Culture

A note on “Invisible Man”

Featured image I just finished reading Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison for the first time. I found it to be a challenging, gripping, entertaining novel of the first rank that I want to commend to your attention. Published in 1952, it remains an incredibly timely novel. It lends further support to the contrarian case Jeffrey Hart makes in When the Going Was Good! that the 1950’s represented a high-water mark in American »

Thoughts from the ammo line

Featured image Ammo Grrrll finds no limits in THE THIRD RAIL. She writes: For decades now, we have heard that the “third rail” in politics – untouchable without inviting electrocution – was the Social Security System. And now a different sort of Third Rail has been grabbed. The lovely daughter of the President of the United States, communing with her beautiful baby, no less, is called a “feckless c*nt” by another woman. »

How to watch a movie

Featured image We need help learning how to watch a movie just as we do learning how to read a newspaper or a book. In its short history the art of film presents a wealth of riches. It’s easy to enjoy a good movie, but appreciating the art requires an education. Titus Techera has arrived to lend us an eye in a series of movie podcasts that celebrated their first anniversary with »

Going Postal Revisited

Featured image Anyone remember the phrase “going postal”? It arose from the spate in incidents starting in the 1980s when disgruntled former postal workers, in at least 11 separate incidents, returned to a postal facility and shot up the place, killing 35 people according to Wikipedia. The phrase became common currently for workplace violence which spread beyond post offices, and sometimes the phrase was used casually, as in “I just might go »

Does anybody really know what time it is? (Minnesota edition)

Featured image Courtesy of the Democrats’ media adjunct, Minnesota state representative Ilhan Omar must be the most famous such officeholder in the history of the universe. Omar is the first Somali elected to our state legislature; she touts herself as “the highest-elected Somali-American public official in the United States.” That’s not too high. Riding the Democrats’ look at me identity politics, however, she’s going places. See, for example, the 11-minute video Omar »

The other summit

Featured image The New York Post brings a keen nose for news, a deep knowledge of popular culture and a devilish sense of humor to what looks like it might be the front page of tomorrow’s paper (?) that has somehow mysteriously materialized on the Drudge Report. Drudge links to the Post story by Marisa Schultz and Nikki Schwab on the Post’s Page Six section. It’s surely not the biggest news of »

The Final Year, Thank God

Featured image Now playing on HBO is Greg Barker’s documentary The Final Year chronicling President Obama’s foreign-policy team during Obama’s last year in office. It gives us a fly-on-the-wall view of John Kerry, Samantha Power, and Ben Rhodes doing their job through election day and slightly beyond. I watched it last night. Only 90 minutes long, the film began to grate on me as we rounded the corner into minute 2. Yet »

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. »