Just in time—a day ahead of our regular schedule!—Power Line Show Episode 73 is now up, in case you’re looking for some fun listening for a Sunday afternoon. We’re very pleased to welcome back to the show author, screenwriter, journalist and all around smart guy Michael Walsh, to talk about his brand new book, just out from our friends at Encounter Books, The Fiery Angel: Art, Culture, Sex, Politics, and the Struggle for the Soul of the West.
This book is a sequel to his 2016 book The Devil’s Pleasure Palace, about which we did a podcast with Michael (which you can find right here) that I highly recommend as well as this new one. Michael’s knowledge of high (and low) culture is immense, and in Fiery Angel he draws out several layers of depth in art, literature, and music from Homer to Rocky IV (seriously), with extensive detours into opera, modern musical composition (especially German and Russian composers—the title, Fiery Angel, comes from Prokofiev’s opera by that name), novels, and everything in between. He uses this approach as a counterpoint to the left’s deep hatred for Western civilization and culture, which has achieved more or less formal status on the left. His erudition is overwhelming, but you come away at the end with a cultural vitamin shot, along with a new appreciation for what has been slipping away from us in recent decades.
The real reward comes toward the very end of our conversation, where Michael offers up a provocative and highly spirited answer to my question, “Why are conservatives so bad at art and culture?” It proves to be a perfect conclusion to a terrific and wide-ranging conversation.