The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 BlogviewJohn Derbyshire Archive
February Diary: Adam Rutherford's "Racist Myths", Basil's Namesakes, Fury vs. Wilder, Etc (12 ITEMS)
🔊 Listen RSS
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information


Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Thanks, LOL, or Troll with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used three times during any eight hour period.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments

Our dumb ruling class

In discussions of our ongoing Cold Civil War between the goodwhite Tutsi ruling class and us badwhite Hutu deplorables, it’s often observed that we understand them much better that they understand us. Of course we do: We perforce live in their mental world, while they only cast occasional disapproving glances at ours.

This came to mind when I was reading about Tutsi propagandist Adam Rutherford, who has a new book out this month. The book’s title is How to Argue With a Racist. Rutherford, a geneticist, is keen for us to know that there is No Such Thing As Race (NOSTAR). It’s all a fig newton of your imagination!

I read Steve Sailer’s February 19th review of Rutherford’s book over at Taki’s Magazine. That didn’t stir my interest sufficiently to make me want to read the book itself, but I did do some idle browsing around in related topics. Among the websites my eye fell on was one belonging to BBC Radio, promoting some talks Rutherford is giving about his book. The website lists “Five Racist Myths Well And Truly Debunked” by Dr. Rutherford.

OK, what are these racist myths that we benighted Hutus lug around in our tiny blood-starved brains, that Dr Rutherford has “well and truly debunked”?

1. The DNA of white and black people is completely different.

Say what? “Completely different” like the DNA of an elephant and a slime mold? Is there a literate human being anywhere who believes that?

2. There is such a thing as “racial purity.”

That’s a big thing with the NOSTAR crowd. We Hutus are obsessed with the notion of racial purity, they believe.

I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that there are people thus obsessed. Human beings nurse all kinds of odd obsessions. I will testify, though, that after twenty years of hanging out with fellow race-realist Hutus—reading their blogs, joining their online discussion groups, reviewing their books, attending their conferences, sometimes addressing those conferences, I can’t recall a single conversation or talk about racial purity. To the best of my awareness, it’s not a thing on the Dissident Right.

3. England is for the English.

“In truth, Britain has been steadily invaded throughout its history and has become home to migrants since it became an island around 7,500 years ago!”

So being invaded—having foreign people enter your nation in quantity and settle there, displacing those currently resident, frequently killing off their menfolk and taking their women—this is natural, inevitable, and not to be resisted? The hell you say.

4. A genealogy test can prove someone is 100 percent white.

See number 2 above.

5. Black people are better at running than white people.

Which black people? Surely not the 300-lb Momma who snarled at me across the DMV counter the other week. We race realists prefer to express statistical truths in properly statistical language, not in airy generalizations.

Derb’s restatement of Rutherford’s racist myth number 5.

At the furthest right tails of the running-ability distributions—both for sprinting and for distance running—runners of sub-Saharan black ancestry are strongly over-represented.

We have several decades-worth of statistics on this topic now, from the Olympics and other athletic competitions. Do the numbers support my restatement, or not? (Steve covers this in his review, and elsewhere.)

For a tribe that occupies all the commanding heights of our culture and civilization, goodwhite Tutsis often seem kind of dumb.

(Also illiterate. From that same BBC Radio website: “Two people from different tribes in Southern Africa will be more genetically different from each other than a Britain, a Sri Lankan and a Maori.” Uh, there are three people in that last clause, not two; and “Britain” should be “Briton.” Are there really people writing copy for the British Broadcasting Corporation who have never sung “Rule Britannia“? Of course there are!)

Martial arts

How many adult Americans can name the world heavyweight boxing champion, I wonder?

I read somewhere that in the years before World War Two the most popular spectator sports in America were boxing and horse-racing. Neither sport has much purchase on the public imagination nowadays. They exist, of course, and have their devotees, but they’re rarely newsworthy.

The February 22nd heavyweight championship fight between Briton (yes!) Tyson Fury and American Deontay Wilder got basically no coverage in my print edition of the New York Post. I had to go to the online version to read about it. It seems to have been a nice little earner for the pay-per-view companies (whose customers apparently include our President), but back in the day it would have been the sporting event of the year.

