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Ed Driscoll

Hollywood, Interrupted

Mark Steyn, during his interview with Hugh Hewitt yesterday, explores how ISIS’ snuff films attract disaffected westerners:

HH: This is so horrific, I don’t know even how to approach it. The Islamic state has kidnapped as many as 350 Assyrian Christians – women, children, and they’ve taken them away in the night. Meanwhile, we’re learning about Jihad Johnny. And it seems like on this side of the Atlantic, and this side of the world, the only thing the Obama administration can get upset about is Benjamin Netanyahu coming here.

MS: Yeah.

HH: What is, you know, not Valerie Jarrett, but Susan Rice said it’s damaging to the relationship that the Prime Minister, destructive was her word, her exact word. What do you think of this?

MS: No, I think it’s an extremely weird obsession. We are losing to an explicitly genocidal and apocalyptic movement that controls substantial amounts of territory, and as we discussed last week, is incredibly attractive to educated citizens in the Western world. When you were talking, you said they kidnapped all these Christians in the middle of the night. I would doubt they actually did that. You know, that’s the way the old school guys, your Nazis and fascists and communists used to do it. They were furtively, at some level, they knew, they were ashamed of their evil, and they didn’t want it to get out. These guys use evil as their calling card. They use evil in their campaign ads. They use evil in their movie promotions. And it’s very, and it’s horribly seductive to all these thousands of people who are supposed to be nominally citizens of Western nations, not just this Jihad John guy from London, but there’s Americans from Minnesota and elsewhere, there’s Canadians, Australians. There’s all kinds of people for whom the evil, the evil of ISIS, is its principle selling point.

HH: Let me ask you about this, because I asked Jeb Bush this yesterday in an interview with him. What’s the tap root? And he had dismissed Marie Harf’s joblessness claim, as we all do. It’s just absurd and silly and moronic. And I asked him about it, and he fumbled around, and he came up with sort of civilizational alienation. What do you think it is, Mark Steyn?

MS: Yeah, I think there’s a measure of truth in that. I think at the heart of the, at the heart of most modern Western societies is a big hole where young people’s sense of identity is. And some of it, you know, you saw a lot of that at the Oscars. They fill it with sexual politics, with all this LGBTQWERTY. I mean, I don’t even know what the last 17 initials. I know, I haven’t a clue what it is they’re meant to be, these evermore recherché sexual identity politics. Or they said it was climate change. They want to feel they’re saving the planet. And maybe that’s enough for some people. But for other people, it isn’t. And it’s not first-generation Muslims. It’s not second-generation Muslims. It’s the young third-generation Muslims in the Western world who have no attachment to the societies they owe their nominal allegiance to. This gives them an identity that the modern, Western, multicultural state, in its late civilizational decline, does not give them that identity.

How much is today’s nihilistic pop culture to blame for ISIS? During the cultural upheaval of 1966 and ’67, when the American left abandoned LBJ’s Great Society and turned against his efforts at fighting communism in Vietnam, the Beatles tossed away their collarless matching Pierre Cardin suits for kaftans, began following the Maharishi, sang “All You Need is Love,” and millions of middle class teenage kids in America, England and Europe aped their gestures, launching the hippie movement. Today though, if you’re an impressionable young middle class follower of contemporary “gangsta rap” music (a phrase so prevalent, I just noticed that Firefox’s spell checker no longer points it out as a typo), then Sug Knight’s alleged homicide(s) seem like small beer, when you can really play Public Enemy on the world’s stage. Why play “the knockout game,” uploading your violent clips to approving Websites such as “WorldStarHipHop,” when you can upload far worse violence to YouTube? Why bother working your way through one of Marie Harf’s dullsville jobs programs, when you can really get an exciting entry level position?

Besides, as one Daily Beast headline claims, “ISIS: Christians Worse Than Murderers.” There are lots of people on the cultural left who’d agree.

Update: As Steyn told Hewitt, “There’s all kinds of people for whom the evil, the evil of ISIS, is its principle selling point:”

The terror group uploaded a video Thursday of men smashing statues, pulling artifacts from walls and attacking Mosul antiquities with sledgehammers and power tools. To justify their violence, ISIS classified all these representations of man and beast as idols. Some of the irreplaceable works date back to the 7th century B.C.

Why so physical, when there are browser apps today for tossing unwanted cultural and linguistic artifacts down the memory hole?

‘Melanie Griffith, the Normal Mother’

February 27th, 2015 - 12:26 pm


All that talk about the Islamic State not being hypocrites reminds me I haven’t ranted about hypocrisy in a while. I think hypocrisy is one of the great misunderstood sins of modern life. Since at least the time of Rousseau, hypocrophobia has plagued Western Civilization. For many people, it seems that it is better to be consistently wrong than to be intermittently right.

Advice columns overflow like a backed-up gas-station toilet with letters from parents fretting over the fact that they feel like hypocrites for telling their kids not to do drugs, since they themselves experimented with drugs when they were kids. The asininity of this has always amazed me. A huge part of being a parent involves applying the lessons you learned from your own life in an effort to make your child’s lot in life a little easier or more fruitful. The notion that I should tell my kid to do more of her homework on the bus ride to school — like I did — or to start going to bars in high school — like I did — or to do any of the other dubious things I did just to avoid my own internal psychological conflict isn’t just objectively absurd but disgustingly selfish. This shouldn’t be a newsflash to any halfway-decent human: Being a parent isn’t about you.

—Jonah Goldberg’s G-File, emailed to subscribers today, which will be posted online tomorrow here.


As it happens, Griffith has apparently not seen her daughter’s performance in the BDSM blockbuster. “I don’t think I can. I think it would be strange,” she told Spencer about watching her daughter’s star-turn as Anastasia Steele. Johnson insists, “I think so. I think that one day you can see it.” But should Griffith? Who would want that?

Ordinarily, I’d side with Johnson’s view, believing a mother should support her children in their professional efforts. In a family of actors, that means being first in line to see a new release. However, in this case, I found myself scratching my head. Why exactly does Johnson want her mother watching as she performs 20 minutes of kinky on-screen sex scenes with someone else’s husband?

Griffith may be a Hollywood veteran, but her response was incredibly human. She sounds like a regular parent from Anywhere, USA. That is admittedly somewhat surprising, given that Griffith is so very Hollywood. She is Tippi Hedren’s daughter, and she was fairly precocious in her own youth; Griffith began dating Dakota’s father, Don Johnson, when she was 14 and “he was a twice-divorced 22-year-old.”

