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Andrew Klavan

Andrew Klavan’s newest novel is Nightmare City.

President I-Don’t-Care

What is the president thinking?

That seems to be the question of the day. Russian clients are shooting passenger planes out of the air with Russian weaponry, Al Qaeda on Steroids is taking over Iraq, Iran is running circles around gormless western negotiators while it builds nukes for “peaceful purposes” (because once all non-Muslims are dead, there will be peace!), the Jews are at war with barbarous terrorists so of course the world is cheering for — guess who! — the barbarians, our country is being overrun by illegal aliens we can’t afford to accommodate — and the president of the United States is doing what? Yeah, fund-raising, baby! Doing his charming give-me-some-money speech thing:

I just flew in from Washington and boy are my arms tired! But seriously, it’s great to be back in Akron! Are those Republicans stinkers or what? It’s a war on women, I tell ya. They’ll probably impeach me next cause I’m black. Don’t boo — vote!  Thanks, and that’ll be $30,000 a plate!

What is he thinking? The ladies on Fox News — Megyn Kelly and Greta Van Susteren  — keep asking their guests in tones of amazed frustration. The big writerly minds have comments and theories. Here’s Peggy Noonan in a Wall Street Journal column headlined “The Daydream and The Nightmare”:

I’m not sure people are noticing the sheer strangeness of how the president is responding to the lack of success around him. He once seemed a serious man…. Now he seems unserious, frivolous, shallow. He hangs with celebrities, plays golf. His references to Congress are merely sarcastic…. [He] doesn’t seem to care about his unpopularity, or the decisions he’s made that have not turned out well…. He thinks he’s done his work… history will look back on him and see him as heroic…. It is weird to have a president who has given up.

Here’s Daniel Henninger in the same paper, with a column headlined, “Obama to World: Drop Dead”:

How… to explain someone who claims he can run the country and a troubled world out of his back pocket while he flies from fundraiser to fundraiser? Barack Obama is the most provincial U.S. president in at least a century. The progressive Democrats who displaced the Clinton machine in 2008 and came to power with Mr. Obama have no interest beyond consolidating political and electoral power inside the U.S. Not even the White House of Lyndon Johnson, the ultimate pol, was so purely politicized.

The fundraising is a frantic effort to protect this new Democratic voter machine. The world doesn’t vote, so the world doesn’t matter.

Posted at 9:59 am on July 27th, 2014 by Andrew Klavan

Who took the Hero out of “Hercules”

You wouldn’t think it possible to say something profound about a movie starring The Rock — it seems almost an offense against reason! But over at the classics website The Forum — or as I like to call it “Young Klavan on Old Culture” — my son Spencer delivers a brilliant treatise on why taking the myth out of mythology gives us, not modern profundity, but emptiness and cynicism:

Back in the day, hero myths were how Ancient Greece told the stories that America now tells in superhero comics. An unstoppable renegade throwing a destructive hissy fit then going down in a blaze of glory for the good guys: that’s Phoenix from X-Men and Achilles from the Iliad. An ordinary guy turned extraordinary champion of justice to avenge a murdered father: that’s Batman and Theseus. And the long-lost son of super-parents in the sky, raised by humans to save earth with unheard-of strength and powers? That’s SupermanThat’s Hercules.

But Dwayne Johnson’s Hercules is no Superman. In this movie, all that phony supernatural stuff is for suckers, a bedtime story that Hercules perpetuates to pump up his image. Scene after smug scene, the movie knowingly debunks its mythic origins. Son of Zeus? Let the saps believe that so they’ll fear me, says The Rock. Centaurs? Please. Just dudes on horses (from far away . . . before contact lenses). “I have seen too much reality to believe the legends,” says the canny queen, Ergenia, but “the people need a hero.”

In other words: Joe Schmo needs a pretty story so he can believe in “virtue” and “heroism.” The élites know better.

Yowsa! And he’s just getting started. Read the rest of it, really. It’s all good.

Posted at 11:26 am on July 25th, 2014 by Andrew Klavan

MindWar: “Relentless Action”

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There’s a really lovely review of my new YA novel MindWar in the highbrow Christian journal Books and Culture.  MindWar is the first book in a trilogy about Rick Dial, a former high school football hero who becomes an expert video gamer after a car wreck all but cripples him. Enlisted by a secret government agency, he is projected into a dangerous cyber world that has been designed by a terrorist to destroy America’s defenses.

