Back during the cold war, there was a joke about the New York Times that I believe antedated the coining of the term “political correctness.” A U.S.-Soviet exchange of nuclear missiles occurs and the next morning’s Times headline reads:
“Third World War Breaks Out: Minorities and Women to Suffer Most.”
As if determined not to allow parody to outdo self-parody, the Times on Sunday (April 1, appropriately) ran this headline: “Poorest Nations Will Bear Brunt as World Warms.” For my part, I would settle for being able to rely on the accuracy of the paper’s version of yesterday’s events, never mind tomorrow’s.
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Besides, isn’t warmth good for poor people whose utility bills are often onerous and who, in less developed countries, burn a lot of stuff for heat, producing smoke that creates, ah, global warming? Apparently, I have this all wrong, because on Monday, the Washington Post ran this headline: “Russia Sees Ill Effects of ‘General Winter’s’ Retreat.” That’s right. Russia will be worse off if it gets warmer. After all, if Napoleon tries to occupy the country again, there will be nothing to stop him (except that French troops seem to have lost some of their fearsomeness since his day). Plus, there will be no more excuse for vodka with breakfast (except, perhaps, that your president is Putin).
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I am in receipt of an invitation from the president of the famous Oxford Union, asking if I would come to that apex of British scholarship to debate the motion: “This house regrets the founding of the United States of America.” Well, duh! We won that war. You lost. Of course you regret it.
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Also in Monday’s Washington Post Robert Novak touts the presidential candidacy of Fred Thompson. Novak writes: “Sophisticated social conservative activists tell me . . . their appreciation of him stems not from his eight years as a U.S. senator from Tennessee but from his role as Manhattan district attorney on the TV series ‘Law and Order.’” Who are the unsophisticated activists supporting—Barney?