The Weekend Jolt

NR Insider

So, You Call Yourself a Conservative

Dear Jolter,

I for one call myself a “Buckley Conservative.”

How about you? What are you calling yourself on this Happy Weekend as you stock up on candy and goodies for the tykes who will come a-knocking in a few days? Please know, if you ever come a-knocking at NR’s new offices (19 West 44th Street in The Big Apple), you’ll spot a big bowl filled not with candy but with coolio WFB buttons and NR lapel pins. Grab some. Gratis! Now, before we get down to the purpose of this weekly missive, which is to share links . . .

. . . I want you to listen to Kat. The Timpfstress is wondrously pitching in on our current NRO 2017 Fall Webathon effort to raise some funds, not only to help pay the bills in these parts, but to expand our efforts (explained in depth here) to bring the brilliance of conservatism — of Buckley conservatism! — to many more here in America and around the globe. You can read Kat’s appeal here. Be assured: We truly need your help.

OK, let’s establish a fact: Kat’s the tops. And I’ll lay down an order: Watch her tonight on The Greg Gutfeld Show. And now we need to move on to things of editorial substance, so please, Get Along Little Dogies.


There was a lonely but important official thundering this week from NR: Interpol Should Remove William Browder from Its Watch List. I’ll admit, not the sexiest headline ever. But it is a truly important piece of writing, filled with drama (Putin as a nasty piece of work), and meaningful: It proved of help in righting a major wrong.


1. Assumption College professor Daniel Mahoney is one of my dearest friends, so I am thrilled that The Great Books podcast features him this week, discussing Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago.

2. Over at Political Beats this week, Scott and Jeff invite political / sports / media wordsmith Jane Coaston to dissect the musical grooviness of Nine-Inch Nails.

3. Once again I get the vapors listening to Jay Nordlinger interview an opera diva on Q&A. This week’s episode features the amazing Angela Gheorghiu. All I can say is mamma mia.

4. This week on The Editors, Rich, Charlie, and Michael Brendan Dougherty discuss Jeff Flake’s decision to leave the Senate, anti-Trump speeches from George Bush and John McCain, whether the GOP is now “Trump’s party,” and the Russia scandals that have hit the Democrats. Whew!

5. It was a great pleasure this week to see my old pal John Miller in NYC. Travel though he does, JJM never fails to treat us to yet another episode of The Bookmonger. The new episode features Christopher Scalia, son of Antonin, who’s on to discuss Scalia Speaks: Reflections on Law, Faith, and Life Well Lived.

6. At The Remnant with Jonah Goldberg, our host of hosts cobbles together a great new episode, bringing back Ben Sasse, dragging in David French, and jabbering about sports, current events, survivalism, and a zombie apocalypse.

7. In a war-on-terror edition of The Liberty Files, the aforementioned Mr. French discusses and dismisses the Niger/Benghazi comparison and the many problems with the latest court rulings against President Trump’s so-called “travel ban.”

Nine NRO Pieces You Should Read . . . or Hillary Will Haunt Your Dreams.

1. You wanna talk movies? Good, let’s talk movies. First off, Kyle Smith pops off at George Clooney’s latest chum-toss (I mean Oscar bait) — Suburbicon. From Kyle’s take:

Clooney and his writing and producing partner Grant Heslov, however, believe they’ve hit on a way to freshen things up and get them back in the race for another Oscar (which they jointly won along with Ben Affleck for producing Argo in 2012). Clooney says, in press notes for Suburbicon, “It seems like a good time for a film that feels angry.” And what is Clooney angry about? Race.

Stapled onto the Fargo-type story is one about racism. Next door to Gardner’s home in a Levittown-style model community is a family that is new to the neighborhood: a black couple and their son, who is about the same age as Gardner’s boy. Neighbors, starting with the mailman who can’t believe the lady of the house is not its maid, freak out, start holding urgent meetings to discuss the “problem,” and eventually surround and terrorize the household in a frenzy of racism.

2. Then we have Review Two: Armond White believes The Square “is probably the film of the year — though that’s not necessarily a good thing.” Eat the whole enchilada to understand Armond’s concerns.

3. Poor Alexandra DeSanctis must have high-sticked someone, because she is in the NRO penalty box, doing time by being tasked to edit my Weekend Jolt dreck. Poor thing. Anyway, before this purgatory, she was down in Virginia, ace-reporting on Ed Gillespie’s gubernatorial quest. It’s an excellent piece.

