About Me

Kyle Smith (Twitter: @rkylesmith) is critic-at-large for National Review, theater critic for The New Criterion and the author of the novels Love Monkey and A Christmas Caroline. Type a title in the box above to locate a review.

Buy Love Monkey for $4! "Hilarious"--Maslin, NY Times. "Exceedingly readable and wickedly funny romantic comedy"--S.F. Chronicle. "Loud and brash, a helluva lot of fun"--Entertainment Weekly. "Engaging romp, laugh-out-loud funny"-CNN. "Shrewd, self-deprecating, oh-so-witty. Smith's ruthless humor knows no bounds"--NPR

Buy A Christmas Caroline for $10! "for those who prefer their sentimentality seasoned with a dash of cynical wit. A quick, enjoyable read...straight out of Devil Wears Prada"--The Wall Street Journal

Rotten Tomatoes
Search Movie/Celeb

Advanced Search
  • Recent Comments

  • Categories

  • On Trolls

    By kyle | March 9, 2013

    People write in to tell me I’m a troll. Am I?

    To me a troll is one who, as it were, goes to his neighbor’s house and urinates in the shrubbery. I, on the other hand, write for my own site and for that of my employer. The New York Post is known for its attitude, for its sense of humor, and for its contrarian, independent, irreverent streak. No one goes there expecting the mild dispassion of a wire-service report.

    In other words, you have to come over to my house if you wish to hear my opinion on anything. I won’t tap you on the shoulder while you’re walking down the street and beg a moment of your time.

    Northern Ireland, it is said, is the one place on earth where a man will walk a mile out of his way to receive an insult. The observation has been made during Marching Season, when Protestants would take up the insignia of their faith and idea of patriotism, and then march proudly through Catholic neighborhoods. Catholics do the reverse.

    Is not a troll a creature under the bridge who waylays the unwary? I don’t do that. I don’t write emails to people I don’t know to shower them with profanity, invective and threats. Nor do I do the same via comments on other blogs. Nor do I do the same with other types of social media. Occasionally, if someone sends me a bit of snark on Twitter, I reply in kind, but I never initiate such exchanges.

    So: My friends, who exactly is the troll here?

    Peruse tomorrow’s Post for my response to the responses to last week’s column. Or don’t, if you’re easily offended or lack a sense of humor. But don’t claim I “trolled” you.

    Topics: Blogs, New York City | 6 Comments »

    Response to the Attack on the Response to the Attack, Or Something

    By kyle | July 12, 2012

    My previous post (see below) has attracted notice. From Laos to Lansing, every cultural observer and unemployed film critic clenches his molars and pounds the keyboard. The circuits of the Internet glow like neon. Somewhere in Silicon Valley, a server farm groans and buckles with the strain of the traffic. Cisco stock soars. The national electrical grid is at Code Red.

    The cry goes from blitter to twog– “Smith is claiming to be a bit of a warrior! Makes himself out to be Doug MacArthur minus the self-doubt, Tom E. Lawrence with better tactical vision, Ulysses Grant with a Norelco.” Nonsense.

    As I have dedicated my life to communicating with my readers, even the most dunderheaded among them, I am duty-bound to correct mistaken impressions. Not only do I make no claim to be a war hero, if I could have figured out a way to file for Cowardly Objector status to shield my pelt from the wrath radius of psychotic Arab dictators, I would have. My cinematic avatar is not Lee Marvin but Bob Hope. I am as lily-livered as the next man. More! When the Revolution comes, the sans-culottes will not find me lounging in a smoking jacket in my gilded Upper West Side aerie. I shall be amid the proletariat, clad in coarsest fustian and posing as a member of the 99 percent. Possibly I shall be chanting, “Draconian fiscal chastisement for successful people!” or whatever the cry of the day is. They won’t have to loosen my fingernails or brandish the scythe in the course of interrogation. I’ll tell them everything I know for the asking.

    No, what I claim is not the pride of an assassin but the piteousness of a victim. I note my military service, when not doing my best to forget it, not as a trophy of manliness but as a scare I managed to survive. I might as easily said, “As someone who in childhood was daily whipped about the head and neck with a dead raccoon by pedagogues and priests, I don’t bruise easily.” I might as easily said, “As someone whose red and white blood cells once banded together and went on strike as suddenly as Parisian transit workers, I am unfazed by the snark of graduate students.” Perspective is gained from undeserved punishment, and the Army wasn’t even the worst job I ever had (nor was the war the worst bit about being in the Army — my peregrinations in Arabia were a weekend in St. Bart’s compared to Advanced Camp at Fort Bragg, and Bragg was cocktail hour at Cafe Luxembourg compared to sleeping beneath a cheesecloth-like shelter half in the rain on top of a root and underneath a branch in Viet Connecticut in my first year of ROTC).

    Yet all of this sucked less than working for my dad as a teenager. What I mean to say is, I don’t get too wound up about a bit of back-and-forth with the rabble. In fact it is just conceivable that I enjoy it.