“Melanie Griffith Drops The Hollywood Act When It Comes To Her Daughter,” Melissa Langsam Braunstein, the Federalist today

Leonard Nimoy, RIP

February 27th, 2015 - 11:10 am

With his gaunt saturnine looks, Leonard Nimoy was the unlikeliest of TV and movie superstars. Reading through the roles he played in the first 15 years of his acting career on his page at the IMDB, it’s immediately apparent that it was only through sheer dogged determination that he established a foothold as an actor in Hollywood. Nimoy started his career in the early 1950s with with walk-on parts in grade-z shlock such as Zombies of the Stratosphere, and appearing in TV guest star roles culminating as the heavy in the pilot for Get Smart. But his guest shot in a 1964 episode of an obscure NBC series about a young Marine called The Lieutenant that would send his career — and you know it’s only a matter of time before this pun — into orbit and far beyond:

Spotted by “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry when he appeared on Roddenberry’s NBC Marine Corps. skein “The Lieutenant,” Nimoy was offered the role of Spock and co-starred in the 1965 “Star Trek” pilot “The Cage.” NBC execs liked the concept but thought the pilot too cerebral, so they ordered a second pilot of the Desilu production with some script and cast changes (only Nimoy made it through both pilots). The series finally bowed on the Peacock in the fall of 1966. After three seasons, it was canceled in 1969 but would go on to be a hit in syndication, spawning films and other TV iterations and gaining a huge following of fans known as Trekkers or Trekkies.

After the series wrapped, Nimoy joined the fourth season of spy series “Mission: Impossible” as master-of-disguise Paris, leaving after the fifth season. He went on to star in the 1971 Western “Catlow,” with Yul Brynner and Richard Crenna, and the 1978 remake of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” with Donald Sutherland and Jeffrey Goldblum. The actor also made a series of TV films throughout the ’70s and received an Emmy nomination in 1982 for his role as Golda Meir’s husband in telepic “A Woman Called Golda.”

Also during the ’70s, Nimoy narrated the docuseries “In Search of …,” which investigated unexplained events, paranormal phenomena and urban legends long before these matters become the common fodder of pop culture.

Then the siren call of “Star Trek” beckoned again and Nimoy returned to the role of Mr. Spock for 1979’s “Star Trek: The Motion Picture.” The film opened well at the box office, and though not well reviewed, it did spawn enough interest for Paramount to greenlight sequels that would continue into the 1990s: “The Wrath of Khan” (1982), “The Search for Spock” (1984), “The Voyage Home” (1986), “The Final Frontier” (1989) and “The Undiscovered Country” (1991). Nimoy was in all of them, albeit briefly in “The Search for Spock.”

When it was obvious before its last season began shooting in the summer of 1968 that NBC had no interest in keeping Star Trek on the air, Gene Roddenberry effectively walked away from the series, keeping his executive producer title and paycheck, but using his time to write a screenplay and prepare his escape route. As a result, the last of the show was a campy mess deserving of its network euthanasia — but then something miraculous happened: man landed on the moon. And suddenly Star Trek, which at least until its last season, took its science fiction seriously began to look remarkably prescient. As a result, the show was rewarded with something unprecedented in television: a fan base that grew after a series was cancelled by a TV network, as the Kaiser syndicated television network ran the shows in the afternoon daily throughout the 1970s.

And then George Lucas, himself a fan of the original series, came up with this cool idea for a big screen space opera. Suddenly, the little series that Paramount inherited when they bought Lucille Ball’s Desilu production company in 1968 seemed like it incredible potential for a movie of its own.

And how.

The bedrock of the series was Nimoy, who took the character seriously, inventing many of his famous traits — the neck pinch, the V-for Vulcan hand gesture, and over time, his carefully modulated voice. It’s a remarkable performance, and Nimoy deserved the millions that Star Trek brought him, but it made watching Nimoy in other series a bit difficult. A few years ago, when I went through a jag of binge-watching Mission: Impossible on Netflix, I was struck by how strange it felt watching Nimoy take over Martin Landau’s man of a 1000 faces character. I dubbed a sort of “reverse uncanny valley effect,” from the term robotics designers use to describe that paradox that the more a robot looks human, the creepier it appears. Nimoy was so brilliant at developing a controlled, seemingly non-emotional alien, that called upon to play a campy, over-emoting character on Mission: Impossible, he was near impossible to watch. It didn’t help matters that like Star Trek’s final season, by the time Nimoy appeared on Mission: Impossible, it too was collectively phoning it in, with much of its original writing and production crew having moved on to other series.

Fortunately, by the end of the 1970s, Nimoy was back on the Paramount lot, playing the character that made him famous, and giving us all something to look forward to every few years at the summer box office.

A decade ago when James Doohan died, James Lileks wrote, “a hundred years from now, no one will remember Brad Pitt. But they’ll have a picture of Scotty taped up in the break room off the moon shuttle.” It’s not quite the same methods Spock employed in the second and third Star Trek movies, but Nimoy’s immortality is similarly assured.

To prove it, I won’t end this post with Spock’s legendary catchphrase, but it’s only because we all have it memorized — and we’re all saying it right now.

Update: Since I mentioned Nimoy’s appearance on The Lieutenant, here’s a YouTube clip of him alongside Gary Lockwood and Majel Barrett, the future Mrs. Roddenberry, in his very non-Spock-like role as a Hollywood director planning a film about the Corps:

“The first two minutes of this should be played at the beginning of every Oscars ever,” Tom Nichols tweets. And the stone-faced glare of Shirley MacLaine to Chayefsky’s response to Vanessa Redgrave’s infamous “Zionist Hoodlums” Oscars rant seems fascinating in retrospect.

But then, I doubt Chayefsky realized that when he wrote the screenplay for Network, he was basically crafting a how-to guide for the 21st century legacy media and its myriad grievance obsessions.

But then, as John Nolte writes at Big Hollywood, “Unpopular titles mixed with no stars to stargaze at is a recipe for low ratings and irrelevance,” especially when combined with the toxic blend of leftwing grievance politics. “Bottom line: 34.6 million for Hollywood’s biggest night; 115 million for the NFL’s biggest night. One institution speaks to the people and celebrates greatness, the other  celebrates its elite, provincial, narcissistic self.”

Bill Nye, the Nihilism Guy

February 23rd, 2015 - 10:38 am

As Ace writes, paraphrasing Nye’s bizarre statements on Time-Warner-CNN-HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, “Man Those Jews Might Not Have to Flee From One Country to Another If They Would Just Get To Actually Know Their ‘Neighbors:’”

I’m not exactly certain that’s the right way to take his statement. But I have trouble seeing any other interpretation.

Bill Nye doesn’t think the Jews of Europe should flee to Israel.

So what’s his proposed alternative?

Well they should just start getting to know their neighbors instead of, I suppose, being all clannish and Jew-y.