Eh, times change, I guess. My sentimental fondness for boxing aside, I’m not really much of a sports fan, anyway. Sure, throwing a ball through a hoop from twenty yards away is kind of impressive, and so is whacking a hockey puck past a guy on ice skates. For sporting spectacle, though, watching two very large guys punch each other in the head until one of them falls down, is hard to beat. In my opinion.

Gulled at the opera

I’m an opera fan. I can’t afford a Met membership, but I have friends who can, and they get tickets for dress rehearsals. These dress rehearsals take place in the midday hours when most people have to work; so my friends often can’t use their tickets, and generously gift them to me.

I’m glad to get them. A dress rehearsal is very little different from the real thing. If the conductor finds some fault, he’ll stop the show and make them do it over. This doesn’t happen much, though. Also, singers—especially older ones, who have learned caution—often don’t sing full voice at a dress rehearsal, saving their best for the full performance. On the whole, though, a dress rehearsal is nearly as good as an actual performance. And hey, the price is right.

So it was that around ten o’clock on the morning of February 3rd I was striding across the Lincoln Center plaza bearing two tickets for the dress rehearsal of Handel’s Agrippina, superstar soprano Joyce DiDonato in the title role. These tickets always come in twos, for adjacent seats, and had been gifted to me thus. I’d invited a friend to join me, but at the last minute he couldn’t make it.


Halfway across the plaza I was approached by a very sweet-looking old lady—tiny, wrinkled, silver hair, heavy Slavic accent—who begged to know if I perchance had a spare ticket for the dress rehearsal. I said I did, and was so charmed by her and by her touching desire to worship at the altar of Handel, I just gave her my spare ticket. She was effusively grateful. I continued on my way glowing with charitable righteousness.

Taking my seat, I of course expected to see the object of my charity take the seat next to me. No: It was taken by a much larger, much younger lady. I suppose—I didn’t ask—granny had sold my ticket forward for a profit.

Telling the story to my wife and son over dinner that evening, I got a mocking blast from Mrs Derbyshire, who has the Third Worlder’s scorn for rich-world gulls. My son, who is a cynic, said that my sweet little old lady was probably part of a gang run out of Moscow.

Things I want to know

Since the Chinese word for “saliva” is 口水 kou-shui, literally “mouth-water,” why isn’t the Chinese word for “snot” 鼻水 bi-shui, literally “nose-water”? Instead it is 鼻涕 bi-ti, “nose-tears.”

Finding the Mindy

It’s a complex world we live in: so complex, it has generated a whole category of situations that I think of to myself under the heading: “Find the Mindy.”

Mindy (which is not her real name: which does not in fact have a single letter in common with her real name) is a middle-aged lady who works at my local chain-store pharmacy. She knows all the innumerable loops, tangles, and anfractuosities of retail pharmaceutics.

Mrs Derbyshire was going into the village to do some shopping. I asked her to pick up a prescription I’d phoned in. I gave her a magic card that Mindy had told me about, a card identifying me as a member of something called the Janssen CarePath Savings Program. “Just show them this,” I told the Mrs. “Then it’ll only be a ten-dollar co-pay.”

She came home with no medications. “They wanted fifty dollars co-pay,” she said.

Me: “Did you show them the card?”

She: “Of course. They insisted it was fifty dollars.”

Me: “Was Mindy there?”

She: “No.”

I went down to the pharmacy to argue with them anyway. There were two young women on duty, Mindy not to be seen. “We looked you up on the computer,” one young woman told me. “It’s fifty dollars.” What about the card? “It doesn’t apply. We looked it up. Fifty dollars!” If it was ten dollars last month and ten dollars the month before, how come it’s suddenly fifty dollars? “I don’t know. That’s what the computer says.” I tried to remonstrate, but they just got snippier.

Next day I drove down there mid-morning. No Mindy. I went down again mid-afternoon. Still no Mindy. At half past four I tried again—Mindy was on duty!

I explained the situation and showed Mindy the card. She rolled her eyes and fiddled with her computers. “Yes,” she said at last, “Ten dollars is right. I’ve added a note to your record so in future they’ll know.”

Moral of the story: A great many situations in our world are too complex for middling-IQ drones working from a one-page script. To get things done properly, you have to find the Mindy—the one person who knows how the system works.

