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Klavan On The Culture

Monthly Archives: September 2012

Two New Books to Pre-Order

September 28th, 2012 - 11:11 am

You can do your little all to support the culture — and the culture commentator — by pre-ordering my new books, one coming out this fall, one this winter.

First, is If We Survive, out in November.

An adventure geared toward young adults, If We Survive follows a small group of kids who have gone to Central America to help rebuild a school. While they’re there, however, a Communist revolution breaks out, specifically targeting Americans for death. Now these high schoolers have to evade the militia, cross the jungle and make it to the border if they ever want to see their homes again.

Then, in January, comes A Killer in the Wind.

This one’s for adults: a story of an NYPD undercover cop recovering from a breakdown and carrying a torch for a fantasy — a woman named Samantha whom he hallucinated in the depths of his madness, a dream girl who doesn’t exist. Working as a small town cop, he receives a call to recover a “floater” from the river. He finds a body washed up on the banks of the Hudson. It’s Samantha. And whoever was hunting her, is now hunting him as well.

Check out If We Survive and A Killer in the Wind and please let me know how you like them.

 

Why The Master Is No Master-Piece

September 26th, 2012 - 5:26 am

[I'm not sure a film like The Master actually has spoilers, but if so: spoiler alert.]

Near the beginning of The Master, Paul Thomas Anderson’s much-acclaimed new film about an L. Ron Hubbard style cult leader, alcoholic WWII vet Freddie Quell, played by Joaquin Phoenix, takes an ink blot test and sees penises and vaginas in every image. By the end of the film, director Anderson is doing pretty much the same thing.

The brilliantly acted and well-made film, though watchable through its more than two hour running time, has left even its admirers baffled. Reviewer after reviewer heaped the film with praise while admitting they did not really know what it was all about.

Personally, I thought it was about less than meets the eye. In following Quell’s fascination with cult leader Lancaster Dodd, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, Anderson has presented us with a dated, not to mention worn out, vision of humankind. The film struck me as a final helping of late modernism, with a dollop of reductionist Freud on top. Thanks, but we’ve had enough.

As I read it, the film seems to say that reality is so harsh that people will drink anything from rocket fuel to paint thinner — and will likewise follow even the most completely implausible savior — in order to avoid “taking life straight.” Only by freeing oneself from such drugs and illusions can one set sail masterless on the trackless sea of meaningless existence and thus achieve the ultimate goal of human spiritual development: getting laid. Quell’s journey takes him through several sexual stages: from a masturbatory encounter with a sand-castle dream girl; to a sexless, subservient relationship with a “Dad” who seems to him to hold the key to sexual power; to a final acceptance of the loss of his real dream girl (now hilariously named Doris Day); and a courageous break with Dad that frees him at last to put his penis in the vaginas of real, live women he meets in bars. Um, huzzah.

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Dumb Jews

September 24th, 2012 - 4:46 am
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There used to be a saying that “Jews earn like WASPS and vote like Puerto Ricans,” the idea being that no matter how successful Jews become they still retain a sense of themselves as minority underdogs and vote accordingly.

Today, however, I think that saying needs to be changed to “Jews think like Einstein and vote like fracking idiots.” Because while Jews are widely viewed as an intelligent race of people who hold learning in high regard, a recent poll still shows a majority of them planning to vote for Barack Obama’s re-election — and that’s just plain stupid.

Here are three reasons.

1. Obama’s policies are actually bad for the underdogs and minorities.

The notion that big government helps the poor is a false one. Some government programs may help some poor people in the moment, but the long-term effect of such programs is well proven to be disastrous. Look at Detroit, New Orleans, and Chicago — all Democrat strongholds since forever. Why do you think blacks are moving out of the northern cities and back to the south?

Under Obama, the poverty rate has swollen, real unemployment (including those people who have despaired of finding work) has skyrocketed, and government dependency has increased a stunning 23 percent. All these numbers are worse for black people. Conversely, the supposedly greedy and racist policies of Ronald Reagan brought poverty down every year for the last five years of his presidency and improved the economic lives of blacks more than any other group.

Dumb people vote for what looks good. Smart people vote for policies that work. Assuming Jews truly care about helping minorities and underdogs, Jews who vote for Obama are dumb Jews.

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Steven Crowder Has Sex

September 21st, 2012 - 7:45 am

Scientists working in a secret laboratory around the clock have created an amazingly realistic female android programmed to show life-long affection for conservative comedian Steven Crowder. No other narrative is sufficient to explain the photograph above in which a young woman of breathtaking beauty seems for all the world actually to be marrying the guy. Believe me, Steven is a friend of mine and I can tell you from personal experience: There is absolutely no other way he scores a babe like that.

Now normally if a thought about Crowder’s sex life entered my mind I would naturally try to put out my eyes and pour boric acid into my ears in an attempt to clean out my brain. But hey, he started it. Writing at the Fox News Opinion blog (where apparently they let just anybody weigh in), Steven produced this provocative and extremely interesting post-marriage column called “Waiting for the Wedding Night — Getting Married the Right Way.”

Steven begins by confirming that, yes, he and his new missus waited to have sex until they were married — and then goes on to say that this is the right thing to do, as opposed to, you know, the wrong thing to do:

Feeling judged? I couldn’t care less. You know why? Because my wife and I were judged all throughout our relationship. People laughed, scoffed and poked fun at the young, celibate, naive Christian couple.

We’d certainly never make it to the wedding without schtupping, and if we did, our “wedding night would be awkward and terrible,” they said.

Turns out that people couldn’t have been more wrong.  Looking back, I think that the women saying those things felt like the floozies they ultimately were, and the men, with their fickle manhood tied to their pathetic sexual conquests, felt threatened.

