The IRS scandal: It’s bigger than a few wayward officials. And as Andy McCarthy points out, the remedy lies not in a “special counsel.” It lies rather in root-and-branch transformation. The Institution that the IRS has mutated does not need to be reformed. It needs to be dismantled. Andy sums up the reality in two [...]
Currently on offer at MOMA PS1 is a special show devoted to the environment called “Dark Optimism.” The exhibit in Queens is part of a larger, three-venue show that promises to be “an exploration of ecological challenges in the context of the economic and sociopolitical instability of the early twenty-first century.” If you think this blurb makes the show sound overtly political, you aren’t alone. However, Klaus Biesenbach, the director of PS1, and his curatorial team have assembled an exhibit that is thoroughly engaging and surprisingly apolitical. “Dark Optimism” features a variety of work ranging from the moving and powerful to the fun and playful.
by Eric Simpson
James Levine and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra at Carnegie Hall; Photo by Steve J. Sherman
The highly anticipated James Levine “comeback” concert took place Sunday afternoon, as the venerable American maestro led the MET Orchestra—as they call themselves when they climb out of the pit—at Carnegie Hall. Plagued with health issues for more than a decade now, he has not appeared on a podium in two years. He received a warm ovation as he rolled out in his motorized wheelchair and was then raised up on a mechanical platform that serves as his podium. It is difficult to say what a “full recovery” for James Levine might look like, and what that will mean for his role at the Met, but his skillful and passionate performance on Sunday restored hope that something resembling a full season might once again lie before him.
Last fall, I thought the premeditated terrorist attack on our consular facility in Benghazi — an attack, let us remember, that left Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead — would cost Barack Obama the election. I was wrong about that, as indeed I was wrong about the basic dynamics of the election more [...]
What is it about the word “art”? Pronounce it, and the IQ of susceptible folk is instantly halved. (I’ve seen cases where it is diminished by 87 percent.) Normally sensible people who do not, as a rule, appreciate being being made fools of stand idly by as someone tells them that a video of some [...]
by James Bowman
President Obama, in the midst of scandal to the right of him (the IRS) and scandal to the left of him (the AP wiretaps), scandal behind him (Benghazi) and scandal ahead of him (Obamacare implementation) is outraged about — sexual assaults in the military, which has apparently reached "crisis" proportions. And who can doubt it when Sally Quinn is, in her own words, "sputtering with outrage" about it — always an infallible indication of crisis. Yet she also professes to think that "sexual assault is part of the military culture." Well which is it? If it’s a crisis, it can hardly be part of the military culture, which has been around for a very long time, and if it’s part of the military culture, it can hardly be a crisis.
Today at The Atlantic, TNC’s Emily Esfahani Smith has a new article up titled “Is Sex Still Sexy?” commenting on the Bowdoin College sex education play Speak About It. The play, according to its official website, is “a performance-based presentation about consent, boundaries and healthy relationships” that “captures what healthy sex can and should look like.” But in a perfect example of the law of unintended consequences, Emily explains how Speak About It, though perhaps well meaning, ultimately undermines the healthy sexual culture it is trying to encourage. “Rather than promoting healthy sexuality,” Emily writes, “sexual exhibitionism is killing the eroticism that has traditionally been the essence of sex.”
The New Criterion’s theater critic, Kevin D. Williamson (whose coverage is available here), had an interesting experience last night during Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812. He recommends the show, but not the audience, which “was horrible — talking, using their phones, and making a general nuisance of themselves.”
I am just writing a piece about Maureen Dowd that begins with a quotation from William Hazlitt: “Those who lack delicacy hold us in their power.” La Dowd exemplifies the melancholy truth of Hazlitt’s observations in her girly, gossipy prose that brings the cattiest of sorority nastiness to the august pages of a once-serious newspaper. [...]
So, Andy McCarthy reports on the Pew Research Center’s survey on “The World’s Muslims: Religion, Politics, and Society.” The world’s Muslims, mind you. That’s a capacious group. The bottom line: things are not so bad, really. Yes, two thirds of those interviewed support the death penalty — the death penalty, Kemo Sabe — for [...]
( AHR-mah wih-ROOM-kweh)
In the Aeneid, the Roman poet Virgil sang of "arms and a man" (Arma virumque cano). Month in and month out, The New Criterion expounds with great clarity and wit on the art, culture, and political controversies of our times. With postings of reviews, essays, links, recs, and news, Armavirumque seeks to continue this mission in accordance with the timetable of the digital age.
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