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Klavan On The Culture

Right-Wing WhackJob Harvey Weinstein Produces The Giver

August 20th, 2014 - 6:13 am

Harvey Weinstein arrested for making The Giver.

Holy smokes! I guess we’ll soon see California police hustling Harvey Weinstein out of his house with a towel wrapped around his head while IRS agents trail in his wake. Isn’t that how the Obama administration treats people who make movies with different political points of view from theirs? Well then, watch out, because with the dystopian young adult story The Giver, produced by the Weinstein Company, our Harvey has decided to go the full Limbaugh.

Actually, if Rush saw this picture, he might give Harvey a call and tell him to dial it back a little. “Harve, baby, sweetheart, I get it: with Obama in office, we can all see that the left wing policies you’ve been supporting most of your life are driving the world into chaos and our nation into the grave. But that’s no reason to be so… conservative! Take a tip from your old Uncle Rush and try to stick to the middle of the road a little bit. Listen to my show and learn some moderation, know what I’m saying?”

Seriously, The Giver as filmed is a virtual diatribe against 1) equality, 2) abortion and 3) atheism — with a knock at climate regulation thrown in. No wonder it gets a low-ish 31% from reviewers on Rotten Tomatoes while human beings give it a sturdy 71%.

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‘God’s Not Dead,’ But Some Are Trying

August 18th, 2014 - 1:13 pm

Take a look at some of these reviews for the religious indie hit God’s Not Dead:

From Britain’s Socialist newspaper The Guardian:  ”This warped evangelist item…  veers from the suspect…  to the outright hateful: by the jawdropping climax, wherein a preacher is effectively granted divine right to mow down non-believers, ‘doing God’s work’ has become indistinguishable from Grand Theft Auto. Ban this sick filth.”

Here’s one from Movie Nation:  ”It’s a movie where rare is the voice that is raised, but deep is the rage bubbling through its rabid anti-intellectualism. When a non-believer is considered to be better off dead, that’s not brimstone you’re smelling. It’s bile.”

And from my old employers The Village Voice:  ”Judging by the ignorance and contempt with which the script treats nonbelievers, the real goal here is proving that non-Christians are worthless.”

I admit those reviews are the extreme ones. I disagreed with Claudia Puig’s negative review at USA Todaybut it was fair and honest and gave credit where credit was due. She and I saw the same flaws and strengths but came out with a different overall impression. Tastes differ.

My take? God’s Not Dead is a pleasant and touching little entertainment, the core of which is an intelligent, succinct, well-reasoned and well-stated response to popular atheist arguments. There’s no Bible thumping, there are no threats of hellfire, there’s no attempt to “prove” God’s existence — the film admits it can’t be proved. But the script makes clear what I have thought for a long time: most atheist arguments, no matter how brilliant the scientist or philosopher who makes them, are just simply not very good judged on the merits.

What’s more, the movie is bracing in its vigor. It doesn’t hesitate to depict both the unkindness and the pain of a Muslim father when his daughter discovers Christ. His is a perfectly plausible reaction and we all know there are Muslim fathers who would do much worse. Nor does the movie fail to confront the fact of suffering and death that many non-believers find a dispositive argument against faith. I was happily surprised at how far the filmmakers were willing to go in making their case.

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Just Saying…

August 15th, 2014 - 9:17 am
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John Miller And I Talk “MindWar”

August 12th, 2014 - 9:17 am

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My friend John Miller and I recently discussed my new YA novel MindWar for John’s NRO Podcast feature, Between the Covers. John’s a great interviewer, and a great reader too.  It’s always good talking to him. We also discuss the new video series I’m doing for Truth Revolt:  The Revolting Truth.

Take a listen here.

And if you haven’t bought the book yet — Dude!

 

 

The Country of the Blind

August 10th, 2014 - 6:07 am
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“I think that the country could survive four more years of Obama.  But I don’t believe the country can survive in a country full of people who would re-elect him.”  Rush Limbaugh

“In the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.” Attributed to Erasmus.

I am delighted that the leader of the free world has finally taken decisive moral action in the Middle East. But I must admit, I am concerned to discover that the leader of the free world is Bibi Netanyahu. As for President Obama, the fact that he has decided to drop some bombs on Iraq in an attempt to stem a humanitarian disaster of his own making is less impressive. The blood of that people is on his hands. If he had not withdrawn our troops — if he had not surrendered George W. Bush’s victory — the horror there would not be happening.

But perhaps it isn’t fair to lay the blame wholly at his feet. He was elected, after all, and fairly elected. While the present chaotic, dangerous and blood-soaked state of the world is in large part the result of his complete cluelessness about the nature of reality, so great a one-eyed fool would not be in charge of things if he had not been chosen by a country of the blind.

Fifty-six percent of American women voted for Obama’s reelection, for instance. And today, because of the president’s perfidious surrender of W’s Iraq victory (which closed down the “rape rooms” of Saddam Hussein) women in Iraq are being sold into slavery — sold into slavery — by the Islamist monsters who have taken up the power vacuum Obama left behind. But don’t worry, Iraqi slave ladies. American women have your back and are, even as you are being sold, taking to the streets to protest the fact that Hobby Lobby won’t pick up the check for some of their birth control.

In the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.

