Pundit Wire

The True Believer, Revisited

15916The New York Times ran a front page article on February 18, chronicling the lives of three Egyptian youths, one of whom turned jihadist and went to fight for ISIS in Syria.

The three young men were friends. All of them came from middle-class backgrounds. All of them were devout Muslims, and all of them struggled to square the strictures of puritanical Islam with the attractions of the secular world—in particular, the sexual impulses they shared as normal young men. All of them had difficulty finding work in Egypt’s uncertain economy, and all of them were disillusioned when Egypt’s army took power and suppressed the militant Islamic Brotherhood.

Photo: Harper & Brothers

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Hollywood’s necessary not-niceness

db_amy-pascal_010915_584_539_360_c1The billion people who will watch the 2015 Academy Awards got a great gift last week from Amy Pascal, the recently fired co-chair of Sony Pictures, who said this to Tina Brown at a Women in the World conference in San Francisco:

“We all live in this weird thing called Hollywood. If we all actually were nice, it wouldn’t work.”

Photo: Amy Pascal. Image via Sony Pictures Studios

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Guerrilla Warfare Against Gay Marriage

imagesThe chief justice of the state of Alabama, Roy S. Moore, has ordered the state’s probate judges to defy a federal district court ruling and refuse to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The result is that some judges in Alabama are issuing licenses and some are not. The confusion may continue until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of gay marriage in June.

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The New, Improved Payday Loan?

payday loanWhat would you say if I offered a $500  loan that would require that you repay me with $920 less than six months hence?

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The Christmas Truce at 100

Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 2.43.26 PMThe story has been told many times. (photo: Sainsbury)

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Dickens Noir

JHM1Anyone who dismisses Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol as Victorian treacle should see the latest adaptation of the story as mounted by the Houston Grand Opera.

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God gave this land to them

Pat_Boone_by_Gage_SkidmorePat Boone wrote the words to “Exodus.”

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How Mike Nichols Mauled Plastic

the graduateThe recent passing of director Mike Nichols took me back to my college days and the first time I saw The Graduate. It was one of Nichol’s best movies, and certainly one of the best movies ever made. In particular, The Graduate deserves to be remembered as the movie that dramatically changed the significance of the word “plastic.”

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