Tag: ACF

ACF Middlebrow #35: Metropolitan

 

So the most conservative notable director of the last generation is Whit Stillman, who specializes in romantic comedies that hew closer to Jane Austen or, for that matter, Trollope, than to the rather more perfervid, not to say lurid, movies to which we have become accustomed. His debut was Metropolitan, a funny, melancholy story about the passing away of the debutante balls and the gradual reduction of the WASPs to ordinary Americans. It’s a lesson to young filmmakers in how to tell a story and look impressive without a budget–it got Stillman to the Oscars, to Cannes, and it opened up a career for him. For us, it’s a wonderful reflection on young men and women at their least offensive and it sheds light on the current very online conservative factions now developing.

ACF Europe #14: Dear Comrades

 

So the ACF series on totalitarianism and cinema continues with our first Russian movie–the best movie of 2020, at that–Andrey Konchalovsky’s story of a young workers’ protest which turned into a Soviet massacre, indeed one so thorough that even knowledge of it, even the corpses of the murdered protesters, were suppressed. The artistic view of this evil deed opposes to ideology the private side of human life–a mother and daughter, the possibility of faith, the importance of burial. The movie is available in streaming and it’s a wonderful contribution to the recent European interest in stories about the evils of communism. @FlaggTaylor and I have talked about a lot of them, and we have some more upcoming!

ACF PoMoCon #34: Angelo Codevilla

 

So I talked to the most vigorous polemicist I know, Angelo Codevilla. I read him for decades in the Claremont Review of Books, and recently in American Greatness, the Tablet, and elsewhere. He’s got good news: Cancellation is a two-way street–the more of us are cancelled, the weaker the position of the oligarchy and their media minions becomes, since they are a small minority. To those who deny us respect we should deny respect in return. We talk about about media, education, the need for political leadership, the corruption of the CIA and FBI, and about good horses and bad riders.

ACF PoMoCon #33: Vaccines and Digital Media

 

Today I bring you news about the epidemic–Matt Shapiro, Polimath on Twitter and Substack, joins me to talk about his long-running data project on COVID. Next week he’ll have a new monthly update for cases, deaths, vaccines, each state tracked by the region where it seems to fit in a pattern, so you can sign up for his Substack. We also talk about the great big good news story the media isn’t dealing with: America’s vaccination success, which seems to augur a return to normal life–or a chance to put life back together — by summer. (We also talk about digital media, what conservatives might do to build trust, and Looney Tunes!)

ACF Europe #13 Afterimage

 

So here’s Ricochet’s own @FlaggTaylor back on the podcast to talk about Andrzej Wajda’s artistic testament, Afterimage (2016), a movie about Poland’s most famous painter, Wladyslaw Strzeminski, who stood against Communist ideology in art education and was destroyed for it. Communism is gone, this art has survived, but on the other hand, there’s a new ideology canceling art and reducing it to ideology–the militant woke. So–art and tyranny, education, the souls of children.

ACF PoMoCon #32: Slackers

 

So I talked to my friend Oliver Traldi about slacking–partly, the music, movies, and attitude of the ’90s, but also the way slacking has been replaced by woke activism, therapy, and work, including in worrisome combinations like Woke Capital. Slacking is what idleness is called in America, where it’s perpetually under suspicion–yet slackers are needed critics of the hyper-activity and restlessness of our times. Further, Socrates was a slacker!

ACF PoMoCon #31: Marriage Problems

 

So the podcast’s back after our long election-to-inauguration holiday. America’s still standing, thank God, but the madness continues, which we’ll have to bear the best we can. Today, I bring you one of my scholarly friends, Scott Yenor, who has a wonderful book on the successes and failures of feminism: Choice as far as the eye can see, and unhappiness on its heels. It’s called The Recovery Of Family Life and it analyzes the feminism, sexual liberation, and contemporary liberalism ideas and policies, and their unintended consequences. Scott points out that the great middle-class republic seems to be turning into a different regime because of family problems: Family is rare among the poor–but even though it is dominant among the rich, it is superfluous rather than foundational. Marriage comes last.

ACF PoMoCon #30: The Crisis of the Election

 

On the eve of the election, Pete Spiliakos and I complete our conversation on rhetoric and politics. We talk about the incredible corruption in the GOP, the weakness of the law and order campaign Trump kept tweeting about, and how difficult it is to even persuade people that being outlawed by tech corporations–social media, banking, news–is dangerous. We need new elites, populist and principled, that is, patriotic, serious about doing good things for the American people. Otherwise, we’re advancing with new shocking steps every week to what Pete calls “managed democracy” and what I call democracy without a demos. Egalitarianism that hates the majority…

ACF PoMoCon #29: Democracy & Rhetoric

 

So just before the election, we have a conversation on the catastrophes of the Republican Party, which seems to have succumbed to its own corruption. In 2020, patriotism would be quite helpful, since America’s elites are now openly anti-American and want a democracy built on excluding the majority of the American people. The most privileged white liberals talk incessantly about white supremacy and systemic racism–always someone else’s fault–like normal people say hello and goodbye. Yet America turns out not to have a Republican party willing to defend the nation, much less lead, and all this during a presidential election. Pete Spiliakos and I talk about what we learned about politics and rhetoric from Peter Lawler, and we apply it to our times.

