If any of you sees Graydon Carter, the editor of Vanity Fair, walking around with a begging bowl in his hand, it’s because he took me to dinner recently. I sort of went a bit nuts with the wine and the VF chief ended up with the bill. We went to a new Bagel restaurant, Chevalier, a futuristic marvel with great food and wine and even grander prices. New York is no longer elegant, and there are no longer society types dressed to the nines sitting on the banquettes and downing Manhattans.
The Jewish ascendancy that downed the Wasps was as elegant as the one it replaced. William Paley, John Loeb and others like them dressed at Anderson & Sheppard, were shod by John Lobb, and had their shirts made by Sulka. They had exquisite manners and aped their predecessors. Now it’s slob time, and men dress the way I used to when I left the locker room for the playing field: sweatpants, a hoodie and trainers. But on the night I went to Chevalier, there were at least five tables with suited men and women that didn’t have ‘tart’ etched on their forehead. In order to celebrate, I got drunk and Graydon paid for the damage.
The strange thing about the Big Bagel in particular, and America in general, is that political discussion is a thing of the past. Anyone who disagrees with, say, the New York Times way of thinking is a bigot and a racist — no ifs or buts about it. Engaging civilly with those you disagree with, recognising their equality as citizens, has gone the way of high-button shoes and ladies with fans — not to mention standing up when a lady enters the room. This denies the superiority of reasoned argument over a punch in the face.
Liberalism’s father John Locke held that exercising reason was the highest perfection a man can attain in his life. John Stuart Mill ditto. But is it reasonable to maintain that any criticism of black violence is racist and that it leads to lynching à la 18th-century South? Is it reasonable to refer to police officers as practising genocide and being worse than Hitler? And does it make sense that a hotelier by the name of Ian Reisner, who lives with his male partner and is proudly gay, gives a dinner for the Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz — who opposes gay marriage — and is then forced to eat humble pie, apologise and beg forgiveness when the gay lobby hears about it and threatens a boycott of all his hotel properties?
The only thing the left tolerates nowadays is complete agreement, and woe to those who dare disagree. Speech codes and kangaroo courts were a Nazi and Soviet speciality, but they’re alive and well here in the Big Bagel. The suppression of ideas that make people uncomfortable, such as young black unmarried women having numerous children who grow up in tough neighbourhoods and turn to crime as early as 12 years of age, or the instability of gay marriage, is no longer a top-down process. It is now bottom-up. In other words, elementary-school children now register their complaints and demand punishment for any offender. It’s like a 14-year-old coming up to me and telling me my ideas are unacceptable while holding up a copy of The Spectator drenched in excrement.
Public shaming is now the goût du jour, but thank God the dear old Speccie does not sell too many copies among inner-city black and Hispanic children. (Not that it would make much difference.) Here’s another example of liberal intolerance: during the making of The Ridiculous Six, a spoof of The Magnificent Seven, a number of Native Americans — dare I call them Red Indians? — walked off the set claiming the film’s content was offensive. A dozen actors walked out because one had a role called No Bra, while another was asked to urinate while smoking a peace pipe. Jesus H. Christ, if Catholics, or Christians in general, walked off sets because they were offended by anti-Christian jibes in movies, there would be only football on the screen, or reality shows.
The liberals booed when ‘Piss Christ’ was panned by the Catholic League 20 years ago, but a Native American is offended when asked to piss while smoking a pipe on the set of a spoof movie. And there’s more good news: whites are no longer having children in the Bagel, but Asians are, as are foreign-born moms. Three quarters of Hispanic and black mothers are on welfare, and two thirds of them are unwed. The only whites making whoopee are Orthodox Jews, who lead all races and creeds producing 28 babies each year per 1,000 residents in their Borough Park enclave. It makes one want to invest long term in New York City.
Mind you, the city’s problems are nothing compared with those of Britain. Just imagine a presidential candidate going to the house of an ass-wipe like Russell Brand and, well, ass-wiping him à la Ed Miliband. If I were a Brit, I’d move to Kosovo if and when the ghastly Ed becomes prime minister. Hanging out with a bunch of coke-dealing Kosovars must be a far more enriching experience than watching the gruesome Ed visiting the Queen. Poor Queen. Poor Britain.
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