Sen. Tom Cotton (R - AR). Give this man the key to the city. Any city.
When the staff of British Intelligence rose before dawn this morning, rolled away our bed-rolls, did 100 push-ups, sang the Horst Wessel Song, and had an enamel field mug of Camp coffee, we didn’t know who Tom Cotton was and, if asked, would have assumed he was one of Beatrix Potter’s loveable woodland creatures. Not so. Senator Cotton is the Republican representative for the state of Arkansas, familiar to us only because we know that, like the French, they don't pronounce the final 's'.
Sen. Cotton was invited to write a piece for The New York Times on the rioting-that-shall-be-called-protesting currently blighting the Land of the Free, as was. Senator Cotton was of the opinion that the army was the answer, notwithstanding that American troops are far more likely to be deployed in some shit-pit in the Hindu Kush than downtown Minneapolis, even if the latter is on fire. The New York Times recoiled as though it were a dowager flashed in Central Park by a man wearing only a raincoat and the bottom half of the leggings of some carefully tailored trousers. The piece was pulled with epic dispatch by the newspaper bafflingly known as ‘the Grey Lady’.
Now, it is accepted form on these occasions for the evil white man to kneel in sackcloth and ashes, and tearfully apologise for Jim Crow before singing a couple of rounds of De Camptown Ladies to demonstrate contrition. Not so Senator Cotton.
This fine gentleman’s response is both an object lesson in how to deal with the modern, ‘woke’ media, and far too toothsome not to quote in full;
‘I can tell you, my op-ed doesn’t meet The New York Times’ standards. It far exceeds their standards, which are normally full of left-wing, sophomoric drivel. And I find it amazing that in the last 24 hours, the editor of The New York Times, and the publisher of The New York Times have both defended their decision to publish this op-ed, but in the face of the woke mob of woke kids that are in their newsroom, they tucked tail and they ran. They confessed and said they were going to go into re-education camp, and they were going to cut the number of op-eds they run. And for that, I will apologise – or I will say to the world, you’re welcome for getting The New York Times to run less of the garbage that you normally see in their pages’.
Sir, we do not collectively own enough hats to take off to you. Would that there were more of this spirit in Britain, where politicians of a similar standing regularly defer to the likes of The Guardian, a newspaper whose sales are under more pressure than Michael Moore’s bathroom scales, and which was brilliantly referred to by journalist Rod Liddle as The Crouch End Examiner.
As with all bullies, standing your ground is the best defence. In the midst of the Maoist quagmire that is the modern media, more voices such as those of Senator Cotton are urgently needed, and it is profoundly to be wished that more public figures in Blighty will break cover and, as the great Aaron Neville (now a farmer, we are reliably informed by our gal in Virginia) suggested, tell it like it is.
The modern print media, which will soon join the ranks of the spinning Jenny and the lazy Susan, quaint but not much use in the modern world, is Pravda without the cool Cossack headgear, a regimented parade of stringer orthodoxies lacking style and grace and not even being on nodding terms with the truth. Don’t be like the modern print media.
So, Tom Cotton, even if your name belongs in a lyric to a song by The Band, if you are ever in England, we here at British Intelligence Towers promise to lay on a spread which will warm your old Arkansanian - if that is a word - heart.
Publisher’s note. One of our scribes rather rashly offered to include a list of words suggested by his Facebook friends, who sound like a carnival of neurotics, and which were to be woven into today’s column. Alas, had we but world enough and time. However, these were the words suggested, and we are certain it gives an adequate psychological profile of the type of social-media demi monde our writers inhabit:
As Bertie Wooster says, one simply shakes one’s head and passes on.