The Corner

NR Marketing

The Celebrity We Need

Here’s the cover of the new issue of National Review, out today for subscribers, featuring David French’s cover story on Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

An excerpt:

As polarization brings with it the politicization of everything, celebrities are expected to toe their respective political lines. The GOP has a celebrity in the White House, he brings in celebrity friends for photo ops, and, outside the White House gates, progressive celebrities spew vitriol at their hated former entertainment-industry colleague.

The Rock, however, has followed a different path. Rather than self-seriously viewing his career as secondary to his activism, Johnson clearly aims to entertain. He understands a core truth: that there is nothing wrong — and a lot right — with sheer, unmitigated fun. Not everything has to have a Message. Not everything needs to reveal Larger Truth. Sometimes a man has to shoot down an attack helicopter with a minigun. Not for social justice and not for individual liberty — but because it’s a cool thing to do.

At the same time, Johnson is keenly aware that he’s come a long way. He’s an unabashed patriot, and his Facebook and Instagram feeds are full of expressions of gratitude to his country and his fans. He constantly reminds fans that he was once broke and struggling. He blesses his family with the fruits of his labor. And in his own turn, he seems to positively delight in bringing joy to others. His Instagram feed is full of small incidents demonstrating his love for “the people,” even the smallest admirers of The Rock. If young girls hold up a sign on his route to work, asking him to stop for a picture, he stops for a picture. If a two-year-old asks him to play patty-cake while he’s on the set of Hercules, he plays patty-cake. And when it comes to veterans, he’s extravagant with his praise and his time.

Part of the legend of The Rock is this May 1, 2011, tweet: “Just got word that will shock the world — Land of the free . . . home of the brave DAMN PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN!” He tweeted this at 10:24 p.m. It was not for another 45 minutes that major networks began reporting Osama bin Laden’s death, and it was 11:35 p.m. that night when Barack Obama formally announced the successful raid. How did The Rock know in advance? He had a cousin in the SEALs, but he won’t confirm his source.

Members of the National Review editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

Most Popular

White House

Trump and the ‘Racist Tweets’

What does “racist” even mean anymore? Racism is the headline on President Trump’s Sunday tweets -- the media-Democrat complex assiduously describes them as “racist tweets” as if that were a fact rather than a trope. I don’t think they were racist; I think they were abjectly stupid. Like many ... Read More
White House

The Trump Steamroller

As we settle into high summer and the period of maximum difficulty in finding anything to fill in hours of television news, especially 24/7 news television, two well-established political trends are emerging in this pre-electoral period: The president’s opponents continue to dig themselves into foxholes that ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Ilhan Omar Is Completely Assimilated

Beto O’Rourke, the losing Texas Senate candidate who bootstrapped his way into becoming a losing presidential candidate, had a message for refugees who had come to America: Your new country is a hellhole. The former congressman told a roundtable of refugees and immigrants in Nashville, Tenn., last week: ... Read More
Sports

We All Wanted to Love the Women’s Soccer Team

For the first time in my life, I did not root for an American team. Whatever the sport, I have always rooted American. And if those who called in to my radio show were representative of my audience, many millions of Americans made the same sad choice. It takes a lot for people like me not to root for an ... Read More
U.S.

The ‘Squad’ Gives a Gift to Donald Trump

On Sunday, Donald Trump gave the Democrats a gift -- comments that indicate he thinks native-born congresswomen he detests should “go back” to the countries of their ancestors. On Monday, the four congresswomen handed Trump a gift in return, managing to respond to the president’s insults in some of the most ... Read More
U.S.

Men Literally Died for That Flag, You Idiots

The American flag’s place in our culture is beginning to look less unassailable. The symbol itself is under attack, as we’ve seen with Nike dumping a shoe design featuring an early American flag, Megan Rapinoe defending her national-anthem protests (she says she will never sing the song again), and ... Read More