Kelly Jane Torrance

Kelly Jane Torrance is deputy managing editor at The Weekly Standard. She previously served as film critic of The Washington Examiner. Her work has also been published in, among other venues, the Los Angeles Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, San Diego Union-Tribune, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, New York Sun, and New Criterion. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from the University of British Columbia.

Stories by Kelly Jane Torrance

The Trudeau Restoration

Canada veers left.
Nov 02, 2015

Richard Nixon visited Canada just once during his presidency. He’s also been dead 20 years. But he was about the only person to correctly call last week’s Canadian election.

On April 13, 1972, at a state dinner in Ottawa, where he addressed Parliament and signed the Great Lakes Treaty, Nixon raised his glass to Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s 4-month-old son. “Tonight, we’ll dispense with the formalities. I’d like to toast the future prime minister of Canada: to Justin Pierre Trudeau.”

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Canada Leads on Opposing Iran Deal

4:32 PM, Aug 14, 2015

President Obama claims, as Bill Kristol noted in his editorial in the latest issue of THE WEEKLY STANDARD, that no country in the world has expressed opposition to his deal with Iran, with the exception of Israel. But that's not accurate. Canada, the United States' biggest trading partner—and, traditionally, its closest ally—has made it clear it wants no part of an agreement normalizing relations between Iran and the West.

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Back to Basics

The right way, and the wrong way, to begin the journey.
Jun 16, 2014

Charles Murray was invited to speak in April at Azusa Pacific University about this, his latest book. The event had been scheduled for months, but two days before Murray’s appearance the president of Azusa Pacific canceled it, writing to the American Enterprise Institute (where Murray is the W. H. Brady scholar) that “I realized we needed more time to prepare for a visit.” What had frightened the president? Advice to work hard, eschew the allures of fame and fortune, cover any visible tattoos?

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A Different Kind of Gas Shortage

The politics of helium
May 05, 2014

At a Harris Teeter in suburban Washington, what used to be Harry’s Balloon Corral is, to young eyes, disappointingly empty. The grocery store has posted a notice explaining why. Children accustomed to alleviating the boredom of the weekly trip to the supermarket with the serious task of keeping a helium-filled balloon from floating out of their reach aren’t likely to understand it, however. “Due to a national helium shortage, we are currently unable to offer Harry the Dragon balloons to our customers in training. We apologize for the inconvenience.”

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Alexandros Petersen, 1984-2014

Kelly Jane Torrance on The Most Interesting Man in D.C.
Feb 03, 2014

The last time I heard from Alex, he emailed from Kabul. “Our lengthy discussions about your trip to St. Petersburg were apt, because you are like Russia: a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” As was not uncommon with an email from Alex, I didn’t quite know what to say, so I didn’t respond right away. Then I lost the chance. Two days after he sent the note, Alex was dead. And I soon realized that Churchill’s famous words applied quite aptly to the man who’d quoted them.

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Keystone Kops

Sep 30, 2013

It's not often officials from the nation’s largest business lobby and an AFL-CIO-affiliated union speak to one another, let alone work together. But last week, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and North America’s Building Trades Unions held a joint press conference on Capitol Hill in support of the Keystone XL pipeline that would bring oil from Northern Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico. Nearby that same day, exactly five years after Trans-Canada Corp.

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‘Tempest’ for Moderns

Sandy was not the only storm to arrive in Manhattan.
Nov 12, 2012
New York
A premiere at the country’s foremost opera company always meets with a certain level of excitement. But the man in the orchestra section two seats past me became positively giddy as he scanned the program notes before the curtain rose on The Tempest late last month at the Metropolitan Opera. Read more

Letting the Rabble Off Easy

The Iranian Revolution, according to Ben Affleck.
Oct 29, 2012

Insight Hollywood

Won’t Back Down’s Lance Reddick has something to say, on- and off-screen.
Oct 15, 2012

Halfway through what feels like the usual interview with a Hollywood entertainer in town to promote a new work, I’m stopped short. 

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Freedom Fighter

Peter Lougheed, 1928-2012.
Oct 01, 2012

A cerebral law professor takes his progressive ideas into politics and inspires a personality cult that catapults him to the highest office in the land. Encouraged by the heady mixture of popularity and power, he makes an unprecedented move to abuse his authority. It guts the federalism on which his nation was founded—but who can stop him? One man: a brash lawyer who declared the region he led would go on strike before it would submit to unconstitutional bullying. 

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Desperate Democrats

Sep 10, 2012

A sea of signs proclaiming “We Built It” revealed the battle cry of last week’s Republican National Convention. We don’t need to wait for Los Angeles mayor and convention chair Antonio Villaraigosa to bring his gavel down in Charlotte on Tuesday to know the Democratic theme. It’s been clear for months: Republicans are waging a “war on women” and only Democrats can end it.

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There's No Such Thing as a Free Massage

Certainly not at the RNC.
3:24 PM, Aug 29, 2012

Our friends at the Washington Examiner reported briefly yesterday from the Huffington Post Oasis in Tampa:


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Music Man

Kelly Jane Torrance praises the Lord.
Aug 20, 2012

Jon Lord began life—his public life, that is—as a rock god. He ended it as a composer of classical concertos. The time I met him, both strands of his work entwined with memories of mine.

