(Via Ann Althouse, whose commenters are having lots of fun — at least for the next four hours, or so — with this topic: “In fact, if the artist Christo ever decides to cover it with fabric or anything, engineers have already decided that the design must incorporate a reservoir tip. Just in case. “
While covering a May Day rally in Manhattan’s Union Square on Wednesday, NBC New York reporter Ida Siegalwas cornered and asked if her network planned to show the communist imagery the protesters were displaying. Hilarity ensued when Siegal immediately became defensive, denying she had seen any communist imagery and asking of the “Hammer-and-Sickle” flags: “What do they represent?”
“You guys are with channel 4 news,” the videographer noted while addressing Siegal and her production team. “Are you guys going to show any of the people with Hammer and Sickle flags?”
“I haven’t seen any of those flags,” Siegal replied amid the din of the ongoing protests activity. “What do they represent?”
It’s understandable that America would want to forget that period, as 1968 through 1980 was an extended nadir in America’s history. Back in 2011, I assembled a lengthy post titled “Welcome Back My Friends, to the Malaise that Never Ends,” which rounded up quotes and videos from liberal elites in 1968 such as Bobby Kennedy, who had abandoned the optimism of his late brother’s New Frontier-era worldview, through Jimmy Carter’s infamous “malaise” speech of 1979. Midway through that period were the events captured in the above video, including the Democrat Congress pulling the plug on our funding to South Vietnam in 1975, and ushering in its defeat. About which, this quote from Sen. J. William Fulbright (D-AR) appears at the 3:15 mark in the video:
On the night of the surrender of South Vietnam to North Vietnam former Senator J. William Fulbright announced that he was “no more depressed than I would be about Arkansas losing a football game to Texas.”
Carter delivered his “malaise” speech in 1979, which further signaled the exhaustion of postwar liberalism. This was the self-defeating atmosphere in the west that Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and Pope John Paul II turned around the following decade, as Mark Steyn noted this week:
In 1979, Britain was not at war, but as much as in 1940 faced an existential threat.
Mrs. Thatcher saved her country — and then went on to save a shriveling “free world,” and what was left of its credibility. The Falklands were an itsy bitsy colonial afterthought on the fringe of the map, costly to win and hold, easy to shrug off — as so much had already been shrugged off. After Vietnam, the Shah, Cuban troops in Africa, Communist annexation of real estate from Cambodia to Afghanistan to Grenada, nobody in Moscow or anywhere else expected a Western nation to go to war and wage it to win. Jimmy Carter, a ditherer who belatedly dispatched the helicopters to Iran only to have them crash in the desert and sit by as cocky mullahs poked the corpses of U.S. servicemen on TV, embodied the “leader of the free world” as a smiling eunuch. Why in 1983 should the toothless arthritic British lion prove any more formidable?
And, even when Mrs. Thatcher won her victory, the civilizational cringe of the West was so strong that all the experts immediately urged her to throw it away and reward the Argentine junta for its aggression. “We were prepared to negotiate before” she responded, “but not now. We have lost a lot of blood, and it’s the best blood.” Or as a British sergeant said of the Falklands: “If they’re worth fighting for, then they must be worth keeping.”
Mrs. Thatcher thought Britain was worth fighting for, at a time when everyone else assumed decline was inevitable. Some years ago, I found myself standing next to her at dusk in the window of a country house in the English East Midlands, not far from where she grew up. We stared through the lead diamond mullions at a perfect scene of ancient rural tranquility — lawns, the “ha-ha” (an English horticultural innovation), and the fields and hedgerows beyond, looking much as it would have done half a millennium earlier. Mrs. T asked me about my corner of New Hampshire (90 percent wooded and semi-wilderness) and then said that what she loved about the English countryside was that man had improved on nature: “England’s green and pleasant land” looked better because the English had been there. For anyone with a sense of history’s sweep, the strike-ridden socialist basket case of the British Seventies was not an economic downturn but a stain on national honor.
