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Ed Driscoll

“Anyone reading this knows where he was on September 11, 2001. A diminishing number remember where they were on January 30, 1965—the day we said farewell to Winston Churchill. (He died fifty years ago, January 24, 1965.),” Richard Langworth writes at the Weekly Standard:

For me it was a life-changing experience. Suddenly, unforgettably, on my flickering, black and white TV screen in New York City, the huge void of Westminster Abbey filled with The Battle Hymn of the Republic. He was, we were reminded, half-American, an honorary citizen by Act of Congress.

That day was the start of my 50-year career in search of Churchill—of what his greatest biographer, Sir Martin Gilbert, calls, “labouring in the vineyard.”

After the funeral I picked up The Gathering Storm, the first volume of his World War II memoirs. I was snared by what Robert Pilpel called his “roast beef and pewter phrases.” It’s biased, as he admitted—“This is not history; this is my case.” But it is so ordered as to put you at his side for the “great climacterics” that made us what we are today.

Churchill’s life spanned sixty years of prominence, unmatched in recent history. Of course, he insisted, “nothing surpasses 1940.” That was the year Britain and the Commonwealth—“the old lion with her lion cubs,” as he put it, “stood alone against hunters who are armed with deadly weapons” until “those who hitherto had been half blind were half ready.”

But I soon learned there was more to Churchill than 1940. Martin Gilbert wrote: “As I open file after file of Churchill’s archive, from his entry into Government in 1905 to his retirement in 1955, I am continually surprised by the truth of his assertions, the modernity of his thought, the originality of his mind, the constructiveness of his proposals, his humanity, and, most remarkable of all, his foresight.”

Sadly, England as a whole lacked Churchill’s foresight; at MercatorNet, Alun Wyburn-Powell explains “How Winston Churchill lost the 1945 election:”

Among the excuses the Conservatives offered after their defeat was that the Army Bureau of Current Affairs had indoctrinated service personnel to vote Labour. This excuse was at least plausible in principle, but it was pretty flimsy stuff.

There were some more obvious reasons for Churchill’s humiliation. Ultimately, the Conservatives had simply lost the electoral “ground war”.

In contrast to the other parties, the Conservatives had stuck rigidly to the spirit and the letter of the wartime electoral truce, only holding one party conference during the war and putting little effort into policy development and constituency organisation. The result was that the party machine was in a terrible state, with a greatly depleted band of agents and volunteers.

The party was also still carrying the blame for the appeasement of Hitler in the 1930s, for which it had been excoriated by the 1940 book Guilty Men.

Public memory was also against the Tories for another reason: the travails of David Lloyd George, who died in 1945. While still credited as the man who won World War I, Lloyd George’s record as prime minister after the war was dismal, marked by broken promises, unemployment, industrial unrest and threats to start another war. His dire tenure created a popular consensus was that good war leaders do not necessarily make good peacetime leaders.

Meanwhile, British society had changed during the war. Voters had become less class-bound; the evacuation of urban children to rural areas, service of all classes in the armed forces, and civilians sharing bomb shelters with strangers, had facilitated social mixing on an entirely new scale.

That in turn helped create a whole new political atmosphere. After World War I, many people had wanted a return to life as it had been – but after World War II, most people wanted a complete break with the past. In that climate, Labour’s forward-looking election slogan, “Let us face the future”, was far more appealing the Conservatives’ plea to let Churchill “Finish the job”.

Everyone should watch the 26-part World at War series released in 1973 by Thames Television, available on DVD from Amazon, and pretty easily found in streaming format on the Web. As I’ve written before, it was produced at exactly the right moment — when television was technically sophisticated enough to undertake a project of this scope, and while many of the major players were still alive and many still relatively young, and while Laurence Olivier was alive to narrate the series with the gravitas it deserved.

But perhaps most importantly, before the excoriating impact of political correctness would begin to tarnish how we view World War II, which unless we really have reached what Robert Tracinski of the Federalist calls “Peak Leftism,” will likely only get worse in coming decades. Political correctness is a disease that advanced slowly before fully metastasizing; but its roots were already present among 1930s British leftwing elites, who vowed would “in no circumstances fight for king and country,” and feared Churchill more than they feared Hitler (plus ça change). And as the 15th-episode of the World at War, titled “Home Fires” notes, even as England was on the verge of defeating National Socialism in Germany, it was about to institute an ever-increasing peacetime amount of nationalization and socialism at home:

That’s an excerpt from that episode; watch the whole thing here.

As to how Labour would radically reshape the people who inhabited postwar Britian, Peter Hitchens, the Tory-leaning brother of the late leftist Christopher Hitchens, does a remarkable job of highlighting the transformation of his country in his 2000 book, the The Abolition of Britain: From Winston Churchill to Princess Diana. (Please, somebody release this book in Kindle format). As the book’s title suggests, Hitchens begins by comparing the British people who turned out with stiff upper lips for the 1965 funeral of the Man Who Won World War II, and 30 years later, ululated en masse over the demise of Princess Diana, who was largely famous for being famous and for being a wannabe pop star and fashion icon. In other words, for purely aesthetic reasons.

“Wouldn’t it be simpler,” socialist playwrite Bertolt Brecht famously wrote, if the government dissolved the people and elected another?”

It took a few decades, with a timeout of sorts during the Thatcher years, but mission accomplished in postwar, post-Churchill England.

Speaking of political correctness, the transformation of a people, and Margaret Thatcher, Mr. Obama couldn’t be bothered to attend her funeral in 2013. Presumably, he wouldn’t have made time for Churchill’s either, right?

Update: At Power Line, Steve Hayward is more optimistic about the West’s future than I am, dubbing Churchill “Not the Last Lion:”

Manchester wrote in 1983 (in National Review, surprisingly enough) that “If there is a high office in the United States to which Winston Churchill could be elected today, it is unknown to me.”