I don’t engage much nowadays with other spheres of complexity, but my guess would be that Finding the Mindy is especially necessary in healthcare.


So how is the new puppy settling in? readers want to know.

Just fine, is the answer: happy, healthy, and affectionate. He’s not totally house-trained yet, but he shows proper remorse for his occasional delinquencies, and when the warm weather comes so we can open the doggy door, we are sure he’ll practice proper discipline.

I’m still surprised at how many people I meet who don’t know that Basil is a guy’s name. It seems to be even more Brit-specific than “Nigel.” When people do know, Basil Rathbone is the only one they can come up with.

I have been idly, unsystematically collecting other Basils to offer to people in evidence.

Fictional Basils:

  • Basil Fawlty, of course.
  • Basil Brush, a feature of British children’s TV for many years. I think he’s a squirrel.
  • Basil Milbank in P.G. Wodehouse’s 1920 novel The Coming of Bill.”It was not so long ago, she reflected with pride, that she had induced Ruth to refuse to marry Basil Milbank—a considerable feat, he being a young man of remarkable personal attractions and a great match in every way. Mrs Porter’s objection to him was that his father had died believing to the last that he was a teapot.”There is nothing evil or degrading in believing oneself a teapot, but it argues a certain inaccuracy of the thought processes; and Mrs Porter had used all her influence with Ruth to make her reject Basil.”

  • The first-person protagonist of Wilkie Collins’ novel Basil. We don’t know his surname.”Circumstances which will appear hereafter, have forced me to abandon my father’s name. I have been obliged in honour to resign it; and in honour I abstain from mentioning it here …”
Real Basils:

The Basil I am most pleased to have uncovered was a real one: Mick Jagger’s dad.

(The European name Basil derives from Greek βασιλειος, “royal.” A friend who knows Arabic, however, tells me that basil means “lion” in that language, and is used as a male forename. The best-known recent example was Basil (spelled “Bassel” on Wikipedia) al-Assad, elder son of Hafez al-Assad, who ruled Syria 1971-2000. Basil died in a car crash, 1994. His brother Bashar got the dictator job, and still has it.)

The 10,000-th

Highbrow print journalism is not dead yet. The London Spectator is still with us, and coming up to its ten-thousandth issue. That’s a heck of a run for a magazine.

David Butterfield has written a commemorative book: 10,000 Not Out: The History of The Spectator 1828 — 2020. The book doesn’t appear until April 23rd, which I think is the date of the magazine’s ten-thousandth issue, but you can pre-order it from Amazon.

When, sixty years ago, I started paying attention to such things, the Spectator was in serious disfavor among the cool crowd of postulant intellectuals. It was, we were told—I never deigned to check—a periodical for elderly Anglican clergymen in remote village parsonages. As a young lefty, I read the New Statesman instead.


By my thirties, more mature and of course more conservative, I found the Spectator now suited my taste, and I kept up a subscription for many years. I became an occasional contributor: I recorded my marriage in the pages of the Spectator. However, the last piece they commissioned from me was rejected by Boris Johnson, then the editor, in 2005. I dropped my subscription soon afterwards.

No hard feelings, guys. Congratulations to the Speccie on its upcoming ten-thousandth! Onwards and upwards to issue number one million, round about September of a.d. 20993.

Remembering Bertrand Russell

I mentioned teapots back there somewhere. The most famous teapot in philosophy belonged to Bertrand Russell.

If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense.

I have no head for academic philosophy and leave you to make up your own mind about Russell’s teapot. I would, though, like to note—if only because no-one else seems to have noted it—that February 2nd was the 50th anniversary of Russell’s death, from influenza, at age 97.

That was shortly after the publication of his autobiography, in three volumes, 1967-69. I was then in my early twenties, still a lefty, an avid reader, and primed by having had to engage with Whitehead and Russell’s Principia Mathematica in my Foundations of Mathematics course at university. I loved the autobiography, and still quote it—I quoted the incident with Gladstone to a friend just the other day.

Now, looking back, I can see that Russell was sometimes silly, sometimes vain, and sometimes wrong. I have never been able to dislike the guy, though. After that university course, some of my classmates cooked up a vague plan to go and visit Russell at his home in Penrhyndeudraeth. He was known to be hospitable to young admirers, if given fair notice. The scheme fell through for some reason. I have always regretted it.

