James Bowman


Principles, Parties, and Polarization

To some political junkies, reading Sam Rosenfeld’s book The Polarizers will be an exercise in almost unbearable nostalgia for that world of political stability and comity and the kind of genuine debate that can only come with mutual respect between those of differing political points of view—as we can see now that both genuine debate and mutual respect appear to have vanished from our politics.

Stormy Weather

The tale of Stormy Daniels and its failure to arouse the public’s indignation against President Trump might seem to give hope that eventually the public will tire of the media’s scandal culture. But even if scandal fatigue should set in, its obverse, which is government by virtue-signaling, has never been stronger.

Trying Times

We ought always to be suspicious about retrospective moralizing about the past, which didn’t have the luxury that we enjoy of being able to balance costs that had yet to be incurred against benefits that remained hypothetical in order to decide if a prospective course of action was “worthwhile” or not.

Zip Ties and Media Lies

Our Rashomon politics is not an artifact of the Trump era but an inevitable outgrowth of an ever-increasing tendency to political moralizing, which itself arises out of identity politics as lately perfected by the left, with the willing cooperation of the media.

What We Talk About When We Talk About Reputation

In trying to modernize our understanding of the “elusive concept” of reputation, a new book loses sight of its historical meaning.

Review: Lady Bird

Greta Gerwig, who both wrote and directed Lady Bird, has done a wonderful job of taking us through teenage anxiety step by step in a way that feels entirely right.

Methods of Madness

President Trump’s rhetorical approach is a bold, even reckless strategy in our scandal-obsessed media culture, but it has at least paid the dividend of keeping the media’s ostentatious outrage perpetually at top volume as a distraction from any more substantive coverage of his presidency, which could only be hostile and probably more effectively so.

Review: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

It’s best to think of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri as a sort of cinematic parable about forgiveness — both of others and of ourselves.

Review: Darkest Hour

Movies about historical events always tell us more about the time in which they were made than they do about the time in which they are set.

Putting Down the Big Dog

The moral panic over celebrity male sexual misbehavior that has raged through the media since the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke in October seems to be part of the on-going progressive effort to bring about the eviction of President Trump from the executive mansion.