Books

Mark Steyn: a hairy, successful version of myself, says Julie Burchill

In a review of The (Un)Documented Mark Steyn, Julie Burchill sympathises with the author’s profound distrust of Islamism and the risk it poses to peace, progress and piano bars

3 January 2015

9:00 AM

3 January 2015

9:00 AM

The (Un)Documented Mark Steyn: Don’t Say You Weren’t Warned Mark Steyn

Regnery, pp.442, £19.99

For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure, Mark Steyn is sort of a hairy, successful version of me— a civilised, larky type of chap who was just tootling along minding his own biz and scribbling about his favourite show-tunes when — crash, bang, wallop! — he found himself on the frontline of commentating on the clash of civilisations. He is obsessed with the fact that Islamism poses the greatest risk to peace, progress and piano bars since the second world war and is unable to comprehend why so many people seem so bovinely oblivious to this fact.

Like Richard Littlejohn — another fine, undervalued writer — he is unfashionable, not using 20 words when two will do and never apologising for being alive. I don’t agree with him on everything — but who fears being challenged in their beliefs except someone not entirely secure in them? I’m with him — as I am with Melanie Phillips — on foreign affairs, while differing drastically with him over domestic matters — abortion, the family. But (unlike Phillips) Steyn’s tone is so light and breezy that you are lulled into a chummy sense of accord — only to have him turn on a sixpence.

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It’s as though one minute you’re nattering over the garden fence to a neighbour, dishing the dirt on the weirdo down the road, and the next minute he’s waving a gun at you; Steyn approves of firearms, and is a fount of information on the benefits of the right to bear them. He fawns over the British monarchy a bit too effusively for my liking — but maybe it is something to do with being Canadian. Anyway, I was occasionally reminded of the words of Miss Jean Brodie: ‘For those who like that sort of thing, that is the sort of thing they like.’

And Steyn’s writing is so rompily gorgeous that you can forgive him a bit of chest-beating and rifle-riffing. ‘If you can remember the Sixties, you weren’t there; if you can remember the Seventies, chances are you aren’t here.’ ‘The photographs of Studio 54’s celebrity couples are like a computer breakdown at a dating agency — William Burroughs and Madonna; Regine and Salvador Dalí; Margaret Trudeau on the floor with marijuana-importer Tom Sullivan.’ Steyn likes to bait Horrified of Hampstead, pricking Guardian pomposity like a clown on crystal meth at a balloon-filled birthday party; after the ludicrous Jaffa Cake-heir George Monbiot has hymned the happiness of poor people in Ethiopia (does that mean socialism, which seeks to make the poor richer, is bad?) Steyn smirks: ‘In Ethiopia, male life expectancy is 42.88 years. George was born in 1963. If the streets and fields are crackling with laughter, maybe it’s because the happy peasants are reading his column.’ Monbiot is joined in the sniggering stocks by his colleague Decca Aitkenhead when Steyn pillories her for her profoundly thick take on Jamaican homophobia which is summed up with the classically stupid Guardian headline ‘Their homophobia is our fault’. I have to say, I fair hugged myself with glee at that one.

Some of the more surreal sketches are a bit trying (in both senses of the word), but when he hits his target it makes you wince on behalf of the bullseye. His takedown of the odious Edward Kennedy is total, but starts with the unlikely object of a foot-rest. But it’s on the Islamist threat that he is at his best. Read this without feeling that a heavily-veiled goose has walked over your grave:

A world that becomes more Muslim becomes less everything else. First it’s Jews, already abandoning France. Then it’s homosexuals, already under siege from gay-bashing in Amsterdam, ‘the most tolerant city in Europe’. Then it’s uncovered women, targetted for rape in Oslo. And if you don’t any longer have any Jews or (officially) any gays or (increasingly) uncovered women, there are always just Christians in general, from Nigeria to Egypt to Pakistan. More space for Islam means less space for everything else, and in the end for you.

There are also a few fun facts along the way; for instance, did you know that the Graham Cracker, beloved of our American cousins, was originally conceived as a weapon against self-abuse? You’ll laugh, you’ll sigh, you’ll learn something. And you’ll whistle a bracing Broadway melody while you go about doing your bit in the ‘End Of Days’ scenario which Steyn sketches so convincingly and, yes, so entertainingly.