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Gee, does that headline make me sound like I’m bragging? That may be because I am. The blog Christian Bookshelf Reviews celebrated this week’s Top Ten Tuesday by presenting the list: “Top Ten Books I’d Give to Readers Who Have Never Read Christian YA.” A few of the “books” are actually series so the list is really more than ten books. But I’m on there twice, with the four books of my Homelanders series and If We SurviveSo that’s really five books on a list of about fifteen.

Do the math. Does this mean you should buy my books if you’ve never read Christian YA or even if you have? Let me give you a hint: yes.

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Thanks, Christian White Men!

August 6th, 2014 - 6:06 am
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It is difficult for me to imagine — as I’m sure it must be difficult for all of you to imagine — how anyone could be angry at a sweet fellow like me. But judging by some of the comments on the Truth Revolt site, apparently this video did it. And yet, check me on this. Making allowances for condensed expression, is there anything untrue here? Anything cruel or hateful? People keep emailing me lists of all the sins committed by Christian White Men. But to say, for instance, that Christian White Men held slaves or started wars is as much as to say they had two legs: i.e. they are like everyone else. I concede that, of course, but I’m talking here about the things that differentiated Christian White Men from others: ending slavery, granting women equal treatment and extending toleration to those who were unlike themselves.

For which, by the way, thanks a million, Christian White Men!

Is Sex Just Sex?

August 4th, 2014 - 12:57 pm
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An excellent debate went on at The Week last week (h/t to director Jeremy Boreing for sending it to me). The issue was sex.

In a civilized and considered essay, senior correspondent Damon Linker declares, “The culture war isn’t really about culture, and it never has been. It’s about sex.”

Welcome to sexual modernity — a world in which the dense web of moral judgments and expectations that used to surround and hem in our sex lives has been almost completely dissolved, replaced by a single moral judgment or consideration: individual consent. As long as everyone involved in a sexual act has chosen to take part in it — from teenagers fumbling through their first act of intercourse to a roomful of leather-clad men and women at a BDSM orgy — anything and everything goes.

All of our so-called cultural conflicts flow from this monumental shift — and the fact that some of our fellow citizens (religious traditionalists and other social conservatives) are terrified by the new dispensation.

Linker goes on to say that, while he feels comfortable with modern sexual liberty and appreciates its relief from “sexually inspired suffering, shame, humiliation, and self-loathing,” he has also come to appreciate that some traditionalist critiques of the situation are worth considering. The gains of the sexual revolution are clear: “It’s fun! It feels good!” But it may be that traditionalist fears that promiscuity threatens the stability of society and the welfare of children have merit.

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How Leftists Succeed

August 1st, 2014 - 10:49 am

Comedian Evan Sayet has a snazzy new website, where he continues to spew the sort of despicable right wing hate speech I very much enjoy. Here’s his latest very funny video solving the mystery of “How Liberals Reach The Tops of their Professions.”

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There’s lots more where that came from — which is here.

 

Show Business Welfare, New York Style

July 29th, 2014 - 10:05 am

“You earned it! I want it!”

One of the best reporters in New York state — one of the best reporters in the country for my money — is my friend and Manhattan Institute colleague E.J. McMahon. The president of the Empire Center for Public Policy, McMahon covers Albany and all its works with a steel-trap grasp of economic realities combined with a restrained but acerbic understanding of human foibles and corruption. And since “Human Foibles and Corruption” could be the motto on the New York state seal, the word out of the Empire Center is generally authoritative.

This week in Newsday, McMahon has a typically controlled and suggestive piece on the latest rain of taxpayer dollars to be showered by Democrats on that great Democrat institution show business. This time, it’s CBS and Stephen Colbert who’ll bathe in their fellow citizens’ hard-earned cash.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced last week that New York State will steer $16 million in subsidies to CBS to keep the “Late Show” in Manhattan under its next host, Stephen Colbert.

The deal is just the latest in a series of lucrative state tax giveaways to the entertainment industry — part of a national trend, even though Cuomo’s own tax reform commission last year suggested that credits for movies and TV don’t really pay for themselves.

Last year, NBC secured tax breaks estimated to be worth at least $20 million to help finance its move of the “Tonight Show” from Burbank, California, back to Rockefeller Center, where it originated in the 1950s. This was made possible by a 2013-14 state budget provision that extended New York’s already generous film and TV tax credits to “a talk or variety program that filmed at least five seasons outside the state prior to its first relocated season in New York.” That language was so obviously tailored to NBC that it became known in some quarters as “Jimmy’s Law.”

Though CBS didn’t qualify for this particular out-of-the-citizens’-pocket bonanza, Cuomo found a way to pony up 16-mil of other people’s money by bending a law meant to provide performance-based tax credits to businesses other than that of show.

The premise behind the CBS tax breaks is that the “Late Show” and 200 jobs might have moved away without them. In reality, if Colbert hosted his show in Los Angeles — as Jay Leno used to do on NBC, before giving way to Fallon — it would have caused barely a ripple in the city’s economy…

The joke, it seems, is on us.

No doubt. You can read the whole thing here. And if you want to put this particular piece of Democrat waste in context, visit the Empire Center’s website and check out their Albany Spend-O-Meter! Which is hilarious but also, you know, not.