November 21, 2017

Now Playing

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

Brad's Status
(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

ENTRY from November 20, 2017

The cynicism is breath-taking — which must mean that it is quite unconscious. That’s what the hyper-partisanship of our government-by-scandal media culture has done to its most enthusiastic participants. Just look at the column in The New York Times by Michelle Goldberg headed: “I Believe Juanita.”

In this #MeToo moment, when we’re reassessing decades of male misbehavior and turning open secrets into exposes, we should look clearly at the credible evidence that Juanita Broaddrick told the truth when she accused Clinton of raping her. But revisiting the Clinton scandals in light of today’s politics is complicated as well as painful. Democrats are guilty of apologizing for Clinton when they shouldn’t have. At the same time, looking back at the smear campaign against the Clintons shows we can’t treat the feminist injunction to “believe women” as absolute. Writing at Crooked.com, Brian Beutler warns that in future elections, right-wing propaganda will exploit the progressive commitment to always taking sexual abuse charges seriously. It’s easy to imagine an outlet like Breitbart leveraging the “believe women” rallying cry to force mainstream media coverage of dubious accusations.

They are “dubious,” that is, because they are made against people whom those on their side find it politically imperative to protect, as they no longer do the Clintons. The insouciance with which, like Mr Beutler, Ms Goldberg simply assumes that accusations of sexual harassment, assault or other misbehavior are to be judged according to their political usefulness or otherwise is so shameless that she can hardly be aware of her own bad faith, presumably because she shares it with so many others on the left.
  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

Right side vs. white side October 31, 2017.
History is history no more, unless it is in the service of some ideology — From The New Criterion of October, 2017 ... Full Article

Decency for Deplorables September 30, 2017.
Only the media could fail to see the comedy in their setting themselves up as the arbiters of decency ... Full Article

Fantasia on a Theme September 18, 2017.
Ordinary delusions and the madness of crowds in Kurt Andersen's unreal America — From The Weekly Standard of September 18, 2017 ... Full Article

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