Category: America

A Dystopia Called Nacerima

When I was a boy, one of my grade school teachers passed out a Social Studies article about a faraway country called Nacirema. This crazy place was inhabited by natives with strange grooming habits and fanciful modes of transportation and peculiar foods — or at least it seemed that way based on the descriptions. Eventually,...

How the Media Feeds Us Our Cultural Rations

If you aren’t one of the few members of the Media Club, which regurgitates “stories” dreamed up by public relations professionals, you may be blissfully unaware that the popular culture you consume is driven largely by a system of payola that the practitioners prefer to call “news.” The Sunday Calendar section — or Arts, or...

ESPN, America’s Gambling Network

ESPN, the cable TV empire, covers all things sports-related. Except sports betting.  Apparently the wry, hip, knowing, ironic, slick, and authoritative on-air broadcasters may discuss anything and everything about the sports and athletes they cover provided there’s no mention of the pointspread line or the underlying odds that swirl around virtually every event that ESPN...

The Sporting Scene: America’s Morality Tales

The eternal battle between Good and Evil rages on. We watch (and learn) in awe, each of us better somehow for having witnessed Virtue collide with Sin. But America’s most instructive forum of late hasn’t been the Church pulpit; it’s the sporting scene.  The characters in these Morality Tales are so clearly identifiable, so devoid...

Thinking Like an Anarchist

Unrepentant Lefties claim that the law — and the church, and everything else society uses to maintain order — is really just a mechanism to keep those in power empowered and those with money wealthy.  Free Marketers say that fair laws properly enforced allow anyone, no matter his disadvantages, to succeed. Nihilists, as we know...

Sicko

“Bowling for Columbine” and “Fahrenheit 911,” Michael Moore’s last two provocations disguised as “documentaries,” were entertaining (and infuriating) because they took on emotional issues — guns, and the Bush administration’s criminal incompetence — that genuinely have two sides to the ongoing story. As demonstrated by the result of our last presidential election, millions of Americans...

The New Pigs

When Ralph Nader ran for President as an independent, many members of the chattering class expressed outrage (and profound disappointment, and all sorts of other unpleasant emotions) that the lifelong consumer advocate and muckraker would “betray” his fellow liberals by usurping votes that would have otherwise gone to Al Gore. Whatever his motives — hubris,...

The Myth of Democracy

The past five years seem at first blush to be the Age of Democracy — well, at least in every sector of our society except the federal ballot box, where shenanigans and chicanery continue to infect our putatively free and fair elections. We the People decide who and what succeeds, and what doesn’t. Our popular...

Watch What You Say

The recent clamor over an ignorant talk radio host behaving ignorantly — he was suspended and then fired for saying something that many people inexplicably found “offensive” — illustrates our increasing intolerance for speech, thought, and sentiment that does not fit neatly into the catalogue of acceptable ideas.  For the record, I don’t listen to...

The Power of Power

Of all the abstract notions that motivate human beings to behave as they do, power, it seems, is the most compelling. Truth and beauty, fame and wealth — they’re nice. But power (and the mad pursuit of it) makes people betray the basic tenets of decency that allegedly govern our interactions. Power is like a...