Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Martin Milner, Pete Malloy of “Adam-12,” R.I.P.

Martin Milner, Kent McCord in Adam-12 1970” by Universal Television. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.

Actor Martin Milner died Sunday at the age of 83. According to his IMDB page, he had 112 acting credits in film and television, a notable accomplishment in a field where so many consider themselves fortunate to earn even one. If I may speak for a generation of police officers — especially those who, like me, joined the LAPD in the 1980s — Milner will always be best known for his portrayal of Officer Pete Malloy on the television series Adam-12.

When Adam-12 first aired in 1968, Pete Malloy was the seasoned LAPD training officer for rookie officer Jim Reed, played by Kent McCord. Malloy was the tutor every young cop yearns to work with and aspires to become: patient, wise, and resourceful. The show ran until 1975 and, unlike the way things actually work in the LAPD, the two remained partners for the entire run of the show. I quickly learned that, on the real streets of Los Angeles, things didn’t always turn out as neatly as they did on Adam-12. Still, the show presented an ideal that most of us tried to achieve even as we often fell short of it.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Colin Quinn Skewers Political Correctness


Colin-Quinn-UnconstitutionalIf you know comedy, you know Colin Quinn. The Brooklyn native began his career on MTV’s “Remote Control” (alongside Adam Sandler), which led to a gig on “Saturday Night Live” (alongside Adam Sandler). Then, in the early ’00s, he hosted the vastly underrated “Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn” on Comedy Central, broadcast nightly after “The Daily Show.”

“Tough Crowd” was set up as yet another cable panel show, but everyone was a comedian, most were friends, and the political viewpoints were all over the place. Guests ranged from the far left to the far right to utterly unclassifiable. One common topic was political correctness since, even then, comics found audiences growing increasingly censorious.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Words of Wisdom from the Movies


“As a lawyer, I’ve had to learn that people aren’t just good or bad. People are many things.”

jimmy stewartThis line is spoken by Paul Beigler, a fictional small-town lawyer brilliantly played by Jimmy Stewart in the courtroom drama Anatomy of a Murder. I don’t want to have to summarize the whole movie (if you haven’t seen it, though, please make sure to do so; it’s a great flick and also features George C. Scott in what I believe was his film debut), so I’m going to oversimplify the context of the scene.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. “America Hates Dark”


Fantastic_Four_2015_posterOne of the most successful network executives ever laid down this maxim to a producer who insisted that a new cop show be “dark” and “real:” “America,” he said, “hates dark.” He’s right, of course. When audiences sit down to watch something, they rarely want to be depressed. Gripped, thrilled, grabbed, amused, scared, any or all of those things (and more) are okay … but plunged into a depressing and dark vision of the world? Not so much.

Sure, yes, a few “Dark Knights” may achieve escape velocity and make some real money at the box office, but — for day-in-day-out television viewing — it’s hard to make money that way. And it’s getting harder to make money in the movie theater that way, too. I write a bit about this in my column for The National, the English-language newspaper of Abu Dhabi:


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Sesame Street Moving to HBO. A Nail in the Coffin for PBS?


Bert_and_ErnieFor the next five seasons, new episodes of Sesame Street will run first on HBO (and its online partners), then on PBS nine months later. As part of the deal, PBS gets the show for free.

So, is this 1) simply a creative funding arrangement for PBS; 2) a nail in the coffin for PBS’ very existence; or 3) best yet — and my personal opinion — yet more proof that PBS does not need federal subsidies to stay alive and stay “public”?


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Daily Show, RIP


yoo_torture-and-stewartBoth conservative and liberal commentators are marking the passing of Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show, the premier liberal talk show on television. My appearance in January 2010 has been offered as one of the few examples where a conservative beat Stewart at his own game (which Stewart conceded on his show the following day). Conservatives praise the appearance (see Dorothy Rabinowitz in today’s Wall Street Journal and Gerard Alexander in the New York Times), while liberals feel I got off too easy (see Time’s website).