The irony is that pre-war Churchill thought very much the same thing: see his remarkable essay from around 1930 entitled “Mass Effects in Modern Life,” which is in the must-have collection, Thoughts and Adventures. “Modern conditions do not lend themselves to the production of the heroic or superdominant type,” he wrote.  This was, Harry Jaffa pointed out in a splendid essay entitled “Can There Be Another Churchill?,” an instance of Churchill being wrong:

In 1939, Winston Churchill did not think so. But, as so often in his life, he was mistaken. Let us take comfort in that.

And in response to my post, Kathy Shaidle proffers excellent advice:

“Founder of German electronic pop group Tangerine Dream which provided soundtracks for Hollywood films and Grand Theft Auto computer games dies aged 70,” the London Daily Mail reports:

Edgar Froese, who founded the pioneering German electronic rock group Tangerine Dream in 1967, has died at 70.

The band said Froese died unexpectedly from the effects of a pulmonary embolism in Vienna on Tuesday.

* * * * * *

The band went on to release more than 100 albums and soundtracks over the years.

It also produced music for Hollywood hits including Tom Cruise’s ‘Risky Business’ as well as the video game ‘Grand Theft Auto V’.

The soundtrack to the 1980 film Thief, which put Michael Mann on the map as a director and served as the prototype for the iconic look and sound of Mann’s Miami Vice TV series a few years later was pretty awesome. In some ways, it was years ahead of its time, as synth rock would go on to became one of the genres of ’80s pop music, as the technology became more advanced, more user-friendly, and more affordable.

The Theory of Moral Relativity Defined

January 24th, 2015 - 12:15 pm

Shot:

Chaser:


Shot:

Chaser:

Hangover:


Paul Johnson, call your office.
Update: “You know, Robert Conquest once wrote, ‘The behavior of any bureaucratic organization can best be understood by assuming that it is controlled by a secret cabal of its enemies,’ but that statement is striking a little too close to home lately.”

Heh. At Patheos, Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry notes that “The chair of Germany’s Martin Heidegger Society resigned in genuine horror after some of Heidegger’s private papers were released and showed that, surprise, surprise, he was an anti-semite.”

Go figure. Or as the lunatic stage director hired by Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel’s characters in Mel Brooks’ The Producers says after perusing the script for Springtime for Hitler, “Did you know, I never knew that the Third Reich meant Germany. I mean it’s just drenched with historical goodies like that!”

Here’s more from Gobry; read the whole thing:

The immense awkwardness that is Heidegger’s Nazi affiliation is always quite a thing to behold. The simple fact of the matter is that, in terms of influence and also perhaps quality, Heidegger is a giant of 20th century philosophy, and one whose influence was felt primarily on the “Left.” The fact that a man who exercised such a tremendous influence on postmodern and progressive philosophy was also a Hitler supporter obviously raises eyebrows.

Only to those who haven’t been paying attention, or who have deliberately looked away. As I said, read the whole thing. And don’t miss the quote on relativism near the end of Gobry’s article from “Benito.”

Update:Education: 2010: U. Topia: Liberals envision a perfect world, and it looks a lot like campus,” Jonah Goldberg wrote in a 2010 issue of National Review:

There’s a certain kind of elite student who takes himself very, very seriously. Raised on a suite of educational TV shows and books that insist he is the most special person in the world — studies confirm that Generation Y is the most egocentric and self-regarding generation in our history — he is away from home for the first time, enjoying his first experience of freedom from his parents. Those same parents are paying for his education, which he considers his birthright. Shelter is provided for him. Janitors and maids clean up after him. Security guards protect him. Cooks shop for him and prepare his food. The health center provides him medical care and condoms aplenty. Administrators slave away at finding new ways for him to have fun in his free time. He drinks with abandon when he wants to, and the consequences of his bacchanalia are usually somewhere between mild and nonexistent. Sex is as abundant as it is varied. If he does not espouse any noticeably conservative or Christian attitudes, his every utterance in the classroom is celebrated as a “valuable perspective.” All that is demanded of him is that he pursue his interests and, perhaps, “find himself” along the way. His ethical training amounts to a prohibition on bruising the overripe self-esteem of another person, particularly a person in good standing with the Coalition of the Oppressed (blacks, Latinos, Muslims, women, gays, lesbians, transsexuals, et al.). Such offenses are dubbed hate crimes and are punished in a style perfected in Lenin’s utopia: through the politicized psychiatry known as “sensitivity training.”

Heidegger would approve, of course. But then, he was the modern campus’s inspiration.

“Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will represent the United States at the 70th anniversary ceremony for the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp on Tuesday—rather than President Barack Obama or Vice President Joe Biden—while other countries are slated to send their heads of state,” according to Daniel Wiser of the Washington Free Beacon:

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will represent the United States at the 70th anniversary ceremony for the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp on Tuesday—rather than President Barack Obama or Vice President Joe Biden—while other countries are slated to send their heads of state.

Tuesday’s ceremony will likely be the last major anniversary where a significant number of survivors of the Nazi camp are present. About 300 are expected to attend, and most of them are in their 90s or older than 100. Nazi authorities killed 1.1 million people at the camp, mostly Jews, which was liberated by the Soviet army in January 1945.

“Heads of state from France, Germany, Belgium, Austria, the Netherlands, and Denmark will be present,” Wiser adds.

Insert obvious reference to Obama in 2008 imagining his uncle liberated Auschwitz here.

And as with Obama blowing off the enormous march in Paris earlier this month to protest the killing of a dozen people in the Charlie Hebro offices, after seeming to embrace mammoth gatherings such as his speech in Berlin in 2008 and his Styrofoam column acceptance speech later that year, gentlemen, start your conspiracy theories.

