More rumblings

Posted in other, politics, religion on September 1, 2010 by Jonathan

The upcoming Swedish elections could very well see the nationalist Sweden Democrats gain seats (albeit a small amount of them) in Parliament, which would be a stunning upset in a country not popularly associated with the term “nationalist party.” Of course, one doesn’t associate Sweden with high unassimilated Muslim immigrant demographics either, but that’s certainly the case in cities like Malmo, from which Jews have been fleeing in the face of open-air anti-Semitism.

One thing voters in Stockholm won’t be seeing on their TVs (but will no doubt have seen via the Internet) is this ad by the aforementioned nationalists, which was banned for being incendiary and offensive toward a certain religion. I never thought I’d say this, but Swedish politics just became interesting.

Rumblings

Posted in culture, news, other on August 31, 2010 by Jonathan

A major German banker is making headlines for some controversial comments ahead of the release of the latest entry into the literary genre that could be known as The Decline and Fall of Europe:

Thilo Sarrazin told the Sunday newspaper Welt am Sonntag that “all Jews share the same gene” and that Muslim immigrants across Europe were not willing or capable of integrating into Western societies.

Yesterday at the launch of his book, Germany is Abolishing Itself, which warns against the effects of Muslim immigration, Mr Sarrazin denied he was a racist and insisted on his right to freedom of speech.

As of this morning, Mr. Sarrazin’s book is at #1 on Amazon Germany’s bestseller list.

UPDATE: It’s also quite popular in Austria:

Sarrazin’s book sold out in Vienna immediately after reaching bookstores at the start of the week and has dominated newspaper front pages and editorials.

Boundaries

Posted in arts, culture, entertainment, movies on August 7, 2010 by Jonathan

Fun question: What if the following scene had been written in the 1940s?

To be honest, I don’t know what’s more offensive, the gratuitous use of the f-word or Robert DeNiro’s sunglasses.

For the record, I’m not one who thinks that movies need to be wiped clean of profanity. Sometimes those words are necessary. I am, however, of the belief that boundaries, for the most part, force one to be more creative, which is why whenever I turn on Turner Classic Movies I’m thankful for those restrictions that both the movie industry and the culture at large imposed on filmmakers. The movies were better because of them. (For proof, check out this video of the 100 best cinematic putdowns, and try to find any of the more modern ones that top the line Bogart gives to Peter Lorre in Casablanca.) A lack of boundaries doesn’t automatically make a work of art or entertainment worse, but it doesn’t automatically elevate it, either.

Manly men vs. modest men?

Posted in culture, news, other on August 6, 2010 by Jonathan

I once heard a pick-up artist give his opinion on why women favor jerks over nice guys. After years of approaching numerous (ie, thousands of — this guy was experienced) women, he concluded that in fact women don’t desire jerks. What women want is a guy who is strong, and too often nice comes across as weak. The lesson, therefore, is for men to learn how to be nice while exhibiting a backbone. (Or, to put it neatly, to emphasize the man in “gentleman.”)

Now comes a British study that says that women find modesty in males to be a sign of weakness. The first line of the Telegraph article:

Research suggested that females have found the rise of the “more feminine man”, or “metrosexual”, a big turn-off.

Now, you could argue about whether or not modesty automatically excommunicates one from the ranks of manly men. I’m not sure it does. (For instance, how modest are we talking about? Excessive modesty, or just a hint of it? At which point does it become “a poor character trait?”) Still, despite the questions I have over the study, the gist of its findings seems to substantiate what that pick-up artist learned years ago: Women want men to be strong. It’s refreshing to find evidence that females in the 21st Century cosmopolitan West find feminized guys to be such a drag.

[HT: Dr. Helen]

The next Great Awakening

Posted in culture, gay marriage, marriage, politics, religion on August 5, 2010 by Jonathan

My gripe with the Reagan Revolution of the ‘80s was that it focused on politics and not the culture, putting all its energy toward the former while ignoring the latter. In truth, politics – the politicians, policies, judicial rulings, etc. – is a result of what is happening in the culture. For the last several decades, there has been a strong and tenacious movement within the media and the classroom to eradicate the pillars of Western civilization, pillars which are incompatible with the left-wing worship of equality. That movement had one of its victories yesterday. As much of the public expresses outrage over the presence of a mosque near Ground Zero, a far greater wound to the soul of the country was carried out in a California courtroom as one judge, in regard to the biggest issue of any society – the definition of marriage – overturned the will of around 7,000,000 voters, all of whom in the brave new world of progressives are now considered bigots. Had conservatives and traditionalists kept their eye on cultural institutions – on movies, television, books, music, schools, universities, churches(!) – the idea of transforming marriage, and therefore gender relations, wouldn’t have the momentum it has now, and we wouldn’t be on the road to a pre-Leviticus world. Now we are. Let the next Great Awakening come.

A call to arms

Posted in movies on July 31, 2010 by Jonathan

Despicable Me

Posted in culture, movies on July 30, 2010 by Jonathan

I haven’t taken too many trips to the multiplex this summer, and therefore can’t respond to the inimitable Joe Queenan, who claims that this could very well be the worst movie year ever. I did manage to catch Despicable Me, and thought it creative, witty, fun, and fun. Great title, too. Even though it’s being shown in 3-D, you lose nothing when seeing it like I did in reliable 2-D. In fact, 3-D is kind of a distraction — a sentiment being shared increasingly by more and more people, it seems.