In his notes for a review of Brideshead Revisited that he never completed, George Orwell remarked that Evelyn Waugh “is about as good a novelist as one can be…while holding untenable opinions.” Orwell puts it in the plural but identifies only one such opinion in Waugh’s Brideshead: His belief in God and assent to the doctrines of the Catholic Church. “One cannot really be Catholic and grown-up.”
While not defending Waugh’s Catholicism, Christopher Hitchens took exception with Orwell’s couching of Waugh’s accomplishment in a 2003 piece for The Atlantic. Waugh wrote “brilliantly,” Hitchens argued, “precisely because he loathed the modern world”—a loathing that preceded his conversion to Catholicism (and was used to great effect in Decline and Fall). What Hitchens missed in an otherwise entertaining look at Waugh’s satirical gifts was how Waugh’s Catholicism gave his loathing fuel and complexity.
One does not have to struggle to find a polemic about cultural decline that focuses on the art world. However, Sohrab Ahmari’s The New Philistines stands apart because it examines these questions on serious, philosophic grounds, avoiding the complaining tone of similar works.
Ahmari (who is a London-based editorial writer for the Wall Street Journal) has written a finely argued volume that does not focus so much on the rote messaging inherent in most modern art today. Rather, he shows how the left’s increasingly strict demands for ideological orthodoxy has led to a dearth of creativity and dynamism.
An Islamic State force of more than 60 fighters staged a terrorist assault on Kirkuk, Iraq, early Friday morning that claimed the lives of 12 electricity workers, six policemen, and a Turkmen family of seven.
Hillary Clinton’s campaign struggled to get their candidate to apologize for using a private email server as secretary of state, recently hacked emails reveal.
A few years before he became president, Ronald Reagan appeared on Firing Line. The topic of the January 13, 1978, episode of William F. Buckley Jr.’s long-running debate show were the treaties by which the United States relinquished the Panama Canal to its host country.
Reagan had been against the treaties for years, using them to catch up with President Ford during the 1976 GOP primary. And Buckley had been against them, too, until a visit to Panama changed his mind. What might first appear as a trivial issue at a time of economic stagflation and diminishing American power was in fact incredibly meaningful to large numbers of voters, especially conservative ones. “Certainly it was of major consequence in my own career as a conservative,” Buckley wrote later.
Jack Reacher was one of 2012’s more pleasant surprises. Written and directed by the Oscar-winning screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects, The Way of the Gun), this tightly scripted and surprisingly funny thriller featured a compelling, no-nonsense hero in the form of Tom Cruise’s Reacher and a surprising, chilling, Teutonic villain in the form of legendary director Werner Herzog. It may not have been high art, but it was damn fun.
A leading gun control group included adults in death statistics used in a media campaign about toddlers.
LAS VEGAS—I don’t know what I will be doing with my time four years from now. Maybe I’ll be in a house on the shore of Lake Superior writing a book that will sell modestly but receive glowing reviews. Maybe I will be playing pedal steel in a country-rock band. Maybe my family will move to Kenya. It is hard to say. Whatever it is, I hope it doesn’t include standing awkwardly in a loud and crowded room trying to ask people I dislike questions I know they can’t answer.
The congressional leader of a key House committee governing the use of technology announced on Thursday that Congress is taking unprecedented action to officially hold in contempt a computer company that supplied former secretary of state Hillary Clinton with her private email server, which has since been found to have contained classified information in violation of federal protocol.
The United States and South Korea are deepening defense cooperation amid continued nuclear and missile provocations from North Korea.