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June 29, 2007


No help from me, but I'm reminded of how snippets of Heraclitus survived in quotations in other works. Never heard of this Derbyshire guy tho- he sounds like an asshole.

NRO appears to avoid the cache, but I found a copy here:


The Iconoclast

Thursday, 28 June 2007
Saeva Indignatio
No, I haven't contributed to the blogging on this latest round in the immigration wars. In part that's because I'm going through a very time-demanding phase of an unrelated writing project; in part because I feel (perhaps optimistically) I've written and posted enough on this topic over the years to have already made whatever useful contribution I can make; in part because NRO's Washington guys seem to have the thing pretty well in hand...

...But also, quite largely, because I have barely been able to trust myself to say anything. Watching the Senate exchanges, and the pro-Bill comments by our President and others, I have kept sinking into a state of quivering, bitter rage—not a common state for me. It's great that the Bill has gone down to defeat, but how on earth did it even get this far? Such terrible, unworkable, legislation, foisted on us with such arrogance and deceit? Is this our legislative system?

At one point yesterday I vented my bitterness in verse. I wrote a close parody of John Betjeman's famous 1937 diatribe against the city of Slough, directing my lines at Washington D.C. Some readers might find it a bit strong. My only excuse is that I was mad as hell, in the state Swift called saeva indignatio. I feel much better now. (And please note that I, like Betjeman, spared most of the inhabitants of the hated place.) Anyway, here are my verses.

Thoughts while watching a debate in the U.S. Senate on S.1639—the "Comprehensive Immigration Reform" bill of 2007

(After John Betjeman's "Slough" http://www-cdr.stanford.edu/intuition/Slough.html )

by John Derbyshire

Come, friendly bombs, fall on D.C.!

It's not fit for humanity.

There's nothing there but villainy.

Swarm over, Death!

Come, bombs, and blow to kingdom come

Those pillared halls of tedium—

Hired fools, hired crooks, hired liars, hired scum,

Hired words, hired breath.

Mess up this mess they call a town—

A seat for twenty million down

And rights to the incumbent's crown

For twenty years.

And get that lobbyist who'll spin

His case to congressmen, who'll win

Amendments, raking fortunes in

For racketeers.

And smash his desk of polished oak

(Paid for by honest working folk

Toiling 'neath taxation's yoke)

And make him yell.

But spare the lesser worker bees,

Federal and private employees,

Working for meager salaries

In government Hell.

It's not their fault they cannot see

How power stifles liberty,

How citizens who once were free

Become enslaved.

From childhood they've been raised to think

That federal power solves everything

They can no longer smell the stink

Of power depraved.

Spare these folk; reserve your fire

For those who wallow in the mire—

That smug, smooth, chauffered, canting choir

Of puffed-up fools.

Come, friendly bombs, fall on D.C.!

Leave it as it used to be:

Potomac winding to the sea

By tree-fringed pools.
Submit Your Comment
Posted on 1:51 PM by John Derbyshire

What is it that these people lack that allows them to write and think such nonsense? This sort of stuff seems rampant in the right wing crazies ("more rubble, less trouble", etc.).

I find the internet archive at www.waybackmachine.org is generally pretty useful for archives of older pages.

Never heard of this Derbyshire guy tho- he sounds like an a**hole.

Stogie, Google "John Derbyshire" and "Virginia Tech" to get an even better idea. I have to say though, I think the poem would make great lyrics for a Slayer tune.

PJ: I tried the wayback machine, but all I could find was the empty box where the post used to be.

arf: Thanks! How did you find that?

Ugh: I agree completely.

What is it that these people lack that allows them to write and think such nonsense?

Bear in mind: (1) Derbyshire is a British citizen living in the US, calling for violence over what he sees as our insufficently restrictive immigration policy. The irony of his position evidently escapes him. (2) This isn't even in the top 10 of Derbyshire's offensive remarks. He's a self-described racist and homophobe, as well as somebody who has said that women are past their prime age of sexual attractiveness once they reach 18.

Why Derbyshire and his ilk aren't hooted off the national stage is a mystery . . .

Because they say things that offend liberals (along with a big chunk of other people), so there's a lot of people who figure they must be doing SOMETHING right.

Well, Derb is creepy, but there's nothing so awful in this that isn't also awful in the original Betjeman poem. (Awful in the sense of offensive, I mean, because Derb's skills are terrible. Rhyming "stink" with "everything" is only acceptable if you're Popeye.) In fact, Derb's version is, amazingly, less snobby; I feel like Betjeman is making fun of my relatives.

Of course there's still the whole idea that we're slaves because we pay taxes, which I don't get. Living in a company town and being beholden to its management, for example, seems a whole lot more unfree than having to write a check to the government while you're on your way to Greenbriar.

You can use the Way Back Machine which is an internet archive. It may our may not have what you are looking for.

@hairshirthedonist | June 29, 2007 at 09:31 AM

Yeesh, if I ever have trouble articulating how horrible someone is, I'm going to refer to as a "Derbyshire-grade asshole" from now on.

Here's the Google cache for the page.

I found it by doing this search on Google:

site:corner.nationalreview.com "Come, friendly bombs, fall on D.C.!"

and then clicking on "Cached".

Arf already gave the complete text above.

This is the poem Slough, by Sir John Betjemen, probably never been here in his life.

'Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough, it isn't fit for humans now.'

Right, I don't think you solve town planning problems by dropping bombs all over the place, he's embarrassed himself there. Next:

'In labour saving homes with care, their wives frizz out peroxide hair, and dry it in synthetic air, and paint their nails-'

-- they wanna look nice, what's the matter, doesn't he like girls?

'And talks of sports and makes of cars, and various bogus Tudor bars, and daren't look up and see the stars, but belch instead.'

What's he on about? What, has he never burped?

'Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough, to get it ready for the plough. The cabbages are coming now, the earth exhales-'

He's the only cabbage round here. And they made him a knight of the realm.


-- David Brent, "The Office"

I disagree.
I think he is saying what many have been saying for a long time. That we have trashed the place so badly that destruction would put it and us out of our misery, quickly, rather than the slow, small, mean course of self destruction we are currently on.

Teh Derb, on the other hand, is a dickblister.

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