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Klavan On The Culture

Narrative Kills

December 21st, 2014 - 6:22 am

The hearts of honest men and women are filled with anger today at the murder of two New York City police officers. The killer’s dead; his justice will be perfect. But we’re angry at the people who spread the lies that set the killer’s heart on fire. Al Sharpton, who can add yet another death-by-rhetoric to his resume; Mayor de Blasio, who abandoned the peace keepers of his own city; Barack Obama and Eric Holder and the editors of the New York Times and the Daily News, who all helped spread the narrative that the police target or oppress people of color.

That narrative is false; it’s a lie; it killed those officers. Our anger against the people who spread that murderous lie is justified; righteous.

The policing programs and policies that these people seek to undermine save black lives. The policies these people seek to put in place cost black lives. Those are facts, not narrative.

Do any of them spend even a cartridge of ink speaking out against the teacher’s unions that enslave black children to ignorance for their own gain? Do any of them waste a word speaking out against the sexual practices that lead to rampant illegitimacy in poor black neighborhoods and enslave their generations to poverty? Do any of them ever stand up for the huge majority of decent, law-abiding African Americans whom the police protect lest they be enslaved by the thugs and criminals in their midst?

Dependency. Helplessness. Victimhood. Division. That’s all these people sell. Every damn day. What did they think would happen?

Talking With A Rabbi About My Conversion!

December 18th, 2014 - 5:47 pm
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I loved doing this interview with Rabbi Ari Abramowitz at the Voice of Israel. Rabbi-like, he skipped past the shallow stuff and asked the big questions: about my feelings toward Israel, my conversion from Judaism to Christianity and about my conversion from leftism to liberalism, also known as conservatism. If you’re interested in real talk about real stuff, too rare in American media, it’s worth listening to. You can hear it here.

Gosnell Movie Update

December 17th, 2014 - 9:02 am


Here’s a recent interview I did with the excellent Kent Covington for his show The World and Everything In It, updating my progress writing the script for the movie about abortionist serial killer (but I repeat myself) Kermit Gosnell:

Since this interview, I’ve actually completed the first draft. (As I point out in the interview, “first draft” is a term of art, meaning the first draft I turn in to the producers, usually about my fifth or sixth draft. But in any case, it’s done.)

Meh to the Sony Hack Attack!

December 16th, 2014 - 11:02 am

It’s hard not to enjoy the discomfiture of Hollywood leftists caught out in their silliness and hypocrisy. Film industry big wigs contributed so much money to getting this awful, awful president elected that when they’re discovered making racial jokes about him, it’s pretty delicious. Also, I really, really love it when white people apologize for their racist remarks to Al Sharpton as if he were the Official Representative of the Black Race! I live for belly laughs like that; I have to believe so much merriment is good for my health somehow. Seriously, it’s difficult to think of anything more racist than assuming that the dreadful Al Sharpton represents black people! The apology itself is such a slap in the face to black people that you should really apologize to Al Sharpton for apologizing to Al Sharpton!

However. All that said. The truth is, this is really much ado about nothing. As everyone now knows, Sony’s computers were hacked by persons or North Koreans unknown and — among other things — Sony Co-Chair Amy Pascal and powerful producer Scott Rudin were caught out dissing major stars and making jokes about which black-themed films Barack Obama would like. Pascal — who rose from secretary to exec — is now apologizing to Sharpton and anyone else she can find in an effort to keep her job.

Meh. I have to be honest: I hope she survives. I know, I know: if she were a conservative, she’d be crucified. It’s so true. But if I have to act like a leftist to defeat leftism, what’s the point? I’m sick of seeing people get fired for harmlessly mouthing off. She didn’t call Obama names; she didn’t say he couldn’t do his job because he was black; she didn’t say, “I hate Obama because his skin is brown.” She made a few harmless racial jokes. Privately. Which were stolen illegally. A quick, “Oops, that sounded more stupid than I realized; sorry,” and back to work. For her — and for everyone in a similar situation.

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How Do You Find God?

December 12th, 2014 - 4:25 pm

Glad you asked Klavan and Whittle. I explain it all to you…  then Bill says some stuff… and underneath is the video that gives simple instructions…  if you don’t follow them, don’t blame me.

