BOOKS & CULTURE

Books & Culture

‘The Weight’ Worth Waiting For

The 50th anniversary performance of “The Weight” is universal not only in the diversity of the performers and their instruments made possible by technology. It reflects as well the universality of the Christian promise of Easter, one of repentance and renewal.

ast fall, this remarkable 50th anniversary video recording of Robbie Robertson’s 1969 hit song, “The Weight,” dazzled viewers with its international cast of performers. Easter inspires further exploration of the religious depth of the country lyrics. Canadian Robertson has long been fascinated by the South, with its heritage of the Bible, tragedy, ancestral ties, and […]

Books & Culture

A review of “America’s Revolutionary Mind: A Moral History of the American Revolution and the Declaration That Defined It,” by C. Bradley Thompson (Encounter Books, 584 pages $32.99)

Was the Revolution About Reason?

What Thompson evidently wants to do is substitute his Enlightenment natural right epistemology for that of Tocqueville, and withal his own Enlightenment rationality for the theological-political unity Tocqueville struggled with.

he book’s intricate title, America’s Revolutionary Mind: A Moral History of the American Revolution and the Declaration That Defined It, enlists readers into the spirit of revolution. It appeals to thirsty intellects and to those who long for noble actions, with its careful reading of profound documents and appreciation of monumental actions, thus asserting the […]

Books & Culture

Bronson’s Appealing ‘Cold Sweat’

A solid, suspenseful story that moves more slowly than today’s crime dramas but is all the better for it by allowing for appropriate attention to the ethical conflicts.

’ve been watching Charles Bronson movies lately. I have no explanation for this extraordinary activity, except that a couple of them showed up on cable, which prompted me to explore some of his other movies on Amazon Prime. I had already seen most of Bronson’s crime films from the 1970s onward, but some lacunae remained. […]

Books & Culture

A review of “Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker” (Netflix, 191 minutes, TV-MA)

Netflix and Learn: The Woman Who Should be on the $20 Bill

The story of Madam C.J. Walker is inspiring, motivating and definitely binge-worthy. And, for older kids currently out of school, it’s a great history lesson they likely wouldn’t ever hear in a classroom.

oronavirus binge-watching these days doesn’t need to be limited to guilty pleasures like “The Mandalorian” and “Tiger King.” On Netflix, the new miniseries “Self Made” tells the compelling, true-life story of Madam C. J. Walker, who should have been the hands-down favorite to be the first woman whose portrait would grace American paper money. Unfortunately, […]

Books & Culture

A review of “Power and Purity: The Strange Origins of the Social Justice Movement,” by Mark T. Mitchell (Regnery Gateway, 256 pages, $26.99)

Nietzsche, Narcissism, and the Left

Today’s social justice warriors are sick people, but they are sick in a way that is much deeper and more disturbing than Power and Purity imagines.

n Power and Purity, Mark T. Mitchell argues that today’s Left is a combination of two seemingly opposing forces: the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche and the intolerance of the Puritans. Take Nietzsche’s will-to-power and his rejection both of Christianity and of other supposedly “outdated” moral standards and mix that with the thunderous zealotry of Cotton […]

Books & Culture

Tragic Affairs of the Human Heart

In Fritz Lang’s “The Woman in the Window,” Edward G. Robinson shines as an academic, yearning for passion over his life of silent desperation. But, as his character reveals, there is always a cost for such untamed desire.

he human heart is sometimes fickle. Hidden desires come out uninvited and, sometimes, human beings can become slaves to them. If a desire is hidden and suddenly reveals itself, most often as a kind of forbidden fruit, it’s usually a good indication of direction one should not go. There is always a voice of ethics […]

Books & Culture

A review of “The Age of Entitlement,” by Christopher Caldwell (Simon & Schuster, 352 pages, $28)

The Myth of Civil Rights

Agree or disagree, the rage that Christopher Caldwell identifies isn’t going away.

hat was the 2016 election really all about? In one version, Donald Trump’s rise was an awakening of bigotry, of nostalgia for the days when Americans were mostly white, women knew their place, and gays lived in the shadows. But there is another way of telling this story. It is one in which Americans who […]

