August 31, 2016

Now Playing

Florence Foster Jenkins
(Reviewed August 19, 2016)

A bittersweet but well-executed comedy to which there is much more than may at first appear.

Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party
(Reviewed August 18, 2016)

If this is how both sides in America have decided to do politics in the age of Trump, there’s not much point finding fault, is there?

Captain Fantastic
(Reviewed July 27, 2016)

A movie to promote the self-conceit of ageing hippies left behind by "history"

Hunt for the Wilderpeople
(Reviewed July 12, 2016)

A funny-serious adventure in the photogenic New Zealand wilderness that, like the author’s Boy has coming-of-age pretensions

ENTRY from August 30, 2016

In yesterday’s New York Times, Neil MacFarquhar explained how Russia has been seeking to advance Vladimir Putin’s agenda by using both its own, government controlled media outlets — the Sputnik news agency and the RT (or "Russia Today") TV channel — and false rumors planted on and spread by social media. In Sweden, for example, there is thought to have been a Russian attempt to short-circuit national debate about that country’s joining NATO by much posted but completely untrue stories about nuclear weapons on Swedish soil or the immunity from local prosecution of NATO soldiers from other countries in Sweden.

Citing the authority of unnamed "experts, Mr MacFarquhar wrote that "the fundamental purpose of dezinformatsiya, or Russian disinformation. . . is to undermine the official version of events — even the very idea that there is a true version of events — and foster a kind of policy paralysis." Sounds pretty bad, right?

The flow of misleading and inaccurate stories is so strong that both NATO and the European Union have established special offices to identify and refute disinformation, particularly claims emanating from Russia. The Kremlin’s clandestine methods have surfaced in the United States, too, American officials say, identifying Russian intelligence as the likely source of leaked Democratic National Committee emails that embarrassed Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.  Full Entry

Media MadnessMy book Media Madness, is available for order from Encounter Books. Less a polemic than an attempt to understand the origins of the mass media’s folie de grandeur, the book is a warning even to those who are deserting the big networks, newsweeklies and large-circulation dailies not to carry with them into the more attractive world of niche media the undisciplined habits of thought that the old media culture has given rise to. To order this book, click here.

Honor, A HistoryAlso available, now in paperback, is Honor, A History, which was first published in 2006. A study of Western cultural artifacts, from the epics of Homer to the movies and TV shows of today, it is focused on explaining why Western ideas of honor developed so differently from those elsewhere — and especially from the savage honor cultures of the Islamic world. The book then goes on to trace the collapse and ultimate rejection of the old Western honor culture from World War I until the present day and to suggest the conditions that would have to prevail for its revival.

Recent Articles

House of Cads August 30, 2016.
The ladies and gentlemen have long since left the building — From The New Criterion of June, 2016 ... Full Article

Master of Suspense June 7, 2016.
Hitchcock made the movies and the movies made post-modernism — from The Claremont Review of Books, Winter 2015/16 ... Full Article

Scandals and Experts May 31, 2016.
What if the Trumpists’ much-mentioned grievance is not so much their own misfortunes as the insufferable self-righteousness of their supposed betters? — From The New Criterion of May, 2016 ... Full Article

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