Cultural Appropriation, Hamilton Edition

Featured image As you know, the latest campus left outrage is “cultural appropriation,” i.e., such as when gringos (can white people use that word, or do we need permission from La Raza?) dress in sombreros and ponchos to mark Cinco de Mayo or some other recognition of Mexican culture. As you may also know, the hottest play on Broadway right now is “Hamilton,” in which a largely African-American and Hispanic cast dresses »

Why lie?

Featured image In his interview with Norah O’Donnell for 60 Minutes last week, Vice President Biden said this when asked to comment on Donald Trump: The one thing I do — I’m disappointed in Donald Trump. I know what a showman and all that he is. But I really don’t think it’s healthy and I hope he reconsiders this sort of attack on all immigrants. I think that is beneath the country. »

Understanding the zombie apocalypse

Featured image Paul Cantor is Clifton Waller Barrett Professor at the University of Virginia. He is a scholar who loves and venerates Shakespeare along with American popular culture, which makes perfect sense if you think about it. In his most recent Conversation (video below, about 90 minutes), Bill Kristol sits down with Professor Cantor for an extended discussion of American popular culture. The video is broken into six chapters hereIf you want »

Power Line’s Compleat Guide to Aquatic-Assisted Childbrith

Featured image For a coastal Californian, it borders on cultural negligence that I have not noticed before now the fad of dolphin-assisted childbirth. Yes—it’s a real thing among the sufi-yogan new age crystal-gazing gluten-conscious set. Apparently some devotees of this method believe that newborns will be acquire an innate ability to understand and communicate with dolphins. And of course it is a stupid idea. If you want to take in how truly »

Donald Trump and the decline of America’s moral ecology

Featured image Peter Wehner writes about the “cultural and moral context that allows someone like [Donald] Trump – narcissistic, crude, obsessed with wealth and fame, and who has never felt the need to ask God for forgiveness – to emerge.” Pete believes that “it is hardly a coincidence that Donald Trump shot to the top of the polls in a nation that celebrates the Kardashians.” I agree. Pete ties his discussion of »

“Truth” and other lies

Featured image The film Truth premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 12. Starring Robert Redford as Dan Rather and Cate Blanchett as Mary Mapes, the film retells the Rathergate scandal based on Mary Mapes’s memoir Truth and Duty. I must be one of the few people in the United States actually to have read the book. Mapes is the hero of her memoir and the hero of the film. »

When Wyler came back

Featured image This past Tuesday evening Turner Classic Movies put the World War II work of William Wyler in its September Spotlight. Wyler is one of the directors starring in Mark Harris’s Five Came Back on the great Hollywood directors who contributed their services to the war effort. Harris’s book is a deeply researched work of popular narrative history. If there is a bloody crossroads at which art and politics meet, Harris »

CRB: The politics of Star Trek

Featured image We are winding down our preview of the new (Summer) issue of the Claremont Review of Books. Subscribe here for the heavily subsidized price of $19.95 and get online access thrown in for free. Tomorrow we will conclude the preview with a book review bonus taking up the new book by my friend Michael Paulsen. Today it is time for something completely different. I have led a sheltered life. I »

Enter Sensenbrenner

Featured image The endless saga of the proposed Eisenhower Memorial is a horror story. In his latest report on it, Andrew Ferguson introduces the theme of monstrosity: “Like Lazarus, or maybe Frankenstein’s monster, the appalling plan for the Eisenhower Memorial in Washington, D.C., appears to be sputtering to life once more. Only two months ago it seemed safely kaput.” The saga also works a variation on a vampire tale. Someone is going »

The World Has Gone Crazy (Again)

Featured image So I read a few days ago that there have been long-running protests aimed at the Pokemon World Championships, culminating in this report from USA Today: Threats of violence over the Pokemon World Championships in Boston led to two Iowa men being arrested for stockpiling a trove of weapons in their car. Boston police said Sunday that convention security reported the threats on Thursday and the suspects were stopped as »

The Times at work [with a note by Paul]

Featured image When I wrote about Ta-Nehisi Coates’s new book Between the World and Me, I noted that Coates was this year’s officially certified angry black. He is officially certified by the New York Times through Jennifer Schuessler, the Times culture reporter and gatekeeper. Schuessler’s July 17 profile of Coates attests that Coates’s book “has had an almost frictionless glide straight to the heart of the national conversation.” (The official publication date »

Zebra Lives Matter!

Featured image I don’t know about you, but I’ve had about all I can take of Cecil the lion. A friend emailed me this reminder of an alternate perspective on the lion’s demise: STEVE adds: The contrarian memes are coming in fast and thick–almost enough for a “Cecil’s Week in Pictures” feature: And finally, for the reductio file: »

A Writ Against Crit Lit

Featured image A couple weeks back we linked in our Picks section Power Line 100 honoree Gary Saul Morson’s terrific Commentary article on “Why College Kids Are Avoiding the Study of Literature.”  Morson, a professor of Russian literature, certainly has the authority to declare on this topic, since his lecture courses are the most popular and largest at Northwestern University, much to the annoyance of the peevish English department, which won’t assign »

Old Friends on the Road

Featured image I’m at St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico, this week, participating in one of their “Summer Classics” great books seminars, and who should I run into but Bruce Sanborn of St. Paul, Minnesota. Bruce is not only one of the earliest readers of Power Line, but is also the person who is ultimately responsible for my meeting John Hinderaker and Scott Johnson, and hence ultimately becoming a Power »

P.C. Penalty Flag

Featured image I thought a long time ago that the Confederate battle flag shouldn’t fly over state capitols and that it was overdue to come down, but of course the complete purge against the Confederate flag anywhere in any form that is currently under way is about much more than the appropriateness of the flag over civic spaces. When you’re taking the flag off of the General Lee, or whatever that car »

It’s not easy going green

Featured image Our friend Katherine Kersten is a senior fellow at the Center of the American Experiment in Minneapolis. Kathy has a graduate degree from the Yale School of Management and a law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School. She can be reached at [email protected] This important column originally appeared in the Star Tribune and is now posted under the heading “Campus sustainability: Going green is just part of the »

For the 4th: Old-Fashioned American Story Telling from . . . LA?

Featured image People knock LA for not having a real literary culture. “What happens to civilization when it hangs its hat in LA?”, asks longtime Power Line friend Christopher Flannery today on the debut of the new site Even in LA.  The site offers old fashioned—that is, patriotic—short story telling. Beauty in a man or a country is the outward glow of inward goodness. It is the goodness that is most worthy »