Showing posts sorted by date for query andrew klavan. Sort by relevance Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by date for query andrew klavan. Sort by relevance Show all posts

Tuesday, March 10, 2020


Conservatives who've watched Trump shit the bed, perhaps literally, on coronavrius have found a new angle: That we are underutilizing a powerful weapon against the disease, and that weapon is racism!

The headline of Rich Lowry's National Review column is "It’s not racist to call it ‘the Wuhan virus'" but he seems not at all concerned how Chinese people or people of Chinese descent might feel about it -- his point is more in the time-honored tradition of "How come they can say 'Wuhan' and we can't?"
Such international contention over the name of a virus or disease isn’t new. Syphilis was the Neapolitan disease, the French disease, or the Polish disease, depending on who was naming it. The 1918 influenza came to be known as “the Spanish flu,” although Spaniards called it “the French flu.”
See, liberals, you're denying us the pleasure of making up a fun name for the disease our President is too corrupt and senile to handle, just because it pisses off the Orientals!

Naturally Rod Dreher, who's in a constant state of panic about the bugs these days, is in on this: A New York City science teacher, apparently of Eastern descent, wants to teach her kids not to be racist about it ("Our students have a very limited black-white, and interpersonal, understanding of racism, and I hope the #coronavirus presents an opportunity for us to connect our content to our public health and humanity"), and Dreher suddenly snaps out of his terror to make fun of her:
If there’s one thing teachers should be doing now, it’s using the global pandemic to police the racial thoughts of their students. (But seriously, can you imagine being a grown woman and bursting into tears when one of your middle-school students refers to bat-eaters?)
Of course if someone makes fun of white Southerners around Dreher, he shits his pants.

The best avatar of this nonsense is longtime rightwing crackpot Andrew Klavan, who announced he was calling coronavirus "the yellow peril" because lol libtards. Again, their belief system and representatives in government are revealed by the crisis to be totally inadequate, and their audience includes a lot of people who can't quite choke down another "it's all the liberal media's fault" excuse. So what else do they have but racism? Hope it offers them some comfort when their moms choke on their own phlegm.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


Normally I don't talk about the comments sections associated with my subjects, on the proven theory that comments sections are generally awful (not alicublog's, though! Feel free to weigh in!). But I'll make an exception for this post by Andrew Klavan at PJ Media. Klavan, as regular readers of alicublog know, is a culture warrior of the worser sort who gets the brethren to laugh (or at least to go nnnnggh while filleting a Barbie doll named Lena with a Bowie knife) by comparing Democrats to rapists, etc. In this new thing, though, Klavan tells his readers that the hate-fest represented by (I never tire of saying this) Republican Presidential front-runner Donald Trump is a losing bet. He's taken the conciliator role before, telling the guys in 2014 they should go easy on gay marriage outrage lest liberals win the debate "by a flagrant and self-serving display of compassion." But now he sounds a little stressed about it. First he quotes Star Wars:
“Fear is the path to the dark side,” said Yoda. “Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
Then he preaches sweet reason:
You want to win back your country? Here’s how. Fear nothing. Hate no one. Stick to principles. Unchecked borders are dangerous not because Mexicans are evil but because evil thrives when good men don’t stand guard...
These things are true. They’re true for white people and black people, male people and female people, straight people and gay people. We should support the smartest, most proven, most statesmanlike candidate who best represents those principles. And we should do it out of — dare I say the word? — love. Love for our neighbors, our fellow citizens, white and black, male and female, straight and gay.
Straight and gay? Forbid it almighty God! Commenters descend like locusts on Klavan -- and that RINO bastard Yoda:
Why would I want to take advice from some pipsqueak who didn't see that his Jedi Council was being manipulated by evil into doing evil things in the name of order, until it was much too late?... 
...Yoda's wrong. Frustration leads to anger. I'm not afraid of these lying SOB's at all...
Klavan must have downed a couple of his elitist pills before penning this attack on conservative Americans... 
Just like the writers at National Review and Republican politicians, PJ Media writers, like Andrew Klavan want to be loved by their liberal friends... 
We don't need to be lectured about things we already know, pal. Out here in what you seem to believe is the backwater idiocracy between Hollywood and DC, we know precisely what Trump is and what he is doing... You and your peers, on the other hand, seem to have let your girlish social ambitions swirl away at your brains. This sort of article isn't about us: it's about you. It's about your preening egos and need to be seen as a certain type of (frankly, faux) conservative who can be accepted in certain circles [nnnngh etc.]... 
I am tired of people like Klavan and others calling us idiots for disagreeing with them. I am done reading Klavan and Goldberg. If I wanted to be insulted I could go to some liberal site...
The more optimistic of you may be thinking, ha, their Frankenstein's Monster has turned on them! It's tempting to think so, as the Trump phenomenon has become such an obvious embarrassment to the GOP that conservatives are trying to portray Trump as a liberal and his candidacy as good news for Republicans.