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How much easier can I make this for you people???

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Actual Cannibal Shia LaBeouf

December 10th, 2014 - 11:29 am

This may actually be a YouTube work of genius from musician Rob Cantor. My friend Jeremy Boreing of Truth Revolt pointed me to “Actual Cannibal Shia LeBeouf” several weeks ago. It’s a greatly improved remake of an earlier cartoon version. At first, I simply found the new piece hilarious and silly (no small things). But it stuck with me. A grad student with too much time on his hands could write a paper about it as a meditation on the cannibalization of high culture by low celebrity culture — complete with the post-modern zinger of Shia himself in Citizen Kane mode, as if his degraded image were his own protege. Thank heavens grad students are too busy writing papers about more important things like “Gender and the Zombie Apocalypse.” Or vice versa. Anyway, if you’re not one of the nearly seven million people who’ve seen this already, take a look:

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America in Retreat

December 7th, 2014 - 9:14 am

“Little minds think great thoughts,” a wise man once wrote, “but great minds proceed in the smallest stages.” Oh wait, that wasn’t a wise man, that was me (in the novel The Uncanny) — but even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

Increasingly, I find myself noticing the fact that the very best thinkers and writers on the political right — who are the best thinkers and writers in the political sphere (it’s not even close) —  get less immediate attention than the blusterers and bloviaters on both sides. Big Ideas that almost always turn out to be untrue, paranoia and hysteria sell books and bring in ratings, while close observation, fact gathering, skepticism and calm common sense tend to be less commercial. As a result, there’s a pressure on thinkers to start screaming “Fire!” at every new development. It’ll get you interviewed and help you peddle whatever your wares are. (On the left, of course, screaming “Fire!” is known as talking.)

Over time, however, cool, skeptical wisdom often does rise to the top. Charles Krauthammer is an excellent example. His recent book (which I’m reading now and which is lovely) eschews hysteria and self-certainty, but sold a bundle. PJM’s own Andrew C. McCarthy, who has become one of my go-to’s for sharp, informed but measured observation of the political scene, has been discovered by Megyn Kelley and will continue to gain readers.

And then there’s the increasingly remarkable Bret Stephens.

Stephens is the Pulitzer winning foreign policy columnist for the Wall Street Journal. His new book America in Retreat: The New Isolationism and the Coming Global Disorder is a wise, measured, hugely intelligent and vastly well informed look at where our foreign policy is and where it should go. (You will note the rather hysterical sub-title. The publisher slapped one of those on McCarthy’s last book too. They know where their bread is buttered, but once you get between the covers with the writer, things settle down.)

Stephens does not engage in anti-left name calling (anyone who wants to indulge in that low and degraded business can simply watch one of my videos!), he doesn’t demonize the current president, or his editorialist colleagues on the other side — he simply, quietly and factually vivisects them by quoting their words, outlining their actions and pointing to the results:

The evidence of where the Obama administration’s foreign policy has led is becoming difficult to ignore. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine; China’s aggressive maritime claims against Japan and the Philippines; Iran’s confident march to nuclear capability; North Korea’s nuclear tests; the unfolding chaos in Iraq; the calamity in Syria. Averting one’s eyes, keeping our hands clean, staying out, remaining in a supine position, is not a foreign policy option for the United States.

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Gamergate And My Shirt

December 5th, 2014 - 10:45 am

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I released a video this week in support of #Gamergate — the left’s corrupt attempt to game gaming journalism — and I was interested to hear from a lot of my fellow gamers who said, “No, no, we’re not conservatives like you. We just don’t like authoritarians.” Well, guess what, friends? All the authoritarians are on the left. All of them. The liberals and libertarians are mostly on the right.

I know a lot of gamers consider themselves lefties. But maybe they’re not paying enough attention. They’re like comedian Chris Rock. The other day Rock said he didn’t play college campuses anymore because they’d become too “conservative,” and wouldn’t let him make politically sensitive jokes. Guess what again? That’s not conservatism. Conservatives will let you make any jokes you want. They may not come to your show, but they won’t chase you away either. It’s the left, not the right, that Rock is having trouble with.

