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Klavan On The Culture

Progressing Back to Hatred

July 7th, 2014 - 2:45 pm
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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.

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What I Learned on the Trail

July 4th, 2014 - 6:02 am


I am a skilled hiker, but a week or so ago, I made a perilous error. Carelessly neglecting my clear and accurate guide, I mistook a side path for the main trail down the mountain. As I descended along the narrow track, the way became steeper and steeper until, abruptly, it ended at a sheer cliff above a long fall. Short on water, out of breath, weakened by the blistering heat, I looked up and saw my only other option was a dauntingly vertical climb back to the main trail above. My heart misgave me.

Then three words came into my mind unbidden:  Don’t be afraid.

I know who speaks those words to me. I said a quick prayer to him for courage and felt myself promptly flooded with the stuff. I began the climb, and though the way was very difficult, and even dangerous once or twice, I was surprised how quickly I found myself back on the main trail, the way home.

Our country has made a similar error, and equally perilous. We have carelessly neglected our clear and accurate guide to the governance of a free people. We have gone by another way into a steeper and steeper decline. Soon, we will reach a point where the only choice is between a catastrophic fall and a long, hard, upward journey. Our hearts may tell us the climb is impossible.

Don’t be afraid.

Klavan on the Culture wishes all PJ Media readers a wonderful Fourth of July.

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Dinesh D’Souza’s anti-Obama 2012 documentary 2016: Obama’s America was a surprise smash hit, earning 33 million dollars to make it one of the most successful American documentaries ever. The film put forward D’Souza’s thesis that Obama’s need to feel himself worthy of an absent radical father caused him to view America as a guilty colonialist power that had to be taken down a peg. It predicted that America’s enemies would grow stronger and its friends weaker as Obama progressed toward the end of his term. Much of what it predicted has come true.

You could tell D’Souza had hit a nerve when Obama toadies like Maureen Dowd went on the attack, accusing the Indian immigrant of racism! (What an original way for a leftist to counter an argument she doesn’t like. Funny no leftist has ever thought of it before.) But if we needed any further proof that D’Souza had in fact tapped into a rich mine of truth, it came when the federal government, now an oppressive arm of a corrupt Chicago-style Democrat machine, caught the author and filmmaker in a minor transgression of campaign finance laws and threatened to throw him in prison for over a decade. (This, after all, is the way this administration deals with inconvenient filmmakers, as we know. It’s quicker than the whole illegally-misuse-the-IRS-then-lose-the-evidence thing.)

D’Souza pled guilty; says he made a mistake; admits he’s not above the law. What he hasn’t done is fall silent in fear. Instead, he’s courageously produced a follow-up to the movie that got beneath this corrupt president’s thin skin and I’m delighted to report it’s a very good one.

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A Young Klavan on Ancient Culture

June 30th, 2014 - 12:09 pm

If you’re a fan of ancient Greece and Rome, you should check out The Forum. My son Spencer, a classics scholar lately out of Yale, is doing his own fresh translations of brief passages from the ancients and then providing a meditation on what these might mean to him personally and thus to a new generation. Perhaps I’m not the most objective observer, but it does seem an incredibly cool idea to me and amazingly well done.

The first translation is a passage from Theophrastus:

Tactlessness is hitting on just the right moment to annoy everyone you meet. A tactless person is the kind of guy who comes to talk to you right when you’re trying to get some work done. He tries to mess around with his girlfriend when she’s under the weather. . . . He shows up in court to give evidence — after a verdict has already been made. . . . When everyone has already heard and understood a story, he stands up and explains it from the beginning.

Read the whole thing here.

Are We Not Men?

June 27th, 2014 - 8:35 am

A character in my novel Man And Wife points out that it’s difficult to talk about manhood because an essential part of manhood is not talking about it. But that didn’t stop me from joining a panel with my friends at BOND during their annual Father’s Day Conference on Fatherhood and Men. With the fearless and humorous preacher Jesse Lee Peterson leading the discussion, the 45-minutes or so absolutely zipped by. Here it is for your delectation and delight:

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By the way, if you click on the Jesse Lee Peterson link, you’ll find my City Journal profile of him, the anti-Jesse Jackson. If you click on Man And Wife, you’ll have something absolutely great to read for the weekend! Is this blog a resource or what?

Pre-Pub Praise for “MindWar”

June 25th, 2014 - 9:37 am


A nice pre-publication review has come in from the trade journal Booklist for the first volume in my new YA trilogy, MindWar - which is officially published July 8:

“Edgar Award–winning Klavan’s well-orchestrated fantasy thriller features brisk but compelling character development, a touch of wry humor, Christian sensitivity that doesn’t proselytize, and an imaginative mix of gaming action with real-life stakes. With just the right cliff-hanger ending, this trilogy opener shows promise. “

On top of which, unlike so many reviewers, Francisca Goldsmith gives a concise and accurate description of the plot:

“After recent high-school grad Rick is so seriously injured in a car accident that he will likely never again be a football star, he’s consumed with so much bitterness, particularly about his absent father, that his life has spiraled into days and nights spent playing video games alone in his room and snapping at his adoring younger brother and caring mother. As he drifts ever closer to permanent, alienating self-centeredness, he’s kidnapped by a team of secret agents who find him through his prowess in his favorite video game… They offer him an opportunity to use his athletic prowess again, this time in a virtual environment, to combat a foreign threat. ”

You can pre-order the book here. And should!

