Kokila

  • Title: The [Un]documented Don’t Say You Weren’t Warned
  • Author: Mark Steyn
  • Published 2014

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Mark Steyn is a political analyst, notably for the UK Daily Telegraph and Spectator. He is currently a Fox News contributor, appearing on Tucker Carlson’s show, and sometimes standing in.  He has his own website steynonline.com, and last year was promoting his new US show “The Adorable Deplorable Tour”  

The [Un]Documented is a collection of Mark’s columns from various publications, but interestingly they also appear in Hawkes Bay Today which you can also find on the NZ Herald website. The earliest one I found was from 2007, so he may no longer be in vogue for our privileged elite media, as he is an old white man whose musing and observations are likely to offend in the ever-increasing brittle environment we are treading whilst debating important issues of the day.  

The book is ordered by themes, and whilst a light and very easy read (great for the summer), the messaging is depressing about the current state of Western democracies and where we are headed, from increasing intrusion from the state to the rise of identity politics.

It’s not who you are, rather it is what you are and the most powerful victim group you identify with. Mark Steyn (legally) resides in the US but has lived in the UK and Canada, so brings a perspective that comes from living in different and similar places. He has that grumpy old guy thing going where he doesn’t care if he offends, and the more the merrier, but he is very cognisant of the threat that people like Ayaan Hirsi Ali face just for speaking out about her objection to her genitals being mutilated in the name of Islam.

The topics covered are varied, ranging from meeting a wide variety of artists and political figures over the last 20 years to the non-celebrities residing in Morocco and Iraq. Mark is certainly well-travelled, and he is incisive in his interpretations of what has happened in the past and how it will impact us today. For the art appreciators amongst us there are some interesting anecdotes on Doris Day, and other American artists whose works are still influential today. There are also great anecdotes on important political figures and musings on Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher.

Some of the more pertinent observations.  

“Culture trumps politics – which is why, once the question’s been settled, conservatives are reduced to playing catch-up, twisting themselves into pretzels to explain why gay marriage is really conservative”

““Diversity” is where nations go to die.  if local Mennonites or Amish were segregating the sexes and making them enter by different doors for religious services in a Toronto grade-school cafeteria, Canadian feminists would howl them down in outrage.  But when Muslims do it they fall as silent as their body-bagged sisters in Kandahar.”   

As this is a book of columns, this is very easy to read. A must for the Twitter generation.

The BFD.

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If you would like to submit a book review for publication send it to [email protected]