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Beware of the Media

2:45 PM, Jun 15, 2012

New York City
It's good to be reminded of just how big the disconnect can be between reporting and reality: Don't believe everything you read in your morning newspaper.

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A Mutually Beneficial Relationship

This White House and the fashion industry seem to have a symbiotic relationship – one in which each raises money for the other.
5:30 PM, Jun 14, 2012

New York City
The Obamas are here to attend two campaign fundraisers this evening. The most fashionable one is at the home of Sex and the City star Sarah Jessica Parker, who's known more these days as a fashion icon than an actress. Advertising for the event included a short YouTube video of Vogue editor Anna Wintour encouraging the sort of people with whom she normally wouldn't make eye contact to enter for a chance to win two seats at Parker's table.

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Criminalizing Dear Abby

9:32 AM, May 31, 2012

Some people take to Twitter and Facebook to voice complaints. Others use social media for the greater good, offering advice to the complainers. But that sort of counsel is illegal—at least according to one state agency.

The Institute for Justice yesterday filed a lawsuit against the North Carolina Board of Dietetics/Nutrition, alleging that the state board violated the First Amendment when it silenced a man who started a blog to spread the low-carb gospel.

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Two Theories of Invention

The great man vs. the beneficent government bureaucracy
9:33 AM, May 23, 2012

Who could resist reading a blog post titled, “How Thomas Edison, Mark Zuckerberg and Iron Man are holding back American innovation”?

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The Sendak-Singer Connection

1:18 PM, May 14, 2012

What do Maurice Sendak, Isaac Bashevis Singer, and Commentary magazine have in common?

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Portland Pounces On Groupon

Oregon city stopping citizens from saving money in tough times.
2:40 PM, Apr 26, 2012

As Ronald Reagan famously quipped, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I'm here to help.’” Portland, Oregon, though, really is here to help. The problem is that the city hasn’t created laws to benefit Portlanders—it’s created them to benefit one specific industry, at the expense of every consumer in the area.


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How Canada's Tea Party Fared at the Polls

Short answer: badly.
5:14 PM, Apr 24, 2012

If I ever doubted that reporters crave a good story more than almost anything else, my own reaction to the Alberta election last night would have reminded me of its veracity. Before the polls in the province were even closed, I had begun thinking about how I’d pitch a short piece about it to the bosses: Tea Party-like upstart gains power in one of Canada’s wealthiest provinces just a few years after its founding.

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TWS: Villain-Approved Reading Material!

7:41 AM, Apr 16, 2012

How do you indicate a character in a film is a villain? In these politically correct times, you can't just note he comes from a country whose leaders have declared "Death to America." It wouldn't work simply to make him a capitalist: Steve Jobs, who made pretty things, is different from Jeff Bezos, after all. And you certainly can't show him smoking -- not if you want to keep that PG rating.

The Farrelly Brothers have the answer: Show him -- sorry, her -- reading a copy of THE WEEKLY STANDARD!

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Institute for Justice Says IRS Is Breaking the Law

4:02 PM, Mar 12, 2012

Tomorrow, the Institute for Justice (IJ) will file a lawsuit against perhaps the most hated of all federal agencies—the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

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Pretty Woman

Kelly Jane Torrance talks Syria with a siren.
Mar 12, 2012


Everyone is talking about Angelina Jolie’s leg.

Her right leg, to be specific. The actress presented at the Oscars last week in a striking Versace dress with a thigh-high slit—and proudly stood so as to highlight her stunning gam.

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Is That All There Is?

Then let’s keep dancing, and watch history float by.
Nov 28, 2011

Some things are permanent

10:53 AM, Aug 17, 2011

It might be hubris for a writer to point out a typo made elsewhere. But when it's the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities making the mistake, it's irresistible. Perhaps the folks over there need some remedial English? This photo was taken on the metro this morning:

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Arts in the Afternoon: Illegalities

4:03 PM, Jun 24, 2011

A new Australian reality series is "sending six native-born Australians with differing views on immigration on punishing journeys that retrace the voyages of asylum seekers seeking safe haven in their country."

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Arts in the Afternoon: Freedom

4:06 PM, Jun 22, 2011

Finally some good news: Ai Weiwei has been released by Chinese authorities. The dissident artist had been detained for three months on charges the international community unanimously recognized were bogus. Weiwei told the New York Times, “In legal terms, I’m — how do you say? — on bail. So I cannot give any interviews.

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Arts in the Afternoon: Bells, Balls, and Bulls

12:31 PM, Jun 20, 2011

We all hate the sound of cell phones ringing during classical concerts. Master of the Queen's Music and composer Sir Peter Maxwell Davies has proposed a solution to what he calls "artistic terrorists": Fine them.

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Arts in the Afternoon: Testing, Testing

11:51 AM, Jun 08, 2011

Another call for the art community to stand up for Ai Weiwei: Philip Bishop says a little known online petition is not enough. Museums should be publicizing the detention of the artist by Chinese authorities front and center.

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Arts in the Afternoon: Sequels

2:00 PM, Jun 07, 2011

Katie Couric wants to be the new Oprah. She says her upcoming show will model itself after the queen of daytime. Though Couric wasn't big on specifics: "It’s gonna be topical, it’s gonna be live, you know, hopefully it will deal with various issues."

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