Oh, how embarrassing this must be for you

Then again, this is just another day at the office for Mark Steyn. Over a week after many web sites (including this one, damnum absque injuria and snopes) debunked the German unemployed to the brothel story, Mark Steyn is the latest to enter the race in what may well turn out to be one of the most (ab)used urban legend of the year so far. As we would expect of Steyn, he cranks up the hack-o-meter:

Here are three small news items from around the world you might have missed:

1) An unemployed waitress in Berlin faces the loss of her welfare benefits after refusing a job as a prostitute in a legalized brothel. […]

A trio of itsy-bitsy little stories from the foot of page 27 of your daily paper, if they made it at all. But they’re as revealing about the course of the war as anything going on in Iraq.

Yes, there’s nothing like an urban legend involving a woman being forced to prostitute herself to enlighten us about how things are going in Iraq. Nothing at all!

The waitress forced into prostitution by the government pimp is, at one level, merely an example of the unintended consequences that follow every legislative initiative. But, at another, it’s the logical reductio of the modern secular welfare state. Like all those European utopias John Kerry wants America to be more like, Germany has a permanently high unemployment rate

Steyn shows his talent by leaping from urban legend to plain lying. Those EU utopias who all have high unemployment rates in common?

In December 2004, the lowest rates were registered in Ireland (4.3%), Luxembourg (4.4%), Austria (4.5%), the
United Kingdom (4.6% in October) and the Netherlands (4.7% in November).

Denmark? 5.1%. Sweden? 6.4%. Portugal? 6.7%. (PDF link)

When the Germans legalized their whorehouses, they thought it showed how relaxed and enlightened they were. The al-Qaida types take a different line: They think it’s a sign that the West is decadent and weak and cannot survive. And they have a point: The government forcing women into prostitution is merely the latest example of the internal contradictions of the modern secular state.

Yes, the latest example… of something preposterous:

Mr Perkins: This is preposterous!
Headmaster: Yes, it is. Or at least, it would be…if it were true.
Mr Perkins: …What?
Headmaster: I’ve been joking, Mr Perkins. Pardon me, it’s my strange academic sense of humour. I’ve been pulling your leg.
Mr Perkins: Oh, thank God!
Headmaster: I wouldn’t cancel afternoon school to bury that little shit!

Who will be next to fall victim to this urban legend? Only the shadow knows.

Thanks to Harry H. for the link.


Comments: 23


The al-Qaida types take a different line: They think it’s a sign that the West is decadent and weak and cannot survive. And they have a point…

Wait, did he just say that they have a point? Did he just agreee with al-Qaida?? Is he attempting to “understand” their “motives” rather than blindly hate them for blindly hating us??? Isn’t that against the hack code of ethics?

I’m so lost… so confused…


Well, that assumes that Steyn is actually capable of feeling shame…


Is this the same Mark Steyn who posts articles on Jen Shroder’s website??


Oh, we haven’t heard the last of the unemployed-German-woman-forced-into-prostition story. Ignorant and/or dishonest hacks will use it for years to come. I still see references to Al Gore’s “inventing” the internet, or, my favorite, the “look for the union label” jingle sung as a lullaby, even though he was 27 when it was written!


What? German woman forced into prostitution to get off unemployment? They have it easy. It could have been worse. They could have been forced to ask softball questions of Bush and Scottie at the WhiteCrib House press conferences.


Darn skippy, Davis. We’re dreading Thanksgiving because conservative relatives will be sure to drag out the Frankenhooker story to reprimand us for socialist tendencies.


Over at the Corner, a reader pointed Jonah to the Snopes rebuttal of this story, which he posted. And then Jonah posted a bunch of emails from other readers which said, basically, “While a German woman may not have actually been denied unemployment benefits because she wouldn’t work in a legal brother, it COULD have happened, and therefore it’s even truer than if it really happened. Besides, Snopes is a liberal site, and so it can’t be trusted. Hey, look out behind you, a man with a hook!”


Brother, brothel — basically the same thing too.