But the monster hasn't turned on them, quite -- the brethren are just lumbering around with increasing agitation, as they tend to do in that aimless period between the beginning of a Presidential campaign and the nomination of some douche of whom it can at least be said that he's not a libtard. Other conservative pundits are finding ways to occupy their attention so they won't turn on them -- which perhaps explains the latest Planned Parenthood attack, as it gives their more excitable columnists like Kevin D. Williamson an opportunity to really lay the outrage on thick ("the people who run Planned Parenthood are crooks," "President Barack Obama... is neck-deep in blood," nnngh, etc.). After a few days of that, the punters are spent and ready for a lie-down until it's time to repeat the process with #Benghazi or whatever else turns up on the Wheel of Fortune.

So they haven't lost control yet. But I'll be interested to see how many of their followers will be left after a few more rounds like this one.

Friday, December 05, 2014


(How'd I miss The Dirtbombs all these years? Thanks Sherri!)

•   MRA promoter The Ole Perfesser has steered his readers to this Andrew Klavan video explaining #GamerGate to older conservatives. Klavan gives viewers a little background: "For decades left-wingers have dominated the arts, using movies, television, novels, and critical articles (!!- Ed.) to sell idiot notions like 'America is oppressive,'  'capitalism is evil,' 'gender difference is bigotry,' and 'God is dead'..." The upshot is that wingnuts own gaming and from this cultural redoubt can counter the lies of "left-wing game journalists" with the help of "honest journalists such as Milo Yiannopoulos, of" (Yeah I know but that's an actual quote) to promote conservative ideas such as Eat Me, Bitch. No mention at all of the appalling harassment visited upon uncooperative females by these knight-like dorks, but lots of tit jokes.  Klavan's approach hasn't changed much since this 2009 Democrats are Like Rapists video, but at least his references move with the times: He refers throughout to "Hashtag-Gamergate," and if the geezers in his audience can figure out what it means they should be stalking Anita Sarkeesian in no time.

•   Speaking of hashtags, thanks, Simon Maloy, for reminding me of this:

Now that gas prices are plummeting, looking at those old #250Gas tweets is fun -- and so is reading Megan McArdle's unusually brief, tight-lipped post on the drop; as you might expect from an acolyte of the oil-dependent Koch Brothers she sounds nervous about it: "Texas, North Dakota and other places in the U.S. will suffer as oil prices decline and some of the high-paid jobs in oil production go away," she writes. Well, that's capitalism, comrade; I wonder if those absurd boomtown prices North Dakota oil workers are paying for their apartments will go down in response. I'm guessing not, 'cause that's capitalism, too, these days. You can also read Joseph Curl at the Washington Times: "Cheap gas prices? Obama’ll fix that" -- 'cause he'll eventually kill the good times with regulations to fix the so-called "environment," just you wait. Sigh, some people are never satisfied.

•   You can always count on Jonah Goldberg:
Reasonable people can disagree on whether racism was involved in the tragic death of Eric Garner. My own suspicion is that this misfortune could have transpired just as easily with a white man resisting arrest and/or a black cop choking him... 
But you know what reasonable people can’t dispute? New York’s cigarette taxes are partly to blame for Eric Garner’s death.
Racism? In America? Meh, Jonah doesn't see it; when he goes "WHAT IT IS" to the black guy at the deli, he doesn't get any static, man. But that cigarette taxes killed Garner -- that's indisputable!
Everyone agrees: No one should die for selling bootleg cigarettes. But if you pass and enforce a law against such things, you increase the chances things might go wrong. That’s a fact, whether it sounds callous to delicate ears or not
Just like how stop signs cause rear-end collisions! Goldberg also compares taxing cigarettes to the drug war, though for some reason he doesn't cite thousands of other cigarette-tax-enforcement deaths, or any, that would support this analogy. Here's my favorite part of this mess:
When you pass a law, you authorize law enforcement to enforce it. That’s actually why they’re called 'law enforcement.' Google it.
This mind-blanking stupidity is wonderful enough, but the supercilious tone is just so Goldberg.

