Culture

Terry Teachout dies at 65

Featured image Terry Teachout died yesterday at the age of 65. When he was awarded one of the Bradley Prizes in 2014, I was ecstatic. I deemed him the great Terry Teachout. I cited his work for the Wall Street Journal (drama critic) and Commentary (critic-at-large) as well as his own site, About Last Night. The Journal pays tribute to him here and Commentary here. I’m sorry if either of these tributes »

How Sidney Poitier learned to read

Featured image Sidney Poitier died at the age of 94 last week. I knew he was an immigrant from the Bahamas and loved many of the movies he starred in, but I didn’t know much of the life story that John Podhoretz briefly related in the New York Post column “Sidney Poitier’s life was a testament to the greatest of American stories.” John didn’t get around to the deeply touching story about »

A note on Peter Bogdanovich

Featured image The death of the director Peter Bogdanovich caught me by surprise and saddened me yesterday. The New York Times obituary by Margalit Fox captures something of the vagaries of his life and career. In my memory he will always be the boy wonder who arrived seemingly out of nowhere with the brilliant black and white throwbacks The Last Picture Show (with the unforgettable performances of Ben Johnson and Cloris Leachman) »

Bring on the dancing nurses

Featured image I only know from Twitter that the Biden White House cleared the decks for dancing nurses to perform a merry song on the premises. I understand the performance was recorded for the “Spirit of the Season” PBS special earlier this week. It might be the sorriest use to which the East Room has ever been put. The full-length portrait of George Washington looking on only adds insult to injury. The »

Elon Musk does the Babylon Bee

Featured image You may have heard that Elon Musk sat down with Babylon Bee CEO Seth Dillon, EIC Kyle Mann, and Creative Director Ethan Nicolle for an in-depth interview on wokeness, Elizabeth Warren, taxing the rich, the Metaverse, which superhero Elon would be, and how the left is killing comedy. The interview has made news on those subjects and more. The conversation occasionally flags, especially in the second half, but Musk himself »

Mr. Socialist confesses…

Featured image This is a personal note about Garrison Keillor. I began listening to Keillor on Minnesota Public Radio while I was in law school. Garrison occupied the station’s three-hour morning slot five days a week with A Prairie Home Morning Show. I thought the show was so entertaining and funny that he would become a star. I learned a lot about American popular music listening to the show. The first time »

Superman will no longer fight for “the American way”

Featured image John wrote here about how the Superman character will come out as bisexual in the latest DC Comics series. But there’s more to the new Superman. According to this report, Superman will no longer be said to fight for “truth, justice, and the American way.” The motto will be changed to “truth, justice, and a better tomorrow.” DC Comics defends the change on the theory that Superman does, indeed, fight »

The New Criterion at 40

Featured image I am a charter subscriber to the New Criterion and vividly remember receiving its original announcement and solicitation to subscribe in 1982. The magazine was to provide a sane appreciation and critique of culture and the arts. It was to be edited by Hilton Kramer and published by Samuel Lipman. I thought such a magazine was badly needed and, given the leadership of Kramer and Lipman, bound to be good. »

Frontiers in linguistic sensitivity

Featured image The death of St. George Floyd has been the occasion of deep thoughts of all kinds. On the assumption that he is taking a typical cut of the action, I note that attorney Ben Crump has come to Minnesota and found his stays lucrative beyond the dreams of avarice. Now he turns his attention to new frontiers in linguistic sensitivity as he salutes abolition — abolition of references to the »

Animatronic Joe Biden, Disney style

Featured image The big news out of Disney’s Magic Kingdom is the reopening of the Hall of Presidents after a long hiatus. The reopening featured the debut of animatronic Joe Biden. Walt Disney World News Today reported the story along with several photos and the video below (h/t Loree Hinderaker). In the Hall of Presidents lineup animatronic Joe stares ahead vacantly in a slightly more lifelike fashion than the character who struggles »

There’s something about Mary

Featured image When Notre Dame Magazine came calling to ask George Spencer what he was reading, he had a good answer. He was reading Jennifer Keishin Armstrong’s Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted (2013), a history of the Mary Tyler Moore Show of blessed memory (1970-1977). Readers like me who remember the show with special fondness will find Spencer’s discussion of the book of interest, probably of more interest than the »

The revolution comes to Juilliard

Featured image The Manhattan Institute’s invaluable Heather Mac Donald wrote “The revolution comes Juilliard” for MI’s City Journal last month. The story Heather tells is a tale of our time from the ever larger land beyond satire. Racial hysteria and opposition to Western civilization are among its themes. Heather’s column concludes: A leader in the arts world, told of Juilliard’s travails, observes: “This is a crucial time to stand up and call »

Sting like a Babylon Bee: The sequel

Featured image I took a look at the New York Times’s drive-by defamation of the Babylon Bee last week in “Sting like a Babylon Bee.” The Times disparaged the Bee as a a “far-right misinformation site” that “sometimes trafficked in misinformation in the guise of satire.” The Bee is of course a site devoted exclusively to satire with a conservative bent. The Times’s reference to the Bee as a “far-right misinformation site” »

Sting like a Babylon Bee

Featured image I’m not entirely sure whether satire degenerates in the hands of the left, but one could make the case. From Jonathan Swift to Evelyn Waugh, the greatest satirists writing in English have been conservatives of one stripe or another. As for the degeneration, Philip Roth’s stabs at satire might suffice by themselves to make that side of the case. By the same token, we may wonder if the understanding of »

Genesis in Paris

Featured image It’s been a long while since I inflicted my adolescent interest in progressive rock on Power Line readers, mostly because I know it is a rarified taste that only appeals to a minority of similarly idiosyncratic people like me. That’s why I post these in the middle of the night instead of prime time. In any case, there hasn’t been much “new” lately about this by now very old genre. »

Shapes of things (25)

Featured image The New York Times is a sick institution, but it is representative in a way that signifies. It is in the grip of the cultural totalitarian madness that has become something like regular order in the schools, the press, Big Tech and corporate titans, the world of the prestige nonprofits, and other precincts where the sick left holds sway. I would like to say other precincts where reality is optional, »

Shapes of things (19)

Featured image “Death to me!” is the title of the best column I have read on the sordid ritual of public confessions following the “woke” party line. By David Mikics, the column draws on the history of false confessions by Communists caught up in the purges of the Soviet Union’s Stalin era. It is a history with which every literate American should be familiar, but it appears to be as obscure in »