Touchy Subjects | National Review

Touchy Subjects | National Review


A scene outside the Plaza Hotel in New York City, December 2021 (Jay Nordlinger)

My Impromptus column today begins with transgenderism in sports — and moves on to other touchy subjects: racial and sexual hoaxes; paganism around guns; etc. You want touchy? I got touchy. I also have some language, courtesy of a reader — who introduced me to the word “niblings.” This is a “gender-neutral” way of saying “nieces and nephews.”

I’m afraid that, by the time I’m outta here, I won’t be able to understand my fellow Americans at all. Even now, I have to explain half my idioms to the people around me. (I think I got a good number of them from my grandparents.)

What is the greatest restaurant name of all time? Kevin Williamson informed me of it — and I discuss it in my column. (Spoiler alert.) What are some other great restaurant names? If you’d like to share one or two or more, please write me at [email protected].

Today’s column ends with some photos, of Christmastime New York, one of which is at the head of this post.

Okay, let’s have some mail. My Impromptus of last Thursday had an item on abortion. A reader writes,

I am an abortion absolutist. I think abortion should be outlawed except when it’s a question of balancing lives. . . . I knew a young lady years ago who was pregnant and found out she had a brain tumor. Her doctors recommended an abortion. She refused. She gave birth, then fought for life, HARD. She lost eventually when her son was two. Hard choice, and if she had made the other, I couldn’t have faulted her. I strongly respected her, though, for making what she knew was potentially, maybe even likely, a sacrificial choice.

Bottom line for me, abortion is the death of a human being. Without a strong cause, I believe that this death is murder. And this is the problem. Not everyone agrees with me. If they did, abortion would not even be an issue. We would recoil from it in horror. So, I accept the victories I can get, and I make the arguments I can that will save lives.

If Roe is overturned, I will celebrate and mourn at the same time. Celebrate because some states will move to save lives, but mourn because others will not. In the meantime, I will try to keep making my arguments, remembering that the people on the other side don’t feel what I feel, don’t see what I see. At least not yet. And I will remember that this does not make them evil people.

Want something lighter? Here it is. In that column of mine last Thursday, I had a little item about squirrels. Foreigners in Central Park are fascinated by them. Every day, they bend down to photograph them. Conclusion (not that you have to be Sherlock Holmes to draw it): They must not have squirrels at home.

I got several notes about this subject, including the following:

Your item reminded me of my own great-grandfather, who took his wife on an anniversary tour of Europe back in the 1920s. He kept a diary that I have treasured.

They were awed by many magnificent sights, but one mention struck me in particular. They were in London, I believe, and he wrote about the swarms “of a certain variety of large gray dove.” It took me a second to realize he was talking about pigeons. He didn’t know pigeons?! But I can imagine that the winged rat of the big cities would be uncommon in their small Ohio village.

Wonderful. And thank you to one and all. Again, today’s Impromptus is here.





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About the Author

Tony Beasley
Tony Beasley writes for the Local News, US and the World Section of ANH.