Showing posts sorted by date for query christian toto. Sort by relevance Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by date for query christian toto. Sort by relevance Show all posts

Wednesday, June 10, 2020


Big companies saying nice things about Black Lives Matter is okay but it doesn't mean a lot. A bunch of businesses on H Street NE here in DC recently covered themselves in particle board to guard against looters -- who never came, by the way; the looting was very limited here -- and the bigger ones wrote inclusive-sounding slogans on the boards, apparently as talismans to ward off vandals. They were all pretty anodyne, but the one on Starbucks was my favorite: "We Stand With You!" I think that speaks for us all, no? (Ben's Chili Bowl, not the original, just put an 8.5" x 11" flyer in the window that said "Black-owned business," LOL.)

So I think of telecoms and grocery chains going "Black Lives Matter" the same way; in the words of George W. Bush, there, you covered your ass.

I do find it encouraging that polls show citizens, despite a lifetime of copaganda and the bluster and bullying of our current authoritarian regime, think the cops don't have the right to beat up whoever they like and that the protestors have a point. And I enjoy the enraged howling response of conservatives who are used to getting all the white people to line up for them when they yell "law and order."

One of the funnier bits is the cop sob story "America, We Are Leaving" that wingnuts are passing around in which Captain Yates from the mean streets of Tulsa, OK has had enough, dammit, and is throwing his badge on the ground. And it's not just the protestors he's mad about; "Kids used to be taught respect and now it’s cool to be disrespectful," laments Yates; "...Parents used to get mad at their kids for getting arrested and now they get mad at us." And the language they use on TV these days! As for George Floyd, Yates says:
Doctors kill 250,000 people a year. They call them “medical mistakes” because society understands that they do a very difficult job under high stress and they must make the best possible decision in the moment.
So can't you spot the cops a certain number of murdered suspects? It’s only fair! Yates says he's been in 27 years, so his pension must be pretty fat. Vaya con Dios!

I shouldn't laugh -- it must be hard for conservatives at the moment, as the walls are closing in: even NASCAR won't fly their beloved Stars and Bars, HBO won't play (on one of its platforms, anyway) Gone With The Wind, and Paramount cancelled Cops. Now that the free market has forsaken their favorite totems, many have gone to the last refuge of a wingnut, cries of censorship and deplatforming. Christian Toto, one of my favorite culture-war clowns, predicts:
What’s next? The following list features films considered deeply “problematic” or sharing messages deemed untenable to the Modern Left. And make no mistake, it’s the Left tearing down statues, rioting nationwide and erasing history wherever it can... 
“Blazing Saddles” -- Cultural observers have had this Mel Brooks classic on their list for some time. The film liberally uses the “n-word,” features stereotypically gay characters and employs slurs now considered taboo. Brooks himself repeatedly tells us he couldn’t make “Blazing Saddles” today, a toxic reality all by itself.
See, if volume dealers decide not to stock works that celebrate the Confederacy, they're gonna "cancel" Mel Brooks! Toto probably doesn't get that the rest of us -- and I don't mean only liberals, I mean normal people -- enjoy Blazing Saddles because it's funny. And a big part of the reason it's funny (apart from pure skill) is not because of its abundance of n-words, but because it makes the racists that conservatives are currently clutching to their bosoms and weeping over like Stephen weeping over the dead Calvin Candie in Django Unchained look like, well...

Friday, December 23, 2016


Dan Hicks died this year, too, in case you needed 
another reason to hate 2016.

