Category Archives: Culture

Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and thinking about the future

…When the calendar actually caught up with the title of Kubrick’s film, 33 years after its release, the world looked little like the sleek one imagined by Kubrick and his team of technical wizards. That year was, in sombre fact, defined by a terrorist attack on the twin towers of the World Trade Center, which only broke ground halfway through the production of the film — another vision of the future that didn’t survive the brutal reality of actual history.

We are 17 years beyond the film’s “expiration date,” and the world doesn’t feel very futuristic unless you’re looking at the screen of your smartphone – the only piece of contemporary technology that matches or even exceeds the sort of thing dreamed up by Kubrick and his wizards back when phones had curly cables, TVs flickered in bad weather, a GPS was a map folded up in the glove box and people bought music on vinyl LPs. In some ways the world we live in often feels stuck in a circular loop spinning back as far as the time of 2001’sfilming, picking up detritus to recycle on its way.


Christie Blatchford: Mass killings are not new, but our violence-drenched society’s response is

“No one ever became famous by beating his wife to death in an alley,” wrote Elliott Leyton, the Memorial University anthropologist whose book, Hunting Humans: The Rise of the Modern Multiple Murderer, was first published more than three decades ago. It was updated in 2005.

Leyton’s point — and it’s complicated and thus not easily done justice — is that the mass killer is granted both a degree of celebrity denied the common man and a degree of affirmation, if not support, from the culture.


What’s Left to Say About Psycho?

I don’t know how many times I’ve watched Psycho (1960). As a teenager, I even watched it with subtitles, twice: On my Canadian province’s mandatory French channel, and then, in a Paris (yes) hotel room. It’s the only thing I remember about that entire trip. (I am a very strange person.)

I never found Psycho scary. I feel the same way about The Exorcist (which is basically just The Searchers with vomit) or most of the usual All Time Most Frightening Films.


Bette Davis Lies

My grandmother was a Bette Davis impersonator.

Not professionally, and barely amateurly, either: She only entered, and won, a single look-alike contest, well before my time. But previously, and forever after, she’d played up a natural resemblance — the eyes, of course, but also the less-remarked-upon nub-tipped nose — by styling her hair like Davis’ too: perilously side parted, raked stringently across, with an anti-climactic finale of stubborn, tiny curls. It helped that she was so short.

Hilariously — that is, if you watched FX’s mini-series The Feud, or have even a passing familiarity with pop culture lore — she named my mother “Joan.”


No Substitute for Total Victory

As the Left continues to spiral out of control — foaming, spitting, frothing in rage — it’s time to state the obvious: that in the battle for the soul of America, there can be only one winner. Either we retain as much as possible of the country-as-founded, including its national character, or we watch it “fundamentally transformed” into a “social democracy” of the kind envisioned by the adherents of Critical Theory, and brought to us courtesy of the Frankfurt School’s ideological seizure of academe. Although some might wish otherwise, there is no middle ground, no accommodation, no splitting the difference.


THE SINISTER DR. MARX: How Marxist-Consumerism Has Wrecked Christianity

“…The ideas of Marx also have won the “culture war” (something James Davison Hunter missed) by creating a mindset which encourages the West to abandon its own history, which is portrayed as an unending process of oppression — so much so that being Christian is no longer easy, because it’s trivialized as taste, or personal preference. Those people who claim Christian allegiance only do so within the logic of Marxist-consumerism, as they don’t know how to escape relativism. The common practice of Christianity is Marxism-compliant.”


Barbara Kay: The male crisis that’s ruining our boys and no one cares about

Father’s Day approaches and with it the opportunity to consider the importance of fathers to their children.

It is difficult to overstate both the positive effects of growing up with a father and the negative effects of father absence, especially for boys. These myriad benefits and perils are on record, undisputed and easily accessible. But in this gynocentric era, what is good or bad for boys does not seem to attract the interest of our cultural elites.

Boys are in crisis everywhere.


The More Young Men Are Bathed in Femininity, the More ‘Toxic Masculinity’ You Will See

One of the most ironic things about the constant “toxic masculinity” complaints that we hear these days is that we live in an overly feminized culture where most of the “toxic” males seem to have either been raised without fathers or claim to be adherents of feminism. The statistics on men raised without fathers are grim almost beyond belief.

Read on…


West goes south

Last November I was lucky enough to have been invited to the Sydney launch of the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation. John Howard was there. Kim Beazley was there. Canada’s former Prime Minister Stephen Harper was there. Much of the talk was about which Australian universities could be potential partners to run this program on Western Civilisation, and with a lot of money on offer plenty seemed very interested.

Now let me tell you that a good many people on the right side of politics were sceptical that this idea of running a degree program through an established Australian university could work for the Ramsay Centre. And they were sceptical for this simple reason. Australian academics, especially in the Arts and Social Sciences, lean massively to the left side of politics.


