February 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 February 13, 2019

It amused me the other day to hear a radio report of a town hall meeting in my Virginia town about the Ralph Northam scandal — once, when a medical student, the governor appears to have condoned the wearing of blackface by white college boys — in which one of the participants claimed to have been "embarrassed to be a Virginian." I very much doubt that the gentleman would have said such a thing if the guilty governor had been a Republican. You can only be embarrassed by the behavior of others when you are related to them or are otherwise connected in such a way that their behavior reflects on you. What the gentleman must have meant was that he was embarrassed to be a Virginia Democrat, for how can you be embarrassed by someone you regard as other — which is how most Democrats seem to regard Republicans these days?

If Governor Northam had done something he regarded as laudable, would that have made town-hall guy proud to be a Virginian? Again, I doubt it. Only Democrats and those who voted with them would be entitled to share in Northam-glory, but Northam-shame is supposed to touch all Virginians merely because they live in the same state? I certainly don’t feel embarrassed to be a Virginian, even though the governor is also a declared advocate of infanticide. That would make me ashamed to be a Democrat, if I were a Democrat — but then it’s also a big part of the reason I’m not a Democrat. Yet town-hall guy didn’t mention that as any reason for embarrassment, presumably because there are lots of Democrats who are pro-infanticide, but few to none who are pro-blackface.

Maybe I’ve just grown used to living in a town where a majority of my fellow citizens vote for the pro-infanticide party, either because they’re pro-infanticide themselves or because they don’t think infanticide is any big deal, but it doesn’t embarrass me to have such friends and neighbors. You can’t be scandalized by someone who holds a moral opinion that is so widely shared, just as you can’t, now, not be scandalized by someone who "blacks up" (as they used quaintly to put it), even though it was no big deal as recently as thirty or forty years ago, because literally no one thinks it OK — or at least no one will admit to thinking so.
  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

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

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

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