Culture

The Obamas move upstream

Featured image Barack Obama wasn’t much of a president. His signature accomplishment may turn out to be paving the way for Donald Trump. Obama isn’t the genius his boosters (with his encouragement) made him out to be, either. I don’t consider him a first rate or deep thinker. If you disagree, identify one of his deep thoughts. Claiming to be on “the right side of history” doesn’t count. Neither does “let’s funnel »

What Kanye can’t do

Featured image Bill Whittle asserts that there is no middle ground on Kanye West: you either love him or loathe him. I think the middle ground may by “don’t know who he is.” In any event, I listened and learned to Bill Whittle explicating the deep meaning of the Kanye kerfuffle in “Kanye West: Racist” (video below). At right around 3:06 Bill reveals a bombshell that would have prompted me to do »

The Latest Battle In the Statue Wars: Stephen Foster

Featured image A famous statue of Stephen Foster, often referred to as the father of American music, has stood in Pittsburgh for more than 100 years. (Foster was a native of Pennsylvania.) It was sculpted by Italian emigre Giuseppe Moretti: Today Moretti’s statue of Foster was carted away by Pittsburgh authorities: A 118-year-old statue of the “Oh! Susanna” songwriter was removed from a Pittsburgh park Thursday after criticism that the work is »

Chance the Rapper Weighs In

Featured image Candace Owens may have lit the fire that burns down the liberal order. Hyperbolic? No doubt. But one of America’s most respected conservatives emailed a couple of days ago: I think we have all had a big boost in our struggles by Kanye West’s outreach to Candace Owens (I see that John has already invited Candace to Minnesota – a big coup!). Because of West’s influence in the culture and »

How did you know?

Featured image After our Spring blizzard let up last Sunday, we escaped from the house to see the film Beirut. We had seen the preview and it looked promising. Starring Jon Hamm, directed by Brad Anderson, written by Tony Gilroy, the film featured a story recalling the 1984 kidnapping of CIA Lebanon station chief William Buckley by Hezbollah operatives. The film has received a panoply of favorable reviews. It was obviously a »

Dietetically incorrect after six years

Featured image I’ve struggled with my weight ever since I quit smoking thirty-five years ago, going up and down 30 pounds several times. All I can tell you is that it’s a helluva lot easier going up than it is coming down, though you probably already knew that. Six years ago I picked up on the cues offered occasionally by Glenn Reynolds to the work of science writer Gary Taubes. Glenn had »

Chappaquiddick revisited

Featured image The left seems to have a death grip on Hollywood. The title of the history by Ronald and Allis Radosh — Red Star Over Hollywood: The Film Colony’s Long Romance with the Left — says it another way. Maybe “romance” is a better metaphor than “death grip,” but you get the idea. I think back to Lionel Chetwynd’s 1987 docudrama The Hanoi Hilton. Even though the film told a story »

Is Our Culture Dead?

Featured image There was a time when people in certain occupations were assumed to be educated, and educated people could be presumed to know certain things. There was, in other words, a common culture. That era wasn’t so long ago; I actually lived through it. But I am afraid it may be gone. Exhibit A: A reporter for National Public Radio–a prestige media outlet, ostensibly–had no concept of basic Christian theology: An »

The Vietnam War revisited

Featured image On March 18 C-SPAN 3 revisited the Vietnam War with a focus on 1968 in a discussion with Washington Post editor David Maraniss and man of many parts Jim Webb moderated by Steve Scully. It is the first part of the nine-part C-SPAN series 1968: America in Turmoil. C-SPAN has posted the video here along with the usual accessories. I have embedded it below. The contrast of Maraniss with Webb »

The unfunniest comedy

Featured image The Death of Stalin is probably playing at a theater somewhere near you. I can’t remember a more widely praised comedy/satire (trailer below). Everyone loves it, including John Podhoretz, my favorite movie critic. Unlike most of the critics, however, John writes with a reservation: “I can’t praise The Death of Stalin highly enough . . . except that it gets really boring after a while.” I found that to be perfectly accurate. »

“Wild in the Streets” Indeed

Featured image I can’t recall whether we’re supposed to think that popular culture is a leading or lagging indicator of things, but it seems Hollywood anticipated the recent children’s crusade for banning guns—and lowering the voting age to 16—exactly 50 years ago, in a film that I never heard of (“Wild in the Streets”), but which a sharp-eyed Power Line reader pointed out to me. See if this doesn’t capture a fair »

Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most

Featured image In the interest of anger management therapy on a day that calls for it, I’m taking the liberty of reposting this tribute to a great song with an unusual story behind it. From Ella Fitzgerald to Fran Landesman to T.S. Eliot and Geoffrey Chaucer, here we go: There are a few torch songs that lament the coming of Spring. This time of year, if you’re tuned to one of the »

The trans moment

Featured image I have lived through the evolution of attitudes toward homosexuality, but never signed on to the ideology of homosexual rights culminating in the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision. At least it took a while. One could see it coming. By contrast, the transgender movement has ascended “at meteoric speed.” So writes Sohrab Ahmari in the invaluable Commentary essay “The disappearance of desire” (from the magazine’s forthcoming April issue). He adds: “Transgenderism »

Tragedy at the Pathway Home

Featured image Yesterday a vet and former patient at the Pathway Home at the Veterans Home of California-Yountville in northern California took hostage and then murdered the program’s executive director, Christine Loeber, Dr. Jen Golick, the program’s clinical director, and Dr. Jennifer Gonzales, a psychologist with the Department of Veterans Affairs in San Francisco. The Pathway Home lost two-thirds of its leadership team yesterday. Only the director of development and communications remains. »

Videos of the Week

Featured image Yesterday, in honor of International Women’s Day (because I guess National Women’s Day would be too Trumpian??), I offered up this mischievous tweet: Of course I had in mind something like the Lady Ghostbusters remake that was a total bust. But guess what? Someone beat me to the idea. (Language warning—but if you’ve seen The Big Lebowski, you already know that): Meanwhile, Remy has a new one out this week, »

Hollyweird [Updated]

Featured image Last night marked the 35th consecutive year of my Not Watching the Academy Awards, and from early news reports it appears that 20 percent of last year’s audience are following my example. Ratings are at their all-time lowest ever. Host Jimmy Kimmel apparently made a lot of jokes about Trump, conservatives, the NRA, and in support of the #MeToo movement, which is pretty cheeky for someone who hosted The Man »

About those roses

Featured image I wrote here at length about The Subject Was Roses almost ten years ago after I saw playwright Frank Gilroy’s grandson Sam Gilroy on stage at the Moore Theater in Dartmouth’s Hopkins Center. Meeting up with Frank Gilroy when he visited Dartmouth in 1971 for a screening of Desperate Characters, a film he had produced and directed as well as adapted from Paula Fox’s esteemed novel, was one of the »