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

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  • The Real Scandinavia

    By kyle | January 11, 2015

    Social-Democratic paradise? I think not. More in my Sunday column.

    Topics: Europe | 12 Comments »

    The NHS Mystique

    By kyle | August 8, 2012

    One of the stranger aspects about visting, or living in, Britain is the utterly reverential attitude everyone has toward their filthy hospitals, their long waiting times and their poor health-care treatment, all of which are part and parcel of the National Health Service. The rosy public attitude has been a major propaganda victory for the British establishment, which has somehow convinced the Brits that it’s US healthcare that’s a relative disaster. Well.

    Says Theodore Dalrymple (a British physician) in the LA Times:

    The average Briton or Swede is unlikely to know that the five-year survival rate for colorectal cancer is 51.6% in Britain but 59.8% in Sweden, or that the 30-day fatality rates for myocardial infarction in those two countries are 6.3% and 2.9%, respectively. (The figures for the United States are 65.5% and 5.1%.) By contrast, the average Briton knows that if he suffers a heart attack, he will be taken to the hospital and connected to a lot of machines, from which he concludes that he is having the best possible treatment.

    As is typical in politics, people see the inputs but ignore the outcomes. The entire weight of public opinion is behind the simple idea: “But it’s free!” Nothing is free. And you get what you pay for anyway. Socialized medicine inevitably leads to rationing. There is rationing now, and there will be more later as costs (which doubled in the decade following 1997) gradually eat up the British salary through taxes.

    You will know the ugliness of the reality by the blandness of the euphemisms it inspires. Take the “Liverpool Care Pathway.” Doesn’t sound so bad. Maybe it means a visit from a Beatle? No, it means, “We are preparing you for the rubbish bin.” Because you’ve become too costly for the system. The Hippocratic Oath goes out the window and patients are denied food and water until they have the good taste to slip away.

    Topics: Europe | 8 Comments »

    Off to London

    By kyle | March 30, 2012

    I’m going to London for a few weeks. I’ll be writing for The Post, as well as some stuff for the papers Over There. Anyone have any advice?

    Topics: Europe | 5 Comments »

    America Is the Coolest

    By kyle | September 6, 2011

    Science has spoken! A poll shows the American nationality is (as always) still considered the coolest one in the world. This is an excellent way to phrase the question; you could, if you so chose, easily find Americans are not well respected internationally if you phrased the question a different way. I have always found the conventional liberal view that America was despised overseas, especially in the Reagan and Bush eras, to be total nonsense — mainly because I’ve traveled a lot overseas. All the distaste I find for Americans is invariably abstract and tied up in political questions, not in actually disliking specific Americans. For instance, I was in Paris when Jimmy Carter won his Nobel Prize and supposedly anti-American sentiment had skyrocketed because of our “cowboy President’s” policies. And France was supposedly the most sophisticated and influential leader of this way of thinking, and Paris is the capital of intellectual thought in France. I encountered zero anti-Americanism in my three weeks there that fall. What I did hear, several times, was that 9/11 caused Americans to curtail their traveling, especially their long-distance traveling, and the resulting loss in tourism business was devastating to the French and Parisian economies.

    Topics: Europe, Politics | 4 Comments »

    Brit Belter Sings Out on High Taxes

    By kyle | May 31, 2011

    Adele is the much-hyped Brit singer whose songs I will soon be checking out. She blasts British taxes of 50 percent on high earners and says public services are crapola and getting crapolier. That stands to reason as socialized meds keep gobbling up an ever-greater portion of the British budget and as successive governments of whatever party vow only to “strengthen” the dismal health-care-by-wait-list NHS instead of demolishing it.

    It is unjust, wrong and immoral for government to take most, or even half, of a person’s pay, and in New York City so-called “high earners” whose standard of living compares not particularly favorably to that of the upper middle classes in nearly every other part of the country already carry a maximum combined state-city-federal tax burden that is just a hair under 50 percent. You and your family simply must be entitled to keep most of what you earn. Any other result in the tax code is contrary to common sense and must be treated with the outrage and contempt it deserves.

    Topics: Economics, Europe | 16 Comments »

    Je Ne Bois Pas L’Eau de Robinet!