Available from the Spectator Bookshop, £17.99 Tel: 08430 600033

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Show comments
  • oxydol leblanc

    Izzinniss the Steyner who used to make the Spec(k)ie worth reading?

    • WFC

      Indeed.

      Before Conrad Black was forced out for reasons which remain rather obscure.

      They also had Theodore Dalrymple in those days – another peerless essayist.

      • alpha2actual

        Absolutely spot on your take on Theodore Dalrymple. I really came to appreciate the craft of essay writing after reading Theodore.

  • Sean L

    Excellent review. Yeah he was a cheerleader on here for the crazy Iraq invasion ten years ago. But his invective was so entertaining and because his foes were yours too you found yourself willing to believe the absolute tripe he was spouting about a democratic domino effect throughout the Middle East upon the fall of Saddam, when the Iraqis would automatically embrace constitutional democracy. As if the desire for Western style government was a universal default setting for people regardless of their own histories and allegiances. That was the basic neo-con line, mirroring the Trotskyist fantasy that people would rally to the revolutionary socialist cause were they only adequately ‘educated’. No surprise there as the leading neo-cons were mostly ex-Trots themselves. But whether or not one ultimately agrees with his argument he’s always good value. And definitely on the money where Islam is concerned. Ditto Julie Burchill herself.

    • JimHHalpert

      To be fair to Mr Steyn, that was not a line I ever recall hearing from him. What I do recall is his reiterating that people should not expect Iraq to be a warmer version of Switzerland, but that it would be infinitely better than what preceded it.

      You may also have noticed that something significant happened to the US administration in 2008. I don’t think anyone – including Steyn – imagined that it would make such a hash of foreign policy post-Bush.

      • Sean L

        As you recall it what *was* his rationale for the Iraq invasion, then? What does “infinitely better” mean as distinct from what I say? The whole point was that the “infinitely better” Iraq would become a model for a better form of government in the region. In a nutshell that was the neo-con strategy. Feel free to share your recollection of it. . . and Iraq was a disaster long before 2008.

        • JimHHalpert

          “What *was* his rationale for the Iraq invasion, then?”

          Oh, you know, the usual stuff: offing a genocidal nut who held the Middle East (oil and stuff) to ransom; closing down a nexus of global terrorism; actually implementing an obligatory UN resolution. I know, it seems like small stuff to big thinkers like you, but it matters to the provincials like myself.

          “What does “infinitely better” mean as distinct from what I say?”

          Oh, you know: democratic elections; rule of law (as opposed to whether or not your cousin was shagging Uday this week); not being killed because you were a Kurd; not being killed and seeing your homeland destroyed if you were a marsh Arab. Again, small stuff, but some think it matters.

          Just on the off chance, can you actually provide a citation where Mr Steyn mentions a “democratic domino effect throughout the Middle East” or that “the Iraqis would automatically embrace constitutional democracy”?

          • Sean L

            I’m not quoting him verbatim. But you’re saying the same thing anyway, rule of law, democratic elections etc. The domino effect just means that once such a government was established others in the region would be likely to follow suit, however long and problematic that process might be.

          • JimHHalpert

            Yes, I know what the domino effect is, thanks, but I never mentioned or implied it: we’re talking Iraq and Iraq alone.

            I also know you weren’t quoting Mr Steyn verbatim, but to make a serious charge such as calling his writing “the absolute tripe he was spouting about a democratic domino effect” kind of behoves one to be able to point to something where he at least alludes to such.

            Or maybe you were just getting high on your own entertaining invective?

          • Sean L

            I never called his *writing* tripe. I love his writing. It’s the argument that’s tripe, that the Iraq invasion would presage constitional government and the rule of law. That’s already been proven to be tripe. I don’t have access to his articles but well remember them, being a fan of his writing.

          • JimHHalpert

            So what you wrote was fake but accurate? Where have I heard that before?

          • Sean L

            No it’s totally accurate. Perhaps I shouldn’t have used the term “spouting”. But if you imagine that his justification for the Iraq invasion was merely to topple a dictator, or to comply with the UN, not one of Mark Steyn’s favourite institutions, and wasn’t part of a broader strategy to ‘democratise’ the Middle East, the core of the neo-con strategy, it’s you who needs to reacquaint yourself with what he wrote at that time and the politics behind the Iraq invasion.

