Just listened to this week’s Steyn Audio Show, a weekly feature of his site in which Mark entertains questions and thoughts from members of the Mark Steyn Club. (Anyone can listen; only club members can submit topics for conversation.) As usual, it’s a fascinating romp through a smart and witty man’s mind, together with the perspective offered in his regular “100 Years Ago” segment. I find Mark an entertaining and instructive companion on my rounds (which–this morning–consisted of putting the first coat of finish paint on the bathroom and mudroom ceilings) although I have to say that I’ve noticed a change in him over the past several months.
He’s no longer appearing on, or guest hosting for, Tucker Carlson or Sean Hannity. He’s no longer called upon to guest host for the late Rush Limbaugh. He does do a segment every Tuesday on James Golden’s (AKA Bo Snerdley) radio program on 77 WABC, a link to which Steyn subsequently posts on his website. Other than that last, he seems to have abandoned American media altogether in favor of a televised hour-long show, Monday to Thursday evenings, on GBNews. (He also posts links to the previous night’s show on his website, or you can listen to them live via the GBNews app, or on the YouTube live feed.
Although Steyn takes his usual omnivorous approach to subject matter (he just came back from a week of talking to ordinary people, and a few local politicians, in Ukraine) the show, naturally, has a UK slant. Still, I listen and am entertained.
He reserves most of his bombast on the matter of the United States for the weekly Audio Show, and he’s taking no prisoners. He appears very fed up with run-of-the-mill talk radio and its management, and most of the talking heads on TV, calling out–this week alone, Cumulus Radio, Levin, Beck, and Hannity. He’s taken swipes in the past at “sports-centric” talk radio, and perhaps he’s not terribly impressed with the show that’s succeeded Rush’s. And he’s really disenchanted with “Conservative Inc.”
Today’s show included a masterful deconstruction of the follow-along to the end of the Cold War and the falling of the Berlin Wall, and why it is that the West, having won the ideological war, failed to capitalize on the moment and has been, ever since, losing the peace. It starts about 21:54 before the end of the program, the whole thing of which is worth listening to.
In the words often attributed to Steyn himself:
The future belongs to those who show up.
While I don’t agree with everything Mark Steyn says, and I know that when he starts his free-form association, he can sometimes go a bit over the top (just as–when he does that, he can sometimes come up with unique and penetrating insights), no one in his right mind would accuse Steyn of not showing up. He’s almost too present, and almost too prescient.
Long may he continue as a thorn in the establishment’s side.
PS: I became a fan of Mark’s through reading his Ave Atque Vale series of obituaries in various magazines. He’s a magnificent eulogist, and the best of them have been collected into Mark Steyn’s Passing Parade. I became doubly a fan when Mark saw my father’s obituary in the Telegraph, and commented on it in National Review as follows:
Here’s a practical solution to big government, courtesy of the Daily Telegraph obits column:
‘”[David Muffett] spent 16 years in the colonial service in northern Nigeria, where he claimed to have been one of only two Britons whose name passed into the native Hausa language: “Aka yi masa mafed” (literally “One did to him Muffett”), meaning “Justice caught up with him”…
In 1960 he apprehended the Tigwe of Vwuip, a northern Nigerian tribal chief who had eaten the local tax collector. The Tigwe had apparently been so impressed by the man’s ability to acquire money on demand that he had — understandably — decided to try to assimilate his powers.
The Tigwe was, alas, prevented from extending his appetites to international dishes:
What really worried [Muffett] was the fact that a UN delegation was due to visit the area, and “I wasn’t about to have one of them eaten. I considered that it would be a highly retrogressive step.”’