    By kyle | May 26, 2011

    Dominique Strauss-Kahn pans the wine list at Rikers Island. Question: If an international conspiracy did indeed take down DSK, can we engineer same for Bernard Henri-Levy? If we can put a man on the moon…

    Topics: Europe | 2 Comments »

    Orwell Reports on the Royal Wedding

    By kyle | April 27, 2011

    Amusing that George Orwell’s take on the monarchy was “an idea almost as old as history, the idea of the King and the common people being in a sort of alliance against the upper classes.” Ha. That about says it: We need the royal family because who else can we put on our tea towels and souvenir plates? I can’t imagine the average BMW driver in London cares about the royal nuptials. This passage from a 1944 essay is also fairly astute:

    Nothing is harder than to be sure whether royalist sentiment is still a reality in England. All that is said on either side is coloured by wish-thinking. My own opinion is that royalism, i.e. popular royalism, was a strong factor in English life up to the death of George V, who had been there so long that he was accepted as “the” King (as Victoria had been “the” Queen), a sort of father-figure and projection of the English domestic virtues. The 1935 Silver Jubilee, at any rate in the south of England, was a pathetic outburst of popular affection, genuinely spontaneous. The authorities were taken by surprise and the celebrations were prolonged for an extra week while the poor old man, patched up after pneumonia and in fact dying, was hauled to and fro through slum streets where the people had hung out flags of their own accord and chalked “Long Live the King. Down with the Landlord” across the roadway.

    “Long live the king, down with the landlord” deserves to be a familiar quotation. It should be as famous as “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

    A few months ago I read “Coming Up for Air.” Last weekend I took a stroll on “The Road to Wigan Pier.” This week I’m on “Keep the Aspidistra Flying.” Casual acquaintances of the writings of Eric Arthur Blair may not realize how funny he was, in addition to being among the pithiest of writers.

    Topics: Books, Europe | 1 Comment »

    Mr. Bean Going to Royal Wedding

    By kyle | April 23, 2011

    I think we in the media are giving it a heroic shot but — I don’t think the public is really feeling it for this royal wedding. Headlines like “Mr Bean Is Going” aren’t really helping. All the mystery has gone out of the royals. They’re just a hapless bunch of inbred fops. The hype for this wedding is a tiny fraction of what it was for Chuck and Di’s nuptials in 1981 — even though everyone likes Wills and Kate seems fine.

    There hardly even was a media complex in 1981, comparatively speaking….and yet you could. Not. Avoid. The. Wedding. Of course I was in an extra-bad mood because the baseball players were on strike, and I watched the wedding coverage through a scrim of teen fury.

    Topics: Europe | 3 Comments »

    London Is No Longer English

    By kyle | April 22, 2011

    So says John Cleese. Ed Driscoll has much more. When Cleese says “yob culture” now holds sway, he might as well be Peter Hitchens speaking. Yet it’s probably safest, when you’re in Cleese’s class, to keep supporting the parties that make London, and England, decreasingly English. Cleese can afford to move to Bath, what does he care?

    Topics: Europe, Politics | 4 Comments »

    Britain Should Apologize for America

    By kyle | April 13, 2011

    As David Cameron told Pakistan that its current balls-out craziness was actually the fault of the British empire, experts pointed to the giant, stupid, disgusting country founded by some people from East Anglia.

    Julian Cook, author of America: What the F**k Were We Thinking?, said: “When Harwich-born Christopher Jones captained the Mayflower in 1620 he began a process that would lead ultimately to genocide, the Ku Klux Klan and Grey’s Anatomy.

    “Thanks to him and his insane passengers, the way was paved for a nation of heavily armed toddlers led around by an ever-changing roll-call of religious maniacs, grubby conmen and dead-eyed celebrities.

    “It doesn’t understand anything more than 15 minutes old – except creationism – and is littered with strip malls and heavily branded cheese pumps.

    From the humor site The Daily Mash.

    Yes, I have had it with David Cameron, the anti-Churchill. I apologize for ever expressing any hope for this awful man.

    Topics: Europe, Politics | 5 Comments »

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