Or just chalk it up to the fact that, as Michael Walsh writes today, “It’s Barack Obama’s Cloud Cuckoo-Land and We Just Live In It.”

It’s Come To This

January 23rd, 2015 - 1:35 pm

“An Israeli barber has fashioned what he calls ‘magic’ yarmulkes out of hair, designed to allow religious Jews to cover their heads without attracting unwanted attention from anti-Semites,” AP reports:

Shalom Koresh said his skullcap, known as a yarmulke in Yiddish and a kippa in Hebrew, was inspired by rising anti-Semitism in Europe and elsewhere. He said he has seen particular interest from buyers in France and Belgium.

“This skullcap is washable, you can brush it, you can dye it,” Koresh said in his salon in central Israel. “It was created so people could feel comfortable going to places where they are afraid to go, or places where they can’t wear it, and feel secure.”

France has seen a spike in anti-Semitic attacks in recent years. The killing of four French Jews in a hostage standoff at a Paris kosher market earlier this month has deepened fears among European Jews.

But remember, all of those no-go zones in Europe are just a myth now that Marco Rubio has referenced them, even though CNN, Newsweek and the New York Times all reported on them a decade ago; some sources even prior to the French Banlieue riots and car-b-ques starting in 2005.

Naturally, leave it to John Kerry to completely invert the problem, comparing the “lack of integration” of Muslims in Europe to the U.S. Civil Rights struggles of the 1960, to paraphrase the headline of this article from Jeryl Bier at the Weekly Standard, which quotes Kerry bloviating at length when asked by a reporter on the topic:

Well, let me just begin quickly on the integration issue. When I was – I entered college in 1962. And in 1963, ’4, ’5, we were deeply embroiled in this country, and we – college students in the Civil Rights Movement. And we were deeply impacted by that and have always been, I think, as a generation, much more sensitive to this question of minority and rights and integration and so forth. We’ve made unbelievable progress in our nation, unbelievable progress in the years since then. But it would be completely disingenuous not to say to you that we still have some distance to travel. We’re not finished. We’re still – you heard the President last night talk about voting rights. So what was won in 1965 still has to be fully embraced and implemented here, and other things that are linked to that. We’ve seen our own struggles in some communities and great debates about race in America in the last year.

So it would be dishonest of me – and I’m not involved in domestic politics right now, so I’m not going to go into it in depth, except to say that therefore, I think I can say with honesty that there is a challenge in many other parts of the world. And Federica is absolutely correct; this particular incident of violence wasn’t a specific targeting that grew out of that, but we all can do work in many parts of the world that I have seen where one minority or another or another is not able to share fully in the full integration in whatever country they happen to be living. So the world has a road to travel on that, and that’s why we continue to put such a high premium here on the issue of human rights and democracy, and to continue to push, because I think we’ve learned through our own experience the difference that it can make to the strengthening of the quality of our democracy, to our society, and people benefit when we live by that high moral standard.

As with most of the gaseous rhetoric uttered by the Secretary of State, who by the way served in Vietnam, that’s entirely bass-ackwards, as Ed Morrissey writes:

Unlike the US in the Jim Crow era (or South Africa during apartheid, to use another example), the issue in France and other nations on the continent is not official policies of discrimination. It’s not even cultural pressure to marginalize and “otherize” Muslims. The insularity of those communities is self-imposed. They want to be separate, and thanks to a perverse prioritization of multicultural sensitivity in France and other countries over assimilation, those cultures allow them to do so on an extraordinary scale.

And needless to say, they have no interest in accepting the traditions of other cultures in nations they immigrate to.

Just ask these fellows.

“The United States has pulled more staff out of its embassy in Yemen, U.S. officials said on Thursday as Washington scrambled to cope with the collapse of a government that had been a key ally in the fight against al Qaeda,” Reuters reports. Unlike Benghazi, “At least this time there has been an evacuation of some American personnel,” Ed Morrissey responds:

The problem is that you can’t have both a “light footprint” strategy on counterterrorism and a project to overturn the governments in the region at the same time. Obama derided George Bush’s strategy in Iraq, but at least Bush understood that much — that you have to control the ground after a forced regime change and stick around long enough to make sure the pieces come together properly.  Libya proved the folly of “light footprint” regime change dramatically in 2011-12, but this White House didn’t learn the lesson then, and as late as September of last year kept insisting that these strategies were great successes for Obama. The evacs tell a much different story, especially to the radicals in the Middle East. They see an America on the retreat — and right now, that’s not an unrealistic picture.

But do Obama and John Kerry, he of the recurring Vietnam flashbacks, view that as a bad thing?

Incidentally, here’s a future evac that really is worth imagining. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one:

obama_sunset_thumbnail_10-2-11-big-3

Related: More from Jonathan Spyer at PJM: “Yemen Joins List of Collapsed Mideast States.”

Filed under: War And Anti-War

Live from Post-American Bandstand

January 23rd, 2015 - 11:33 am

Considering he’s known for taxpayer-funded “Obamaphones,” we shouldn’t be surprised that the president is phoning in his State of the Union addresses. In his latest column, Jonah Goldberg notes that “Six years later, Obama’s still reading from the same tired script,” and unlike say a vintage 1966 episode of the original Star Trek, it’s not a rerun worth watching:

This is Obama’s real understanding of “bipartisanship”; it is a political hack’s cudgel to unleash on your opponents, not a tool for governing. Diplomacy, Will Rogers once said, is the art of saying “nice doggie” until you can find a rock. Obama has a similar definition for gassy sound bites about cynicism.

