Posted: October 13, 2016 Filed under: Economics, Law & Justice, Mediasphere, Politics, Reading Room, Think Tank | Tags: A Conflict of Visions, Books, Hoover Institution, Liberty Pen, Political philosophy, Thomas Sowell, video
Thomas Sowell discusses the visions that account for the wide political gulf between conservatives and liberals.
[Order Thomas Sowell‘s influential book “A Conflict of Visions” from Amazon.com]
Posted: October 8, 2016 Filed under: Entertainment, Humor, Mediasphere, Politics, Reading Room, White House | Tags: Barack Obama, Books, Carnegie Public Library, Pussy, video
Posted: October 8, 2016 Filed under: Art & Culture, Entertainment, Reading Room | Tags: Al Jardine, Brian Wilson, Bruce Springsteen, California, California Girls, Carl Wilson, Dennis Wilson, Good Vibrations, James S. Hirsch, Los Angeles County, Love & Mercy (film), Mike Love, Pet Sounds, Spahn Ranch, The Beach Boys
On Oct. 11, Random House Canada will release I Am Brian Wilson, written with Ben Greenman. It’s Wilson’s first real memoir, having disowned a title from 1991 completed while he was still under the “care” of psychotherapist Eugene Landy. Landy, who helped Wilson recover from the addictions he struggled with in the 1970s – but later kept him in a fog for several years while limiting his contact with family and friends and charging him up to $35,000 a month – is a major character in this edition.
So is Wilson’s wife, Melinda, whom he met at a car dealership in the 1980s, and who worked with his family to emancipate him.
[Read the full review here, at The Globe and Mail]
And so is his father, who pushed him toward a musical career but was physically and emotionally abusive. Wilson says he forgives his dad, who died in 1973, but it will take “a year and a half” to forgive Landy. “Actually, I’ve already forgiven him,” he says during an interview in his hotel suite in New York. “He wasn’t all that nice to me, but he taught me how to eat right, how to exercise, how to sleep at night.”
“When I sit at a piano, I feel God this far above my head. And I can feel his presence – makes my hands glide over the keys, and it helps me write a song.”
“It’s a feeling that you can’t deny. Something you can really feel. You just know there’s somebody, a higher power above me, that helps me out when I’m scared.”
— Brian Wilson
It’s useful, if somewhat strange, to review Wilson’s narrative in the light of 2016.
He is still beloved, but the boomer market is shrinking, and millennial fans like myself constitute a niche. For a lot of listeners, the Beach Boys stand for white-dad rock, which stands for a worldview we’re in the necessary process of
dismantling. The 1960s mainstream was tailored to a limited range of people, with a limited range of experiences. This also means that Brian Wilson’s story was forged at a time when empathy was less considerate of the personhood of people with mental illness. The flip side of stigma is fetishization.
“What made it worse, at least early on was that the voices that were in my head trying to do away with me were in a crowded space. They were in there with other voices that were trying to make something beautiful. Voices were the problem, but also the answer. The answer was in harmony.”
Wilson started the Pendletones, soon to become the Beach Boys, with his brothers Carl and Dennis, cousin Mike Love and friend Al Jardine, scoring a long string of hits in the early 1960s – “it’s been written about so many times that it’s almost like a story that someone else is telling me instead of a piece of my own life,” Wilson writes. (Love, who has elsewhere been pegged as the villain of that story, has his own memoir out this year.) In late-1964, Wilson had a breakdown on a flight to Houston, and decided to stop touring, devoting himself instead to songwriting.
That was the year he first tried LSD, and shortly thereafter he started hearing voices, which would continue for the rest of his life. He’d hear his father and early manager, Murry. He’d hear Phil Spector, whose production of Be My Baby had changed Wilson’s life. And he would hear other, stranger and more menacing voices. “I said, ‘What happened?!’ I took this stupid drug, and that drug made me scared,” he says today. “But it made me write better music. It made me write more sensitive music. I was going to make an album called Sensitive Music for Sensitive People. Isn’t that a great title?”