A generation on, the Thatcher era seems more and more like a magnificent but temporary interlude in a great nation’s bizarre, remorseless self-dissolution. She was right and they were wrong, and because of that they will never forgive her.
In America, Barack Obama will never forgive President Reagan for ushering in an era of America rebirth in the 1980s, as Jonah Goldberg wrote this past week, when the news of Lady Thatcher’s death broke:
Obama’s stated desire to become a transformative president — unlike Bill Clinton — stems from an ambition to return to the pre–Thatcher-Reagan era when conservatives were expected to agree with liberals in principle, but have small business-like quibbles about the details. That’s why he so often waxes nostalgic for Eisenhower and the old Republicans who played the “me too” card on domestic policy. His idea of a reasonable Republican, to borrow a term from WFB, is a castrated Republican.
But when you think about it, 1979 was even more significant. That was the year that Deng Xiaoping introduced market reforms in China, in effect beginning the era of “capitalism with Chinese characteristics” that replaced the horrors and ineptness of of Mao’s “Marxism with Chinese characteristics.” Of course, the Communist party kept a good amount of its Leninism, lest its leaders lose the ability to boss people around while becoming billionaires. Still, if you look back on the almost inexorable rise in intellectual and political respectability for statism, 1979 looks increasingly like the moment when the arc of history started to bend away from the inevitability of socialism.
Just last week, as Kim Jong-un was again threatening war, the AP reported from Pyongyang: “ ‘I’m not at all worried. We have confidence in our young marshal’ Kim Jong Un, a cleaning lady at the Koryo Hotel said as she made up a guest’s bed. ‘The rest of the world can just squawk all they want but we have confidence in his leadership.’ ”
Other dispatches read like New York Times travel features, à la “36 Hours in Pyongyang.” “Lively NKorean capital celebrates Lunar New Year,” said an AP piece from January 2012, which reported that “hundreds of children scampered and shouted as they flew kites and played traditional Korean games in freezing temperatures.” In another dispatch, Lee wrote, “A little boy skips along grasping a classmate’s hand, his cheeks flushed and a badge of the Great Leader’s smiling face pinned to his Winnie the Pooh sweatshirt. Men in military green share a joke over beers at a German-style pub next door to the Juche tower. Schoolgirls wearing the red scarves of the Young Pioneers sway in unison as they sing a classic Korean tune.”
This points to another problem with the Pyongyang bureau’s coverage: its focus on the trivial, mundane, unimportant, and just plain wrong at the expense of genuine news—a direct consequence of the bureau’s coverage being directed by the North Korean regime. So for example, last summer, in the same week that the Washington Post was reporting how the North Korean authorities had been ramping up border security and making it even harder for the population to escape, Lee filed a story breathlessly reporting:
From Mickey Mouse and a mysterious female companion, to the whiff of economic reform and the surprising ouster of his military mentor, evidence is mounting that North Korea’s Kim Jong Un will lead very differently than his secretive father.
Seven months after inheriting the country from Kim Jong Il, the 20-something leader suddenly began appearing in public with a beautiful young woman. Dressed in a chic suit with a modern cut, her hair stylishly cropped, she carried herself with the poise of a first lady as she sat by his side for an unforgettable performance: Mickey Mouse grooving with women in little black dresses jamming on electric violins.
And so instead of providing hard-hitting coverage of the world’s cruelest regime, the AP has seemingly morphed into TMZ: Pyongyang.
It’s plain to see why this is happening; the AP has put itself in a tough spot. For reasons passing understanding, it really wants to operate in North Korea. But in order to do so, it has to make sure not to offend its hosts, lest it get summarily kicked out of the country. (Malcolm Muggeridge once described a similar phenomenon among Western reporters in the Soviet Union.) Jean Lee at least appears to recognize this, sort of; while she denies that any hard censorship is occurring, she has conceded that the authorities “certainly see [her stories] after they move on the wire.” The AP, thus, is in a serious bind: If it reports real news, it will certainly get thrown out of the country. But if it softens the news, it will make its reporters look like fools. Lamentably, the AP seems to have chosen the latter course. That also explains why, ironically, some of the AP’s reporting on North Korea is still good—so long as it’s conducted from outside the country.
