Category Archives: Culture

Christie Blatchford: New Zealand mass murderer is a product of our culture

…A central thesis of Hunting Humans, subtitled The Rise of the Modern Multiple Murderer, is that serial killers and mass murderers aren’t freaks or cultural outliers, much as people may wish them to be.

Rather, Leyton says, “they can only be fully understood as representing the logical themes in their culture — of worldly ambition, of success and failure, and of manly avenging violence … they can only be accurately and objectively perceived as prime embodiment of their civilization, not twisted derangement.”


The Cultural Reichstag Fires

Remember the Reichstag fire? It was perhaps the seminal event that sealed Germany’s fate as a socialist dictatorship before the Allies were finally able to pry that nation out of the jaws of Nazism in 1945 (although for the eastern portion of the country human dignity and freedom wouldn’t come for another 40-plus years thanks to Soviet imperialism).

If you’re not familiar with that event, the date was February 27, 1933. Adolf Hitler had been sworn in as Germany’s chancellor just four weeks hence, though his Nazi party was in an unstable position at the center of a coalition government holding a small plurality of 32 percent of the seats in the Reichstag — Germany’s parliament under its Weimar Republic. At the time Hitler had an agenda in mind to secure a much larger portion of the Reichstag’s seats in order to create a majority for passing an Enabling Act that would allow him essentially to rule by decree, at an election set for March 5.


Color and Politics

It’s not that easy being green, when I think it would be nicer being red, or yellow, or something much more colorful than that, even in a blue world alone. Certainly, most political parties agree even about green when choosing colors, as well as symbols, rosettes, and ties, officially or informally, to represent them or their point of view. Colors are part of the identity of parties, or of ways of life, as lavender and pink often refer to homosexuality, or gold to capitalism, or orange to Christian democracy, red to leftism and revolution, or blue to conservatism, except in American politics, or green for environmentalism, or black for fascist or Nazi policies, and now for ISIS. Shifts in color used by a party may reflect changes in policy. Some colors may be avoided: no party, for fear of being considered dull, is likely to adopt gray.


How Ideologues Captured the Canadian Publishing Industry

…In a 2018 Globe & Mail column, “CanLit Isn’t What It Used to Be,” critic Russell Smith noted that “humanities departments see themselves increasingly as having a revolutionary social-justice role that is just as important as—even inseparable from—their educational mandate.” Smith also noted that one of the reasons why CanLit has become so suffused with social-justice orthodoxy is that many writers can’t make a living on the basis of their published work, so they take jobs within bureaucratized (and often ideologically monolithic) universities, where faculty-lounge groupthink leaches into scholarship and art. My experience in the MPub program would seem to exemplify this trend.

Toxic leftists giving grant money to their toxic leftist friends. That’s all Cancon is.


What next for the populist revolt?

People have rattled the elites – now they need to go further.

…The best way to view the current populist moment is as a delayed response to the top-down cultural revolution that occurred in the Seventies. In that decade, new attitudes towards marriage, family life, relations between the sexes, the role of the nation and the meaning of citizenship came to be codified in many Western societies. By the beginning of the Eighties, new forms of cultural authority had been established by the political elites.


Are We Becoming a Low-Trust Society?

I went to the car dealership yesterday to get my yearly service and dreaded it. Each year, the experience gets a little worse. I asked for a loaner so I could do errands while I waited for my car and was promptly told to go out and get my insurance card from my car. It was raining so that was fun and then when I got back, an officious woman presented me with a form for the rental car with numerous signatures needed.


For Chinese, no escape from government control even when six feet under

Elaborate private funeral rites, which can last days with chanting monks, dancing strippers, and wailing mourners, are now banned in parts of Wenzhou, a southeastern coastal city of nine million.

Starting this week, wakes must be state-sanctioned. Families can choose from luxury, mid-range or discount government funeral packages. Even the number of floral wreaths in each mourning hall are now capped at five, and a new 24-hour funeral consulting service has launched for help on all things death-related, such as body transport and storage.


How to ‘Christine Blasey Ford-Proof’ Your Daughter

Frankly, the interest in the article shocked me. How can “be moral, don’t drink, and don’t blindly trust women” be so controversial? How can human nature be so hard to grasp? Why isn’t everyone asking how it’s possible that anyone #BelievesAllWomen? Lots of women lie, murder, steal, cheat, and all you have to do to verify that is read the news or any history book.


Heavy metal fans communicate like remote Papua New Guinea tribes, study finds

Heavy metal fans have evolved to communicate with each other like remote tribes in Papua New Guinea, a study by UCL anthropologists has found.

They have rules for behaviour in the front-of-stage “mosh pit” that are passed down by “elders”, there are gift-sharing rituals at concerts and dark cathartic music, which mirror rites among Papuan tribes that have changed little in 40,000 years.

Lindsay Bishop, a researcher, has spent 10 years studying heavy metal, the loud, pounding style of music that has grown from early followers of the band Black Sabbath in Birmingham into a worldwide culture with millions of fans in almost every country.


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.”