Author: Michael Konik

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NOlympics

The quadrennial Olympic Games are often visually spectacular, emotionally stirring and wonderfully sexy. A civic virtue they are not. In September, Los Angeles will be “awarded” the right to host the Games in either 2024 or 2028. Great, right? A wonderful boon for our city, right? Ask the people of Rio de Janiero what they...

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Indiana Review

While the wheels of popular culture churn onward in a cynical race to the bottom, America’s literary journals continue to showcase stirring, innovative, utterly necessary work in the realms of fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, essays and impossible-to-categorize hybrid forms. So multifarious and numerous are these excellent journals, many of them affiliated with universities, you could...

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Reefer Gladness in 2017

Despite copious evidence that we may be currently living in a dystopia typically found in richly imagined novels, a Kingdom of Stupidity ruled by an overgrown baby wearing bespoke suits over his diapers, here’s a an important bulletin: Everything isn’t falling apart. At least here in Los Angeles, California, everything hasn’t fallen apart. Yes, we...

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NEW BOOK: “How the Revolution Started: Essays and Impertinent Thoughts”

I have a new book out, my 11th. Canada’s EggyPress has published a tasty and easily digested collection of my humorous social justice essays. It’s called How the Revolution Started: Essays and Impertinent Thoughts. Revolting times need revolutionary words — and literary reminders that progressive change is not only necessary, it’s imminent. We offer you, dear reader, the...

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Poem: Fine Fellows

These fine fellows with their wattles and their medals Their jiggling jowls and joyless eyes Broadcasting breaking news from the feeding trough Where these fine fellows congregate and cogitate These alphamen oozing oleaginous charm Any cute ambitious telegenic girl with a healthy appetite for achievement Could hardly resist How unpleasant and unkind and unthinkable really For...

Sausage Party

Until viewing the movie “Sausage Party,” we were unaware that a scathing critique of organized religion could be elegantly disguised as an animated film about grocery store products. We didn’t know that sausages and buns — and bagels and bananas, and everything else in a supermarket — could illuminate the folly of waiting for “a better...

Emergency Services Response Times Are Vitally Important (Except When A Wealthy Developer Decides They’re Not)

The City of Los Angeles is deeply concerned with Emergency Services response times, and with good reason. One or two minutes can sometimes be the difference between saving lives and arriving too late. For the past couple of years, to measure Fire Department alacrity (or lack thereof), the City has employed a sophisticated data-analysis program...

The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil

We’ve recently re-read a book that seems to be a thinly veiled satire of our current White House administration. The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil is a novella about a not-very-bright demagogue who suddenly develops an insatiable appetite for power. (Heard this one before?) The author is the great George Saunders, one of America’s wittiest...

“No” on Measure C

Mr. Eric Blair must be smiling somewhere. During his lifetime, he managed to turn his pen name into a standard adjective: “Orwellian.” And now, years after his death, we’re living in the dystopia he imagined/predicted. Orwellian: a perfect one-word distillation of a complicated process whereby something that means one thing eventually comes to mean the...

When Los Angelenos Are Forced to Sue Their Elected Leaders

In the past two years, the City of Los Angeles has paid out more than $75 million to settle lawsuits brought against the municipality. Add in the expense of litigation and the total is more than $113 million. Unsurprisingly, some of that money was paid out  to settle hundreds of police misconduct cases — more...