January 22, 2019

Now Playing

Juliet Naked
(Reviewed September 21, 2018)

An amusing but slight adaptation of a Nick Hornby novel which can laugh at its characters without precluding the possibility that they may laugh at themselves

Won't You Be My Neighbor?
(Reviewed September 20, 2018)

Did Mr Rogers’s extraordinary capacity for love end up producing a generation of haters?

Lady Bird
(Reviewed March 6, 2018)

A delightful and not entirely politically correct movie about growing up as a Catholic schoolgirl in 2002-2003

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
(Reviewed February 22, 2018)

An occasionally amusing parable of guilt and forgiveness whose setting in small-town America, like the prejudices of its author, does it no favors

ENTRY from January 11, 2019

Like many others I have been thrilled by the exchange between Roger Kimball and Jonah Goldberg on the character of President Trump. See here, here and here . But with the greatest humility, I wonder if I might be allowed to interpose a few words on the history of the word "character" which might cast a little light upon the controversy? In Shakespeare, "character," both noun and verb, almost always means handwriting. Orlando in As You Like It says:

O Rosalind! these trees shall be my books,
And in their barks my thoughts I'll character,
That every eye which in this forest looks
Shall see thy virtue witness'd every where.

In Hamlet, Polonius says to Laertes, "And these few precepts in thy memory/Look thou character" — meaning "write down" — while Claudius, in receipt of Hamlet’s letter after his capture by pirates says: "'Tis Hamlet's character." In figurative usage, likewise, the word is ordinarily used to mean something outward and visible in a person which signifies an inward quality: "Angelo," says the Duke in Measure for Measure, "There is a kind of character in thy life,/That to the observer doth thy history/Fully unfold." In Sonnet 59, Shakespeare writes:
  Full Entry

Media MadnessBefore there was Howard Kurtz’s Media Madness, there was mine — now, alas, out of print but still available while supplies last for the cost of shipping and handling. Send $5.99 to me in care of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, 1730 M Street, Suite 910, Washington, D.C. 20036

Honor, A HistoryAlso available, now in paperback and Kindle version, 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

Yet it does fly December 31, 2019.
The media celebrate their election triumph over the Evil One — From The New Criterion of December, 2018 ... Full Article

Civil Was November 30, 2018.
On the media’s, and congressional Democrats’, insatiable appetite for scandal, at least if it involves Republicans — From The New Criterion of November, 2018 ... Full Article

Quid est veritas? October 31, 2018.
"Post truth" as the media’s excuse for being post news — From The New Criterion of October, 2018 ... Full Article

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