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Klavan On The Culture

Monthly Archives: March 2012

Nook Types — The Last Thing I Remember — the first book in my Homelanders series of thrillers for young adults is today’s Daily Find at Barnes & Noble. That means Nook users can download the book for just $2.99 all day Friday, March 30th. I guess they’re counting on the fact that once you read book one, you’ll have to read the three that follow. Are you man or woman enough to take that challenge?

Actually, it’s a cool book and I’m pretty sure you’ll like it. If you use the Nook and you’ve got three bucks, this is a good time to check it out.

ObamaCare — How Nice People Crush Freedom

March 28th, 2012 - 12:35 pm

Listening to MSM reports about the Supreme Court judges questioning lawyers on ObamaCare has been kind of comical. As Rand Simberg points out, both the media and the government’s lawyers seemed wholly unprepared for the basic questions from the judges — questions they would have heard a million times by now if they ever actually listened to conservative commentators instead of simply demonizing them. The conservative judges especially are only asking what Tea Partiers at town hall meetings have been asking since the bill was passed:  ”If the government can force you to buy insurance for your own good, what CAN’T it force you to do?”

Underlying this question though is a larger issue, put forward by economist Friedrich Hayek in “The Constitution of Liberty”:

Not only is liberty a system under which all government action is guided by principles, but it is an ideal that will not be preserved unless it is itself accepted as an overriding principle governing all particular acts of legislation. Where no such fundamental rule is stubbornly adhered to as an ultimate ideal about which there must be no compromise for the sake of material advantages—as an ideal which, even though it may have to be temporarily infringed during a passing emergency, must form the basis of all permanent arrangements—freedom is almost certain to be destroyed by piecemeal encroachments. For in each particular instance it will be possible to promise concrete and tangible advantages as the result of a curtailment of freedom, while the benefits sacrificed will in their nature always be unknown and uncertain.

In other words, there’s always a good reason to take your freedom away — your health, the poor, your evil opinions, the lousy way you raise your kids — and never a reason to preserve freedom except the love of freedom itself. Thus, so often, the people destroying the American way of life are actually nice people who just want to help.

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The Left’s Con Man Logic

March 26th, 2012 - 7:03 am

"If I could just remember where I left my pants..."

I have a question for all you leftists out there: are you stupid, or what?

Here’s the reason I ask. Approximately 127 years ago, when I was a young man just starting to make my way in the world, I was approached by a con man with an “investment opportunity.” He was plausible and I was, as I say, young, and I began to think of giving him some of my very hard-earned money. Finally, I said, “Okay, let me think it over, talk to my wife, and get back to you.” To which the man replied, “Oh, well, sure, if you need your wife’s permission….”

On the instant, the scales fell from my eyes and I knew I was being conned. Since my towering virility leaves me impervious to this sort of insinuation, it was immediately plain to me that the only purpose to the man’s remark was to get me to stop thinking and give him what he wanted. Why else would he try to make me feel bad about seeking the advice of the crown jewel of my heart, the partner of my fortunes and, let’s face it, the smarter half of my marriage?

And yet it seems to me that the twenty or so percent of the American population who see themselves as “liberal” or, in fact, leftist, fall for this sort of con man logic on a daily basis.

Take their hysteria over man-made global warming as a perfect example. After Al Gore’s dishonest documentary An Inconvenient Truth started the drumbeat, a liberal friend asked me what I thought of the situation. I told him that I had only just begun to seek out the facts and didn’t yet know the truth, inconvenient or otherwise — “But when a man tells me to turn over unprecedented amounts of power and money to him and his kind or the world will end… then tells me I’m like a Holocaust denier if I seek to confirm his facts… then assures me that ‘the debate is over,’ because there’s a ‘scientific consensus,’ (a wholly meaningless phrase)… well, look, I get suspicious!” My subsequent research confirmed me in the belief that the emergency is a fraud.

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How the Left Can Shut Down Rush Limbaugh

March 23rd, 2012 - 7:51 am

What number are you, Mr. Limbaugh?

I grew up in radio. My father was a famous New York deejay, and really, an extraordinary radio talent. He was also an old-style Jewish liberal who thought the Republicans were one step away from being Nazis. Once, when I expressed admiration for Rush Limbaugh, he went into one of his usual rants. I stopped him and said, “You don’t have to agree with him, but Rush Limbaugh is the best radio man I’ve heard since you.” My father deflated… shook his head… then murmured, “Unfortunately, you’re probably right.”