At Hot Air, Ed Morrissey has the transcript of Nye’s nihilism:

MAHER: Yeah, I mean, Netanyahu is asking European Jews to come to Israel and …

NYE (wryly): Come home to Israel — that’s what he said, right?

MAHER: Well, I mean, he is the …

NYE (interrupting again): But you never, the people have never been there. They live, grew up in whatever, in Germany or France.

MAHER: It’s a shame that they should have to move, uh …

NYE: Well, they probably won’t either, ’cause it’s not their home, you know.

REINER: But you can understand it. There were German Jews that lived in Germany during the Second World War and that was their home. And, you know, at a certain point, you know, if your live is in danger, you want to go to someplace where you’re going to be protected.

NYE: So, what do you do about it? I think you get to know your neighbors. And it’s gonna take, what, does it take a century, something like that?

“There are multiple layers of irony in this conversation,” Ed Morrissey adds:

Is Nye’s response anti-Semitic, blaming the victim? Your mileage may vary, but at the very least it’s a Summer of Love cliché that ignores centuries of attempted integration by Jews in Europe, with sometimes disastrous results. In one breath Nye says that Europe is the only home they know, and in the next suggests that they aren’t really part of Europe at all. Furthermore, the problem of insularity isn’t so much a Jewish problem as it is with the Muslims who only recently began emigrating in large numbers to Europe — perhaps especially so in France and Germany. Oh, if only those silly Jews would be more friendly with their neighbors, Nye’s argument goes, then no one would have an irrational hatred for them — which suggests that anti-Semitism is the Jews’ fault, and that it’s their responsibility to crack the insularity of whatever communities are generating it.

There’s another level of irony: Like Al Gore, Andrea Mitchell, Tom Steyer, and CBS anchorman Scott Pelley, Nye is one of those persons of the left who casually flings the expression “climate denier” at those who disagree with him. (As Climate Depot reported a few years ago, when asked why he didn’t have someone on to argue against his global warming riffs, Pelley responded, “If I do an interview with Elie Wiesel, am I required as a journalist to find a Holocaust denier?”) Perhaps Nye should cease using such a loaded phrase, which if not outright Holocaust denial itself, is rhetoric that certainly cheapens that unique historical bloodbath, if this is his inch-deep knowledge of postwar European Judaism.

So, About The Man in the High Castle

February 21st, 2015 - 12:16 pm


After reading James Lileks discussing its production design, late last night, I watched’s pilot episode for The Man in the High Castle, based on an early novel by Philip K. Dick. Here’s a quick description of the episode from Entertainment Weekly:

Creator: Frank Spotnitz (The X-Files)
Premise: An alt-history saga adapted from the Philip K. Dick novel of the same title imagines America in a world where the Axis powers won World War II—by beating everyone else to the bomb and nuking Washington D.C. The year is 1962, and the United States is split in two, à la Berlin. The Nazis control the East, the Japanese control the West, and the cold war between the former confederates threatens to explode, pending the outcome of political instability in Germany: Hitler, it seems, has Parkinson’s, and not long to live. Against this backdrop, we meet a variety of characters suffering or surviving each oppressive culture. Two of them in particular—Julianna (Mob City’s Alexa Davalos), investigating the murder of her sister, and Joe (Luke Kleintank of Pretty Little Liars and Bones), a newcomer to the resistance—are on a collision course, drawn to each other by the mystery of illicit newsreels depicting a different, better history, one where the Allies carried the day. The films are rebel art, producing an Anonymous-like subversive known only as “The Man in the High Castle.”
Prospects: Depends. If you’re tired of high-concept dystopian fantasy and Nazi bad guys, this is a pass. If you’re a fan of high-concept dystopian fantasy done right and are at least agnostic about Nazi bad guys, this is for you. Directed by veteran helmer David Semel, this well-cast, well-acted, swell-looking pilot is by far the most polished of the group. It’s engrossing despite its stately pace, and a triumph of world building. The Man in the High Castle could be Amazon’s first successful attempt at big saga TV.

If you’ve ever seen the mid-1990s HBO adaption of Robert Harris’ seminal novel, at first glance The Man in the High Castle appears very much to be Fatherland: The TV Series, albeit set in an alternative America rather than Berlin of 1962. (And as the sci-fi Website IO9 notes in their review of the pilot, nothing has ever made a simple shot of ash falling on the ground in the middle of Arkansas or Alabama seem so chilling.)

But reading the descriptions of the Dick’s novel, and pondering the implications of the pilot’s Emmanuel Goldstein-ish film within-within-a-film is a reminder that we’re firmly in Dick’s patented “what is reality” territory. Just watching the pilot, I was having the response that everyone had to the finale of Patrick McGoohan’s equally allegorical 1967 TV series The Prisoner: What Does It All Mean, Maaaan?

In short, despite a few slightly clunky CGI shots (we are talking made-for-TV after all): Mind. Blown.

And really looking forward to the TV series, which multiple sources report has received the green light from Amazon. I just hope they don’t screw up the writing in the process of trying to meet weekly TV’s crushing deadlines.

Have you seen the pilot for The Man in the High Castle? If so, let me what you think in the comments below.

Television journalist so brilliant he received the Cronkite Award after only three days on the air is now out of a job:

It was hardly a surprise Thursday when ratings-challenged MSNBC announced the cancellation of the poor-performing afternoon programs hosted by Ronan Farrow and Joy Reid after less than a year, with veteran news anchor Thomas Roberts stepping in to preside over the two-hour block from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Until a permanent replacement is named for Roberts’s 5:30 a.m. program Way Too Early, the 6 a.m. Morning Joe hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski will temporarily take up the slack by starting a half-hour earlier.

* * * * * * * *

In an interview with The Daily Beast, [Phil Griffin, MSNBC president] was clearly smitten with Farrow, the son of Mia Farrow and Woody Allen (or Frank Sinatra, depending), then a precocious 26-year-old who was largely untested on camera.

“Within 20 minutes, it was ‘Holy Cow!’ I knew,” Griffin said, describing their first meeting. “I’d wondered, is this guy for real? Is he a freak? And he walked in and we had the greatest conversation about where media is going—and that is critical. We’ve got to be at the forefront of it, and if we’re not, we’re going to lose.”

Yes, it’s true, America as a nation has failed to grok the sagacity of the second coming of Mencken, Edward R. Murrow and Fielding Mellish all rolled into one staggering talent, who like Charlie Parker or John Coltrane in the 1950s, was laying down riffs so brilliant, they were simply far beyond what our meager intellects could grasp.

Either that, or, the vast majorities of lefties already get their news from the CBSNBSABC evening news, NPR, the Times, the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, and aren’t looking for Air America with pictures. Nahhh, can’t be.