•   Goldberg's traditional reign as the permanent author of the stupidest thing ever written is being challenged by the Cato Institute's David Boaz:
The violent death of Mohamed Bouazizi in Tunisia set off the Arab Spring. Could the killing of Eric Garner lead to a springtime of police reform – and regulatory reform -- in the United States? 
Bouazizi was a street vendor, selling fruits and vegetables from a cart...
Yes, Garner's problem was that he just wanted to run his little cig biz, just like Bouazizi, but the statists wouldn't let him, so he set himself on fire was choked to death by a white cop. Unlike Goldberg (who probably couldn't help himself) Boaz studiously ignores the subject of race:
Eric Garner's death has also set off protests, not just in New York but in Boston, Chicago, Washington, and other places. Many protesters held signs reading "I can't breathe" and "This stops now." They should add "I'm minding my business. Just leave me alone."
Maybe Boaz should make this plea directly to the protesters: "You people are diluting the free-market message of Garner! Here's a script, I'll be at this steakhouse over here." I imagine years hence, after the neo-feudal conversion of America is complete, conservatives will toast Eric Garner's role in normalizing the no-benefits workplace.

Monday, November 17, 2014


Big claim in this headline by Andrew Klavan:
There’s Something Happening Here: Conservatives Are Catching On to the Culture!
That would indeed be news. So, did they finally make The Joe McCarthy Nobody Knew or any of the other big-budget projects I've recommended to them? Don't be silly; "It’s not enough to have talented artists and good works," says Klavan, which is why instead of supporting any such specimens as exist they "catch on to the culture" by piling on a lefty artist they don't like -- and surprise, the target in this case is their traditional fantasy hate-fuck object, Lena Dunham.
Recently, my friends at Ben Shapiro’s website Truth Revolt did for Miss Dunham what the economy and ISIS have done for Obama. They introduced her to non-leftism, also known as reality. They quoted sections from her recent autobiography Not That Kind of Girl under the descriptive headline “Lena Dunham Describes Sexually Abusing Her Little Sister.” Miss Dunham threatened to sue the site for quoting her verbatim! Then she canceled parts of her book tour. Then she went on a “rage spiral.” Then she jumped up and down three times and went through the floor like Rumpelstiltskin. Okay, that last part is a joke — but only just.
In other words, they kept Dunham's book, which if James Wolcott is any judge (and he is) has little intrinsic value of its own, in the headlines for a few more weeks. That's good culture-warring, soldier!

The whole thing is priceless but for my money this is the best part:
But the point is that the folks at Truth Revolt have recognized the revolting truth: liberty lovers need a cultural echo chamber of our own.
Maybe he thinks a bigger and better right-wing echo chamber will work like a Large Hadron Collider to advance his Zhdanovite cause, instead of just increasing the maddening din of their Bedlam.

Thursday, September 04, 2014


Well, boys, how's the culture war going?
How Big Government Ruined Parks and Recreation
Clickbait for sure, among a certain population! Spencer Klavan (Jesus, Andrew has a brother? I weep for the Republic) complains at PJ Media that the show "has devolved from incisive comedy into aggressively unfunny propaganda." See, once it was about "the morass of self-importance and illogic that results when people get together to plan other people’s lives for them" -- that's conservative for "small-town government," folks -- but then "the writers replaced it with a dogmatic fantasy world based on the unexamined conviction that everyone needs a hyper-attentive government mommy. That’s when Leslie Knope became a hero, and Parks and Rec became about as entertaining as a health code referendum."

Wow, so they beefed up the role of the star? And a cynical supporting character became more cuddly? Just like in nearly every sitcom that lasts more than three seasons? What a bunch of statists!

But courage, kulturkampfers -- it's not all liberal fascism on the TV; here's a show that Matthew Rousu of The Federalist says teaches a conservatarian message:
What TV’s ‘Suits’ Tells Us About The Job Market 
...Ross and Spector form a great team. They trade witty rejoinders and provide incredible service for their clients. But in the United States, for the most part, it is illegal to practice law without passing the bar exam. That Ross is practicing law illegally — and what he must do to avoid being discovered – provides part of the show’s drama. While I find the show entertaining, it troubles me because these types of situations happen in real life. There are people who would be good at a job, but restrictions make it illegal for them to work...
Yes, it's the old licensing-restriction rap, with which max-freedom fans sometimes get liberals to agree five minutes before they call them hypocrites for thinking polluters can't regulate themselves. Mentioned in essay: Uber. Not mentioned: State medical boards.