How great is Rush Limbaugh? Truly, it’s almost impossible to do what he does at the level he does it day after day. Because of work demands, I don’t get to hear him as often as I’d like. But about once a week, I drive to L.A. on business, and I always try to time the drive to coincide with his show. I pay a lot of attention to the news. I read widely and deeply. But every time I make that drive, I arrive in Los Angeles smarter than I was when I left home and Rush is the reason. He’s just that good.

So yes, a Left that has failed in every single endeavor and has no arguments left but “You’re a racist!” and “The climate is falling!” needs to shut this man up and shut him down before he convinces Americans to seize back their country in the name of liberty and the Constitution. What to do?

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They Shoulda Stuck With Tebow

March 21st, 2012 - 7:02 am

The other finger's for Elway.

Update:  Tebow has gone to the New York Jets. Which means he’ll either be one of several backups to Mark Sanchez or they’ll rejigger him into a back to strengthen their running game. I’m sorry to hear this. I don’t think the Teeb will be happy amid all the cranks and backstabbers in that locker room and I don’t think the New York fans will take to him. Tennessee…  as I said below.

Maybe I’m sentimental because I like what Tim Tebow stands for, but I think the Denver Broncos are making a mistake bringing in Peyton Manning and letting Tebow go. I know we’re all supposed to worship at the pedestal of Greatest Quarterback Ever Manning, but he’s not the greatest quarterback ever because he routinely chokes in the post season and even if he were the greatest, one hit and he could be back in Ouch-My-Neck City, about two miles north of Retirement. Say what you will, if I had to bet the lint in my pocket on which quarterback — Tebow or Manning — was likely to win a Super Bowl in the future, I’d bet Tebow, and so, forced to the truth, would a lot of the experts running him down. Bronco Football guy John Elway made a bad decision based on 1) the fact that he couldn’t stand to have a running rather than a passing quarterback and 2) Manning, if he stays healthy, might beef up revenues for a while…  maybe…

I think Tennessee ought to go after the Teeb. Nashville and Tebow? Come on! It’d be one season-long Jesus-fest and would drive the media crazy — which would be worth it in itself. LP Field would be like a tent revival meeting come Sunday. That’d be cool! Plus the Titans have a solid offensive line who could protect Tim while he figures out what to do with that oblong brown thing the center just handed him. That’s my football happiness scenario anyway, and I hope it comes through because, as things stand, Tebow may actually have a hard time finding another starting position. And it would be a shame to take one of the most exciting sports personalities of recent years and bench him. I mean, that just ain’t right.

Is There a War On Women?

March 19th, 2012 - 7:05 am

There’s been a lot of talk lately about a war on women. Much of this has been devised by the Obama administration and its cronies in order to divert our attention from their unprecedented and illegal attack on our Constitution’s guarantees of religious liberty. At its core is the old leftist canard that says if people won’t be taxed to pay for your goods and services, they are somehow denying you access to those goods and services. It’s low and dishonest garbage and the people who promulgate it should be kicked first out of office and then downstairs.

But this weekend, one of the Wall Street Journal’s better columnists, Peggy Noonan, while largely agreeing with the above, opined that there really is a war against women nonetheless. By this she means the rather frequent use of sexual slurs, mostly by leftist men but sometimes by men on the right as well, to denigrate women in high-profile positions. “The words used are vulgar,” Noonan says, “and are meant to tear down and embarrass.”

I enjoy Noonan’s column a lot, but I can’t agree with her here. It seems to me, in fact, that there has been an ongoing and wickedly offhanded war against men for the past forty years at least. It’s not just the outright insults that have been permissible in respectable outlets: i.e., calling men collectively and individually “pigs.” The war has been waged in far more subtle and disgraceful ways as well.

Consider the common phrase “he objectifies women,” which casually belittles and denigrates men’s sexual yearnings. Or think of the almost universal depiction of fathers and husbands in movies, television shows, and advertisements as weaklings and fools under their wife-mommy’s control. Imagine the knowing laughter that would follow if I were to remark that “women are smarter than men,” then imagine the furious outbursts that would result if I said, “men are smarter than women.” The war is waged not only in what is said and shown, but in what is not said, what is considered off-limits.

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Cool Horror in Novel “Snow.”

March 16th, 2012 - 7:23 am

Here’s a horror novel I bumped into that doesn’t seem to have gotten a lot of press but is far and away better than the run-of-the-mill.  I have no connection with it, so it’s just a find.

The book is Snow by Ronald Malfi.  Divorced guy trying to fly home to see his little boy for Christmas gets grounded in a snowstorm and tries to travel overland instead with a few others. They all get stuck in a small town in a blizzard and find the place is under attack by…  something in the snow.

