Notes on the Culture


Well, it works, which, given the concept, is a small miracle in and of itself.  Plus, about two of its two and a half hours are really involving and entertaining and, in this summer of mostly crummy movies, that makes it feel like some sort of masterpiece.  But what Inception really is is a good solid heist thriller with a fresh idea well and intelligently done—which, hey, is a lot.

By now you probably know Leonardo DiCaprio plays a guy who enters people’s dreams in order to steal their secrets–only this time he’s hired to enter a dream and plant an idea.  He assembles a team of top dream burglars to do this—and the cast that plays them is one of the film’s chief strengths.  Former child star Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who was in that almost-not-irritating chick flick 500 Days of Summer is great.  So is Juno’s Ellen Page.

But the real star of the show is Writer-Director Christopher Nolan.  Nolan’s dream-within-a-dream structure is so complex that after two hours you start thinking, “So someone’s chasing someone else and someone else is shooting at the first someone…  Whatever.  Soon it’ll all blow up and get to the ending.”  But in fact, the story more or less hangs together and leads to a genuinely touching and interesting denouement.

We’re lucky to still have Nolan with us.  His career was nearly destroyed by this Wall Street Journal op-ed after a gang of vicious and dishonest liberals pretended to disagree with the piece in order to obscure the fact that it was obviously true.  Whew!  Glad he survived!


Well, I could’ve told you this for free, but apparently someone took the trouble to take a poll of a thousand Australians and now we have proof:  almost half the Aussies said that romantic comedies have put a damper on their love lives.  The big complaint?  “One in four said they felt as though they were expected to know what their partner was thinking while one in five claim the movies made their partners expect gifts regardless of an occasion.”  I’m guessing that that one in four or five was of the male persuasion.

Now maybe I’m prejudiced in the sense that I would rather have someone drive a spike into my forehead than sit through almost any of these films, but for me, the depiction of love in romantic comedies is hobbled by feminism, the stupidest philosophy ever.   The women in these movies are almost universely selfish, whiny and overly aggressive (which is the feminist ideal of womanhood) while the men are almost always childish and irresponsible.  The “happy” ending generally comes when the man apologizes to the woman for everything and becomes whatever mommy wants him to be.  I have no idea why any man would want to be in such a relationship and I strongly suspect women ultimately come to hate them too.

An old episode of Father Knows Best will give you a more realistic idea of what a happy marriage looks like than any of these movies.


Last week, Seuil Policiers, the French publisher of my novel Empire of Lies, breached our contract and canceled the book’s publication.  The editor who bought the book had left the company and the new editor said she was too disturbed by the book’s “political and religious” aspects to go forward.

The thriller features a conservative Christian hero who believes he’s discovered an Islamist plot which has been obscured by our dishonest mainstream media.  “Lies, lies, lies,” says the emotionally troubled protagonist while watching television news.  “It’s all about what they don’t say.”

Perhaps I’m wrong, but I can think of no contemporary instance in which an author has been silenced or censored for political reasons where the censoring culprit has been a conservative or a Christian.  The left is the party of “shut up.”

Sometime this week – later today, I hope – I will have more to say about this – and about all the week’s media news – over at the excellent City Journal.  I’ll link here when I can.

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  • Steve

    Just got done reading Empire of Lies last night (and enjoyed it immensely). There’s a certain irony to liberal media censoring this book; maybe they’ll ask Mr. Klavan to take a Rashid class to refine his cultural sensitiviy.

  • Cooper

    I just bought ‘Empire of Lies’ at the bookstore last night, and found myself really into now three chapters in. Too bad for France–they’re gonna miss out on a great summer read. Good luck suing the pants off the French publisher, too.

  • anon

    “His career was nearly destroyed”
    Do you know something we don’t? There WAS the obvious oscar snub when Nolan didn’t even get nominated. It was hilarious reading all the lefty op-eds come out yelling, “it made a billion dollars so who cares about the oscars, shut up, stop pointing out the truth” and then lavish praise on james cameron the next year for his $2 billion lefty revisionist film.
    Bruckheimer gave an interview on Fox a few days ago saying if you make money they don’t care if you’re conservative in Hollywood. Really?
    While we’re on the subject of Nolan, is he a conservative? I could care less, his work speaks for itself, but I’m wondering how Nolan and his brother’s fascination with philsophical issues of reality, control and catharsis add up to TDK.

  • lookout

    Andrew, this is a fan letter. Discovering you was a red letter day for me! I’ve actually just subscribed to PJTV, mainly so I can have access to all of “Klavan on the Culture” any time I want. I’d send every one of them to the few lefty friends I have left—but they wouldn’t find them funny, would they? And all the facts you provide would just bounce off their misinformation-filled heads.

    I get City Journal via email and was delighted to see your “Empire of Silence” article last evening. I’m going to see if my local bookstore carries “Empire of Lies”. If not, I’ll order one from Amazon—today. Why am I so NOT surprised about what your French publisher has done? (But I’m very sorry.) I’ve been a fairly politically involved conservative Christian and my experience, for over three decades, is that the MSM have done their underhanded, mean spirited best to slander/libel/label and silence people like me. (I talked back, even went to some Press Council hearings, but got swatted away like a gnat. As you might imagine: Facts: what are they?) Because of heavy hitters like you and PJTV, the MSM’s nasty web of lies is beginning to unravel. It couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch. (I really appreciated your interview about this with Bill Whittle.)

    Thank God for the alternate media: as the MSM-Obama spin machine has gone into total overdrive (even here in Canada: our lefties LOVE Obama), I think I’d go mad without the blogosphere and Fox News. I watch Fox every night and am hoping and praying that Canada will have its own version—Sun TV—before too long: our conservative politicians—we have a minority Conservative government, which has some very reliable members—are totally shafted by our media up here, except for the National Post newspaper, which Conrad Black started.

    God bless you, Andrew. Laughter is the best medicine, and you keep it coming. Deo gratias!