R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr.

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Last weekend, while visiting the New Jersey shore, I heard an astonishing number of vacationing Americans -- all well-intentioned, to be sure -- greet their fellow vacationers with a cheerful "have a happy Memorial Day." That cannot be right. The more I think about it, that greeting sounds as misguided as saying "have a happy Good Friday" on that solemn day. 


While contemplating the Democrats' agitated preoccupation with the allegations of Russia's intrusion into our 2016 presidential election, many thoughts occur. However, the salient thought for me, engendered by our Democratic friends' anti-Russian rhetoric, is that many years ago during the early stages of the Cold War, The John Birch Society tried to warn us. It was raising the alarm as the Democrats are today. How did we greet them? What did the Birchers get for raising the specter of Russian imperialism and world domination?

 


WASHINGTON — Well, she did not show up. I am talking about Ann Coulter, the svelte conservative firebrand who was invited to speak at the University of California, Berkeley, and, inadvertently, to show the assembled coeds how a stylish blond dresses. But then, she was disinvited. Hold on -- she was, of a sudden, re-invited but only under certain university conditions. 


WASHINGTON — We call it Kultursmog, "it" being that collection of attitudes, ideas, tastes and personages that are polluted by the politics of the left and predominate on both coasts. And who are we? We are the freethinkers who are immune to the Kultursmog by virtue of our natural skepticism and reliance on empiricism, which is to say, reliance on evidence. 


WASHINGTON — There is hope! I am speaking of the envisioned memorial of Dwight D. Eisenhower here in Washington, D.C. Admittedly, its design by the crank architect, Frank Gehry, has been pretty much accepted by the memorial commission, and the chairman of the House committee that has control of the funding, Ken Calvert, seems to be going along.


It looks like former President Obama's national security adviser Susan Rice will get a reprieve. With all the hullabaloo from President Donald Trump's military action last week in Syria's ... do we call it Syria's civil war or a massacre? ... it now appears that Rice's mishandling of surveillance is going to subside from the headlines temporarily. 


WASHINGTON — Have you been keeping up with the news from Washington, D.C.? If you have, doubtless you know that there are congressional investigations of Russian interference with our recent presidential election. It's possible you even suspect that agents of the diabolical Donald Trump were in contact with those dastardly Russians. Oh, yes, and there was something in the news about Russian bankers talking with Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law, a real estate developer who now sits in an office right down the hall from Trump and can pop in at anytime.

 


WASHINGTON — The trials of Judge Neil M. Gorsuch before the Senate Judiciary Committee, as he is almost certainly en route to his place on the Supreme Court, reveal one of my favorite findings regarding modern politics, to wit: The Democrats are the extremists; the Republicans are mainstream. The Democrats are the ideologues; the Republicans usually base their policies and political judgments on philosophy.


What are more important to the health of an intellectual movement: writers and academics, or investors and philanthropists? That thought occurred to me when I was informed of the death of Chuck Brunie, the former longtime chairman of the board of the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research and chairman emeritus of The American Spectator. Of course, an intellectual movement needs brains, but it also needs money -- prudently spent money.

 


WASHINGTON — I was wondering when it would happen. For over 30 years, I have been anxiously awaiting the backlash. What backlash have I been awaiting, you ask? Why, the backlash to the most self-important, morally superior, narcissistic generation to cast a shadow across this republic in its history: the baby-boom generation. Had the generation just been designated "the babies" and left at that, America would have been on the right track.


WASHINGTON — The average American is understandably perplexed as to why Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and, of course, the runner up in last year's Democrat primaries, Sen. Bernie Saunders, are so lathered up over the Republicans' recent overtures to the Russians. They are calling for the impeachment of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.


WASHINGTON — As I find myself happily on the far side of middle age, I had assumed that I was now exempt from at least some of the cultural battles roaring through American society. How wrong I was. I recently found myself, despite my utter insouciance toward gender politics, suddenly hauled onto the battlefield, notwithstanding I am a full-bodied adult male somewhat advanced in years. Let me explain.


WASHINGTON — “Not since Lincoln has there been a president as fundamentally shaped — in his life, convictions and outlook on the world -- by reading and writing as Barack Obama," said Michiko Kakutani, the literary critic of the famed New York Times. Did you know this? Frankly, I did not know President Obama was so wedded to books and the printed word as to be compared to President Abraham Lincoln, author of the Gettysburg Address and the magisterial second inaugural address and devotee of Shakespeare. 


WASHINGTON — For me the football season begins in mid-December (when everyone becomes serious) and ends at the Super Bowl (when everyone becomes deathly serious). This year it ended with the longest Super Bowl in history. Though I am the epitome of punctuality, I let the season go into the first overtime in Super Bowl history without turning off the television, so I could see whether President Donald Trump's prediction would be vindicated. 


WASHINGTON — This is supposedly the week of multitudinous demonstrations in Washington, D.C. The hordes are getting more media attention than the hundreds of thousands of President-elect Donald Trump supporters who are also coming into town. Whether the demonstrations will be as multitudinous as anticipated by the media, I cannot say. Certainly, they are getting plenty of publicity already, though their actual numbers as of Tuesday night are disappointing.


WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama will leave office after eight years of strutting even while sitting down, preening even while standing up, swanking while playing 18 holes. Yet he remains the first president in American history to cast no shadow. President Jimmy Carter cast a pale and minuscule shadow. President Lyndon Johnson cast an obscene shadow. But Obama leaves absolutely no shadow, even in the moonlight.

 


WASHINGTON — Around Thanksgiving time, I noticed portents of this Christmas season being different. I noticed it when people unbidden would wish me Happy Thanksgiving. There seemed to be a note of exultance in their greeting. Not everyone would say "Happy Thanksgiving," but enough did that it got me to wondering. Was this Thanksgiving different, and if so, would this Christmas be any different?


WASHINGTON — Recently, a voice of the conservative media did what he is supposed to do, to wit, tell the rest of the story. The mainstream media only tells America part of the story. They tell us how they perceive the world and leave it at that. This is why so much of recent American journalism — and indeed, history — is so unsatisfactory to sentient observers. Journalism and history are told exclusively from the left's point of view, and those of us who do not share the left's point of view get the feeling that something is missing.

 


WASHINGTON — Over the weekend some pathetic wretch — obviously a casualty of the Nov. 8 election — writing under the pen name Paul Farhi filed a column in the Washington Post lamenting that after an extensive search of the newspapers of this great country, he could hardly find any pro-Trump columnists. 


WASHINGTON — When I heard that Bob Dylan had received the Nobel Prize for literature, I was mildly surprised. He writes music -- popular music. As did George Gershwin and Irving Berlin, both of whom almost certainly wrote better music. I have nothing against Dylan's music, except that it was written by a scruffy young man who has remained a scruffy young man all his life. At least that is an achievement.