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Ed Driscoll

Interview: Mark Steyn Surveys the Passing Parade

May 21st, 2014 - 6:46 pm

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Mark Steyn is no stranger to apocalyptic doom, having written two best-selling books on societal dissipation and collapse, America Alone and After America.

But in addition to doom on a macro level, as the Washington Post has dubbed him, Mark is also the “world’s wittiest obit writer,” as exemplified by his anthology of obituaries, Mark Steyn’s Passing Parade, newly updated and available on dead tree format (appropriately enough), and finally for the Kindle as well.

Featuring obituaries of figures ranging from Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, all the way to show business personalities as diverse as Bob Hope, Tupac Shakur, Evel Knievel, James Doohan, and Michael Jackson, the Passing Parade is a brilliant time capsule of popular and political culture at the dawn of the 21st century.

During our 35 minute long interview, Mark will discuss:

● How his career as an obituarist began.
● The secret Tupac Shakur, Evel Knievel, Wayne Newton connection — revealed!
● How England’s decline in the 1970s was a preview of America in the Obama years.
● How Margaret Thatcher returned foreign policy respectability to England — even without hashtags.
● How did a four-decade old Bob Hope joke lead to Mark’s parting of the ways with National Review?
● What’s the status of the legal imbroglio involving Mark and Michael Mann?

And much more. Click here to listen:

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(35 minutes, 26 seconds long; 32.4 MB file size. Want to download instead of streaming? Right click here to download this interview to your hard drive. Or right click here to download the 10.1 MB lo-fi edition.)

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Transcript of our interview begins on the following page; for our many previous podcasts, start here and keep scrolling.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Here are two letters to my aunt from an American PhD student living in London. They're a good reminder what happens when voters sign up for socialism without reading the fine print.

24 January 1971
Sorry not to have written before. At the beginning things were very busy here and then this postal strike has been going on for weeks. At last I have found someone who is going on a trip, so I have just time to scribble a few lines. (This letter arrived with a postmark "Montreal, March 1, 1971")

England is a wonderful place to study but everything else is ghastly and I have become more depressed than I have been in years. I had a brief respite at Christmas with a fast trip to Morocco and I hope to make it again for Easter if I can straighten out my affairs. The postal strike has cut off my money and I have considerable material problems as I have gotten much too settled -- lease, household effects, big, impractical English car, etc. I am seriously considering staying in Morocco permanently except for an occasional trip up to see my professor, so want to liquidate things before I go.

26 March 1971
They say that the strike is now over, but I am not so sure. In any case, the Railways are next. The weather is no longer my main concern - it is getting better anyway - but the stupid mediocrity of almost everything. I have just wasted a whole week trying to straighten out banks, insurance, cars, etc. It seems that nobody can do anything right, no one can be trusted to do the simplest thing, and to expect anything when promised is insane. People can say all they want about Latins, Arabs, and other Mediterranean and oriental types, but they have nothing over the Anglo-Saxons. In fact, some of those countries are making a little progress while Britain has sunk to the lowest level since World War II (Harold Wilson says).

I got rid of the Daimler and bought a Citroen Ami 6 (glorified 2CV) which is in uncertain condition, but at least it is not British and there are parts because the factory is not closed by a strike. But after delaying my departure for 3 days for some repairs, the (English-operated) garage did not do anything.

I am hoping to be on my way soon, but I may stop in France for more repairs that seem to be beyond British capability (muffler, accelerator pedal). Two friends want to go with me, but can't make up their minds.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (11)
All Comments   (11)
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'Fortunately, I remember the 1070s, what was going on in England...'

Yes, those ruddy illegal immigrants flooding over from Normandy - acted like they OWNED the place! "William the Conqueror" my eye! "William the Squatter" is more like it!
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
That was just excellent. I read the transcript, which was long, but it should be required reading for people who want to know where America is today.

Fortunately, I remember the 1070s, what was going on in England and the sad Jimmy Carter days.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Love the interview. Just gave $ to Mark's legal fund. NRO is on probation till he returns.
His ref to Isham Jones rang a bell for me. My parents had an album by him - was finally able to find it.
Only concern as Mark said: "Except it’s not, because it turns out the law was written in such a vague way that it’s not clear whether there’s any right to appeal under this law. So before they can appeal the dismissal ‑‑ appeal the denial of the motion to dismiss the amended complaint, they first have to appeal to the Court of Appeals to see whether the Court of Appeals will rule on whether this particular law is appealable. And if the Court of Appeals rules that this particular law is appealable, then they will appeal to the Court of Appeals then to hear the actual appeal after the Court of Appeals has rules on whether the appeal is, in fact, appealable."
Wasn't stuff like that how Lenny Bruce ended up?
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Here are two letters to my aunt from an American PhD student living in London. They're a good reminder what happens when voters sign up for socialism without reading the fine print.

24 January 1971
Sorry not to have written before. At the beginning things were very busy here and then this postal strike has been going on for weeks. At last I have found someone who is going on a trip, so I have just time to scribble a few lines. (This letter arrived with a postmark "Montreal, March 1, 1971")

England is a wonderful place to study but everything else is ghastly and I have become more depressed than I have been in years. I had a brief respite at Christmas with a fast trip to Morocco and I hope to make it again for Easter if I can straighten out my affairs. The postal strike has cut off my money and I have considerable material problems as I have gotten much too settled -- lease, household effects, big, impractical English car, etc. I am seriously considering staying in Morocco permanently except for an occasional trip up to see my professor, so want to liquidate things before I go.

26 March 1971
They say that the strike is now over, but I am not so sure. In any case, the Railways are next. The weather is no longer my main concern - it is getting better anyway - but the stupid mediocrity of almost everything. I have just wasted a whole week trying to straighten out banks, insurance, cars, etc. It seems that nobody can do anything right, no one can be trusted to do the simplest thing, and to expect anything when promised is insane. People can say all they want about Latins, Arabs, and other Mediterranean and oriental types, but they have nothing over the Anglo-Saxons. In fact, some of those countries are making a little progress while Britain has sunk to the lowest level since World War II (Harold Wilson says).

I got rid of the Daimler and bought a Citroen Ami 6 (glorified 2CV) which is in uncertain condition, but at least it is not British and there are parts because the factory is not closed by a strike. But after delaying my departure for 3 days for some repairs, the (English-operated) garage did not do anything.

I am hoping to be on my way soon, but I may stop in France for more repairs that seem to be beyond British capability (muffler, accelerator pedal). Two friends want to go with me, but can't make up their minds.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thank you so much Mark and Ed. This is great stuff. I am completely affirmed
about NRO.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's been sad to watch the departure of the Old Guard at NR over the past several years. With few exceptions, the new crowd leaves me with a feeling of "National Review, meh!" nowadays. Might as well merge with the New Republic and get it over with.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
YOu tube link goes to a different interview.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
The late, great, much lamented WFB is most assuredly spinning in his grave that NRO would let Steyn go. May that error soon be rectified.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Great stuff!
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Everyone who believes that racist, sexism, homophobia, and warming are the most important issues in morality is so completely mired in Leftism that they cannot be conservative. And NR is exactly that.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
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