Books and Culture editor John Wilson, writes:

When I was a boy, I loved adventure stories—anything featuring a murderous giant squid was a good bet—but I also liked to read my mom’s copies of Ladies’ Home Journal.) Friends with sons ask me to recommend good “boy books”: they can’t find enough of them.

One writer I point them to is Andrew Klavan, a masterful suspense novelist who branched out into Young Adult fiction a couple of years ago…

Wilson goes on to praise the novel’s “relentless action,” and concludes, “Most readers will be waiting impatiently for the second volume of the trilogy, Hostage Run, which is scheduled for publication in March 2015. Count me among those impatient readers.”

You can read the whole thing here.

You can buy the book here. And you can even pre-order the sequel! Come on, what are you waiting for?

Posted at 10:18 am on July 23rd, 2014 by Andrew Klavan

Farewell the Maverick

I know: with the Obama presidency unraveling in a disaster for America and the world, it seems absurd to waste a blog post on the death of actor James Garner. But bear with me. This is a blog on the culture. It was the culture, dominated by leftists, that helped make this catastrophic presidency possible. Garner’s death underscores part of what went wrong.

The star of the ’50s TV western Maverick and the ’70s private eye show The Rockford Files died at 86 over the weekend. He was a wonderfully charming and entertaining actor who made some fine movies (The Great Escape, The Americanization of Emily) but was only truly a star on the small screen. In this, he resembled two other favorites of mine, David Janssen, who starred in The Fugitive and Harry O and Darren McGavin, who starred in Mike Hammer, The Outsider, and The Night Stalker.

I’m not sure — no one’s really sure — what made an actor more suitable for the small screen rather than the movies back in the day, or why some could move comfortably between one and the other. Garner, Janssen and McGavin all had a limited range and a set number of out-sized mannerisms. But that was true of John Wayne and Clint Eastwood too, two of the biggest movie stars of all time. Maybe something about Garner and the others was just more recognizable and knowable and human than what we saw in movie stars when there actually were movie stars. Wayne, Eastwood — even more actorly stars like Brando and Pacino — all had something huge and iconic about them. No matter how well they played their parts, they were always more personae than persons. You could imagine hanging out with Garner. You could only dream about being John Wayne.

Posted at 10:10 am on July 21st, 2014 by Andrew Klavan

Leadership: Three Videos

Take about six minutes and watch these three videos through to the end. The first is President Ronald Reagan’s reaction to a passenger jet downed by the Russians, the second is President Barack Obama’s reaction to a passenger jet downed by the Russians, and the third is my exclusive interview with someone who thinks President Obama is doing an absolutely terrific job.

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Posted at 10:36 am on July 18th, 2014 by Andrew Klavan

Talking “MindWar” With Paul Cook on CBS

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Had a chance to chat in depth with Paul Cook at CBS station KMOX NewsRadio 1120 out of St. Louis. The talk ran from writing fiction to politics to my new novel MindWar, the first in a trilogy of Sci-Fi adventure novels for young adults. First reviews for the book are starting to come in over at Amazon. I like this one from Wheelsms: “It reads like a cross between Tron, This Present Darkness, Ender’s Game, and The Matrix.” Not bad.

The story centers on Rick Dial, a one time star high school quarterback who retreats into obsessive gaming after his legs are shattered in a car crash. Turns out, his gaming skills combined with his quarterback reflexes and mentality, make him the perfect candidate to fight the MindWar and he’s injected into a video game-like atmosphere where the stakes are very real and very high.

You can buy it here, and you should!

Posted at 6:01 am on July 16th, 2014 by Andrew Klavan

Leftism’s Wonderful Absurdity

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With all the actual human suffering this leftist administration has caused on our borders, with all the left’s attacks on our constitutional rights and the oppressive corruption of our leftist bureaucracy from the IRS on down, it’s sometimes difficult to remember just how wonderfully funny leftists actually are. When harmlessly confined to a secluded space where only a select few will hear them — like a show on CNN — their ideas really are a delightfully absurd parody of a delightfully absurd leftist being delightfully absurd. It’s like an infinite regress of comedy.

To wit:  here’s CNN’s Don Lemon — who once wondered aloud whether a black hole might have swallowed that missing Malaysian jetliner — moderating a debate between University of Mississippi senior Sierra Mannie and writer and comedian H. Alan Scott. Miss Mannie wrote an article for Time demanding that white gay people “stop stealing black female culture.”