Bernie Sanders explained

Also fifty years ago this month, I bought my first house, in London. To be precise, I and my then-girlfriend co-bought it. It was a three-bedroom row-house in a quiet street, with a garden out back. We easily got a mortgage.

We were two working-class kids not long out of college. (We’d both graduated in 1967.) Our two families had a combined net worth of … zero. And we bought a house—in London! The asking price was three times my annual salary as a young cube jockey.

An equivalent property today will set you back about £450,000. That’s three times £150,000. Do young data professionals two years out of college make £150,000 a year in London today? In their dreams!

Corresponding figures apply in America. Right there you have an explanation for the radicalism of young adults and the “OK, Boomer” sourness.

Things I haven’t done

Yes, I hate Twitter, too. After forty years as a freelance writer, if I have anything to say that anyone wants to hear, I expect to get paid for it.

But like the rest of youse, I can’t resist browsing the fool thing in idle moments. For once I’m glad I did.

This was bouncing around—or “twouncing,” whatever the verb is.

Give yourself one point for each thing you haven’t done

1. Skipped school.
2. Broken a bone.
3. Fired a gun.
4. Done drugs.
5. Been in a limo.
6. Gotten a tattoo.
7. Ridden a horse.
8. Sung karaoke.
9. Gotten a ticket.
10. Been arrested.
11. Gone ziplining.
12. Been on TV.
13. Been on a cruise.
14. Gotten a piercing.
15. Smoked.
16. Met a celeb.
17. Been skydiving.
18. Had a 1-night stand.
19. Skinny-dipped.
20. Been drunk.

I scored just two (6, 14). Judging by other people’s responses, assuming they are responding honestly, that puts me way down at some low percentile.

Occasionally I get depressed thinking what a humdrum affair my life has been. I’ve never swum the Hellespont, dated a movie star, rescued a child from a burning building, commanded men in battle, written a good poem, won a thousand dollars at poker, taken tea with Bertrand Russell, or had a mathematical theorem named after me.

But hey, just two! Looks like I’ve lived a little after all.

Fiction of the month

Novelist Charles Portis died February 17th at age 86. I’d never heard of the guy, but an acquaintance of mine turns out to be a huge Portis fan. He enthused at length about Portis’s writerly prowess.

Always ready to try good fiction, I bought a copy of Portis’s best-known novel, True Grit (1968). Yes, it’s good. From the afterword by Donna Tartt in my Overlook Press edition:

Portis is such a genius of a literary mimic that the book reads less like a novel than a first-hand account: the Wild West of the 1870s, as recollected in a spinster’s memory and filtered through the sedate sepia tones of the early 1900s. [The first-person protagonist’s] narrative tone is naïve, didactic, hard-headed, and completely lacking in self-consciousness—and, at times, unintentionally hilarious …

Now I have to see the John Wayne movie, which somehow I never did.

Math Corner

Returning, by steps, to the theme of my opening segment, I note for the umpteenth time how wearying it is to engage in Adam Rutherford-type discussions about race differences with people who are statistically illiterate. (Rutherford probably isn’t, but to judge from Steve’s review he might as well be.) An astonishing number of people don’t understand words like “average” or “outlier,” or even (I’m sometimes driven to thinking) the difference in meaning between the words “some,” “many,” and “all.”

My pal who blogs as PostTenureTourettes voiced similar frustrations a couple of years ago in a post headed Latent Variable Fallacy.

The latent variable fallacy ignores possible hidden variables controlling (apparently) causally unrelated surface features. Fringe claims of melanin directly causing criminality notwithstanding, the HBD argument for racial disparities on behavioral traits holds up perfectly well without direct causation. All you need is a latent variable (genes) controlling both melanin and aggression levels.

PTT offers the following brainteaser. The answer to the easy part is actually in the post I just linked to.

Arnold and Barney are two doctors who have never met or communicated in any way. Miraculously, they manage to agree on 99 percent of all of their patient diagnoses! [For the purpose of this puzzle, each patient is two-sided coin that lands on HEALTHY or SICK with some probability—not necessarily with fair odds, or even the same odds for each patient. The patients are statistically independent, and each patient gets diagnosed once by each doctor.]