Say, About Creepy Uncle Joe Biden

February 19th, 2015 - 1:35 pm

“Top Democratic 2016 contenders are poor generals in the ‘war on women,’” Ashe Schow writes at the Washington Examiner: 

Now that the opening shots have been fired in the “war on women” 2016 narrative, a ploy used by Democrats in 2012 to paint Republicans as anti-woman, it’s time to retaliate. The current top two contenders for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination – Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden – are really, really lousy figures in the pro-woman department.

Vice President Biden, who currently appears to skate away from controversy as “Creepy Uncle Joe,” has a weird habit of treating women like Richard Dawson, the former “Family Feud” host known for kissing female contestants. As my colleague Byron York pointed out on Tuesday, it’s time to ask why it’s okay for Biden to act like a 1960s corporate manager (without the extramarital affairs) but not okay for the coworker or friend to do so.

Especially given the fact that this is the same Biden who has for decades championed the Violence Against Women Act and more recently, the Obama administration’s efforts to combat campus sexual assault. In 2000, as York also noted, Biden said “There is no circumstance under which a man has a right to touch a woman without her consent other than self-defense.” This would be at odds with the inappropriate touching of women by Biden during White House events. As far as I can tell, he has not been defending himself from constant physical attacks by politicians, wives or daughters. But I guess that would be the ultimate twist.

But with Democrats and their activists giving so much attention to the issue of campus sexual assault, could they really nominate someone who at nearly every event he attends does something that college activists would label as assault? Or will the old Richard Nixon defense be used: “when the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.”

The “1960s corporate manager” reference is key — barring a disastrous gaffe by Hillary (let me rephrase that, given her propensity at making them — barring a disastrous gaffe by Hillary which somehow gains traction among the American people despite the best efforts of DNC operatives with bylines to tamp down the fire), Biden is at this point the longest of longshots at getting the Democrat nomination. Instead, the Hollywood that religiously watches Mad Men every week and tut-tuts the lecherous behavior of Don Draper and Roger Sterling (while looking the other way at the lecherous behavior of Woody & Roman and dozens of others in their own industry), will cheerfully give their pocket change to the wife of Bill Clinton.

To be fair to Biden though, as Jim Treacher writes, “He should maybe stop contributing to rape culture by feeling up anything in a skirt, but I hope he never stops telling us how much Obama stinks.”

“Drones could be used to seek out arteries to prevent heart attacks,” claims the London Telegraph:

Scientists have carried out trials using microscopic drones that could be used to seek and repair damaged arteries, preventing heart attacks and strokes.

Researchers have completed the first successful tests of nanoparticles – which are targeted to go where they are needed – in mice, and hope to soon to conduct the first patient trials.

The nanoparticles are designed to latch on to hard plaques in the arteries, made from fat cholesterol and calcium, which cause heart disease.

Once they reach their target, the “drones” release a drug derived from a natural protein that repairs inflammation damage in the body.

Each of the tiny particles, made from a plastic-like material, is 1,000 times smaller than the tip of a human hair.

Scientists said the use of nanotechnology could herald an “exciting” breakthrough for patients with heart disease, and could also assist with other areas of medicine.

Here’s an early demonstration film of the medical technique in action:

“Jon Stewart, a man who got 1.5 ratings, a smidge less than Mike Huckabee’s 1.7, was apparently beloved by the entire nation,” Ace of Spades quipped on Twitter, leading Kathy Shaidle to write that upon Stewart and Brian Williams’ combined exit announcements, there’s been a “A Slight Depression in the Liar Market:”

Nevertheless, Viacom’s stock value dropped by about $350 million after Stewart announced his imminent departure. I was shocked by that figure, but got zapped again, Milgram-wise, when I read the article under the headline:

That staggering amount represents less than 2 percent of the corporation’s total worth.

So, yes, it has been a “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week” for the mainstream media. Former crack addict and wife beater David Carr of the New York Times died, as did Bob Simon of 60 Minutes and, as some of us like to call it—speaking of journalistic malpractice—“Pallywood.”

A few old-enough-to-know-better conservative commentators, buoyed by “Chopperquiddick,” have been celebrating (yet again) the “end of the liberal media.” Some even smell a conspiracy.

But given Viacom’s billions, and the comparable wealth of every other print and broadcasting conglomerate, it’s sadly safe to say that reports of big media’s death—like much of their very own output, from Twain’s premature obit onward—are greatly exaggerated.

Old media isn’t going anywhere — no media ever completely dies; nine million people were watching Brian Williams when he spontaneously combusted; that’s down significantly from the numbers watching the evening news during the Cronkite era, but nothing to sneeze at. But at least now “people who have an opinion, a modem, and a bathrobe,” as Williams once sneered, can point out that the bespoke clothing seen at 6:30 PM has no emperor inside it.

As for Williams’ counterpart in the fake news business, Kyle Smith of the New York Post, much to the horror of Stewart’s wild-eyed fan base, explores “How Jon Stewart turned lies into comedy and brainwashed a generation:”

Stewart is a journalist: an irresponsible and unprofessional one.

He is especially beloved by others in the journo game. (For every 100 viewers, he generated about 10 fawning profiles in the slicks, all of them saying the same thing: The jester tells the truth!)

Any standard liberal publication was as likely to contain an unflattering thought about Stewart as L’Osservatore Romano is to run a hit piece on the pope.

The hacks have a special love for Stewart because he’s their id. They don’t just think he’s funny, they thrill to his every sarcastic quip. They wish they could get away with being so one-sided, snarky and dismissive.

They wish they could skip over all the boring phone calls and the due diligence and the pretend fairness and just blurt out to their ideological enemies in Stewart style, “What the f–k is wrong with you?”

As Smith writes, “Brian Williams has become a joke for telling lies, but Jon Stewart is a liar for the way he told jokes.”

Quote of the Day

February 13th, 2015 - 5:01 pm

A unified theory of Jon Stewart begins with the realization that “the status quo” and “reality” are synonyms—both meaning, roughly, the way things are. Which makes the nonfake liberal journalists [in mourning over Williams' departure announcement] even harder to understand. If you dislike reality so much, why would you choose a profession requiring constant exposure to it?

—James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal, in his latest “Best of the Web Today” column.

Jon Stewart DESTROYS Old Media Hacks!

February 12th, 2015 - 12:24 pm

“Jon Stewart to Retire, Media Hardest Hit,” David Rutz writes the Washington Free Beacon:

Left-wing comedian Jon Stewart’s array of sycophants in liberal and supposedly mainstream outlets mourned the news of his impending retirement from The Daily Show Tuesday and Wednesday.

