The Week: Most Recent from Matt K. Lewis recent posts.en-usWed, 16 Apr 2014 10:30:00 -0400http://theweek.com Recent from Matt K. Lewis from THE WEEKWed, 16 Apr 2014 10:30:00 -0400How conservatives learned to hate Hollywood<img src="" /></P><p>The 1970s &mdash; a time of cultural malaise, androgynous fashion mistakes, and street crime. A lot of subversive but critically acclaimed movies from this era (from <em>Annie Hall</em> to <em>M*A*S*H</em>) reflected America's somewhat disaffected zeitgeist. But beneath the surface, a new genre of patriotic action hero was emerging.</p><p>Charles Bronson turned vigilante in <em>Death Wish</em>, a film that spoke to the crime problem endemic in big cities like New York. And Clint Eastwood as Inspector Harry Callahan (aka "Dirty Harry") took on criminals and the bleeding-heart liberals whose "technicalities" prevented him from...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/matt-k-lewis" ><span class="byline">Matt K. Lewis</span></a>Wed, 16 Apr 2014 10:30:00 -0400Why photographers shouldn't have to work at same-sex weddings<img src="" /></P><p>What <em>is</em> art? And just <em>who</em> is an artist?</p><p>I know those sound like highfalutin questions. But they've become critical to the legal debate over gay marriage and religious liberty.</p><p>The Supreme Court just turned down an appeal from a New Mexico photographer named Elaine Huguenin, who ran afoul of the state's anti-discrimination laws by declining to photograph a lesbian wedding. Huguenin's situation, many would argue, is quite different than declining to bake a cake for this same wedding. One obvious difference is that a photographer &mdash; unlike a baker &mdash; must physically attend an event or...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/matt-k-lewis" ><span class="byline">Matt K. Lewis</span></a>Wed, 09 Apr 2014 06:16:00 -0400For Christians, a silver lining to losing the culture war?<img src="" /></P><p>As I wrote last year, the culture war is over, and conservatives lost. For Christians, though, there might just be a silver lining.</p><p>Now, of course, it's understandable why many of my fellow cultural conservatives mourn the decline of Christian values in the public arena, inasmuch as they had a powerful influence on the rise of western civilization. Historians like Rodney Stark and sociologists like Mary Eberstadt (and many others) have chronicled this phenomenon. It's not simply about "losing power and market share," but mourning the very real downstream effects of secular liberal policies on...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/matt-k-lewis" ><span class="byline">Matt K. Lewis</span></a>Thu, 03 Apr 2014 10:40:00 -0400What Rand Paul can learn from George W. Bush's daddy issues<img src="" /></P><p>Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) recently told my <em>Daily Caller</em> colleague Alex Pappas that he has "pretty much quit answering" questions about his controversial father, former Texas Rep. Ron Paul.</p><p>Referencing George W. Bush's campaign for president in 2000, Paul continued: "Did he get tons of questions about his dad? ... I don't know that he did, to tell you the truth."</p><p>This is a silly semantic game for Paul to play. Whether or not George W. Bush was directly asked a lot of questions about George H.W. Bush in the run-up to the 2000 race is almost irrelevant. Because it is something close to an irrefutable...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/matt-k-lewis" ><span class="byline">Matt K. Lewis</span></a>Mon, 24 Mar 2014 10:20:00 -0400What our obsession with Malaysia Flight 370 says about us<img src="" /></P><p>Let's face it: We are obsessed with Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Indeed, conspiracy theorists probably haven't had this much material since the JFK assassination.</p><p>Maybe the flight landed on a remote air strip. Perhaps it evaded detection by "shadowing" another plane. Maybe aliens were involved? Don't rule out terrorism. Maybe the pilots committed suicide? Or maybe the passengers and crew were just the tragic victims of a fire.</p><p>Why do we obsess this way? Is there a primal reason we are drawn to such stories and, yes, to conspiracy theories explaining them?</p><p>Maybe we need these theories to psychologically...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/matt-k-lewis" ><span class="byline">Matt K. Lewis</span></a>Wed, 19 Mar 2014 11:05:00 -0400The problem with worshiping romance<img src="" /></P><p>It's time once again for that day of obligation foisted on us each year by the commercial racket known as the greeting card industry. Happy Valentine's Day!