          • JimHHalpert

            At this point I’m inclined to say put up or shut up.

            Mr Steyn may have moved in neocon circles but was not himself a neocon. He was always (and still is) deeply skeptical of the whole idea of nation-building. And his reasons for toppling Saddam (because he represented a clear and present danger to the West) and enforcing UNSCR1441 (make or break time for the West’s willingness to do more than talk) are not the neocon ones.

            Here’s ( http://www.macleans.ca/general/where-nice-obama-has-got-us/ ) Steyn in 2010, writing as he wrote pre-2010 and post-2010. See for yourself.

          • Sean L

            Well I’ve just read that article and if anything it reinforces my point. His conclusion is that the nation building was “half hearted” and quotes some stats to support his case. But of course I’m referring to articles he wrote here ten years ago, and referring to Iraq rather than Afghanistan. But nothing in that article suggests he’s changed his tune. Anyway, if you think it’s purely my invention or that I’m misrepresenting him, that’s your prerogative. If you’re interested in the truth I’m sure you can find the facts somehow. But if you care to post any links to articles read them first to be sure they support your argument rather than your opponent’s.

          • JimHHalpert

            If you think sentences like “Instead of being an operation to kill one of the planet’s most concentrated populations of jihadist terrorists, it decayed into half-hearted nation-building in which a handful of real allies took the casualties while the rest showed up for the group photo” demonstrates Mr Steyn’s neocon credentials (e.g. that he approves of “nation-building”) rather than his wish that we should go after the baddies (my interpretation), then we’ll just have to mark it up to some kind of textual Rashomon effect and leave it at that.

            At least I provided some evidence for my point of view.

          • Sean L

            Of course, because his entire argument is that too few military resources were deployed. Thus “nation building”, whatever that’s supposed to mean, was “half hearted”. But anyway my point was in relation to his articles in the Spectator about Iraq ten or so years ago, which I well remember enjoying however bonkers I found both their premiss, support for the military conquest of IraqIraq, and conclusion that it would be a harbinger of better government throughout the region. Anyway, I’ll leave it there – feel free to post anything you find to the contrary and I promise to eat my hat in silence. But sentences or phrases out of context do not cut the mustard. . .

          • Baron

            If we did in Iraq what general Sisi id doing in Egypt today, Sean, we and the Iraqis would be much better off now.

          • Sean L

            Sure Baron. The only thing is that there’s a big difference between their doing it themselves, as in Sisi’s wresting control from the Muslim Brotherhood, and *our* doing it. But yeah he’s the kind of strong leader that’s called for.

      • will91

        What we needed was a phased withdrawal over two or three decades. Not immediately pulling the rug from under the Iraqis so Obama could fulfill his: “Yes we can” “Give peace a chance” “I’m not George Bush” Bul***it!

        • JimHHalpert

          Cite?

    • Penny

      “As if the desire for Western style government was a universal default
      setting for people regardless of their own histories and allegiances”

      A point that, in my view, needs to be directed to the ears of more than a few bien pensants.

  • global city

    Socialism is NOT about making poor people richer… it is about ‘equalising’ society’ regardless of economics and income, as was shown throught eastern Europe, where the poor were much poorer than those in the ‘unequal’ West.

    Why does this shitheaded thinking about socialism having ANY merits persist?

    • WFC

      Think you’ll find that that’s Julie – or Mark, or both – being ironic.

      • Jeffrey Vernon

        No, JB does believe that socialism is about the working class emancipating itself. In the era of new labour, PC, spin, greenery, dependency and technological pessimism, it is hard to remember what socialism stood for in the 19th century.

        • WFC

          Which may explain why the 19th century “labour” representatives allied themselves to the Liberals – rather than the more statist Tories.

          Because it was under (classical) liberalism that the original institutions geared towards working class emancipation – craft unions, mutual, friendly, building and provident societies, co-ops etc – first came into being in a permanent and sustainable form.

  • WFC

    Excellent review.

    Steyn is somebody who is able to make connections which never occur to people to make: until he has made them, after which, they are so obvious that you wonder why nobody else has made them.