1. (easy) How do they manage such a high rate of agreement without any communication?

2. (trickier) Given the information above, what quantitative conclusion can you draw about Arnold and Barney’s diagnostic abilities?

And now, to close the Rutherford circle, here are the top scorers in the 2019 Putnam Mathematical Competition for undergraduates in the U.S.A. and Canada, held December 7th. Top five scorers, surname only, alphabetic order:

Sah, Sun, Yao, Zhang, Zhu.

Next eleven:

Ardeishar, Bhattacharya, Gu, Lin, Liu, Peng, Ren, Schildkraut, Singhal, Yao, Zhao.

Next twelve:

Gao, Kim, Kim, Lin, Liu, Liu, Nichani, Ren, Rong, Tang, Wang, Zhang.

All together now, repeat after me: THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS RACE!

(Republished from VDare by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Political Correctness 
Hide 46 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
  1. I had to write in about 2 of your items but have not finished reading the entire column.

    1) What we call “sleep”, the stuff that one finds at either side of the eyes (usually the inside) is literally translated as “eye pooh” by my Chinese source. They are real good about not needing new words. “Arteries” are “blood pipes” and “Phones” are ~ “Electronic talking”.

    2) That’s a big Millennial thing, Mr. Derbyshire, on believing the computer screen over anything else, common sense, the price up top on the menu, the customer’s word, anything… Peak Stupidity also noted in “Are the Millennials Retarded?” that they have no concept of privacy – I don’t want to give out my life story to get my hair cut or buy a pizza.

    I go to one particular pasta place on the road a bunch, and the price of the very same food is either just over 7 bucks, around 8 1/2, or 9 1/2, depending on who rings it up. At another place that I quit going to (due to this), the cashier and then the manager insisted that I pay 60 cents more for the muffin than the price right there by the muffins! It’s not the 60 cents – I even told the manager “I’ll pay it if you go ahead and change the card there.” “Nope, I don’t need to do that. The computer says it $2,75, so you want it or not?” “Nope, keep it.” Never went back.

  2. What’d they get you for? (#10)

    I’ve got 5 “no”s, but I’m not sure about #8 due to #20.

    • Replies: @John Derbyshire
  3. Alfa158 says:

    Geez, I’m the same age as Derb and I had eleven never-dones . I must have spent half my life in a coma.

    Btw, the remake of the True Grit movie that starred Jeff Bridges is, in my opinion, even better than the John Wayne version. It is worth your time to see both films.

    Rutherford’s laughably obvious straw man arguments are not an indication of his foolishness or ignorance about science and statistics. They are an indication of the sheer naked contempt and condescension people like him have towards people who don’t subscribe to their mythologies. He knows better but knowingly puts out bad faith false arguments secure in the smug assurance that it doesn’t matter, because no one who disagrees could possibly be smart enough to see through them. If you want to see some barely controlled rage, get into a debate in-person with people making these types of arguments and watch what happens when you blow them up.

    • Replies: @JMcG
    , @Mr. Grey
  4. Derb evidently never reads these comments, but again I submit famous all-American cartoonist Basil Wolverton.

  5. Wow, only four, but only because I was never caught (#10), and I don’t consider the overnight ferry from The Continent to Newcastle to be a cruise.

  6. MEH 0910 says:

    Now I have to see the John Wayne movie, which somehow I never did.

    Have you seen the Jeff Bridges movie? It’s even better.

  7. @Achmed E. Newman

    Vandalism, age around 15. Some surplus railroad carriages were parked in a side-line near a local village. We young delinquents used to go in them to smoke cigarettes & talk dirty. It got out of hand; I remember a fire extinguisher being thrown through a carriage window. The village cop was passing nearby on his bike, heard the din, pulled us in. It was a written-up arrest, but after cops-parents consultation we were let go without indictment.

    • Replies: @Jett Rucker
  8. @the one they call Desanex

    I do so read comments, just don’t have time to answer many.

    The link on London salaries got buggered up, should be

  9. To his list of fictional Basils, Derb should add Basil Seal, the protagonist of my favorite Evelyn Waugh novel – Black Mischief.

  10. Dutch Boy says:

    23 & Me says I’m 100% Northwest European. Does that count as pure? My favorite Basil is, of course, Basil Rathbone.