Pet Sounds was released in 1966, to famously lukewarm sales, followed by less celebrated but still canonical albums such as Wild Honey, Friends, and Surf’s Up. But Wilson began to struggle with drugs, alcohol and overeating, gaining more than 100 pounds and retiring to his bed, leaving his first wife, Marilyn, to take care of their two daughters. Desperate, she called Landy, a “therapist to the stars” whose 24-hour methods, unbeknownst to her, would involve screaming at Wilson while wresting control of his creative output, fortune, and cognition. “If you help a person to get better by erasing that person, what kind of job have you done?” Wilson writes. “I don’t know for sure, but he really did a job on me.” Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: September 4, 2016 Filed under: Censorship, Politics, Reading Room, Think Tank, White House | Tags: Barack Obama, Claire Fox, Dick Durbin, Hillary Clinton, IRS, Kimberly Strassel, Lois Lerner, Milwaukee County, National Guard of the United States, Police car, Progressivism, Scott Walker, Scott Walker (politician), State of Emergency, The Intimidation Game: How the Left is Silencing Free Speech, The Left, Tom Barrett (politician)
The Intimidation Game: How the Left is Silencing Free Speech, by Kimberly Strassel (Twelve Press, 396 pp., $30)
I Find that Offensive!, by Claire Fox (Biteback Publishing, 179 pp., $14.95)
Fred Siegel writes:
…Strassel’s chapters on the politicization of the IRS in Obama’s hands make for a striking summary of Chicago skullduggery. In 2012, an election year, the IRS, led by liberal operative Lois Lerner, systematically sidelined conservative (often Tea Party) organizations. The broadest and deepest scandal in IRS history is more than three years old, but there is little chance that Obama’s Chicago-ized Justice Department will hold anyone accountable. Strassel also discusses the attempts led by Senators Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Dick Durbin of Illinois to criminalize criticism of the standard-issue UN position on climate change. The senators insist that manmade climate change is a matter of “settled science.” But climate is always changing, and science is never settled.
[Order Kimberly Strassel’s book “The Intimidation Game: How the Left is Silencing Free Speech“ from Amazon.com]
In late 2008, after Democrats took control of all three branches of government, the Left realized, writes Strassel, that it could use the federal bureaucracy to deploy campaign finance laws selectively against its opponents. The Left could also call upon “the extraordinary new power of the Internet and social media” to convince “a credulous public” that its assaults on opposition political activity “were aimed at ‘cleaner’ and ‘more open’ elections.” This dynamic constitutes what Strassel calls “the modern intimidation game” that “now defines American politics.”
[Read the full review here, at City Journal]
In Wisconsin, Democrats enraged by Governor Scott Walker’s successful effort to limit the collective bargaining rights of public employees played the intimidation game even while out of power. The state’s Progressive-era laws, designed to ensure fair elections, and its unique Government Accountability Board were turned against conservative activists who supported Walker. Democratic Party county prosecutors pressed an array of lawsuits and used armed sheriffs’ deputies to stage early-morning raids, guns drawn, on the homes of conservative activists suspected of having marginally violated state campaign finance laws—in this case, the heinous crime of having outside committees coordinate campaign expenditures with Governor Walker’s electoral efforts. Further, the accused were forbidden by state law of telling anyone, except their lawyers, about the raids. Most of this, as Strassel accurately notes, was “simple harassment.”
