The Florida Project
(Reviewed November 17, 2017)
A child’s-eye view, and therefore a rather amusing treatment, of social pathologies that are, in reality, not at all amusing
(Reviewed October 12, 2017)
Ben Stiller is at his best when playing unlikeable characters. He shouldn’t be trying to soften them and make them more likeable.
(Reviewed July 28, 2017)
A great movie as spectacle, though also an illustration of the limits of spectacle
The Wedding Plan
(Reviewed June 2, 2017)
An amusing fairy tale that sometimes flirts with over-seriousness
A propos of the media’s on-going épuration légale of sexual malefactors in their midst, thoughtful articles in the mainstream media themselves are beginning to appear, like crocuses opening up in spring while still half buried in snow, which propose, or at least imply, that — in the words of one of them for the Washington Post by Christine Emba, former Hilton Kramer fellow at The New Criterion — we "rethink sex." What at first glance may seem to be one such has popped up in the "Fashion & Style" section of yesterday’s New York Times. In "Pinups in the Post-Weinstein World" Vanessa Friedman wonders about the prospective TV and online viewing figures for the up-coming Victoria’s Secret fashion show and what is apparently a similar event, from the British online magazine "Love," billing itself as "a video Advent calendar" but replacing religious iconography with young women in various stages of undress. Last year’s figures, she writes,
ENTRY from December 1, 2017
are far and away the largest numbers of viewers who come to either brand, and among the largest numbers of viewers attached to a fashion event of any sort. There’s a clear business imperative for the undress-for-success concept. But in the current cultural climate, where powerful men are tumbling like bowling pins because of bad behavior that has its roots in the objectification of women, what about the moral imperative? What fantasy, exactly, is all this feeding?
Hm. It’s a puzzle, isn’t it? And yet, it seems, "the issue of the pinup in a post-Weinstein world is more complicated than it may first appear." Wouldn’t you just know it?
My 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.
Also 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.
New directions in scandalology.
December 31, 2018.
On the usefulness of the concept of "intersectionality" to produce scandal, or eliminate it, according to the media’s requirements — From The New Criterion of December, 2017 ...
December 4, 2017.
Misfits, morals, and bourgeois norms — From The Weekly Standard of December 4, 2017 ...
Spate of Hate.
November 30, 2017.
Is it "outrage" that America’s media, both amateur and professional, are addicted to? Or is it self-righteousness? — From The New Criterion of November, 2017 ...