Read the whole thing.™
CNN found itself in a similar bind in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, as it later confessed — and in today’s North Korea as well. While CNN’s coverage of Kim Jong-un’s saber rattling and staggering human rights abuses haven’t been bad from what I’ve seen this week, when CNN reports from inside the Hermit Kingdom, they’re forced to produce items such as this infamous puff-piece:
As with AP, the above clip demonstrates everything wrong with arranging your news organization so that it can say “Dateline: Pyongang.”
The Karl Marx depicted in Jonathan Sperber’s absorbing, meticulously researched biography will be unnervingly familiar to anyone who has had even the most fleeting acquaintance with radical politics. Here is a man never more passionate than when attacking his own side, saddled with perennial money problems and still reliant on his parents for cash, constantly plotting new, world-changing ventures yet having trouble with both deadlines and personal hygiene, living in rooms that some might call bohemian, others plain “slummy,” and who can be maddeningly inconsistent when not lapsing into elaborate flights of theory and unintelligible abstraction.
Still, it comes as a shock to realize that the ultimate leftist, the father of Communism itself, fits a recognizable pattern.
As Tim Blair quips, “Stinky Broke, and Mad” is no way to go through life, son. And yeah, that’s the guy whose ideas you want to run with, to totally upend millennia worth of mankind’s accumulated social and economic wisdom, hit the CTL-ALT-DLT keys on civilization, and completely reboot your nation. What could go wrong?
But I love the notion of someone at the Times writing that the discovery of Marx’s foibles comes as any sort of shock, when Paul Johnson’s book Intellectuals — which devotes one of its chapters to Marx’s pathetic day to day life and places him into a recognizable pattern shared by many on the left — was first published in 1989.
Related: And if that’s how little the Times knows about its own religious forefathers, imagine what else is missing in their collective knowledge of history. Or as Michael Walsh writes, “They say you tend to believe what you read in the newspaper until the story concerns something you actually know about. The Times has just proven to 1.2 billion Catholics around the world that it knows nothing about their religion. Read it on all subjects accordingly.”
While “The Case for the Empire” remains as strong today as it was a decade ago when Jonathan Last first drafted his iconoclastic essay on galactic civilization and its radical discontents, it’s worth positing: could the Death Star have been an inside job? It’s important to ask questions…
President Hugo Chavez was a fighter. The former paratroop commander and fiery populist waged continual battle for his socialist ideals and outsmarted his rivals time and again, defeating a coup attempt, winning re-election three times and using his country’s vast oil wealth to his political advantage.
A self-described “subversive,” Chavez fashioned himself after the 19th Century independence leader Simon Bolivar and renamed his country the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
He called himself a “humble soldier” in a battle for socialism and against U.S. hegemony. He thrived on confrontation with Washington and his political opponents at home, and used those conflicts to rally his followers.
Almost the only adversary it seemed he couldn’t beat was cancer.
Joseph Stalin became the most important figure in the political direction of one-third of the people of the world. He was one of a group of hard revolutionaries that established the first important Marxist state and, as its dictator, he carried forward its socialization and industrialization with vigor and ruthlessness.
During the second World War, Stalin personally led his country’s vast armed forces to victory. When Germany was defeated, he pushed his country’s frontiers to their greatest extent and fostered the creation of a buffer belt of Marxist-oriented satellite states from Korea across Eurasia to the Baltic Sea. Probably no other man ever exercised so much influence over so wide a region.
In the late Nineteen Forties, when an alarmed world, predominantly non-Communist, saw no end to the rapid advance of the Soviet Union and her satellites, there was a hasty and frightened grouping of forces to form a battle line against the Marxist advance. Stalin stood on the Elbe in Europe and on the Yalu in Asia. Opposed to him stood the United States, keystone in the arch of non-Marxist states.
