Although we live in a forgetful culture, it is worth casting our minds back as far as last week. If you recall, back then we were all discussing the inability of students at Yale to cope with anything as scary as Halloween. For some of us the whole business was disturbing not so much because some brats at an Ivy League university were showing themselves unfit to be students but because the adults — their professors — all seemed to have surrendered to them.
What else was clogging us up? Well, Caitlyn Jenner had just finished a clean-sweep of the award season by being named “Glamour Woman of the Year.” Naturally no one dared question why someone with a penis should be declared woman of any year. In Britain, a left-wing woman came out as “trans” but, despite admitting she wasn’t going to do anything physical about this, immediately began to be written about in non-gender-specific plural pronouns. The inevitable, unspoken conclusion was that we should molest our delicate and beautiful language in any way possible rather than upset anyone from the non-cis trans community.
I mention this because we should recall that this is what the modern Left in the modern West has reduced us to: a twittering, gibbering puddle of competing neuroses — some sincere, most not.
Then some real triggering went off in Paris. And instead of students falling over themselves to pretend to be more wounded than the next, people the same age as they and younger were being gunned down in Paris by the score for having a drink or going to a concert or football match. Of course, the major tragedy was that so many lives had been lost or destroyed so un-mendably. But one follow-on grief was that once again the people who should be in positions of power decided to check out.
The American president’s cursory remarks on the tragedy sounded like someone not merely phoning it in but visibly yearning for the post-presidential speaking and golf circuit. His secretary of state, meanwhile, used the aftermath of the slaughter of 130 people in a European capital to vow “resolve.” Perhaps the average French memory can still stretch back ten months.
If so, they will be suitably cool about the promise. For that was the last time Secretary John Kerry had to respond to a brutal massacre in Paris. On that occasion he turned up late with the guitarist James Taylor. To a visibly pained audience, James Taylor sang, on behalf of Kerry and the whole American people, “You’ve got a friend.” It is hard to think of a more mawkishly insulting diplomatic offering. The French foreign minister turning up in New York a week after…