Magazine | March 9, 2009, Issue

Letters

Living Inspiration

Thank you for Jay Nordlinger’s article on Capt. Ivan Castro (“Captain Extraordinary,” February 9). Captain Castro is a tremendously inspiring man. I had the honor of meeting him while running the Air Force Marathon in Dayton last September, and of hearing him speak at the dinner the night before.

He spoke briefly about his injuries, then thanked the soldiers who risked their lives to save him while still under fire, the helicopter crew that came in despite the tremendous risk, and all the doctors, nurses, therapists, etc., who worked to help him heal. Not a drop of self-pity in evidence.

If God’s plan is to have him inspire others to do their best, count their blessings, and selflessly help others, He has the best man for the job.

James F. Murphy

Chicago, Ill.

Very Superstitious

When I read John Derbyshire’s piece indicating that “interest in the occult has faded” (“Chance of a Ghost,” February 9), I wondered whether he is in touch with current entertainment trends. A quick scan of the TV listings reveals shows such as Medium, Ghost Whisperer, Ghost Hunters, Paranormal State, and Ghost Hunters International. Psychics such as John Edward and Lisa Williams pack auditoriums during their worldwide tours.

Not much of a fade.

James Cavanagh

Naples, Fla.

John Derbyshire replies: With all respect to Mr. Cavanagh, I didn’t say that interest in the occult has disappeared, I said it has faded since the mid-20th century. That’s my judgment—impressionistic, but I’ll stand by it. The Search for Bridey Murphy was a huge bestseller in 1956, The Amityville Horror a lesser one in 1977. I don’t think books like that make the lists nowadays. The nearest recent equivalent I can find is Don Piper’s 90 Minutes in Heaven, but that’s Christian-inspirational, not occult.

Similarly with TV. Where, in the hundred-odd channels offered by my cable service, can I find a current equivalent of the ingeniously spooky stories in Alfred Hitchcock Presents? I have never heard of the shows Mr. Cavanagh mentions, nor heard them discussed; they are not visible in TV popularity ratings (though admittedly the advent of cable has scrambled the ratings business). Similarly, I wish John Edward and Lisa Williams all the luck in the world, but I had never heard of either until today. That the occult is still around, I know; that it has anything like the hold on our attention it had 50 years ago, I am sure is not the case.

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

In This Issue

Articles

Politics & Policy

Lo, a Smart Grid!

‘We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together,” President Obama promised in his inaugural address. “We will ...
Politics & Policy

Why We Hate Us

You think you know Hollywood? Sure, you’ve seen your share of movies. You read Vanity Fair and Entertainment Weekly and sneak a peak at Showbiz Tonight from time to time ...
Politics & Policy

The Tacky Index

Every decent American, when he or she is standing at a cash register, having just handed over the Visa card to pay for the pile of groceries or whatever, says ...

Features

Politics & Policy

Governor Girly-Man

California conservatives greeted Arnold Schwarzenegger’s ascension to the governor’s office in the famous “total recall” election of 2003 with wary optimism. If anyone could make “post-partisanship” work in ever-bluer California, ...

Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

Such a Catholic

In 1972 Flannery O’Connor was posthumously honored with the National Book Award for her Complete Stories. As her publisher, Robert Giroux, was readying himself to receive this highest of American ...
Politics & Policy

Watts Up

Fittingly for a book about nuclear energy, William Tucker’s latest work is a bit like uranium: It contains a vast amount of material, packed tightly into a small space, which, ...
Politics & Policy

A Wolfe Tome

Alan Wolfe of Boston College is a prolific and generally well-regarded author. In the last five years he’s published four books on contemporary politics and public policy: The Transformation of ...
The Straggler

Chance of a Ghost

Conservatives, it says here, are happier than liberals. I am looking at this much-discussed study from New York University on “The Palliative Function of Conservative Ideology.” So far as I ...

Sections

Politics & Policy

Letters

Living Inspiration Thank you for Jay Nordlinger’s article on Capt. Ivan Castro (“Captain Extraordinary,” February 9). Captain Castro is a tremendously inspiring man. I had the honor of meeting him while ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ One thousand pages of stimulus legislation, a few hours to read it: It’s change you’ll just have to take his word for. ‐ The Democrats have made a number of ...
Politics & Policy

Poetry

STARRY NIGHT At the High Museum of Art, Atlanta On Loan from MoMA 29 September 2000 He fought the demons with a tube of paint,           With knife and brush to joust—cut, thrust, and parry.           Each stroke ...
Happy Warrior

Governor Gravid

The Times of London put it this way: “Arnie Schwarzenegger Joins the Ranks of Girlie Men.”     Quite. As is well known, the Terminator has been unable to terminate anything — ...

Most Popular

White House

Rachel Maddow’s Turnberry Tale

To a certain kind of Rachel Maddow viewer, there are few more titillating preludes to a news segment than the one she delivered Monday: “If you have not seen it yet, you are going to want to sit down.” Maddow’s story began, as many of her stories do, with President Trump, this time focused on his hotel ... Read More