[Order Claire Fox’s book “I Find that Offensive!” from Amazon.com]
As for real wrongdoing, the Obama administration, as Strassel explains, has slow-walked documents required for the investigation into the IRS scandals and the Justice Department’s Fast and Furious fiasco, in which the federal government inadvertently armed Mexican drug cartels. Moreover, the House committee examining the Benghazi debacle still doesn’t have tens of thousands of Hillary Clinton emails. But the investigation did inadvertently expose the former secretary of state’s home-brewed email server. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: September 1, 2016 Filed under: Art & Culture, Mediasphere, Reading Room, Robotics, Think Tank | Tags: Carbon tax, Donald Trump, Editor-in-chief, Gary Johnson, Katherine Mangu-Ward, Libertarian Party (United States), Magazines, media, Nick Gillespie, Reason (magazine), Reason.tv, United States, Virginia Postrel, William Weld
Reason‘s new editor in chief Katherine Mangu-Ward sat down with former Reason editor and author Virginia Postrel (now a columnist at Bloomberg View) at Reason’s Los Angeles headquarters to talk about the future of the magazine as it nears its 50th anniversary.
“Nick Gillespie—and to some extent Matt Welch—their version of Reason was sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll. Mine is more like sex, drugs, and robots,” says Mangu-Ward.
You may know Mangu-Ward’s work already as Reason’s managing editor or from her insightful cover stories covering everything from defending plastic bags to why your vote doesn’t count.
Approximately 48 minutes.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: August 22, 2016 Filed under: Mediasphere, Reading Room, History, Art & Culture | Tags: Ernest Hemingway, Idaho, Hunter S. Thompson, A Moveable Feast, Ketchum, Gonzo journalism, Antler, Great Shark Hunt (Gonzo Papers, Vol. 1), Central Idaho, Scott Burton
The late gonzo journalist ‘got caught up in the moment’ on a visit to his idol’s home, his widow explained, and had long planned to return them.
Alison Flood reports: A set of antlers stolen by the late Hunter S Thompson from the home of Ernest Hemingway has been returned to the Nobel laureate’s family by the gonzo journalist’s widow.
Anita Thompson told the website BroBible that Thompson took the elk antlers from Hemingway’s home in Ketchum, Idaho, in 1964. Hemingway shot himself in the home in 1961. Thompson visited three years later, to write an essay about his visit, What Lured Hemingway to Ketchum?, exploring “just what it was about this outback little Idaho village that struck such a responsive chord in America’s most famous writer”.
Ernest Hemingway’s home near Havana, Cuba, is expected to soon receive an infusion of badly needed building supplies from the United States. An American foundation restoring the legendary writer’s home in Cuba on Saturday, June 20, 2015, signed an agreement with the Cuban government to — for the first time — import construction materials directly from the United States to aid the preservation efforts. (CNN)
The young man who would go on to write Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and to invent gonzo journalism also, according to his widow Anita Thompson, “got caught up in the moment” and stole the antlers, going on to hang them in his own garage. In his essay, Thompson refers to “a big pair of elk horns over the front door” in Hemingway’s “comfortable-looking chalet”.
Anita Thompson told Brandon Wenerd at BroBible that her late husband, who killed himself in 2005, “had so much respect for Hemingway” and “was actually very embarrassed” by his actions. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: August 11, 2016 Filed under: Art & Culture, Entertainment, Reading Room | Tags: Books, Cover Art, Crime fiction, design, Illustration, Mystery, Paperback, pulp fiction, suspense, Thriller, typography
September 1939 issue
Cover art by H.W. Scott
Seattle Mystery Bookshop
Posted: August 10, 2016 Filed under: Mediasphere, Politics, Reading Room, Think Tank | Tags: Charles C. W. Cooke, Conservatarian Manifesto, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, National Review, Nick Gillespie, NRO
Posted: August 7, 2016 Filed under: Art & Culture, Comics, Entertainment, Reading Room | Tags: Book Cover, design, Illustration, Mystery, Pulp, Sci-fi, Science fiction, Thriller, typography, vintage
Posted: August 5, 2016 Filed under: Art & Culture, Entertainment, Reading Room | Tags: Books, design, Illustration, Mystery, Paperback, pulp fiction, Sci-fi, Science fiction, Thriller, typography, vintage
Posted: July 28, 2016 Filed under: Mediasphere, Reading Room, Think Tank, White House | Tags: Bernie Sanders, Democratic National Committee, Democratic National Convention, Democratic Party (United States), Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Philadelphia, Republican National Convention, Republican Party (United States), USA TODAY
With the growing dissatisfaction of the two-party system, more and more Americans are ditching their party identification and turning independent. A 2015 Gallup Governance survey found that 27 percent of the electorate can be characterized as libertarian—outnumbering conservatives (26 percent) and liberals (23 percent).
