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James Bowman's Articles, Movie Reviews and Diary

Last Build Date: Sun, 18 Mar 2018 09:00:45 EST

Copyright: (c) 2004,

Lady Bird

Tue, 06 Mar 2018 00:00:00 EST

A delightful and not entirely politically correct movie about growing up as a Catholic schoolgirl in 2002-2003

Entry from March 1, 2018

Thu, 01 Mar 2018 12:36:00 EST

As a Second Amendment sort of guy, I worry that President Trump’s fundamental pragmatism has led him to abandon — or, at yesterday’s White House roundtable to think of abandoning — his fellow Republicans over gun-control in the face of the media-promoted moral blackmail by teenage survivors of the Valentine’s Day massacre at Parkland, Florida. If so, the prospective flip-flop may owe something to the President’s being spooked by the same poll that so exercised Rush Limbaugh a few weeks ago and that purported to show Mr Trump’s approval rating among the so-called Millennials is only 18 per cent, as compared to

Methods of Madness

Wed, 28 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

Donald Trump may or may not be crazy, but he is certainly driving the media crazy -- From The New Criterion of February, 2018

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

An occasionally amusing parable of guilt and forgiveness whose setting in small-town America, like the prejudices of its author, does it no favors

Darkest Hour

Tue, 06 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

Despite some stirring moments, and a fine performance from Gary Oldman, the movie gets its portrait of a war leader wrong

Putting Down the Big Dog

Wed, 31 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

On the media’s cynical re-appraisal of the Bill Clinton sex scandals they once dismissed as unimportant — From The New Criterion of January, 2017

New directions in scandalology

Sun, 31 Dec 2017 00:00:00 EST

On the usefulness of the concept of "intersectionality" to produce scandal, or eliminate it, according to the media’s requirements — From The New Criterion of December, 2017

Othering Whites

Mon, 04 Dec 2017 00:00:00 EST

Misfits, morals, and bourgeois norms — From The Weekly Standard of December 4, 2017

Entry from December 1, 2017

Fri, 01 Dec 2017 13:41:00 EST

A propos of the media’s on-going épuration légale of sexual malefactors in their midst, thoughtful articles in the mainstream media themselves are beginning to appear, like crocuses opening up in spring while still half buried in snow, which propose, or at least imply, that — in the words of one of them for the Washington Post by Christine Emba, former Hilton Kramer fellow at The New Criterion — we "rethink sex." What at first glance may seem to be one such has popped up in the "Fashion & Style" section of yesterday’s New York Times. In "Pinups in the Post-Weinstein World" Vanessa Friedman wonders

Spate of Hate

Thu, 30 Nov 2017 00:00:00 EST

Is it "outrage" that America’s media, both amateur and professional, are addicted to? Or is it self-righteousness? — From The New Criterion of November, 2017

Entry from November 20, 2017

Mon, 20 Nov 2017 11:10:00 EST

The cynicism is breath-taking — which must mean that it is quite unconscious. That’s what the hyper-partisanship of our government-by-scandal media culture has done to its most enthusiastic participants. Just look at the column in The New York Times by Michelle Goldberg headed: "I Believe Juanita." In this #MeToo moment, when we’re reassessing decades of male misbehavior and turning open secrets into exposes, we should look clearly at the credible evidence that Juanita Broaddrick told the truth when she accused Clinton of raping her. But revisiting the Clinton scandals in light of today’s politics is complicated as well as painful. Democrats are guilty of apologizing for Clinton when they shouldn’t have. At the same time, looking back at the smear campaign against the Clintons

The Florida Project

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 00:00:00 EST

A child’s-eye view, and therefore a rather amusing treatment, of social pathologies that are, in reality, not at all amusing

Entry from November 7, 2017

Tue, 07 Nov 2017 17:49:00 EST

Here are the first five headlines in this morning’s Washington Post e-mail, itself headed "Tuesday’s Headlines": "The Air Force says it failed to follow procedures, allowing Texas church shooter to obtain firearms," by Alex Horton; "Devin Patrick Kelley had a violent past, records indicate," by Eli Rosenberg and Wesley Lowery (that was the click-through headline; the one on the e-mail was "Gunman had hurt people and animals years before mass shooting");

Right side vs. white side

Tue, 31 Oct 2017 00:00:00 EST

History is history no more, unless it is in the service of some ideology — From The New Criterion of October, 2017

Entry from October 25, 2017

Wed, 25 Oct 2017 09:49:00 EST

Sunday’s New York Times ran a piece by Michael D. Shear headed: "Political Guardrails Gone, a President’s Somber Duty Skids Into Spectacle." It was a typical Times hit piece against President Trump of the kind the paper now runs multiple times every day, but for a brief moment it tried to raise its eyes above the gutter to take in a larger view of our political culture. In this acid political climate, "argument turns too easily into animosity," former President George W. Bush observed on Thursday, in a speech that seemed tailor- made for the week in which he delivered it. "Disagreement escalates into dehumanization." In other words, both the former President and Mr Shear see the difference between argument and animosity and disagreement and dehumanization as one of degree,

Entry from October 13, 2017

Fri, 13 Oct 2017 13:18:00 EST

"For Trump, the Reality Show Has Never Ended." So The New York Times, forever behind the curve, headlined an article by its reporter Peter Baker the other day. Trust The New York Times to report as "news" what everybody on the planet has known since at least January 20th of this year and most of us have known since well before that time. It’s not that they don’t know we know this, of course, still less that they are just waking up to the fact themselves. It’s that Mr Trump seems to have driven them literally crazy — crazy in the sense that they keep doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. For the "reality show" trope is one that has often come up in the media generally and The New York Times in particular over the last eleven months. As long

Brad's Status

Thu, 12 Oct 2017 00:00:00 EST

Ben Stiller is at his best when playing unlikeable characters. He shouldn’t be trying to soften them and make them more likeable.

Decency for Deplorables

Sat, 30 Sep 2017 00:00:00 EST

Only the media could fail to see the comedy in their setting themselves up as the arbiters of decency

Entry from September 28, 2017

Thu, 28 Sep 2017 10:36:00 EST

As is so often the case, Mark Steyn had the best and most trenchant take on the NFL’s collective kneeing of its former patrons and supporters. He cites Lord Moulton’s division of the rhetorical universe into the domain of freedom and the domain of the law with a vast middle ground between them occupied by — or formerly occupied by — the domain of manners. Manners, that is, are a kind of law that we impose on ourselves for the purpose of living on amicable terms with our neighbors. On this view of the matter, both the boorish players on one end of the continuum and the brutish Donald Trump on the other end, with his proposals to enforce good manners on the players, are guilty of encroachment — that’s a five yard penalty, I believe — on the domain of manners. It’s all perfectly true, of course, but there is a certain inequality between

Entry from September 19, 2017

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 20:12:00 EST

If, like me, you don’t bother reading New York Times editorials on the grounds that you already know what they are going to say on any given subject, you may have missed one over the weekend that was headed: "Morality Is Negotiable for Mr Trump." Of course this one is no less predictable than the rest, but the headline caught my eye because it so perfectly summed up what is wrong with our politics, as well as our journalism. Both, that is, are crippled by the left-wing tactic of removing things from the political arena where they are, ipso facto, subject to negotiation and depositing them instead into the realm of morality, where they suddenly become matters of principle on which there can be no compromise. A highly desirable knock-on effect of this technique is that anyone who does not accept the alleged principle as such, or who treats it as