They tended to agree he was going out on a “high note.” Personalties from NBC to MSNBC to ABC to CBS to almost anywhere have greeted clips of his super-timely commentaries on the Iraq War and Bush administration with obsequious laughter and much serious nodding of the head throughout the years.

Yesterday, Rush Limbaugh explored what such admissions say about a “news” organization:

Any supposed, so-called news organization that seriously considered hiring an admitted satirist who made his bones with fake news, Jon Stewart, any network seriously considering hiring him to moderate Meet The Press isn’t what it claims to be. NBC is not a news organization any more and I don’t know if they’re going to be in the foreseeable future. Not only was there a serious effort made to hire a comedian, satirist, whatever, to moderate the venerable Meet the Press, there is also, even as we speak, serious discussion in the news business, serious discussion among journalist professionals, serious discussion among pundits that the satirist and the comedian would be ideal to replace Brian Williams on the NBC Nightly News.

On the other hand, as Kevin D. Williamson writes today on Stewart’s departure announcement, it’s not like old media’s has fallen that far; it’s that we put them on far too a high a pedestal to begin with:

I met Walter Cronkite once. He was a jerk.

The occasion was the 100th anniversary of my college newspaper, the Daily Texan, where Cronkite had worked as a young man before dropping out of the University of Texas. It was 1999, and the possibility of “President George W. Bush” was starting to settle into the brains of American liberals like a particularly malignant neuroblastoma. Cronkite, completely oblivious to the possibility that he was talking to someone with views at variance with his own — he was one of those media liberals who “claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views,” as WFB once put it — went on, knowingly and smugly, about the Christian crazies who were behind it all. This was about half a decade before his public pronouncements became full-blown bonkers, suggesting to Larry King that Karl Rove was manipulating Osama bin Laden in order to influence U.S. elections.

So when Don Aucoin writes in the Boston Globe that “what Walter Cronkite was to an earlier generation — an utterly trusted voice — Stewart has been to millennials,” I am inclined to agree, though I take from that sad fact something other than what Aucoin intends. Cronkite, for all of his failings and his utterly conventional liberalism, was a real reporter. (And sort of a bad-ass, too, at one point manning a machine gun while covering World War II. I do hope that Brian Williams doesn’t pick up that story, too.) Stewart, who has announced his pending retirement from The Daily Show, is only an intellectual parasite, echoing the conventional liberalism of the old-line media establishment without doing any of the work.

Read the whole thing. It’ll DESTROY you!!!!!

Update: “The world is in flames, the economy lackluster, corruption epidemic and Obamacare a disaster. Why think deeply about these failures when you can just listen to Jon Stewart tell you that you’re better than those mean people who predicted the disaster all along?”

To Ask the Question is to Answer It

February 11th, 2015 - 2:47 pm

“He’s a annoying, whiny, smug, patronizing, pedantic little git. So why will I miss Jon Stewart so much?”

Piers Morgan, the London Daily Mail today.

But then, as Seth Mandel writes at Commentary, “The real challenge in writing about Jon Stewart’s announcement that he’s leaving the Daily Show is the fact that every time you think you’ve seen the perfect hysterical reaction from the left, someone else tops it.” Read on for more examples of the MSM making Stewart out to be across between Mencken and the Beatles.

For a more grown-up take, Jim Geraghty explores “What Really Ails The Daily Show:”

In Obama’s second term, Stewart’s late segment pivot from “can you believe what the Obama administration did?” to “can you believe what the hosts on Fox News said about this?” was predictable and a bit of a comforting dodge for his audience. It was the comedic equivalent of the “but aren’t Republicans in danger of overreaching?” narrative-shift that pops up with irritating frequency during Democratic scandals or embarrassments.

Secondly, for a program that allegedly was one of the most powerful, if not the most powerful and important satirical voice in America today, it sure as heck had no problem punching down. God help you if you’re some no-name Tucson school board member taking a stance the producers of the show find laughable. If you’re an Idaho pastor claiming evangelical Christians are bullied by the culture at large, don’t worry, a Daily Show correspondent will fly out to Boise to showcase you to the world. Washington Redskins fans who wanted to keep their team’s name were asked, without warning, to justify the name to angry Native Americans on camera. Are these the Americans most deserving of on-camera rebuke and humiliation?

In the first half of the 20th century, the founders of the newly-emerged mass media did everything they could to entice middle America. Then came the revolution of the 1960s, in which the new left began its “long march” through the culture, as my colleague Roger Kimball would say. In the 1920s, Republican Henry Luce wooed middle America into subscribing to his new weekly magazine, Time. Two years after his death in 1967, his successors openly wondered, just who are these strange people out in the hinterlands who voted for Republican President Richard Nixon? Three years later after Nixon’s reelection, Pauline Kael of the New Yorker famously said, “I live in a rather special world. I only know one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don’t know. They’re outside my ken. But sometimes when I’m in a theater I can feel them.” And now that those people outside of the ken of the media elite have a presence on social media, and can push back, even a little bit, again the lies of dinosaur media, they (we) are even more despised by the dinosaur media, as we’ve all seen over the past few days.

One of the most fascinating trends of the last several decades is a media that openly loathes its potential customers, and then wonders how a trend-line such as this occur:


Yes, some of it’s technology.

But some of it isn’t.

Update: At Big Journalism today, Ben Shapiro writes, “The mainstream media still wield outsized power, and when they decide on a narrative, they have the ability to drive it into the minds of hundreds of millions of Americans. But nobody trusts the mainstream media to fact-check themselves any longer. And that, in and of itself, is a massive, narrative-shaping change in American politics.”

As the late Kenneth Minogue wrote in the New Criterion in the summer of 2010:

My concern with democracy is highly specific. It begins in observing the remarkable fact that, while democracy means a government accountable to the electorate, our rulers now make us accountable to them. Most Western governments hate me smoking, or eating the wrong kind of food, or hunting foxes, or drinking too much, and these are merely the surface disapprovals, the ones that provoke legislation or public campaigns. We also borrow too much money for our personal pleasures, and many of us are very bad parents. Ministers of state have been known to instruct us in elementary matters, such as the importance of reading stories to our children. Again, many of us have unsound views about people of other races, cultures, or religions, and the distribution of our friends does not always correspond, as governments think that it ought, to the cultural diversity of our society. We must face up to the grim fact that the rulers we elect are losing patience with us.

And by extension, so are their operatives with bylines.

Where Does Brian Williams Resurface Next?