</p><p>Valentine's Day somehow manages to turn voluntary acts of kindness and warmth into perfunctory gestures, and romantic candlelight dinners into onerous burdens &mdash; all in the name of "love" (read: commercialism).</p><p>Now, if those were the only things I didn't like about Valentine's Day, I'd probably keep my grumpiness to myself. But this holiday also perpetuates bogus, unattainable notions about romance, love, marriage, and sex that has probably...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/matt-k-lewis" ><span class="byline">Matt K. Lewis</span></a>Fri, 14 Feb 2014 06:15:00 -0500In defense of not working<img src="" /></P><p>You might have heard Republicans claiming last week that 2.5 million Americans would lose their jobs as a result of ObamaCare. This claim was based on a Congressional Budget Office report on ObamaCare. The report suggested that the U.S. workforce might shrink by 2.5 million people as a result of ObamaCare.</p><p>This distinction is critical: The CBO didn't predict that people would lose their jobs, but rather, that more people would choose to work fewer hours, since they might no longer put in a ton of time at work simply to get health insurance through their employer.</p><p>While there are plenty of serious...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/matt-k-lewis" ><span class="byline">Matt K. Lewis</span></a>Tue, 11 Feb 2014 06:07:00 -0500Time to forgive Glenn Beck?<img src="" /></P><p>As you you might have heard, Glenn Beck recently confessed to Fox News' <em>The Kelly File</em> that he "played a role, unfortunately, in helping tear the country apart."</p><p>This is both introspective, and a terrible indictment of his work. But first, here's the quote:</p><p >I remember it as an awful lot of fun and that I made an awful lot of mistakes. I wish I could go back and be more uniting in my language because I think I played a role, unfortunately, in helping tear the country apart and it&rsquo;s not who we are and I didn&rsquo;t realize how really fragile the people were. I thought we were kind of a little...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/matt-k-lewis" ><span class="byline">Matt K. Lewis</span></a>Thu, 23 Jan 2014 12:16:00 -0500Bob McDonnell, and the perils of being famous but not rich<img src="" /></P><div class="im"><p>"We are broke," confessed former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's wife Maureen in an email to his staff, and "have an unconscionable amount in credit card debt."</p></div><p>Let's assume for the sake of argument that this is true. Does it exonerate the McDonnells from the very-serous allegations of accepting gifts in return for using the governor's office to dish out special treatment? Of course not. And yet... it might serve as at least a partial explanation as to why someone who seemed to be a rising star in politics would risk throwing it all away.</p><div class="im"><p>"The American political system makes it easier for...</p></div> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/matt-k-lewis" ><span class="byline">Matt K. Lewis</span></a>Wed, 22 Jan 2014 11:40:00 -0500Why are U.S. conservatives so obsessed with monarchies?<img src="" /></P><p>Something weird is happening on the American Right. Over at <em>Politico Magazine</em>, Michael Auslin, a resident scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, has penned a column titled "America Needs a King."</p><p>Had Auslin's strange desire not come on the heels of Pat Buchanan's paean to Vladimir Putin, or an anti-democracy movement being championed by tech libertarians like Peter Thiel, the co-founder of PayPal, one might see this as merely an example of an academic being intellectually provocative. In other words, "trolling" us.</p><p>But this isn't mere trolling. It's a trend.</p><p>Now, there has...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/matt-k-lewis" ><span class="byline">Matt K. Lewis</span></a>Mon, 06 Jan 2014 06:14:00 -0500The real lesson of David Brooks' lame anti-pot column<img src="" /></P><p>In David Brooks' latest column, "Weed. Been There. Done That," the Times' elder conservative statesman cops to smoking pot as a youngster while also deriding the habit and those who encourage it. The column predictably aroused mockery from the peanut gallery, leading many to question whether or not he was actually high when he wrote it. (In the wake of Colorado's recreational marijuana rollout, commentators like Ruth Marcus, Joe Scarborough, and Tina Brown have expressed similar viewpoints, but Brooks has a unique way of evoking anger from the Twitterati.)