My old review from June 2008 of How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization is available at here.

This book should be required reading for the media before they write a single story on the church.

And in case you live under a rock here is the sketch in question from the review:

The list from the Church would likely be longer.

A tweet today pointed me to the Dan Riehl, Ross Douthat, Mark Levin et/al stuff. So lets talk about thinkers who are or are not entertainers.

Douthat dismisses Levin as an entertainer saying that it is the only way to define Levin’s book and defend it.

There’s nothing wrong with appreciating these entertainers, admiring their success, and enjoying the way they skewer people and causes you dislike. But to insist that they’re also worth taking seriously as political and intellectual actors in their own right, worthy of keynote speeches at CPAC and admiring reviews in highbrow journals, is to make a category error that does no favors to the larger causes that you and they support.

Dan (the blogger least like what people expected at CPAC) Riehl hits Douthat as an entertainer as well:

The sum total of Douthat’s accomplishment comes from writing two books. That’s it. One can say anything one wants about them – but in point of fact, they are little more than entertainment for a mostly eggheaded bunch that enjoys talking about the nuance around and within politics without ever actually having accomplished much of anything.

Both Douthat and Riehl are right but I think both are missing the point here, so lets take this backwards:

When Dan blogs I presume he writes not only to express himself but in the hope that others might find his writing and ideas interesting enough to come back to read (If I’m wrong please correct me). He writes with the hope that it may be entertaining enough on either an intellectual or gut level to get that tweet from Sissy Willis or a blog post by someone else to get his thoughts and ideas out there. In other words he wants someone to entertain his ideas.

The relevancy of that thought and it’s worth in terms of expression come both from the meat of what he is saying and the response it generates, thus the entertainment value of said thoughts are part of the discussion of it is worthy emulating or advancing his positions.

Now I’ve met Dan once in passing at CPAC but I don’t know Dan or how he makes his living but he is not to my knowledge dependent on his writing for support so if he fails to cause people to entertain his thoughts it’s no skin off his back.

As far as Ross I’ve never met him at all, I’ve not read his books, and only occasionally read his columns which frankly leave me cold. But he’s writing for the NYT. He is paid to cover a niche, a conservative writer in a liberal paper. Just enough of a conservative to be called one but not enough of one to actually risk challenging the readers who are looking for affirmation over information.

Conservatives and conservative thinkers are not his audience. The times knows that he is not going to draw them and that’s not what he is paid for. His audience is the current times readership and it’s current publishing team. If he fails to generate the proper buzz, the right reaction, to entertain he will be replaced.

I don’t know if he cares if his ideas are advanced. I don’t know what ideas he wants to advance or any. I don’t know if he needs this job to make a living, but he is where he is as long as he serves the purpose in question and not a moment longer. If he fails to sustain that purpose, he’s out.

Now onto Mark Levin. I haven’t read his book, I don’t listen to his radio show, he’s louder than I like but when I’ve heard him he’s tended to talk sense. His arguments are strong enough that Millions of copies of his book have been purchased and read and his ideas advanced. His presentation is strong enough that thousands of people listen to him on the radio. The fact that they might also be entertained has no relevance on if his thoughts should be rejected, however if he fails to get those listeners his show will be off the air. This is a basic fact.

But Levin’s goal is two fold. He wants to make a living and he wants to advance a series of ideas. The combination of said ideas and an entertaining presentation has allowed him to do this.

The entertainer argument is most commonalty used against Rush Limbaugh. His job is to host a radio show and draw the greatest number of listeners possible to maximize the profit he can make selling ads. He has done this better than anyone else. No serious person denies this.

Rush also has a series of beliefs and ideas that he wants to advance. He has been very successful in this endeavor. No serious person can claim he has not been.

Rush’s ideas are also serious ideas offering solutions for actual problems. This is where certain serious people don’t DARE agree, not because it is not true, but because to acknowledge it imperils their own agendas.

Entertainer is not a bad word, to pretend it is rejects stump speakers who have made their case for hundreds of years and denies history. The rejection of that aspect of intellectual persuasion is in my opinion simply an aspect of pride and bigotry or simply sour grapes.

For related stuff check out this post at SISU

I’m only just over a third of the way through Saved by Her Enemy by Don Teague & Rafraf Barrak so normally I wouldn’t comment on the book yet, but I read something that should be read by every person who lionized the enemy:

Just before we crossed the border, the soldier driving a Humvee we were following stopped to warn us, “Watch out for children lying in the road.”

“Children?” I asked. “Why Children?”

“Because they know you won’t run them over. They line up little kids, five or six years old, across the road and force you to stop. When you do, people swarm the vehicle. They smash the windows with rocks, drag people out. You don’t want that to happen.”

“So what are we supposed to do?” I asked.

“You don’t stop. No matter what.”…

Interestingly enough they only used this tactic against civilians because they assumed that military vehicles wouldn’t bother stopping.

These are the people we are fighting and still fighting. This is the same attitude that Israel faces every day. If you don’t understand this, you either haven’t been paying attention or don’t want to pay attention.

If you read Pam Geller of course you won’t have this problem.

…says David Remnick in his book The Bridge The life and rise of Barack Obama the morning after I crashed on the couch after re-organizing my playlists etc as I’ve finally moved my stuff from the ipod to the new PC. I had to double check to make sure that I was actually awake since nobody on Morning Joe disagreed with him on this statement.

Can there be a worse time to put out an Obama book?

First he releases it as his numbers are below the tea parties.

Then appears on TV the week after the “book/blowjob” access stories come out.

And in one week the Tea Party Express will be pulling into Washington DC to highlight disapproval of the Government, the president and the congress.

As you might guess Mr. Remnick wasn’t challenged much although Joe referred to the title as the “rise and fall of Barack Obama”. It was a slip but boy did it get reaction on the set.

Anyone want to make odds on how long it take to make it to the dollar bin?

My review of the book Rediscovering Catholicism by Michael Matthew Kelly is available at here.

Kelly’s book is really good but it can’t compare to his ability to speak. If you really want to get the full effect of Mr. Kelly you have to see him in person.

If he is in your area go and see him.

Spent most of the day helping my sister and her husband with their taxes. Speaking of her husband if you haven’t already ordered his book The Army Insider. You ought to. A man who gave so many years to his country’s military should be able to support himself better than he is now plus with all the time I spent helping on the taxes it would be nice to have more royalties to show.

My Amazon review of the book is here.

Update: It has come to my attention that some readers have inferred from my posting that Dave can’t support himself without more help from book sales.  If I left that conclusion I apologize.  Dave has a regular job and does ok.  I just think a fellow who has done so much for his country deserves better.

My review through the Amazon Vine program of Evan Thomas’ book The War Lovers Roosevelt, Lodge, Hearst and the Rush to Empire 1898 to be released April 27th is available at here.

I think the book would have been a whole lot better if he didn’t attempt to use it to cheap shot the Bush Administration on Iraq and if he had made it a point at the start to acknowledge the cooperation of members of the Castro government in the volume at the start rather than at the end. Even with that it isn’t bad at all.

I’d really like to hear Val’s opinion of it as a free Cuban.