Isle of Wight has a national anthem, but if it doesn’t, I want it to adopt Kung Fu Fighting as their national anthem.
HH: And I want to say, we are heard by the internet around the world, so at this very moment, as I read the lyrics from Kung Fu Fighting with Mark Steyn humming in the background, Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting, those cats were fast as lightning, in fact it was a little bit frightening, but they fought with expert timing.
HH: They were funky Chinamen from funky Chinatown.
HH: We are now, I think, in peril of arrest if we go to the Isle of Wight, Mark Steyn.
MS: Yeah, that’s true, and I don’t know why, because I haven’t, you know, I haven’t deconstructed the lyric of the song with the attention that Noam Chomsky or some such might bring to it, or Jacques Derrida, or a French postmodernist. But when I used to groove to it in discotechs, it seemed pretty obvious to me that it was complimentary about the funky Chinamen from funky Chinatown. How many times, by the way, if you’re Chinese, how many songs in the entire English language song literature, how many songs are there that hail you as funky Chinamen from funky Chinatown? I mean, I don’t know what’s to complain about. I’d love to be that funky.
HH: Well, if we have anyone listening who’s named Billy Chin or Sammy Chung, since they are specifically named as funky Billy Chin and little Sammy Chung, they can call the program and tell us whether or not they consider themselves to be deeply offended. So Mark Steyn, this is kind of silly, but at the same time, your book, Lights Out, isn’t silly at all. This is going on around the globe. Sometimes, it’s sinister, as with the cartoons of Mohammed. Sometimes, it’s absurd. But it’s everywhere.
MS: Yeah, and actually, at heart, what it is, is it’s an assault on the principle of equality before the law. There was a fellow who was just convicted by the same guys who tried me a couple of years back, the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, who flew in, they devoted a day to the tone of my jokes, they flew in expert witnesses to discuss the “tone” of my jokes. Now they just convicted last week a stand up comedian for putting down two hecklers. They happened to be, you know, Don Rickles does this every night of the week. These hecklers happened to be two lesbian hecklers. And so they accused him of homophobia, and he was fined $15,000 dollars for the brand new crime of putting down hecklers at a comedy club homophobically. This is a brand new crime. If he’d said everything he said, as abusive as it was, and they often are in these places, to you and me, we would have had no grounds to complain, because neither of us are lesbians. You know, well, I’m sure you’re not, Hugh. I’ve been considering it as a career move in my…it would do me a world of good up in Canada, frankly.
MS: But that’s the point. The assault on, you can tell the same jokes to these two hecklers, you can tell the same jokes to you and me, and it’s a crime, according to who you direct it to. You can sing, I can sing Kung Fu Fighting to you all I want, and it’s not a crime. But if we’re on the Isle of Wight, and a couple of Chinese guys happen to be passing by, suddenly, it’s a hate crime. This is an assault on the principle of equality before the law. I’m tired of group rights. Group rights are the great justification for the nanny state, and I’m sock of it.
HH: And hopefully, the members of Parliament will quickly pass whatever is necessary to reaffirm the British Crown is not threatened by the free speech of its people. Let me ask you about tomorrow, Mark. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? I’m actually a Royalist. I’m kind of in favor of royalism. Every Hamiltonian is at heart, as Alexander Hamilton was, a proponent of restoring the monarchy.
MS: Well, that’s just as well if you’re living under King Barack and Queen Marie Antoinette, Hugh.
MS: You haven’t got any choice in the matter.
HH: But how about the spectacle tomorrow? Good or bad for merry old England?
MS: I think on the whole, it’s good. I mean, this is not a big state occasion as it was thirty years ago. This is really, you know, for family, broadly defined, which is the Queen and her vice regal eminences in Canada and New Zealand and Jamaica and Belize and places. It’s not really, it’s not one of those big, global, formal state events in the same way. And I think the great sadness in Britain is that there’s been a complete loss of continuity in the length of the Queen’s rein. And I feel sad for what contemporary Britain has become. And if this, if tomorrow’s occasion points to the possibility of a future which the Prince of Wales, Prince William’s father, I mean, I would just as soon he abdicated, he took the advantage of the royal wedding to abdicate. But the continuity of monarchy is one of the few things that a rather sad and demoralized Britain has left.
HH: A little quick question on American domestic politics. Harry Reid has guaranteed us from China, where they’re locking up the house churches at this hour, that everyone is going to vote in the Senate on Paul Ryan’s budget. I think this is a huge mistake on his part. I cannot wait to see how people will vote on this. What do you think about his decision to let the Ryan budget come to a vote? And how do you think the ladies from Maine will vote on it?
MS: Yeah, I think this is the interesting question. You know, the movement in the polls, particularly among seniors, for example, who are important voters, shows that they understand the importance of the debt crisis that’s facing America. And so far, there’s lots of solutions out there to it. But the only solution within the legislative world of the Beltway is the Paul Ryan plan. And it’s a real challenge for these Maine ladies. But I’ll tell you this, people in Maine understand the country’s broke, and people in Maine understand that the sort of smilie face bromides aren’t going to cut it. So those ladies have a tough choice.
HH: And I think every Democrat on the ballot coming up in 2012 have a tough choice that Harry Reid is going to make them make now.
MS: Yeah, I mean, we’re spending a fifth of a billion dollars, we’re borrowing a fifth of a billion dollars every hour. And Harry Reid says there’s no crisis, that we don’t have to worry about this for another twenty years. That’s what Harry Reid says. I think if you’re borrowing a fifth of a billion dollars every single hour of the day, you need to start worrying about it right now.
End of interview.