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Klavan On The Culture

America The Graphic Novel

January 7th, 2015 - 7:59 am

I don’t know Anthony Gonzales-Clark, but he brought this Kickstarter crowd-funding project to my attention, and it genuinely looks cool and worth supporting. Gonzales-Clark wants to create a graphic novel called “City On A Hill,” about the history and ideas behind the American founding. There’s a short and touching video on the Kickstarter site that helps you get the idea.

To have such a graphic novel produced by a guy who reads Thomas Sowell (featured prominently in the appeal) would be no small strike in the culture war, so if you have a couple of bucks, try to help Gonzales-Clark reach his 11K plus goal.

We’re ba-a-a-ck!

Holiday’s over. Back to the barricades.

For American artists, writers, thinkers, moms, dads, coaches, teachers, and other human beings, the work to create a counter-culture to end and replace the poisonous culture of the left continues. As our government and academies and entertainers try to sell us on slave values like Equality, we have to rebuild and promote the concept of Individual Liberty, the central value of free men and women. In place of the whining, manipulative Victim Power of feminists and race-baiters, we have to lift up the idea of Power through Personal Responsibility, the only path to dignity. And in place of the cushioned chains of government-sponsored safety Obama and his corrupt minions try to push on us day after day, we have to teach and defend the fearful glory of Independence.

And so we will have to offend people. A lot of people. A lot of the time.

I mention this because I notice the idea has grown up recently — especially among the young — that offending people is wrong per se. This idea — taught at universities and in entertainments and in the media — is wholly false. Rudeness and unkindness are very often unnecessary — much less necessary than many counter-cultural warriors suppose — but offending people is unavoidable. It is a natural outgrowth of telling the truth.

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Farewell to the Holidays

January 2nd, 2015 - 11:02 am

Back to full-time work Monday, but one more moment of hilarity — Jim Gaffigan is great and here, the opening parts about the Christmas tree and Easter are really top stuff:

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Happy New Year, John Boehner!

December 31st, 2014 - 12:01 pm

Let me end the year with a kind word for John Boehner.

I know. Boehner is a hard man to like. The tan, the tears, the drunk’s diction. The Cromnibus.  And so on. He always seems to be going soft on our conservative convictions and undercutting our favorite conservative firebrands. Here’s Sean Hannity’s version of the arguments against him.

Still, all that said and with nothing but love and admiration for Sean, I can’t help but notice that under Boehner — and largely because of Boehner, because Boehner outsmarted President Obama in the 2013 budget negotiations — federal spending has declined over a five year period for the first time since the post World War II cutbacks. And because of this, as the economy has struggled to a sputtering recovery despite Democrat mismanagement, the deficit has been sharply reduced.

You can’t get more anti-government than Ayn Rand, so here’s Jack Wakeland writing from an Objectivist perspective on the sequester Boehner stuffed down the president’s throat: “The sequester is the only policy that has reduced spending by the federal government. In fiscal year 2013, total federal spending decreased 1.5% to 2.0% in real, inflation-adjusted dollars. And it promises to do so again in 2014. The FY 2013 sequester is the first time in my lifetime that federal spending shrank in absolute terms. After the ramp-down from WWII, the only decreases in federal spending were decreases as a percentage of GDP, e.g., during the Clinton-Gingrich term in 1995-96. These occurred only because GDP expanded more quickly than spending.”

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Good Books I Read This Year

December 28th, 2014 - 9:02 pm

Here’s some books I read this year that are worth looking into.

For one reason or another, most relating to work projects, I did a lot of re-reading this year. Here are three good old good ones that stood out:

From Dawn to Decadence by Jacques Barzun is a book I found life-changing the first time out. It’s a look at modern western culture from the Reformation (the dawn) to the modern world (the decadence). Barzun was a genius of vast learning and this was his masterpiece, published when he was 93. The book is not easy, but to my mind it’s a must read for anyone who cares about where we came from and where we’re going.