    And he does so in such a hilarious manner – a very difficult trick to achieve – that he has been a “must read” for me for years.

    And the best thing is that much of his work is published for free on his website, SteynOnline.

    • Dave Conley

      Your second paragraph is absolutely correct, and I never quite noticed it until a few weeks ago when Steyn concluded a column on the writing of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” with its connection to the origins of the Muslim Brotherhood. My mouth fell open: How did he get from there to there? And it actually made sense. Many writers are good, but only a few are magicians.

      • Neville Bartos

        How did he get from there to there? I shall presume by watching the Adam Curtis documentary ‘The Power of Nightmares’ made over 10 years ago which recounted that anecdote about Qutb exactly as Steyn wrote it and even borrowed the song title for the first of its three parts. It’s just a shame that Steyn didn’t take on board Curtis’s message of American neo-conservatism and fundamentalist Islam being symbiotic while he was plagiarising him.

        • rodger the dodger

          How about simply by reading Qutb’s own “The America I Have Seen” (1951), which is where he talks about the “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” incident in the church dance-hall.

          It’s a striking anecdote, which is why it was picked up on by numerous over the last fifteen years. They can’t all have ripped off Adam Curtis.

          It’s the first thing you come across pretty much, after only a cursory examination of this important figure. Which I presume is how Curtis discovered it in the first place.

  • WFC

    “He fawns over the British monarchy a bit too effusively for my liking — but maybe it is something to do with being Canadian.”

    He answers this on his website by saying that, for Canadians, the best thing is that it is an absentee monarchy.

  • celtthedog

    I think one of Steyn’s most attractive points is his absolute and unconditional support for freedom of speech (and he’s being sued by yet another serial liar because of this). So even if you disagree with him, you can be damned sure that, unlike 99% of his opponents, he believes you’re perfectly entitled to your point of view view.

    That alone makes him unusual and worth his weight in gold.

  • BillRees

    What I would like to know is when Mark Steyn will return as a regular columnist for The Spectator.

    That’s when I will return as a regular reader.

    • Mnestheus

      You win some, you lose some.

    • will91

      Would love to see him tour. Doubt he’d get into the UK though. He’d be barred for hate speech…

    • Harry Pond

      Ditto the DT.

  • WalterSEllis

    I hope I may be allowed to post an alternative point of view on this. Steyn is highly inteliigent and, at his best, very funny – a bit like a bizarro Chris Hitchens. But I have rarely read a pundit who is more wrong more often about just about everything. A world governed by Steyn’s strictures would be even more unfair, and scarier, than the one we’ve got – and that’s saying something. He is, as celtthedog says below (or above – who knows?) entitled to his views, and I would certainly opposed attempts to muzzle him, but the idea that he is some kind of libertarian superman is no more than wishful thinking by advocates of the far Right looking for a hero.

    • WFC

      “But I have rarely read a pundit who is more wrong more often about just about everything.”

      For example?

      “A world governed by Steyn’s strictures would be even more unfair, and scarier, than the one we’ve got”

      In what way?

      • Richard

        Perhaps WalterSEllis simply thinks that sounds nice. There are worse reasons for writing things.

      • WalterSEllis

        Steyn is the opposite of an idiot-savant. Instead of his ravings being punctuated by occasional shafts of brilliance, his cleverness conceals a recurring idiocy. He believes white Europeans under 40 will be engulfed by Muslims by the time they come up to retirement age – not “threatened,” you understand, but actually outnumbered. There is no stopping this, he has written. It cannot be reversed. Europe, following a “Eurabian civil war,” will be an Islamic-controlled continent by the year 2050. At the same time, white Americans, either caught with their condoms on or rendered impotent and infertile by liberalism, will have been reduced to beggary by a motley combination of hispanics, Muslims and sundry other “illegals”. Steyn has retreated to New Hampshire, the whitest state in the Union (with one of the smallest populations and one of the lowest birth rates), where he seems to believe Western civilisation will make its last stand.

