- - Monday, November 1, 2010

Zombies and vampires

“I never got into the whole ‘sexy vampire’ thing Anne Rice unleashed upon the earth a few decades back. Vampires are pagan parasites, no matter how suave. I tend to cheer the vampire slayers, from Van Helsing to Blade to Buffy — all of whom display a very conservative, if often reluctant, devotion to thankless duty.

“And I’ve been totally zombied out since ‘Shaun of the Dead’ (2004), the movie I stupidly thought would slay the undead genre for good. I’ve always despised the genre’s ‘master,’ George Romero, and his ham-fisted leftist politics. ‘Night of the Living Dead’ [1968] is a commentary on the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War, haven’t you heard? And ‘Dawn of the Dead’ [1978] mocks ‘mindless’ suburban consumerism. Deep! (Interestingly, the remake of Dawn of the Dead [2004] was scripted by a more conservative guy, and it shows.)

“So yeah, enough with the zombies already — despite RightWingTrash’s J.R. Taylor’s assertion that ‘the vast majority of zombie films are inherently right wing. There’s no better case for having guns in the house.’ I’ve always been more of a Frankenstein girl.”

Kathy Shaidle, writing on “The Top 7 Horror Movies for Conservatives,” on Oct. 31 at NewsReal blog

Muhammad akbar

“Hit the road, Jack. Last year’s most popular name for baby boys in England has been knocked off — by Mohammed.

“That’s not immediately obvious from data put out this week by the Office of National Statistics, which declared Wednesday that Oliver was the single most popular name for boys born in 2009. But a CNN analysis of the top 4,500 boys names shows that, when different spellings of the name are lumped together, Mohammed is No. 1. Oliver and variations come second, followed by Jack, Thomas, Charles, Harry, William and Daniel. …

“Muslims have a strong tendency to name their sons Mohammed. ‘The first reason why people keep the children’s name Mohammed is because of their love of the prophet Mohammed, because they want to emulate him,’ said Imam Abdullah al-Hasan of the East London Mosque. ‘They want to copy him not just through his behavior and conduct, but also his name,’ said the imam, who is thinking about naming his own newborn son after the founder of Islam.”

Richard Allen Greene, writing on “Mohammed tops list of English baby names” on Oct. 29 at the CNN blog Connect the World

Critique of pure reason

“Did it not seem strange to the people involved that [Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert] the voice of condescending acerbic satire should be calling on others to restore civility and seriousness to our politics, complaining about political disagreement, and arguing for ‘sanity’? Can one really be simultaneously so detached and disappointed, earnest and smug?

“But as you listen to what Stewart had to say, you come to grasp a little more about how he and his audience understand themselves, and why the contradiction really might not have seemed so strange to them. The point is clarified in particular by what they take to be the opposite of their view — that is, the position supposedly lampooned by Stephen Colbert, whose fake counter-rally to the fake rally was called The Rally to Restore Fear.

“Once you see that they take ‘fear’ to be the key to their opponents’ message, and ‘sanity’ to be the opposite of fear, you realize that the best explanation for it all was actually offered by President Obama earlier this fall, when he told a group of Democratic donors: ‘Part of the reason that our politics seems so tough right now, and facts and science and argument does not seem to be winning the day all the time, is because we’re hard-wired not to always think clearly when we’re scared, and the country is scared.’”

Yuval Levin, writing on “Sane or Smug?” on Nov. 1 at the National Review blog The Corner

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