ACF Critic Series #41: Make Spielberg Great Again

 

Armond White’s back on the podcast. Barely a month after his work was collected in The Press Gang, he has a new collection of his essays and reflection on his career: Make Spielberg Great Again, So I talked to Armond about America’s most famous and most popular director of the last 50 years or so–what it means to be a pop artist, how image and sentiment go together, and what humanism in cinema means, how Spielberg is open to conservative morality and spiritual longing. Armond’s been critical of Spielberg’s latest decade, the Obama turn, but we instead talk about the praiseworthy turn he took during the Bush years.

ACF Europe #12: A Hidden Life

 

Here’s a new conversation with our own resident expert on totalitarianism (including on-screen) @FlaggTaylor, about the beautiful new Terrence Malick movie, A Hidden Life. It’s now available for streaming–the true story of Franz Jaegerstaetter, a Catholic martyr in WWII in Austria, a young man, husband, and father of three daughters, who refused to swear the oath of loyalty to Hitler, retold from the letters he exchanged with his wife during his imprisonment.

ACF PoMoCon #28: Winning Space

 

Today I talk to my friend Brandon Weichert about his tract for the times, Winning Space. Brandon’s gone from staff in Congress to the Institute of World Politics to Oxford for his grad studies and has emerged as the leading young advocate for what Trump called the US Space Force. We talk about America’s shocking satellite vulnerabilities, competition with China in space, and the nationalism required to deal with emerging technologies that will change our world.

ACF Masters #10: The Palm Beach Story

 

As promised last week, after The Lady Eve comes The Palm Beach Story, the story of Tom (Joel McCrea, ever the straight-shooting visionary) and Gerry (Claudette Colbert, as leggy, witty, and chasing after glamour as ever), a couple who can’t stick together because his business doesn’t really make money and her desire to spend money on herself doesn’t really lead her to work. A very American couple experiences the American problem, money and beauty, or how you find out what you really want and how to get it, and it takes a comic poet to solve it.

ACF Masters #9: The Lady Eve

 

Today, Zena Hitz returns to the podcast after collecting her laurels for the remarkable success of her book Lost In Thought: The Hidden Pleasures Of An Intellectual Life, or lifelong learning for all Americans. We’re continuing our series on America’s most hilarious comedy writer-director. Preston Sturges: We’ve already covered Sullivan’s Travels, today we turn to romantic comedy, or the problem of modern womanhood in America–The Lady Eve, or The Pratfall of Man. Hank Fonda is Charlie “Hopsy” Pike, heir to the Pike ale fortune and Amazon explorer returning to civilization. Barbara Stanwyck is Eugenia “Gene” Harrington (aka Eve), who hits him in the head with an apple the first time she lays eyes on him. Charlie Coburn is “Colonel” Harrington, her father, a wonderful con man. Eugene Pallette is his–Mr Pike of the bellowing laugh. William Demarest is Muggsy, Fonda’s guardian angel, a sweet soul and truthteller.

ACF PoMoCon #27: Carl Eric Scott

 

This week, we’ve got Tocqueville, America, and rock music on the podcast–my friend Carl Eric Scott returns to the podcast to remember our great friend Peter Lawler and how blogging helped him both formulate and get across his thoughts to the great American audience, bridging the gap between his academic vocation and the press. We also talk about what we learned from him that’s led us to our own activity in music and film criticism respectively. We conclude with some talk about Carl’s Rock Songbook, a one-of-a-kind conservative investigation of rock music, the age, the ideas, even reflections on it in cinema, from a perspective educated by Plato, Allan Bloom, and Martha Bayless!

ACF PoMoCon #25: Tom Harmon

 

This week’s podcast in memory of Peter Lawler is a conversation on education, higher education, elites, and the drama of our times. Tom Harmon’s a friend and a wonderful professor and we talk about everything of concern to conservatives now–what’s wrong with America’s cognitive elites, the new ruling class, how come it’s got such a powerful effect on conservative and Republican elites, too, how we might help conservatives who opt for homeschooling and classical schools, and what it takes to defend the American way of life.

ACF Founders #6: Lucas Morel on Lincoln

 

Today, I’m joined by my friend and professor Lucas Morel of Washington and Lee University for a conversation about his new book, Lincoln And The American Founding, a worthy contribution to our much-needed civic education. The book’s a wonderful read–a concise explanation of Lincoln’s thought and rhetoric on Washington and the Founding, the Declaration (and Jefferson), the Constitution (and Madison), slavery, and original intent. We also talk about why the teaching of natural rights is again needed to defend America from elites and mobs.

ACF Critic Series #39: Novels & Cinema

 

Today, I’m joined by Jody Bottum and Armond White to talk about novels and cinema–movie adaptations,  when they work, how they can improve on literature, and when they fail. We talk about why it’s never been the case that a great novel has been turned into a great movie. We also talk about the difficulties of turning narration into performance.