As part of last night’s Virtual Gala, American Experiment staff prepared a video on the organization’s achievements over the past year. Unbeknownst to me, the two staffers who produced the gala (including my daughter Kathryn, who is our Event Coordinator), knowing that yesterday happened to be my birthday, reached out to a number of friends, relatives and notables to convey their birthday greetings. They added those birthday best wishes at the end of the video, and I learned about it, to my surprise, when the video was played during the gala last night.
Scott, Paul and Steve were all represented, as were dignitaries like Senators John Thune and Tom Cotton. Most people just said “Happy Birthday” and perhaps added a few lines, but Mark Steyn delivered a six-minute monologue that was edited down for the official video. But it is too funny, and too interesting in its observations on the history of the political internet, to be lost to posterity. Plus, it contains some nice words about Power Line. So here it is:
Mark’s reminiscence about his most recent appearance for the Center in Minneapolis is correct, in that the Guthrie Theater banned our organization from future events because someone there was dismayed by Mark’s speech. But I don’t think the “Mammy” moment was the main problem. At the time, October 2017, the theater was playing Romeo and Juliet, and Mark spoke on the stage, before a sellout crowd, in front of the actual theater set.
At one point in his speech, Mark gently mocked the fact that the Guthrie’s production had anachronistically imported 21st-century feminism into Shakespeare by, among other things, adding a non-Shakespearean bit in which Juliet easily scrambled up to the balcony, but Romeo was too klutzy to make the climb. (He knew about the production from my review.) That was too much for the theater, and we have been persona non grata ever since.
Those were the early days of the culture war that has now thoroughly embittered our society. Typically, Mark was gracious. At the end of the evening, he said that he loved the venue and would be delighted to return. But liberals are not so broad-minded.