July 2nd, 2022


Return to Towel Mountain

Mark Steyn

By Mark Steyn

Published April 20, 2015

 Return to Towel Mountain Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop meets Supreme Fashion Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. Note high heels and semi-topless heads

It's not all Hillary's lousy tipping and imaginary immigrant grandparents. Before the week fades, here's a couple of other news stories worth noting:

~One of the differences between the left and the right is that the right is forever looking for another towel to throw in. The left doesn't do this: They push on till they win. That's one of the reasons why, with rare exceptions, two-party systems boil down to activist left-of-center governments alternating with placeholder right-of-center governments - and why all the adrenalin rush of Tuesday-night GOP landslides in November shrivels to the cold grey morning after of bipartisan rubber-stamping for money-no-object thousand-page bills come January. For example, consider this week's Washington Post column by Jonathan H Adler:

What Does It Take To Convince Libertarians And Conservatives That Climate Change Is A Problem?

Mr Adler is a conservative and a lawyer and a former colleague of mine who has written about Big Climate enforcer Michael E Mann's ongoing defamation suit against me - sometimes helpfully, sometimes in that faintly irritating way that American legal types have of explaining how your case raises many fascinating and arcane jurisprudential issues that make consuming a decade of your life over it a small price to pay.

But never mind all that, he says bitterly. Look at it this way. How often do you see mainstream newspaper headlines like that the other way round? "What does it take to convince liberals and socialists that Islamic terrorism is a problem? ...that a $20 trillion national debt is a problem? ...that partial-birth abortion is a problem?" The left has the program, and the right is constantly enjoined to get with it. So here's Jonah Goldberg, whose column appears on JWR, thinking it's somehow brave and challenging to ask his friends to be man enough to read Mr Adler's rather flaccid piece demanding conservatives sign on to the usual climate-change boilerplate. One reason why Republicans are such losers (and yes, sometimes they "win", but nothing changes) is because they wind up playing the game to the other side's rules - letting the left frame every issue. Why does Jonah think it's so brave to ask his friends to throw in another towel? You can hardly get in the ring at all for the mountain of towels the right's tossed in there.

I was thinking that when we eventually get into court, if the litigious Michael E Mann were really savvy, he'd call Messrs Adler and Goldberg as expert witnesses, and say, "See, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, Steyn's position is so fringey and weirdo that even at National Review the sensible, prudent types agree that 'climate change is a problem'..."

But, of course, Mann's such an insecure dweeb that, instead of calling his Big Tobacco white-shoe legal team and saying "Let's put these guys on the witness list", he gets all snippy about Mr Adler's ever so mild dissent from the climate party line - a reference to "contested studies, such as Michael Mann's infamous 'Hockey Stick'". Mann huffs:

Otherwise good piece by J. Adler ...wrongly refers to #HockeyStick as 'contested'.

God Almighty. Even Mann's own legal briefs allow that his hockey stick has been "contested" - so "contested" indeed that it's required no fewer than "eight investigations" to (non-)"exonerate" it. Everyone other than Mann and his media mini-mes thinks that his hockey stick is "very sloppy" (Professor Tom Wigley), "worthless" (Professor Barry Cooke), "discredited" (Professor Frederick Seitz), "totally discredited" (Professor Peter Stilbs), "rubbish" (Professor Curt Covey), "obvious drivel" (Professor Jonathan Jones), "nothing to do with reality" (Professor William Happer), "fraud" (Professor Ian Plimer), "scientific fraud" (Professor Luboš Motl) and "simple, straightforward fraud" (Professor Jerome Ravetz). But Mann flies into a big queeny tizz if you so much as raise the possibility that his stick has been "contested". That's one reason he'll lose in court.

