Culture

A random “Mad Men” thought

Featured image Irving Kristol said that a neoconservative is “a liberal who was mugged by reality.” If so, then Abe Drexler — the lefty new-journalist in “Mad Men” — must have gone on to become one of Kristol’s prime neocon disciples. »

Spindle Time

Featured image 1.  There’s a lot of miscellaneous stories right now that deserve brief notice.  Start with this headline: “VP Biden Says Educators Should Learn To Recognize Mental Illness.” Excuse me a minute while I clear out the coffee I snorted all over my keyboard. 2.  Did you know that the IRS official who (badly) plays Spock in that infamous Star Trek parody video is named . . . Faris Fink.  Now, »

The ordeal of Omaha Beach

Featured image Professor David Gelernter of Yale University is a man of formidable learning with little patience for phonies. He has detected a tidal wave of phoniness in the celebration of “the greatest generation,” as he wrote in his 2004 Wall Street Journal column “Too much, too late.” As a remedy for the phoniness he detected, Professor Gelernter prescribed the teaching to our children the major battles of the war, the bestiality »

How Chairman Jim turned the NEH into a tool of the Obama administration  

Featured image We’ve had a lot of fun here in the past few years with the buffoonery of former National Endowment for the Humanities Chairman Jim Leach, whose recently concluded tenure at the NEH offered a near-daily target-rich environment of pompous windbaggery and pseudo-learned posturing, while betraying not a speck of knowledge about or interest in the humanities themselves. Leach’s speeches will stand for years to come as monuments of educated illiteracy, »

Dr. Berlowitz, I don’t presume

Featured image Leslie Cohen Berlowitz is president of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. So grateful was she that former NEH Chairman Jim Leach allowed the spigot to her organization to be turned on again in 2010 while Leach was chairman that Leach was inducted into the academy as a member of the academy that year. Leach warned of “a crisis in the humanities” at the induction ceremony. Leach was not »

America’s honor

Featured image On Memorial Day 2007 the Wall Street Journal published a characteristically brilliant column by Peter Collier to mark the occasion. 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 men who stormed the beaches of Normandy, for »

Kevin Williamson, Stud

Featured image I already thought National Review‘s Kevin Williamson, author of the fine new book The End Is Near And It’s Going to Be Awesome was a total stud, but after last night’s bravado performance in a New York theater, he’s a total heroic stud.  If you haven’t heard the story yet, check out how he dealt with cell phone rudeness during a performance: The lady seated to my immediate right (very »

Video of the Week

Featured image It is not necessary to be a Trekkie (but really, why wouldn’t you be?) to appreciate the intergenerational rivalry of this Audi ad featuring the original Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) versus the “rebooted” younger Spock, Zachary Quinto. And kudos to Nimoy, for being game to spoof the most embarrassing moment of his entire career; and no, I don’t mean that Trek episode where he got the seven-year Vulcan itch.  Rather, »

Dietetically incorrect: After five months

Featured image I’ve struggled with my weight ever since I quit smoking thirty 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. Five months ago I took up the cues offered occasionally by Glenn Reynolds to the work of science writer Gary Taubes. Glenn had linked »

Big Bangers Indeed

Featured image Ken Masugi’s long post about “The Big Bang Theory” (the TV show, not the theory) at the LibertyLaw site deserves more notice than just a link in our Picks section.  Do read it; it is philosophical-scientific-cultural criticism at its best, with a special bonus of James Schall. I’ve been meaning to comment on BBT myself, but keep putting it off.  BBT is clearly the best TV science fiction comedy since »

Understanding John Ford

Featured image Glenn Frankel’s new book on The Searchers goes to show the continuing interest in John Ford. My interest in Ford was sparked by Professor John Marini of the University of Nevada-Reno, whom I heard speak about Ford on a Claremont Institute panel at the annual convention of the American Political Science Association a few years ago. On the Claremont panel John gave a version of his paper on the creation »

More Hollywood Racism, and Other Tales of the Absurd

Featured image I’m having to pinch myself today to make sure I’m not living in my own special Groundhog Day hell where every day is April 1. How else to take the story that Lego is discontinuing a Jabba the Hutt palace set because the Turkish Cultural Association of Austria (!!) complained that the Lego set is raaaccciist.  The Turkish Cultural Association of Austria??  Okay, I know the Turks rolled briefly through »

Walter Olson: “The laundering of evil”

Featured image As I note below, the New York Post broke the story today that Weather Underground terrorist Kathy Boudin has landed an adjunct professorship at the Columbia School of Social Work and is also a “scholar in residence” at NYU Law. In his book Schools for Misrule: Legal Academia and Overlawyered America (Encounter, 2011), Cato Institute Senior Fellow Walter Olson writes about the propensity of sixties extremists (Bernardine Dohrn, Angela Davis, »

The company Columbia keeps

Featured image Over the weekend we condemned Robert Redford for glorifying the lives and works of the Weather Underground terrorists in his new movie, The Company You Keep, opening soon at a theater near you. Among the good works of the Weather Underground was the armored car robbery that resulted in the murders of two police officers and a Brinks guard. Michelle Malkin called Redford out in her syndicated column “The bloody »

The company Hollywood keeps

Featured image Last year the New York Times Magazine featured a cover story by Tom Robbins (not that Tom Robbins) on one of the fanatic leftists who participated in the infamous Brink’s robbery in New York. As George Russell recounts in “The other Rosenberg case,” the October 1981 robbery, which ended in a careening series of car chases and a bloody shootout, left two policemen and an unarmed Brink’s employee dead and »

Glenn Frankel: In search of “The Searchers”

Featured image John Ford is America’s greatest director and “The Searchers” is one of his greatest films. If you’ve ever seen it, you may have asked yourself in wonderment as the credits rolled: “Where did that come from?” Now Glenn Frankel, G.B. Dealey Regents Professor in Journalism and director of the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin, has answered that question and more in The Searchers: The Making »

Can Republicans close the pop culture gap?

Featured image Recommendation Number 13 on the Republican Party’s recently released list of demographic outreach priorities is to “Expand our presence on more pop culture oriented outlets to ensure our message is reaching all voters.” A few years ago, I might have scoffed at this recommendation. The electorate, I thought, became serious enough during high presidential election season to make sure it reached the message of presidential candidate’s in traditional ways e.g., »