Can’t this be used technically to flag those comment weblogs which are wholly without merit or truth?

Not that the name “Mark Steyn” isn’t a pretty good flag, too.

Every time I see his name I fear that someone will think he’s South African and blame us . . .


The third item in his list

“3) Seventeen-year-old Jeffrey Eden of Charlestown, R.I., has been awarded an A by his teacher and the ‘Silver Key’ in the Rhode Island Scholastic Art Awards for a diorama titled ‘Bush/Hitler and How History Repeats Itself.’

I can’t find an original reference for this. It’s all ‘How can the left compare Bush to Hitler?’ So, is there an original article regarding Jeffery? Or is this another case of the twat “Making shit up?”

-Bob From Alaska


it seems that it came from the Providence Journal, Feb 8th, but it is the only cite that I can find.


Steyn is an idiot. Not only was he publishing urban legend as truth, but he even got the origin of a quote wrong in his article. He wrote, “As Queen Victoria is said to have advised her daughter on her wedding night, lie back and think of England.” I’ll leave aside the matter of him supposedly quoting someone without using quotation marks (that’s some poor editing job), but the quote is not attributed correctly to Queen Victoria. The origin of that phrase is attributed to Lady Alice Hillingdon, wife of 2nd Baron Hillingdon, 1912. The actual quote is, “I am happy now that George calls on my bedchamber less frequently than of old. As it is, I now endure but two calls a week, and when I hear his steps outside my door I lie down on my bed, close my eyes, open my legs and think of England.”

One would hope the Sun Times could afford a fact-checker. As it is, I guess they feel they can go without checking anything for accuracy or veracity.


“The government forcing women into prostitution is merely the latest example of the internal contradictions of the modern secular state.”

They don’t dun got Jeebus so they don’t dun got no morals. Now where’s my shotgun and my sister-daughter?! I feel like doin’ me sum target practice, right after I’m dun watchin “The Swan.”


Hey, why not? They were still pushing the story over at The Corner on the same day.


Oh Lordy, I think it’s too late! Prostitution is OK now. Bush has blessed it in his own (White) house, as Davis pointed out.
Oh wait, we’re still OK–that’s just gay male prostitution that Bush likes. Whew, close one. We almost let down our protection of the honor of our wimmin.


Holy crap. Sorry, I’m still boggling over this clown saying “Al-Queda has a point about secularism being bad.” Whose side are these right wing idiots on again?


Holy crap. Sorry, I’m still boggling over this clown saying “Al-Queda has a point about secularism being bad.” Whose side are these right wing idiots on again?


I’m with Hector. Where’s the outrage from the Right? Where’s the post from Instahack about this being the “New Face of the Right”? Huh? Huh?

Yeah, I know. IOKIYAR.


i don’t get it? are prostitutes good or bad? or is it only gay male reporter prostitutes that are ok?


Ah, this one is rich. Speaking of Germanic hookers, see what the long-haired blonde has to say: http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/coulter1.asp


I read the LGF site about Eden’s project. I think its hilarious how all those fundies are bashing this kid and saying he has a “nazi fetish.”

The kid doesn’t LIKE Hitler, he only made a comparison of two figures, he in no way expressed admiration or glorification of what they did.

“Would he have gotten an A if his project compared Saddam and Hitler instead?” Jeeze! You think everyone’s out to opress you… you also think the jews control the banks.

When the majority of the country is white christian-republican, your use of the “opression card” just makes you look like morons.


In reply to Lady Hillingdon comment
Sorry guys but this is completely inaccurate firstly Lady Hillingdon was married to Charles william mills secondly, there is absolutely no evidence it was her words as nothing survives stating this fact. Her diary does not survive and neither do any witnesses to this comment, so kindly tell me where your facts were assertained


Come on now Tim, he did in fact get one of his comments right he said that

Lady Alice Hillingdon, wife of 2nd Baron Hillingdon,

Charles William Mills is was the 2nd Baron Hillingdon….. I dont know where they got 1912 from as they married in 1896.

I know there your Great Grandparents Tim but, you have to admit he did get part right




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