Reading a minor missive from Mark Steyn at National Review earlier today, I was struck for the umpteenth time by just how breezily loquacious he is. It’s just a blog post, really; by no means a full-fledged article–and yet it carries the confident charm of the most polished master’s thesis. I’m sure he merely dashed this off, yet is would stand as a major triumph for most authors.
The teacher in me suddenly wanted to footnote his work. The world needs to see this as I do, I thought. Those notes are below. My humble apologies to National Review for reproducing the entire text here, but I think they’ll understand. It’s necessary to make the point: Steyn’s writing is densely allusive and whimsically clever, and all in the succinct service of a solid point.
Looking at this after I’d marked it up, I found immense satisfaction in being a fan of Steyn’s. He’s truly a treasure. I’m a conservative because the ideas are solid and true, but it doesn’t hurt that men like Steyn can also make them so appealing. One looks in vain for such a scribe on the left.
I mean, could you even imagine a similarly footnoted post called The Annotated Frank Rich?
“The Last Phobia,” Mark Steyn, posted at NationalReview.com, 9/17/2013
I see David Brooks has attracted a bit of pushback for describing Ted Cruz as “the Senator from Canada,” perhaps snidely hinting at divided loyalties. The Times’s man has jumped the moose with this one. As it turns out, Brooks, like yours truly, was born in Toronto. I think we can all agree that the only thing worse than a Canadian is a self-loathing Canadian: It’s bad enough that the first Canadian president of America has to run around pretending he’ll be the first Hispanic president, but it’s outrageous that the New York Times’s only Canuck columnist should be the Roy Cohn of Canadians.
Anyway, as NR readers know, my position, as the presumptive senator from New Hampshire, is that, given the mess you Americans have made of the GOP, I’m in favor (actually, I’m in favour) of an all-Canadian ticket next time round. But in the meantime I don’t see why we Canadians have to skulk around in a state of shame to the point where effete maple-scented Timesmen are forced to be more good-ol’-boy-than-thou and jump the first Canuck in the Senate parking lot. Nuts to this. This is sick. What next? Elizabeth Warren forced to admit she’s one-thirty-second Manitoban?
It doesn’t have to be this way. I have a dream that one day my children will live in an America where they’re judged not on the color of their skin but on whether they’ve got an aunt in Saskatoon.
 A play on the idiom “jump the shark.” Moose are often associated with Canada
 A play on the phrase “self-loathing Jews,” meaning Jews who oppose things like pro-Israel policies
 Perhaps a cheeky reference to Toni Morrison’s label of Bill Clinton as “the first black president”
 A slang term for Canadians
 Attorney who prosecuted the Rosenbergs and worked with Senator Joeseph McCarthy; Steyn humorously implies that Brooks is persecuting his own people.
 A British spelling
 Effeminate; Steyn often derides liberals as insufficiently masculine.
 Maple syrup is often associated with Canada
 A play on the idiom “holier-than-thou.” Steyn is accusing Brooks of populist pandering.
 Warren, a Democrat Senator from Massachusetts, famously claimed Native American heritage as a part of her “family folklore,” despite the only known Native American in her family tree being her great, great, great grandmother.
 Obviously, a coy reference to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” Speech.