4. Jay Nordlinger decries the awful case of a splendid man. What Colombia, and a thick-skulled U.S., are doing to Andres Felipe Arias and his family will make your blood boil. (Listen to Jay’s interview with Catalina Serrano, Arias’s wife.)

5. In the new issue of NR, Mackubin Owens reviews Victor Davis Hanson’s acclaimed just-out history, The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won, and heaps on more acclaim. Here’s a slice:

Hanson’s background as a classicist and historian of the ancient world enables him to place World War II in a broader historical context, one stressing war’s “eternal elements.” These include such factors as the balance of power, deterrence, surprise, and preemption; victory achieved by defeating, humiliating, and occupying one’s enemy; the ability of one side or the other to learn rapidly from its mistakes; and the importance of geography.

6. Robert VerBruggen provides an exceptional policy piece that makes excellent suggestions on how to reduce gun violence without messing with the Second Amendment. From his piece:

Mass shootings grab our attention, but they are outliers as far as American homicide is concerned. The Las Vegas shooting may have had a double-digit body count, but 15,000 or so people are murdered each year in this country. Where mass shootings are unpredictable, other murders tend to occur in specific geographic areas and social networks. And quietly over the past two decades, criminologists, community groups, and technology companies have hit upon strategies that can reduce the bloodshed without infringing on anyone’s right to bear arms.

7. It’s a Trump Party (I can hear some pals singing through gritted teeth And I’ll Cry if I Want To!) Rich Lowry explains. Here’s some of what our editor has to say:

The great advantage Trump has in Republican politics is that he’s a Republican president, and partisanship is an awesome political force. So is the cult of personality that inheres in the presidency, augmented by Trump’s celebrity. He has the right enemies, and his culture-war fights coupled with his traditional GOP legislative agenda offer something for everyone in the party, from the populists to the Chamber of Commerce.

8. Didn’t you know, math is white? Kat Timpf sizes up a lefty University of Illinois professor and discovers that one plus one equals “Idiot.”

9. A once-Commie-fawning bureaucrat, Olly Robbins, lands a major gig in the UK’s EU Interruptus plan. John O’Sullivan’s remarkable essay, “Reckoning with Communism,” can’t help but go after Europe’s massive blind spot. From his piece:

The truth of the matter is that the West never confronted the radical evil of Communism as it confronted that of Nazism. Both Left and Right had their reasons for forgetting the past as Communism imploded in front of them: The Right wanted a smooth diplomatic resolution of the Cold War and therefore avoided anything that smacked of Nuremberg, crimes against humanity, justice, or, as the smooth diplomatic evasion had it, Western “triumphalism.” The Left needed to throw a cloak over its own underlying sympathy and occasional support for the Soviet experiment and over the family resemblances between democratic socialism and “really existing socialism.”

Speaking-of-Commies Bonus: It’s 1956, and Bill Buckley has the back of a New York school official battling Ted lovers and pettifoggers.

From Our Friends.

1. Ginni Thomas interviews my BFF Anne Sorock, boss of The Frontier Lab (I am on the board) about her take on GOP dunderheadedness.

2. Free Speech Kaput! Gatestone Institute’s Judith Bergman reports that censorship by social-media platforms is now official policy (make that law) in Germany. From her report:

The new law requires social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, to censor their users on behalf of the German state. Social media companies are obliged to delete or block any online “criminal offenses” such as libel, slander, defamation or incitement, within 24 hours of receipt of a user complaint — regardless of whether or the content is accurate or not. Social media companies receive seven days for more complicated cases. If they fail to do so, the German government can fine them up to 50 million euros for failing to comply with the law.

3. We’ll let the headline of this College Fix report by Aryssa Damron speak for itself: “Yale ‘decolonizes’ English dept. after complaints studying white authors ‘actively harms’ students.”

A dios.

We thank Our Creator for the blessings of this week past, when many friends of Buckley conservatism joined in New York City to celebrate at the Fourth Annual William F. Buckley Jr. Prize Dinner, said prizes going to the great novelist, Tom Wolfe, and the profound supporters of liberty, Bruce and Suzie Kovner. It was all put on by Lindsay Craig and her incredibly hard-working team at National Review Institute. Kudos to all.

Speaking for myself, I am exhaustzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.


Jack Fowler

P.S.: Next Thursday is All Soul’s Day. That cousin, the great aunt, that old friend who died so young, the spinster teacher: Do pray for the forgotten dead. Yours may be that nudge that gets them past the Pearly Gates.

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


The Latest