Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
The Hollywood stuntman doesn’t want to follow in his idol’s footsteps so much as rocket above them — over a gaping canyon, no less.
“Evel took off on one side of the canyon in 1974. I’m hoping his spirit lands on the other side of the canyon in 2016. How many people get to fulfill the dreams of their hero? It’s kind of like touching Superman’s cape.”
— Stuntman Eddie Braun
Evel Knievel‘s iconic launch, Take II.
Eddie Braun, fueled by the memory of the late daredevil, plans to strap into a steam-powered rocket cycle on Sept. 17 for his most death-defying role yet: Replicating a launch over the Snake River Canyon in Idaho that almost cost Knievel his life four decades ago.
“With this re-creation, it is my intent to clear his name and tell his amazing story. I like to think that instead of looking up at the rocket launch, he and Evel will be looking down on it, and that’s a much better view.”
— Scott Truax
Braun named his rocket “Evel Spirit ” after his boyhood hero. It’s nearly identical to the model Knievel used for his failed canyon attempt on Sept. 8, 1974. Braun wants to prove Knievel could’ve made it had his parachute not prematurely deployed.
Along for the ride in this endeavor are two sons eager to complete the legacies of their fathers: Kelly Knievel, who was present the day of the crash, and rocket designer Scott Truax, whose dad constructed the original rocket cycle for Knievel.
Ready, set, and (gulp) launch.
“Evel took off on one side of the canyon in 1974. I’m hoping his spirit lands on the other side of the canyon in 2016,” said the 54-year-old Braun, who says he completed the necessary paperwork and will launch a few miles away from Knievel’s original site that’s near Twin Falls, Idaho. “How many people get to fulfill the dreams of their hero? It’s kind of like touching Superman’s cape.”
Braun has long been fascinated by everything Knievel, the popular figure who attempted so many memorable motorcycle jumps over an iconic career:
— The fountains at Caesars Palace in 1967 (crashed, crushed pelvis and femur)
— 13 buses at Wembley Stadium in London in 1975 (crashed, broke pelvis and back)
— 14 Greyhound buses at Kings Island theme park in Ohio in 1975 (success).
— A 90-foot tank filled with sharks in 1977 (crashed on landing ramp during rehearsal, broken arms)
And, of course, the Snake River Canyon attempt. Wearing his patriotic jumpsuit, Knievel was the epitome of cool and calm.
Soon after takeoff, his parachute deployed and halted the rocket’s momentum. Watching that day was son Kelly and the rocket’s designer, Robert Truax, who put a comforting arm around Kelly as the cycle drifted into the canyon.
Knievel walked away with only minor injuries.
“He flipped a coin with his life and came out alive,” explained Kelly Knievel, whose father died in 2007 at 69 after suffering from diabetes and pulmonary fibrosis. “My dad certainly had nine lives, didn’t he?”
Just before the attempt, the daredevil landed on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Just after, his celebrity status was only cemented. Read the rest of this entry »
[VIDEO] Jonah Goldberg with Bill Kristol: Trump’s Candidacy, Conservative Exile, and ‘Liberal Fascism’ RevisitedPosted: July 18, 2016
‘The Newsletterist of Our Time’. My favorite part appears at 1:16:03 – 1:32:20, where Jonah discusses some important books and essays that have influenced his writing. Spoiler: Goldberg, a bonafide scholar and ‘deep diver’ as an adult (the recommended readings discussed here include some of the most influential texts of 20th century conservative thought) was an ardent fan of science fiction and comics as a young man. Jonah’s absurdist flourishes and madcap pop-culture riffing are a happy result of this early influence. I’ve often thought Goldberg could easily ended up as a screenwriter, or sitcom/variety show writer, but accidentally became a professional conservative instead.
Exit question: Is American conservatism preparing to go into exile? As the two leading presidential candidates offer competing versions of statism? Watch the whole thing.
The National Review senior editor on Donald Trump’s candidacy. Click “Show more” to view all chapters. For more conversations, visit conversationswithbillkristol.org
Chapter 1 (00:15 – 41:02): On Trump and Conservatism
Chapter 2 (41:02 – 57:38): Liberal Fascism Revisited
Chapter 3 (57:38 – 1:16:03): Liberalism, Conservatism, and 2016
Chapter 4 (1:16:03 – 1:32:20): Suggested Reading Read the rest of this entry »
Democracy may be one of the most admired ideas ever concocted, but what if it’s also one of the most harebrained? After many years of writing about democracy for a living, David Harsanyi has concluded that it’s the most overrated, overused, and misunderstood idea in political life. The less we have of it the better.