February 11th, 2015 - 2:33 am


Actually, there are several possibilities of varying likelihood. Let’s run them down:

1. Back to NBC News: Here’s a possible scenario: The ratings of Williams’ successor flat-line. Jon Stewart doesn’t want the gig. Williams does the celebrity talk show as therapy grand tour, and goes over like gangbusters. NBC does polls and focus groups, and decide what the heck, let’s give him another shot. As Dylan Byers writes at Politico, this is unlikely, but far stranger things have happened in network TV.

2. Down to NBC’s bargain basement spin-off, MSNBC: After it was discovered in 2010 that Dave Weigel, who was promoted by the Washington Post as their man reporting from “inside the conservative movement,” rather viscerally loathed those whom he was covering, the Post suspended him for about a month or so, and then simply transferred him down the hall to their openly leftwing spinoff, Slate. As Daniel Foster quipped at the time at NRO, “One wonders if he has to fill out new W-4s.” Perhaps Williams could bring some of his NBC audience to the network’s flailing and failing hard left spin-off. Credibility issues? Imaginary stories? Likely not much of a concern to the network that keeps Al Sharpton on its payroll.

3. Over to Comedy Central: Like Howard Cosell in the 1970s, Williams apparently yearns to give up reading warmed-over AP copy on the teleprompter for a hellzapoppin wild ‘n’ crazy variety show. According to New York magazine yesterday, he lobbied hard to replace Jay Leno over at the Tonight Show. Why not the Daily Show, where he can really cut loose as a faux newsman?

4. AXS-TV (Formerly HD-Net): Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was a friendly face for Dan Rather after he faxed the pooch in 2004, providing the elderly former anchorman an alternative, at times reality-free universe in which to earn a few extra bucks in his dotage. Williams would add additional notoriety and controversy to channel #340 on your DirecTV guide.

5. CNN: Jeff Zucker, president of CNN, gave Williams his key to superstardom, when he designated him as Tom Brokaw’s successor, and then inadvertently began to damage Williams’ brand when he told USA Today in 2004, “No one understands this NASCAR nation more than Brian,” that scrappy workaday man of the people. Perhaps Zucker and Williams could reunite at the struggling cable network — and who better to host CNN’s goofy new game show?

6. The Internet: Former NBC, CBS and ABC anchor Katie Couric likely views her her gig at Yahoo as a paid holding pattern in-between sending her resume out to her old networks, as it was rumored she did late last week when it obvious Williams’ goose at NBC was cooked hotter than an RPG hitting a Sikorsky Superhawk. (Sorry to go all Full Metal Brian on you there.) Williams would add lots of celebrity cache to a deep-pocketed but struggling or start-up Internet TV platform.

7. Fox News: Like Jimmy Johnson when he coached the Dallas Cowboys, and the late Al Davis of the Oakland Raiders, Roger Ailes loves to collect troubled superstars in search of a new home. In-between Twitter selfies, Geraldo has made a fresh start there, as has Howard Kurtz, formerly of CNN. But on the right, will conservative and military bloggers, who doggedly pored over every utterance of Williams, accept him there? And on the left, will those frothing on Twitter this week stuff along the lines of “Sure Brian may have fibbed a little, but Fox News, maaaaaaan” tune in, if that’s where Williams winds up?

8. Somewhere Else: Let me know where you think Williams will wind up in the comments.

Brian Williams soon to leave NBC? The jury is still out on that according to the New York Daily News, which reports that word could come from the NBC brass “today or tomorrow.” But “Jon Stewart leaving The Daily Show” according to the Politico’s Dylan Byers:

Jon Stewart, the host of Comedy Central’s ‘The Daily Show,’ will step down later this year, the president of the network confirmed in a statement to POLITICO on Tuesday.

* * * * * * *

“Jon will remain at the helm of ‘The Daily Show’ until later this year,” she wrote. ”He is a comic genius, generous with his time and talent, and will always be a part of the Comedy Central family.”

Second chance for NBC’s Deborah Turness to “back the Brink’s Truck up” to the front door of Stewart’s condo, as Byers’ column claimed in October, when Turness made a run at Stewart to replace the hapless scofflaw David Gregory as the host of Meet the Press? Somebody soon will, of course. (And I wasn’t kidding in the headline; the New York Times dubbed Stewart “the modern-day equivalent of Edward R. Murrow” in 2010. But then, isn’t everyone in old media the next Edward R. Murrow?)

When your fables are too much for the world’s most prominent 9/11 truther

Rosie O’Donnell is buying none of NBC News anchor Brian Williams’ explanation for why he falsely claimed to be on a helicopter that was forced down by rocket-propelled grenade fire during the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003.

‘It’s a blatant lie. It’s a Lance Armstrong lie,’ O’Donnell said on Thursday’s edition of ABC’s The View.

Armstrong is the disgraced former Tour de France champion who for years denied using performance enhancing drugs only to later admit he had.

Of Williams O’Donnell also said: ‘I think he fabricated that story, and the apology seemed a little oddly circuitous.’

And if anybody knows “oddly circuitous,” it’s Rosie. Hey, as she warned during her first disastrous go-around as a news employee of the American Broadcasting Corporation back in 2007, don’t trust any of the news employees of the American broadcasting corporations:

I’m saying that in America we are fed propaganda and if you want to know what’s happening in the world go outside of the U.S. media because it’s owned by four corporations one of them is this one. And you know what, go outside of the country to find out what’s going on in our country because it’s frightening. It’s frightening.

Why should Williams be exempt from her “reasoning”? In any case, I can’t wait to hear what Oliver Stone, Jesse Ventura and Richard Belzer’s John Munch character from Law & Order: SVU have to say about Williams’ fabrications as well.

(And yes, I’m having fun with the headline and the rest of this post, but this is the feeding frenzy that NBC built for themselves — as did ABC, by hiring someone who remains a loony 9/11 truther.)

Related: Which is worse? Rosie attacking Williams, or these “14 People Brian Williams Would RATHER Not Have Defending Him.” Nice pun in the headline by the Daily Caller. So far Rather is the only person on their list who actually has defended Williams, but given how much room there is in NBC’s clown car, it’s only a matter of time before some of the others start to weigh in.

Ride the Michael Moore Mobius Loop!

February 3rd, 2015 - 1:23 pm

The “American ISIS” — that’s what NewsBusters spots Michael Moore dubbing his critics in a lengthy interview in Vice magazine:

This past week or so of hysterical attacks on me only proves that the American lovers of violence and the issuers of fatwas in OUR society haven’t gone away. They are our American Isis — “Criticize or mock those whom we deify, like our sainted sniper, and we will harm you most assuredly.”