•  WWC whisperer Salena Zito has done very well for herself by going amongst The Common People, and reporting back to readers why they think Trump Rulez. Now at the New York Post Zito reports her conversations with jes' plain Trumpkins on an Amtrak train (a proletarian non-Acela one, for only elites take Acela), specifically "Audrey and Robert, a Virginia couple... heading to Montana to visit their daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren," and "Edward of Lancaster, Pa... traveling to see his mother and brothers and sisters in Fort Wayne, Ind." She doesn't say what they do for a living, but from the way they talk I'd say they're in public relations, possibly for the Republican Party:
“On Nov. 8 I went from a responsible, hard-working, upstanding citizen to an uninformed bigot who gleefully supports Russian interference in our elections and the destruction of our republic,” Robert said. “At least that’s what I have read in the newspaper or seen on television, so it must be true, right?” 
Edward smiled, paused, and then said, “It is refreshing to hear your candor, it’s gotten to the point where you are afraid to not only express your opinion, but to stand by your opinion. Yes, I supported him and yes, I would do it again.”
It is refreshing to hear your candor, too, citizen! Zito also talks to a Clinton supporter and guess what, she eloquently regrets her vote and that her party is/are blaming things:
“It astounds me that the press still doesn’t get it, that my party (Democrats) are blaming everyone but themselves for a poor message, poor messenger and the responsibility she bears for placing her email security in jeopardy . . . it’s not Comey’s fault. It’s hers,” said Elizabeth who was sitting in the booth across the aisle.
Elizabeth voted for Clinton, but wasn’t sure she’d do so again. “The way everyone is acting now post-election shows that no one, no one, has learned anything. She is just proving she deserved to lose"...
Zito concludes that "people, even those who supported Clinton, are tired of Trump’s win being blamed on fake news, the Comey letter and the Russians," so stop talking about the so-called popular vote and Trump's insane post-election behavior because the Voice of America (all four of them) has/have spoken. Give Zito credit -- at least none of these Real People were cab drivers.

•  At National Review, Christian Toto finds a new category of Your Article is Very Bias journalism:
If you think liberal media bias is strictly an issue for the New York Times and the Washington Post, you haven’t looked at your average entertainment site lately. 
Nearly every major Hollywood news site leans left. It has been that way for some time, but in recent years it has gotten worse. The improbable rise of Donald Trump is hastening that shift. And, in an age when pop culture plays an increasing role in our body politic, that matters.
People in the arts don't like Trump -- why, that's as big a shock as Guns & Ammo not liking Obama. What examples ya got, Chris?
[The Hollywood Reporter’s Daniel Fienberg] also referred to former Daily Show host Jon Stewart as “the most trusted man in comedy news.” Trusted? Sure, liberals trust he’ll echo their worldview. What about the other half of the country? Doesn’t Fienberg have a duty to consider them?

And then there’s the recent news that Adam McKay signed up to shoot a movie based on former vice president Dick Cheney. broke the story but failed to mention McKay’s political leanings.
Well, stop my presses! Toto never gets around to explaining why this "matters," except for the already-classic You-Elites-Must-Now-Be-Nice-To-Tumpkins routine ("try to learn something from the election results"). But I suspect Toto's article isn't really meant as an exposé anyway so much as a long-copy Position Wanted ad.  I've written several times about Toto's shit, and discovered him a true child of Zhdanov, specializing in attacks on movies that don't flatter his political prejudices. He bylines himself here as a "conservative movie critic," so despite his whinging about bias in arts journalism you know "balance" is not his shtick -- but he's probably praying it's what some stupid publisher thinks is needed in the back of the book, and that will get Toto on a major pub as Counterpoint for your Very Bias. Till then he traipses the same sad circuit as Mark Gauvreau Judge and other culture warriors. That Rupert Murdoch can't loosen his pursestrings and buy these guys some columns in his publications is a pity -- or maybe the tricksiest Bias of all!

Saturday, December 03, 2016


A day late, but I did it. Here, have some vintage live Black Flag for your trouble.

