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.
(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
Under the Skin
(Reviewed May 14, 2014)
A memorable portrayal of an interplanetary seductress disguised as a disguised Scarlett Johansson
The Other Woman
(Reviewed May 6, 2014)
An often funny revenge fantasy for wronged women which either doesn’t know about or can’t allow itself to show its more serious side
ENTRY from July 31, 2014
In the British media at this time of high international tension and the imminent prospective break-up of the United Kingdom, it sometimes seems as if female sensitivities and resentments are the only topic of conversation. I confess to a certain thrill of pleasure to see that Richard Dawkins has stepped in deep doo-doo by purporting to classify rape by the degree of severity with which it should be regarded, according as it is committed by a stranger or an acquaintance. As Sian Norris put it in The Independent, in the course of rehearsing well-worn feminist arguments against any counsel of sexual prudence,"it’s not up to men to try and define women’s experiences of violence for them." And who could disagree with that? Meanwhile, Eleanor Robertson in The Guardian was taking the occasion for a more general assault on Professor Dawkins’s arrogance, in the course of which she quotes Professor Terry Eagleton’s review of The God Delusion: "Imagine someone holding forth on biology whose only knowledge of the subject is the Book of British Birds, and you have a rough idea of what it feels like to read Richard Dawkins on theology."
Nor was he the only male Briton lately to have blotted his copybook with those they used to call the ladies. The recently appointed Minister of Defense in the Liberal-Conservative Coalition government was outed by Telegraph columnist Bryony Gordon — who, until her also recent venture into marriage and motherhood, used to delight that paper’s readers with accounts of her sexual adventures — as having once called her a slut. Actually, it was more amusing than that. The minister in question, one Michael Fallon, had met Miss Gordon at a party and, being told only that she worked for the Telegraph, asked her ""Do you know that slut who writes that column at the back of the magazine?" By her own account, she answered, "Yes, I know her very well, because that slut is me" — though Mr Fallon denies that he used the s-word.
She herself used the less offensive word "slattern" in originally reporting the incident, though she says this is only because her editors, thinking that even quoting the word "slut" would give offense, made her change it. Carol Midgley in The Times then weighed in on the semantic parallels and differences between the two words, though she appears not to know that "slut" is a regional (Northern) dialect term for "slattern" and does not (or at least did not until recently) have a sexual connotation, apart from the fact that it is a word only ever used of women. That in itself, however, must be enough to damn it in Ms Midgley’s eyes, as she professes to be outraged at the double standard — perhaps you’ve heard of it? — by which sexual promiscuity in women is treated differently (and spoken of in different terms) from promiscuity in men.
My 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.
Also 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.
Dean of Contradictions.
June 9, 2014.
The savage, satiric, sympathetic Swift — From The Weekly Standard of June 9, 2014 ...
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 ...
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 ...