Stalin took and kept the power in his country through a mixture of character, guile and good luck. He outlasted his country’s intellectuals, if indeed, he did not contrive to have them shot, and he wore down the theoreticians and dreamers. He could exercise great charm when he wanted to. President Harry Truman once said in an unguarded moment:
“I like old Joe. Joe is a decent fellow, but he is a prisoner of the Politburo.”
I’m tempted to quip “don’t ever change, old media.” But we all know that they never will.
Hours before announcing the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez , Caracas expelled two U.S. Embassy officials for allegedly plotting against the government and blamed “historic enemies” for inducing the leader’s his cancer.
Statement From Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter
on the Death of Hugo Chavez
Rosalynn and I extend our condolences to the family of Hugo Chávez Frías. We met Hugo Chávez when he was campaigning for president in 1998 and The Carter Center was invited to observe elections for the first time in Venezuela. We returned often, for the 2000 elections, and then to facilitate dialogue during the political conflict of 2002-2004. We came to know a man who expressed a vision to bring profound changes to his country to benefit especially those people who had felt neglected and marginalized. Although we have not agreed with all of the methods followed by his government, we have never doubted Hugo Chávez’s commitment to improving the lives of millions of his fellow countrymen.
President Chávez will be remembered for his bold assertion of autonomy and independence for Latin American governments and for his formidable communication skills and personal connection with supporters in his country and abroad to whom he gave hope and empowerment. During his 14-year tenure, Chávez joined other leaders in Latin America and the Caribbean to create new forms of integration. Venezuelan poverty rates were cut in half, and millions received identification documents for the first time allowing them to participate more effectively in their country’s economic and political life.
At the same time, we recognize the divisions created in the drive towards change in Venezuela and the need for national healing. We hope that as Venezuelans mourn the passing of President Chávez and recall his positive legacies — especially the gains made for the poor and vulnerable — the political leaders will move the country forward by building a new consensus that ensures equal opportunities for all Venezuelans to participate in every aspect of national life.
As Allahpundit adds, “You outdid yourself on this one, Jimbo. I want to say ‘unbelievable,’ but no, it’s quite believable.”
Chávez was a strongman. He packed the courts, hounded the corporate media, legislated by decree and pretty much did away with any effective system of institutional checks or balances. But I’ll be perverse and argue that the biggest problem Venezuela faced during his rule was not that Chávez was authoritarian but that he wasn’t authoritarian enough. It wasn’t too much control that was the problem but too little.
“I’m what they call a useful idiot when it comes to Hugo Chávez,” the writer actually adds. And how.
But hey, that’s the far left Nation. The neutral, objective, totally without bias Washington Post wouldn’t fall for such radical chic nonsense, would they?
“Today the people of the United States lost a friend it never knew it had. And poor people around the world lost a champion.” says Penn in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. “I lost a friend I was blessed to have. My thoughts are with the family of President Chavez and the people of Venezuela.”
What is it with Wolf Blitzer and his reports on UFOs over North Korea? Yesterday, as Twitchy notes, the CNN anchor described former NBA freakazoid Dennis Rodman’s visit to North Korea as a “diplomatic triumph.” Was he kidding or serious? Blitzer doesn’t sound like he’s being ironic in the clip below. In any case, this is CNN:
And who could forget Wolf’s 2005 interview with another strange alien media being also just back from North Korea, CNN founder Ted Turner:
Former basketball great Dennis Rodman joined a delegation of athletes — including the Harlem Globetrotters — as part of a cultural outreach effort with North Korea. The plan? Use the sport of basketball to bridge the chasm between the Communist country and the West, and VICE cameras which capture all of it.
It’s the kind of feel-good move you might expect out of Hollywood, not a fledgling news program (executive produced by Bill Maher) trying to make its mark on journalism.
Too bad Rodman turned the effort into a PR blunder, calling North Korean leader Kim Jong Un an “awesome guy” and said his father and grandfather were “great leaders.”