His admirers see his speeches as ornate cathedrals of rhetoric when they are more like the kitsch from a TGI Friday’s, recycling old license plates and “gone fishin’” signs for that “authentic” feel. And just as every TGI Friday’s pretends it’s unique by adding a few bits of “flair” to the servers’ suspenders, what they dish out is always the same warmed-over swill drenched in cheesiness. So it is with Obama’s speeches.

Likewise with his policies. Before the financial crisis, Obama ran on “investing” in education, health care, renewable energy, infrastructure, and so on. After the financial crisis hit, presumably our needs changed, but not Obama’s agenda. Suddenly, what America needed to do to respond to the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression was to again “invest” in education, health care, renewable energy, and infrastructure. And now that the “shadow of crisis has passed,” as he announced on Tuesday, the same investments are needed. Why? Because he said it before, of course.

The same holds true with his foreign-policy agenda. As a candidate, Obama vowed that we needed to pull back from the War on Terror. After the rise of the Islamic State and the metastasizing of jihadist terror around the world, we must stay the course. Even when events deviate from the president’s well-worn script, what matters is that the script never change so Obama can keep talking and talking and talking.

Armed with a sky-high pompadour and Sly-Stone’s muttonchop sideburns, Alfonzo Rachel of PJTV (with an introduction from a dapper-looking Pat Boone and an amazing kitchen-sink production job supervised by Roger L. Simon) had Mr. Obama’s number over four years ago:

Gee, And After All Barry’s Done For Him

January 23rd, 2015 - 10:36 am

“Netanyahu ‘spat in our face,’ White House officials said to say,” according to the Times of Israel:

The White House’s outrage over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to speak before Congress in March — a move he failed to coordinate with the administration — began to seep through the diplomatic cracks on Friday, with officials telling Haaretz the Israeli leader had “spat” in President Barack Obama’s face.

“We thought we’ve seen everything,” the newspaper quoted an unnamed senior US official as saying. “But Bibi managed to surprise even us.

“There are things you simply don’t do. He spat in our face publicly and that’s no way to behave. Netanyahu ought to remember that President Obama has a year and a half left to his presidency, and that there will be a price,” he said.  [What, beyond giving Iran the bomb? -- Ed]

Officials in Washington said that the “chickenshit” epithet — with which an anonymous administration official branded Netanyahu several months ago — was mild compared to the language used in the White House when news of Netanyahu’s planned speech came in.

I look forward to Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic Voxsplaining how Obama isn’t really anti-Israel. Because nothing says loyalty and friendship like calling a trusted ally “chickenshit.”

A wise man who once said, “Don’t think we’re not keeping score, brother” shouldn’t be surprised that others keep score as well.

Update: I’m surprised the “unnamed senior US official” didn’t accuse Netanyahu of stabbing Obama in the back, a metaphor that would send the administration that began its second term promising “Peace in our time” full circle.

“In-Flight Catalog SkyMall Files for Bankruptcy,” the Wall Street Journal reports:

“With the increased use of electronic devices on planes, fewer people browsed the SkyMall in-flight catalog,” Mr. Wiley said.

The increase in the number of airlines providing Internet access “resulted in additional competition from e-commerce retailers and additional competition for the attention of passengers, all of which further negatively impacted SkyMall’s catalog sales,” he added.

The SkyMall business had revenue of about $33.7 million in 2013, but only $15.8 million for the nine months ended September 28, 2014.

SkyMall filed to preserve their assets by seeking “to achieve a sale of their assets and complete an orderly wind-down of their affairs,” said Mr. Wiley.

Is nothing sacred? 2015 is certainly starting off on a consolidating note as first Radio Shack, and now SkyMall as the mighty buzzsaw of Amazon continues to devour the rest of the retail world. I’m not sure if I can face living in a world without SkyMall, but how will Barney Stinson survive?

And where will the rest of us get our backyard-enhancing products made from “quality designer resin,” eh?

 

In 2012, NBC became notorious — at least on the right — for deceptively editing George Zimmerman’s 9/11 call to make him — before he was known to be of Hispanic decent — appear to be an anti-black racist.

But any hack leftist can do ransom note editing to smear his opponents through subtraction. (Jon Stewart in a rare left-on-left critique would dub NBC “The Splice Channel” when it was caught.) It takes a unique skill to make your opponents appear racist by adding words to their statements. Or as Ann Coulter writes, “That MSNBC routinely, almost compulsively, mischaracterizes what conservatives say is nothing new. It’s what makes the network so adorable. But in a recent trend, anchor Rachel Maddow has been upping the ante, altering quotes we just heard her play on tape:”

On Monday night, for example, Rachel ran a news clip from President Reagan’s 1983 Martin Luther King Day signing ceremony:

“Chris Wallace, NBC Reporter (by miraculous coincidence, currently a Fox News anchor): ‘There was an air of celebration in the Rose Garden and an underlying tension. White House officials wrestled for days how to usher in a holiday the president opposed. They finally decided to embrace it. … Maybe that’s what today was about, that blacks have the power to make politicians do things.’”

End tape, cut to Rachel, taking notes, muttering with disgust: “The blacks now have the power …”

Except Wallace didn’t say “the blacks.” Refer to the tape. By adding the simple article “the,” Rachel turned Chris Wallace from a garden-variety 1980s news reporter into Archie Bunker. It takes a special kind of zealotry to play a tape of someone and then immediately lie about what viewers just heard him say.

Rachel’s rewrite of Wallace (again, a Fox News host) was astonishingly similar to her misquote of Republican Senate candidate — now senator — Joni Ernst just before the November elections. Maddow inserted the word “the” into Ernst’s statement, entirely changing her meaning.

Ernst had said — as anyone could hear from the tape helpfully played by Rachel: “I do believe in the right to carry, and I believe in the right to defend myself and my family — whether it’s from an intruder, or whether it’s from a government, should they decide that my rights are no longer important.”

