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Klavan On The Culture

Monthly Archives: August 2011

Newsweek’s Rage

August 10th, 2011 - 5:17 am

The editors of Newsweek magazine, pictured here:

have seen fit in their wisdom to grace the cover of their crappy and dying magazine with an unflattering picture of Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann.

Now every time I point out the dirt-lousy treatment Congresswoman Bachmann is getting in the press, I get letters telling me to stop endorsing her. I haven’t endorsed anyone. But I really do think there is another level of hatred from the left against conservative women – women, I mean, particularly. I had the distinct pleasure of being on Greg Gutfeld’s Red Eye the other day and seemed alone in thinking the Bachmann cover was gender related. Others said the left would do the same to any conservative. And it does happen. But it just seems to happen a lot more to conservative women. The congresswoman is attractive. It can’t be hard to take a semi-decent picture of her. Pranks like this are giggly and base, a sign of insecurity and dysfunction. Shame on ‘em.

I’m on the road and typing this on an iPad I got for my birthday – very cool. But please forgive typing and formatting errors. It’s not that easy to do this.

Insults, Stupid Arguments, and Lies

August 8th, 2011 - 7:00 am

As the 9/11 massacre underscored the failure of the left’s multicultural worldview, so the current debt crisis highlights the failure of leftist redistributionism.

In fact, leftism has failed utterly. It has failed everywhere and it has never done anything else but fail. From the murderous, leftist tyrannies of the Soviet Union and China to the soft but nonetheless oppressive and stagnant socialism of a moribund Europe, the relativist, wealth-crushing, overweening state has revealed itself to be an engine of misery and collapse.

This is a disappointment to many. To those who feel they are entitled to the fruits of other people’s labor, to those who feel their good intentions can be brought to fruition by the government, and to those, most of all, who fancy themselves elite, who fancy themselves better able to make moral and economic decisions on your behalf from on high than you, the citizen, can do on your own — to all of these, the failure of leftism is a trauma so great it has yet to be accepted. Rather, in order to distract both their followers and their opponents — and maybe themselves — from the gathering facts on the ground, leftists routinely rely on three well-worn techniques: insults, stupid arguments and lies.

The insults we all know. Disagree with the left and you’re a racist, a sexist, an Islamophobe — whatever. What do such insults even mean, really? Let’s say you oppose Barack Obama — and let’s say you really are a racist — does that mean his share-the-wealth ideology works? Of course not. If you’re a sexist, does that make women less interested in babies or more interested in trucks? If you’re Islamophobic, does that change the odds that the man who murders you will be named Mohammad? We are what we are and the world is what it is regardless of our personal merits and failings. The insults — for the information of all you teabagging terrorists out there — are just the sound of the left indulging in base intimidation, hoping they can keep you from spreading the word that their philosophy has failed — failed always and everywhere.

As for the stupid arguments, they usually involve citing bad individual actions in order to obscure bad underlying principles. Thus when you note the disaster wrought on our economy by Obama’s governing philosophy, leftists counter that, well, George W. Bush spent too much money too. Yes, he did — because, in those moments, W. was operating under the same misguided redistributionist principles as Obama. It’s the principles that are wrong, no matter who holds them.

Likewise, when you point out that Islamism is an evil and oppressive idea, leftists counter that Americans have done many bad things as well. And yes, we have — all nations have — but the liberty we stand for is a good, just as shariah law is a bad, not for some people in some places but for everyone all over.

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DVD: The Adjustment Bureau

August 5th, 2011 - 7:00 am

"Run! The Democrats are after us!"

An old-fashioned fantasy-romance, The Adjustment Bureau is very entertaining and moving.  I recommend it, even if Matt Damon gets on your nerves – maybe especially if he gets on your nerves.

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Because, in a way, the film is even more amusing on political grounds than it is story-wise.  Why?  Well, wonderfully, the people who made the movie think it’s a liberal movie, but it’s absolutely not!  What could be more entertaining than that?

The hero, played by our Matt, is a liberal Democrat congressman whose childish but harmless personal failings keep him from overcoming the evil Republicans on election day.   As I said, it’s a fantasy.  One day, he meets the adorably monkey-faced Emily Blount, a free spirited dancer.  They fall in love…  unfortunately, that gets in the way of God’s plan of saving the world through liberal Democrats, and so God sends his angels to break Matt and Emily up and get everyone back in line with the plan.

Okay.  Let’s parse that.  The theme, as I read it – oh, really, they say it out loud in the movie – is:  “Even when someone very powerful thinks they know what’s best for you and the world, your right to make a free choice – even the wrong choice – is worth fighting for.”  Can you find me one – one – liberal who believes that in real life?  Uh…   no!  That’s the conservative position almost in a nutshell!  That’s why we want to keep our money, Matt!  So we can decide how to use it, even if you think Obama knows best!

So, in other words…  Matt…  and Emily…  and the director and writer and producers and best boy in the movie may all be liberals.  But God, the angels and the story itself – like all good stories – are stone conservatives, each and every one.

Which is a hoot.  Watch it, and tell me I’m wrong.

“Lieutenant Dan Band” Now out on DVD

August 3rd, 2011 - 7:00 am

One last plug for Lieutenant Dan Band:  For The Common Good, a stirring and award-winning documentary by Jonathan Flora.  It was already available to watch online for $3.99 but now you can own a copy of the DVD by ordering here at Amazon.

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Flora and his camera crew trailed after superior Hollywood humanoid Gary Sinise as he and his band toured military bases at home and in harm’s way to entertain the troops.  What’s cool about the doc is that, while it gives plenty of props to Sinise himself, you come away from it thinking not so much about him as about the guys and girls he entertains – to wit, those of our fellow Americans who are risking their lives for our defense and who deserve a thought or two now and again.

As I joked with Flora after a screening, “The film really made me want to go out and do something for the troops.  Fortunately, I lay down until the feeling passed.”  More seriously, the film truly does move you to want to do something for those who do so much for us.  So watch it – and then do it.

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The new film, Captain America:  The First Avenger is tons of fun. The first half—the origin story and the Captain’s maiden mission—is wonderful.  The second half is a little over-plotted and rushed, but it’s still a pleasure. The ending is smart and exciting.

I found a couple of politically correct irritants along the way, but nothing major. I’m heartily sick of the idiotic scene in which a petite woman decks a full-grown man with a single punch. I’m not sure why selling war bonds through patriotic showmanship should be depicted as a cynical business (as here and in Flags of our Fathers). And while I’m delighted to see some of our talented black actors get work in a left-wing industry that too often ignores them, a touch of historical verisimilitude about contemporary race relations would also be nice.

But, you know, whatever.  This is a good and good-hearted movie, patriotic without being jingoistic, and whatever PC burrs got under my saddle were smoothed away by the climactic exchange between Captain A and arch-villain Red Skull:

Red Skull:  I have seen the future, Captain, and there are no flags.

Captain America:  Not in my future.

As we in the rest of Team America might say:  F-yeah!

My real complaint, then, is not about Captain America itself but about all the films like it that are not being made. You know what I’m talking about: the films set in the modern day in which brave American heroes and super-heroes take on the defense of liberty against its contemporary enemies, the Islamo-fascists.

I’ve been watching movies for many years now and I believe I’m beginning to understand that the Nazis were not altogether pleasant fellows but, dude, our fathers took that garbage out over half a century ago. Are our soldiers today any less brave? Is our cause any less just? Are the jihadis any less of an adversary to everything in the human story that is good and right and true?

Just so you don’t have to peek at the paper of the student next to you, the answers to the above questions are no, no and no. So why should it be difficult in any way for our filmmakers to tell stories celebrating America’s ongoing fight against the Islamist foes of freedom?

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