The post reminded me of Sudan. For a long time, just about the only people who cared about slavery there were American evangelicals. That may still be the case — I’m a little out of touch. One of the things the evangelicals did was “redeem” slaves. In other words, they bought them, for the purpose of manumitting them. The Left came down on them for this.
But what was the Left doing to help these wretched individuals in Sudan? Not a damn thing, as far as I could tell.
All my life, I’ve heard Europeans talk about America as a racist place where a black man can never get ahead. Their teachers teach them to think like this, of course. So do the Americans they meet, I suspect. But how often do you see a black person in a European government? Like never?
I was interested to learn that Italy now has its first black minister — government minister. She is Cécile Kyenge, born in the Congo. She will be minister of integration. Glad to hear!
Every once in a while, I’ll say that a certain news story is the most interesting I’ve read all year. Here is the latest. It’s about a nonagenarian, Margot Woelk, who worked as a food-taster for Hitler. The things that people experience, or endure. The lives they lead. You will want to take time for this story, although some of it is hard to bear.
You will want to read this too: Matthew Kaminski’s profile of Donald Kagan in the Wall Street Journal. Kagan is the great classicist at Yale who is retiring after an exemplary career. My ears pricked up at this — well, at the whole article, but at this in particular:
With the end of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the U.S. is slashing defense again. “We do it every time,” Mr. Kagan says. “Failing to understand the most elementary childish fact, which is: If you don’t want trouble with somebody else, be sure he has something to be afraid of.”
I have been hitting this theme hard this year — harder than ever, I think, although it’s a lifelong theme. In January, I wrote for National Review a piece called “Defense Is Different: A lesson learned, unlearned, relearned, painfully.” Try it here.
I know what you’re begging for — just begging for: Detroit Tiger trivia. Okay, I’ll give it to you.
On Friday night, the pitcher Anibal Sanchez struck out 17 — 17 Atlanta Braves. That’s a Tiger record, breaking the previous one of 16, held by my boyhood hero, Mickey Lolich.
I don’t care that “Anibal” sounds ever so slightly like a girl’s name. I don’t care that he’s breaking my man’s records. All I care about is that the Tigers win. Go get ’em, Anibal.
(By the way, if we’re doing proper accents, it’s Aníbal Sánchez.)
Speaking of Detroit legends: I saw a statue of Doak Walker, down at Southern Methodist University. The late Walker is an SMU hero, a football hero: winner of the Heisman Trophy and all. He is also a Detroit hero, a Detroit Lion.
In fact, I don’t think we’ve won anything since Doak and the boys left the scene. (That would be in the 1950s.) As I believe I remarked in a recent Impromptus, the Lions are probably the worst franchise in the history of the NFL.
So there I was, looking at the SMU football stadium. Why is it named after President Ford? I didn’t know Ford had anything to do with SMU (he was a Michigander, like me).
I took a closer look: The stadium is named after Gerald J. Ford, not Gerald R. Ford. They’re important, those middle initials.
Why was I in Dallas, at SMU? I was attending the dedication ceremony of the George W. Bush Presidential Center. As you know, five U.S. presidents were there: the incumbent plus the four living former ones. I’ll have a piece on this in the next NR.
Thanks so much for joining me for this quirky column, and I’ll talk to you soon.
To order Jay Nordlinger’s book Peace, They Say: A History of the Nobel Peace Prize, the Most Famous and Controversial Prize in the World, go here. To order his collection Here, There & Everywhere, go here.