Meanwhile, hip-hop artist Kanye West is promoting his own new music video. He seems to be having sex with his girlfriend Kim Kardashian while riding a motorcycle. If you did not know that Kanye West was the singer of the background music, by the quality of the lyrics and beat, you might think that a fourth grader was spewing rhymed obscenities, in the fashion that Gaga and Cyrus make up with obscenity, both spoken and visual, what they lack in musical, dance, and artistic talent.
In the two-second attention spans of our app culture, a bare nipple, a potty-mouth obscenity, or a multimillionaire’s flippant reference to a “ho” earns followers and thus big money in a way that even once cutting-edge Elvis Presley’s melodies or an against-the-grain Van Gogh impressionistic painting or a T.S. Eliot poem could never quite seem so shockingly profitable. Continue reading “A Culture in Ruins”→
An older generation used to call the boredom of bad habits “reaching rock bottom”; the present variant perhaps is “jumping the shark” — that moment when the tiresome gimmicks no longer work, and the show is over. Continue reading “Miley Cyrus and Ugly Sex”→
In the early 80s my mom and her sister dropped by our condo while my wife and I were watching Payday on HBO. (If you’re unfamiliar with this movie and Rip Torn’s brilliant performance, just think Crazy Heart for grown-ups.) They happened to come in during a scene in which Rip Torn’s girlfriend is sitting up in bed bare-breasted. The ladies, Italians raised Catholic in rural California during the 30s, looked at the screen, looked at each other, and simultaneously said in a shocked voice, “Whaaa?” Continue reading “How Hollywood Has Ruined Sex”→
Although information is still too sketchy to draw any comprehensive conclusions (other than that the Boston killings are not, as recently suggested, fall out from sequestration, the NRA, lack of gun control, climate change, right-wing tea-party zealots, etc.), there emerges a familiar profile to the suspects that we have seen before. Continue reading “The Islamist Pull”→
William Shawcross, the British journalist, historian, and human rights advocate — once a fierce critic of the Nixon-Kissinger years, now a defender of the West’s struggle against radical Islam — has written the best book yet on the dilemmas Western governments face in dealing with Islamic terrorists.1 Continue reading “The American Way of War”→