Books & Culture

Psyche, Soul, and ‘Cedarwood Road’

It is only in middle age that we can begin to break free from the forces that shaped us.

een thinking about life and mortality today. I’d rather die gloriously in battle than from a virus. In a way it doesn’t matter. But it kinda does.” That was the tweet sent out recently by Representative Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), who was one of an untold many exposed to the novel coronavirus at this year’s Conservative […]

Books & Culture

‘The Hunt’ Deserves to be Seen

“The Hunt” is likely to join a long list of neglected movies—but it doesn’t have to.

onservative movies just cannot catch a break. If it isn’t one thing it’s another. “The Hunt” came out on Friday the 13th—right as the coronavirus panic kicked into high gear. The theater was sparsely occupied. “The Hunt” starts with a text between an unknown group of people, one of them insulting the president, followed by […]

Books & Culture

A review of “I Still Believe” (Co-directed by Andrew Erwin and Jon Erwin, Rated PG, 115 minutes)

‘I Still Believe’ and the Maturing of Christian Film

It’s a high-water mark and a bid for the mainstream from a faith-based film industry that has produced uneven product in its several decades coming of age.

Still Believe,” the new film by directors Andrew and Jon Erwin, represents a high point of the Christian film industry. Faith-based films have been hugely successful in recent years, even if they haven’t attained the aesthetic excellence of more secular films. With the beautifully shot, smartly edited, and wonderfully acted “I Still Believe,” that has […]

Books & Culture

By News Alone?

We cannot win the culture war by responding to the Left’s narrative. We need to create our own narratives.

hile attending CPAC last month as part of the John Batchelor Show’s panel, “Everything You Didn’t Know About Russia-gate But Were Afraid to Ask,” I had a chance to duck into the main room to catch part of a performance of “FBI Lovebirds: UnderCovers.” Produced by conservative filmmaker Phelim McAleer, the play revolves around the […]

Books & Culture

Resisting the Totalitarian Power of Politicization

The child who reads and cherishes The Lord of the Rings will have more of substance to say about how we should live than will the child brought up on political doggerel.

eople who live in the post-totalitarian system,” wrote Vaclav Havel in The Power of the Powerless, “know only too well that the question of whether one or several political parties are in power, and how these parties define and label themselves, is of far less importance than the question of whether or not it is […]

Books & Culture

Orson Welles and the Search for Justice in America

“The Stranger” speaks to our own human choices. It speaks of what we wish to see and what we desire to remain hidden.

hese days in America there’s not a lot of regard for justice as a concept. Instead, we have an unwanted “gift” of social justice—a bland ideology that doesn’t really care for the truth or even for the actual marginalized and forgotten people it claims to champion. Without slipping into some strange nostalgia, it would seem […]

Books & Culture

The Rule of Our Sophisticated Suckers

Modern art and architecture says “You will like this  because it is for your own good, although you are too stupid to see it.” But some people do not have to be cowed into submission. They are the suckers of the age.

Books & Culture

Scent of a Woman: Part Deux

The best work of one Academy Award winner may be behind her.

Books & Culture

Prayers for Rush Limbaugh

When Rush’s formerly-nicotine-stained fingers pass the torch, we must aspire to carry it as diligently, as unashamedly, and as merrily as he has.

Books & Culture

Homily for Romney

Books & Culture

A review of “Marriage Story” (Directed by Noah Baumbach, R, 136 minutes, Netflix)

‘Marriage Story’ Is the Perfect Movie for Our Narcissistic Time

“Marriage Story” doesn’t deal with its fraught subject in a mature way. It soothes with the message, “no judgment.” But is that really what America needs to hear?

Books & Culture

A review of “The Age of Illusions: How America Squandered Its Cold War Victory,” by Andrew J. Bacevich (Metropolitan Books, 256 pages, $27)

The End of the End of History

In the end, the most fervent believers in the god that failed were anti-Communists. They failed to anticipate the end of Soviet Communism.

Books & Culture

Queen Elizabeth Beats Hollywood and the Stumblebum Sussexes

Once upon a time, a dolt from Tinseltown imagined she was a match for the queen of England.