 I finally got into the National Museum of African-American History and Culture this week. It’s very much a typical, signage-heavy Smithsonian museum — long on curios, display cards, and uplift. At first I thought the slavery history galleries were a little too talky, and should have had some of the grim immersive effect of the U.S. Holocaust Museum. (I feel the same way about the National Museum of the American Indian, which always feels like it’s hiding something, genocide-wise.)  But then I noticed the place was packed, mostly with black families, and they were reading the history with great interest, so maybe they neither need not want to be smacked in the face with the horrors of slavery and segregation. To be fair, there are some coups de muséologie like the Emmett Till casket, and also images with quieter, more melancholy power; for example, a large wall projection of a photo of an Emancipation Day Parade in some city in 1905; a sea of black folk, neatly dressed but showing no sign of revelry or even celebration, seeming in fact somber, for reasons we are moved to imagine. And once you gets upstairs to the cultural section, all is bliss and wonder; special credit to whoever designed the groovy light boxes in the 70s-radical section. I take Steven Thrasher’s point about “respectability politics,” but it is on the nation’s biggest tourist strip, and you could do worse with four hours. (Oh, and like the American Indian Museum, the food is very good.)

•  I have to thank Steve M. of No More Mister Nice Blog (which you really should be reading, especially lately) for alerting me to the latest by culture-war clown Christian Toto appearing at the once-proud The Hill:
Film 'Miss Sloane' another reminder of Hollywood's liberal smugness
We warned you effete liberals, by our glorious election of The Leader, that we didn’t want to see anything but Batman vs. Superman vs. Wonder Woman’s Tits XVIIIVXI from now on, but you preemptively ignored us during the production cycle of this movie (or as you sissies call it “film”).
Now, the industry hopes a new film will change the public narrative on gun control. When will celebrities learn their one-sided sermons rarely change hearts or minds?...
Eventually Toto pretends to actually review the film and, surprise, says it’s bad on the merits, which is as may be, but clearly that isn’t why he finds it worth talking about because 1.) he’s Christian Toto 2.) he keeps sticking in talking points like “never mind that the National Shooting Sports Foundation recently revealed that women are the nation’s fastest growing group of gun owners,” and 3.) It’s in The frigging Hill, not Cahiers du Cinéma.
The film suggests most Beltway types want more gun control, but the gun lobby strong arms senators to make them do their bidding. Off screen, there are forces on both sides, each with its own resources and forms of persuasion. Like glossy Hollywood movies…
Like glossy Hollywood movies! From Hollywood! What a bunch of hypocrites.
Hollywood didn’t bother to ask why some Americans thought Trump, flaws and all, might be the change agent they craved. And “Miss Sloane” refuses to consider any NRA member’s arguments regarding the Second Amendment…
He seems to want advisory councils brought in to make sure the artistic product doesn’t challenge the Trumpenproletariat, at least not without an appearance by a raisonneur named Tistian Chroto to explain why conservatism rocks. In show biz they call these focus groups, and that’s how we get Batman vs. Superman vs. Wonder Woman’s Tits XVIIIVXI (in IMAX®!). Which I guess will be the ideal entertainment for the New Age.

•  As for the Carrier deal, you know what? First and foremost I’m happy for those guys who will get to keep their jobs. It sucks that many of the Carrier employees are losing their jobs and no one seems to give a shit, and that the propaganda Trump is making of it is probably a model for his general kleptocracy cover, and (most of all) that nothing about him and his factota suggests there’ll be anything like a policy that would generate better-than-subsistence-wage jobs for those hinterland honkies who thought voting for him was gonna fix everything. But in this round of winners-and-losers at least somebody who isn't a billionaire won something; also, we get to hear the hardcore wingnuts sputtering that it’s not real conservatism — and their Twitter followers snarling back at them. It's an ill wind that blows no one some laffs!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

IF ONLY HE'D BEEN AROUND WHEN THE DUKE MADE THE GREEN BERETS. I have sometimes wondered what happened to Christian Toto, a culture warrior whose nonsense but rarely comes to my attention. I see now that he has a website, at which appears his review... of the reviewers!

