September 17, 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 August 13, 2019

It used to be that ideological struggle was pretty straightforward. One lot of people had a theory about how the world works, and how it ought to work, which it sought to impose upon the world or some part of it either by democratic persuasion or by revolutionary force while another lot of people wishing to preserve the status quo, more or less, tried either to debunk the first lot’s theory or to substitute for it a theory of its own. However much they hated each other, both sides found it natural to assume good faith on the part of the other in proposing what it actually wished to accomplish.

It doesn’t work like that anymore. Now the ideologues hardly mention their own theory, apart from specific measures they wish to see enacted. Rather, they try to establish as indisputable fact that the ideology of the other side, even if it makes no claim to any ideology, isn’t really what it believes at all. Through the use of what they regard as a decoding, they are able to attribute to those who oppose them such pre-discredited ideologies as Naziism, fascism or "white supremacism" in the teeth of their vehement denials that they believe any such thing.

Now when someone calls you a Nazi or a fascist or a white supremacist it is not an invitation to debate. It signals the end of debate, just as it does if someone calls you a liar. To deny that you are a liar is in a way to confirm that you are one, since this is just what a liar would do, and it is the same with Naziism, fascism or white supremacism, now that these ideologies have been definitively discredited. Back in the days when such an accusation — whether or not it was itself truthful — dishonored a man, they recognized that there was only one way to answer it and so wipe away the stain of dishonor: to challenge the accuser to mortal combat.
  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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