The very next line in the transcript has Rachel sneering — as if repeating Ernst’s line: “I believe in my right to defend myself from the government with my beautiful little Smith & Wesson, 9 millimeter.” She then riffed on her own rewrite of Ernst’s statement, warning that a Senate candidate “is threatening to turn to armed violence against the government if she doesn’t get what she wants …”

Obviously, there’s a pretty big difference between a Second Amendment right to defend yourself from “a government” and “the government.” One is theoretical — referring to some future tyrannical government or even a foreign government. “The government” is referring to a specific set of government officials currently constituting our government.

Or as anyone at MSNBC could tell you, it means: “THERE’S A BLACK MAN IN THE WHITE HOUSE!”

Don’t ever change Comcast. Don’t ever change.

(Via Five Feet of Fury.)

Talk About Failing Your Life’s Goal

January 22nd, 2015 - 4:12 pm

“King Abdullah, who sought to modernize Saudi Arabia, [Dead] at 90,” AP reports, and yes, there’s a missing word in their Drudge-linked headline, which will likely be replaced once it’s caught by AP’s proverbial layers and layers of fact checkers and editors.

As for Abdullah, AP hagiographically reports:

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, the powerful U.S. ally who joined Washington’s fight against al-Qaida and sought to modernize the ultraconservative Muslim kingdom with incremental but significant reforms, including nudging open greater opportunities for women, has died, according to Saudi state TV. He was 90.

So how exactly are those reforms coming along in Saudi Arabia? Not well, to say the least, based on headlines such as this and this. Not to mention reports that the Saudi’s wished to umm, modernize the New York skyline in quite a dramatic fashion.

Saudi Arabia isn’t ISIS — but deep down inside, it’s not all that far removed from ISIS’ vision of the Middle East, either.

As for reform, as my colleague Michael Ledeen would say, “Faster, Please.” Much faster than Abdullah’s glacial (read: non-existent) timetable.

Question Asked and Answered

January 22nd, 2015 - 4:00 pm

“Why Does Hollywood Ignore the ‘American Sniper’ Audience?,” Larry O’Connor asks at the Washington Free Beacon:

Hollywood ignores the middle of our country. So much audience out there just WAITING to give their money to these arrogant studios. If only they had the wisdom to hire more writers, producers, and directors who spoke to this audience. It makes you wonder … why don’t they?

We keep hearing that all Hollywood cares about is money … well, if that’s the case, then why don’t they capture the money from this audience by creating more content that appeals to them?

Ask most who’ve worked in the industry who hold a right-of-center political perspective and they’ll tell you that these subjects are so outside the world view of most studio executives (and their gatekeepers) that the content rarely even makes it to their desks for evaluation.

It’s hardly breaking news to say the entertainment industry’s values and priorities are antithetical to the rest of America. Just look at the dismal performance of HBO’s Girls, a series celebrated and rewarded within the industry but virtually ignored outside of New York and LA.

As the late Andrew Breitbart told me once during an interview, David Geffen is under no obligation to make a movie that’s antithetical to his worldview.

No matter how much it might clean up at the box office.

As I noted in late August 2010, a year in which the media increasingly knew Congress was about to change hands, and in response threw a temper tantrum (as Peter Jennings would say) shouting the most hateful incantations the Tea Party specifically and Americans in general, our news media is basically “closed circuit TV for the ruling class” on both coasts. So is most of the entertainment that Hollywood produces, with the exception of breakthroughs such Mel Gibson’s The Passion and Clint’s American Sniper, and other than the summer sci-fi and superhero movies. (And even those pulp-inspired genres have increasingly begun to reflect the left’s obsessions.) That’s also true of much of cable TV’s entertainment product: In-between exploring the personal psychodramas and sophomoric power games that drive many TV producers, Brett Martin’s highly readable book Difficult Men is largely about how networks such as HBO crafted a viable entertainment model similarly designed to appeal almost entirely to a tiny niche of blue state coastal elites and their wannabe brethren.

As for the movie industry, O’Connor asks, “The question is, will this practice change after the success of American Sniper?”

I wouldn’t count on it for two reasons: the next pro-military film won’t be made by someone who has a lifetime of directing chops like Clint, just as the few earnestly religious films made in the immediate wake of The Passion didn’t have the same skill, and er, passion that Mel Gibson brought to the table, before his self-inflicted career-killing implosion.  And second, both genres allow for plenty of subversion by Hollywood. The immediate post-9/11 era saw the release of Ridley Scott’s Black Hawk Down and Gibson’s We Were Soldiers, both likely films that were green-lit before 9/11 occurred. These were followed by the seemingly endless craptacular stillborn anti-Iraq, anti-Bush movies that Hollywood became infamous for during the years of 2004 through 2008.

And Darren Aronofsky’s Noah and Ridley Scott’s Exodus are both examples of what modern Hollywood can do to subvert the genre of religious films. Noah was dubbed by its director “the least biblical film ever made,” which is all middle America needs to hear to know it should stay home. Similarly, regarding Scott’s film, as John Podhoretz memorably began his review last month at the Weekly Standard, “Raise your hand if you want to see Moses portrayed as an insurgent lunatic terrorist with a bad conscience, the pharaoh who sought the murder of all first-born Hebrew slaves as a nice and reasonable fellow, and God as a foul-tempered 11-year-old boy with an English accent.”

Enjoy the one-off success of American Sniper. I hope I’m proven wrong, but leftwing Hollywood’s not about learn from its lessons anytime soon.

