April 7, 2020

Now Playing

Juliet Naked
(Reviewed September 21, 2018)

An amusing but slight adaptation of a Nick Hornby novel which can laugh at its characters without precluding the possibility that they may laugh at themselves

Won't You Be My Neighbor?
(Reviewed September 20, 2018)

Did Mr Rogers’s extraordinary capacity for love end up producing a generation of haters?

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

ENTRY from March 12, 2020

When everyone was making fun of Mara Gay and Brian Williams last week for saying on MSNBC that, for the $500 million Michael Bloomberg had spent on his failed campaign for the presidency, he could have given everyone in the country a million dollars, I felt a bit sorry for her — a bit less sorry for him — not least because she was only repeating something she had read on Twitter. That was her real mistake. Ms Gay, an ornament of The New York Times’s editorial board, had said on Mr Williams’s show: "Somebody tweeted recently that actually with the money he spent, he could have given every American a million dollars." It wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment thing. Not only had she and Mr Williams obviously discussed this calculation beforehand, but the whole production staff had to have known of it in order to put together a graphic of the tweet in question. No one spotted the error. For the same reason, more of the ridicule that greeted the segment, at least more of what I heard or read, was directed at Mr Williams and MSNBC, rather than her.

But it turns out that she doesn’t want my pity. She (though obviously not Mr Williams, who is white) is just another brave, noble, persecuted victim of racism in America, and nobody’s going to take that away from her. Writing in The New York Times today, she proclaims that "My People Have Been Through Worse Than a Twitter Mob: When you’re a black woman in America with a public voice, a trivial math error can lead to a deluge of hate." One would, of course, feel more sympathy for her if she wasn’t herself in the now-booming business of "hating" out loud anything that can be made to look like stupidity or mistakes on the part of her political enemies. But, unlike her, the "Twitter mob" as she represents it was only taking her "math mistake" as an excuse for deploying their own race hatred (Ms Gay is black). "Of course, in my case it wasn’t really about math, as anyone who read through my mentions on Twitter or saw my inbox would know. . . A colleague at The Times, an African-American woman, wrote to me on Friday afternoon, ‘They resent that you exist.’" Which, no doubt, some but by no means all of "them" do. But then she adds:

It didn’t help that I write for a newspaper where my colleagues are assiduously working to hold a rogue president accountable every day. We are living in a world where there is no grace for the smallest, most inconsequential mistake. In an instant, I became a target of those who are furious with the media for being too liberal, or not liberal enough, a totem for the grievances of millions of people who seem to be hurting. . . I write a lot about the underdog, which tends to make some people feel threatened, or simply uncomfortable. When I appeared on that TV program last week, I had been working for many days interviewing black voters in the South who were determined to defeat Donald Trump, whom they see as the nightmare embodiment of the old hatreds many of them fought to overcome.  Full Entry

Media MadnessBefore there was Howard Kurtz’s Media Madness, there was mine — now, alas, out of print but still available while supplies last for the cost of shipping and handling. Send $5.99 to me in care of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, 1730 M Street, Suite 910, Washington, D.C. 20036

Honor, A HistoryAlso available, now in paperback and Kindle version, 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

Ripley’s believe it or else February 29, 2020.
If "the Truth" is your brand, then it isn’t the truth anymore — from The New Criterion of February, 2020 ... Full Article

Uncivil service January 31, 2020.
Impeachment forces "the deep state" to break cover. How can that not be good for President Trump? — from The New Criterion of January, 2020 ... Full Article

Just “politics” December 31, 2019.
The revolution demands to be televised (or it can’t be revolutionary) — From The New Criterion of December, 2019 ... Full Article

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