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The New Criterion

Quite simply, the best cultural review in the world
- John O’Sullivan



A party without heroes

by James Bowman

Posted: Aug 19, 2015 09:50 AM

President and Mrs. Truman at a Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner

According to The New York Times, “State by State, [the] Democratic Party Is Erasing Ties to Jefferson and Jackson.” I’d have thought that “ties” were things to be “cut” rather than “erased,” but it turns out that “erased” in the once-favored etymological sense of “rooted up” is what the headline writer meant.

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Thoroughly modern Mozart

by Eric C. Simpson

Posted: Aug 18, 2015 12:45 PM

Written on Skin / Credit: Richard Termine

I tend to keep my guard up when I hear that a new piece of music is being praised to the skies. Perhaps this is partly cynicism; but I find in a lot of music criticism today a tendency to give a blanket (if often tepid) seal of approval to any new piece of music that manages to make its way to a concert stage, informed by a desire to convince the public not to be afraid of new compositions. An admirable sentiment to be sure, but pretending that there are no uninteresting new pieces (imagine a world in which critical consensus praised every new play, or every new film to appear before the public) hardly seems conducive to a robust discussion around the art form.

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The Trio Zimmermann: a fabulous three

by Jay Nordlinger

Posted: Aug 17, 2015 11:27 AM

The Trio Zimmermann/ © Salzburger Festspiele / Marco Borrelli

At the Salzburg Festival, as elsewhere, opera productions hog most of the attention, but there is a variety of offerings, including chamber music. Last night, the Trio Zimmermann played in the Great Hall of the Mozarteum Foundation (and a great hall it is—glittering, inspiring, and beautiful).

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In case you missed it

by Benjamin Riley

Posted: Aug 14, 2015 12:07 PM

Jeremy Corbyn/Photo Credit: Andy Rain European Pressphoto Agency

Recent links of note:

Day of Dupes
Robert Conquest, The Spectator
Our remembrance of Robert Conquest continues with a look back at his response to a letter published in The Times regarding the Bay of Pigs invasion. Conquest’s piece is a masterful takedown of the bien pensant public. With words that resonate now as then, Conquest perspicaciously declares, “There is something particularly unpleasant about those who, living in a political democracy, comfortably condone terror elsewhere.”

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Love is a battlefield

by Kyle Smith

Posted: Aug 12, 2015 11:38 AM

Georgia Engel, Christopher Abbott, and Lois Smith/ Photo: Matthew Murphy via

In the 1970s, the actress Georgia Engel played the sweetly aloof girlfriend and bride of anchorman Ted Baxter on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Now 67, she has changed little—she has the same eager, daft smile and the same singsong, nursery-school-teacher voice. It hardly need be said that she would make an ideal choice to play a serial killer, a psychotic or even a vaguely sinister bed & breakfast owner who seems reluctant to explain what happened to either of her two husbands.

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Call for interns!

by Benjamin Riley

Posted: Aug 11, 2015 01:07 PM

Calling all aspiring cultural critics: The New Criterion is seeking an editorial intern for the Autumn 2015 term. If you have a background in college journalism, are interested in editing, writing, and the literary arts, and would like to work for “America’s leading review of the arts and intellectual life” (in the words of the The Telegraph), then please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Interns here are directly involved in many aspects of the publishing process for both the magazine's print and digital versions. The internship is in our New York City office, located near the Flatiron district and Union Square. Dates and hours are flexible.

Please send your resumé, a writing sample, and a cover letter to the attention of Assistant Editor Eric Simpson, via, no later September 1, 2015. Finalists will be contacted about interviews.


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Cinéma vérité

by Natasha Simons

Posted: Aug 10, 2015 11:16 AM

Louisa Krause and Mathew Maher/ Photo: Joan Marcus via

What's the theater version of mumblecore?

That indie film subgenre, characterized by hyper-naturalistic dialogue and low budgets, could easily be identified as the wellspring of The Flick, the intimate and intensely observational play about a suburban single-screen theater and the painfully ordinary employees that work there. Though the term usually is delivered with a smirk, the very best of this category (Kicking and Screaming, Cyrus) are earnest examinations of the minute that sketch larger themes about who we are, really, deep down.

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In case you missed it

by Benjamin Riley

Posted: Aug 07, 2015 11:56 AM

18th-century French painting galleries at the Louvre. © Musée du Louvre 2015 / Antoine Mongodin

Recent links of note:

U.K. Labour Party’s Anti-Austerity Image Cost Votes, Poll Finds
Thomas Penny, Bloomberg
As the United Kingdom’s Labour Party slouches closer to selecting Jeremy Corbyn as its leader, it may want to consider the findings of a recent appraisal of the May election. Yes, we all know how wrong the polls were leading up to the vote, but when a party’s own polling arm declares that it lost because it is not “trusted to manage the country’s finances,” a little soul-searching may be in order.

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The New Criterion

About ArmaVirumque


( 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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September 29, 2015

Friends and Young Friends Event: Book Launch Party with Peter Pettus

October 02, 2015

Friends and Young Friends Event: "The Corruption of our Political Institutions," a symposium

More events >