        What else? He is a close friend of Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck – two of the most preposterous figures on America’s far-Right. Beck, a recovering alcoholic and drug addict, believes that white Americans must save themselves by living in fortified compounds; Limbaugh, another long-time drug abuser, once told a thickly-accented African-American calling into his radio show to “take the bone out of your nose and call me back”. Steyn said as recently as November that the dollar – now riding high and expected to continue its bull-run for as long as anyone can reasonably predict – was heading towards “total collapse” under Obama and would not easily recover. Soon, he said, people wouldn’t be able to afford to shop in Walmart. Oh, and he supported the invasion of Iraq and praised Bush and Blair for their wise intervention.

        In short, for all his cleverness and fecundity of expression, Steyn is a loon. In England, he would, naturally, support UKIP but might have to be repudiated by Nigel Farage as just too crazy.

        • WFC

          He does indeed believe that Islam will, demographically, take over Europe within a frighteningly short period. You offer no argument as to why he might be incorrect in this belief, instead (apparently) believing that this incorrectness should be assumed to be an a priori truth.

          As regards the remainder of your post, it appears to be a mixture of a highly imaginative interpretation of Steyn’s position, spiced with ad hominems about people you don’t like.

          There is a reason why ad hominems are, and have long been, considered to be fallacies. See if you can guess what that reason is.

          (If you can’t, don’t feel too bad. Far too many people nowadays have any clue even about what the long-established rules of logic and rhetoric actually are – let alone why they are important.)

          • WalterSEllis

            Well done. A perfect example of a passive-aggressive ad hominem attack … though, mind you, the idea that such attacks (in the active) are “fallacies” makes no sense. I think you mean that I should attack the idea, not the man – in which case why all the personal attacks by UKIP on Cameron, Miliband and Clegg? Or don’t you agree with these?

            Steyn is wrong on almost everything. He would disagree (vigorously), but that wouldn’t make him right. The Muslim population of Europe will not become dominant between now and 2050. It will grow, but not by more than five-to-ten million. Even if it tripled in size, it wouldn’t exceed 75 million, which (even allowing for general demographic decline) would be 450 million, or more, short of a majority. But what about the invasion of Iraq? Was Steyn right about that? Was he right about Bush and Blair? Was he right about the dollar, which he said was two months ago was heading down the toliet? Is he right to think that Israel is not half tough enough in its dealings with the Palestinians? Is he right to associate himself closely with the cartoon Right, including Beck, who wants whites to retreat to the laager (“libertarian communes”)? Is he right to say (as he did recently) that Bill Clinton, aged 68, has mistresses installed in luxury love-nests across the world, including Ireland? Or is he confusing the former President with Italy’s Berlusconi (“our bastard … a rascal with an eye for the ladies”)?

            Is he not, in fact, mad? Consider this. He believes in free speech. Well, of course he does. Most of us do. If there wasn’t free speech, he’d be locked up.

            Forget the dictionary. Stick to the facts. We all want to see something done about Islamism. We all want to see some sanity emerge on immigration. Most of us want to see the EU reformed. But we’re not all cracked as cups.

          • WFC

            Actually they are considered fallacies for the very obvious reason that they are wholly irrelevant.

            That Wagner was an anti-Semite is wholly irrelevant to the question “is his music good”. You may like it, you may not, but his political leanings are wholly irrelevant to the question.

            Likewise, the question “is Steyn’s argument valid” is not (validly or rationally) answered by “I don’t like the people he hangs out with”. Such an “answer” would be as wholly irrelevant to the question as would the answer “wibble” be.

            The way in which you answer that question (if you wish to disagree) is “no, because his argument is flawed for the following reasons …”: which reasons should preferably be in response to specific quotes (as opposed to paraphrases) and underpinned by evidence based logical reasoning, rather than mere assertions and vulgar abuse.

            I realise that my pointing this out to you may be seen (by you) as “passive aggression”, but you really should be directing your anger at the teachers who ought to have been teaching you this stuff at school.

          • WalterSEllis

            I was going to make some points that you would have no doubt found “fallacious” and “”wholly irrelevant”. Instead, I’m ending this conversation for the benefit of all concerned. Goodbye.

    • prospero’s child

      “I hope I may be allowed to post an alternative point of view on this.”

      No one reading here will want to stop you.
      They may regard your contribution as having no merit, but that’s different.
      So post away.

    • WFB56

      Wrong about protecting free speech? Wrong about the threat of Islam to Christians? Wrong about the failings of Obama? Wrong about the the demographic time bomb in most Western countries? Wrong about the absurdity of “man-made” climate change?
      I think that I know who’s on the wrong side of all of these issues and its not Steyn.

