Chatting About Culture With Coren

Portman: would you have preferred a picture of Coren?

Michael Coren is a Canadian journalist, a cultural conservative whose every sentence is inflicted with a tangy cockney undergrowl. Aside from much columnizing, he has a daily talk show. Every once and awhile, I go on the show as part of his regular “arts panel”. You can see the show I most recently appeared on  here.


Among other topics discussed: the conservative objections to Avatar (including the surprising unpopularity of the show in Fort McMurray, Alberta), Natalie Portman’s reluctance to perform in holocaust movies, why Little Mosque on the Prairies, won’t solve the clash of civilizations, the politics of accents in movies, Bob Barker’s interventions on behalf of animal rights.

At one point in the show, I provoked Coren so much he hurled his pen at me. The triggering incident was Coren’s complaint that the recent adaptation of Brideshead Revisited focused on homosexuality rather than Catholicism. I promptly suggested that the two things are connected.

Alas we had to go to a commercial break so I  didn’t get a chance to explain at length to Coren why homosexuality and Catholicism are so often linked in British culture. I would have liked to say more about Waugh, about Oscar Wilde, about the Oxford Movement, about Ronald Firbank, and many other examples. Oh well, perhaps for another occasion.

One thought on “Chatting About Culture With Coren

  1. For some reason, there’s a tendency for converts to take that connection much harder than cradle Catholics (many examples of this in public life – Rod Dreher, Richard Neuhaus, etc). There’s a certain stringent Calvinism that seems to get imported into the mix when English-speakers convert, even while they remain outwardly orthodox (typically to the letter).

    In one discussion that ventured into religion, Coren described his guest, a secularized cradle Catholic, as a “failed” Catholic, which struck me as semantically foreign. There’s lapsed Catholics, bad Catholics, cultural Catholics, etc, but its the first time I’d heard the word “failed” used, which reflects a very specific set of assumptions.

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