“Democracy” is not synonymous with “freedom.” It is not the opposite of tyranny. In fact, the Founding Fathers knew that democracy can lead to tyranny. That’s why they built so many safeguards against it into the Constitution.
Democracy, Harsanyi argues, has made our government irrational, irresponsible, and invasive. It has left the American people with only two options—domination by the majority or a government that can’t possibly work. The modern age has imbued democracy with the mystique of infallibility. But Harsanyi reminds us that the vast majority of political philosophers, including the founders, have thought that responsible, limited government based on direct majority rule over a large, let alone continental scale was a practical impossibility.
In The People Have Spoken, you’ll learn:
- Why the Framers of our Constitution were intent on establishing a republic, not a “democracy”
- How democracy undermines self-government
- How shockingly out of touch with reality most voters really are
- Why democracy is an economic wrecking ball—and an invitation to a politics of envy and corruption
- How the great political philosophers from Plato and Aristotle to Burke and Tocqueville predicted with uncanny accuracy that democracy could lead to tyranny
Harsanyi warns that if we don’t recover the Founders’ republican vision, “democracy” might very well spell the end of American liberty and prosperity.
From censorship to theater ownership, U.S. film industry must reckon with China and its dictators.
Richard Berman writes: Disney sued three Chinese film production companies last month for “copyright infringement” and “unfair competition.” The lawsuit alleges that the Chinese firms incorporated elements of Disney’s hit movie Cars into China’s own animation Autobots.
“The censorship always goes back to the Communist Party. They’re in charge and they’re always looking at how China is portrayed.”
It’s a natural outcome of China’s aggressive foray into the film industry, as the Asian superpower ramps up competition — and tensions — with Hollywood. U.S. companies are fighting in court to protect their intellectual property at the same time they are trying to please Chinese audiences and the censors who control what they see.
China, with its 1.4 billion people , is projected to become the largest movie market in the world as early as next year. The Chinese box office grew by almost 50% in 2015 and is on pace to surpass $9 billion in revenue by year’s end — a lucrative market for U.S. moviemakers.
But in order for American filmmakers to penetrate it, they first have to comply with Chinese censors. China currently allows only 34 non-Chinese movies into the mainland, all of them heavily edited by a state agency called the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television. SAPPRFT’s mission is to portray Chinese culture favorably — and in line with the Communist Party’s agenda.
Makers of The Martian, for example, made sure the China National Space Administration played a prominent role in the film “as a way to crack into the country’s huge and lucrative market.” Leading up to Iron Man 3’s China release, filmmakers inserted a scene of doctors discussing surgery on the superhero, all of whom were played by major Chinese movie stars. The 2006 release of Mission: Impossible III — partially shot in Shanghai — retroactively excluded a scene of the city featuring underwear hanging from a clothesline because SAPPRFT claimed it portrayed China as “a developing country.”
“The censorship always goes back to the Communist Party,” says T.J. Green, whose company, Apex Entertainment, builds movie theaters in China. “They’re in charge and they’re always looking at how China is portrayed.”
And as if that wasn’t enough, the Communist Party is now coming to our shores. Read the rest of this entry »
Paris (CNN) In a post-Godard world, to imagine Paris is to imagine glittering lights by nights on the Champs-Élysées; members of the intelligentsia debating politics at Café de Flore; and chic, slender women, the picture of sophistication and insouciance, wearing the world’s most elegant labels.
“I must say, in my whole life I never saw Paris that gloomy.”
“It was another world. There was no feeling of danger, and not even a boy of 16 years old could walk in the street. Things are changing, but I have the feeling I lived in a world that no longer exists.”
“I must say, in my whole life I never saw Paris that gloomy.”
Lagerfeld, who has been at the helm of Chanel since 1983, and who first got his start in the city working under Pierre Balmain in the 1950s, says he’s seen drastic changes since the times when Paris “looked like an old French movie.”
An unprecedented find in southern Israel may finally reveal the origins of one of the Hebrew Bible’s greatest villains.
Kristin Romey reports: An unrivaled discovery on the southern coast of Israel may enable archaeologists to finally unravel the origins of one of the most notorious and enigmatic peoples of the Hebrew Bible: the Philistines.
The discovery of a large cemetery outside the walls of ancient Ashkelon, a major city of the Philistines between the 12th and 7th centuries B.C., is the first of its kind in the history of archaeological investigation in the region. (Read more about ancient Ashkelon.)
