June 16, 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 June 11, 2019

If you’re going to write about the multiple tergiversations of Joe Biden over abortion, as I did last week, you’d better rush your copy into print as soon as possible lest it become outdated before anyone can read it. Within 24 hours of my noticing on Thursday his flip-flop-flip over the Hyde Amendment, Mr Biden flopped again, reversing his reversal of his previous reversal and deciding that he was now against the ban on public funding for abortion that he had previously been for — after turning against it once already last month. Or so at least people had supposed before he re-affirmed his support for Hyde on Wednesday. Fortunately, I think I can say that attentive readers will have gathered from my article on the earlier reversal that it wouldn’t surprise me, as indeed it didn’t, when he switched back again on Friday.

Nor, I think I may say now, does it surprise me that in reporting the latest revision of the previous revision of his views, the media chose to ignore all but the most recent of his flip-flops, treating his latest turn against the Hyde Amendment as if it were the only one. "Joe Biden asked for a pen. Then he reversed a position he’d held for four decades," headlined The Washington Post about a position which by my count he had held, most recently, for considerably less than four days. Likewise, The New York Times headlined an analysis piece by Katie Glueck, Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns: "Behind Biden’s Reversal on Hyde Amendment: Lobbying, Backlash and an Ally’s Call." Two days earlier, Ms Glueck had reported that Mr Biden’s re-affirmation of his support for the Amendment on Wednesday, before his de-affirmation on Friday, had been, according to an anonymous campaign official, a result of the candidate’s misunderstanding of a question put to him last month, when he had only claimed to be against the Hyde Amendment because he thought the questioner had been asking not about Hyde but about the Mexico City rule, which prohibits federal aid to overseas organizations for the provision of abortion. That’s no doubt the reason for "reversal," singular.

The Post, too, gave the former vice president a mulligan on his previous volte face, but then added to the confusion by attributing to him, in an op ed by Karen Tumulty, a reversal that he hadn’t made, at least not explicitly, of his claim, along with that of many other Roman Catholic Democrats, of being "personally" opposed to abortion even though he was in favor of its continuing to be legal. "The edges of the debate are being more sharply defined," wrote Ms Tumulty. "When Biden last ran for president a dozen years ago, he boasted of having found a "middle-of-the-road position on abortion." In 2020, he is discovering, such a place no longer exists."
  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

Irony of Ironies May 31, 2019.
A parody of news coverage becomes self-parody and no one seems to notice — From The New Criterion of May, 2019 ... Full Article

Avenging reality May 7, 2019.
Isn’t the fantasy craze, now more than 40 years old and crazier than ever, just a little bit, um, childish? — From The Washington Examiner of May 7, 2019 ... Full Article

Make-believe worlds April 30, 2019.
Nowadays it takes Fake News to make news — From The New Criterion of April, 2019 ... Full Article

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