Morning Wars

January 19, 2020 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | POLITICS, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(aka The Morning Show) (Various Directors Apple TV+, 2019) As Bert Newton once said, “Morning TV? Surely Death is next.”  The Varnished Culture staff are owls, not sparrows, so we’ll take word of mouth that morning news shows offer relentless cheer, soft items, group-think and bonhomie – but deep nastiness off screen.  “Morning Wars” starts and ends as conventional soap opera, but of certain high standard. The proven anchor team – Mitch Kessler (Steve Carell) and Alex Levy (Jennifer Anniston) is rent asunder when Kessler – playing every philanderer confused by the #MeToo paradigm, or perhaps just Matt Lauer –…

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The Unmaking of a Mayor

All smiles; Candidates Beame, Buckley & Lindsay

By William F. Buckley, Jr (1966) New York may well be the greatest city in the world. The Varnished Culture loves it, as we have said again and again and again and again. But we are unlikely to have loved it in 1965. Then, as erudite Tory gadfly Buckley pungently puts it in his floridly verbose and fascinating account of that year’s Mayoral election, “You can’t walk from one end of New York to the other without a good chance of losing your wallet, your maidenhead, or your life; or without being told that white people are bigoted, that Negroes…

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The Wall Comes Down

November 9, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | HISTORY, POLITICS |

Wall Up 13 August 1961: East German police and troops occupied the dividing line between that Soviet satellite and West Berlin, to stop the hemorrhaging of its citizens to the West of that city. Four days later, they started building the Berlin Wall. President Kennedy put US forces on alert and took diplomatic steps, but copped criticism for what was tagged a weak response. Possibly 200 people were killed trying to get over the Wall from the East to the West; probably many more of the tens and tens of thousands making the attempt over the years were dealt with…

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Russian Roulette

(by Michael Isikoff and David Corn) (2018) This is an absorbing, readable and – remarkably – balanced account of the 2016 US election and the possible effect of Russian or Russian-sponsored hacking and disinformation. The existence of actual collusion between the Trump campaign and Putin’s apparatchiks relies on a number of guilt-by-association inferences, commercial ties with Russian oligarchs, and meetings attended by the numerous idiots connected with the campaign. Ultimately, the authors leave open the question both of direct collusion, and of the causative links of Russian meddling to Hillary Clinton’s defeat. Which is not to say there isn’t plenty…

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Crabb and Pyne In Conversation

June 14, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Australian Politics, AUSTRALIANIA, LIFE |

Old sparring partners

University of Adelaide, 13 June 2019 In the re-furbished Students’ Bar at Adelaide University, we gathered to hear a highly entertaining chat by University Alumni, namely former Commonwealth Minister Christopher Pyne, and Journalist / Presenter Annabel Crabb, with Anthony Durkin acting as Moderator. Katrina Bochner, a Judge of the South Australian Supreme Court, introduced the participants (skipping some of Pyne’s lengthy CV despite his enthusiastic prompting for more) and then a large crowd experienced the voyeuristic pleasure of eavesdropping on a relaxed, droll, indulgent and wide-ranging discussion of Law School life and beyond. Mr. Durkin, such an expert at this thing…

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