Tony Daniel says that Instapundit creator and law professor Glenn Reynolds has a deceptively simple prose style. He calls Reynolds “the master of the understated quip,” and likens him to “a blogging Diogenes in a barrel.”
Tony argues that the book is a mostly a dead-on argument by analogy that compares social media vitriol to the spread of disease in ancient cities–with the distinction that our modern cities of the mind, such as Facebook, are designed to spread the disease by encouraging addictive behavior.
Daniel says Reynolds makes the case the best solution is to avoid attempting to regulate content, but to break up the social media monopolists using antitrust laws.
Tony Daniel argues that CNN legal analyst Joan Biskupic’s biography of Chief Justice John Roberts The Chief is so preoccupied with disagreeing with the man that it doesn’t provide much insight into Roberts’s life and rulings.
Tony Daniel says that novelist and cultural commentator Bret Easton Ellis’s new collection of essays, White tears into the proponents of “woke” culture for eroding free expression and encouraging victimhood. Despite some melodramatic overwriting and amusing naiveté regarding the excesses of the identity-politics-drunk mob, Ellis’s judgement is sound: freedom of expression is all-important to an artist or writer.
Gene Wolfe died recently at age 87. Tony Daniel says Wolfe was a major influence on him, and one of the greats of American letters.
Tony writes in the piece: “I’m quite sure that Wolfe’s reputation will recover and grow in the coming years. He’s as good as the best we’ve had in American letters, and, though there are many great contenders, he’s my pick for the best science fiction writer of them all.”
“I came away from Educated feeling like I’d just stepped in something nasty,” Tony says in the piece.
While finding Tara Westover’s tale of self-educating herself affecting, Tony says her account is thin on detail and nuance. Ultimately, Educated suffers from the problem of all confessional memoirs: you don’t know who to believe. Better to just write a novel when dealing with such themes, Tony contends.
Tony Daniel expressed sadness over the recent and untimely death of actor Luke Perry.
Tony worked for a day with Luke Perry in 2000, when Perry starred in “Island of Death,” a radio play Tony wrote for Seeing Ear Theatre. This was part of the Tales from the Crypt SCIFI.COM series Seeing Ear Theatre produced by Tony’s friend and occasional screenwriting coauthor, Brian Smith. Tony was the story editor on the series as well, and wrote or cowrote several of the other episodes.
Tony remembers Perry as a very nice guy who hung out with the day players between takes, and was gracious to the crew.
Tony generally likes the Jack Reacher novels by Lee Child, including Child’s latest, Past Tense, but finds them pretty thin gruel for readers. He comments that after 23 novels, Lee Child continues to sell paperbacks by the truckload, and making his books entertaining is no mean feat when you consider how ridiculous they are.
Tony Daniel says that season two of the Amazon Prime show, ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ is even better than its first ten-episode run. But the show’s future looks bleak judging from the grating progressive stereotypes worked into the cliffhangers of the season two final episode.
Tony Daniel says that in his book Burning Down the Haus: Punk Rock, Revolution, and the Fall of the Berlin Wall, Tim Mohr has done yeoman historical service in collecting a slice of that history in anecdotal form from many of the punks and punk rockers who were involved in the cultural eruption during the era—and the regime’s sclerotic efforts to stamp it out. Yet, argues Tony, Mohr’s heartfelt argument for the primacy of punk in bringing down the DDR government is weakened by his political naïveté and heavily undercut by his rote display of strident and thoughtless anti-Americanism.