Meanwhile at Acculturated, Erin Vargo:
Drugs are ruining EDM...
Which is like saying sugar is ruining cake, but go on:
...and not only as a matter of individual health and safety (a sobering topic in and of itself). Drugs at EDM festivals ensure that Calvin Harris is virtually indistinguishable from a remix DJ at a wedding party.
[pause, suppressing laughter]
Sure, he showed everyone a good time, but the event wasn’t really about him or his skills and talents and creative capacity.
[pause, stabbing myself in the thigh with a pen] For our reductio ad wingnut let's go to The Federalist's Rachel Lu:
Is it possible that Clueless Dad (that tired old television trope) is going into decline? He’s long since outworn his welcome. And General Mills seems to have gotten the message. 
Their new commercial for Peanut Butter Cheerios...
For some reason I'm reminded of the end of The Incredible Shrinking Man, though it's not so much the "closing of a gigantic circle" as a disappearance up one's own asshole.

Thursday, February 06, 2014


My favorite wingnut line of the week -- and possibly of the month or year, though I'm sure the competition will as always be fierce -- comes from Andrew Klavan, normally one of conservatism's comedy stylists but dead serious in a PJ Media column about, get this, how the right can win over gays and the straights who don't want to see gays boiled alive.

The essay starts with colloquy between two great conservative intellects, Roger L. Simon and Bryan Preston. Simon basically says that liberals use gay marriage "fairly or not, to paint the right as bigots" to the young people, and maybe conservatives should keep their rage over it on the QT and strictly hush-hush. Preston basically says aargh blargh, fags make Christians take pitchers of their so-called weddings, young people are stupid but will learn to hate gays with age, Sharpton has a "hot young thang," under Gay Hitler "the state will feel free to crush what’s left of Christian faith in America under its boot. Go ahead and scoff. It’s coming," etc. (He also calls himself a "libertarian-leaning social conservative," which hilariously conforms with what we know about libertarians.)

Klavan tries to split the difference:
I don’t think Catholic adoption agencies should have to cater to gay couples, and I certainly don’t think a religious photographer should be forced to photograph a gay wedding.
On the other hand:
Either sex is an expression of love that involves the whole person (not just his body parts) or it is a purely mechanical operation. If it is purely mechanical, then you’ll have to explain to me why one robotic sexual action is any more sinful than another. Penises don’t sin, after all; people do.
Believe it or not, the penis line is not my line of the week. It's this one, about how conservatives should talk nice about gays so they can get votes:
So often, the left wins debates by a flagrant and self-serving display of compassion.
There's something  beautiful about this, and applicable to many occasions. Liberals don't want the unemployed to starve? Well, what do you expect -- they're always flaunting  their compassion like a bunch of show-offs. Real Americans find it difficult to show empathy; not to say they don't have it, but they have to save it up for the next time someone makes fun of Sarah Palin.

UPDATE. Comments (a joy as always) contain more than a few references to the Piranha Brothers. "He used compassion," scripts Spaghetti Lee. "He knew all the tricks. Empathy, sympathy, love, brotherhood, caring..." Susan of Texas wonders how far up the chain this compassion racket goes: "let's look at Jesus, the flaming compassionista. Throwing his selfish unselfishness in people's faces..." I look forward to the day when conservatives bitch about The Religious Left like it was the Moral Majority, and start referring to Unitarians as "Yoonies."

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

ANOTHER DAY IN BIZARRO WORLD. At the Wall Street Journal, James Taranto tells us several ways in which black people are oppressing white people. For example, the Obama campaign sent a survey to the President's constituents, asking "Which constituency groups do you identify yourself with? Check all that apply" -- and there was no box for Whites! "The danger for the country," says Taranto, "is that a racially polarized electorate will produce a hostile, balkanized culture." About three hundred years too late to worry about that, buddy.