“New York Magazine Mainstreams Incest,” Rush Limbaugh noted yesterday:

Time to hide the women and children, ladies and gentlemen, and maybe grab a barf bag.  New York Magazine.  Let me give you a countdown here.  Because, as I say, we don’t want to shock anybody.  Not our purpose.  Nor is it our purpose to offend.  That just happens.  I’m gonna count down from five to one, and if you’re still here, you’re on your own and you can’t complain. Complaints will fall on deaf ears because you’ve been given ample time to turn down the sound.  Five, four, three, two, one.

New York Magazine had the story.  They recently interviewed a couple who decided to remain anonymous for reasons that will become obvious.  It’s an 18-year-old woman and an older man.  They live in upstate New York.  They are planning on getting married soon. Eighteen-year-old woman which, ah, she’s of age, and the older man living in upstate New York, plan to get married.  Here’s the thing.  The older man is her father.  The older man is her biological father.

In an article titled, ” What It’s Like to Date Your Dad,” New York Magazine describes how father and daughter were at one time estranged and then, magically, they were reunited after 12 years and the magazine says sparks flew between the teenaged daughter and her biological father.  They were attracted to each other, says the magazine.  The woman said that within days of rediscovering each other, within days of the woman rediscovering her father, for whom sparks were flying, she lost her virginity.

As Jonathan Last adds, say, isn’t this the same New York magazine that back in November profiled “the guy who loves horses? (Not in the Ann Romney way.)”

“But don’t worry–changing one foundational part of the culture couldn’t possibly alter others,” Jonathan sardonically quips, in a post headlined “The Vindication of Rick Santorum (cont.).”  Follow the link at the end of his post for a hilariously related addendum. (And as Last adds, stick with it to the end, it’s worth it.)

How much of this is New York magazine approving the subjects they cover, and how much is it a case of a magazine hoping to shock the public into reading and linking (see also: TV networks’ strategies to shock viewers into watching, even as such repeated tactics eventually result in apathy and boredom?)

In any case, in 1970, a much different and still relatively sane New York magazine published Tom Wolfe’s “Radical Chic,” in which Wolfe caught up close and personal the insanity of the left, attending Leonard Bernstein’s cocktail fundraiser party for the Black Panthers, who would have loved nothing more than to firebomb Bernstein’s swank Park Avenue duplex, and all of his fellow One Percenters (as the kids say these days) attending the fundraiser. In 1976, New York published Wolfe’s “Me Decade,” which explored where America’s growing Weimar-esque sense of narcissism and nihilism would eventually lead.

Who knew the answer was full-on Caligula? (Well, the person who’s referenced in Last’s headline might have. Which is why it was necessary for the left to destroy him.)

And speaking of life in the Caligula era, “In Elle, Lena Dunham Slams Screaming ‘Static’ of Pro-Life Protesters, Their Lack of…’Decency.’”

Proportion, Lena, proportion! Think of your critics as merely just a few inconvenient pebbles blocking your path to superstardom.  (And then consult with your crisis management firm for further instructions.)

“NY Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver accused of $4 million bribery and kickback scheme, Dems continue to support him.” Kudos to the New York Daily News for not playing the “name that party” game with Silver; it’s tacitly right in the headline and explicitly stated six paragraphs in, which for a left-leaning publication is likely as good as transparency gets when a newspaper is reporting bad news concerning one of its own party members:

“I am confident that after a full hearing and due process, I will be vindicated of these charges,” a relaxed Silver announced after his release on $200,000 bond following a Manhattan Federal Court hearing.

Silver, spied earlier taking an uncomfortable ride to the courthouse alongside an FBI agent, made his brief appearance after U.S. Attorney Preet Bhahara blasted him as the epitome of a corrupt politician.

“For many years, New Yorkers have asked the question, ‘How could Speaker Silver, one of the most powerful men in New York, earn millions of dollars in outside income without deeply compromising his ability to honestly serve his constituents?’” said Bharara.

“Today we provide the answer: He didn’t.”

The stunning five-count criminal complaint accused the Manhattan Democrat, an Albany power broker for decades, with pocketing millions in bribes and kickbacks in return for wielding his massive influence.

Much more from Michael Walsh at the PJ Tatler:

New York state is essentially an organized crime racket, one that for many years was stable in its distribution of the swag. The upstate-controlled Senate was in the hands of the GOP under Joe Bruno, while the assembly lay under the thumb of the weaselly Silver. But somebody broke the peace back in 2008, when Bruno abruptly resigned his leadership positions and announced he wouldn’t be running again; in January 2009 he was indicted on eight corruption counts, and later convicted of two of them. The convictions were overturned on appeal and Bruno was subsequently found not guilty at a retrial last year. He’s been itching for payback ever since. This is it.

Exit quotes from John Podhoretz (channeling Hyman Roth) and Iowahawk (channeling the performer Time magazine once dubbed “The smartest man in pop music”):


Speaking of which, exit question via Michael Walsh: “Is Andrew Cuomo Next?”

The Abolition of Private Life

January 22nd, 2015 - 12:01 pm

As Kevin D. Williamson writes on this year’s current crop of nihilistic protestors, “They’re coming for your Denver omelet.” And your highway, and your business:

Sensible people would tell these pathetic bullies to mind their own business, but minding your business — and Google’s business — is literally Jesse Jackson’s business. (Literally, Mr. Vice President.) It’s what he does and how he eats. And it’s the Left’s best growth industry: Build nothing, create nothing, nurture nothing, and then shut down I-93 until you get your way, whether that means money in pocket, which is what the Castro protesters and Jesse Jackson are after, or whether that simply means luxuriating in the addictive pleasure of moral preening, which is what idiot white college kids in New York are after. The latter requires an audience, thus the Occupy a Denver Omelet movement.

