July 4, 2015

Now Playing

(Reviewed August 29, 2014)

A portrait of modern sanctity which — very oddly, in my view — asks not to be taken too seriously

(Reviewed August 27, 2014)

The movie it took twelve years to make — about a childhood that appears to be taking much, much longer

America: Imagine the World Without Her
(Reviewed July 31, 2014)

Another foray by Dinesh D’Souza into the lists in order to break a lance on President Obama — and Howard Zinn. At least the latter is effectively unhorsed.

(Reviewed June 30, 2014)

An austerely beautiful film by the Anglo-Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski that could hardly be a greater departure from his earlier My Summer of Love

ENTRY from July 3, 2015

Hillary Clinton came to Northern Virginia, where I live, the other day and addressed what The Washington Post described as "a crowd of several thousand Democrats" at George Mason University. "Several," as we learned a few lines further down, meant two — although the Patriot Center where she spoke can hold ten. Thousands, that is. This is not a traditional meaning of the word "several," but then the article’s author, Rachel Weiner, was obviously getting into the spirit of the occasion, which was decidedly anti-traditional.

In fact, the point of it seems to have been to give Mrs Clinton an opportunity to try out her new campaign theme. This could be summed up in her clever characterization of the Republican opposition as "the party of the past." And what red-blooded, future-hugging American would want to vote for that? It was a confirmation, really, of what we could already have divined from Mrs Clinton’s deliberate move away from the Democratic centrism of her husband to occupy as much as possible of the territory of the progressive left before Bernie Sanders or Martin O’Malley or Elizabeth Warren could take it away from her.

Actually, there have been times in American history when Republicans would have been glad to claim the title of "the party of the past." Warren Harding’s victorious 1920 campaign on the theme of a "return to normalcy" comes to mind. Now Mrs Clinton appears to be betting all her political hopes that 2016 will not be like 1920 and that the American appetite for "change" after eight years of it under President Obama will remain unslaked. That her speech was given on the same day that the Supreme Court handed down its decision on same-sex marriage — a change she and her audience seemed to feel particularly pleased about — may have contributed to her confidence in this line of attack.  Full Entry

Media MadnessMy book Media Madness, is available for order from Encounter Books. Less a polemic than an attempt to understand the origins of the mass media’s folie de grandeur, the book is a warning even to those who are deserting the big networks, newsweeklies and large-circulation dailies not to carry with them into the more attractive world of niche media the undisciplined habits of thought that the old media culture has given rise to. To order this book, click here.

Honor, A HistoryAlso available, now in paperback, 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

All the latest fashions May 31, 2015.
Isn’t it enough for us to concede that you’re more hip than we are? Must you be more moral too? — From The New Criterion of May, 2015 ... Full Article

Scandal, or lack thereof April 30, 2015.
The media’s appetite for scandal is scandalously limited to only one side of the political divide — From The New Criterion of April, 2015 ... Full Article

The irony of p.c. March 31, 2015.
What do Jonathan Chait, Rotherham borough counsellors and the French Revolution have in common? — From The New Criterion of March, 2015 ... Full Article

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