Culture

The American Story: An introduction

Featured image The American Story podcast has been coming out once a week, every Tuesday, since Constitution Day last year. Each episode is a 6-8 minute story about what it is that makes America beautiful, heartbreaking, funny, inspiring, and endlessly interesting. They are written and recorded by Power Line friend Chris Flannery, a senior fellow at the Claremont Institute and contributing editor of The Claremont Review of Books. They are well-conceived, well-written, and »

The McDermott monologue

Featured image In the Wall Street Journal’s weekend Mansion section, Marc Myers interviewed the actor Dylan McDermott to construct the first-person narrative published under the headline “Sitcoms Taught Dylan McDermott Everything He Knew About Family.” McDermott had a stunted childhood. His father was an alcoholic; his mother was murdered when he was five. McDermott’s narrative account opens: My parents married young. My mom was 15 and my dad was 18 when I »

Gimme CRB shelter

Featured image Our friends at the Claremont Review of Books have an important announcement: “With so many here and around the world still confined to quarters, the CRB editors have decided to brighten your detention by making our new Spring issue available free to readers everywhere. No masks required.” No longer the middleman selecting highlights from the issue, I urge Power Line readers to check it out on their own here. As »

Terry Teachout recommends

Featured image With time on our hands, we are revisiting books and movies that may be seen in the light cast by the Wuhan virus or the lockdowns responding to it. Samuel Pepys’s Diaries, Daniel Defoe’s Journal of the Plague Year and Albert Camus’s The Plague come to mind. A stray reference to Anne Frank prompted me to pull down my copy of her diary along with Francine Prose’s excellent Anne Frank: »

When the going was good!

Featured image Locked up in our lockdown, we have reviewed and organized family photographs that have lain dormant for a long time. I wondered if readers might indulge a personal note on one photograph (below) that I don’t even remember seeing before. I must have retrieved it from my parents when I cleaned out their apartment after my mother’s death. It depicts me with my younger brother (Dan) on the steps of »

Howard Beale revisited

Featured image With time on our hands, we are revisiting books and movies that may be seen in the light cast by the Wuhan virus or the lockdowns responding to it. Daniel Defoe’s Journal of the Plague Year and Albert Camus’s The Plague come to mind. A stray reference to Anne Frank prompted me to pull down my copy of her diary along with Francine Prose’s excellent Anne Frank: The Book, The »

Kurosawa film festival starring Toshiro Mifune [with comment by Paul]

Featured image Today is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Toshiro Mifune. Mifune was, most famously, one of Akira Kurosawa’s favorite actors. TCM is paying tribute to Mifune today by showing 10 films that amount to a kind of Kurosawa film festival. Here is the lineup, beginning at 6:00 a.m. (Eastern) this morning: Drunken Angel (1948), the first of Mifune’s 16 films for Kurosawa, casts him as a small-time hoodlum who »

Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most

Featured image I’m taking the liberty of reposting this tribute to a great song with an unusual story behind it as a break from the news of the day. From Ella Fitzgerald to Fran Landesman to T.S. Eliot and Geoffrey Chaucer, here we go: There are a few torch songs that lament the coming of Spring. This time of year, if you’re tuned to one of the right stations, you may well »

When George Wallace stood in the schoolhouse door

Featured image Earlier this week TCM played the classic Robert Drew cinéma vérité documentary “Crisis: Behind a presidential commitment.” The documentary first aired on ABC in October 1963. My only purpose is to bring it to your attention in case you might find it of interest and to recommend it if you haven’t seen it before. The documentary takes us behind the scenes of the Kennedy administration’s efforts the previous June to »

Phoenix’s republic

Featured image Watching the video highlights of the Oscar winners serving up their deep political thoughts this past Sunday evening, I wondered how anyone could top the lady who recited the revolutionary slogan from the Communist Manifesto.: “Workers of the world, unite.” She omitted: “You have nothing to lose but your chains!” I wonder why. I can’t answer that question, but I can suggest that Joaquin Phoenix topped her. He brought to »

1619 and the Oscars: Fit Companions

Featured image Needless to say, I didn’t watch the Academy Awards show last night. In fact, I didn’t know it was on: Hollywood and I parted company a long time ago. But I was surprised to learn from a friend that the New York Times ran an ad, during the Oscars show, for its 1619 Project. This seems unusual. How often does a paper advertise one of its “news” projects on national »

How Orson Bean found God

Featured image Today comes the sad news that Orson Bean has died as the result of being hit by a car in Venice, California. The AP has posted an adequate obituary mostly written by the late Bob Thomas here. With a little help from Orson himself, I would like to add to Thomas’s obituary from a perspective you are unlikely to find in the mainstream media. Orson Bean’s career spanned five decades. »

The Porgy and Bess experience

Featured image Even if you love the music of George and Ira Gershwin, as I do, you are highly unlikely ever to have seen a faithful production of Porgy and Bess. Productions of the opera are few and far between; they become events. I was therefore excited to attend a showing of the Metropolitan Opera’s Porgy and Bess at a local theater participating in Fathom Events programming this past Wednesday. It’s the »

Halftime for halfwits

Featured image I haven’t thought about Hunter Thompson or Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas in a long time, but I thought about both while watching the Super Bowl halftime show yesterday. I was thinking of this quote from Thompson’s classic: “The Circus-Circus is what the whole hep world would be doing Saturday night if the Nazis had won the war. This is the sixth Reich. The ground floor is full of »

You Can’t Cancel Fried Chicken!

Featured image A predictable dustup over sexism has arisen in Australia over a KFC ad that has caused KFC to apologize and pull the ad. This has had the predictable effect—millions more people around the world have seen this ad (funny that the oh-so-woke Guardian would embed the ad—I’m sure it was just an oversight by a junior editor), which we are proud to share with Power Line readers—only 15 seconds long: »

Most-read at the New Criterion

Featured image Over the weekend Roger Kimball sent out an email to New Criterion subscribers flagging the magazine’s top 10 most-read articles in 2019 (not all were published in 2019). The top three are all by Northwestern University Professor Gary Saul Morson and generally accessible. Indeed, I think we featured the top two on Power Line. They represent profoundly humane learning and reflection. In case you missed them, here are all 10 »

Analyze this

Featured image I avoided watching the Golden Globe Awards show last night because I hate political diatribes by Hollywood morons, but I am sorry I missed the opening monologue by Ricky Gervais. Speaking ironically, he belittled his monologue as “just jokes.” Gervais, however, inflicted some serious pain — the faces of the audience looked like those in the audience at the beginning of Springtime for Hitler in Mel Brooks’s The Producers. The »