Culture

SNL’s Lorne Michaels: Liberals Lack a Sense of Humor

Featured image It isn’t news to any conservative that most liberals have a deficient sense of humor, which is what makes the light bulb joke about feminists so accurate. (How many feminists does it take to change a light bulb? “That’s not funny!”)  But it ought to be worth something when Lorne Michaels, the long time producer of Saturday Night Live, ratifies this, in this month’s New York magazine interview (note especially what »

Obama gets “Mad Men” wrong

Featured image President Obama’s State of the Union address was highly forgettable. In my opinion, its only memorable line was his reference to the television show Mad Men. It was, in any case, his most tweeted line, according to Tevi Troy. Obama delivered the line in decrying alleged wage disparities between men and women. He said: “It is time to do away with policies that belong in a Mad Men episode.” Tevi, »

Bottom Story of the Day: Coffee Capers

Featured image There’s a story in the front section of today’s Wall Street Journal that seems perfectly suited to Hinderaker’s beat: “Towns Fret as ‘Bikini Baristas’ Draw Crowds.” “Bikini” or “lingerie” coffee stands have caused a stir across the Northwest, a region already crowded with drive-through coffee outlets operated by mainstream companies such as Starbucks and Dutch Brothers. According to a consumer website that functions as a guide to kiosks, more than »

Fifty Years On: Still the Best [With Comments by John]

Featured image It was fifty years ago that The Beatles took the U.S. by storm, culminating in their February 9 appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show (supposedly the most watched TV show in American history at that point).  Here’s a short highlight reel And here’s “The Rutles” spoof (and if you’ve never seen The Rutles, well, order it on Netflix tonight.  I’m convinced The Rutles was the Inspiration for This Is Spinal »

Hollywood Decides It Doesn’t Like Guns

Featured image Harvey Weinstein and Meryl Streep are planning to make an anti-gun, anti-National Rifle Association movie. Weinstein told Howard Stern that “they’re [the NRA] going to wish they weren’t alive after I’m done with them.” Somehow I think that isn’t going to happen. But meanwhile, you can’t help wondering, is anyone more violent than the anti-gun crowd? Deadline Hollywood has a breathless story about the prospective film: The title will be »

The Americans: Check It Out!

Featured image A couple of weeks ago Scott linked to an article in the Wall Street Journal about the top television shows of 2013 in our Picks. My wife followed the link and learned about a series neither of us had heard of, called The Americans. She thought it sounded intriguing–it’s about Soviet spies living under cover in the U.S. during the 1980s–so we bought Episode 1 and watched it. Then we »

What Obama watches

Featured image The New York Times has produced an article about the television viewing habits of President Obama. The piece, by Michael Shear, is called “Obama’s TV Picks: Anything Edgy, With Hints of Reality.” Take away those hints, and this sounds like his presidency. According to Shear, Obama enjoys watching Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Homeland, The Wire, Modern Family, House of Cards, and Parks and Recreation. This »

The Next Action Hero Candidate?

Featured image One of my favorite moments from the Reagan years was the time Reagan was asked during a press conference for his thoughts about Clint Eastwood’s election as mayor of Carmel.  Reagan said he never thought anyone who had acted with a chimp in a movie could ever make it in politics.  Heh. What about movie action heroes?  I always thought it remarkable that Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura were both »

What to do about weed

Featured image David Brooks and Ruth Marcus both oppose the legalization of marijuana, but for somewhat different reasons. Marcus opposes legalization (which has occurred in Colorado and Washington State) because our society, and in particular our children, will be less healthy with another legal mind-altering substance. She cites the American Medical Association, which has recommended against legalization because: Cannabis is a dangerous drug and as such is a public health concern. It »

The Age of Snowbama

Featured image I have enjoyed both installments of The Hunger Games on film so far without knowing anything about the books from which they are derived or anything else that might help to get a bead on them. Watching Catching Fire — the second of a projected four films — over the weekend, I wondered about the politics of the series. I know the books predate the Age of Obama, but the »

Top10 2013 top 10 lists

Featured image Who doesn’t like a good year-end retrospective top 10 list? I certainly do, and I thought readers might appreciate a sampling of the best, with only a little cheating on my part. Let’s take it from the top: 1. Ilya Shapiro Obama’s top 10 constitutional violations of 2013. 2. Peter Wood, The highs and lows of 2013: NAS picks higher ed’s top 10 stories. 3. D.G. Myers, 10 worst prize-winning »

From Duck Dynasty to F— Dynasty

Featured image I’ve totally ignored both Duck Dynasty and the controversy over the Duck patriarch’s negative attitudes toward homosexuality. (Or maybe we should call him “Daffy Duck”?)  If I wanted to take in guys with big beards, I’d look up old ZZ Top videos on YouTube. I think we’re all being played here.  The entire controversy seems contrived to me, but very very good for everyone’s business.  The gay rights grievance groups »

Home economics

Featured image Michael Barone has written an important column about the relationship between the breakdown of the American family and income inequality and lack of social mobility. Barone relies in part on Nick Shultz’s book Home Economics: The Consequences of Changing Family Structure which I have not read. Barone’s thesis — that growing up outside of a two-parent family means lower income, less social mobility, and less “human capital” — is not »

A wonderful life

Featured image In Dancing In the Dark: A Cultural History of the Great Depression — a book I enjoyed and learned from despite Mark Steyn’s (accurately) devastating review in Commentary upon its publication — Morris Dickstein speaks up on behalf of Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life. He writes that the movie has “a large cult following that finds it a heartwarming work, the epitome of the Christmas spirit, while others see »

From Gaga to Obama

Featured image Reading Maureen Callahan’s New York Post column “What happened to Lady Gaga?” and watching the meticulously edited video below, I started wondering if Barack Obama might be to politics what Lady Gaga is to music. Wouldn’t it be pretty to think so? I can’t make the case for the proposition, at least not yet. Instead, I’m filing this one under Laughter Is the Best Medicine. »

My favorite O’Toole

Featured image Peter O’Toole died yesterday at the age of 81. The New York Times obituary by Benedict Nightingale recapitulates his remarkable career and captures some of his old-school antics. What an actor. We can have a constructive argument among ourselves about which of the films was his best, or even with ourselves about which is our favorite. Into the hopper go Lawrence of Arabia and The Lion in Winter as well »

Should Anyone Get His News From a Comedian?

Featured image I have never watched Jon Stewart’s show, or any other program on Comedy Central. Life is too short. But I am aware that some people take Stewart seriously as a political commentator. In fact, the New York Times described him as perhaps “the most trusted man in America.” But why? I assume that Stewart is slightly above average in intelligence, but does he have any experience, knowledge or expertise that »