Culture

Dereliction of duty in the Persian Gulf

Featured image On the evening in which the capture by Iran of the crews of two U.S. Navy boats hit the news, I happened to be in the company of three retired high ranking military officials. The reaction of all three was the same: the crews were derelict in their duty; heads should roll. The Navy, having wrapped up its investigation of the matter, has reached the same conclusion. Its report finds »

Critique of pure comedy

Featured image In my post “A funny thing,” I briefly discussed comedy. I mentioned Ralph Stanley along the way. Coincidentally, Stanley died Thursday at the age of 89. (Juli Thanki is the author of the obituary published by the Tennessean.) I saw Stanley perform live twice thanks to the Coen brothers (and their musical director, T Bone Burnett), whom I also mention in that post. Alan Griesinger is a Power Line reader »

A Republic, if we can keep our TV shows

Featured image When Scotland was getting set to vote on whether to leave Great Britain, “stay” supporters raised the specter that an exit might mean loss of access to popular BBC television series. The “leave” movement took pains to assure Scots they would still be able to watch such shows as EastEnders, Doctor Who, and Strictly Come Dancing. Scotland voted to stay, so we never found out whether an independent Scotland would »

A funny thing

Featured image Comedy is the realm of pleasure. It represents freedom. It is not moral. It seeks to make us feel good. It serves no higher purpose. Tragedy is the realm of conscience. It represents order. It renders justice. It serves civilization. It seeks to call us to our higher selves. In 1962 Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart mashed up three comedies of the Roman playwright Plautus to create A Funny Thing »

Muhammad Ali: A Dissenting View

I was a big fan of Cassius Clay. Whenever he fought, a classmate and I would tune in on an old radio and cheer him on. One evening, we were at a high school basketball game when it was time for a Clay fight to begin. We slipped out of the game, went to a car and enacted the fight, punching one another, as it was called on the radio. »

America’s honor

Featured image In observance of Memorial Day 2007 the Wall Street Journal published a characteristically brilliant column by Peter Collier to mark the occasion. The column remains accessible online here. I don’t think we’ll read or hear anything more thoughtful or appropriate to the occasion today. Here it is: Once we knew who and what to honor on Memorial Day: those who had given all their tomorrows, as was said of the »

When Wyler came back

Featured image When I walked into Spaulding Auditorium to see The Best Years of Our Lives as an undergrad, I had never even heard of the film. When I walked out three hours later, I couldn’t believe I had never heard of it. It is a great film with a lot of truth and a big heart in it. Tonight TCM is carrying the film as part of its Memorial Day lineup. »

What’s Behind the Patriotic Ad Explosion?

Featured image I had heard that Budweiser plans to re-name its beer America for the summer–a bit incongruous, given that Anheuser-Busch is now owned by a Belgian-Brazilian conglomerate. But Advertising Age says it is part of a trend: Coke is the latest brand dressing itself in Old Glory. The soda brand has begun selling limited edition red, white and blue cans that will be available in select convenience and grocery stores through »

A Rare Foray Into Culture Criticism

Featured image I can put up with just about any Game of Thrones sub-plot, as long as the show eventually gets back to Tyrion Lannister and Daenerys Targaryen. But the current Arya Stark misery, with no name or no face or whatever it is–no eyesight, for sure–needlessly and stupidly sidelines one of the program’s best characters. The story is boring, repetitious and as far as I can tell, going nowhere. We don’t »

Make Bathrooms Great Again

Featured image New York governor Andrew Cuomo got lots of news coverage yesterday for his directive restricting state travel to North Carolina on account of the law passed last week that overrides local “non-discrimination” pro-choice bathroom ordinances. If I lived in North Carolina I’d be tempted to send Cuomo a big thank you note for cutting down the number of New York government employees coming to NC, since their visits cannot be »

Damn, it feels good to be a Clinton

Featured image Ted Cruz’s campaign has produced this ad called “Damn, it feels good to be Clinton.” The ad is based on a famous scene from the movie “Office Space.” It combines the scene with lyrics based on the song “Damn, it feels good to be a gangsta.” I was unfamiliar with both the movie and the song. Even so, I found the ad hilarious. Tevi Troy has written that Republican candidates »

I’m Not an African, I Just Play One In the Movies

Featured image The controversy over race and the Oscars has made its way to Berlin, where a film festival is in progress. It happens that the festival judges are all white, so one of the judges, Meryl Streep, fielded some questions about diversity. Streep, who heads a festival film panel for the first time, had been asked by an Egyptian reporter whether she understood films from the Arab world and North Africa. »

Pop culture and the GOP field

Featured image Tevi Troy has two excellent posts about the Republican presidential field’s pop culture interests. This one focuses on music. It finds that Donald Trump has “broken the GOP’s music curse.” This one focuses on pop culture in general. It finds that Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have displayed a “facility to invoke images and references that go beyond politics.” Unlike Barack Obama, Cruz eschews upper-middle-brow references (e.g. to shows like »

Audiences Rejecting 13 Hours? Not Exactly [with comment by Paul]

Featured image Paul and Scott have both seen the movie 13 Hours and wrote about it here and here. Scott noted that at the theater he attended, the large room was reserved for Carol. 13 Hours got the smaller venue and was sparsely attended. Scott linked to a Hill story headlined “Benghazi film flops at the box office.” This was a pretty common theme on the left; to cite just one instance, »

“13 Hours” — The Washington Post’s jaundiced take

Featured image Scott reports that “13 Hours,” Michael Bay’s film about the Benghazi attacks, attracted only a small crowd at the Grandview Theater in St. Paul, Minnesota. Nationally, though, the movie seems to be doing well. It earned around $20 million during the holiday weekend. That’s not quite as good as “Lone Survivor” ($25 million) and nowhere close to “American Sniper” ($107 million), both of which opened during the corresponding weekend. But »

“13 Hours” revisited

Featured image We went to see the film 13 Hours at the Grandview Theater in St. Paul this past Saturday evening. Paul Mirengoff gave a good account of the film here. Paul’s post states what I have to say in greater detail and more articulately than I will. I only want to urge readers to see the film in a theater while you still can and to add these comments. The movie »

Celebrity: The Currency of the 21st Century

Featured image Manny Pacquiao was a great fighter. In his heyday, he was a one-man hurricane, tirelessly throwing punches from every possible angle. I don’t think I have ever seen anything quite like the fury of Pacquiao in his prime. Those days are gone, due to age and, perhaps, to an enhanced drug testing regime, but Manny, a shadow of his former self, can still sign lucrative boxing deals. And he is »