Ben Shapiro and the future of American conservatism
.. the person who appeared to be doing the most to shape the thinking of the new generation of Republican leaders was not the president of the United States—but Ben Shapiro, a 34-year-old anti-Trump conservative pundit who came up unprompted in more than a third of my conversations.”
.. More important, though, is what Shapiro’s celebrity tells us about the changing nature of media, the emerging sensibility of conservative youth, and indeed the future of American conservatism itself.
Shapiro owes a lot to social media. His appearances on Fox News Channel are not the cause but the consequence of his fame. It is by searching YouTube that teenagers come across his debates with campus lefties, his speeches, his appearances on like-minded podcasts, and his extended interviews with friends and other members of the so-called intellectual dark web.
.. Shapiro is a conservative pundit for a dis-intermediated age.
.. They are more interested in debating social and cultural issues than the problems of government or the midterm elections. They have a snarky sense of humor that appreciates the irony in trolling the Left or “owning the libs.”
.. Nor is their consumption of media limited to conservative sources. They are well aware of the critiques of the right from the mainstream media and comedy hosts, and even laugh at some of the jokes on SNL and John Oliver.
.. The issue that motivates these young people is political correctness:
- its denial of differences between the sexes, its
- reduction of identity to ethnic and racial ancestry, its
- stultifying effect on intellectual inquiry and free speech.
For them, President Trump and the constellation of social and political problems with which he is associated are secondary to larger questions of cultural and academic freedom... Ben Shapiro resembles no one so much as the young William F. Buckley Jr.
.. People who have known both Weinsteins say they had a complicated relationship dating back to childhood that often involved Harvey belittling Bob, who frequently sought his older brother’s approval. As Bob’s Dimension unit became successful, he “became more confident and he’d stand up to Harvey more,” said a former Miramax executive.
.. Bob Weinstein was less likely than his brother to blow his top, people who worked with the pair said.
.. At the 2000 premiere of “Scary Movie,” a Dimension executive attempted to introduce his wife to his boss. Bob Weinstein stuck out his arm and shoved the woman back
.. As Weinstein Co. has fallen apart in the past two weeks, some former employees have sought to distance themselves from Bob as much as Harvey. Others say Bob Weinstein had a softer side that only people who worked closely with him got to know.
.. “Bob was a tough taskmaster and a challenging boss, but also humane, with a great sense of humor,
.. Bob and Harvey Weinstein feuded on-and-off for many years, said people who worked with them. During one period around 2003, the two communicated only through handwritten notes, which assistants passed between them, according to a former employee. “It was literally an equivalent of a father saying, ‘Please tell your mother to pass the salt’,” the former employee said.
.. Their offices, once next door to one another, moved farther apart—first to separate floors and then to different buildings in Weinstein Co.’s Manhattan headquarters. In recent years, their families have rarely gotten together for holidays or other occasions outside of work, said one person familiar with the matter.
.. In about 2011, after an argument over how to allocate the studio’s resources between their respective movies, Harvey Weinstein punched his brother in the face in front of about a dozen other Weinstein Co. executives, knocking him to the ground, said two people who were present. “I’ve been assaulted!” Bob yelled, according to those people. Bob, who was bloodied, wanted to press charges, but was talked out of it, according to a person familiar with the incident.
.. “He had the pulse of what Americans wanted at one time,” said a former Dimension executive. “Can you get that back?”
Mr. Kushner, who at age 36 occupies an ill-defined role somewhere between princeling and President Trump’s shadow chief of staff
.. He is respected by virtually everyone and is working on programs that will save our country billions of dollars. In addition to that, and perhaps more importantly, he is a very good person
.. That relationship had already begun to fray a bit after Mr. Trump’s dismissal of the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, which Mr. Kushner had strongly advocated, and because of his repeated attempts to oust Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s chief strategist, as well as the president’s overburdened communications team, especially Sean Spicer, the press secretary.
.. It has been duly noted in the White House that Mr. Trump, who feels that he has been ill served by his staff, has increasingly included Mr. Kushner when he dresses down aides and officials
.. the most serious point of contention .. sister Nicole Meyer .. dangled the availability of EB-5 visas
.. In the following days during routine West Wing meetings, the president made several snarky, disparaging comments about Mr. Kushner’s family and the visas that were clearly intended to express his annoyance
.. Both men were reared in the freewheeling, ruthless world of real estate, and both possess an unshakable self-assurance that is both their greatest attribute and their direst vulnerability.
.. a deep confidence in his abilities that critics say borders on conceit
.. intensely proud of his accomplishments in the private
.. is given license to exercise power and take on a vague portfolio .. without suffering the consequences of failure
.. propensity for avoiding messy aspects of his job
.. he wants nothing to do with the legislative process
.. Mr. Bannon .. has taken to comparing the former real estate executive to “the air,” because he blows in and out of meetings leaving little trace
.. Mr. Kushner quickly forms fixed opinions about people, sometimes based on scant evidence.
.. Often, that entails soothing Mr. Trump.
.. Mr. Kushner has made it plain to them that they needed to choose sides or be iced out
.. Mr. Kushner remains infuriated by what he believes to be leaks about his team by Mr. Bannon
.. Mr. Trump admires Mr. Kushner’s tough streak, and shares his taste for payback
.. Mr. Kushner sees his role as a freelance troubleshooter
.. Mr. Kushner has quietly sought revenge on enemies