I don’t care how well you can quote Madea, who told you that your booty was getting bigger than hers, how cute you think it is to call yourself a strong black woman, who taught you to twerk, how funny you think it is to call yourself Quita or Keisha or for which black male you’ve been bottoming — you are not a black woman, and you do not get to claim either blackness or womanhood. It is not yours. It is not for you…

The difference is that the black women with whom you think you align so well, whose language you use and stereotypical mannerisms you adopt, cannot hide their blackness and womanhood to protect themselves the way that you can hide your homosexuality. We have no place to hide, or means to do it even if we desired them.

Mr. Scott responded on his Thought Catalog blog with a post called “Don’t Listen to Time Magazine”:

Recognizing the things that she thinks belongs only to black women is the very thing that causes the separation and hate in our society. There’s a reason why this country is called a “melting pot,” because eventually, once you lose the bxxxsxxx separation and start appreciating what makes us all amazing, you start realizing that, “Wow, we’re not all that different after all.”

Posted at 10:04 am on July 13th, 2014 by Andrew Klavan

Don’t Miss FX’s TV-Version of Fargo

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I’ve had so much to say about so many things that I haven’t had a chance to put up a quick review of the TV version of Fargo recently on FX.  I’m afraid a lot of people who would have loved this show might have missed it on the first go-round. The problem was, the first episode was delightfully complex and murderous, a really good imitation of the tone and content of the original (great) Coen Brothers movie of the same name. But there was so much in the pilot that, almost by necessity, the second and third episodes felt as if they fell off a little. I know a few people who stopped watching at this point. A mistake, it turns out. The show climbed right back to the level of the first episode and then continued to get better and better until it was absolutely spectacular.

The show really managed to capture the Fargo tone of foul crime in the good-natured heartland. Great plotting, great dialogue, great characters played by great actors. Martin Freeman and Billy Bob Thornton were absolutely wonderful — their characters both so villainous in such different ways that their interaction became kind of a running meditation on the nature of evil. Not as much flash and dazzle as True Detective but far, far better on the crime story fundamentals. A really gripping ride. 

Posted at 12:31 pm on July 11th, 2014 by Andrew Klavan

Is Obama Just a Hapless Putz?

In an interview the other day, I was asked what the president might’ve been thinking when he instigated the chaos on our borders with his talk of pen-and-phone amnesty. Half a dozen things went through my mind. Maybe he’s trying some sort of Cloward-Piven maneuver: an attempt to overwhelm our welfare state to the point where we replace it with “a guaranteed annual income and thus an end to poverty.” Or maybe he’s just trying to flood the population with Democrat voters. Or maybe he feels America stole its southland from Hispanic people anyway and it’s up to him to give it back.

The president’s not an idiot so obviously he intended to accomplish something by bringing this humanitarian disaster down upon the heads of ourselves and the children of Central America. What exactly was it?

Then, after the interview, it suddenly occurred to me:  What difference, at this point, does it make what the president is thinking? What difference does it make what he intends? Intentions, as every conservative knows, don’t dictate results. While, in the moment, he has put the lives of thousands of children, the health of Americans and the nation’s security at risk, the end game is out of his control and may — almost assuredly will — be entirely different from what he expects.

Cloward-Piven, for instance, has always struck me as an idiot strategy. The idea that you can cause chaos and then predict what will come out of that chaos makes absolutely no sense. If our welfare state were overwhelmed, who knows what would come out of it? Hell, maybe it would be the end of the welfare state. I can dream, can’t I?

Posted at 1:24 pm on July 9th, 2014 by Andrew Klavan

Progressing Back to Hatred

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The thing you have to love about progressives is that they’re ceaselessly progressing into the past. Bigotries and hatreds that should have been left behind long ago continually resurface among them.

Jew hatred went out of fashion for a while after the Holocaust, but leftists are struggling hard to bring it back again.  Note the leftist use of terms like apartheid and genocide in describing Israel – a nation that never commits anything even remotely resembling apartheid or genocide even while it is surrounded by nations that routinely practice religious and sexual apartheid and openly long for the chance to commit genocide. When left-leaning organizations like the Presbyterian Church USA divest in Israel — Israel alone — they are resurrecting an age-old foulness under the cloak of piety, its age-old disguise.

And take a look at this, via our Breitbart friends. The New York Times allowed the Freedom From Religion organization to run a full page anti-Catholic hate ad essentially demanding fewer Catholics be allowed on the Supreme Court. A religious test for government service! One would have thought we’d seen the last of such stuff a century ago. But thanks to the progressive Times, a century ago is right where we’re headed.

Posted at 2:45 pm on July 7th, 2014 by Andrew Klavan