“According to the Hebrew Bible, the Philistines warred with their Israelite neighbors—even seizing the Ark of the Covenant for a time.”
While more than a century of scholarship has identified the five major cities of the Philistines and artifacts distinctive to their culture, only a handful of burials have been tentatively identified.
Simply put, archaeologists have found plenty of pots, but very few people.
Now, the discovery of a cemetery containing more than 211 individuals and dated from the 11th to 8th centuries B.C. will give archaeologists the opportunity to answer critical questions regarding the origin of the Philistines and how they eventually assimilated into the local culture.
Until this discovery, the absence of such cemeteries in major Philistine centers has made researchers’ understanding of their burial practices—and by turn, their origins—”about as accurate as the mythology about George Washington chopping down the cherry tree,” says Lawrence Stager, an emeritus professor of archaeology at Harvard University, who has led the Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon since 1985.
“The search [for a cemetery] became so desperate that archaeologists who study the Philistines began to joke that they were buried at sea like the Vikings—that’s why you couldn’t find them,” explains Assaf Yasur-Landau, an archaeologist at Haifa University and co-director of the Tel Kabri project.
Biblical Villains and Pig-Eaters
The Philistines are among the most notorious villains of the Hebrew Bible. This “uncircumcised” group controlled the coastal region of modern-day southern Israel and the Gaza Strip and warred with their Israelite neighbors—even seizing the Ark of the Covenant for a time. Among their ranks were the devious Delilah, who robbed Samson of his strength by cutting his hair, and the giant Goliath, who made King Saul’s troops tremble in their tents until a young man named David took him down with a slingshot.
Many researchers also tie the Philistines to the Sea Peoples, a mysterious confederation of tribes that appears to have wreaked havoc across the eastern Mediterranean at the end of the Late Bronze Age.
In the archaeological record, the Philistines first appear in the early 12th century B.C. Their arrival is signaled by artifacts that belong to what Stager calls “an extraordinarily different culture” from other local populations at the time. These include pottery with close parallels to the ancient Greek world, the use of an Aegean—instead of a Semitic—script, and the consumption of pork (as well as the occasional dog). Several passages in the Hebrew Bible describe the interlopers as coming from the “Land of Caphtor,” or modern-day Crete.
Source: The Grim Gallery: Exhibit 1881
Great website focusing on the design and history of pocket transistor radios manufactured between 1954 and 1965.
Source: ROCKET RADIO MG-306
Louis C.K. on the Right to Be Offensive, Why White Guys Should Stop Whining, and Bored Masturbation.
Talking feminism and optimism with the comedian who upended the conventions of TV comedy.
David Marchese writes: When you watch comedy on television these days, especially shows that don’t seem to care if you’re laughing or wincing, there’s a good chance you’re watching something indebted to Louis C.K. As the creator of FX’s Louie, the 48-year-old comedian pioneered the filthy and emotionally fearless, auteur-driven and defiantly non-pandering genre of prestige comedy. But just as his footprint became inescapable, C.K. put his namesake show on hold for Horace and Pete, a ten-part kitchen-sink tragedy he self-financed and surprise-released on his own website in January. Emotionally brutal, and economically self-sufficient, the latter series suggests a new way forward for the comedian. This summer, he’ll lend his voice to the animated movie The Secret Life of Pets, and he’s devoting the next year to touring his stand-up act. “Part of what keeps me going is that I keep learning and trying to figure things out,” he says during one of our long talks — the first at the Hudson Diner in the West Village on May 12, the second on the phone before a gig in Asbury Park, New Jersey, on May 20. “But comedy is something that I’ll never figure out.”
David Marchese: You were in the news for calling Donald Trump Hitler
Louis C.K.: Yeah, yeah. That was a messy thing to do.
Then you said publicly that you regretted sharing that opinion. I found it weird that you seemed uncomfortable with the idea that you’d divulged too much of your own political thinking. You’re a guy who tells jokes about why your 4-year-old daughter is an asshole.
As far as talking about what’s deep in my gut about certain subjects, I’ll put that out there because I know I do that really well, and I’m a unique originator of certain thoughts. Politically I’m not an expert. And also there’s very little rational intake of political thought. People get so upset that they don’t hear what you’re saying. There’s this feeling with people where they’ve got to decide whether an opinion or information is right or wrong. Nobody can eat a whole meal and then digest it and see how they feel the next day. You’ve got a meal in front of you, and you take a piece of lettuce and you go, “Why is there just a piece of lettuce? I’m hungry for more.” “What do you mean? There’s a bunch of other shit on the plate. Take a minute and eat that!” “No. It’s just lettuce, and fuck you, I hate lettuce.” That’s how it is with every conversation now.