But a decade ago, Michael was pretty darn keen on ISIS’ forerunners in Iraq, likening them to America’s Minutemen:

Could it simply be that Moore changes his position when it comes to terrorists in Iraq based on who is in office in the White House at the time? He’s very large* so I’m sure he contains multiples of opinions to suit the moment:

Related: At Townhall, Katie Pavlich spots “Good News: American Eco-Fascists Now Praising Saudis As Their “Best Ally” in Fight Against Keystone.”

Not at all surprising, since Al Gore kissed off his environmentalist obsessions at the beginning of 2013 by getting into bed with petroleum-rich Qatar, only three years after the Washington Post noted that “Osama bin Laden embraces his inner Al Gore,” shortly before OBL’s death by a massive overdose of lead poisoning. (Speaking of Mobius Loops.)

* Though not career-wise for over a decade, hence Moore’s current efforts to grab Eastwood’s coattails and hang on for another 15 minutes of fame.

“The behavior of any bureaucratic organization can best be understood by assuming that it is controlled by a secret cabal of its enemies,” historian Robert Conquest once said. As a corollary to that, I’m starting to think Eastwood hired Moore to be his secret PR man to promote American Sniper. This article in the London Daily Mail should ensure an extra $10,000,000 in ticket sales alone:

Michael Moore has confirmed that Clint Eastwood had previously threatened his life as the fallout between the pair continues after the filmmaker criticized the director’s movie, American Sniper.

Writing on his Facebook page, the documentary maker said Eastwood made the comments in January 2005 – ’10 years ago this week’ at the National Board of Review Awards dinner.

Moore said Eastwood announced ‘to me and to the crowd that he would ‘kill’ me if I ever came to his house with my camera for an interview.

‘I’ll kill you,’ he declared.’

Moore goes on to say that he thought Eastwood was “joking,” but hey, that’s the risk of how Moore chose to make his (exceedingly well-padded) bones: sometimes the ambush interviewer gets ambushed himself.

In other news concerning American Sniper:

Michael Moore to imitate cover of first Led Zeppelin album when he hears this news in 3…2…1…

MSNBC: Still Jim Crow TV

January 29th, 2015 - 10:47 am

“Just when you thought MSNBC was giving up on calling everyone racist…”, Noah Rothman writes at Hot Air. Though that headline precedes from a false assumption: Nobody thinks that paranoid NBC and its spin-off channels would give up on calling its enemies racist:

In a discussion on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Thursday, NBC Foreign Affairs Correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin was asked for his thoughts on the wildly popular film American Sniper. After conceding that the film is powerful, Mohyeldin was prompted to expand on his obvious reservations about the movie’s subject matter. He let the veil drop.

“When you juxtapose it with the real Chris Kyle, and the story, and what has emerged about what kind of personality he was in his own words,” Mohyeldin began, “A lot of stories about when he was back home in Texas. A lot of his own personal opinions about what he was doing in Iraq; how he viewed Iraqis. Some of what people have described as his racist tendencies toward Iraqis and Muslim as he was going on some of these, you know, killing sprees in Iraq on assignment.”

Jaws hit the floor. To describe the performance of a decorated combat veteran in a hostile theater as a killing spree is to confess a level of bias that is virtually disqualifying for a foreign affairs reporter. The stigma associated with serving as a sniper in a war is painful enough for proficient sharpshooters, but to directly equate the actions of those servicemen with the behavior of a mass murder is beyond the pale.

Add this to the remarks from Michael Moore, Seth Rogen, and Max Blumenthal on Kyle, the left is once again revealing themselves as really not supporting the troops, no matter what their mission, a regression to their McGovern-era id. As with their lack of support of free speech and their terror over losing the PC overculture they’ve built, it’s a reminder that yet another modified limited hangout of the left has now concluded. (Strike a pose, there’s nothing to it.) And as Jeffrey Lord wrote at the American Spectator last year, MSNBC won’t be losing its sobriquet as “Jim Crow TV” anytime soon.

So I finally saw American Sniper yesterday.

Short review: You should too. Right now.

Slightly longer review: Based on Chris Kyle’s autobiography and a well-crafted script by actor/writer Jason Hall, this is a surprisingly multifaceted movie that asks the questions that Hollywood rarely explores, and certainly not with this depth: in the 21st century, in an era of an all-volunteer military, what is it that makes a man volunteer? And once he’s done his time “in country,” what is it that makes him return back there again and again? For Kyle, it becomes not letting his fellow soldiers down and, in the story that provides the arc that structures the film’s scenes set in Iraq, killing his Syrian counterpart “Mustafa,” which gives the film the resonance of Ahab versus the whale, or Clint Eastwood’s earlier film about an obsessed man with a rifle, White Hunter, Black Heart.

With the rare exception of Eastwood himself, few who reach the upper echelons of Hollywood have ever served in the military, and, as Bill Clinton would say, most loathe the military and those who serve. Which is why so few films of this nature have been made since the late 1960s, when the young, largely left-wing turks began to succeed the men who originally built Hollywood. Or in the few cases they have, such as Oliver Stone’s Born on the Fourth of July, invariably, after returning home, soldiers are depicted as wild-eyed near-psychopaths, unable to return to their families and civilian life in general. That’s not the story depicted here, which is yet another reason why reactionary Hollywood lefties such as Michael Moore and Seth Rogen are having aneurisms over this film, and reliving the late ’60s and 1970s, when left-wing Hollywood frequently smeared the US military in the worst possible light.

Similarly, given the era in which it was released, American Sniper is serving as much of a litmus test to see where the rest of Hollywood and film critics stand on Iraq and the American military as did Eastwood’s Dirty Harry and the left’s efforts to promote violence for its own sake and weaken law enforcement in the late 1960s and early 1970s. At the Weekly Standard, in a piece titled, “The ‘American Sniper’ Freakout,” Mark Hemingway writes, “Leftists simply can’t digest the fact that their own safety is predicated on the willingness to fight of courageous men they openly disdain.”

Which is yet another reason to go see it.

So beyond all that, as Max Boot asked this past Thursday at Commentary, why all the criticism?

Perhaps because almost all of the Iraqis are depicted as bad guys–or to use the word that Kyle used “savages”–while Kyle and his SEAL teammates are depicted as dedicated professionals who try as hard as possible to avoid killing civilians. Although the movie shows a scene at the beginning of Kyle killing a woman and her child who are carrying a grenade to blow up a Marine column (in reality he only killed the woman–there was no child present), it later shows how relieved he is that a child who picked up a rocket-propelled grenade and aimed it an American Humvee put down the weapon and ran away before Kyle could shoot him. This is, in short, not a movie like  Platoon or Born on the Fourth of July or In the Valley of Elah or MASH that depicts American soldiers in the worst possible light.

