The Corner

The Golden Age of Television


It’s right now, according to Rob Long in Chapter 5 of this Uncommon Knowledge discussion with Harry Shearer and Peter Robinson. I am delighted to hear Rob say it; let me explain why. First, conservative culture criticism has a negative bias, one that puts me in mind of the words of an old and beautiful hymn:

Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away;

Change and decay in all around I see. . . .

And nothing as good as it used to be, as the revised concluding line. This negative bias is not always unreasonable, as there is plenty of decline to go around, in culture as in economics. But when the bias becomes ingrained as a reflex, it prevents recognition of greatness, and becomes seriously untrue to reality. Rob Long’s pushback is quite cheering in this regard. Second, I feel a certain level of personal vindication on this issue, because I made the same point right here on the Corner three years ago — with this important difference, that back then I was making a purely impressionistic judgment based on a mere handful of TV shows I liked, while Rob Long, in stark contrast, is someone who actually knows what he’s talking about. As Thanksgiving recedes, let’s continue to be grateful for America’s cultural gifts. It’s as much fun for the peevish critic to write the words “vast wasteland” now as it must half been half a century ago (and I’m pretty sure I myself have done so at some point); but it’s far from the whole (or most important) truth, and we should be glad of that.

Most Popular


Courage: The Greatest of Virtues

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Jonah Goldberg’s weekly “news”letter, the G-File. Subscribe here to get the G-File delivered to your inbox on Fridays. Dear Reader (Or Listener), As the reporter assigned the job of writing the article about all of Sidney Blumenthal’s friends and supporters told his ... Read More

My American Dream

This morning, at 8 a.m., I did something I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember: I became an American. I first applied for a visa in early 2011, and since then I have slowly worked my way through the system — first as a visa-holder, then as a permanent resident (green card), and, finally, as a ... Read More

The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More