What’s hilarious is that the protesters themselves are getting a lesson in why private life matters. When an enterprising WBZ-TV reporter, Ken MacLeod, started tracking down the Boston protesters who shut down the freeway and found them at their homes — often their parents’ homes, mansions in Brookline — he was accused of “harassment,” told “I need you to leave our property immediately,” etc. Which is to say, the protesters, having inserted themselves into public affairs, wished to enjoy the courtesy that they refused to extend to those who hadn’t inserted themselves into public affairs. When it comes to dopey Trustafarians, there’s more that’s tangled than their hair.

Speaking of protests and food, as Ace’s co-blogger Drew McCoy tweets, “awful but necessary,” linking to this Denver Eater (a spinoff publication of far left Vox.com, alas) article titled “Cake Shop Faces Legal Action For Refusing to Make Anti LGBT Cake:”

The man came in and began ordering a cake. After he found an image of a Bible-shaped cake to his liking, he showed the bakery employees the message he wanted displayed on the cake, the gist of which is hateful toward the gay community. Uncomfortable with the incident, owner Marjorie Silva offered to make the Bible-shaped cake and sell to the customer a decorating bag so he can complete whatever message he wanted himself. He immediately threatened legal action and left. He returned twice and had to be “excused” by the owner’s brother the last time. The man filed a discrimination complaint Colorado’s Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA).

In a nation of over 300 million people that doesn’t lack for bakeries, in a simpler time, one would simply shop for the baker who would be happy to print whatever message the customer wants. Who wants to buy a custom-made product obviously made under duress? Especially food — who’d want to risk eating a cake made in protest after it was complete? But if one group is legally forced to create products against their wishes, it’s understandable that they’d want to use the left’s Saul Alinsky-inspired tactics for a little pushback. After all, as Ol’ Saul said nearly half a century ago, “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.” Evidently he didn’t realize how quickly the far left would emerge as the default bourgeois class in many parts of America, and conversely, religious conservatives the radical fringe position, at least as far as the law is concerned. Speaking of which, there are still more cakes waiting to be baked in the bakery wars:

 

Just print up a Charlie Hebdo cover, ask for it on the cake, and tell ‘em your having a “Stand With Charlie” party. Though you might want to rent a P.O. box first so as not to give out your home address…

Which brings us back to the conclusion of Kevin D. Williamson’s article:

During the Civil Rights Movement — the real one, not the ersatz one led today by Jesse Jackson et al. — politics did genuinely intersect with brunch. On one side of the issue were people who argued that the social situation of African Americans at the time was so dire and so oppressive that invasive federal action was necessary. On the other side were well-intentioned conservatives such as Barry Goldwater and any number of writers for this magazine, who argued that if the reach of Washington were extended into every mom-and-pop diner in the country, it would constitute a step toward the abolition of private life, that the natural and inevitable extension of the principle at work would ensure that rather than being treated as private property, businesses reclassified as “public accommodations” would be treated more like public property, that the greasy snout of politics eventually would stick itself into every last precinct of what had been considered the sphere of privacy beyond the public sector.

As it turns out, both sides were right.

Or to put it another way, as one approaches peak socialism, increasingly, “The only person who is still a private individual..is somebody who is asleep,” to coin a phrase.

Tweet of the Day

January 21st, 2015 - 11:21 pm


As John Hinderaker writes at Power Line, “Greatest. Democrat. Ever.”

Though Chris Dodd and the late Teddy Kennedy might very much argue with that assessment, after allegedly attempting to tag-team Carrie Fisher in 1985, then at the height of her superstardom as Princess Leia, asking her “Would you have sex with Chris in a hot tub?”

“So, having recently graduated completely healed and normal from my first stint in a rehab, and appearing in an almost perfectly respectable piece of work, I found myself driving from Baltimore to Washington, D.C., to have dinner with Chris Dodd, this senator who I knew virtually nothing about. Nor did Senator Dodd — like most people, then, now and always — have any idea who I was in the wide, wide world beyond this cute little actress who’d played Princess Leia.”

“Suddenly, Senator Kennedy, seated directly across from me, looked at me with his alert, aristocratic eyes and asked me a most surprising question. ‘So,’ he said, clearly amused, ‘do you think you’ll be having sex with Chris at the end of your date?’ … To my left, Chris Dodd looked at me with an unusual grin hanging on his very flushed face.”

Her reply: “‘Funnily enough, I won’t be having sex with Chris tonight,’ I said, my face composed and calm. ‘No, that probably won’t happen.’ People blinked. ‘Thanks for asking, though.’”

His retort: “‘Would you have sex with Chris in a hot tub?’ Senator Kennedy asked me, perhaps as a way to say good night? ‘I’m no good in water,’ I told him.” (A representative for Dodd did not immediately respond to ABCNews.com’s request for comment.)

That bit in parentheses is a reminder that we only have Fisher’s word that this happened — along with Dodd and Kennedy’s reputation for “waitress sandwiches.” But note how nonchalantly ABC reported all this; if the senators had an (R) after each of their names, this would be reported as a front page hate crime and a sign of the Republicans’ War on Women™, of course.

Well yes — I know a guy who wrote a book about that stuff in 2008. As Jonah Goldberg later wrote, it was Stalin who initially launched the smear:

Joseph Stalin championed the idea that all of his political opponents should be dubbed fascists, including many of his fellow Bolsheviks, such as Leon Trotsky (whom Stalin had assassinated), and much of the Red Army’s officer corps (whom he had executed), and countless Ukrainians (whom he had liquidated). Stalin insisted that even mentioning the man-made – i.e., Stalin-made — Ukranian famine was evidence you were an agent of the Nazis.

Under Stalin’s “theory of social fascism,” any socialist, social-democratic, or progressive group or party not loyal to him had to be called fascist. Hence, for a while Moscow insisted that FDR and even Norman Thomas (head of the Socialist Party of America) were fascists.