Taranto also pulls the you-were-bigots-first argument:
For a century after the Civil War, Southern white supremacists were an important part of the Democratic Party coalition. They were defeated and discredited in the 1960s, and the Democrats, still the party of identity politics, switched their focus to various nonwhite minorities.
Since history is like a game of musical chairs, this wiley Democrat shape-shifting left Republicans no choice but to play the role of Racist Assholes from the 60s onward. And people keep blaming Republicans for it! The white man is truly the white man of liberal fascism.

You know who else isn't to blame? Rightwing Assholes. Andrew Klavan explains that when Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh say "retard" and "slut," it's only because they're righteously indignant over liberal lies. Even this, they might have borne with good grace and perhaps an occasional "faggot" or "feminazi," but the damn liberals provoke them still further with their decorum: "They don’t use words like retard and slut. They don’t raise their voices. You could invite them to dinner without embarrassing yourself." Now what self-respecting sociopathic teenager wouldn't go ballistic over that? And once again, conservatives get blamed for something that isn't their fault.

Meanwhile intellectual titans Glenn Reynolds, Nick Gillespie, and Ross Douthat all say America is like The Hunger Games because there are rich people in Washington, while in giant forced labor camps like Salt Lake City and Dallas everyone lives off hardtack and dreams of a day when the white man's vote is worth something again. Extra credit to Ole Perfesser Reynolds for making this half-hearted attempt to shore up his crap metaphor:
Even in upscale parts of L.A. or New York, you see boarded up storefronts and other signs that the economy isn't what it used to be.
Yeah, someone told me they saw Michael Bloomberg the other day fighting a bum over a dead pigeon.

So, to recap: Liberals destroyed America, then bamboozled citizens into thinking the conservatives did it, leaving conservatives no choice but to act like jerks and write very poorly. Or, as I like to think of it, another day in paradise.

UPDATE. As a bonus, your moment of Goldstein, celebrating a spike in gun sales: a certain point, when you can survive the loss of heat or the shutdown of an electrical grid for two weeks — when you can provide for your family and keep them safe and protected while all those who rely on government run about confused, carping, demanding, frustrated... all attempts to ironize away the concept of self-reliance and rugged individualism in favor of the glories of an overarching and protective federal government, a campaign the left has for years carried forth in the academy, in government, and through popular culture, dissipate like the insubstantial rhetorical mists they’ve always been. 
And once that fog lifts, people may once again choose liberty over tyranny.
I expect some day Jeffy will give us that post-structural version of The Turner Diaries we've been hoping for.  Or maybe his greatest achievement will be the day he sees some tweakers in a hostage situation on the TV news, yells "THIS IS IT!" like Gary Oldman in JFK, and runs stripped to the waist out his front door into a police ambush.

UPDATE 2. Comments are as usual magnificent (come on Foster, you ain't even looking). "Yeah," says Jimcima, "it really sucked when the 99 cent store that used to be between Bulgari and Tiffany down on Rodeo went out of business." zuzu and others wonder when liberals stopped being potty-mouths. (Never, says I! Even now I am working on a cognate of "slut" and "retard," a sort of ultimate weapon of Alinskyite ridicule; "sluttard," my prototype, is too cumbersome for my flow, but maybe I can train the masses to accept it, like they accepted "Thee" for "The.")

Goldstein, as usual, is a great source of inspiration. Fats Durston reacts to "attempts to ironize away the concept of self-reliance and rugged individualism":
God, if I see another movie with Bruce Willis as a caring federal bureaucrat whose agency defeats the villains with targeted food stamp distribution, I swear I am going to make my own indie film where, for once, the climactic scene will be a mano-y-mano fistfight.
Really, I should just front-page the comments and hide the posts.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

At first glance this satire appears to be vigorously pro-free-speech, but I suspect that it's only pro-liberal speech. Maybe my suspicion is wrong, but I'd find The Onion a lot funnier if its satire caused its readers a little pain, instead of nudging them to laugh at people they already hold in contempt.
No doubt she would find it funnier, if by "find it funnier" you mean "howl 'what a hoot!' and point at doll wearing 'liberal elite' sign."

Althouse previously yelled at comedians whom she found "traitors to your craft" because they weren't making enough Obama jokes to suit her. (At that time she also called me "dumb or dishonest" for referring to her as a rightblogger, and probably thinks I mostly leave her alone these days because I fear her stinging wit.)

Thank God America has a Truth Squad at the ready to explain why this so-called "humor" isn't funny!

RELATED: The Truth Squad also finds that a planned Comedy Central Jesus show might be funny, but is the act of "cowards" and thus has no place on a comedy channel.

