Gonging Mick Jagger

Written by Taki on . Posted in Miscellaneous, Posts.

Call it
the Taki curse–I did, after all, ask for his arrest in last week’s
column–but happiness is waking up in rainy London and reading in the Herald
that the former chief executive of ImClone Systems Inc. has been
arrested by the FBI and charged with conspiracy to commit securities fraud.
Hear, hear!

In my opinion,
Sam Waksal’s crimes are much more than insider trading and
off family members and other unidentified persons in Florida to dump the stock.
From the start there was a plan to promote Erbitux, an experimental cancer drug,
to drive up the stock price. This is medieval cruelty against cancer sufferers
practiced by an unscrupulous Waksal family eager to join the celebrity caviar-and-champagne
crowd. What worries me is that some dumb prosecutor will make a weak government
case against the legal eagles the disgusting Waksal is sure to hire. This is
what’s wrong with democracy. Too many rich crooks beat the rap. The Waksals
should be forced to return all their ill-gotten gains, every single penny, and
then do some quality jail time "pour encourager les autres,"
as Monsieur Voltaire insisted. If Waksal gets away with it, and gets to keep
most of his moolah, it will give the kind of signal Wall Street can do without,
especially after the excesses of the 90s. For once I’m rooting for the
government. If Devil’s Island existed and I were a judge, that’s where
Waksal would end up, but, alas, those good old days are gone forever. (I wonder
if Mick Jagger and Martha Stewart are still eager to be photographed with the

And speaking
of Mick Jagger, the British press, the yellowest in Europe, has gone ape over
a report that the aging rocker will become Sir Mick. For any of you who may
be unfamiliar with the British honours system (I spell it the English way),
they are referred to as gongs, and are awarded to all and sundry, from the powerful
such as newspaper proprietors and editors, to the rich, who receive their titles
in exchange for contributing to party funds, down to civil servants who somehow
advance up the slippery pole regardless of who is in power. There are also honours
given to the teaching and medical professions, and to those who work for charities.

Since Tony
Blair became prime minister in 1997, he has shamelessly ennobled some pretty
shady people who have stuffed Labour’s coffers, but he is not the first
to do it. Lloyd George, the Welsh windbag, was as bad as the lying Tony Blair.
Although the Queen hands out the gongs, it is on the recommendation of the prime
minister, and giving a knighthood to such a controversial figure as Jagger will
make the honours system seem more "cool" in the eyes of a younger
generation. The award is further proof, if any were needed, of the Blair government’s
pathetic attempts to win votes by schmoozing pop idols and soap opera stars
while Britain’s education system, healthcare and transport slide even further
into Third World decay.

Now for
the controversy. The chief objection to Jagger’s becoming Sir Mick is his
checkered past, which includes an arrest for drugs, a brief imprisonment, a
noted lack of eagerness to pay too much tax to Her majesty’s Treasury and
a failure to devote himself to good works. In fact, a hagiographer of the Rolling
Stones, Philip Norman, went so far as to call the knighting of Jagger a disgrace
and a travesty. "Indeed, in the whole field of pop stardom, I can think
of no one who less deserves such an honor." The reason for this is Jagger’s
lack of social conscience and patriotism. Whereas Elton John and Cliff Richard,
both knights, continued to live in Britain and pay punitive taxes, Jagger had
become a tax exile by the early 70s. A notorious tightwad, Mick has never parted
with a substantial amount of money despite the fact he has fathered many children
with various women. No one gets rich from getting laid by Jagger, goes the saying
among those in the know, not even if they produce a meal ticket.

during the 90s, while writing a column for the Sunday Times in London,
I began a campaign for Jackie Stewart to receive a knighthood. Jackie had not
only won three Formula I world championships in a British car, he had spent
the last quarter century working for charitable causes. When I spoke to a Tory
government minister who was a friend of mine and inquired why Jackie had been
left off the list, he told me it was because of his having moved to Geneva.
When Jackie chose Geneva, the taxes in Britain were confiscatory, and although
he risked his life daily–many grand prix drivers back then died horrible
and fiery deaths–his profits were minimal compared to today. Finally, a
couple of years ago, after Jackie moved back to England, he got his gong, 25
years too late as far as I’m concerned.

however, continues to be a tax exile, and has never done a single thing for
charity. This is the media’s opinion, not mine, because although I think
all pop stars are clowns, and the honours system completely debased by the politicians,
whether Jagger is Sir Mick or just plain Mick could not interest me less. Inherited
titles, which represent tradition and continuity, not to mention responsibility,
are a different matter altogether, but I’ll talk about that some other
time. What amazes me is the time and newspaper space wasted on whether or not
Jagger will get his gong. As one headline put it, "He’s a self-centered,
philandering, drugtaking, ex-jailbird tax exile whose whole life has been devoted
to the pursuit of pleasure…all in all, the perfect credentials for a Blair
honor." Close, but no cigar. Thank God I’m not self-centered, or a
tax exile, otherwise it could have been little old me they were referring to.

Did I say
I was not self-centered? As Keith Kelly has blown my cover–how does he
find out these things?–and published it in the New York Post last
week, yes, Pat Buchanan, Scott McConnell and I are starting a national fortnightly
in the autumn called The American Conservative. Our motto is that we
are traditional conservatives mugged by the neocons. For Christ’s sake,
Pat, Scott and I were conservatives when the Podhoretzes of this world were
schmoozing Uncle Joe Stalin. Who the hell is William Kristol anyway, to tell
people like Pat and me how we should think? Kristol is an ambitious careerist
who would be on the left of Alex Cockburn if the wind were blowing thataway.

The real
conservatives are people like Bill Buckley, Pat, Scott, Joe Sobran, Peter Brimelow,
George Szamuely and countless others whom the neocons have shut out because
we refuse to take orders from opportunists and turncoats. I hope all of you
out there follow our progress–it’s going to be a tough fight.

And while
I’m at it, I read in "MUGGER" that Matt Drudge has dropped his
column and mine. What the hell was that all about? I named him columnist of
the year, and he drops my column because this Signorile fellow fights with fellow
gays? What do I have to do with gay cat fights?

Come on,
Matt, put us back tout de suite, both MUGGER and the poor little Greek boy,
who will be much poorer as soon as TAC starts to publish.