    • mohdanga

      Steyn is about freedom of speech and thought, against the scourge of political correctness that has run amok in the West and will destroy us, against massive Muslim immigration, argues for the protection of existing Western culture and its institutions that have given us the highest standard of living and freedom in history, against multiculturalism, the global warming scam, etc, etc. How is this ‘unfair’ and ‘scary’??

  • THOMAS MEEHAN

    Steyn’s movie reviews were very funny back when he was writing them for the Spectator a while back.

    Since them he has been surfing along on the Neoconservative wave over in my country. As noted below, he get’s a lot of milage out of his “let’s you and him fight,” routine regarding muslims and true USA. My only quibble is that neither he nor any of his neocon patrons will be sending any of kids off to fight the wars he pimps for.

    Of course we need to distance ourselves from Islam and all the incompatibilities that come with it. But his unseemly agent provocateur act would be more laudable if it were not so closely tied to his neocon patron’s game plan.

    • mohdanga

      When does he ‘pimp for war’?? He constantly makes the point that the US, with the world’s largest, most sophisticated and powerful military, fails to use this to advantage and instead tries to win ‘hearts and minds’ instead of killing the enemy. It is an institution that panders to political correctness and ‘diversity’ instead of protecting the country. Not sure how calling the military to do what it is supposed to is ‘pimping’.

      • THOMAS MEEHAN

        Calling for my county’s military to ramp up the killing in wars Steyn and his neocon confederates tricked us into fighting is pimping of a high order. Steyn is or was a Canadia, just like Krauthamer, Frum, and a number of other neocon’s anxious for my country to engage in wars to benefit Israel. He is a creature of Lord Black. What more do you need to know?

        • mohdanga

          Koolaid alert!! So Mark Steyn sets foreign policy for the US, controls the Pentagon and has the ability to ‘trick’ the US congress and president into declaring war on behalf of Israel? Hilarious.

          • THOMAS MEEHAN

            Hasbarat alert in your case. You know very well who the neocon’s are and their affiliation. And of course no one said he controls anything. Is english your second language?

          • mohdanga

            “…Steyn and his neocon confederates tricked us into fighting…”
            “…no one said he controls anything.”
            So Steyn and his neocon confederates are powerful enough to trick the US into fighting but…..he doesn’t control anything. Carry on.

          • THOMAS MEEHAN

            OK Shlomo I’ll make this simple. Steyn owes his career to Neosonsevatives like black. The Neo’s front for that little middle eastern gangster state you are probably typing from right now. Neocon’s in Government and the press did, and continue to press for war between my country and Israel’s real or perceived enemies.

            If you truly don’t believe that the neoconservative movement exists and has power, you are a hopeless moron.

          • mohdanga

            You are the moron. Implying that the US gov’t and press are in the grip of Mark Steyn and Conrad Black who are in turn controlled (of course) by the mysterious cabal which controls Israel is laughable. Did they control the NY Times which supported the Iraq War? How about every Democrat congressman that voted for it? Now back to your sandbox.

          • THOMAS MEEHAN

            I hope you are getting paid enough for your on-line service to your tribe. BTW, what’s your real name and location?

          • investigator

            Well said

  • Rush_is_Right

    Hard to believe that the great Mark Steyn used to write for this very paper. What happened? He used to be the best thing in it.

    • Baron

      That’s the reason he got kicked out, Rush, he was the best in it.

      • Rush_is_Right

        Funny, I made exactly that same point in my letter to Mr d’Ancona, the then editor. The letter in which I cancelled my subscription.

  • http://www.ukipforbritain.co.uk/ ukipforbritainwebsite

    I wish it were otherwise, but the fact is – Steyn is right on Islam.

  • jeffersonian

    “A world that becomes more Muslim becomes less everything else. First it’s Jews, already abandoning France. Then it’s homosexuals, already under siege from gay-bashing in Amsterdam, ‘the most tolerant city in Europe’. Then it’s uncovered women, targetted for rape in Oslo. And if you don’t any longer have any Jews or (officially) any gays or (increasingly) uncovered women, there are always just Christians in general, from Nigeria to Egypt to Pakistan. More space for Islam means less space for everything else, and in the end for you.”

