Category: Morality

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Derren Brown’s “Sacrifice”

The British mentalist, magician and showman Derren Brown has long created television specials of enduring power and controversy. Much of his work concerns psychological manipulation and social coercion. In our view, shows like “Russian Roulette” (filmed live on a 15-minute delay) and “The Push” (in which an average member of the public is convinced to...

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I Am Hitler’s Driver

Thanks to their proximity to important people everyone knows, unimportant people whose names we don’t remember, “regular” folks like me and you, often have a fleeting opportunity to change the course of World History. Henry the VIII’s chef; Napoleon’s personal physician; Hitler’s driver. With a little help and a lot of courage, each of them...

“Nothing But Gifts,” by Edwin Dobb

Published in the current issue of Harper’s Magazine, the essay “Nothing But Gifts,” by Edwin Dobb, is one of the most beautiful pieces of writing we’ve lately had the pleasure of reading. Discursive and tangential in form, the essay nonetheless always returns to the author’s central inquiry: What does it mean to choose to love? The adoptive...

Endorsement: Brett Kavanaugh for Supreme Court!

This space has previously offered ringing endorsements of candidates for Sheriff of Los Angeles, and Pope of the World. Today, we proudly add to that list the Honorable Brett Kavanaugh, soon to be the newest member of the Supreme Court of the United States of America. Our reasons for supporting his nomination are copious and...

Space Force: An Open Letter from the Intergalactic Federation

Dear President Trump and Vice-President Pence and Other Inhabitants of Planet Earth, It has come to our attention — and sorry for the delay; light can only go so fast — creatures from the planet Earth wish to establish a so-called Space Force, militarizing areas of the universe that are not currently part of planet...

Department of Environmental Irony?

The nice lady pulled her full-size luxury SUV to a stop at the curb in front of our home and set the hand brake. It looked like she was parking, but she didn’t turn off the car’s engine, and she didn’t get out. Instead, the nice lady remained inside the leather-trimmed cabin, doing something on her...

The World As It Is

We don’t normally feature in this space books that are more than five years old. But “The World As it Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress” seems to us a most necessary read in these preposterous times. Authored by the brilliant journalist, social justice advocate and cultural critic Chris Hedges, “The World” is...

A More Exceptionally Perfect America

Experts on matters patriotic, including members of Congress and the corporate oligarchs for whom they toil, believe that those of us who are fortunate enough to live in the greatest country on Earth benefit from a magical phenomenon known as American Exceptionalism. According to those who have made a kind of casual study of our glorious history,...

Naughty Words

  The University of Michigan recently compiled the nation’s strictest set of “sensitivity guidelines” for their faculty and students. We take you to a faculty lounge on the Ann Arbor campus. INT – A faculty lounge on a Friday afternoon. Several TEACHERS gather around the water cooler. NATE:  . . .so I told Jenkins, “Hey,...

Report from the Street: Voices of the Homeless

It began as a a New Year’s resolution: “Do something each day that takes you out of your comfort zone.” Interacting with people living on the streets was at the top of that list. Like many of us who reside in proper homes, I preferred to look away. But for more than a year, I listened to homeless...