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Monday
August 31, 2015


Now Playing

Calvary
(Reviewed August 29, 2014)

A portrait of modern sanctity which — very oddly, in my view — asks not to be taken too seriously

Boyhood
(Reviewed August 27, 2014)

The movie it took twelve years to make — about a childhood that appears to be taking much, much longer

America: Imagine the World Without Her
(Reviewed July 31, 2014)

Another foray by Dinesh D’Souza into the lists in order to break a lance on President Obama — and Howard Zinn. At least the latter is effectively unhorsed.

Ida
(Reviewed June 30, 2014)

An austerely beautiful film by the Anglo-Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski that could hardly be a greater departure from his earlier My Summer of Love

Diary
ENTRY from August 20, 2015

According to The New York Times, "State by State, [the] Democratic Party Is Erasing Ties to Jefferson and Jackson." I’d have thought that "ties" were things to be "cut" rather than "erased," but it turns out that "erased" in the once-favored etymological sense of "rooted up" is what the headline writer meant.

For nearly a century, Democrats have honored two men as the founders of their party: Thomas Jefferson, for his visionary expression of the concept of equality, and Andrew Jackson, for his populist spirit and elevation of the common man. Political candidates and activists across the country have flocked to annual Jefferson-Jackson Day dinners, where speeches are given, money is raised, and the party celebrates its past and its future. But these time-honored rituals are colliding with a modern Democratic Party more energized by a desire for racial and gender inclusion than reverence for history. And state by state, Democratic activists are removing the names of Jefferson and Jackson from party gatherings, saying the two men no longer represent what it means to be a Democrat.

On the face of it, this exercise in forgetting is absurd. Because your ex-heroes didn’t do a couple of centuries ago everything that’s on your agenda today are they not only to be demoted from hero-status but treated as if they had done nothing? They didn’t know and could not have foreseen what your agenda today would be! Can you get more blinkered and arrogant than this in your attitude to the past?
  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

A Ghost’s Lament July 27, 2015.
The collision at the corner of Language and Politics — From The Weekly Standard of July 27, 2015 ... Full Article

Cuddlers and cutthroats June 30, 2015.
Sentimental but ruthless, the politics of grievance carries the day — From The New Criterion of June, 2015 ... Full Article

All the latest fashions May 31, 2015.
Isn’t it enough for us to concede that you’re more hip than we are? Must you be more moral too? — From The New Criterion of May, 2015 ... Full Article

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