May 24, 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 May 2, 2019

The biggest mistake conservatives make is to suppose that Democrats control the media. In fact, the power relationship is the other way around: the media control the Democrats. That, I would argue is the legacy of Watergate. Since then, the media’s self-conceit that they brought down the Nixon presidency, though not quite true, has been true enough for them to reap the benefit and, with it, the right to lead the Democratic caucus when in opposition. That’s why the opposition has so often taken the uniquely media-friendly form of what Bill Clinton once called “the politics of personal destruction” — and Oliver North, before him, called “the criminalization of policy differences.”

The result has been that the media have also, to a greater or lesser extent, damaged or destroyed all subsequent presidencies as well — except that of President Obama, who was so far their creature as to make plausible Joe Biden’s boast that his administration was scandal-free. Of course the former vice-president is himself little more than a media sock-puppet, so he naturally adopts the media’s point of view, which is that scandal can only be what they say it is. With that power in their pocket they could make anyone scandal free, even Joe himself who doubtless looks for similar treatment to that of his former boss as a reward for being so compliant.

At any rate, he is already getting it. Just look at today’s New York Times headline: “Biden Faces Conflict of Interest Questions That Are Being Promoted by Trump and Allies.” In that sentence,“That Are Being Promoted by Trump and Allies” is what, if you are as old as I am, your English teacher used to call a “restrictive” or a “defining” relative clause — which means that the “Questions” in question are not, in the headline writer’s view (or, by implication, that of the article itself) real Questions, Questions independent of who is raising them, which would otherwise be an incidental matter. No, they are only “Trump and Allies” Questions — “Promoted” in their own interest rather than raised, as decent folks would raise them, and therefore safely to be disregarded by all right-thinking Times readers. These need only to be told that those dastardly Republicans have now stooped so low as to try to tar with scandal one belonging to the apodictically scandal-free party.
  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

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

Not the Same as Shame March 31, 2019.
On the comforts of ideology, for its true believers, as an infallible prophylactic against embarrassment — from The New Criterion of March, 2019 ... Full Article

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