January 16, 2011 |
You think too much. And you're not alone. Everybody's thinking too much. We live in an era in which it is important to have opinions. Not necessarily smart or original ones; almost any opinion will do as long as it's forcefully expressed. When it comes to opinions, we're all living in an intellectual Costco, where it's volume, volume, volume. It wasn't that long ago that opinions were something carefully considered and weighed, so that they'd stand the test of time and reflect well on the author.
October 24, 2010
"Give Us Liberty: A Tea Party Manifesto" by Dick Armey and Matt Kibbe (William Morrow: 266 pp., $19.99) "History," explain Dick Armey and Matt Kibbe, "teaches us that nothing could be more American than protest. " In this book, they connect that spirit of protest with the "tea party" movement, which Kibbe (chief executive of the smaller government advocacy group FreedomWorks) defines as being "built on a coherent, unifying set of values ? that go back to the revolutionary traditions of our founding as a nation.
September 25, 2011 |
Oscar-winning documentary maker Michael Moore, 57, explores his early years as a provocateur-in-training in his new autobiography, "Here Comes Trouble: Stories From My Life. " The book is mostly about your early life and it ends at the beginning of your filmmaking career, which is how most people know you. Why is that? That will come in a future volume, the things I've experienced in Hollywood, the films and all of that. But I wanted to write a book of short stories that were just good reading, and I thought I've never seen a book of nonfiction short stories.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 2, 2011 |
The arrival of the new year is traditionally an occasion for making predictions ?- often faulty ones, if an expert is doing the crystal-ball gazing. In 1931, for instance, The Times asked several prominent individuals to guess what life would be like in 1981. Sir Oliver Lodge, a British physicist, declared that "science and religion will be completely reconciled and we will be communicating with our departed dead. " Carmaker Henry Ford saw a society in which poverty was "no longer a reality.
November 10, 2009 |
Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan demonstrated many things when he allegedly committed treason in the war on terror. For starters, he showed -- gratuitously alas -- that evil is still thriving. He demonstrated that being a trained psychiatrist provides no immunity to ancient hatreds and religious fanaticism, nor does psychiatric training provide much acuity in spotting such things in others. For example, the London Telegraph reports that, in what was supposed to be a medical lecture, Hassan instead gave an hourlong briefing on the Koran, explaining to colleagues at Walter Reed Army Medical Center that nonbelievers should be beheaded, have boiling oil poured down their throats and set on fire.
December 1, 2010 |
There really is nothing quite like a gifted politician on the make, but even in such fast company, Sarah Palin really has to rank as a force of nature. Along with her ally-of-convenience, the Fox News personality Glenn Beck ? certainly the most gifted electronic demagogue since Father Coughlin in the 1930s ? she has adroitly used the full panoply of contemporary media to position herself as a leader of the populist surge reshaping Republican politics. Like Beck, Palin is a multiplatforming powerhouse, a presence on cable news, reality television, on social media ?
November 6, 2009
Re "GOP victories send message to Democrats," Nov. 4 I'm not quite sure what there is for the GOP to celebrate. While the GOP gained two governorships, two Democrats won seats in the House, where they are likely to vote with the Democratic majority. And while the GOP can try to point at the governors as something positive, Republicans should be looking over their shoulders at the two reasons they didn't gain in the House: Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck. Had there been no input from either, I think the GOP would have won the seats.
October 29, 2010
If cable comedian Jon Stewart gets more people to show up at his rally in Washington on Saturday than Fox News host Glenn Beck attracted to his event in August, does that make him a bigger deal? Will Stewart energize young, urban liberals the way Beck and other right-wing pundits have inspired elderly conservatives? And should anybody outside the relatively narrow fan base of these TV entertainers really care? These are the questions that academics, pundits and political junkies are wrestling with this week as Stewart gears up for his "Rally to Restore Sanity," a joint event with cohort Stephen Colbert that is expected to attract thousands of participants at the National Mall.
June 10, 2010 |
As with backstage conversation of any sort, there's a lot of showboating and petty complaints on Showtime's "The Green Room With Paul Provenza." This being a gathering of comedians, there's also plenty of the outrageously offensive — as Provenza, director of the notorious dirty joke film "The Aristocrats," invites viewers to his show, he warns those who "have ever been offended by anything" to stay away. But for every story that peters out, there are moments of insight, thought-provoking debates and hilarious anecdotes.
October 4, 2011
Ken Burns opened the tap and poured some big ratings for the first night of his PBS documentary "Prohibition. " The first episode Sunday night averaged 3.9-million viewers, according to Nielsen. PBS estimated that at least 7.6-million viewers saw at least six minutes of the first installment of the three-part, 5½-hour program. Those are giant figures by PBS' usual standards, reflecting the power of Burns to draw a large audience. But they are small by commercial broadcast yardsticks and also lower than for some of the filmmaker's past multi-part projects.