"Is ideology invading ‘Battle: LA’ reviews?" asks Toto. While admitting that saying the stupid-looking new film "isn’t perfect" is "like saving Julian Assange has trouble keeping secrets" (LOL, #TCOT!), Toto judges the real offense to be evil liberal film critics:
But perusing a few of the critical responses to “Battle” yields something else “wrong” with the film. It doesn’t march lockstep with some critics’ ideological fault lines.
Above and beyond the amazing gall of a kulturkampfer complaining about other people politicizing the arts (hey, at least these critics saw the films first!), it turns out Toto's selection is heavily padded. Here's Toto's bias example from the Washington Post:
Did somebody mention Iraq? “Battle’s” depiction of block-by-block urban combat against an implacable, enigmatic foe evokes Baghdad at its bloodiest. But director Jonathan Liebesman (whose background is in horror flicks) isn’t interested in allegory, nuance or social comment. He just wants to line up platinum-plated space-squids to be blown away.
The critic compares Marines doing an Iraq-style mission to Marines doing an Iraq-style mission. Propaganda! Also:
And Roger Ebert, an avowed liberal, hated the film so much he called anyone who disagreed with him an “idiot.”
An avowed liberal having strong opinions is a sure sign of treason. And Toto seems not to know that comments such as "the film is plainly cut from the mold of old-school military propaganda films and rejected 'Call of Duty' missions" are what we on planet earth call "jokes."

Taken all together, the message seems to be, "Liberals totes kept me out of the Film Society of Film Critics. I'll show them!"

UPDATE. Toto complains in comments. He thinks I was suggesting that he hadn't seen the film; the passage in question refers to the modus operandi of other conservative critics, which was perhaps unclear. Sometimes I neglect to explain my jokes for newcomers. Speaking of which, Toto continues:
Your example of a joke isn't a joke, it's a colorful way to express an opinion. Jokes are funny. This comment isn't.
It seems explaining the jokes wouldn't have helped in any case.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

IN THE GHETTO. There's a book out called I Can’t Believe I’m Sitting Next to a Republican! Christian Toto enthusiastically reviews it:
Nearly every field features liberals unwilling to consider “evil Republicans“ as peers. Conservative TV scribe Burt Prelutsky tells the author that liberals don’t “have to listen or discuss. They’re the good guys, and there is no other side"...

School administrators won’t leave their ideological perches, but it’s a parent’s duty to fight back if only to prevent the problem from worsening.

Conservative professionals not named Limbaugh or Hannity risk plenty by speaking plainly about their political ideas, according to Stein. Right-leaning psychiatrists get ostracized by their fellow doctors. Professors seeking the fast — or even turtle-like — track to tenure better plot out a Plan B.
I thought these guys were populists, yet they mainly discover prejudice against their kind while toiling in academia, TV, TV reviewing, and psychiatry. We also hear of the indignities they suffer in Hollywood and in journalism, and at "cocktail parties." There are no reports of abuse from sawmills and factories. Are they treated well in such places, I wonder, or have they just never been to them?

Toto concludes:
What Stein wants is a world where liberals respect conservatives enough to break bread with them without trotting out the “fascist” label. Sounds like a modest request, right?

We may be years away from such a place in society, if it ever comes to pass. But for now conservatives can take solace in the fact that they’re not alone. Stein does a credible job of illustrating precisely that with enough humor to cushion the pain.
I'm trying in vain to recall any equivalent tales of woe, book-length or otherwise, from liberals during the Reagan and Bush years. When Republicans ruled the earth, I'm sure a few of us must have felt misunderstood and isolated. Yet we never managed to make an industry out of complaining of it.

Of course, conservatives also complain when they hold power. The poet laureate of the style during the reign of W was Alan Bromley, who seemed never to go anywhere without encountering torrents of liberal abuse. Peter Berkowitz and the genius behind Mallard Fillmore have done some fine work in this vein, too -- but I better pull back now or we'll be here all night. (I will say that other authors in the genre find also that liberals like to beat up other liberals. What hateful people we must be! It's a wonder anyone talks to us, let alone votes for our candidates. Yet here we are.)