So what I hear you saying is that you’re endorsing Donald Trump.
You’re 100 percent right. I’m very pleased with everything he’s done. I don’t know, celebrities saying things politically is obnoxious, because you’ve got a bullhorn that was given to you for one reason and you used that bullhorn for something else. But also I think when there’s somebody as terrible as Trump running, you’re a little bit of a coward by keeping it to yourself if you’re really concerned about it. I felt like I had to raise my hand and be counted because I believe he’s a bigot with a hole in his heart. A guy who shouldn’t be anywhere near the fucking thing is the Republican nominee.
How are you feeling about Hillary and Bernie?
I keep going back and forth. Sometimes I think the system is so deeply fucked up that somebody as disruptive as Bernie — maybe he doesn’t even do a good job as president but he jars something loose in our system and something exciting happens. I mean, Hillary is better at this than any of these people. The American government is a very volatile, dangerous mechanism, and Hillary has the most experience with it. It’s like if you were on a plane and you wanted to choose a pilot. You have one person, Hillary, who says, “Here’s my license. Here’s all the thousands of flights that I’ve flown. Here’s planes I’ve flown in really difficult situations. I’ve had some good flights and some bad flights, but I’ve been flying for a very long time, and I know exactly how this plane works.” Then you’ve got Bernie, who says, “Everyone should get a ride right to their house with this plane.” “Well, how are you going to do that?” “I just think we should. It’s only fair that everyone gets to use the plane equally.” And then Trump says, “I’m going to fly so well. You’re not going to believe how good I’m going to fly this plane, and by the way, Hillary never flew a plane in her life.” “She did, and we have pictures.” “No, she never did it.” It’s insane.
You mentioned in a radio interview how interested you were in this election cycle. What specifically are you finding so interesting?
It’s very emotional. There is a fear of Hillary, you know? I think some of it has to do with Hillary being such a strong candidate and being a woman. The response to her is very male. The other side is very male-oriented. Trump is a man. Well, he’s a boy, and Bernie is an old man. Neither is a feminine person. Obama’s a very feminine person. I don’t mean effeminate.
You mean he’s not macho?
Everybody has both masculine and feminine sides, but Obama is feminine inside. There ain’t no femininity in Trump. There’s none in Bernie. These are both really emphatic guys saying, “We got to do this!” Hillary’s trying to say, “Guys, this is reality. These are complex issues.” And those two are going, “I don’t want to fucking hear it!” It’s weird to watch. It’s like if you had an election in your family. Imagine that when you were a kid there was an election to decide whether Mom or Dad would be in charge for the next four years. Or if some group of siblings got together and said, “We’re going to get this woman to replace Mom.” After the election, imagine how you would feel about each other. It’s terribly, terribly interesting.
You’ve been saying lately that you’ve quit the internet.
I don’t look at any of it now.
I don’t believe you.
Obviously I sell my shit on it: my stand-up tickets, Horace and Pete. I just don’t look at any web pages.
So if you’re not looking on the internet, what do you jack off to? Are you one of those weirdos who buy porn on DVD?
Here’s a weirder option: Take a little longer and try to get your imagination frothed up to where it gets you off. What a strange exercise! I hadn’t done that since 1998. Read the rest of this entry »
Source: Mental Floss
One fan’s trip to author Ernest Hemingway’s newly accessible Cuban abode leads her to a new appreciation of humble furnishings.
Antonia Van Der Meer writes: I love to look at homes as places of inspiration, especially those of famous authors. The Holy Grail for me was Ernest Hemingway’s house in Cuba, known as Finca Vigia (Lookout Farm). There he wrote the Pulitzer-Prize winning “The Old Man and the Sea,” as well as “Islands in the Stream” and “A Moveable Feast.”
I’d heard about the house for years because my brother, William Dupont, a professor of architecture at the University of Texas San Antonio, leads the Finca Vigia Foundation’s U.S. technical team. He works with Cuban colleagues on the restoration and maintenance of the house, which is now a museum. In May, I accompanied him to Havana.
A long driveway separates the farm from the small homes that dot the area around it in San Francisco de Paula, a working class suburb about 20 minutes outside Havana. Read the rest of this entry »