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Being a professional writer is not a heroic job, but it does have at least one moral requirement:  you mustn’t lie.  If you make your living by writing, it stands to reason there are people who read what you write; you therefore have at least some power to inform, influence, enlighten or persuade. You can be wrong — we’re all wrong sometimes; you can err — everyone does. But to use whatever amount of power you have to deceive intentionally by commission or omission or distortion is wicked; it’s a sin.

So if Katie McDonough, an assistant editor at Salon, finds herself feeling angry all the time, as I very much suspect she does, it’s not because conservative columnist George Will pretended “rape never happens,” because that never happened; it’s not because Will claimed that being a rape victim is a “coveted status,” because Will never did; it’s not because Will feels uncomfortable discussing sexual assault, because he very obviously does not; it’s because she’s ashamed of herself for deceiving her audience by distorting Will’s words, thoughts and intentions, as she very well should be. Shame and self-disgust sometimes make you lash out at other people to keep you from facing what you’ve done yourself.

Will wrote a June 6 column for the Washington Post, expressing a bit of schadenfreude at the fact that universities, hotbeds of leftism, are now being hoist by their own leftist petard through government interference. Colleges, Will wrote, “are learning that when they say campus victimizations are ubiquitous (‘micro-aggressions,’ often not discernible to the untutored eye, are everywhere), and that when they make victimhood a coveted status that confers privileges, victims proliferate.” There is no way this can be taken to mean that actual victims of rape have a coveted status and it’s disgusting to say so.

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“Haunting Melissa 2″ Starts Production

June 20th, 2014 - 7:38 am
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Neal Edelstein’s innovative ghost story iOS app Haunting Melissa — with a script by your obt svt — has begun filming its sequel — with a script also by your obt svt. You can read all about it in the Hollywood Reporter:

Horror movie producer Neal Edelstein challenged traditional distribution methods in 2013 with the launch of Haunting Melissa, a genre film that was released in installments through an iPhone and iPad app. Now he’s back to work on the second installment of the project, Haunting Melissa 2, which has begun principal photography in Calgary, Canada.

Haunting Melissa 2, developed by Edelstein’s Hooked Digital Media, will pick up one month after the events of the first film, which follows a teenage girl who believes her dead mother is haunting her. Best-selling author Andrew Klavan (True Crime) returned to pen the script for the sequel, which stars Kassia Warshawski as the title character.

You can read the whole thing here. And download the original app here (it’s free, but there are in app buys).


British artist and comedian Miriam Elia is in trouble with Penguin Books after publishing an explicit — but absolutely dead on and hilarious — spoof of modern art in the form of a Penguin’s children’s Ladybird book. Elia says Penguin’s been kind about it and has tried to negotiate but has to keep its trademark rights. I do understand that and I’m not blaming them, but it’s really too bad because the thing is great. It’s called We Go To The Gallery, and has little Peter and Jane being taken to someplace like the Tate Gallery by Mummy to learn all about modern art and its vision of the world.  Here are a couple of panels — as I say, Not Suitable For Work:

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Oh, Let Us Not See the Simple Truth!

June 15th, 2014 - 9:36 am
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I don’t always agree with Ann Coulter — though I always pretend to because I’m afraid she’ll hurt me. But I have to say, she is so obviously right about Dave Brat’s victory over Eric Cantor in the Virginia primary last week, and virtually every other commentator is so obviously dead wrong, that I can only think we are observing a collective act of denial from both the left and the right, a willful blindness to the simple truth.

The first ever defeat of a House majority leader in a primary was so unexpected that it was variously described by commentators as “stunning,” “stunning,” “an earthquake,” “stunning,” “a stunning earthquake,” and “an earthquake that was stunning.” And to sum up the explanations that followed from the best and brightest of our political minds: “It wasn’t about illegal immigration. It was about anything except illegal immigration. It was about the Tea Party, it was about politics-as-usual in Washington, it was about Cantor’s arrogance, it was about anti-semitism, it was about Boehner’s tan, I don’t know what it was about, no one could possibly say what it was about, it was because the dog ate my homework, it was because — look, a squirrel! But whatever it was about, it sure wasn’t about illegal immigration!”

Here’s Ann:  ”Economics professor Dave Brat crushed House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in the Republican primary Tuesday night, in a campaign that was mostly about Cantor’s supporting amnesty for 11 million illegal aliens….  His crushing defeat reinforces a central point: Whenever the voters know an election is about immigration, they will always vote against more immigration — especially amnesty.”

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