The column is worth reading in itself, but even more fascinating is the predictable reaction: the filth, hatred and rage with which floozies and fickle manhood men have been responding in comments, blogs and on the entertaining @scrowder twitter feed.

Obviously, such reactions tend to confirm Crowder’s outlook. Why hate on the guy if you don’t secretly feel ashamed of yourself?

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Media to Romney: Stop Telling the Truth!

September 19th, 2012 - 10:19 am
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To sum up the recent political news:

1. Mitt Romney criticizes the Obama administration’s initial cowardly handling of the storm of hellfire arising in the Middle East due to the Obama administration’s initial cowardly handling of the previous storm of hellfire that arose in the Middle East.

2. The media goes nuts, charging Romney with slandering Dear Leader, being tone deaf, being opportunistic, speaking while Republican, the whole book. The Romney campaign is declared a disaster.

3. Obama’s six point convention bounce disappears and the candidates are once more neck and neck in the most responsible polls.

4. Romney is caught on tape saying that nearly half the country is on government assistance and will vote for Obama to keep the dole coming. In related news, a video is unearthed of Pythagoras saying that the square of the hypotenuse of the right triangle is equal to the sum of the square of the two adjacent sides.

5. Once again, the media goes blitheringly insane. Romney doesn’t care about the poor and goes about hitting them over the head with facts. You could kill a person that way! Meanwhile, a tape of Obama declaring that he supports the redistribution of wealth is released. Now we know: Romney’s a conservative, Pythagoras is a triangle guy, and Obama’s a socialist. The Romney campaign is declared a disaster.

6. Rasmussen shows Romney inching into the lead in the battleground states.

7. One more disastrous week for Romney and he could win by a landslide!

Update: More about this here as I join a Ricochet podcast starring Rob Long, James Lileks and Peter Robinson.

Also read:

Is Romney Imploding?

Shame

September 17th, 2012 - 5:36 am
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The people who booed the God of love, now rush to the defense of a hateful Allah. The people who pissed on the Christ of redemption, now bewail the hurt feelings of a damnable Islam. The people who denounced the death of civil liberties under the Patriot Act, now make rationalizations as brown-shirted cops drag a man from his home at midnight for the crime of posting a video on YouTube.

I’m sorrowful, but I confess I’m not surprised.

Over the course of time, I have seen many people ruin and waste their lives. Good people, smart people, talented people who sacrificed the gift of existence to drugs, alcohol, bitterness, self-abuse, fear, and anger. In every case, always, I felt the root cause was unacknowledged shame.

At some point, these people had come to confront — as we all must — their cowardice, their weakness, their dishonesty, or their foolishness. Unable to accept the pain of an honest assessment of their brokenness, they turned their eyes away and practiced denial instead. In an attempt to avoid the agony of their shame indefinitely, they created whole new philosophies of life. If, for instance, they had backed down when they should have stood up, they declared nothing was worth fighting for. If they lied when they should’ve spoken true, they declared truth was an illusion. If they succumbed to desire when they should have resisted, they decided continence was a game for puritans and fools.

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And It Isn’t Even Spring

September 13th, 2012 - 6:53 pm

The United States strongly condemns, opposes and is disgusted by any attempt by misguided individuals to abuse their freedom of speech to hurt the feelings of any and all religious people who worship Allah and murder American citizens. Christians and Jews trying to use religion to protect life or ennoble the individual will be subject to penalties and fines.

And yet, one sometimes wonders if it’s possible to go too far in our support for shrieking hordes of savage Islamist animals bent on the destruction of western civilization.

Andrew C. McCarthy, the former Assistant United States Attorney who, in an excess of prosecutorial zeal, went around securing the conviction of a dozen misunderstood Islamic terrorists merely because they’d planned and carried out the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, is one of those who hasn’t yet gotten the multi-cultural message of quivering, apologetic tolerance that has done so much to bring peace to the Middle East during the present administration:

McCarthy, a deep thinker on Islam and a fine writer, has a new e-book out from Encounter Books entitled Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy.  You can — and should — order it for your kindle at the link. You can order copies for other platforms at the Encounter or McCarthy links.

 

9/11

September 11th, 2012 - 12:03 pm


The good folks at City Journal have reposted a piece I wrote about Hollywood’s reaction to 9/11 – When Hollywood Hit Rock Bottom:

“When it comes to sheer shamefulness, the conformist “radicals” of Hollywood outdid themselves in the years after the Islamofascist attacks on 9/11. When the United States responded to these atrocities by attempting to destroy the terrorist staging grounds in Afghanistan and establish a beachhead of Middle Eastern democracy in Iraq, Hollywood reacted by churning out propaganda movies that could only demoralize our allies and bolster our low and savage enemies: SyrianaIn the Valley of ElahRenditionRedactedLions for LambsGreen Zone,Body of LiesStop Loss, and on and on. Many of these films portrayed our soldiers and intelligence officers as rapists, murderers, torturers, or noble fools manipulated by conniving Republicans. Not one of them (including the excellent HBO film Taking Chance and the flawed but powerful Hurt Locker, which at least showed our troops in a positive light) depicted the wars themselves as good or noble endeavors. BesidesChance and Locker, these films were bad and they were bombs, showing that ideology, not art or commerce, dictated their content. It was the dark mirror image of Hollywood’s patriotic response to Pearl Harbor in the 1940s, a living diagram of what the Left has wrought in our cultural lives since then.”

Read the whole thing here.

Video: Obamanomics

September 10th, 2012 - 12:09 pm

Back from an amazing trip to Israel. Here’s a snapshot of me and Mrs. Culture on the Mount of Olives, where Jesus famously said to Peter, “Before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.” To which Peter replied, “But Lord, I’m not even going to the Democratic convention!”

And speaking of Democrats, here’s my latest video for the Manhattan Institute — the subject: Obamanomics: