January 6th, 2012 - 6:16 am
Okay, some of you clowns are probably worrying about stuff like the fact that the president is shredding the Constitution and destroying our national defense. But hey, that’s why Klavan on the Culture is here to guide you to the more important issues of the day.
Those of you who study Post Office wanted posters may have cause to remember Justin Folk, but he was also the award-winning and smugly brilliant visuals guy on PJMedia’s Klavan on the Culture videos and is currently the animator of my new Manhattan Institute Presents videos. And as if that work weren’t enough to establish his conservative credentials, he has now also cruelly forced his own baby son Jonah to go to work and support his family by acting in a Doritos commercial. Isn’t that what conservatives do?
This hilarious commercial, on which Justin also did some SFX work (aside from fathering Jonah), has been selected out of over 6,000 entries as one of five finalists in a contest. The winning commercial will air on the Super Bowl.
You have a vote—in fact, like a Chicago Democrat, you can vote repeatedly! And while some of you may have been thinking of throwing your vote away on, I don’t know, some Republican candidate or something, you can put it to much better use here by voting to send Baby Jonah to the Super Bowl.
The name of the commercial is “Sling Baby.” Once more, here’s the voting place.
Come on, people, let’s do this thing.
January 4th, 2012 - 4:33 pm
A story set in the brutal world of mixed martial arts fighting, Warrior got KO’d at the box office—but, despite its flaws, it’s really entertaining and if you have any interest in this sort of thing, you definitely ought to see it.
First, the good stuff. The characters, values, and acting are all very, very good and, while the fight scenes work well enough, many of the dramatic scenes are excellent. Brit actor Tom Hardy, who was in Inception, is spectacular. In a better world, this would have made him a star. He’s so much more watchable than most male stars, not to mention more male than most male stars, and he makes his anti-hero sympathetic even when he’s bubbling over with suppressed rage. Joel Edgerton is also good and so is Nick Nolte. And Jennifer Morrison, the adorable lady from House and now Once Upon A Time, deserves a special mention. She never does anything particularly flashy onscreen but she always understands her part and quietly nails it. She does that here.
The bad stuff? Well, the one thing that probably killed this in the theaters: they needed to cut twenty minutes out of it to make it ten minutes too long. I mean, it’s a fight picture. Ninety minutes and you’re done; two hours tops. Not that it was slow or anything—it moved right along—but who wants to commit to 140 minutes of this stuff? Also, it’s all sort of predictable. Not only could you guess how the final fight would end, but you could basically guess the outcome of every single fight in the movie.
Then there were the possibly five or six scenes in which TV commentators explain the rules of the final tournament while interviewing the former Wall Street banker who quit his job to fund it. Completely wasted footage, meaningless dramatically. No clue what all that was about.
But really, so what? It’s fun, it’s entertaining, the fights are cool to watch. If you like sports movies, it’s worth an evening.
January 2nd, 2012 - 12:06 am
I’ve always thought it impolite for a writer to quote himself, but perhaps I may be forgiven a breach of manners for the sake of brevity. In my novel Empire of Lies, the narrator Jason Harrow says: “The world always seems like it’s going to hell when you’re depressed. And, of course, it always is going to hell in some way. That’s what makes it so hard to tell the difference between Armageddon and the blues.”
There is no question that a substantial number of people — the thinking ones — are currently depressed over the state of western culture in general and of our nation in particular. How could they be otherwise? Europe our mother is dead and an anti-American American leadership seeks to impose on our homeland the same socialistic welfare state that was either the disease that killed her or at least the primary symptom of that disease. Our not-really-very-intelligent intelligentsia is openly bent on weakening the foundations of our freedom in law and in religion, perverting and ignoring the Constitution, attacking the Bible whenever it can’t be banned. Our educators have ceased to educate our children about the sources of our liberty — from Greece and Rome and Jerusalem to England and Virginia — and instead train them to elevate the primitive, the oppressive, the abnormal, and the downright wrong to cardboard thrones of mock nobility. I would say our elites are fashioning a golden calf for us to worship, but perhaps you have never been told that story.
The results of these destructive trends are everywhere apparent. More and more children are born out of wedlock and thus condemned to dysfunction and poverty. More and more people are trained to childlike dependence by a government that has learned to trade entitlements for power. The president and Congress grow rich in both money and privilege while demonizing the wealth of others in order to pacify a populace struggling to survive. “The best lack all conviction,” as the poet Yeats wrote, “while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”
President Barack Obama is not the first cause of these problems but he is the incarnation and champion of the philosophy that is the cause. And as he seeks to divide American voters through envy and anger in the hope he can bamboozle them into the tremendous mistake of electing him again, the opposition seems able to do little more than assemble a hapless array of second stringers to try and stop him.
So we grow depressed and the world seems to be going to hell. But are we done for or just dispirited? Is it Armageddon or just the blues?