I’m bemused that, of the thousands of episodes that Stewart has done with probably just as many guests, my amateur appearance has taken on such mythic status. I enjoy thinking of the all the hate mail that Stewart received from lefties who accused him of taking a dive in our mano-a-mano cage match. There are some lessons here for conservatives who have to respond to a hostile media:


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Fox News’ GOP Debate: Ratings Magnate


AilesMurdochAn audience of 24 million watched last night’s Republican Presidential Debate on Fox News, according to figures released this afternoon by Nielsen. That’s more viewers than any non-sports event in the history of cable television. Included are 7.9 million in the Adults 25-54 demographic sought by advertisers in the news demo.

Past primary debates with high ratings typically happened closer to the actual voting, an audience of 7.63 million in Iowa on December 12, 2011, and 7.53 million on January 5, 2008 in Manchester, N.H., both on ABC.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Sly & Funny


This is really worth watching, from a very funny — and sneakily pro free-market — comedian David Angelo:


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Film Review: Best of Enemies


BestOfEnemies“Say again, Mr. Vidal? I thought I just heard you call me a ‘pro- or crypto-Nazi.’ Could you please repeat your words clearly for the jury in my forthcoming slander suit?” Alas, you won’t hear words to that effect in Best of Enemies, the engaging documentary about ABC’s ten televised debates between Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley before the 1968 Presidential Election. Unfortunately, Buckley took the bait and called Mr. Vidal a “queer,” and compounded the slur by threatening physical violence.

The man we know as WFB had the decency to later repent. In contrast, we learn that Vidal, in his dotage, would replay the video of that moment to guests in his Italian villa. Lacking footage of these private screenings, filmmakers Morgan Neville and Robert Gordon instead treat us to a clip of Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard. I’m not sure how the author of Myra Breckinridge would react to that, but it serves to illustrate the filmmakers’ view of where Vidal wound up.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Movies for Every Mood


imageSeeing a movie in a theater can be an amazing experience — something I hope we don’t lose due to either economics or (misplaced) safety concerns — but it’s generally impractical to see a film repeatedly in theaters, especially one that strikes your particular mood. For that, the home is infinitely superior.

We’ve talked many times about what the best movies are — either artistically or in terms of values — but I’d also like to explore what movies members enjoy under different circumstances. Don’t worry so much about whether a given film is actually the best or even the best-suited to a given circumstance, and feel free either to use my categories or invent your own.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. A Ricochet Challenge


I’m torn. On the one hand, I think we should all pause from our busy schedules to consider the most salacious and astonishing tabloid scandal in British history since the Profumo affair. We could surely use the comic relief.

On the other hand, the entire story violates our Code of Conduct.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Listen to Nearly 100 Hours of Shakespeare Free


olivier2Need some cheap entertainment this weekend, but are all caught up with your DVRed episodes of “Naked Amish Tattoo Removers” and “Say Yes to the Transgendered Storage Auction?” Elevate your entertainment by firing up the audio app Spotify for nearly 100 hours of free and fabulous Shakespeare.

The Bard’s plays and poems are meant to be heard, not read, so Spotify user Ulysses Stone collected more than four days worth of the finest actors performing his works.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Murder and the Breach of Trust


shutterstock_141495676As you’ve likely heard, some monster in Lafayette, Louisiana went into a movie theater last night, murdered two people, and injured eight more before killing himself.

Much has been written — deservedly so, I think — of the sacrilege and perversity of the way Dylann Roof abused the welcome and hospitality offered by the Bible study group in Charleston before he murdered them. That evil is, of course, mere flourish on the crime of taking eight lives — and attempting to adjudicate it is a waste of time — but it’s significant and real nonetheless.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Gawker’s Death Rattle


GawkerMediaThe only remaining question about the demise of Gawker Media is not whether it will die, but, rather, whether its inevitable death will come via a prolonged suicide, or, remarkably, at the hands of Hulk Hogan.