Ultimately, Communist propagandists and their allied intellectuals would reflexively blame fascism for everything, regardless of the facts. That’s what prompted George Orwell to remark that “the word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies ‘something not desirable.’”

And FDR and Truman were happy to play along. In 1942, at the height of the Second World War, Roosevelt “displayed a Nazi Iron Cross and said it should be presented to a columnist of the New York Daily News who was one of the president’s most bitter critics,” as Commentary noted in a 2010 review of an FDR biography. In his 1944 State of the Union speech, Roosevelt similarly thundered:

One of the great American industrialists of our day—a man who has rendered yeoman service to his country in this crisis-recently emphasized the grave dangers of “rightist reaction” in this Nation. All clear-thinking businessmen share his concern. Indeed, if such reaction should develop—if history were to repeat itself and we were to return to the so-called “normalcy” of the 1920′s—then it is certain that even though we shall have conquered our enemies on the battlefields abroad, we shall have yielded to the spirit of Fascism here at home.

As Jonah quipped in 2012 in response to the above quote, “Ah yes, if we go back to the 1920s, an era of rampant prosperity and expanding liberty we will have surrendered to Fascism. That is grotesque.”

Equally grotesque were Truman’s tactics in a similar vein. As the New York Times’ headline screamed, “President Likens Dewey to Hitler as Fascists’ Tool,” on October 26 1948, near the conclusion of the presidential election year. CBS’s Walter Cronkite and Daniel Schorr would go on to use similar tactics to destroy the libertarian-themed presidential bid of Barry Goldwater in 1964, a particularly disgusting attack by two “objective” journalists acting as blocking backs for LBJ, considering that Goldwater was half-Jewish.

In short, it’s shameful, reactionary stuff, whose shelf-life is now three-quarters of a century old. Fortunately, there’s at least a little pushback these days on such tactics.

Incidentally, if you’re not a subscriber to PJTV, you’re missing the regular conversations between Andrew Klavan and Bill Whittle on conservative and libertarian philosophy, the left’s undermining tactics and other topics, some of the most engaging material our sister video network is producing.

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CNN morphed into the Gong Show so slowly…

“CNN to Produce Political Game Show,” according to TV Newser. Because, what else would you expect from the flailing low-rated, desperate for attention network?

Insiders tell us the show will be hosted by Anderson Cooper and will air on Presidents’ Day, Feb. 16. If it’s successful, further episodes would go into production.

We hear the program will be a quiz style game show, focused on presidential politics.

As the Sony email hacking story unfolded last month, one of the more interesting TV news stories to emerge was that CNN Worldwide chief Jeff Zucker had asked a Sony TV executive if the company would consider producing “Political Jeopardy!” for CNN.

That was a nonstarter. But now it appears Zucker is going his own way on a quiz show.

Insert obvious Wolf Blitzer bombing on Jeopardy reference here. And as John Nolte adds at Big Journalism:

With its ratings at an all-time low and its journalistic ethics almost constantly under fire…With its endless race hoaxes, scandals, and talks of airplanes disappearing into black holes, 2014 might have been the worst year for CNN of any news outlet in recent memory. We’re only 21 days into the new year, but 2015 is already shaping up to be worse.

Bonus Question: For the Final Jeopardy round, I’ll take “What are European Muslim No-Go Zones for $10,000?”, Alex.

(H/T: Kathy Shaidle.)

Update: Currently trending on Twitter, is the #CNNgameshowpitches hashtag. Play along at home!

MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, Man of a 1000 Faces

January 21st, 2015 - 1:41 pm

“More than ever, I am convinced MSNBC is one giant sketch comedy designed to showcase the many talents of Chris Hayes,” Twitter user “Nino” wrote yesterday, along with a collage of photos combining Hayes with fellow MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow and their fellow smart glasses-wearing Mark Potok, spokesman for the far left Southern “Poverty” Law Center, and Arsalan Iftikhar of TheMuslimGuy.com, banned from MSNBC after his racist remarks earlier this week that Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal is “trying to scrub some of the brown off his skin.”

As I noted yesterday, Hayes also bears a striking resemblance to hapless Obama foreign policy flack Marie Harf, and Ethan Krupp, the infamous foul-mouthed footie-pajama-wearing Obamacare mascot.

Are we sure Hayes wasn’t also in the audience for his boss’s State of the Union address last night? As Brent Scher of the Washington Free Beacon noted, “Woman Showcased by Obama in SOTU is a Former Democratic Campaign Staffer:”

Rebekah Erler has been presented by the White House as a woman who was discovered by the president after she wrote to him last March about her economic hardships. She was showcased in the speech as proof that middle class Americans are coming forward to say that Obama’s policies are working.

Unmentioned in the White House bio of Erler is that she is a former Democratic campaign operative, working as a field organizer for Sen. Patty Murray (D., Wash.).

This also wasn’t the first time the White House used the former Democratic campaign staffer as a political prop. Obama spent a “day in the life” of Erler in June so that he could have “an opportunity to communicate directly with the people he’s working for every day.”

“They keep it in the family, don’t they?” Ace adds:

Check the Free [Beacon] for more; they have his quotes narrating the incredible success story of Rebecca “Please Use Me As A Prop” Erler. Obama forgot to mention her long years suckling at the teat of the Democrat-Government Industrial Complex.

But are we sure that’s Erler? Comparing the photo of her that accompanied Ace’s post with Hayes and his other disguises as spotted by Nino yesterday, the resemblance is quite remarkable:

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35 years ago, NBC’s Saturday Night Live featured Chevy Chase morphing before our eyes as he presented the vocal stylings of Peter Lemon Moodring. But today, there’s a far more versatile quick-change artist at work at NBC. Who will he morph into next?!