Rick McGinnis

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The wonderful middlebrow of Monuments Men

The wonderful middlebrow of Monuments Men

Maybe it’s a good thing, but war movies aren’t anywhere near as popular as they used to be. There is, to be sure, no shortage of violent films doing decent box office, many set amidst vast wars fought in space, or in some wild reimagining of the distant, even mythological past. But dramas set during wars happening in recent memory are thin on the ground; on a scale of ... (Continue reading)

The illusion of glamour

The illusion of glamour

Glamour is a misunderstood word, whose meaning – like similar superlatives such as elite, exclusive, luxury and unique – has been adulterated and weakened, mostly thanks to its overuse by marketers and the media. But unlike those other words, so beloved of lifestyle journalists, realtors and advertising copywriters, glamour is a word that can be evocative and even profound, as writer Virginia Postrel explains in her new book The ... (Continue reading)

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Over-protective parenting not helping kids

Amusements Rick McGinnis Seven years ago, a New York City columnist named Lenore Skenazy wrote a column about letting her nine-year-old son Izzy take public transit home by himself. Within days, she was at the centre of a media furore that saw Lenore dubbed “World’s Worst Mom,” and found herself made a standard bearer for whatever pushback is happening against an increasingly supervised and circumscribed style of ... (Continue reading)

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Pro-abortion article inadvertently shows dark side of abortion

Pro-abortion article inadvertently shows  dark side of abortion

The cover of a recent New York magazine promised so much – far more than I knew it would deliver, but I couldn’t resist. “There are over a million terminated pregnancies in American every year,” it read, under the headline “My Abortion,” “yet few women will ever talk about their experience.” Living in a country where actually talking about abortion is discouraged by governments, regardless of their politics, who seem ... (Continue reading)

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Men on Strike

Men on Strike

The worst part of being a TV critic, I used to joke to my friends, was having to watch television. Like most jokes, it was mostly a statement of fact. The worst thing about watching TV in the last decade or so was a ubiquity of a lazy trope, played for laughs, that cast men as the village idiot of the family. It reached its apogee with shows like Everybody ... (Continue reading)

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Another dreary Fall TV lineup

Another dreary Fall TV lineup

I didn’t watch television for nearly 20 years, roughly from when Knight Rider hit the air to when the first season of The Sopranos debuted. Only a few years after that I found myself – quite against my will – writing a daily TV column for a national newspaper, but as the one-time child who grew up with That Girl and Petticoat Junction in syndication and All In The ... (Continue reading)

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Forgotten conservatives

Forgotten conservatives

Roger Kimball is a well-read man. Reading through his latest book, The Fortunes of Permanence: Culture and Anarchy in an Age of Amnesia (St. Augustine’s Press, $36, 356 pages), I couldn’t help but envy whatever combination of discipline, habit, choice of profession and luck has let him trawl through the remainder tables of ideas and come up with a collection of essays that, in the most erudite of ways, ... (Continue reading)

Suicide is no dignified exit

Suicide is no dignified exit

Brian Sewell Just a few weeks ago, a British art critic named Brian Sewell described, in an article for the Daily Mail newspaper, how he was going to kill himself. “I shall write a note addressed ‘To whom it may concern’ explaining that I am committing suicide,” Sewell wrote, “that I am in sound mind, that no one else has been involved and, if I am discovered before my ... (Continue reading)

Rediscovering Percy’s Love in the Ruins

Rediscovering Percy’s Love in the Ruins

Last summer, I wrote a column reviewing a trio of films about the apocalypse – two very serious dramas and a low-key comedy that all ended with the extinction of life as we know it. You know – classic summer movie fare. Karl Marx didn’t get much right, but his observation that history repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce, has come into play this summer with the release ... (Continue reading)

A hell of a documentary

A hell of a documentary

In a world where serious books sell poorly and newsmagazines are a shadow of their former selves – if they’re published at all – the documentary film has taken up much of the burden of bringing topical issues and debate in front of the public. While feature films have stagnated, pooling into either numbing blockbusters or a host of increasingly spiritless genres, documentary production has undergone a renaissance, either ... (Continue reading)

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What is marriage?

What is marriage?

If any single battle has come to dominate the ongoing culture war between the right and the left, it would probably be gay “marriage.” The more you linger over the argument, however, the less it seems like either side is talking about the same thing. One side talks about marriage like it’s a purely social arrangement, changing with the times and sanctified by government. The other side sees it as essential to our humanity, defined by history and blessed by God. ... (Continue reading)

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Popes on the big screen

Popes on the big screen

Anthony Quinn as Pope Kiril in the film version of Morris West's novel The Shoes of the Fisherman When Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires stepped onto the balcony at St. Peter’s Square last month, he helped provide a satisfactory conclusion to a ritual that – as we were told repeatedly in the thicket of media coverage – is watched with fascination both within and without the Catholic ... (Continue reading)

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Girls is Sex and the City for millennials

Girls is Sex and the City for millennials

Lena Duham It’s a truism that every generation believes that the ones immediately following it will preside over the dismantling of every social, cultural and economic virtue that they took for granted, a rite of passage for senior generations that begins roughly when they realize that they’ve slipped out of the green vale of youth. There’s no objective way of proving this imminent decline, but since popular culture began to edge ... (Continue reading)

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Even Hollywood can’t get away from truth of abortion

Even Hollywood can’t get away from truth of abortion

While the political battle over abortion has hardened into a seemingly intractable stalemate, the pro-life side of the issue can take some small comfort in the fact that, at least on the cultural front, abortion remains a hard sell. To be sure, secularized liberals whose support for abortion remains an article of faith almost wholly occupy the strategic high ground – the movie studios and production houses, performing arts and publishing. ... (Continue reading)

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Overcoming squeamishness watching bin Laden movie

Overcoming squeamishness watching bin Laden movie

I doubt that I’m the only person who found the killing of Osama bin Laden by U.S. Navy SEALS last year unsatisfying, both as a skirmish in an ongoing war and, looking at it a bit more flippantly, as a dramatic finale. For all the counter-espionage resources that it took to find the man, and the undeniable military skill of the SEALS who did the dirty work, it had the ... (Continue reading)

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