The Long Slide

(By Tucker Carlson) (2021) An anthology of magazine pieces by Carlson, author of the fairly recent Ship of Fools, serves not so much as exhibits for an argument against the decline of journalism; rather, as the author points out in an introduction, they are historical markers from times when political differences were perhaps more nuanced, less toxic and bellicose than our present discontent.  Or, to put it another way, it is “a collection of nostalgic writings that underscore America’s long slide from innocence to orthodoxy.”  (We’re not so sure about innocence, but still). From abortion issues to cancel culture, from…

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Moot

“Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What it Doesn’t, and Why it Matters” By Steven E. Koonin (2021) “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” This book posits facts, hypotheses, and urging which we are not qualified to judge.  It is also full of graphs that gave us acute conjunctivitis.  So what we will do here is attempt a summary of what Mr. Koonin is saying, much of which he says very well, and attempt to explain our reaction to the work, located somewhere on the spectrum between skepticism and a resigned…

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Never Let Me Go

Book written by Kazuo Ishiguro (2005) Film directed by Mark Romanek (2010) Ishiguro, Romanek, please let us go, you heartless bastards.  Not since Chris Lilley killed Pat Mullins (We Can Be Heroes: Finding the Australian of the Year of the Year, ABC TV, 2005)  have we at TVC been rendered sleepless by an afflicted fictional character. And we could laugh at Pat. Laugh at any of the characters in Ishiguro’s book or Romanek’s film of the book and you will go straight to hell. It is best perhaps to watch Romanek’s realisation before reading Ishiguro’s pitiless novel. The film transforms…

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Funnymen

(by Ted Heller) (2012) “Dying is easy: comedy is hard.”* As is tragicomedy, which Funnymen achieves magnificently. Presented in the literary version of cinéma vérité, the book recounts (to a diligent interviewer called ‘Ted’ via sound-bites from a cast of over a hundred characters) the life and career trajectory of Sigmund Blissman (aka Ziggy Bliss) and Vittorio Fontana (aka Vic Fountain), who hook up in the Catskills and take their haywire mugging, kvetching, crooning act on the club circuit in the ’40s, forming a team that puts them on the top, from the Copa to Vegas to Hollywood and all…

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Ship of Fools

(By Tucker Carlson) (2018) The brilliant TV pundit Carlson (one of the few Americans in the public square who understand irony) is perhaps better on screen than in print. Still, this is an amusing, engaging, stimulating and un-footnoted overview of America’s political and corporate elites, and how they, like the Emperor with no clothes, disport their naked ambition with a staggering immunity from introspection. Carlson is a rock-solid conservative, and has plenty to say about American liberal idiocy and childishness, but that doesn’t mean he can’t or won’t train a metaphorical AR-15 on the Republican Party as well. In fact,…

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