Klavan On The Culture

Klavan On The Culture

It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way

May 3rd, 2015 - 1:51 pm

I lived in Manhattan in 1977, during the “Summer of Sam.” After decades of leftist governance, the city was a cesspool. The Son of Sam serial killer, who terrorized the boroughs, caught the public imagination, at least in part, because he was emblematic of a metropolis awash in crime. You were wary leaving your home at night. You did not go into the parks after dark; they belonged to the bad guys. The FALN — Puerto Rican terrorists whom Bill Clinton would later scurrilously pardon — were bringing business to a halt with bombs and bomb threats. And when, on my birthday, the city suffered a blackout, people — mostly black people — seized the moment to burn and loot their neighborhoods.

Conservative Mayor Rudy Giuliani transformed that city in the ’90s. It was Giuliani’s policies — including the policy called “broken window policing” enforced by commissioner William Bratton — that turned the cesspool into something very like America the Beautiful’s ”alabaster cities… undimmed by human tears.” The young professionals and artists who enjoy the town today don’t appreciate the change. At the time, it seemed a miracle of nearly Biblical proportions. 

It was not only New York that nearly died in the seventies. In the wider world, too, the thugs were on the march. The fall of the Communist slave state called the Soviet Union may seem inevitable now, but in that decade its imperialistic Brezhnev Doctrine was in the ascendant. A massive Soviet naval buildup. The invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. Soviet coups in Yemen and Nicaragua. A Vietnamese incursion into Thailand. Barack Obama’s pals the Cubans acting as Soviet proxies in Angola, Ethiopia, Central and East Africa. And of course the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. All while the U.S. president, Jimmy Carter, lectured Americans about our “inordinate fear of Communism.”

Carter’s prideful sanctimony also helped free the bottled demon of Islamism in the Middle East. When Carter withdrew U.S. support for the sometimes brutal but pro-American shah of Iran, the result was an Islamic revolution followed by a hostage crisis that humiliated America for 444 days. It was just the beginning of Islam’s awful rise.

Conservative President Ronald Reagan turned back that rising tide of tyranny. His aggressive stance against the Soviet Union and his willingness to use the profits of capitalism to outspend ever-stagnant socialism brought the evil Soviet empire to its knees. His patriotic optimism trumped the seventies’ leftist breast-beating. And his tax cuts set a broken American economy into motion again. All of which led to an American quarter century of unprecedented prosperity and peace, including that Reagan-created triumph that the media like to call “The Clinton Years.”

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The Iran Deal Explained

May 1st, 2015 - 4:21 pm

What could be funnier than an arrangement to give nuclear weapons to Islamic madmen who want to wipe out Israel and bring about the apocalypse? Take a look and it will all be clear to you:

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Nolte: “Baltimore is a Democrat Problem”

April 29th, 2015 - 11:24 am

The mighty Noltenator — John Nolte of the Breitbart sites — has a wonderful piece on the Baltimore riots over at Big Government, well worth reading in full:

Contrary to the emotional blackmail some leftists are attempting to peddle, Baltimore is not America’s problem or shame. That failed city is solely and completely a Democrat problem…

Liberalism and all the toxic government dependence and cronyism and union corruption and failed schools that comes along with it, has run amok in Baltimore for a half-century, and that is Baltimore’s problem. It is the free people of Baltimore who elect and then re-elect those who institute policies that have so spectacularly failed that once-great city. It is the free people of Baltimore who elected Mayor Room-To-Destroy.

You can call the arson and looting and violence we are seeing on our television screens, rioting. That’s one way to describe the chaos. Another way to describe it is Democrat infighting. This is blue-on-blue violence. The thugs using the suspicious death of Freddie Gray (at the hands of a Democrat-led police department) to justify the looting that updates their home entertainment systems, are Democrats protesting Democrat leaders and Democrat policies in a Democrat-run city.

That’s what the truth sounds like when it’s spoke.

I can only add this excellent passage from a wonderful book I just read. I’ll have more to say on Theodore Dalrymple’s Admirable Evasions soon, but for now, here’s just a relevant taste:

Seeing victims everywhere you look is the zeitgeist, it is what gives people license to behave as they like while feeling virtuous. Virtue is not manifested in one’s behavior, always so difficult and tedious to control, but in one’s attitudes towards victims. This view of virtue is both sentimental and unfeeling, cloying and brutal: for it implies that those who are not victims are unworthy of our sympathy or understanding, only of our denunciation. Thus a dialectic is set up between libertinism on the one hand and censoriousness on the other, the latter being precisely the characteristic that seeing victims everywhere, and disguising from them the degree of their own responsibility for their situation, was designed to avoid.

Don’t think for a minute, though, that these brilliant diagnoses constitute a cure. The problem with democracy is that we get what they deserve. The democrat victim machine may have created the problem of Baltimore, but it’s the rest of us who are going to have to solve it.

Jenner’s Gender Exposes Leftist Nonsense

April 26th, 2015 - 10:02 am

It’s not my intention to make fun of Bruce Jenner. I tried to transition into a woman once myself — and would have done it too, but she called the police. I probably should have asked her permission first.

Joking aside, the former gold medal Olympian is, by my lights, free to be whatever surgery can make him. My attitude toward other people’s sex lives was best phrased by Ebenezer Scrooge: “It’s enough for a man to understand his own business, and not to interfere with other people’s. Mine occupies me constantly.”

That said, since our media will focus on this absolutely meaningless and ridiculous event rather than on, say, Barack Obama’s malfeasance abroad and lawlessness at home, let me just make a few observations.

Leftists have made a cause of transgenderism, but transgenderism makes a nonsense of many leftist tenets. For instance, leftist feminism depends on the assumption that there is no inherent difference between men and women and that therefore any inequality in their lives must be the product of bigotry and should be corrected by law. But if there is no inherent difference between men and women, what can it possibly mean to be transgender? When Jenner tells an interviewer: “I am a woman,” how does he know? Since, until he started fiddling with it, his body was a man’s body, he can only mean that he feels a mental or spiritual difference within him that he identifies as womanly. I only wish that more feminists felt that!

But if there is a difference between men and women — and, like, duh — it is entirely possible that in some matters the difference favors men. Men, for instance, may be better at scientific thinking, or cracking stupid jokes that are somehow hilarious, or writing great poetry, or abusing themselves and others for purposes of sexual gratification without any emotional blowback. Once you admit there is a difference, it is not cruelty or bigotry to note the results of that difference or to behave in accordance with them, always taking variations in individuals into account.

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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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