Culture

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 »

Ain’t No Cure for Obamacare Blues

Featured image Well, not until repeal anyway.  And that’s a while off yet.  But we can reminisce about the Blues Brothers, can’t we?  (I’ll bet there’s some lines from the film that would apply to Obamacare, but I haven’t the time or energy right now to chase after the script.)  Anyway, you may recall the mall chase scene from that classic piece of cinema.  Here it is in case you’ve forgotten: Now »

On This Morning’s Obamacare Stories, Better Late Than Never

Featured image The internet news cycle is short enough that if you are eight hours late in commenting on a story, it feels like a week. Early this morning there were two Obamacare-related stories that were burning up Twitter, both mini-scandals in their own right, but I haven’t had a chance to write about them until now. So, in hopes that they will still be news to some of our readers, here »

Richie Incognito, honorary black man?

Featured image The National Football League has a new scandal on its hands. This one involves the harassment of Miami Dolphins tackle Jonathan Martin by line mate Richie Incognito. The full nature and scope of this harassment isn’t clear, but apparently there is no dispute that, at a minimum, Incognito left Martin a voice mail calling him a “half ni____ piece of sh__” and threatening to inflict physical harm on the player »

The spying on Europeans farce

Featured image I love this headline on the front page of today’s Washington Post (print edition): “Officials: Obama unaware U.S. spied on allied leaders.” The locution is, I think, the Post’s way of signaling that it doesn’t really believe what the “officials” are saying. Nor should we. As John Yoo argues, spying on European leaders is something the U.S. has long done and should do, and this is common knowledge: Of course »

Finally, something I like about Barack Obama

Featured image Tevi Troy’s excellent new book What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched, and Obama Tweeted is full of revealing stories about presidential consumption of books, movies, and television. His discussion of Barack Obama’s consumption of culture, both as president and before, is particularly revealing. Obama, it seems, is not the most cultured guy ever to reside at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. He’s not even the most cultured among recent residents. But Obama has »

Snookered

Featured image Do you know who Snooki is? I didn’t until I encountered Tevi Troy’s excellent new book What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched, and Obama Tweeted. Snooki, it turns out, is a “petite starlet” who appears on a TV show called “Jersey Shore.” It was a reference to Snooki by President Obama that inspired Tevi to write his insightful book about the interplay between American culture and American presidents. I’m indebted to »

If Jerry Bruckheimer Took Over Monty Python

Featured image You’d get a film trailer like the one below (full story here).  Or perhaps we should say, “And now for something completely different.” »

200 years of pop culture in the White House

Featured image Tevi Troy — public intellectual, former White House aide, and (full disclosure) friend of Power Line — is the author of the just published What Jefferson Read, Eisenhower Watched, and Obama Tweeted– 200 years of popular culture in the White House. The book is, among other things, an exploration of the intersection of culture and politics at the highest level. We have added Tevi’s book to the Power Line bookshelf. »

Cole on the case: Thanks to McConnell

Featured image How could I have missed this? An aide to Senator McConnell writes to correct me ever so gently: Just noticed your post on Bruce Cole and wanted to let you know, if you didn’t already, that under the statute, Obama appoints whomever McConnell picks for the Republican slots on these bipartisan boards and commissions. So we have McConnell to thank for this, not Obama. Here is Daniel Foster’s National Review »

Cole on the case [updated]

Featured image We have tried to keep up with news regarding Frank Gehry’s planned Eisehnower Memorial design; we have opposed it. The latest news is good and, to my surprise, we have President Obama to thank for it. The AP reports: President Barack Obama is appointing a known critic of the planned Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial design to serve on the federal commission that oversees the project. The White House announced Obama’s »

Strange New Worlds Indeed

Featured image Until someone provides us with the inevitable “Hitler Learns About the Miley Cyrus MTV Stunt” video, this mashup of Captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise will have to do: »

A Day at the Fair

Featured image Today was the final day of the Minnesota State Fair. With today’s temperature in the 60s, following a heat wave that depressed attendance during the Fair’s first week, Minnesotans were out in force: This was the least political State Fair I can remember. Last year, orange “Vote No” signs and stickers were everywhere, foreshadowing the victory for gay marriage that followed in November. Even for an off year, 2013 was »

Teasing racism out of Miley Cyrus’ tease

Featured image A professor called Pepper Schwartz, in a “special to CNN,” advises that “Miley Cyrus is sexual — get over it.” I have. It wasn’t difficult. I knew nothing about Miley Cyrus until her lewd performance caused a fuss. And I’ve know about our debauched culture for a long time. But not so fast, says this black feminist. It turns out that Cyrus’ performance was a racist “commodification of black female »