Klavan On The Culture

Klavan On The Culture

Actors Quit ‘Ferguson’ Because ‘Truth is Subjective!’

April 24th, 2015 - 3:55 pm

Five actors have walked off the limited engagement play “Ferguson,” throwing the controversial project into crisis. The play, scheduled to run April 26-29th, was a compilation of Grand Jury testimony about the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by Police Officer Darren Wilson. It was written by my pal Phelim McAleer, who is also producing the Kermit Gosnell project, for which I wrote the script.

According to the L.A. Timesthe actors balked when they realized the script — i.e. the testimony — more or less vindicated the police officer’s actions, showing that the enormous Brown had been charging the cop at the time he was shot. One veteran actor quoted by the Times was Philip Casnoff:

“It felt like the purpose of the piece was to show, ‘Of course he was not indicted — here’s why,’” Casnoff said. He said that after he learned who the play’s author was, Casnoff, who describes himself as “very liberal, left-wing-leaning,” thought, “Whoa, this is not the place for me to be.”

And then there was this:

“He [Phelim] claims that he wrote this to try to get to the truth of it, but everybody’s truth is totally subjective,” said Veralyn Jones, an African American cast member who resigned. “When you come to the matter of what really happened, nobody really knows for sure, because everybody has a different take on it. … It just didn’t feel right to me.”

Phelim’s response to this last was classic:  ”The truth is the truth. If it doesn’t fit in with their beliefs, they need to change their beliefs.”

Wait, what? Change their beliefs to fit the facts instead of the other way around??? But Phelim, then there would be no leftism!

Obviously, actors have the right to do whatever jobs they want, but it saddens me that the same cast members who would have gladly joined a fictional play showing the police to be racist and reckless, refuse to give voice to a work of non-fiction showing that one beleaguered police officer, at least, was not. In the safety of left-wing Hollywood, left-wing artists like to pretend they are taking risks “speaking truth to power.” But they never do; never. No risks; no truth; only leftism, which pleases the powers in their lives no end. This is a case in point.

Phelim swears the show will go on. I hope it does. You can contribute to the effort here.

(Thumbnail on PJM homepage created using a modified Shutterstock.com image.)

Werewolf Cop_3D

Here’s a brief interview I did with What Would The Founders Think after their five star review of Werewolf CopAn excerpt:

Andrew Klavan: I don’t actually think of my books as having messages. I think of them more as describing reality truthfully whereas a lot of people describe it falsely — which, by the way, is a much better career move! For instance, I have had people call me a moralist because my characters wrestle with good and evil, experience guilt and shame and so on. But everyone knows good and evil and guilt and shame are real. The moral relativists who say good and evil are not real — I guess they think it makes them sound tolerant or profound or something. But to me, it’s just plain lying because they know better. So I refuse to echo the lie. To answer your question, though, writing non-fiction helps to clarify your view of reality so that when you go to write fiction you can portray that reality in action.
Martin: Do you ever get push back, or nasty grams from readers who don’t like this?
Andrew Klavan: Oh yeah. All the time. Reviewers, readers. You can crank out absolute blithering nonsense about global warming and feminism and get crowned king of Fantasy Land, but point out that the moral universe exists and people show up at your house with torches and pitchforks. It’s what makes life so amusing.
Read the whole thing here. And buy the book here.

Horrible Feminists Are #NotAllWomen

April 19th, 2015 - 6:00 am

On the ever-indispensable Instapundit the other day, I found a link to the crypto-leftist website BuzzFeed. BuzzFeed had put up pictures of people at the annual Association of Writers & Writing Programs conference who wanted to send a message to white men in publishing. One smirky little broad had a particularly vile one: “Sit down & let us abolish you.” Hitlerian a little? But all of the messages were more or less like that, entitled and self-important, as if the world owed these people some sort of regard for being female or colored.

As the feminist paradigm leads more and more women into bleak and unhappy lives, we’re seeing more of the sort of feminist bullying, hysteria and ginned-up outrage we used to see back in the seventies and eighties: the wage gap lie; the campus rape foofaraw; the twitter tirades against anyone who speaks truth to feminist power; the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign…  and so on.

In case it might be of some help to anyone trying to getting past all this, I’d like to share a liberating realization I had back during that first feminist upsurge — back in, oh, let’s call it the eighties.