This makes them a highly coveted voting bloc, and one that Hillary Clinton needs to win over in order to prevent a Donald Trump presidency.
Reason editor-in-chief Nick Gillespie found delegates at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, PA to see if they could convince him why libertarians should vote for Clinton in November or if they’re better off with a third option.
Approximately 3 minutes. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: July 21, 2016 Filed under: Art & Culture, History, Reading Room | Tags: A Moveable Feast, American literature, Ernest Hemingway, Lost Generation, The Sun Also Rises, United States
The great author Ernest Hemingway was born on this day, July 21, 1899. Pictured here in 1952, Cuba. (Alfred Eisenstaedt—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Posted: July 18, 2016 Filed under: Art & Culture, Education, Mediasphere, Politics, Reading Room, Think Tank | Tags: AEI, Bill Kristol, Jonah Goldberg, Weekly Standard
‘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.
Also revealed: Both Goldberg and Kristol grew up in Manhattan. Their familiarity with the local media climate that gave rise to Donald Trump’s public persona is briefly explored here.
[Order Jonah Goldberg’s book “Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning” from Amazon]
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.
Published on Jul 17, 2016
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 »
Posted: July 16, 2016 Filed under: Mediasphere, Politics, Reading Room, U.S. News | Tags: Bernie Sanders, Books, Hillary Clinton, Money, PJ Media, Vermont
“The reason it’s impossible to respect American progressives is that they are ALL too stupid to realize that the people they look up to are more than happy to make all the money they can, and become power brokers in the ‘rigged’ system while doing so.”
— Stephen Kruiser
The Associated press reports:
Just days after ending his campaign and endorsing Hillary Clinton for president, Sen. Bernie Sanders is preparing to take his message to the printed page.
Thomas Dunne Books told The Associated Press on Thursday it will publish Sanders’ “Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In.” The book is scheduled to come out Nov. 15, a week after election day. It will include both his policy ideas for the future and reflections on his surprisingly strong run in the primaries.
The 74-year-old Sanders, an independent from Vermont who caucuses with Democrats in the Senate, attracted millions of voters with his blunt rhetoric and progressive agenda of raising taxes on the rich, overhauling campaign financing and providing universal health care and free college education…(read more)
Stephen Kruiser writes:
…Sanders just endorsed the woman he’s spent months saying is part of the corrupt big money Wall St. system he rails against for his kiddie hordes, and now he’s got a book advance that he’s too coy to share. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: July 8, 2016 Filed under: Asia, China, Crime & Corruption, Reading Room | Tags: Amnesty International, Ban Ki-moon, Beijing, China, Human rights, Human Rights Watch, Missile defense, President of the People's Republic of China, Republic of Korea–United States relations, Xi Jinping
An outspoken Hong Kong bookseller who has become a symbol of opposition to China’s authoritarian government has accused Chinese security agents of behaving like the notorious triad gangs in a bid to silence the publishers of provocative books about the country’s leaders.
Lam Wing-kee shot to prominence in June when he revealed how he had been spirited into secret detention in eastern China by a mysterious group of agents supposedly acting on the orders of the Communist party leadership.
Writing in the Diplomat, Amnesty International’s China researcher William Nee said Lam’s testimony had provided “a blow-by-blow account of the abusive tools that have become Chinese authorities’ modus operandi to silence critics since President Xi Jinping came to power in 2012”. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: June 10, 2016 Filed under: Art & Culture, Comics, Japan, Reading Room | Tags: Comic book, design, Illustration, Manga, Science fiction, Thriller, typography, vintage