I first read Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov decades ago. For me, it paled in comparison to Crime and Punishment which had utterly rocked my world when I was 19. But since then, I’ve read it again and again and each reading opens up new layers of emotion and meaning. In my life, it will never match C&P, which marked me indelibly, but it is clearly greater in scope and depth and — not to belabor the obvious but — a masterpiece of world literature. This is a wonderful new translation. 

The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler also marked me for life. I read it as a boy and it made me want to write crime fiction. Returning to it now was a Proustian experience — if that’s not too big a literary stretch. Reading it on my e-reader, I could practically feel the old paperback in my hands. A brilliant piece of American writing about the weary business of being an honest man in a corrupt world. Again, it’s obvious, but must be said: the writing, the characters, the setting and the attitude make it a classic in the field beyond question. More of my take on Chandler is here.

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A Christmas Ghost Story

December 24th, 2014 - 1:55 am

Have a joyous Christmas. Remember the immortal words of Ebenezer Scrooge: “It’s all right, it’s all true, it all happened.”

And enjoy a good ghost story:

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3 Movie Recommendations for the Holidays

December 23rd, 2014 - 7:49 am

Been doing some end of the year movie watching. Here’s a quick report.

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1. American Sniper

See this as soon as you can. It’s getting an indie-style release — a limited release Christmas Day to put it in the Oscar running, then wide open January 16th — but that’s just nuts to me. In any sane America, this would be the hit of the year. It’s riveting, affecting, true, beautifully acted, moving — just terrific.

Bradley Cooper delivers on his promise to the late, great Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, the most lethal sniper in American history, to get it right. The movie is patriotic without being jingoistic, lauds military courage and honor without being militaristic, and shows the brutal Islamist enemy as it is without bigotry towards persons.

My guess: The only reason this is being treated as an indie project is because the leftist elite will slam it. To hell with them. This is a wonderful American motion picture about a great American hero.

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Narrative Kills

December 21st, 2014 - 6:22 am

The hearts of honest men and women are filled with anger today at the murder of two New York City police officers. The killer’s dead; his justice will be perfect. But we’re angry at the people who spread the lies that set the killer’s heart on fire. Al Sharpton, who can add yet another death-by-rhetoric to his resume; Mayor de Blasio, who abandoned the peace keepers of his own city; Barack Obama and Eric Holder and the editors of the New York Times and the Daily News, who all helped spread the narrative that the police target or oppress people of color.

That narrative is false; it’s a lie; it killed those officers. Our anger against the people who spread that murderous lie is justified; righteous.

The policing programs and policies that these people seek to undermine save black lives. The policies these people seek to put in place cost black lives. Those are facts, not narrative.

Do any of them spend even a cartridge of ink speaking out against the teacher’s unions that enslave black children to ignorance for their own gain? Do any of them waste a word speaking out against the sexual practices that lead to rampant illegitimacy in poor black neighborhoods and enslave their generations to poverty? Do any of them ever stand up for the huge majority of decent, law-abiding African Americans whom the police protect lest they be enslaved by the thugs and criminals in their midst?

Dependency. Helplessness. Victimhood. Division. That’s all these people sell. Every damn day. What did they think would happen?

Talking With A Rabbi About My Conversion!

December 18th, 2014 - 5:47 pm
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I loved doing this interview with Rabbi Ari Abramowitz at the Voice of Israel. Rabbi-like, he skipped past the shallow stuff and asked the big questions: about my feelings toward Israel, my conversion from Judaism to Christianity and about my conversion from leftism to liberalism, also known as conservatism. If you’re interested in real talk about real stuff, too rare in American media, it’s worth listening to. You can hear it here.

Gosnell Movie Update

December 17th, 2014 - 9:02 am


Here’s a recent interview I did with the excellent Kent Covington for his show The World and Everything In It, updating my progress writing the script for the movie about abortionist serial killer (but I repeat myself) Kermit Gosnell:

Since this interview, I’ve actually completed the first draft. (As I point out in the interview, “first draft” is a term of art, meaning the first draft I turn in to the producers, usually about my fifth or sixth draft. But in any case, it’s done.)