ALAN CARUBA: AMNESTY BILL IS A MASSIVE MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR FRAUD Native-born and naturalized Americans who are currently seeking work are already competing with illegal immigrants-a term that the Associated Press says it will no longer use-or standing in line behind them as they sign up for all manner of welfare benefits. The official estimate of the number of illegal aliens-oops, undocumented aliens-in the nation […]

‘Mad Men’: Villains, Victims, and Lies by EDWARD CLINE

suffer from cultural claustrophobia. What is “cultural claustrophobia?” It is the feeling of being imprisoned in a culture that is basically anti-freedom, anti-capitalist, anti-American, anti-reason, and anti-value. In short, of being marooned in an alien, hostile, leftist culture determined to wear or beat down anyone who won’t yield to its propaganda and beseechments and stealthy osmosis and refuses to get with the collectivist program. Writing critiques like this one is my way of pushing away the moldy, fly-specked walls that threaten to suffocate me, of kicking down the closet door, and breathing some fresh air, before the walls close in again, and I push back anew.

I do not think I am alone in suffering this phenomenon. It is quite common among men who see the civilized world slipping into anarchy and tyranny and cannot understand why. Ayn Rand called it “our cultural value- deprivation.”*

Oft times, as an antidote to contemporary culture, and feeling lonely for a cleaner, rational, and more honest world, I will re-read a classic novel or nonfiction book, or watch an older movie (pre-1965, when the last of the epics was made), or just listen to music that was meant to be listened to and enjoyed, and not endured. Mostly classical, some popular, but rarely contemporary.

“One can feel nostalgia for places one has never seen,” remarked Greta Garbo in Queen Christina. And, of course, one can feel it for times one has lived through.

But, some sojourns of nostalgia do not necessarily take one back to happier times. It all depends on who is tinting the photographs. A Marxist will blur Rockefeller Center and call it a slum. The creators of “Mad Men” populate it with scoundrels, prostitutes, neurotics, power-lusters, and fools, and call it “life in America.”

AMC’s “Mad Men” is a lavishly produced instance of literary naturalism, “things as they were” in the early to mid-1960s, with no real plot direction, no real resolution or denouements of any of the plot or subplots, posing as “social criticism.” Actually, is it a super-sized nighttime version of a daytime soap opera. There are no heroes in the series; virtually all the characters are manipulative, dishonest, repressed, or blindly avaricious frauds. If a character isn’t a villain, then he is a victim of the villains.

But then, literary naturalism cannot tolerate heroes. Heroes overcome conflicts and solve problems. There is a multitude of conflicts in “Mad Men,” but no defining resolution or closure of them, except by happenstance or on the whim of the director; there is no way to distinguish which. All the principal characters repeatedly succumb, and without much resistance and often with relish, to their flaws, foibles, and amorality.

I watched all five available seasons of “Mad Men” on Netflix. There are plot spoilers ahead, for anyone who has not seen any of the series episodes. The sixth season has already debuted, which I have not yet seen. A seventh is in the works.

When I lived in New York City, I worked on Madison Avenue, in the 1970s, for two large firms as a teletype agent and as a proofreader. I recognized the trade culture in the series, and the ads, the brand products, the offices, the smoking, the drinking, the clothing styles, and all the other recreated concretes that went into lending “Mad Men” a large and credible dose of verisimilitude.

EMANUAL NAVON: IS NETANYAHU MORPHING INTO SHARON? The Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), a leading Israeli think tank, recently hosted its annual conference.  This year, the conference’s main agenda was to promote the idea of unilateral disengagement from Judea and Samaria.  INSS’s suggestions were summarized in a paper authored by Gilead Sher and his team: “The Palestinian Issue: Toward a […]

THE MORNING JOLT AT NRO FROM JIM GERAGHTY Happy Election Day, South Carolina’s first district. The Powers That Be at NR will be doing some marketing for the Morning Jolt in the near future, and we’re collecting kind words from readers, including, hopefully, some big names. If you’re one of those big names, and wouldn’t mind your blurb-like praise being cited in […]

Steven Malanga
Rise of the Republican Governors
A new liberal era? Not according to these reformers.

Shortly after Barack Obama won reelection in November, New Jersey governor Chris Christie pointed out that Republicans’ cloudy political prospects had a bright silver lining. “One of the reasons you have 30 Republican governors in America, and why we’re the only organization to add Republican strength,” Christie said, “is because people see us getting things done.” Christie’s stance countered most of the elite postelection commentary, which gleefully pronounced the Republican Party’s political irrelevance. But the governor was right. Since Obama first took office in 2008, Republicans have picked up a net nine governorships, bringing their total to 30 states, which hold nearly 184 million Americans. In 24 of those states, containing 157 million Americans, Republicans also control the legislatures. Democrats boast similar power in just 12 states, with a population of 100 million. Even Republicans’ unimpressive national showing last November didn’t reverse their state-level momentum.


Evening Event With Jamie Glazov
David Horowitz Freedom Center
Wednesday, May 15, 2013 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM (PDT)
Los Angeles, CA
For more info:

RUTHIE BLUM: JERUSALEM: A CAUTIONARY TALE Tonight is the eve of Jerusalem Day, which marks the reunification of the Jewish capital in 1967, during the Six-Day War. Contrary to widespread belief, based on a concerted propaganda campaign, this was not the event that created what has come to be called the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. On the contrary, it was precisely the […]

HILLARY CLINTON CULPABLE FOR BENGHAZI FROM BEGINNING TO END: PAUL MIRENGOFF When it first became clear that the CIA’s Benghazi talking points had been altered, many of us viewed the White House as the prime suspect. After all, it served President Obama’s political purposes to claim, at the height of a political campaign in which he was taking credit for the fall of al Qaeda, […]

DOES OBAMA CARE MORE ABOUT BENGHAZI FAMILIES OR HIMSELF? J. CHRISTIAN ADAMS The Benghazi scandal is easy to understand, and that’s what makes it so dangerous for the White House. Simply, the Obama administration’s narrative — that al-Qaeda was on the run, that Hosni Mubarak had to go, and that the Arab Spring was a good thing — was proven false when four brave Americans were […]

Women who wear skimpy clothing cause earthquakes: Iranian cleric

Rick Moran

This might be true. Nothing like watching a burqa-clad woman with the garment raised above the ankle to get my heart palpitating. Now imagine that increased heartbeat magnified by many thousands.

Presto! The earth moves.

Women who wear revealing clothing and behave immorally are responsible for earthquakes, this is what a senior Iranian cleric has to say.
The cleric’s unusual explanation for quakes follows the prediction made by the country’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, that a quake is certain to rock Tehran and many of its 12 million inhabitants should relocate to save their lives.
Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi told the country’s media that women who do not dress in dignified manner “lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society”.