Those of you of a certain age may remember the cheesy TV show Osmond siblings Donny and Marie used to have back in the late 70s. One of their recurring shticks alluded to their supposedly incompatible musical styles: she was "a little bit country"; he, on the other hand, was "a little bit rock and roll." Thus, she would warble ghastly faux-C&W ballads like "Paper Roses" while he would essay, say, a Jackson 5 tune.
The only reason I bring this up is because last night I caught Mark Steyn in conversation with Heather Reisman at Heather's Manulife Centre book store location. And, well, let's just say that à la Donny and Marie, their preferences weren't exactly in synch. For while Heather was a little bit--and sometimes a lot--left of center, Mark was shake, rattle and rolling on the opposite end of the political spectrum. And because the crowd was there to see and hear him, not her, his stylings were greeted with hoots and whoops and warm applause, while hers...not so much.
One rather felt sorry for her. Not only because this was sooo not her crowd, but because, to put it charitably, she wasn't as nearly up to speed on a number of subjects as most of the people in the room were. Then again, they--we--were die-hard Steyn readers, while she strikes one as someone who dips a toe or two into his works, but never fully dives in. A case in point: she opened the proceedings by asking Mark to read an excerpt from a piece about the funny names of authors of books featuring Christmas projects, a piece she said made her "laugh out loud." And, yes, it was amusing, in that trademark Steynian way. At the same time, however, one could see that this was the sort of Steyn column that most appealed to her--light, comical and devoid of anything un-PC, or, indeed, anything political at all. For me--and for many of the Steyn fans I know--that is a mere appetizer. A tasty but insubstantial hors d'oeuvres. What we want is the meatier fare--the Charlie Hebdo/free speech stuff, the "Allahu Akbar!" antics, the Toronto public school mosqueteria--right from the get-go. Oh, sure, Heather got around to those subjects--eventually. But when she did, well, let's just say that it seemed as though she was trying to get up to speed on subjects which the audience had long since mastered. An example of what I mean. Anyone who has followed Steyn for any length of time would surely have come across his observation that a society that tolerates the intolerable (specifically, practices such as honour killings, FGM, the subjugation of women, etc., which are antithetical to our Western values) is signing its own death sentence. For Ms. Reisman, however, it came across as something utterly new. So much so that she made him repeat it, so she could take it in s-l-o-w-l-y.
Anyway, my friend Laura Rosen Cohen took extensive notes on her computer throughout the "you say eether/I say eyether" (you say the Second Amendment rocks/I say guns are bad for people and other living things) chat. (I was feeling lazy, and merely listened.) She promises to post her thoughts later today. In the meantime, here's the photo she took:
Update: LRC's post is up.
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