Culture

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 »

Testamentary incapacity

Featured image Vera Brittain was the English writer whose memoir Testament of Youth (the first of three such memoirs by her) became an immediate best-seller upon its publication in Great Britain in 1933. Brittain wrote of her experience working as a nurse tending to the wounded in World War I and the tragic deaths of of her brother as well as her fiancee and friends in the conflict. The book has remained »

Thoughts from the ammo line

Featured image Ammo Grrrll anticipates Father’s Day this Sunday in GOD BLESS THE DADDIES. She writes: Sunday, of course, is Father’s Day. Despite decades of being portrayed in sitcoms and commercials as brainless twits who would be lost without the superior intelligence of their eye-rolling wives and children, the true importance of fathers can scarcely be overstated. If you doubt me, visit any prison jammed to bursting with lost fatherless men. In »

Sex? Seriously?

Featured image For some reason, stories about sex have been prominent in the news lately. The most legitimate news story concerns Dennis Hastert, who apparently had a homosexual relationship with a student when he was a high school wrestling coach in approximately the 1970s. It is hard not to feel some sympathy for Hastert: he must have had the fear of exposure hanging over his head for decades. The person with whom »

Jen, Jenny, Jenner (2)

Featured image I wasn’t going to take the bait that the identity politics left is dangling like so much shark chum hoping to score some cheap points against us retrograde defenders of human nature, but then two worthy stories related to the Bruce Caitlyn Jenner matter crossed the screen. First, Damon Linker of The Week, a centrist not afraid of laying some smack on cultural conservatives—including a column a few days ago »

Marcus Luttrell? Whodat???

Featured image John Updike’s numerous stories about his fictional alter ego Henry Bech are my favorites among Updike’s body of work. When Bech wins the Nobel Prize for Literature in the story “Bech and the Bounty of Sweden,” Updike posits the headline reporting the news in the New York Daily News: “BECH? WHODAT???” (The thought was at the same time self-deprecating and self-aggrandizing. Updike was one of the most prominent among those »

The Dems’ Missing Linc

Featured image Lincoln Chafee—who I liked to call the “Missing Linc” during his brief tenure as a U.S. Senator—has made moving to the metric system a key plank of his presidential campaign. What—is he trying to allow Jon Stewart’s writers to get the day off? Trying to make Bernie Sanders look sensible by comparison? But the Missing Linc has missed his real opening if he really wants to get the approval of »

Jen, Jenny, Jenner

Featured image So the best line I’ve heard so far is that Bill Clinton has a call in to photographer Annie Leibovitz to see if she can do a photo shoot of Hillary. . .  Second best: Finally, a prominent Republican makes the cover of Vanity Fair. . . One heterodox theory that I’ve always liked is that popular culture is actually a lagging indicator of changing times and mores, but it »

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 »

Mad Men signs off with class and aplomb

Featured image The final episode of Mad Men, the long running hit cable show, aired last night. If you haven’t seen it but plan to, read no further. Mad Men is an overrated show, but that’s mainly because no television show could be as good as gushing liberals deem it. Why do liberals love Mad Men so? I think it’s because it tells them that America in the early 1960s was not »

“Ferguson” actors can’t handle the truth

Featured image I wrote here about the staging in Washington, DC of a portion of “Ferguson,” a play based exclusively on the testimony presented to the grand jury that declined to indict Officer Darren Wilson. The full play is scheduled to debut tomorrow in Los Angeles. However, the Daily Caller reports that this week several actors quit the production because once they read the script, they felt it didn’t portray Michael Brown »

Shakespeare: The Ultimate Dead White Male?

Featured image In my first public lecture at the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2013, perhaps no passage excited a more furious response from some members of the audience than this: It turns out that at a shockingly high number of universities—though not this one—it is possible to take a degree in English without having to take a single course on Shakespeare, which strikes me as absurd as taking a course »

Who Says You Can’t Go Home?

Featured image I haven’t been posting much the last couple of days because I have been in my home town, Watertown, South Dakota. BISCO (the Business Industry School Coalition), a local organization that promotes a “progressive and meaningful relationship among business, industry and schools,” invited me to speak at their annual lunch meeting. They thought it would be fun to hear about Power Line and related subjects. I said sure. Before that »