Ben Stein's Diary

Feeling the Heat

It tires and dizzies perception.

By 5.15.14


We are having a super heat wave here in L.A. That’s rare. We have a mild climate and heat like this is a stunner. I did the only thing I could do, which was to lie in bed in my air-cooled Garage Mahal with Julie and JoJo while Alex did some charity work.

It was pretty close to perfect lying there with those hounds. I get more pleasure from my Julie and my JoJo than from virtually anything else in life. It is supernatural.

After a couple of hours of sleep, I got up and wrote about the trend toward “Thoughtcrime” in American law. That’s punishing people for their thoughts and private conversations, not for any action. That’s what’s being done to Donald Sterling and it’s terrifying. Pure Stalinist, National Socialist thought control.

My pal, Phil DeMuth, reminded me at lunch today that in Eurasia, under IngSoc, there were no laws. The Thought Police could punish anything. That’s where we are heading.

After I wrote, I swam in our pool. It was getting to be evening and the smell of jasmine was luring me back into happiness. Forget Orwell. Smell the jasmine. I threw the ball for Julie, sometimes threw it short, and watched Julie swim for it.

This is great stuff. There is no better life than this. Sleeping with the dogs, thinking Deep Thoughts, swimming in a bubble of warm water and jasmine. Can’t touch this.

Today was not as good. It started off with my driver being hysterical because my agent had written the wrong flight number on my itinerary. His hysteria made me hysterical. Al, our trusty greeter at LAX, straightened it all out. Quality problems.

On the flight to DFW, I read an incredibly strange article by a scholarly couple named Thernstrom about the great success of school integration in the sixty years since Brown v. Board of Education. I was literally gasping at how out of touch with reality the article was. A super-polite middle-aged man next to me asked me what was bothering me so much. I showed him the piece and he dutifully read it. He laughed out loud.

“School desegregation had to happen,” he said. “It was just too insulting to blacks to have them go to horrible beaten up schools while white kids went to nice schools nearby. It had to end.”

“Agreed,” said I.

“But it’s been a total catastrophe. It’s demolished the public schools everywhere in America. Especially when busing started in the ’70s, public education simply was wiped out.”

“That’s going way too far,” I said.

“Really? The black kids are not learning and the white kids don’t go to public schools anymore in places where they’re likely to go to school with blacks. So, who was helped? No one. Now we basically have ceased to have functioning public education in racially mixed areas and it’s getting worse, not better, as the number of white kids in existence goes towards zero and the blacks and Hispanics grow exponentially. So, chicken and egg? Isn’t it at least possible that integration, along with the pill, made white people stop having babies, and who does this help?”

This guy was a bit too wacky for me so I politely told him I had to sleep. Still, what he said was not wholly devoid of meriting thought.

Upsetting thought.

I got wildly sick to my stomach on the flight from DFW to Tampa. My driver got amazingly lost going to the Hilton and took us over an immense bridge we were not supposed to be on. When I got to the hotel there was no room service.

But Dagen McDowell was on Fox being very funny, and my air-conditioning works great and I am happy again.

But if Brown v. Bd. of Education was a failure… it’s really too horrible to contemplate. It just can’t be right. My seatmate must be insane. Or else it’s the end of America. That cannot be. He just has to be wrong and I am only thinking about it because I’m so tired.

Good night.

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About the Author

Ben Stein is a writer, actor, economist, and lawyer living in Beverly Hills and Malibu. He writes "Ben Stein's Diary" for every issue of The American Spectator.