You know, I actually do miss Bush -- when he was President, they told us we could show our patriotism just by going shopping. Now, to show our love of country, we're expected not to laugh at "the kind of comedy that makes you comfortable" -- as opposed to the comedy stylings of, say, Andrew Klavan, with which we doubt most Comedy Central customers would be comfortable, though not for ideological reasons. A grim business, this War on Whatchamacallit.

UPDATE. Oh Jesus, Jonah Goldberg is bitching about the fucking Machete trailer.
Oh, and no, just for the record, I don't think this is actually inciting violence. But that's a lot more slack than liberals cut, say, Michelle Bachman or Glenn Beck. And they don't even wield machetes.
If it were anyone else in the universe (except Althouse) I'd say he had to be joking.

Between this and the Michael Moriarty Hitler movie, it's clearer than ever: With these guys, the culture war is a war on culture.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

THE SCANDAL WIDENS, DEEPENS, LOCOMOTES, ETC. How's it going with NationalEndowmentfortheArtsGate? Andrew Klavan:
Let’s not even concern ourselves with the fact that White House official Buffy Wicks directed the artists to channel their efforts through, a White House website with ties to the corrupt Acorn.
No problem.
It doesn’t matter that it didn’t actually offer these artists money in exchange for propaganda; its very presence on the line constituted an implied offer of access. It doesn’t matter that the artists on the call were already Obama supporters.
I have to say, the man makes a powerful argument. I smell Congressional investigation.
And whether or not these artists will bite into the apple of governmental corruption -- whether or not they’ll allow their creativity to be guided by the blandishments of the state -- the phone call is proof of the depths of this administration’s intentions to corrupt.
What adds force to these blockbuster revelations is Klavan's status as an author of books, which adds credibility to his claim that "in seeking to enlist the arts, [the Administration] has taken this overbearing and ultimately corrupting practice to the deepest and most spiritual level we know." Conservatives who have spent their entire adult lives condemning all American artists (excepting Chuck Norris and Gary Sinise) as toadies of the Democratic Party will affect outrage until the next big exposé, which we have on good authority will involve the Bureau of International Information Programs and its corrupt plan to have Shepard Fairey design the flyers America drops on Afghan villages.

Monday, March 30, 2009

NEW VOICE COLUMN UP. This is a miscellany of some of the week's greatest hits, including the White House Easter Egg Hunt, the Republican alterna-budget, and "Human Achievement Hour," the right's sad and sour we'll-show-those-treehuggers Earth Day counter-demonstration. Nothing says Modern Conservatism like wingnuts running up their electric bills as a protest. I don't recall them rebranding their SUVs as "Freedom Guzzlers," but I can't be everywhere.

I got so carried away that a missed a few things, including the Rush Limbaugh Mud Wrestling Challenge "You're a lowdown, yellow-bellied, lily-livered intellectual coward," writes discourse-raiser Andrew Klavan. "You're terrified of finding out he makes more sense than you do." All of us have heard a little Rush -- how can you help it? -- and I am reminded of what Hemingway said about James Jones and not needing to eat a whole bowl of scabs to know that they are scabs.

I'm also sorry to have missed Andrew Breitbart's declaration that all internet trolls are liberal, particularly after finding my first Voice commenter of the morning: "KISS MY RIGHT-WING ASS EDROSO..." Or is he one of our double agents?

Friday, July 25, 2008

THE GHOST DANCE CONTINUES. I have noted, time and again, here and elsewhere, the weird habit among American right-wingers of insisting that pop culture artifacts they enjoy are "conservative." Doesn't matter whether the movies, rock songs, TV shows etc. that they adopt are overtly political or not -- if a piece of pop dross pleases them, then they are sure that it stands for low taxes or war in Iraq or some damn thing.

So I was pleased that someone some folks besides myself and Brad noticed this breathtakingly insane Wall Street Journal article by Andrew Klavan, which seeks to demonstrate that the latest popular comic-book movie is not merely a series of explosions, CGI effects, and lurid performances, but first and foremost a ringing defense of the Bush Administration -- even though it was made by the sort of Hollyweird players Klavan normally can't stop denouncing as evil cultural polluters (perhaps, in this case, the forces of decency threatened their families).

