May 25, 2018

Now Playing

Lady Bird
(Reviewed March 6, 2018)

A delightful and not entirely politically correct movie about growing up as a Catholic schoolgirl in 2002-2003

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
(Reviewed February 22, 2018)

An occasionally amusing parable of guilt and forgiveness whose setting in small-town America, like the prejudices of its author, does it no favors

Darkest Hour
(Reviewed February 6, 2018)

Despite some stirring moments, and a fine performance from Gary Oldman, the movie gets its portrait of a war leader wrong

The Florida Project
(Reviewed November 17, 2017)

A child’s-eye view, and therefore a rather amusing treatment, of social pathologies that are, in reality, not at all amusing

ENTRY from April 27, 2018

The British, I think we can say with some confidence, are not entirely happy about the bond formed between Donald Trump and, Emmanuel Macron, so prominently displayed during the French president’s state visit to Washington. Our transatlantic cousins on the other side of la Manche have often in the past had occasion to mention the "Special Relationship" forged during World War II between Churchill and Roosevelt and renewed, as they see it, by Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. Tony Blair’s many critics in his native land now tend to see his highly unpopular involvement in the Iraq War as a misguided attempt to replay the Thatcher-Reagan relationship with George W. Bush — which may be the reason why the Special Relationship has fallen into something of an eclipse in recent years.

But there is nothing like jealousy of a romantic rival to bring back the old feelings of attachment, and M. Macron’s love-fest with Mr Trump may have done the trick. As if to taunt the Brits at the first state dinner the Trumps have given for a foreign leader, the Frenchman toasted his own "very special relationship" with the US and its leader, such appreciations of whom have been hitherto somewhat thin on the ground — as British observers are sure M. Macron was very well aware. "Some commentators were amazed to see such fulsome displays of affection between two figures who are poles apart in political terms," wrote Adam Sage in The Times of London.

Those familiar with Macron were less surprised, however. They pointed out that he has always been attracted to older people, especially when they are in positions of authority, and inevitably tries to chat them up. Brigitte Macron, his wife, is the most obvious example, given that she was a teacher at his secondary school when he seduced her and is 24 years his senior. But there are many others too — philosophers, bankers and politicians who have fallen for Macron’s charm at one point or another. So it came as no surprise when he tried to seduce Trump as well.  Full Entry

Media MadnessMy book Media Madness, is available for order from Encounter Books. Less a polemic than an attempt to understand the origins of the mass media’s folie de grandeur, the book is a warning even to those who are deserting the big networks, newsweeklies and large-circulation dailies not to carry with them into the more attractive world of niche media the undisciplined habits of thought that the old media culture has given rise to. To order this book, click here.

Honor, A HistoryAlso available, now in paperback, is Honor, A History, which was first published in 2006. A study of Western cultural artifacts, from the epics of Homer to the movies and TV shows of today, it is focused on explaining why Western ideas of honor developed so differently from those elsewhere — and especially from the savage honor cultures of the Islamic world. The book then goes on to trace the collapse and ultimate rejection of the old Western honor culture from World War I until the present day and to suggest the conditions that would have to prevail for its revival.

Recent Articles

Trying times April 30, 2018.
On some of the recent media outbreaks of utopian thinking and what they tell us about the dire state of the culture — From The New Criterion of April, 2018 ... Full Article

Zip ties and media lies March 31, 2018.
Are the two sides of our polarized politics really living in "alternate realities" or does it only seem that way because of their hatred for each other? — From The New Criterion of March, 2018 ... Full Article

What We Talk About When We Talk About Reputation March 26, 2018.
In trying to modernize our understanding of this "elusive concept," a new book loses sight of its historical meaning — From The Weekly Standard of March 26, 2018 ... Full Article

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