Pitch Perfect 2
June 1st, 2015

I have a piece over at Acculturated about the math which proves that Pitch Perfect 2 sucks. What film criticism needs, obviously, is sabermetrics. Sample nerdery:

Pitch Perfect finished its run with $65 million—less than half as much as Taken 2. But that total gave it a multiple of 4.3, which is extremely high. As a general rule of thumb, movies with a box office opening weekend multiple greater than four tend to be regarded as instant classics, the kind of movies that everyone loves and talks about for years and that suck you in if you ever flip past them on TNT. Another sign of how beloved a movie is its home video sales proportional to box office (which we would totally call VoBO). Typical movies make roughly half as much on home video as they do in the theater. Taken 2, for instance, made $64 million in DVD sales, giving it a ratio of 0.46—thoroughly average. But once Pitch Perfect moved to home video, it took off, making $104 million in DVD sales, for a really high VoBO of 1.6.

And there’s no need for us to get into this, but let’s just say that I know from college a cappella . . .


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Dept. of Predictions
June 1st, 2015

I’m all for making predictions, but I tend to do it by way of laying odd on outcomes. This may look like a cowardly hedge, but it’s really just a sign of how unpredictable I think the world is. You can say that some outcomes are extremely likely. For instance, it seems extremely likely that Hillary Clinton will be her party’s nominee this year. This is probably an 8- or 9-in-10 outcome at this point. But you have to respect a 10 percent chance. If I told you there was a 1-in-10 chance you’d get killed if you rode a bus today, you’d stay off the bus.

All of which is by way of saying that Bill Scher is laying down a hell of a marker in this Politico piece:

I am going to tell you, right now, what the political landscape of the future looks like so you don’t waste your time over the next year listening to a parade of pundits or watching those ridiculous primary debates. The 2016 election is going to come down to Hillary vs. Jeb, of course.

Umm, okay? But if Bush and Clinton aren’t the nominees, I don’t really know how you climb down from that.


‘Dadly Virtues’ Update
June 1st, 2015

In case you’re interested, lots of Dadly Virtues stuff coming out:

* Steve Hayes and I did an episode of AEI’s great Banter podcast with Stu James and Janine Nichols. You can listen/download here. And I talked with Gayle Trotter on her podcast, which is here.

* I also talked with the Conservative Book Club; the transcript of that is here.

* Finally, I was on Fox & Friends on Saturday talking about the book with Tucker.


“Stable Gay Unions” and the Catholic Church
May 28th, 2015

By now it’s pretty clear to everyone that same-sex marriage is on a collision course with religious freedom and that at a very near date institutions like the Catholic Church and its para-church operations are going to be placed in existential jeopardy.

On the one hand, this is bad.

On the other hand, there’s this:

ROME — A one-day study meeting — open only to a select group of individuals — took place at the Pontifical Gregorian University on Monday with the aim of urging “pastoral innovations” at the upcoming Synod of Bishops on the Family in October.

Around 50 participants, including bishops, theologians and media representatives, took part in the gathering, at the invitation of the presidents of the bishops’ conferences of Germany, Switzerland and France — Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Bishop Markus Büchel and Archbishop Georges Pontier.

One of the key topics discussed at the closed-door meeting was how the Church could better welcome those in stable same-sex unions, and reportedly “no one” opposed such unions being recognized as valid by the Church.

Participants also spoke of the need to “develop” the Church’s teaching on human sexuality and called not for a theology of the body, as famously taught by St. John Paul II, but the development of a “theology of love.”

One Swiss priest discussed the “importance of the human sex drive,” while another participant, talking about holy Communion for remarried divorcees, asked: “How can we deny it, as though it were a punishment for the people who have failed and found a new partner with whom to start a new life?” . . .

The article also quoted a participant as saying the synod would be a “failure” if it simply continued to affirm what the Church has always taught. . . .

A prominent critic of Humanae Vitae (The Regulation of Birth), as well as a strong supporter of homosexual clergy and those pushing for reform in the area of sexual ethics, Father Schockenhoff is known to be the leading adviser of the German bishops in the run-up to the synod.

Father Schockenhoff has also gone on record saying that moral theology must be “liberated from the natural law” and that conscience should be based on the “life experience of the faithful.”


David Remnick’s New Yorker Is Racist
May 26th, 2015

And Vox.com has done the math to prove it. So problematic. SO PROBLEMATIC!

Where is the sweet meteor of death when you need it?


Schism Watch
May 26th, 2015

A little help here: Is this essay by Patrick T. Reardon in the National Catholic Reporter satire?

To give you some set-up, it’s slugged as being a dispatch from the year 2063 and the picture it paints is of a Catholic Church which is radically shrunken because of the progressive wheels set in motion by Pope Francis. Yet a get the sense that Reardon sees all of this as a good thing?

But like I said, maybe it’s satire. Who am I to judge?


Joe Queenan on Fatherhood and the School Years
May 23rd, 2015

I love Joe Queenan, but his chapter on getting your kids through the school years might be my single favorite stand-alone essay of his, ever. And now the Wall Street Journal has run an adaptation of it, which you can read here.

The Dadly Virtues keeps trucking along to Father’s Day . . .

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What percentage of Americans are gay?
May 22nd, 2015

Gallup just asked the question and the numbers are still about where they were three years ago.

Here are some highlights from the new survey:

* 33 percent of Americans think that homosexuals are more than 25 percent of the population

* 53 percent of Americans think that more than 20 percent of the population is gay

No wonder people think same-sex marriage is the most important issue in the world. Even the civil rights struggles of the ’60s only applied to about 12 percent of the population. Same-sex marriage must be at least twice as important if it applies to more than twice as many people.

(Just a reminder: The real number is 1.6 percent. Not that there’s anything wrong with it.)