Rodman wasn’t finished gushing over the young dictator.
“He’s proud, his country likes him–not like him, love him, love him,” Rodman said of Kim Jong Un. “Guess what, I love him. The guy’s really awesome.”
The New Criterion and PJ Media might have to retire their Walter Duranty Prize named after the infamous New York Times correspondent who whitewashed Joseph Stalin’s crimes during the 1930s. I think Dennis Rodman has earned a lifetime achievement award in this category, as Bethany’s post makes clear. It is hard, certainly, to top his fawning tribute to the current and past dictators of North Korea.
Boot adds, “One wonders what Time Warner Chairman and Chief Executive Jeff Bewkes thinks about the use of his shareholders’ money to fund a public-relations extravaganza on behalf of the worst regime on the planet?”
Why would Bewkes object now, considering the earlier examples in the above post from Time-Warner-CNN-HBO representatives Ted Turner and Alina Cho?
Nowadays, if you point out that someone’s a Communist, you might well be accused of – dum dum DUMMMM – McCarthyism. The term has morphed from its original meaning. It no longer means falsely accusing someone of being a Communist. It now includes correctly identifying someone as a Communist, or ascribing a taint to someone because they don’t reject the Communists in their midst. (I’ll admit there’s a significant difference between the two.)
It has now been two years since the self-immolation of the Tunisian street vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi, provided the spark that set the Arab world aflame. A wave of protests spread throughout the region in quick succession and led to the overthrow of long ruling autocrats in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Libya, and possibly Syria.
The collapse of regimes like Hosni Mubarak’s in Egypt, which many considered “an exemplar of…durable authoritarianism” was a salient reminder to many that such revolutions are “inherently unpredictable.” Before long some began to speculate that the protest movements might spread to authoritarian states outside the Arab world, including China. Indeed, the Chinese government was among those that feared the unrest would spread to China because, as one observer noted, China faced the same kind of “social and political tensions caused by rising inequality, injustice, and corruption” that plagued much of the Arab world on the eve of the uprisings.
Alas it was not to be as the Chinese government has proven far more durable than many of its counterparts in the Arab world. This inevitably raises the question of what factors differentiated the Chinese government from its Arab counterparts in places like Egypt?
On Monday, we linked to Michael Totten’s new article on “The Grand Universal Illusion,” and his use of the phrase “Cognitive Egocentrism,” which places the above article into further context:
[Nicholas Kristof at the New York Times] assumes the Chinese government is at least marginally interested in opening and reforming Pyongyang because he, like plenty of Americans—myself included—wish to see reform in non-democratic countries aligned with the United States. He’s projecting our own psychology onto Beijing.
This is what Professor Richard Landes calls cognitive egocentrism. “The act of empathy,” Landes explains, “can often become an act of projecting onto another ‘what I would feel if I were in their shoes,’ rather than an attempt to understand how the person with whom one is empathizing has reacted to their situation, how they read and interpret events.”
People do this sort of thing all the time. We do it to our family, friends, colleagues, and neighbors. It’s hard not to. We also do it to foreign people, and they do it to us.
Look at the naïve early predictions about the Arab Spring. Cognitive egocentrism explains at least part of it. Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood was routinely described in the Western press as a party of mainstream religious conservatives who deeply believed in democracy and free markets, as if they were Egypt’s version of the Republicans in the United States. Likewise, the kids in Tahrir Square were seen as Egypt’s Democrats. Both assumptions were outrageously wide of reality.
Past performance is no guarantee of future results:
And, by the way, Wolf, you know who’s not debating this nonsense at all? China. China’s not debating this at all. They know their glaciers are melting. They know something’s happening. And you know what they’re trying to do? They’re trying to clean our clock in solar, wind, [unintelligible], because they know it’s happening. They’re not caught up in this idiot debate, and that’s where we should be.
People refused to venture outdoors and buildings disappeared into Beijing’s murky skyline on Sunday as the air quality in China’s notoriously polluted capital went off the index.
The Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center said on its website that the density of PM2.5 particulates had surpassed 700 micrograms per cubic meter in many parts of the city. The World Health Organization considers a safe daily level to be 25 micrograms per cubic meter.
PM2.5 are tiny particulate matter less than 2.5 micrometers in size, or about 1/30th the average width of a human hair. They can penetrate deep into the lungs, so measuring them is considered a more accurate reflection of air quality than other methods.
The Beijing center recommended that children and the elderly stay indoors, and that others avoid outdoor activities.
As China’s population ages, scholars and officials are seriously considering proposals to phase out the one-child policy that is beginning to curb the flow of new workers into the economy, as well as raise retirement ages (currently 60 for men, 5 or 10 years earlier for women). But such adjustments are just as politically difficult in China as in in Western democracies because, as it turns out, not wanting to work longer is a widely held preference. Many Chinese also view the relatively early retirement age as a way to make vacancies for the millions of young people who enter the labor market each year. If older workers continue working into their twilight years, young workers may encounter greater difficulty in trying to find employment. This would pose its own issues for the country.
What does all this mean for the Asian, European, and American economies that trade with China? First, they should understand that China’s aging problem is a slow-motion fiscal crisis. China is not Greece, but local debt burdens are already enormous, and these calculations do not include the mounting pension obligations that local governments have incurred. Just as in America and Europe, the tendency in China is for local officials running state-level pension funds to ramp up current benefits and let future generations pay for them. China’s National Social Security Fund is the largest in the world at $150 billion, but these assets (some of which are permitted to be invested in stocks) still fall well short of the liabilities racked up by provincial and city pension funds.
Update: “Commies suck at taking care of the environment, after all. But you knew that already.” Well, everyone but Thomas Friedman did.
More:“China is doing exceptionally well,” Tim Blair spotted Australian climate commissioner Tim Flannery claiming in May. “They are on track to stabilise their emissions.” You go right on believing that, champ.
These days, there are few things to admire about the socialist, bankrupt and culturally degenerating USA, but at least so far, one thing remains: the right to bear arms and use deadly force to defend one’s self and possessions.
This will probably come as a total shock to most of my Western readers, but at one point, Russia was one of the most heavily armed societies on earth. This was, of course, when we were free under the Tsar. Weapons, from swords and spears to pistols, rifles and shotguns were everywhere, common items. People carried them concealed, they carried them holstered. Fighting knives were a prominent part of many traditional attires and those little tubes criss crossing on the costumes of Cossacks and various Caucasian peoples? Well those are bullet holders for rifles.
Various armies, such as the Poles, during the Смута (Times of Troubles), or Napoleon, or the Germans even as the Tsarist state collapsed under the weight of WW1 and Wall Street monies, found that holding Russian lands was much much harder than taking them and taking was no easy walk in the park but a blood bath all its own. In holding, one faced an extremely well armed and aggressive population Hell bent on exterminating or driving out the aggressor.
This well armed population was what allowed the various White factions to rise up, no matter how disorganized politically and militarily they were in 1918 and wage a savage civil war against the Reds. It should be noted that many of these armies were armed peasants, villagers, farmers and merchants, protecting their own. If it had not been for Washington’s clandestine support of and for the Reds, history would have gone quite differently.
A decade ago, I might have been embarrassed to admit that I was raised on Marx and Marxism, but I am convinced that the left is coming back. Friedrich Hayek is going to be out; Friedrich Engels in. Larry Kudlow out; Larry Mishel in. And why is that? Because a severe global recession like this puts in relief the transient, fragile, and corruptible nature of capitalism, and the looming contradiction between what Marx called the forces and relations of production evidenced in unemployed engineers and boarded up factories and growing poverty amidst a potential for abundance. As capitalism itself–or at the least the vaunted miracle of the free market–becomes problematic, the left is poised for an intellectual comeback.