The Left And The Right Aren’t Hearing The Same Jordan Peterson

A New York Times Magazine hit piece says more about the mainstream media than it says about Jordan Peterson

Dr. Jordan Peterson, who has enjoyed a surge into fame over the past year, has become a bit like the Yanny and Laurel audio meme. People listen to what he has to say but disagree wildly about what they are hearing.

Some hear a man with important ideas that can help people live a more fulfilling life, others hear a dangerous misogynist who wants to set back the cause of liberated women, trans people, and the rest of the cast(e) of oppression. In a feature for The New York Times Magazine this weekend, Nellie Bowles clearly came down on the latter side.


Horvath Will NOT Have Alcohol Sold in Corner-stores

And that is why she will lose votes:

The current system of restricted retail beer and wine sales in Ontario works well and is socially responsible, New Democrat Leader Andrea Horwath said Saturday.

Campaigning in Thunder Bay, Ont., Horwath said there’s no need to allow convenience stores to carry the products — a perennially favoured if never-implemented idea that once helped propel the Liberals to office in the mid-1980s.

“I’m going to be straight up about it: I don’t think we need to have beer and wine in the corner stores,” Horwath said. “I don’t think this is a broken system in Ontario. I don’t necessarily think that we need to mess with it. It’s working fine for people.”

The prospect of liberalized sales surfaced during the June 7 campaign when Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford said he would allow corner-store sales of beer and wine if he’s elected premier.


Granted, alcohol being sold to children is a great concern but it is also a red herring.

Teen-agers are experimenting with synthetic drugs and are using prescription drugs they’ve taken from relatives. Are parents stepping in to stop this?

An LCBO (an approved alcohol purveyor) was once caught selling alcohol to a minor wearing a burqa. Is that “socially responsible”?

I find it absurd that the same party that approves of so-called safe injection sites and a sex ed program designed by a convicted child pornographer now decries the sale of alcohol anywhere but province-approved establishments “for the good of the children”.

A post-modern West that holds self-indulgence in any respect as the highest societal good has much bigger problems than where alcohol can be sold. If people raised their children well and didn’t drink and drive, where alcohol can be sold wouldn’t be a problem.



Japanese Least Offended by Eurovision Winner’s “Cultural Appropriation”


Once again, Japan comes out as the least offended when someone seemingly appropriates their culture.

The 63rd annual Eurovision Song Contest, perhaps the world’s largest example of humanity’s peculiar obsession with making music a competitive sport, came to a close last week. In the end it was Israeli singer Netta (Netta Barzilai) who took top honors with her song “Toy.”

Seems to me if she really wanted to co-opt Japanese culture, Netta ought to get 47 more singers and then set up a convoluted hierarchy based on sales of singles, all operating under a rigid behavioral policy similar to that of a 19th century schoolmarm.

But I could be wrong, so let’s go to the netizens of Japan for judgement.

“The millions of Japanese people with dyed hair must be laughing at this.”
“Westerners care too much about silly things.”
“Culture is meant to be stolen. If it’s not worth stealing, then it isn’t culture.”
“If people keep claiming ‘cultural appropriation’ then people will not touch our culture. Then, people will not understand our culture and it will be easier to become our enemy.”


Wasn’t this sort of thing fresh and original when Bjork did it? :


A Post of Great Import

I speak of a divide that has pitted brother against brother for years –  is “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” the stand-alone series of the franchise? :

Among Star Trek aficionados, debate is always lively about which show or movie is best. These arguments have been the basis of nerd-fights for decades and, as matters of taste, will never be resolved. But any serious fan of the world Roddenberry built must rank “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” as among the best incarnations of the Star Trek universe.

Part of what makes it so good is that it sidelines many of the themes that animated Roddenberry’s original creation. The original series and “Star Trek: The Next Generation” were both set in a post-scarcity utopia. After a destructive nuclear war, humanity put aside its baser instincts and evolved into the peaceful, open-minded people Roddenberry wished we were. Hunger was unknown, and money was eliminated. People in Starfleet served—for free—aboard immensely powerful warships that did not make war but explored the galaxy peacefully for pure scientific inquiry. They were also nearly all atheists.

Some of this world-building fell apart immediately. There was, for example, often talk of trade negotiations and occasionally “credits” were mentioned. It is natural that some of these elements from real society would creep back in because while humanity’s traditional motivations—money, sex, land, power, and religious disputes—lie at the heart of much human ugliness in the real world, they are also essential to good storytelling.

If everything in the United Federation of Planets is happiness and sunshine in a land of plenty, why even leave the house? With “Deep Space Nine” now available on Netflix, it is interesting to see how these ideas and plots have held up after 25 years.



Keep Your Mouth Shut

The blockbuster hit A Quiet Place is an allegory of American political culture.

John Krasinski’s new sci-fi thriller, A Quiet Place, has racked up big numbers at the box office. Fans and critics alike are intrigued by a movie about sightless creatures taking over the Earth. Using their super-acute hearing to hunt and destroy by sound, these deadly beasts have just about eliminated all resistance. Here and there, die-hard humans survive by maintaining total silence.