The brighter bulbs have found plenty of ripe comedy in the situation, so I will only add this: I recall another time in this country when politically engaged dumbasses became convinced that cultural portents such as Bonnie & Clyde, songs with drug imagery, and nude Broadway musicals all proved that the revolution was at hand. Junk culture is not a very good predictive mechanism, particularly when applied by folks who know most of their fellow citizens are sick to death of them and turn to the posters on their bedroom walls for validation.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

CULTURE OF COMPLAINT. I see at the City Journal Andrew Klavan is calling for conservatives to reverse the noxious tide of our "culture" by getting into the arts racket:
Conservatives respond to this mostly with finger-wagging. But creativity has to be answered with creativity. We need stories, histories, movies of our own. That requires a structure of support—publishing houses, movie studios, review space, awards, almost all of which we’ve ceded to the Left.
I never tire of hearing this kind of thing, and am pleased to see Klavan, an accomplished writer, has gone beyond demanding Hollywood make his conservative art for him, and started to ask his fellow travelers to put their backs into it. The Liberty Film Festival site Libertas, which has long been on the right side of this issue (if of little else), responds affirmatively:
While conservatives won elections the last thirty-years, the left infested schools, universities, the entertainment industry, news media, and publishing. They understand politics follows the culture, not the other way around. Conservatives have done well grabbing back a piece of publishing and the news media, but have a long way to go with entertainment and educational institutions.
Of course there is a problem, and keen readers will have picked it up already: though these conservatives recognize the power is in their own hands, they still obsess on the blame they find in liberals for their (or the culture's) problems. In this way, to paraphrase Raging Bull, they defeat their own purpose.

It's odd, really. They went mad for the popular Knocked Up -- which I enjoyed myself -- but fail to notice that, first, that culture is a two-way street -- you can gain entree to the cineplexes faster with dick jokes than with propaganda -- and, second, that while the urge to remake the world is often a spur to artistry (especially among the young), it's not all that's needed.

That's also odd because we live in the age of indie. You can make music and movies on your laptop; you can publish your own books and magazines; you can even earn entree to mainsteam media with your blogging. The barrier to entry has never been lower. If you're an artistically inclined rightwinger, even if you sincerely believe that Oliver Stone and Susan Sarandon and other manifestations of The Man are trying to keep you down, you ought to feel pretty good about your chances. They let Zach Braff make movies: why not you?

But still the dull complaints are reiterated: the liberals run this, the liberals run that. To backtrack a bit on Klavan's essay, he says, after a gloomy rundown of cultural decay, "I hardly need mention the movies and TV shows that endlessly undermine notions of manly self-discipline, feminine modesty, patriotism, and all the rest." Why say this to budding conservative artists? It's a great incentive to political operatives, but to a guy with a camera or a palette or an urge to write novels, it's an invitation to put the cart before the horse.

Maybe there are some Bizarro Zolas out there who can take this bile and make of it engaging political works of art. But those are always rare, and, our consumer culture shows, more rarely appreciated by audiences. If the scene is as devoid of conservative practitioners as Klavan and Libertas presume, why not instead encourage them to the simple joys and salutary discipline of creation? Klavan gets published, and the Libertas writers are supposed to be in the movie business. Why are their writings on the subject devoted to how badly the deck is stacked against them?

I fear this represents a managerial approach to art-making -- guys at the top of the chain of command dictate the creative brief, and others further down are supposed to address it with appropriate copy and art direction. That works okay with advertising and commercial design, but except for rare occasions, that isn't going to move the art needle. Experience shows that it is more likely to piss off the really smart CWs and ADs.

Even in the old punk rock days, there was a scene before there were hundreds of 'zines and commentators telling everybody how much better the scene was than the crap the majors had to offer. Maybe they think Seth Rogen is Big Star or Lester Bangs or something. But, if they can't get a Zola, they ought to get at least get some Televisions, Ramones, and Talking Heads. I know they're out there, and could use a little support. Even when you're a critics' darling, art's a hard dollar.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

OCCAM'S RAZOR TO THE RESCUE. Andrew Klavan at City Journal:
The thing I like best about being a conservative is that I don’t have to lie. I don’t have to pretend that men and women are the same. I don’t have to declare that failed or oppressive cultures are as good as mine...