    • Replies: @Kratoklastes
  11. dearieme says:

    Basil Brush, a feature of British children’s TV for many years. I think he’s a squirrel.

    Fox, for heaven’s sake. He’s got a brush.

  12. SMK says: • Website

    Assuming you’re referring to basketball, the only time players try to “throw the ball through a hoop” from 60 feet or longer is when there’s 1 or 2 seconds left in a quarter and only rarely does the ball go through the basket, 2-3% of the time at best. The 3-point line is 23.75 feet from the hoop and 22 feet at the corneers, and the players jump and shoot the ball rather than “throw” it. Apparently, you’ve never watched an NBA game, even for a few minutes.

    80% of the players are black since as a group they’re faster and quicker and can jump higher, earning millions and tens of millions of dollars a year in a game invented by white men in the US long ago, either in the late 19th or early 20th century, and which blacks would never have invented. And so, too, with football.

    • Replies: @dearieme
  13. SMK says: • Website

    My score is 17. I’ve fired a gun, a shotgun when hunting as a teenager, and a pistol at a firing range when I was an armed security guard at a nuclear plant in my early 20s. I’ve gotten a ticket, at least two I vaguely remember, decades ago, for minor traffic violations. And I’ve been drunk, hundreds of times from age 18 to 70, though nearly always moderately, relatively speaking, and innocuosly, no fights in bars or at parties or car crashes with deaths and/or injuries.

  14. jamie b. says:

    Virtually no mention anywhere of Freeman Dyson’s death.

    • Replies: @John Derbyshire
  15. @John Derbyshire

    And I hereby submit Vasily (Russian for ‘Basil’) Zaitsev.
    Speaking of whom, oh what I wouldn’t give for a Zaitsev (or two, or two hundred) stationed along our southern border, trusty Mosin-Nagant in hand …

  16. dearieme says:

    a game invented by white men in the US long ago

    Invented by a Canadian.

  17. The only female Basil who comes to mind is Antonia Christina Basilotta, better known by her stage name Toni Basil, made famous by her 1981 hit “Mickey.”

    Also FWIW, I’ve never been arrested or received a tattoo. So that’s two.

  18. Jake says:

    Derbyshire apparently is ignorant of St. Basil the Great. No surprise there. Also no surprise is his being up to date on Arabic Mohammedan Basils. It all fits culturally.

    • Replies: @John Derbyshire
  19. benjaminl says:

    Speaking of flats/apartments in London — Bertrand Russell gave the newly married and “desperately poor” T. S. Eliot a spare room in his (two-bedroom) flat in 1915.
    Hard to imagine in 2020: 1. The intellectual heirs of Russell and Eliot getting along well enough to be friends. 2. Elite ruling-class intellectuals living in a mere two-bedrooms — one of which is shared with a married couple!

    Basil Stag Hare is a memorable character in Brian Jacques’s Redwall series of boys’ books. I assume that this Basil represents an English ‘type,’ but don’t know enough to be sure.

  20. Jett Rucker says: • Website

    In the quotation attributed to him, Bertrand Russell was obviously referring to laws criminalizing “Holocaust denial.” Or possibly its kissing cousin, “Hate speech.”
    Is the Holocaust documented? Yes, if by documented you mean unproven/unprovable statements written down, often by the person making the statement, but not always.

  21. @jamie b.

    Just too late for last week’s Radio Derb, have it in my list of notes for this week.

  22. My “never” score depends on:
    – Does taking a puff on a marijuana cigarette (a few times, in college) or eating a marijuana brownie (once, given to me by my father!) count as “doing drugs”?
    – Does a single puff on my grandmother’s cigarette when I was 5 count as smoking? Do those marijuana tokes?
    – Cap guns and BB guns don’t count, right?

    Depending on the answers, my score is between 7 and 10.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  23. Tusk says:

    I’ve never liked Betrand Russell as a person. I think his academic work is astounding, and do certainly enjoy analytic philosophy which was important along his mentorship of Wittgenstein, but excluding his intellectual prowess he seemed to be a total moron. I think he really just was a typical academic who had a minimal understanding of the world outside of math. Sure Hawking was a great physicist, but his views on immigrants were ridiculous and he embarassed himself by stating them. That’s the same for Russell and is literal cuckhold ideas. I wish I had the excerpt from a letter D.H. Lawrence sent him, wherein Lawrence calls Russell out for being a total moron and requests that from now on they would no longer be friends. Apparently Russell thought about suicide after receiving it. That all being said, his History of Western Philosophy is a great book so he has my thanks for that.