Cal Thomas visits Vietnam where, “It has been 50 years since President John F. Kennedy ordered U.S. ‘advisers’ to South Vietnam to help battle the communist North and 37 years since the end of that divisive war and the country’s unification under Communism. Today, Vietnam is fighting a war with itself:”
As in many other one-party states, the Internet remains a powerful counterforce to managed information. The U.S. Embassy provides, and the government mostly allows, an information center where students and others can log onto iPads and search for information that is often counter to the government line.
The old guard remains suspicious about American objectives, seeing economic and political liberalization as a strategy to achieve among the Vietnamese people what America failed to in pursuing their “hearts and minds” in the war.
Professor Carlyle A. Thayer of the University of New South Wales, an expert on Vietnam, said recently, “Vietnam is motivated to keep the U.S. engaged in Southeast Asia, and the South China Sea in particular, as a balance to China,” which claims some territorial rights in conflict with Vietnam and is a formidable economic and military power on its northern border.
Vietnam is in transition, and it is unrealistic to expect too much progress too quickly. Considering where it was when the U.S. left in 1975, the country appears to be inching in a positive direction. Those Americans who died here left behind the seeds of democracy, capitalism and a desire for prosperity and freedom. Whatever one’s view of that war, it can be said they did not die in vain.
But since “an Orwellian state,” as defined by 1984, is simply the Soviet Union with British accents, and since Stone pines for the days of Stalin and other bloodthirsty leftwing tyrants, I’m not sure why he would view “an Orwellian state” as being a bug, and not a feature. Perhaps it’s simply a matter of insufficient scale.
See also: recent ad for the Libertarian Party, reproduced above.
A journalist who cooked the books and avoided reporting on an international tragedy that was occurring in a far-off land and won a Pulitzer for his paper in the process — what possible relevance could that have to the twenty-first century? Well, let’s just say that he Walter Duranty really kept the news to himself, to coin a phrase.
Roger L. Simon, the co-founder and CEO of PJ Media and a veteran screenwriter and director, and his wife Sheryl Longin, a screenwriter herself, stop by to discuss their latest joint effort: The Party Line, the published script to their new play, with an introduction focusing on Walter Duranty by PJM’s own Ronald Radosh. Their play contrasts the lives of Duranty, the New York Times’man in Moscow in the 1930s, when the Soviet Union was thought by many intellectuals to be “the future” of mankind, to Pim Fortuyn, who confronted a different kind of religious fervor in Holland — before being assassinated in 2002.
During their interview, Roger and Sheryl discuss:
● Why they chose the format of a play to tell this story.
● The third historic figure in their play, the infamous Aleister Crowley, whom Duranty knew, astonishingly enough.
● The “Penthouse Bolsheviks” of the 1920s and ’30s; the forerunners to today’s limousine liberals and Radical Chic.
● How they structured retelling the historic events they depict to create drama.
● What conservatives who feel impotent in the face of a hostile pop culture should be doing in 2012.
And much more. Click here to listen
(17:49 minutes long; 16.3 MB file size. Want to download instead of streaming? Right click here to download this show to your hard drive. Or right click here to download the 5MB lo-fi edition.)
If the above Flash audio player is not compatible with your browser, click below on the YouTube player below, or click here to be taken directly to YouTube, for an audio-only YouTube clip. Between one of those versions, you should find a format that plays on your system.
And for many more of our podcasts, start here and keep scrolling.
I really do wish that international Marxist regimes that have managed to survive this long would just admit that it’s because they’ve largely become monarchist or feudal states. They should give up and embrace the concept of kingship and aristocracy – or, in the case of the Chinese, finding a good, plausible-sounding reason to bring back a Son Of Heaven. Then the PRC can all put jade buttons on their Mao caps and actually run the bureaucracies in a more long-term fashion… sorry, where was I?
Though the ending has been toned down a bit over the years — these days, European central planning doesn’t always (SPOILER ALERT!) lead to being shot. Instead, sometimes you’re merely deposited into “scum village” — or camps of concentration, as they were once known in less enlightened days.