Category: Popular Culture

The Astrology Enigma

Anyone who believes in astrology is operating irrationally. If you don’t understand why, you may safely skip this Thought and return to your horoscope, where you will discover that you and the other twelfth of the world that was born on the same month as you are predisposed to success (or lack thereof) because of...

Junior Idols

The other night a proud music producer played for us a new recording of his latest protege, an enormously talented diva who could sing like Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin, and the Mariah Carey, among other songbirds. Not only could she hit the high notes, he assured us, his latest discovery had tremendous stage presence, movie...

The ‘Broken’ BCS

Many tears were shed this past weekend in Los Angeles, and the lachrymal mourning wasn’t over starving Africans or bleeding Afghanis. The crying – and the whining and the righteous indignation – was inspired by a college football ranking system that kept the USC Trojans out of the putative national championship game, the Sugar Bowl,...

America’s Violence Fetish

Every third movie poster features one of our beloved celebrities brandishing a gun. Every other hip-hop song on the radio features one of our beloved thug-poets declaring his intention to “cap” his victims with a “nine,” among other convenient weaponry. Every Sunday (our day of rest and worship) three of our beloved television networks broadcast...

Why Comedy Matters

Comedy cannot permanently change the world — at least not as effectively as brave science, bold literature, and partially clad women. But comedy can bring us disparate human souls together in the shared communion of laughter. Even Ariel Sharon and Yasser Arafat can enjoy the same jokes. “A rabbi and a mullah walk into a...

Understanding Trekkies

My album was mastered at Capitol Records, just down the hallway where Frank Sinatra originally recorded several of the songs that I do on my CD. Indeed, outside the door of the mastering studio where my “There’ll Be Some Changes Made” recording was being finished, I saw Sinatra’s gold record, awarded for his “Capitol Collectors...

Gay Pride or Gay Comfort?

Halloween is a very popular event where I live. It’s one of the few times in the year when members of the large homosexual population in West Hollywood can put on a dress and impersonate Carol Channing without fear of ridicule. Another of these occasions is “Gay Pride Day,” a phenomenon that happens, it seems,...

The Ultimate Accomplishment: Being Famous

What exactly do “reality” celebrities do that warrants their fame? Do they make anything transcendent and lasting? Do they help us understand in new and revelatory ways what it means to be alive? Are they anything more than our society’s court jesters, our physically attractive fools who distract us momentarily from the challenges of “real”...