~Australia's Julie Bishop is my favorite foreign minister since the glory days of her predecessor Alexander Downer (now Oz's High Commissioner in London). Nevertheless, ahead of her trip to Iran, the human-rights campaigner Masih Alinejad called on the minister not to wear a headscarf. Ms Alinejad is the lady behind "My Stealthy Freedom", through which brave Muslim women share pictures of themselves "uncovered" - which in Iran risks the lash and imprisonment. In the event, Julie Bishop chose to dress for her meeting with the "Supreme Leader" (as Obama and Kerry call him) as in the picture above. You'll note she's in high heels and actually showing quite a bit of hair. Her scarf is a kind of topless swimsuit of headscarves. Nonetheless, it is a scarf...

I prefer Julie dressed as she was when she introduced me on stage in Perth and gamely sat through my rendition of "Kung Fu Fighting" (I believe she's the first foreign minister ever to do so - c'mon down, John Kerry!):

As with the towel-throwing of Adler and Goldberg, so the multiculti dress-up routine only goes one way. When (inevitably) Ayatollah Khamenei shows up at Buckingham Palace or the White House, no one's going to say, hey, nix the turban and get a tux and a shave, for Pete's sake. Islam means "submission", and, when Muslim dictators oblige western leaders to change the very clothes they wear, they well understand the symbolism. One of my favorite passages in Mark Steyn's Passing Parade is my account of the fearless Oriana Fallaci tearing off her hijab and contemptuously tossing it on the floor in front of the Ayatollah Khomenei. Oddly enough, the old monster admired her spunk.

~For several years in the Bush era, the heroes of the hour, for month after month, were Valerie Plame and her husband Joseph C Wilson - after Miss Plame's CIA employment was leaked to the media. Colin Powell's gravelly-voiced but ideologically squishy deputy, a now forgotten fellow called Richard Armitage, was the chap who did it, but instead Dick Cheney's aide Scooter Libby wound up in gaol, supposedly for "lying" to Patrick Fitzgerald and his fellow investigators. I saw Fitzgerald in action in Chicago at the trial of my friend Conrad Black, and have no use for him. Libby's conviction was a grotesque miscarriage of justice.

Eight years on, Judith Miller has a new book out, and Peter Berkowitz notes the salient passage:

In "The Story: A Reporter's Journey," which hit book store shelves Tuesday, April 7, former New York Times reporter Judith Miller revealed in the final chapter that she now believes that she was induced by then-Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald to give false testimony in the 2007 trial of I. "Lewis" Scooter Libby, former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney.

Given that Fitzgerald's three-and-a-half year-long investigation and prosecution of Libby riveted the nation's capital and generated vast news coverage implying, when not outright declaring, that the Bush administration lied the nation into war, one might think that recantation of testimony by a pivotal prosecution witness would command attention and excite controversy.

But no. Cricketers chirping, as we say at karaoke night at the Ashes. Plamegate was just an upscale cocktail-party version of the Virginia "gang rape", and "hands up, don't shoot", and all the other fake leftie fairy tales. And, when they're exposed as such, all the fellows who were so hysterical over the fakery just shrug off the truth as if it's inconsequential. And the media fall silent. What will it take for lefties to... Oh, wait, like the right's towel-tossing and multiculti geopolitical haute couture, that only goes one way, too.

~Speaking of forcing Julie Bishop to sit through my version of "Kung Fu Fighting", reader Dave writes from Down Under re the song Frank Loesser wrote for the movie of Guys & Dolls:

Mark, I don't see why, in your next tour of Australia, you couldn't sing "Adelaide" to the state capital of South Australia. Of course, these days she's got a busted-arse economic situation, and her water's lousy, but hey, who hasn't been there at least once in their life?

I'm not averse to singing "Adelaide" to the people of Adelaide, and may well take you up on that. Notwithstanding its busted-arsery, I had a rather good time on my last visit.

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Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human rights activist. His latest book is "The Undocumented Mark Steyn: Don't Say You Weren't Warned". (Buy it at a 32% discount by clicking here or order in KINDLE edition at a 50% discount by clicking here. Sales help fund JWR)