Category: Popular Culture

Villains Masquerading As Heroes

Warren Buffet. Haim Saban. Carlos Slim. Barry Diller. Jack Welch. Meg Whitman. A thousand other achievers lauded in the pages of Fortune and Barron’s and the Wall Street Journal. These superstars of Money Porn are the grand champions of the cruel game we all play, willingly or not. They won; millions more lost. That’s the way the contest goes and whether...

Mission to Mars

It’s a big universe out there. We’ve all looked skyward, trying vainly to gauge the distance to a star, mesmerized by the immensity of space and the comically irrelevant role we play in the Grand Scheme of Things. We’ve all imagined that somewhere out there in the twinkling infinity something awaits us. We’ve gone to...

A Fun Little Easter Parable

Joe is a human being.  Joe is unsure if he is homoseuxal or heterosexual. But like most human beings, he has urges that involve activities other than procreation. Rather than figure out who he is or what he likes, Joe decides to sublimate his confusing desires, announcing to the world that he is no longer...

The End is Near!…for Selling Recorded Music

Before 1909, when technology changed everything, performing artists earned a living by performing. The only way to sell talent was to traipse it around the countryside and throughout the theatrical circuit. Packaging a voice on phonograph recordings, distributing the disc through retail channels, and marketing the product as a valuable commodity was a radical and...

Remix Manifesto

1. Culture always builds on the past. Whether it was composer and piano virtuoso Franz Liszt using Gypsy melodies in his compositions, Metallica borrowing song structures from Diamond Head or The Rolling Stones recording Robert Johnson’s “Love in Vain” as a “traditional, arranged by Keith Richards,” composers have always used previous works as inspiration for...

Caloric Equality

Our finely developed sense of American vanity keeps us obsessed with working out and dieting, with inspirational weight-loss stories and TV game shows in which dramatically shrinking waistlines are seen not as a sign of dwindling well-being but as a heroic conquering of anarchic eating compulsions. We fortunate ones desperately want to be thin, but...

Super Thoughts, One for Each Quarter of the Big Game

1. The angry folks at Focus on the Family bought a Super Bowl advertisement meant to illustrate what a big mistake abortion is. They enlisted college football superstar and possibly closeted gay religious zealot Tim Tebow to communicate how terrible it would have been for his mom, doing missionary work in the Philippines and carrying...

An Opinion You Can Trust

The most irksome problem with the Blogosphere is that everybody is a critic, which is cool for everybody but troubling for everybody else. Without institutional authority — a newspaper, a university, a trade group — to certify who should be listened to and respected and who should be dismissed and neglected, discerning the wheat from...

The Time to Care About Disaster Victims

President Obama sent us an email a few days ago, and this time it wasn’t to ask for monetary support of his healthcare reform boondoggle. He was asking us (and the millions of others on his OFA database) to help Haitians. He wrote: “Despite the fact that we are experiencing tough times here at home,...

Planning for the New Year

Those of us who suffer from Horizon Sickness — always looking ahead to the next thing instead of being fully engaged with the present — tend to be excellent planners. We maintain detailed lists; we’re fantastically organized; our desks are neat. We foresee everything.  Sadly, after several decades of insisting otherwise, we must admit that...