If you haven't already, go ahead and add Mark Steyn's latest column to your weekend reading assignments. This might be the ur-Steyn column in that the effervescent and witty prose makes the message that we are well and truly doomed palatable; it explains European politics in a concise and understandable way to us geographically isolated Yanks; and Steyn is yet again hammering home the message that culture is the source of the West's economic and political woes:
It appears increasingly likely that Senator Richard Lugar will not be the senior U.S. senator from Indiana when the next Congress is sworn in. After 36 years on the job, he is running behind in a tough primary. His opponent's main knock on Lugar is that he has been in Washington too long and been infected with the incumbency virus.
Rock 'n' roll may be here to stay, but the impresarios who brought it to us are only human. Bill Graham of Fillmore fame was killed in a helicopter crash in 1991. The two Dons, Kirshner of Don Kirshner's Rock Concert and Cornelius of Soul Train, died recently in their mid-seventies. Now, the “World's Oldest Teenager,” Dick Clark, has ceased being the world's oldest teenager, aged 82.
Did the baby boom wreck popular culture? “D’oh,” to borrow from the subject in question. On the other hand, consider the source. A generation ago was there anything with as much brains, sly cunning, human comedy, and broad public appeal as The Simpsons?
On Monday, the Wall Street Journal ran a special section reporting on the paper’s recent conference entitled “Women in the Economy: An Executive Task Force.” One of the taskforce members was Geena Davis, the Academy Award winning actress and more recently founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. The Journal noted that Ms. Davis, “has become an advocate of gender equality in children’s entertainment” and a critic in general of gender portrayal in film and in preschool programming.
I record with interest and, perhaps, a measure of surprise and sorrow a brief dispatch from the frontiers of culture—in this case, the hallowed precincts of the 92nd Street Y on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Suffice it to say that the 92nd Street Y is the sort of place where Charlie Rose might talk to Anna Quindlen before an appreciative audience, or Leon Wieseltier might interview himself. Culturally speaking, this is important business.
This week’s (October 31) issue of Parade offers the same garden of earthly delights—“Who Are You Calling a Cougar? Betty White Goes Wild,” “Peanuts at 60: Why We Still Love the Great Pumpkin,” Marilyn vos Savant, the world’s smartest woman—that have made it America’s most beloved Sunday supplement magazine.
A few months back I came across the trailer for I Want Your Money, an upcoming right-of-center documentary on the perils of big government and redistribution. Naturally, I was interested. The trailer made me laugh, which is more than I can say about most movies. Even better, according to today's Times, the CGI caricatures of prominent politicians were designed by an artist for MAD Magazine. What's not to like? Check out out the trailer:
America is evolving in a conservative direction. It’s now time for conservatives to catch up. That is the conclusion one might draw from a series of data points most recently highlighted in a chapter tucked away in Joel Kotkin’s new book, The Next Hundred Million. (Full disclosure: Kotkin is an adjunct fellow of the London-based Legatum Institute, where I work.) In the chapter, “The 21st Century Community,” Kotkin, a well-respected politically neutral demographer, provides some eye-catching facts and figures about American families that have significant political implications.