    Amen.

  • john

    Years ago Stein was mildly interesting but then he became a full time Right Wing B/S artist (standing in for the intellectual Rush Limbaugh). This is a safe, well paid gig requiring no ability other than the willingness to repeat the same angry slogans several times everyday for an aging, resentful audience. He is a real pain.

    • mohdanga

      As opposed to the brilliant wits at the NY Times.

      • john

        Yes, I’m sure that’s right. However, my point was just that Stein has become tedious just echoing the “everything Obama does is wrong” mantra of turgid right wing radio.

        • mohdanga

          Umm, I think he’s a bit more involved than that.

          • john

            Not really. I used to read him in the English Sundays but can’t listen to him these days as its annoying hearing the same old tiresome tune everytime.

        • Baron

          But, john, Steyn’s right, everything the narcissistic, second rate golf player does IS wrong.

          • john

            Obviously you’re his target audience.

    • Baron

      Is it pure envy or inbred imbecility that speaks here, john?

      • john

        Don’t understand your comment. Whose inbred imbecility?

        • Baron

          It’s imbecility then, thanks, john.

  • will91

    After America and America Alone are both essential reading.

    He has so many brilliant retorts too. When discussing how veiled women were allowed to drive in New Zealand: “If your clothing can’t evolve from the camel train era then perhaps your mode of transportation shouldn’t”

  • Malcolm Stevas

    I’ve long been a fan of Steyn and I echo others’ wishes for his work to appear in this organ once more. I haven’t read this review since all too typically Burchill’s opening words were about herself rather than the subject, and she presumes to compare herself with him. Not a chance, luv: he’s better than you, and far more widely known.

  • CortexUK

    “For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure, Mark Steyn is sort of a hairy, successful version of me”

    Still so self-obsessed you can’t start an article which is not about you without referring to yourself in the first sentence. But I digress.

    No, Julia, Mark is nothing like you. He is much more clever, cerebral, funny, and most of all, right. Dream on.

  • Baron

    Excellent review, Julie, from top to bottom, and thanks be to whoever had the courage to commission it.

  • Alexandros HoMegas

    Hitler should have killed all jews, Shytsrael is causing all wars in the Middle-East with the help of the KIKE RATS in America.

  • LarryInIowa

    His dealings with the Anthropogenic Global Warming cultists have been a delight to watch. I almost feel sorry for them.

  • Iain Cook

    Julie- “(does that mean socialism, which seeks to make the poor richer, is bad?)” Socialism doesn’t seek to make the poor richer, it seeks to make the rich poorer. This is an entirely different objective and why it has failed miserably in every jurisdiction at the cost of tens of millions of lives. Capitalism ACTUALLY makes the poor (and everyone else) richer, as a consequence of how it works. Socialism ACTUALLY makes everyone poorer, as a consequence of how it works. Ask China, which has tried both since 1949 (60 million crushed under the jackboot on the Socialist ledger there), which they prefer. (apologies if your comment was meant to be ironic)

  • Watch out now!

    Gotta love Mark Steyn.:)))

  • londondave

    Steyn is, I believe, still a Canadian, living in Vermont…

    (though he might have taken citizenship)

    …Mistaken for a Brit by the cousins.

    He is also, a complete hoot – especially when he acts as the sinister Undocumented Guest Host on Rush Limbaugh.

  • Gregorio Basra

    SteynOnline.com if you want a daily dose of the hairy one.

  • PierrePendre

    Steyn is well known to earlier Spectator readers and also to former readers of the Daily Telegraph (are there any left?). He was defenestrated by both for “not being one of us” which roughly translated means he mocked everything the bien-pensanterie hold most sacred and eventually it all became beyond bearing. It always does. I believe Steyn has been sacked, or at least fallen out with terminally, with everyone who’s every employed him.

    I don’t believe Steyn is a lone voice in the wilderness when it comes to the threat from Islam. He’s the voice of the mainstream. It’s the so-called élites who control access to the media, the police , the judiciary and political power who are out of step with the majority of the country. But you all know all of that.

    Meanwhile, thank God for Steyn who keeps the flame of reason flickering and uses it like a blow torch.

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