April 21, 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 April 16, 2019

As the author of a book about honor  I claim a certain standing to comment on Bret Stephens’s column in The New York Times  attempting to draw a contrast between the late Charles Van Doren, a man who was publicly shamed for his participation in the quiz show cheating scandal of 60 years ago, and (who else?) Donald Trump. The column is headed “Trump and the Annihilation of Shame” presumably because he thinks our president can be blamed for that “attempted annihilation” — along, of course, with many, many other things. And yet he also shows that he knows the death of shame long antedates the administration of the current chief executive:

Had Van Doren come along a few decades later, there would have been no big scandal in fabricating reality and no great shame in participating in it. The lines between fame and infamy would have blurred, and both could be monetized. Personal disgrace might have been explained away as a form of victimization by a greedy corporation, an unloving parent, systemic social forces — or with the claim, possibly true, that nearly everybody does it.

But then there is this weaselly transition:
  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

Geography Lessons February 28, 2019.
On the media’s new gold-rush for the homeland (or paydirt) of truth in our post-truth era — From The New Criterion of February, 2019 ... Full Article

Twilight of the Unwoke Guys January 31, 2019.
Once again, for some reason, it’s time to reassess the Clinton legacy — From The New Criterion of January, 2019 ... Full Article

The Progressive Advocacy of Tribal Honor January 19, 2019.
Something that honor and democracy have in common is that they don’t work on a supranational scale. The largest possible democracy takes place at the level of the nation-state: beyond that, as the experience of the EU shows, there is only unaccountable bureaucracy — from Quadrant, Volume LXIII, Number 1-2, No. 553 (Jan-Feb,  ... Full Article

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