  24. Jett Rucker says: • Website
    @John Derbyshire

    …extinguisher being thrown through a window …

    British indirection! You just can’t beat it. I wouldn’t say I’m an actual fan of it, but I often derive great amusement from it (I’m German-American).
    It could be made less indirect (one of us throwing an extinguisher through a window) without naming names, or it could be made more indirect (extinguisher crashing through a window), all this without attributing agency to a specific individual (which, indeed, doesn’t much matter here, unless perhaps it was our reporter himself).

  25. Lara says:

    I work in the same job as Mindy. I don’t think it is that she is so much smarter than her coworkers, as that she was willing to put in a little effort to get you a good price. I imagine she knows who you are and likes you well enough.

  26. @Rex Little

    Just guessing at what the average person would say, Rex:

    1) Yes
    2) I counted that as a “no”, so I’d be at 4 if that’s a “yes”.
    3) No

    (5) and (16) could be defined variably too. I’d say it had to be a real stretch limo, and the celeb couldn’t be someone only reader’s of People Magazine would know.

  27. Since the Chinese word for “saliva” is 口水 kou-shui, literally “mouth-water,” why isn’t the Chinese word for “snot” 鼻水 bi-shui, literally “nose-water”? Instead it is 鼻涕 bi-ti, “nose-tears.”

    Probably because salivating has generally-positive associations (e.g., yummy food arriving) and water’s a reasonably good thing… while a snotty nose has generally-negative associations (e.g., respiratory illness, blubbing from grief, excessively spicy food).

  28. I’m a 2 – #6 and #15 (never had a tattoo; never inhaled the fumes from burning leaves, regardless of type).[1]

    When I was on telly as an adult (on Sky News Australia, talking about the impact of 9/11 on insurance stocks), I looked like an absolute fucking Herbert.[2]

    Even almost two decades later, when I think about that piece of video, I want the world to open up so I can jump in. (CODA: I was right though – the 70% fall in QBE was a massive over-reaction).

    Pity there were no extra points for multiple arrests, drugs, broken bones, gunplay, horseriding, drunkenness, skydiving or karaoke. (Or combinations thereof: getting arrested for drunken/drugged gunplay while doing karaoke on horseback… sounds like the end of a half-decent night out)

    [1] on #14 – I’ve never deliberately gotten a piercing… my only piercing was involuntary (a couple of ‘friends’ pierced my ear when I was under the effects of an adolescent combination of #4 and #20).

    [2] Plus, the makeup lady waxed one of my eyebrows before I even knew what she was doing – which hurt like fuck (and meant I had to let her do the other one). That resulted in ingrown hairs that plague me to this day.

  29. @Dutch Boy

    100% Northwest European. Does that count as pure?

    I would reckon not, based on the Wikipedia definition of ‘Western Europe’. Krauts and Frogs are pretty different from each other, and both are different from Scandos and Irish and whatnot.

    That said ;Wikipedia doesn’t seem too reliable on shit like this: it claims that

    There is very close genetic affinity among Northwest European populations

    …. referencing a paper that contains the image below, which shows clusters that would be clearly identified if the thing being discussed were things like stock return/volatility or industry rates of return ->

    In fact the paper goes further:

    an individual’s DNA can be used to infer their geographic origin with surprising accuracy—often to within a few hundred kilometres

    This is a thing that you’ll find all the time in the output of ‘woke’ Wikipedia-kommisars: a citation that doesn’t remotely support the assertion being made. They chuck in the citation because it makes the average imbecile think that the claim must be supported by evidence. After all, it worked all the way through college…

    • Replies: @Dutch Boy
    , @Dutch Boy
  30. Dutch Boy says:

    I agree about their ethnic ancestry claims. 23&Me claims I am 20% British/Irish, whereas I know my ancestry for quite a ways back with nary a Mick or a Limey in it (I joked with my British/Irish wife that some of her spit must have gotten in the sample.) I meant that 100% NW Euro means I’m 100% white.

