Magazine February 11, 2019, Issue

Character in Character

Bing Crosby in 1942 (Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and Museum)
Bing Crosby: Swinging on a Star — The War Years, 1940–1946, by Gary Giddins (Little, Brown, 736 pp., $16.99)

Perhaps no defense of the institution of monarchy was ever more measured than that of C. S. Lewis. “Where men are forbidden to honour a king they honour millionaires, athletes, or film-stars in­stead; even famous prostitutes or gangsters,” Lewis wrote in his great essay “Equality,” first published in The Spectator in 1943. “For spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served; deny it food and it will gobble poison.”

Yet, to adopt Lewis’s metaphor, some varieties of poison are less lethal than others. At the time of his essay, for example, there were certainly many public figures unworthy of adulation, but

Peter Tonguette — Mr. Tonguette writes about the arts for the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Examiner, The American Conservative, and other publications.

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Maybe “But there’s no one on the job at the IRS!” isn’t the best anti-shutdown messaging.

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