</p><p>In addition to the many jokes, critics...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/matt-k-lewis" ><span class="byline">Matt K. Lewis</span></a>Fri, 03 Jan 2014 11:10:00 -05007 enduring lessons from It's a Wonderful Life<img src="" /></P><p>If you're looking for proof of the decline of values, comparing two holiday movies &mdash; <em>Love Actually</em> and Frank Capra's timeless black-and-white classic <em>It's a Wonderful Life</em> &mdash; is illustrative.</p><p><em>The Atlantic's</em> Christopher Orr recently penned an excellent takedown of the former, calling it the "least romantic film of all time." Among the pernicious lessons imparted, Orr says, is the notion "that love is overwhelmingly a product of physical attraction and requires virtually no verbal communication or intellectual/emotional affinity of any kind."</p><p>Fortunately, <em>It's a Wonderful Life</em> is still...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/matt-k-lewis" ><span class="byline">Matt K. Lewis</span></a>Tue, 10 Dec 2013 06:12:00 -0500How Obama is soaking the young<img src="" /></P><p>Boosted by starry-eyed young Americans who embraced his "hope and change" message, Barack Obama ascended to the presidency in 2008 &mdash; and was re-elected in 2012. This might have made the idealistic young people who clung to his lofty rhetoric feel good &mdash; and maybe Obama really did advance their progressive social agenda. But from an economic standpoint, their support was highly ironic. They have been largely rewarded with high unemployment rates &mdash; and long-term policies that transfer wealth from the young to the old.</p><p>Consider, for instance, the Affordable Care Act. It is not exactly...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/matt-k-lewis" ><span class="byline">Matt K. Lewis</span></a>Mon, 11 Nov 2013 12:05:00 -0500Watch out, Chris Christie: It's a trap!<img src="" /></P><div dir="ltr"><p>New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is riding high this week. But politics is a fickle business, Americans have short memories, and every race is different.</p><p>On the latter point, as Sen. Marco Rubio (who was on top just a year ago) told CNN's Dana Bash, "I think we need to understand that some of these races don't apply to future races. Every race is different &mdash; it has a different set of factors &mdash; but I congratulate (Christie) on his win."</p><p>Some will say this is a less-than-gracious congratulations. Maybe. But it's also true.</p><p>There is a danger in winning, inasmuch as it fosters hubris...</p></div> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/matt-k-lewis" ><span class="byline">Matt K. Lewis</span></a>Fri, 08 Nov 2013 06:14:00 -0500Ken Cuccinelli: What might have been<img src="" /></P><p>The surprisingly close Virginia governor's race may be over, but the campaign to assign blame has only just begun.</p><p>In the coming hours and days, we will settle on a narrative to explain how Terry McAuliffe &mdash; Terry McAuliffe! &mdash; eked out a victory and became governor of the commonwealth. And the story we tell ourselves could have major implications.</p><p>If the framing that takes hold suggests that an avowed social conservative can no longer win in a swing state, that would have repercussions for future races all across the nation.</p><p>Another possibility: President Obama will surely attempt...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/matt-k-lewis" ><span class="byline">Matt K. Lewis</span></a>Tue, 05 Nov 2013 21:58:00 -0500Why liberal journalists are right to bash Healthcare.gov<img src="" /></P><p>A lot of ink has been spilled this week over how <em>Salon</em>'s Joan Walsh called out liberal reporters Ezra Klein and Ryan Lizza for daring to criticize the rollout of the ObamaCare exchanges. Without rehashing and relitigating it all, there are a few points that deserve additional attention.</p><p>The first is this: This internecine spat marks a very interesting reversal. A couple weeks ago, it was center-right journalists who were chided for speaking out against conservatives' defund strategy. How quickly things change. It's nice to know the other side has troubles, too.</p><p>But the bigger points are less...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/matt-k-lewis" ><span class="byline">Matt K. Lewis</span></a>Fri, 25 Oct 2013 11:49:00 -0400