Malfi is good. His timing is good. His characters are real. Their dilemmas and problems are touching without being routine or sentimental. And, in this book at least — I haven’t read any others — he is something else you almost never see in the horror genre:  He’s original.  Without getting outlandish, without being grotesque, without being, not to put too fine a point on it, stupid, he invents monsters of his own instead of returning to the usual vampire or zombie trough. About a third of the fun of the book is watching the nightmare unfold and thinking: What is that?

I don’t like gore or cheap scares. But while there’s some necessary bloodshed in this, Malfi doesn’t rely on it. His scares — and he’s got a couple of really good ones — genuinely took me off guard, made me sit up and take notice. Some of his scenes and characters really stuck with me. And again, the whole idea of it struck me as so fresh, it kept me riveted through to the end.

If you’re a horror novel fan, check this guy out. He’s talented, different, smart, sure-footed and entertaining. You can’t say any of that about most writers in this genre.


Me, RJ, Values and Capitalism

March 14th, 2012 - 11:32 am

The American Enterprise Institute is one of my favorite think tanks.  They have a project dedicated to Values and Capitalismand a central part of that project is the RJ Moeller Show, which is hosted, by an amazing coincidence, by RJ Moeller.  I know—go figure.

I had a chance to sit down with RJ for a conversation that covered everything from Hollywood to Dostoevsky — which I think is pretty much everything. It was a great time. There’s nothing like talking with a young, intelligent and committed conservative to restore your hope in the future of the country.

The conversation is posted now, and you can listen to it here.

The Zombie Dilemma: Should We Unite?

March 12th, 2012 - 12:00 am

Shall I compare the Obama administration to a Zombie Apocalypse? The comparison is a bit too restrained and understated perhaps, but that’s only in keeping with my cool, not to say austere, personality and writing style.

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Otherwise, I think it’s entirely fair to equate the current exponential growth of extra-legal czars, bureaucrats, debt, mandates and money-transfers and the concomitant pandemic of dependents and dependent-wannabes with a sudden invasion of soulless armies of the slavering undead intent on devouring our flesh and brains.

So. What to do.

Well, you’ve seen the movies, right? A small band of heroic and sometimes not-that-heroic survivors — let’s call them Conservatives — make their ways singly or in pairs to a secluded house or other shelter — let’s call it the Constitution — and settle in for a night of horror battling the trudging, muttering hordes as they try to break through the doors, windows and walls to consume as much human substance as they can get their hideous hands on.

Inevitably, however, the zombie attack turns out to be the least of the troubles on offer. Because the Conservatives — I mean survivors — can’t defend the Constitution — I mean, house — unless they can first learn to work together and fight as one. If they happened to be military people or people otherwise bred to obedience, there would be no problem. Their leader, whoever he was, would make a plan, give the orders, and the fight would begin. But it’s in the nature of a zombie movie that the Conservatives — I mean, survivors — are just a random group of individuals. Each was busy trying to live out his own life, fulfill his own goals and follow his own dreams, when the Obama administration — I mean Zombie Apocalypse — occurred.

So even as the drooling, hunger-driven creatures hammer at the boarded windows, grunting, “Pay for my contraception!” or “Do an environmental study!” or “Pay yourrrr fairrrrr sharrrre!” the Conservatives — I mean, survivors — defending the Constitution — I mean, house — have to decide who is going to lead them, which person is wisest, which plan is best. Should they go into the basement, which is easier to defend but impossible to escape from, or cluster in the living room, which has windows on all sides but leaves them the basement as a last ditch option? Should they listen to the Businessman, who has the experience of leadership but is too slick to trust? Or should they follow the Preacher, who has some good ideas but is operating under the delusion that this is all some sort of Biblical judgement? Or what about the Professor, who seems smarter than any of them but is known to be an all-around son-of-a-bitch?

One thing of course is certain. If the survivors don’t stop fighting among themselves at some point and turn to face the real enemy, the Zobambies are going to tear the joint to shreds.

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The Animal Hour Optioned for Film

March 9th, 2012 - 9:47 am

I wrote about this over on my personal website, but I’d like to mention it here as well.  My 1993 thriller novel The Animal Hour has recently been optioned for film by Double Life Productions, a small company associated with Millennium Films, who produced The Expendables. The option included my own recent screenplay adaptation of the novel.

What makes this especially nice is that Animal Hour has also, and likewise recently, risen from the out-of-print dead in the form of an e-book, which you can purchase here. Purchase it. Because it’s very cool. It’s the story of a young woman named Nancy Kincaid. One morning she goes to work as usual — and no one knows who she is. Expelled from her office, she soon finds herself being hunted by the police — and by mysterious strangers who warn her that the “Animal Hour” is coming and she has to stop it before it’s too late.


Again, buy the book here. Really. You’ll like it.