  31. Dutch Boy says:

    I agree about their ethnic ancestry claims. 23&Me claims I am 20% British/Irish, whereas I know my ancestry for quite a ways back with nary a Mick or a Limey in it (I joked with my British/Irish wife that some of her spit must have gotten in the sample.) I meant that 100% NW Euro means I’m 100% white.

  32. gwood says:

    Basil the snake in Clockwork Orange.

  33. MEH 0910 says:

    Dr Adam Rutherford is a geneticist, author and broadcaster. He hosts the BBC Radio 4 programme ‘Inside Science’ and has published books related to genetics and the origin of life.

    In his most recent project, he confronts the use of science to strengthen racist ideologies.

    He talks to Krishnan about how if we understood genetics and history correctly they could become powerful allies against racism.

    Adam Rutherford: The genetics of skin colour

  34. Anon7 says:

    My favorite undergrad philosophy reference for pots is from Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations:

    “Have we a clear picture of the circumstances in which we should say of a pot that it talked?”

  35. This Adam Rutherford is just projecting his own anxieties being visibly swarthy (half Indian) in formerly Johnny Foreigner-averse Blighty as in “w*** begin at Calais”.

    I hear the multiculturalism propagandists at the odious BBC are working a ‘whiteness’ show using a person of Sub-Saharan African and Ashkenazi Jewish descent with the same identity angst.

    “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”

    “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”

    – George Orwell.

    Pulse Films to spotlight ‘whiteness’ for BBC2

  36. Stick says:

    Derb, I recommend you read Portis’ The Dog Of The South. Think you will be very amused.

  37. JMcG says:

    Agree on the movies, both very good indeed. I’ve also just finished the book for the first time. It’s a little gem. I had no expectations as to its worth at all, but I enjoyed it very much.
    Oh, I scored a four.

  38. Since the Chinese word for “saliva” is 口水 kou-shui, literally “mouth-water,” why isn’t the Chinese word for “snot” 鼻水 bi-shui, literally “nose-water”? Instead it is 鼻涕 bi-ti, “nose-tears.”

    As a kid in Honolulu, I was introduced to the word hana-bata, for.”snot”. Literally, “nose butter”. ( Bata is the English “butter”.)

    Later, I found out that, like saimin, it wasn’t regular Japanese, but Hawaiian-Japanese.

    Saimin tastes better, though.

  39. I was a fan of Bertrand Russell’s popular books when I was in high school and college, but googling around after reading Mr. Derbyshire’s blog today, I realized he appeared on TV in the UK a number of times.

    I expect at least some British viewers of Mr. Derbyshire’s age remember his appearances on camera, but even so, the novelty value in 2020, of watching an interview with a man born in 1872, is considerable.

  40. nebulafox says:

    Late to the party, but I’m either a 7 or an 8, depending on what you count as a “celebrity”. I’m young enough that I can “improve” my score a bit in the coming years, but of the things I haven’t done, only #17 really interests me. I’d be willing to accept #2 as the cost of doing some of the things on my to-do list, I guess.

  41. Basil? How about SAINT Basil,the namesake of my Chicago grade school?

  42. Basil Brush, a feature of British children’s TV for many years. I think he’s a squirrel.

    Come off it, Derb – he`s a fox. Brush refers to

    the bushy tail of a fox, often kept as a trophy after a hunt, or of certain breeds of dog

    I just Rutherford`s book – I don`t recommend it. Reads like cherry-picking of “facts”. Yet he`s very upset at the suggestion that scientists would ever suppress truth.

  43. Mr. Grey says:

    Yes on Jeff Bridges, the Coen Brother’s version. It’s not a comedy, and it sounds authentic even though I have not read the book.

  44. @Sir Isaac Newton

    His son Monte sure as hell ain’t the man his dad was. His drawing style is just a crude simulacrum of Basil’s. Sad!

Current Commenter

Leave a Reply - Comments on articles more than two weeks old will be judged much more strictly on quality and tone

 Remember My InformationWhy?
 Email Replies to my Comment
Submitted comments become the property of The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter
Subscribe to This Comment Thread via RSS Subscribe to All John Derbyshire Comments via RSS