Back then, on TV, in movies, in newspapers — just about everywhere, it seemed — one heard the horrid harpy-like screeching of spoiled, entitled middle class females insulting men and parading their pampered little selves as victims. Not even a word of thanks to the male gender for having managed to build a world safe enough and technologically advanced enough for women to live more freely than in the past — which men did, by the way, while putting bread in the mouths of their women and roofs over their heads. So, like, you’re welcome.

I was delighted men had made a world in which women could have more choices. But feminism — which had nothing to do with that achievement — was then, as it remains today, a repulsive, offensive and hateful creed. It was easy to understand why brave male writers like, say, David Mamet responded to it by unleashing tirades against the female sex in their work.

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“Werewolf Cop:” A Book And Its Cover

April 17th, 2015 - 11:48 am

I’ve taken a lot of flack for titling my new novel Werewolf CopI was counting on readers’ sense of curiosity and irony to bring them into what is, I think, a unique genre story and one of the best books I’ve written. The cover the publisher originally proposed caught some of that attitude, I think:

Werewolf Cop_ADa

But ultimately my publishers and agent thought that cover would cause the book to be ignored by critics and relegated to the horror section of bookstores. So they came up with something more serious and literary-looking:

Werewolf Cop_3D

What do you think?

One reviewer from BookReporter had this reaction:

This may be the best argument for “don’t judge a book by its cover” that I’ve seen in recent memory. The highly ironic and simple title does not do any justice to the story that is contained within the covers. However, fans will breathe a sigh of relief when they see the name of the author listed above the title: Andrew Klavan…

WEREWOLF COP is a fun and gripping read that is much more classic police procedural than campy horror. The end result is the most unique novel Andrew Klavan has penned to date.

I don’t know if I made the right decision  — either for the title or the jacket — but I hope people who enjoy this blog will give the novel a try.

Obama’s Clown Car Diplomacy

April 15th, 2015 - 11:12 am

The funny thing about Barack Obama is that he’s an ideological fool whose philosophical intransigence is causing death and destruction on a massive scale. Wait, you don’t think that’s funny? Well, it’s all in the way you tell it.

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Some Other Good Democrat Nominees

April 13th, 2015 - 11:58 am

Anything you say, Mrs. President.

If Hillary Clinton is elected to the White House, she will be the first woman to be president in the same sense Amelia Earhart was the first woman to fly around the world. That is, we’ll all be expected to pay lip service to the effort no matter what kind of disaster it is. To be fair, however, this repeatedly dishonest, barely competent, desiccated, privileged, entitled wife of someone accomplished would almost certainly be a better president than the one we have now. Which consideration got me to thinking: If all they’re looking for is a first woman president who’d be better than Obama, can’t the Dems do better than Hillary?

Here are some suggestions:

1. Zooey Deschanel:  Don’t you think? She’s so cute and zany. She’s female. She’d be a better president than Obama. And she never greeted the death of four good Americans by promising to punish a YouTube video maker who had nothing to do with it — and then fulfilled that promise by pressuring the police to arrest the video guy and slap him into prison. Plus those adorable bangs would enliven any press conference.

2. Scarlett Johansson: Female; better than Obama. And, I mean, if we’re going to have a woman president why not a What-A-Woman President? Va-va-va-voom, am I right, boys? Also, she never lied to protect her husband’s political career while allowing the women her husband abused to be publicly excoriated by his corrupt minions. If ever a powerful male sex abuser silenced his female victims it was then, and one thing we can say for certain: Scarlett Johansson was in no way a party to it. And let’s face it, Scarlett got short-changed in The Avengers. I mean, pistols? What kind of boring super power is that? Oh, and there’s this: she’s Jewish. How come the media are concerned for every minority to take a turn in the White House except Jews? And Hispanics who are Republican?

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How America Changed Music

April 10th, 2015 - 8:57 am

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A little less serious than our usual conversation. Bill Whittle and I discuss the U.S.’s contribution to music. I hype the American Songbook, Bill natters on about that Rock ‘N Roll trash. These kids today!

‘It Follows’

April 8th, 2015 - 8:43 am

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David Robert Mitchell’s horror movie It Follows has been getting a lot of love from elite critics but in spite of that it’s actually very good. It tells the story of a sexually transmitted disease which causes a monster in various human forms to follow you and, if it catches you, kill you. As a sort of tribute to slasher pictures like Halloween and Friday the 13th, the Follows monster never runs, only walks relentlessly.