It’s looking more and more like the former scenario will win the race, and not just due to the potential defects in Hogan’s legal argument.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Introducing: The Tone Analyzer


IBM Watson has sent out a press release, herewith dutifully reproduced by Gizmodo:

Taking a break from treating cancer and making cocktails, IBM’s Watson is now turning its attention to how people write. The supercomputer has been trained to judge the tone in people’s written messages—and can even give feedback about how to change it.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Bill Cosby, Revisited


tumblr_lzzdgaX7QX1qlw12eo1_500I suspect that I am not alone in being horrified by the unmasking of Bill Cosby. I admired the man. I enjoyed his television show. I thought it salutary. It held up a functional African-American family for admiration. I liked his humor as well. I once had the privilege – and a privilege it was – of being a guest at a table (paid for by Lehmann Brothers) at a charity event where he performed, and I can tell you that there was a sweetness about his performance that, even today, I remember with great pleasure. Moreover, when he spoke about the misconduct evidenced by all too many young African-Americans, he told the unvarnished truth.

So, when I learned that he has not lived his life in accord with what he preached (directly or indirectly) via that television show, in his performances as a comedian, and in his speeches, I was not just shocked. I was deeply saddened – and, I feared, not without reason — that the good he had done with the show, his performances, and his speeches would come to naught. Which is precisely what the left liberals want.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. A Book for the Beach


EscapeFromSmyrnaThirty-one years ago this August, I gathered my things, mailed off a multitude of books, and flew on Swissair to Istanbul with a Compaq computer under my feet about the size of a small sewing machine. When I arrived, I loaded two taxis with my stuff and made my way to the Dutch consulate, which was located in the headquarters of the old Dutch East India Company on Istiklâl Caddesi (la grande rue de Pera) in Beyoğlu – where I was slated to stay for a week or so in a hostel run by the Dutch Archaeological Institute while I sought housing.

I had spent six weeks at Princeton taking a crash course in Turkey, and I had read whatever I could get my hands on. But I was a neophyte. Fortunately, I knew a graduate student from the University of North Carolina who was working on a dissertation while in Istanbul; and through him, I had been introduced to a couple of archaeologists who were old hands at dealing with life in the city inaugurated as Byzantium and later renamed Constantinople. So the next evening, I dined in the apartment — nearby in Cihangir — that Charles and Marie-Henriette Gates shared with their two young daughters; and they helped me find an apartment from which, through one window, one could see the Bosporus.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Drafting the Constitution of the New World


Ladies and Gentlemen of Ricochet, let’s assume as a thought experiment what some of our members already suspect. The Great American Experiment has failed. Our Body Politic is afflicted with a terminal disease. Whether death will come quickly or slowly is not ours to know, but we may safely assume that our best days are behind us, we’re fastened to a dying animal; our children will inherit a morally and economically impoverished land; alea iacta est.

What though the radiance which was once so bright


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. I Killed My Facebook Account


Facebook-Down-ThumbThe straw that broke the camel’s back was a story claiming that Ted Nugent said Native Americans should “go back where they came from.” To any intelligent person, that claim shouldn’t pass the smell test. Either the comment was taken out of context or it’s a fabrication. I don’t particularly care for Nugent’s music, but to judge from the times I’ve listened to him speak, or read what he’s written, it’s clear to me that at the very least, he’s not an idiot. He’s a bit rough and gruff about his views, and I can see why people would disagree with him. But he clearly would not say something like that, unless it were to poke someone in the eye.

In this case, the story’s been around since August 2014, and it’s a fabrication. I pointed that out in the comments under the post. I even checked to see whether Nugent had ever made any positive comments about Native Americans. I found some remarks on his website, written by his assistant, noting his respect for Native Americans and summarizing the work he’s done with Native American tribes. I copied these comments to the Facebook post.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Love Gov: From First Date to Mandate


LoveGovAndrew Breitbart famously said that “politics is downstream of culture.” Many of us on the center-right have enthusiastically spread this message without, you know, actually doing anything to change pop culture. Then when liberty-minded creatives produce “conservative” comedy, music or cinema, the same critics ridicule it as insufferably lame. (But let’s be honest: much of it is.)

A new series of videos created by the Oakland-based Independent Institute and Austin-based Emergent Order hits the sweet spot, delivering a solid message with great writing, acting and production. “Love Gov” turns the folly, cost, and intrusiveness of government into the character of Scott “Gov” Govinsky and his endless efforts to “help” the women in his life. Better still, it’s actually funny.