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In Memoriam Farley Granger

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:40 pm - March 29, 2011.
Filed under: Movies/Film & TV

One of the most attractive men to appear in movies in the 1940s and 50s has died:

Farley Granger—whose boyish handsomeness made him a matinee idol in the 1950s, and lent a crucial air of naivete to his lead roles in the Alfred Hitchcock classics Rope and Strangers On A Train—has died of natural causes. He was 85.

Brilliant in both those roles, which Brian Juergens dubbed as “passive” and “gay-tinged”, he never really had the opportunity to deliver such complex performances or to appear in movies which we readily remember today.  Perhaps, 1950s audiences were just not read for the intense, introspective and sensitive image he projected on the screen.  In many ways, he was ahead of his time, yet he leaves behind two great performances in Hitchcock films.  At least that director recognized his screen potential.

While this heartthrob never identified as “gay” and indeed, shunned the label, he all but acknowledged his homosexuality in a 2007 interview, “I’ve lived the greater part of my life with a man, so obviously that’s the most satisfying to me.

RELATED: Rope as a measure of gays’ cinematic progress

There’s always a villain for the left
(Haven’t you been following their attacks on conservatives?)

In quite possibly the best movie about movies, the 1941 classic Sullivan’s Travels, the title character, when asked how “the girl” fits “into the picture”, responds, “There’s always a girl in the picture. What’s the matter, don’t you go to the movies?

Just as a movie’s gotta have a girl, some on the left just gotta have a villain.  Whether it was Herbert Hoover from 1932 until the rise of Richard Nixon or that cantankerous Californian himself in the 1970s, Ronald Reagan in the 1980s, Newt Gingrich in the 1990s and then George W. Bush and Dick Cheney until Sarah Palin stole the show in 2008, members of the vast left-wing conspiracy have been looking to advance their cause by denigrating a Republican politician.

And now with the Koch brothers, they’ve found a new team to vilify.  While these guys share Reagan conservatives’ commitment to free markets, the billionaires are more libertarian than conservative.  But, no matter, as Matthew Continetti reports in his must-read article, The Paranoid Style in Liberal Politics, in the Weekly Standard:

During the fight over health care and cap and trade in 2009 and 2010, liberals went looking for baddies against whom to mobilize public opinion. The Kochs’ wealth and political involvement made them an obvious choice. Reflecting on the ferocity of the onslaught that ensued, Charles [Koch] told me, “I didn’t anticipate the hatred, the advocacy of violence.” He must not have been paying attention.

Back in 2005, when Republicans controlled the federal government, liberals had asked themselves, Where do we go from here? They’d long studied what they called the “counter-establishment,” the array of conservative foundations, think tanks, and media. These institutions, liberals concluded, had pushed America to the right. What the left required was the mirror image of the Olin and Bradley foundations, the Heritage Foundation and American Enterprise Institute, The Weekly Standard andNational Review, talk radio and Fox News Channel. The left needed to build a “counter-counter-establishment,” a “vast left-wing conspiracy” to combat the “vast right-wing conspiracy” that had impeached Bill Clinton and elected George W. Bush.

Jane Mayer’s August 2010 New Yorker article, “Covert Operations”, “became a sort of Rosetta Stone for Koch addicts. It was the template for any liberal wanting someone to blame for all the trouble in the world. Mayer had unlocked the secrets of the Kochtopus.”  (Emphasis added.)  And some liberals just have to have someone to blame.


Was Obama’s Heart in his “Weird” Libya Speech?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:30 am - March 29, 2011.
Filed under: Obama Watch,War On Terror

When I followed the 2008 campaign on the television monitors at my gym, I had the sense the then-junior Senator from Illinois would go far.  Barack Obama came across well on TV.  And in today’s politics, that type of presence puts a candidate head and shoulders above the rest.

If you judged the president’s remarks last night on Libya not by his words, but by his appearance on television, well then, his speech on Libya last night was a failure.  I watched it while at the gym.  He seemed uncomfortable with this address, as if it were an unfortunate obligation of his profession, something that he had to do, but wanted to get over with it as quickly as possible.  His heart did not seem in it.

Glenn Reynolds who did see it offers a similar evaluation, “Eerily like a Bush speech, but without the conviction.”  While it may have sounded like a Bush speech, Ann Althouse noticed “the implicit disrespect for George Bush:

In this effort, the United States has not acted alone….

“When”, the diva asked, “did we act alone? Is he trying to make us misremember what Bush did?”  Not quite misremember, but instead remind us of the liberal talking point on Iraq, that W was a cowboy who went it alone when the facts (for those of us who remember them correctly) tell a much different story.

John Hinderaker also found the incumbent sniping at his predecessor by making a contrast which “made little sense“.  John offered the consensus view of speech’s conservative critics, that the president couldn’t “resist hedging his bets. Thus, tonight’s speech included a little bit of everything.”

In her excellent analysis of the speech, Jennifer Rubin notes that while Obama’s sentence, “the ability of our people to reach their potential, to make wise choices with our resources, to enlarge the prosperity that serves as a wellspring of our power, and to live the values that we hold so dear”, represents “the perfect encapsulation of Bush’s freedom agenda“, the incumbent “can’t bring himself to embrace the view of those conservatives, you know the ones who pushed to liberate Iraq.”

Victor Davis Hanson offers the best summation of the critiques I read: (more…)