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Friday
August 29, 2014


Now Playing

Calvary
(Reviewed August 29, 2014)

A portrait of modern sanctity which — very oddly, in my view — asks not to be taken too seriously

Boyhood
(Reviewed August 27, 2014)

The movie it took twelve years to make — about a childhood that appears to be taking much, much longer

America: Imagine the World Without Her
(Reviewed July 31, 2014)

Another foray by Dinesh D’Souza into the lists in order to break a lance on President Obama — and Howard Zinn. At least the latter is effectively unhorsed.

Ida
(Reviewed June 30, 2014)

An austerely beautiful film by the Anglo-Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski that could hardly be a greater departure from his earlier My Summer of Love

Diary
ENTRY from August 26, 2014

"The law supposes that your wife acts under your direction." When at the end of Oliver Twist, Mr Bumble the Beadle is informed of what was formerly known as the Principle of Coverture under English Common Law, he replied in words that have echoed down the years since his own time: "If the law supposes that," said the Beadle, "the law is a ass — a idiot. If that’s the eye of the law, the law is a bachelor; and the worst I wish the law is that his eye may be opened by experience — by experience." The Principle of Coverture was abolished in England by the Married Women’s Property Act of 1882 and by various states in the US beginning in the 1830s. Interestingly, Virginia considered and rejected legislation to the same effect in the 1840s and only got around to getting rid of coverture after the Civil War. Some of my fellow Virginians may be wishing they’d left things as they were.

For the law may be a ass, but at least, if it were still in effect, it would have spared us the soap opera of the McDonnells’ marriage, as Virginia’s former governor, on trial for corruption, is blaming his wife and the troubles she is alleged to have caused him for everything. Poor Maureen McDonnell may or may not be guilty of the charges against her, and those against her husband as well, but as a reactionary of the old school, I can’t help feeling she is nevertheless a victim of her husband’s unchivalrous decision to say so in public in order to save himself. I wonder if there isn’t lurking somewhere even in Bob McDonnell’s breast, as I’m sure there is in that of many other Virginians besides myself, a suspicion that he is behaving like a cad.

Suck it up, Bob, we old style Virginians want to say. The common law dates back to the Age of Chivalry — the real one, not the Victorian imitation whose incongrous zeal for reform abolished coverture along with other legal relics. And chivalry, whatever the feminists may say, is still the best guide to follow when it comes to relations between the sexes. She may have misbehaved, but you’re responsible, as you yourself have admitted in court. It’s time you lived up to your own standard. Apart from anything else, the governor’s acceptance of this ancient, honorable and pre-Enlightenment principle would have saved him from the unmanly behavior of discussing his marital troubles in public, which is a shame to the woman as well as to the man, even by more Enlightened principles than mine.  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

Dean of Contradictions June 9, 2014.
The savage, satiric, sympathetic Swift — From The Weekly Standard of June 9, 2014 ... Full Article

Bad words May 31, 2014.
Literary decorum is obviously on the way out in the media, but must that mean there is no longer any such thing as news not "fit to print"? — From The New Criterion of May, 2014 ... Full Article

Among the Supremely PC May 31, 2014.
Hollywood’s idea of morality and religion, like its idea of everything else, boils down to self-congratulation — From The American Spectator of May, 2014 ... Full Article

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