Which brings me to the shirt… which I’m wearing in the vid…  and which really highlights my lovely eyes by the way.  This, of course, is the shirt worn by Dr. Matt Taylor in an interview after he helped land a spacecraft on a comet in a triumph for mankind. He was bullied into an apology by a bunch of squealing feminist harridans, who had not just landed a spacecraft on a comet or done anything else for mankind, or womankind, ever. They didn’t like the pictures of babes in leather on the shirt. Sad panda.

PJM’s own Roger Kimball, who in his spare time runs and edits the best high culture journal in America, The New Criterion, has a lot to say about the shirt in this quarter’s issue :

The case of Dr. Taylor’s shirt may seem like little more than a bad joke. In fact, it is something more sinister. It is a vivid example of what happens when a self-enfranchised politically correct cadre sets about quashing freedom and eccentricity in the name of an always-evolving sensitivity. The goal, as one wag put it, is a testosterone-free society in which everything that is not mandatory is prohibited.

You can read the whole thing here.

Related: See also “Why the #GamerGate Story Is So Boring


December 3rd, 2014 - 11:23 am

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Man, I wanted to like this movie. And I didn’t dislike it exactly. There was plenty of talent in it. Great premise, great acting all around. And the look of the thing is wonderful. It isn’t often you see Los Angeles captured without romance, just the real feeling of it. It’s a fun film to watch for that alone.

The idea is that a sociopath becomes a stringer cameraman for local TV news. The excellent Jake Gyllenhaal plays the guy who builds a business out of selling blood soaked crime and accident footage to Rene Russo‘s if-it-bleeds-it-leads morning show. Gyllenhaal’s character is a soulless lunatic stoked on internet self-help advice. Which makes for some funny and more or less incisive commentary on local news sensibility in a corporate age.

But after the first act, it just all got a bit repetitive for me. If your lead mugs a man for his watch in the first scene, we pretty much know what he is — and he never changes, just gets to be more and more of the same. That may be commentary, but it’s not actually a story. The real story, I thought, was what happens to Rene Russo, how she goes from trying to do her job to being sucked into the sociopath’s imagined reality. That story, unfortunately, ended up on the cutting room floor.

That said, it’s not boring, and there’s plenty to watch and think about. I disliked it more for failing to be what it could have been than for being what it was. Too bad though: it could’ve been terrific.

The picture gets a 95/87 on Rotten Tomatoes, so obviously a lot of people felt differently. I’d love to hear comments from anyone who disagrees.

Please Don’t Take Away My Oppression!

November 30th, 2014 - 11:57 am

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As one egregious incident of racial oppression after another turns out to be imaginary — the Duke lacrosse players didn’t rape Crystal Magnum, George Zimmerman didn’t murder Trayvon Martin, Darren Wilson didn’t murder Michael Brown — the purveyors of the racism narrative are getting desperate. The facts may be wrong, they seem to be saying ala Newsweek‘s Evan Thomas, but the narrative remains right! It’s all about the white privilege, explains one group of Big Thinkers. You don’t need racists to have racism says another. It’s all about the micro-aggression says yet another.

You can almost hear them begging:  ”Please don’t take our oppression away! It’s all we have!”

Well, quite. America is the least racist multi-cultural society since the Roman empire. There’s really never been anywhere on earth where so many different peoples live together so well. The trouble that besets us is not white against black, and it’s not black against white either. It’s the left against liberty.

Leftism — by which I mean the end of liberty through forced “equality” — by which I mean the absolute power of a ruling class over the unwashed many — by which I mean tyranny — by which I mean leftism — uses race as a ploy, uses the poor as pawns, uses violence as a means, but has only one purpose: power; the power of the elite few.  As valid excuses to exercise that power (slavery and segregation) fall away, it creates false excuses (Duke, Trayvon, Ferguson). When the false excuses are exposed, it creates make-believe injustices (white privilege, micro-aggression). When the make-believe is laughed off, it seizes the next moment of high tension to spew lies, gin up emotion, and engineer violence. Then, in the aftermath of the wholly unnecessary turmoil, rage and destruction, we’re all supposed to wearily agree:  ”Something must be done.”

The only thing that needs to be done is to boot the leftists out of power and off TV.

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