Category: America

Looking Back on 2012: An Oral History of American Values

I was young like you once. Don’t laugh. It seems impossible, I know. An old codger like me of 77! You probably can’t picture when I was only 47 and healthy, with all my own teeth and a libido that didn’t yet require boner pills. Sure, that was three decades ago, and I look a...

Pointing Fingers

Whether or not you subscribe to the curious concept of “American exceptionalism,” you probably sense that America is exceptionally nervous about its future, long-term and short. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989) and the old Soviet Union (1991), the United States of America has rapidly fallen from uncontested #1 global leader to our...

The Greatest Good for the Greatest Number of Great People

The Government is supposed to punish criminals, which is why the Obama administration’s crusading Justice Department has given notice that the feds will seize America’s largest — and best organized, and best known — medical marijuana dispensary, in Oakland. The Citizenry is supposed to punish bad politicians by voting for good ones, which is why George...

Speak the Truth?

Apologies in advance if this gets all Orwellian right quickly. We try hard not to sound like a nut-job or Coast-to-Coast Radio conspiracy fetishist — is that redundant? — especially when examining the lengths some folks will go to control the lives of others, but this stuff is real, man. Old George – or, Mr....

Living Large

Prior to the dynasty of Bush the Younger, my chief embarrassment about being an American abroad wasn’t that we were a nation of belligerent, imperialist, arrogant bullies. It was that we were fatties. Among the French and Finnish, Dutch and Danish, American tourists were easy to identify, whether or not they wore fanny packs. The...

Perverse Priorities

Sometimes our chaotic, unknowable, seemingly random Universe arranges itself with perfect symmetry. In these moments of bracing clarity, authored by a Creator (in whatever guise or nomenclature you prefer) whose sense of irony is matched only by her/his/its sense of wicked humor, our innate foolishness and learned stubbornness are robbed of their pretensions. We see...

Violence Voyeurism

Outrageous. Horrifying. Disgusting. These were some of the adjectives hurled in the press when news broke that the former world champions of football, the New Orleans Saints, for years had instituted a bounty system that rewarded their players for knocking opponents out of the game. Players contributed to an in-house pool and collected $1,000-$1,500 when...

Cages

After reading Adam Gopnik’s masterful examination of the American prison system in a recent issue of the New Yorker, in which he examines our fetishistic compulsion to warehouse millions of errant citizens in prisons, it’s easy to conclude that our conception of “cruel and unusual punishment” needs reconsideration. Gopnik burrows through the rotten veneer of...

Our Endless War(s)

COMING SOON…THE 2014 MK.com SUMMER POETRY FESTIVAL, JUNE 21-30! First there was “shock and awe.” Then the counterinsurgency, or “surge.” Now it’s “targeted assassinations.” Evocative labels all, making state sanctioned murder easy to accept, if not easy to understand. But does anyone remember why we commit these acts of violence and commit unfathomable amounts of...

Heroic Murderers

At the Super Bowl this Sunday, when most of America will gather to watch our national character accurately represented by a brutal, war-like game (football), controlled by a ruthless, cartel-like corporation (the NFL), selling us mostly disposable, harmful products (automobiles, alcohol, online gambling), you’re almost certain to see an expensive (and weirdly effective) propaganda campaign...