February 15, 2002

Judging Skaters and movie Directors

Judging Skaters and movie Directors: How could those Russian pairs skaters beat the Canadian couple? How could Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge earn a Best Picture Oscar nomination, but old Baz be denied a Best Director nomination? How come the Olympic judges hate Elvis Stojko, the skater with the most masculine charisma ever? I answer these burning questions here.

February 14, 2002

Salt Lake City Olympics "Bribery" Scandal

Salt Lake City Olympics "Bribery" Scandal - Well before the scandal broke, I was doing research for a possible TV sitcom script about the International Olympics Committee. It was common knowledge even then - at least among anybody who cared to look - that IOC members were shaking down potential host cities for bribes. The economic reason is simple: the Olympics don't pay the athletes anything and they have no real competition. Thus, they can make huge profits (the LA Olympics reaped over $300 million way back in 1984). Not surprisingly, IOC members, who get to decide which city will get the Games, use their power to horn in and claim a share of the loot for their own accounts. So, if you want to eliminate corruption in the site selection process, the solution is simple: pay the athletes. That will lower the profits to be made from hosting an Olympics, which will make potential host cities less willing to share the (reduced) wealth with IOC extortionists.

February 13, 2002

St. Valentine's Day and Eve Ensler

St. Valentine's Day is coming, so of course the press is full of hype about that quasi-play-that-never-goes-away The Vagina Monologues. The author has been pushing for years to make St. Valentine's Day synonymous with "Vagina Day," on the highly logical grounds that they both begin with V (if you leave out the "St." part). Uh, folks in the media, has it ever occurred to you that St. Valentine's Day is a very big deal to elementary school children? Also, since when did the vagina become the feminist private part of choice? Aren't feminists supposed to instruct men to pay more attention to the clitoris? Exactly why is it crucial to increase society's vagina-awareness? There's a billboard on Ventura Blvd. near me with "Vagina Monologues" in letters 25' tall. Is this completely necessary? Are America's white male patriarchs insufficiently vagina-conscious? Don't Larry Flynt and his colleagues do their best to raise vagina-interest?

That's Steve Sailer "evolcon," not "evilcon," dammit!

Everybody's got to have a label these days: neocon, paleocon, whatever. But I'm not sure that mine is working out. A few years ago in National Review, John O'Sullivan described Charles Murray and myself as the first "evolutionary conservatives" - i.e., conservatives who actually know something about the science of human nature. "Cool," I thought. Still, this "evolcon" label has not proven a good career move for Chas and me. That's "evolcon," not "evilcon," dammit!

February 12, 2002

Feminist Patriotic Chauvinism and the Winter Olympics

Feminist Patriotic Chauvinism - Ah, the Winter Olympics bring back memories of one of the funnier American fads of the last decade: the periodic whoop-tee-doos where we all swell up with national pride over an American women's team winning gold in some sport that practically no other county's women bother to play. Do you recall the vast outpouring of corporate image ads celebrating our Women's Ice Hockey Team's gold medal in the last Winter Olympics? Of course, there were only five other teams in the field, and three of them would have been slaughtered by a Boys 7 and Under Pee-Wee squad from Medicine Hat.

Or, think back to the ecstasy over the first Women's World Cup of soccer. We'd beaten the world! When it was pointed out that the rest of the world didn't much care about women's soccer, well, that just made us even prouder of how progressive our society is, compared to those notoriously oppressed women of Paris, Milan, and London, who haven't been taught to turn in their high heels for soccer spikes!

After each spasm of interest, the poor women athletes come home and set up a domestic pro league, which rapidly loses 99% of the public's interest, because, basically, the best women aren't anywhere near as good at sports as the best men, so what's the point in watching them unless they are kicking some foreigners' un-American butts?

But there's so much quick cash to be made from these frenzies of feminist patriotic chauvinism that you can expect to see them continually pop up in the future. I'm looking forward to the Women's Super Bowl, where our female football players will triumph over the evil women of Iceland 77-3 in the Finals. And there shall be great rejoicing upon the land.

February 11, 2002

Schwarzenegger's Collateral Damage.

My Review of Schwarzenegger's smart and geopolitically sober Collateral Damage.

Enormous Surprise: Arnold Schwarzenegger's movie about a fireman hunting down the terrorist who murdered his family is the #1 movie in the country! Who coulda thunk that the public would want to see such a thing? Well, for several months Hollywood didn't, for reasons that I dissected recently.

The critics have almost universally slammed Arnold's Collateral Damage, but for wildly contradictory reasons: It's outdated! It's too current! It's typical Arnold! It's not typical Arnold! It's too pro-American! It's too anti-American! It's a dessert topping! It's a floor wax! (Reviews are collected at RottenTomatoes.com.) Did anybody actually watch the movie before they decided what they were going to write? (I did - here's my review.)

The truth is that as an action movie, Collateral Damage won't make anybody forget Terminator 2. Still, despite staying within the bang-bang-boom-boom confines of the genre (a genre I, like many people, enjoy), it's the smartest, most even-handed Hollywood portrait of the Colombian nightmare since Clear and Present Danger. (Here's the review of a leftist critic who actually sort of gets it.) In fact, it's probably too thoughtful to make big bucks.

This demonstration that contemporary film critics are bigoted ignoramuses regarding the real world makes the news of the death of my role model, Richard Grenier, particularly saddening. In his legendary reviews in Commentary, Grenier demonstrated that movies were worthy topics for his vastly learned and skeptical intelligence. (Click here for his monumental demolition job on Gandhi.)