How I met Michael Medved

As you may recall, a couple of days ago I notified my Marin readers that Michael Medved would be giving a talk at Book Passage to promote his new book, The 10 Big Lies About America: Combating Destructive Distortions About Our Nation.  His talk was so good I actually supported my independent book seller by buying the book on site, rather than coming home and buying it at Amazon for a lower price.  I thought both Medved and Book Passage deserved the custom, so I cheerfully parted with that extra $12.00.

For those of you who’ve listened to Medved’s shows, what I’m about to tell you won’t surprise you.  He’s a clear speaker, a very organized thinker, optimistic, and has a tremendous grasp of historic and statistical information.  This last especially impressed me, because, while much of the data he recited was familiar to me, I could never, in a million years, have remembered and recited it with such ease.  For me, all those factoids would have been vague remembrances that I would have been afraid to state, since my grasp of details is so hazy.  He is, in a word, smart.

Considering that this was a Marin venue, the turnout was impression.  I’m not good at estimating crowds, but I’d say about 70 people were there — which is no shabby showing for a conservative talk reading at a small Marin bookstore.  The crowd was enthusiastic and respectful.  Only one man was somewhat challenging, since he rattled on about statistics regarding infant mortality, mass poverty, and minimal health care in America, as opposed to Europe, but Medved dealt with him factually and politely.

Medved pointed out correctly that America’s statistics are always skewed because we have such a vast influx of immigrants, and they, in the first generation, tend to have higher infant mortality, shorter life spans, and greater poverty.  He also pointed out the corollary to those immigrant based statistics:  In America the majority of those in the lowest 20% economically will leave poverty behind and move up the economic ladder, shedding their infant mortality rates along with their poverty.

In that, America is distinctly different from Europe, which provides its immigrants with basic services that are better than those here, but that also leaves them trapped and alienated forever in banlieus, slums, ghettos, and other stagnant immigrant communities.  (Medved didn’t make that last point about Europe, but I did.)

The ability to rise up, of course, has always been America’s promise.  Long time readers will recall my post about the New York Tenement Museum and Iving Berlin, in which I noted that census documents from the Tenement Museum revealed that all of the residents’ descendants, without exception, had moved up the economic ladder.  Irving Berlin, of course, was the quintessential (although definitely not the only) American immigrant success story, and a story of the type that simply does not appear in other parts of the world.

As I noted above, since I was impressed with the book, I actually bought it (no waiting for Goodwill or the library this time) so that Medved could sign my copy.  Also, because I’m not opposed in the least to a bit of self-promotion, I forced on Medved a slip of paper with my blog information  — and he was kind enough to say he’d check it out.  Of course, on the way home, I realized that for the past few days, my blogging has been somewhat inconsequential.  I’ve been tagging other things of interest in the blogosphere, but haven’t been doing any original writing.

So, Mr. Medved, if you’re checking out this blog, lest you think the last few days represent the entire scope of my work, let me direct you to some of my favorite posts, not only at my own blog, but also at American Thinker and Pajamas Media.

On my blog in the last few weeks:

1.  Is Barack Obama evil? (To which I answer “no.”)

2.  Understanding that Obama seeks a statist government

3.  The New York Times takes off the mask

4.  A couple of thoughts about the American Revolution

Pajamas Media posts:

1.  A San Francisco Bay [Area] Military Recruiter in “Harms Way”

2.  Euro-Snobs Slight American Literature

3.  The Pulitzer Prize Enters the 21st Century (Sort Of)

And a few of my favorite American Thinker articles (with the whole archive list here)

1.  Economically flexible morality

2.  Harry Potter and the War on Terror

3.  Confession of a Crypto-Conservative Woman

To Mr. Medved, I ask that you read my blog.  To my readers, I ask that you read Mr. Medved.

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  • karomon

    “Long time readers will recall my post about the New York Tenement Museum and Iving Berlin, in which I noted that census documents from the Tenement Museum revealed that all of the residents’ descendants, without exception, had moved up the economic ladder.”

    This is not true.

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    Karomon,

    Can you provide data? As for me, my support for that statement is that fact that, when I took the tour at the tenement museum, the tour guide told us that they were able to trace the residents’ descendants by using census data. In all cases, the descendants had climbed up the economic ladder. They weren’t necessarily captains of industry, but they were no longer living in poverty.

  • karomon

    Although the museum has been able to learn about many of the residents of 97 Orchard through census records, birth/death certificates and other legal documents, they have not been able to trace all of their descendants and certainly don’t have records of each of their economic status. To say that all of the descendants of the nearly 7,000 people who lived in 97 Orchard went in one socioeconomic direction – up – seems like an improbable guess. Perhaps your guide meant to say the descendants of the particular family he/she was speaking of rose up.

  • karomon

    I also can’t find the part in the Irving Berlin article where you actually make that statement. Perhaps you are misremembering?

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    Thanks, Karomon. I’ll concede that absence of evidence isn’t evidence of absence, but there is no doubt but that the known data about the immigrants who survived the hell hole of the tenements is that most went up. They did not stagnant, like the generations of Muslim immigrants in German, French or Italian ghettos, who survive on basic government handouts without ever moving up the socioeconomic ladder.

    As for the reference in the Irving Berlin article, you’re right. That article referred to an earlier article I wrote about the Tenement museum, and that’s where I made the point. Sadly, that earlier post seems to have vanished, which may be a by product of the fact that I switched servers three times since I wrote it. Sad too, because it was a pretty good article.

  • Gringo

    Regarding the tenement descendants. How many are still living in tenements on the Lower East Side, at densities that approach Calcutta?

    Not very many, I would wager.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Patience, Gringo, patience!

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    they have not been able to trace all of their descendants and certainly don’t have records of each of their economic status. To say that all of the descendants of the nearly 7,000 people who lived in 97 Orchard went in one socioeconomic direction – up – seems like an improbable guess. Perhaps your guide meant to say the descendants of the particular family he/she was speaking of rose up.

    Perhaps the guide was speaking about the people that were on the census, which while not all, will be more than most.

  • Jamie Irons

    Michael and I were classmates at Yale, and had a number of friends in common.

    He’s a good guy.

    Jamie Irons

  • http://OgBlog.net Earl

    Michael *is* a good guy….but I’ll be particularly impressed when he leaves a comment on this post…..

    You go, BW!!