Archive for July 17th, 2007

Open Smiles, Friendly Shores, Muslim Hordes

Johann Hari has a funny and disturbing piece about a cruise he went on for National Review readers, in the company of prominent ‘neocons’, including the barking mad Norman Podhoretz, the orientalist ancient Bernard Lewis, the comparatively sane William F. Buckley (who isn’t a neocon at all), and Mark Steyn, ‘a pimp inexplicably hanging out with the apostles of colostomy conservatism’.

Some of the best material, however, comes from the anonymous crazies who signed up for the event:

To my left, I find a middle-aged Floridian with a neat beard. To my right are two elderly New Yorkers who look and sound like late-era Dorothy Parkers, minus the alcohol poisoning. They live on Park Avenue, they explain in precise Northern tones. “You must live near the UN building,” the Floridian says to one of the New York ladies after the entree is served. Yes, she responds, shaking her head wearily. “They should suicide-bomb that place,” he says. They all chuckle gently. How did that happen? How do you go from sweet to suicide-bomb in six seconds?

The conversation ebbs back to friendly chit-chat. So, you’re a European, one of the Park Avenue ladies says, before offering witty commentaries on the cities she’s visited. Her companion adds, “I went to Paris, and it was so lovely.” Her face darkens: “But then you think – it’s surrounded by Muslims.” The first lady nods: “They’re out there, and they’re coming.” Emboldened, the bearded Floridian wags a finger and says, “Down the line, we’re not going to bail out the French again.” He mimes picking up a phone and shouts into it, “I can’t hear you, Jacques! What’s that? The Muslims are doing what to you? I can’t hear you!”

I wouldn’t say I’ve been a fan of Johann Hari up to now, but this piece is excellent.

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