Of course, like everything, this candor has its price. A politics that depends on honesty will be, by nature, often impolite. Good manners and hypocrisy are intimately intertwined, and so conservatives, with their gimlet-eyed view of the world, are always susceptible to charges of incivility. It’s not really nice, you know, to describe things as they are...
Man, if I had a dime for every ill-mannered little shit who believed that the cold stares provoked by his bigoted drivel were proof of his incorruptibility and his hearers' intolerance... well, I might have enough money to be one of those little shits myself.

Klavan has overthought the sitiation. If he's not "the sort of person you want to be seen with," it's probably not because he's "the sort of person willing to speak the truth" about Muslims, poor people, etc.; it's probably because he's an asshole.

(Hat tip to Sven)

Sunday, May 07, 2006

"KILLIN' PIGS AIN'T KOSHER, SARGE!" "CAN THE WISE LIP, SLIBBERBERG!" Andrew Klavan wants Hollywood (conservative for "somebody else") to make movies that praise our War Against Whatchamacallit:
We need films like those that were made during World War II, films such as 1943's "Sahara" and "Action in the North Atlantic," or "The Fighting Seabees" and "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo," which were released in 1944...

...Though many of these pictures now seem almost hilariously free with racist tirades against "sauerkrauts," and "eyeties" and "Tojo and his bug-eyed monkeys," they were also carefully constructed to display American life at its open-minded and inclusive best.

Every roll call of Hollywood's U.S. troops seems to include a Ragazzi and a Donovan, a Hellenopolis, a Novasky, and a wisecracking Roth. "Sahara" even throws in the black "Mohammedan" Tabul, a Sudanese ally. This may have been corny, but it was also more or less realistic, and it depicted the war as a conflict between our lovably mongrel melting pot and the despicable Axis ideal of racial purity.
I really don't see what the problem is. The Fightin' Keyboarders have a film unit -- put them on the job.

I'll help! I've seen All Through the Night a few times, and have always wanted to work in that genre -- not on some silly modern version, but one in the old-fashioned style.

Okay, you mugs, here's the scenario:

Bugs Johnson, noted intenet wise guy, is taking a stroll around his subdivision with his colorful sidekick, Pixels. Bugs is no better than he should be -- he sells unlicensed assault weapons to local sporting enthusiasts -- but he's a good egg and won't do business with illegal immigrants. "I love this dirty township," he tells Pixels as they head over to the Park and Ride to make a drop.

But out of the 7-11 lurches one of Bugs' customers, "Protein" Goldstein, a curly-bladed dagger sticking out of his back. "Who done this to ya, Protein!" cries Johnson, cradling the man in his arms. Protein holds up five fingers, then expires. "Shalom, Protein," says a visibly moved Bugs. "When ya see Jesus, try not to act too surprised."

Pixels wants to get away fast -- the local security force has Bugs' number and would love to pin the caper on him. But Bugs knows what Protein's gesture was about: "Fifth columnists -- liberals!" He and Pixels dash into the 7-11 to grill the proprietor. "Listen, Gunga Din," cracks Bugs, "either you make with some names or I turn your sacred cow into ground chuck!" In a comical interlude, they spin the man by his turban till he exposes the perpetrator: Makos Mamamakoulis, whose souvlaki stand is actually a front for high internet treason.

Unable to go to the security force, Bugs and Pixels try to convince other local yeggs to help them nail Mamamakoulis.

"Listen, you yeggs," says Bugs, "This feta-munchin' Greek geek and his fellow-travellers are gonna blow this beautiful scam we call America sky-high!"

"Aw, that's baloney, Bugs," says "Crazy Dave" Horowitz, the local school's custodian. "As long as these liberals let me alone -- "

"Ah, but that's just it, Crazy Dave," says Bugs. "They won't let ya alone! They'll tell ya you're crazy, intolerant, and wrong! They'll use statistics, logic, even sarcasm!"

"Sarcasm!" says "Ole Perfesser" Reynolds. "Indeed?"

"Now you're gettin' it, ya hot-blooded Italian!" cries Bugs. "Alright, ya melting pot of mugs! I'm gonna kick me some liberal keyster! Who's with me?"

The crowd swings Bugs' way. "Sure and I'm with ya, me Bucko!" cries Peggy McNoonan, a clog dancer with a heart of gold. "If it's a donnybrook these doorty liberals want, they we'll be givin' it to 'em, yerra!"

"Pour some coffee down McNoonan's throat and let's shake a leg!" cries Bugs, and the gang rushes off to their computer desks...

(Alright, Klavan, ya wiley whatever-you-are -- over to you!)