Mark Steyn on the trouble he has with facts:
Incidentally, I stopped writing for the [New York] Times a few years ago because their fanatical “fact-checking” copy-editors edited my copy into unreadable sludge.
I think it’s some sort of chemical reaction — add facts to a Mark Steyn column and it curdles into sludge. Macleans doesn’t seem to bother with fact checkers because check this Sten column out:
The other day, an admiring profile of Cate Blanchett (“Green before it was hip, she cites Al Gore and David de Rothschild as heroes and believes that leaf blowers ‘sum up everything that is wrong with the human race,’ ” etc.) revealed that, in order to give her new mansion as small an environmental footprint as possible, she requested that the plumbing be constructed to “allow them to drink their own waste water.” …
Miss Blanchett and her husband have paid their architect thousands of dollars to design a system whereby the bodily waste goes down the toilet, gets whisked by pipeline through the walk-in closet, over the balcony, down the wall, back in through the rec room, and up into the wet bar directly into the soda siphon. As her fellow Antipodean, the Aussie wag Tim Blair, observed: “Not exactly Pickfair, is it?” — Pickfair being the legendary mansion of Douglas Fairbanks and Canada’s own Mary Pickford. But who’s to say Pissfair won’t become the norm in the new Hollywood?
All right, let’s make us some sludge.
Warning: if you try this experiment yourself, you should wear eye protection and use a fume cabinet. The fumes from Mark Steyn columns can cause dizziness, nausea and foaming at the mouth. If you get a Mark Steyn column in your eye, immediately wash it out with plenty of cold water and see your physician.
Sydney’s Sun Herald had a story about Blanchett’s new home:
The Oscar-winning actor and her playwright husband, Andrew Upton, are splashing out almost $1.5 million in renovations to create an environmentally friendly home.
A massive 20,000-litre water tank, high-tech solar panelling, low energy lighting and grey water recycling will be among the features of the Hunters Hill home.
Contrary to Steyn’s belief, grey water recycling does not involve drinking urine, because:
Grey water does not contain urine — it is the water from showers and laundry.
It is treated to remove impurities.
You use it for watering the garden, flushing the toilet, and clothes washing. Greywater outlets must be labelled with “WARNING DO NOT DRINK”.
Now the writer of the story in W does say that the recycling system allows them to drink the recycled greywater, but she has clearly made a mistake — health regulations require a “WARNING DO NOT DRINK” sign. Steyn then turned this mistake into his own flight of fantasy. But we’re not finished yet, we can curdle more of his column, just by adding more facts!
Sheryl Crow, meanwhile, recently proposed that when it comes to, ah, other waste products, her environmentally conscious fans should only use a single sheet of bathroom tissue per visit.
Crow was making a joke. Isn’t making sludge so much fun.
Well I’m sure you can see where his column is heading:
Two of those arrested for plotting terrorism this month in Germany were jihadists with the impeccably Teutonic names of “Fritz” and “Daniel.” Both had converted to Islam in the town of Ulm, on the Danube, where the population is, officially, 25 per cent Muslim. That’s not evenly distributed: the dying seniors are native Germans, the demographically surging youth is overwhelmingly Muslim.
Yep, the Muslims are taking over. How did he connect TMATO with toilets?
Meanwhile, on the fast depopulating plains of eastern Germany, rural communities are dying, and one consequence is that municipal sewer systems are having a tough time adjusting to the lack of use. Populations have fallen so dramatically there are too few people flushing to keep the flow of waste moving. Traditionally, government infrastructure expenditure arises from increased demand. In this case, the sewer lines are having to be narrowed at great cost in order to cope with dramatically decreased demand. For the demographically dying West, it’s not a question of “sustainable growth,” but of sustainable lack of growth. One can talk airily about Western civilization being flushed down the toilet of history, but it turns out even that’s easier said than done. Long before Sheryl Crow’s celebrity pals have squeezed their last Charmin, it will be clear that the job of “saving the planet” is one the West has bequeathed to others.
After curdling a Steyn column with facts, the resulting sludge should be disposed by flushing it down a toilet. Do not put it into a greywater recycling system.
Update: If you check out the blogs that linked Steyn, you find uncritical acceptance by posters and commenters of Steyn’s obviously false story about Blanchett. For instance, Ed Driscoll, Van Helsing and Tim Blair. The funniest is this one, where a commenter proves that the story is rubbish, but the others’ faith in the Holy Word of Steyn is unshaken.