The best thing about the picture, from my point of view, is that the monster always looks human and can even look like someone you know, so you’re never sure who it is. This is in keeping with Klavan’s Horror Rule #1 which states that the most frightening thing you can see onscreen is a living human being with dead eyes. The dead-eyed man or woman who stands still and stares at you blankly across a crowded room is more frightening than the monster in Alien or Freddy Krueger or anyone else in make-up or costume. It Follows takes advantage of this fact, which requires real discipline and restraint on the part of the director.

The film takes place in the Democrat-destroyed city of Detroit — but when it takes place is open to question. Mitchell uses the Democrat-created urban blight of the city to disguise his playful rejiggering of time cues. For instance, one girl uses a cellphone but another uses a trimstyle phone I haven’t seen in years. All the movies people watch in the film are old and some of the television sets date from the sixties. All the cars are old. A teenaged girl shows up at one point wearing grandma underwear you couldn’t buy in a modern store. Yet the sexual and racial ethics are clearly modern.

In other words, the film takes place in Horror Movie Time. Some of the settings even seem to have come straight out of other horror films like Halloween. Normally, this sort of frou-frou artsy stuff would annoy me — shut up and tell the story already — but somehow Mitchell makes it work. 

In fact, in general, I’m always wary of highly praised genre material because so often it fulfills some intellectual yearning of the critics without actually being thrilling or scary for the rest of us. But It Follows manages to be eerie and tense and arty all at the same time. It’s a cool film with subtle scares and a really spooky final shot. Well worth seeing, if you like the genre.

And speaking of the genre, if you haven’t checked out my new novel Werewolf Cop, you should. You really should.

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This has got to be one of my favorite Steven Crowder (@scrowder) videos ever — which is saying something. In this one, Steven pretends to be a gay guy and goes into some Muslim bakeries in Dearborn, Michigan, to ask them to bake a wedding cake for him and his husband. The bakers politely decline and refer him to other bakers who might perform the service he needs.

Now first of all, I have to admire Crowder’s courage here. It isn’t easy to come out of the closet at his age. (Oh, all right, I’m joking!) But it’s worth noting that these American Muslims are, every one of them, as pleasant, respectful and lovely to my crazy friend as you could hope an American business person to be. Other Muslim bakers, Crowder says, agreed to do as he asked. The ones on camera are simply insisting on their freedom, not to discriminate against persons, but to choose which activities they want to participate in and which violate their creed. In between the hidden cam stuff, Crowder makes the point well.

Despite the obvious decency of these good American baker folks, Crowder repeatedly returns to the idea that, in Muslim countries, gays don’t fare quite as well as make-believe-gay Steven fares in Dearborn. That is, in Muslim countries, homosexuals can be judicially murdered just for being homosexual. Many on the right have puzzled over the fact that left-wing homofascists rain hate on everyday freedom-loving Americans who insist on their right to follow their religious consciences while these same left-wing homofascists go suddenly silent on the issue of Islamic mistreatment of gays. Likewise leftist feminists in America have to invent fantasy rapes and oppressions to keep their sense of victimized entitlement on the boil, but make nary a girlish peep about the very real enslavement and mutilation of women in the Muslim world. Indeed, leftists of all stripes seem to swoon over the “micro-aggressions” of free American life, while throwing their full sympathy and support behind the single most aggressive and oppressive political force active on the planet today: radical Islam.

But — in keeping with what I said a few posts back — the reason for this apparent contradiction seems obvious to me. It isn’t oppression the Left hates, it’s individual freedom and the Judeo-Christian God (aka “God”) who gives it to individual men and women.

The God part of this equation is indispensable, as our founders knew. George W. Bush once said, “God has planted in every human heart the desire to live in freedom.” But that’s just wrong. In fact, how any man who believes in the Bible could believe that, I truly don’t know. The Bible tells how God freed his chosen people the Hebrews from Egyptian slavery. He sent them the prophet Moses, he sent them signs and wonders, he rained plagues on their enemies, he defeated the mighty pharaoh and his armies with uncanny heavenly warfare. And when the Lord was done and his chosen people were free, the chosen turned to Moses and said, in effect, “We’re hungry! We were better off as slaves!”

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Happy Easter

April 3rd, 2015 - 6:19 am

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“It’s like in the great stories… the ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes you didn’t want to know the end because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end it’s only a passing thing this shadow, even darkness must pass. A new day will come, and when the sun shines it’ll shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you, that meant something even if you were too small to understand why. But I think… I do understand, I know now folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going because they were holding on to something.”  The Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers

Happy Easter, from Klavan on the Culture.