    Topics: Blogs | No Comments »

    The Top 150 Conservative Websites

    By kyle | August 3, 2011

    Warning — a lot of these are liberal sites. But there are also lots of right-thinking ones you may not have heard of.

    Topics: Blogs | 1 Comment »

    Thanks Mr. Driscoll!

    By kyle | May 13, 2011

    Cheers to Ed Driscoll for the mention at InstaPundit. Ed’s excellent blog is here.

    Topics: Blogs | No Comments »

    Hunter Remains Tremayne Event

    By kyle | April 25, 2011

    Tireless blog commenter, actor and playwright Hunter Tremayne is on the mend, having suffered a heart attack this past winter and having had multiple-bypass surgery in the interests of ticker repair. Hunter says he’s feeling much better after some scary weeks and promises to be fit to keep calling Republicans knuckle-dragging Bible-thumping trogs well into the future. All hail the hardy Hunter.

    Topics: Blogs | 24 Comments »

    Breitbart-HuffPo War: It’s On!

    By kyle | March 26, 2011

    Andrew Breitbart is first defended by editors of, then banned from, AOL/Huffington Post’s front page (does that mean he’s still welcome on all other pages? Is this an important distinction?) The reason? Apparently there’s some sort of policy against “false ad hominem attacks” over there.
    Here’s the thing about “false” — it’s usually one opinion against another, isn’t it? Is Sarah Palin stupid? Some say yes, others say no. Is President Obama indecisive? Let’s debate it.
    Isn’t that kinda the purpose of opinion journalism, to celebrate different points of view? As for ad hominem attacks, they are their own punishment just as virtue is its own reward. If George Will’s argument against Paul Krugman was that he’s a fuzzy reptilian punk, I don’t think Will’s reputation would be enhanced.

    I wish Andrew and Arianna would join hands and create some sort of joint project where each side’s minions could happily blast away at the other all day long: Big Huffbart.

    Topics: Blogs | No Comments »

    Farewell, Denis Dutton

    By kyle | December 28, 2010

    A lovely appreciation of Denis Dutton, the editor of the essential site Arts and Letters Daily. Honor him by checking out the site.

    Topics: Blogs | 1 Comment »

    Man Up, Ladymen

    By kyle | October 14, 2010

    Eastwood tells truths. America’s elite has a problem. It’s skinny jeans and scarves, it’s Bama bangs and pants with tiny, tiny embroidered lobsters, it’s Michael Cera, it’s guys who compliment a girl’s dress by brand, it’s guys who don’t know who bats fourth for the Yankees. Between the hipsters and the fratstars, American intellectual men under the age of twenty-five have lost track of acting like Men—and these are our future leaders. We have no John Wayne, no Clint Eastwood. And girls? Girls hate it.

    This all occurred to me at 1:47 a.m. on November 8, 2008. I was on the phone in a hotel hallway, listening to this guy moan about this girl that didn’t want to get it get it, if you will. Out of some cruel, dazzling dark corner of my metal heart, a single thought formulated: Man up.

    –Katherine Miller, editor of Student Free Press Association Website. The rest of the essay (there’s plenty more words out there, like 2000 more) can be found in Jonah Goldberg’s Proud to Be Right. Miller’s blog is Awkward Awesome.

    Topics: Blogs, Politics | 6 Comments »

    Andrew Breitbart, Famous-Famous

    By kyle | March 16, 2010

    A Slate profile isn’t as much of a slam job as you’d expect. It says he used to be internet-famous but is now famous-famous and portrays him as fox-crazy rather than crazy-crazy.

    Topics: Blogs, Politics | 1 Comment »

    Get Me a Straitjacket. Disliking “Green Zone” Is Crazy

    By kyle | March 9, 2010

    It is a bit of a bore when bloggers say that someone who disagrees with them is “frothing at the mouth” or “crazy mad.” It’s a way to say: I don’t have to deal with your arguments because I rule them beyond the bounds of rational discussion. Really, this is rhetorical weak sauce. It would be dismissed at any eighth-grade debate. If Patrick Goldstein wants to refute my arguments, let him. Calling someone as measured as I am “frothing at the mouth” is sophomoric.

    And guess what? I’m right. The movie really is astonishingly anti-American, as you’ll see from reading other (liberal) reviewers who have been admitting that “Green Zone” is biased. And Goldstein’s point that the movie originally portrayed the Judith Miller character as a New York Times scribe — then chickened out and moved her to the Wall Street Journal — kinda proves my point. Hollywood is afraid of annoying the New York Times but not so much the Journal. (As for the legal fig leaf, please. The character is so obviously based on Miller that most of the American reviews I’ve seen have mentioned it. Changing her affiliation doesn’t provide the slightest legal cover in the event of a lawsuit.) Miller has little cause to sue, though, because the movie portrays her (as played by Amy Ryan) as simply a dupe.

    Topics: Blogs, Iraq, Movies, Politics | 90 Comments »

    « Previous Entries