But guess what? In my experience having visited Iraq a number of times during the war, Clint Eastwood, the movie’s director, is telling it like it is. Oh sure, large elements of the film are fictionalized (no, Kyle did not have a personal duel with a Syrian sniper called Mustafa), as is the case with pretty much every Hollywood movie. But the movie gets the larger truth right–that, with some lamentable and inevitable exceptions, American soldiers did behave themselves in exemplary fashion in Iraq, certainly compared to their enemies who drove car bombs into crowds of civilians and ruthless tortured to death anyone they suspected of opposing them.

Which reminded me of Tom Wolfe’s response to his critics when asked if his breakthrough first novel Bonfire of the Vanities was racist.  

In February of 1989, Wolfe was interviewed by Time magazine about Bonfire. (Coincidentally or not, the interview occurred right around the time that producer Peter Guber was asking Tom Hanks if he’d like to star in the movie version of the book for Warner Brothers, owned by the same conglomerate that owned Time.)  One of the interviewer’s questions was, “Bonfire has received great critical acclaim, but critics have also called it cynical, racist, elitist,” to which Wolfe replied:

That’s nonsense. I throw the challenge to them: if you think it is false, go out and do what I did. Go beyond the cocoon of your apartment and [get in a] taxicab and take a look. Take notes. Then let’s compare notes. I’ll bet your picture of New York is not very different from mine.

What they are really saying is that I violated a certain etiquette in literary circles that says you shouldn’t be altogether frank about these matters of ethnic and racial hostility. But if you raise the issue, a certain formula is to be followed: you must introduce a character, preferably from the streets, who is enlightened and shows everyone the error of his ways, so that by the time the story is over, everyone’s heading off wiser. There has to be a moral resolution. Unfortunately, life isn’t like that. I felt that if you are going to try to write a novel about New York, you cannot play falsely with the issue of ethnic and racial hostility. You can’t invent implausible morality tales and make it all go away in some fictitious fashion.

Hollywood war movies often have a similar formula: Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket features non-stop crudely misogynistic jokes from the film’s ultra-macho Marines and a scene in which Lee Ermey’s martinet drill instructor mocks Christmas by referencing a religious service that day for the recruits from “Chaplin Charlie and his magic show.” During the film’s climax, the first time in which the audience gets a clear look at a live North Vietnamese soldier, it turns out that (surprise) she’s a young female North Vietnamese sniper who prays after being badly wounded by Matthew Modine’s formerly sardonic above-it-all soldier-journalist.

In contrast, as Max Boot wrote at Commentary, there are no redeeming Iraqi characters shown in the film, with the possible exception of a handful of Muslim interpreters working with the troops. The civilians are duplicitous, ready to sell out the Americans at a moment’s notice, terrified of the local neighborhood Al-Qeada enforcers, one who uses an unspeakable method to ensure loyalty and the omertà from the hapless local civilians.

When we’re first introduced to Mustafa, Kyle’s Syrian counterpart, he’s lying prone, lining up a shot. As with many real-life Islamic terrorists, he’s perfectly happy wearing western-made 21st century consumer goods and their logos, even as he’s bent on destroying the culture that makes them possible. The camera pans from his feet to his head, looking down the scope of his rifle, lining up his next potential kill. In a nice directorial touch from Eastwood, the camera glides by Mustafa’s Nike sneakers.

And of course, Hollywood has its own omertà. As Daniel Greenfield writes on “The Hollywood Jihad Against American Sniper,” at his Sultan Knish blog, “The Iraq War already had an official narrative in Hollywood. It was bad and wrong:”

Its veterans were crippled, dysfunctional and dangerous. Before American Sniper, Warner Brothers had gone with anti-war flicks like Body of Lies and In the Valley of Elah. It had lost a fortune on Body of Lies; but losing money had never stopped Hollywood from making anti-war movies that no one wanted to watch.

Even the Hurt Locker had opened with a quote from leftist terrorist supporter Chris Hedges.

An Iraq War movie was supposed to be an anti-war movie. There was no other way to tell the story. Spielberg’s own interest in American Sniper was focused on “humanizing” the other side. When he left and Clint Eastwood, coming off a series of failed films, took the helm, it was assumed that American Sniper would briefly show up in theaters and then go off to die quietly in what was left of the DVD aisle.

And then American Sniper broke box office records that had been set by blockbusters like Avatar, Passion and Hangover Part II by refusing to demonize American soldiers or to spin conspiracy tales about the war. Instead of pandering to coastal progressives, it aimed at the patriotic heartland.

In a sentence you no longer expected to hear from a Hollywood exec, the Warner Brothers distribution chief said, “This is about patriotism and all the things people say the country is lacking these days.”

Though as Sonny Bunch added at the Washington Free Beacon, “Of all the arguments that have taken place about American Sniper, the supposition that it is some sort of rah-rah-war-is-fun-the-GOP-is-great flick is the oddest.” If it wasn’t for Israel, I’d be far more inclined to sign onboard with Rand Paul’s so-called “To Hell With Them” doctrine when it comes to the Middle East, given what Glenn Reynolds and Breitbart London’s Milo Yiannopoulos call Islam’s tarnished brand, which American Sniper does little to polish, much to the Hollywood street’s seething rage and anger.

But I think I understand a bit better why men volunteer to fight for America after seeing American Sniper.

Orwell apparently never said “We sleep safely in our beds because rough men with guns stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would harm us.” But given his excoriating take on pacifism during World War II, he’d very likely agree with that statement, which, in retrospect, makes a nice summation of one of the many themes that American Sniper ‘s well-crafted script explores. It’s a topic that hasn’t been properly broached by Hollywood in a very long time.

And given how much the left hates this movie, and the uniquely American culture whose story is finally told in an approving fashion by a master director, it may be quite some time before effete Hollywood deigns to get its hands dirty with such a topic on the big screen again.

All the more reason to see this film while it’s still in the movie theater.


After 40 years of Hollywood counterpropaganda telling us war is necessarily corrupting and malign, its ablest practitioners thugs, loons or victims, “American Sniper” nobly presents the case for the other side…Mapping the interior landscape of a damaged soul is something books do better than movies, but in Cooper’s recoils from sudden noises, in his slumping at a hometown bar when his wife doesn’t even know he’s back in the country and in his staring at the floor when thanked for his prowess, we learn much about the price warriors pay. Cowboys, adventurers, joyriders — these are exactly what our best fighting men are not. They suffer merely to be alive, when so many brothers lie in boxes draped with flags. “American Sniper” does honor to them.

“‘American Sniper’ is the year’s most extraordinary film,” Kyle Smith, the New York Post.

And from John Nolte at Big Hollywood, “Media Hoax Claims ‘American Sniper’ Inspired Anti-Muslim Threats.” But hey, doesn’t everything?