How this wallowing in victim status may effect their electoral chances I can't say -- though I do observe that nobody likes a whiner -- but it can't be good for their tender psyches.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

CULTURE WARS CONT. The Liberty Film Festival, a place where right-wing filmmakers can show their product and perhaps work out some deals, should be an encouraging development for those of us who believe in the marketplace of ideas. One may imagine that most Hollywood product advances a conservative agenda -- i.e., worship of money, status, and easy answers -- and still welcome the contributions of strong-minded folks who believe themselves to be advancing fresh concepts.

But from this Weekly Standard account, it sounds like another Republican pity party:
LIBERALS WHO FLOCKED to see Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 report that more than the film itself, they were exhilarated by the communal experience of sitting in an auditorium filled with likeminded people who all cheered and booed at the same things. So, too, but in reverse, at the Liberty Film Festival. Attendees loudly jeered whenever a liberal icon such as Bill Clinton or Ted Kennedy appeared on-screen, and they energetically applauded every on-screen Republican. "It was thrilling to be in an audience that would applaud when Ed Meese was on the screen," said Douglas Urbanski, a prominent producer and talent manager who appeared on the panel with Breitbart.

"It was very emotional. I had women coming up to me with tears in their eyes," co-organizer Murty told me. "There is an enormous public out there who feel their views have been despised, who've had their patriotism ridiculed," Murty said. "It was such a relief for everybody to have other like-minded individuals to talk to."
Poor conservatives, getting no respect from people they despise! These guys seem more interested in razzing their political opposition (two anti-Michael Moore docs played the Festival) than in actual artistic achievement. I haven't seen these movies, but even the Standard's sympathetic reporter had difficulty praising them ("As for the films themselves, they often seemed an afterthought. Many of them approached their subject-matter from an almost purely rational standpoint, trying to reason with their audience rather than to move them").

By and large conservatives seem to be falling back on their traditional strategy of harshing on works of art made by others. At OpinionJournal, Meghan Cox Gurdon decries the attitude toward abortion in the Alfie remake and in Vera Drake. Though she ends with a prayer for intercession by Mel Gibson, clearly Gurdon doesn't hold out hope for any big anti-abortion epics in the near future. She just wants us to know that our moviemakers are advancing an abortionist agenda.

It may puzzle the rational mind that anyone could believe that a nation which so recently returned right-wing Republicans to power has been brainwashed into fetuscide by a couple of low-grossing movies, but culture warriors have ever been about the counter-intuitive. At the Washington Times, the amusingly-named Christian Toto tells us that Lenny Bruce isn't funny. Now, I have not heard the recent Bruce collection that Toto claims is his only experience of the celebrated comic, and it's possible that judging Bruce by this is like judging Jimi Hendrix by "Crash Landing." And funny is more a matter of taste than just about anything else. But generally if you're going to go out on a limb and tell people that, say, Mozart isn't really so musical, you have to make some kind of case. Toto mainly says that Bruce's "references are dated" and that he was a very bad man ("an opportunist... proclaims his martyrdom, then uses it for marketing purposes"), and that Bruce reminds him of Howard Stern, whom he also dislikes. The summation is that "shock" humor will not last, etc.

One might think this is just a tin-eared review, but Toto's a credentialed culture warrior. Along with WashTimes he writes for the right-wing Insight and The World & I, where he can be seen praising events for Zell Miller and the Media Research Center (Lenny Bruce isn't funny, apparently, but Brent Bozell is a riot), the values-centered and short-lived sitcom "Kristin" ("It's a sad statement that when a sitcom character doesn't lie, cheat or engage in raucous premarital sex, she is treated like a creature from another planet"), the "Singles with Scruples" dating site, and other such approved subjects. (He does turn in some pans, e.g. of Chris Rock, whose "political rants too often skew predictably liberal and lack the incisive bite of his best commentary.") Since the days when John Podhoretz did movie reviews for WashTimes with a little meter indicating how conservatively-correct was each film on offer, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's publication axis has empowered agreeable arts critics to spread the gospel, and we may reasonably read Toto's Bruce review as part of that effort.

They run everything, but as long as someone's making fun of them, even from the grave, they will never rest.