Category: Popular Culture

Immigration, Income, and Making America Great (Again)

Contrary to what Donald J. Trump and his followers claim to believe, immigration is not what’s keeping America from being great (again). If folks who live in Iowa and New Hampshire who are convinced that our national safety rests on the construction of a giant wall between Mexico and what used to be Mexico –...

Zombies Are Blameless, and So Are We

Excerpted from “How the Revolution Started: Essays and Impertinent Thoughts.” If you voluntarily buy burritos from Chipotle or pay for TV programs owned by Discovery, companies whose CEOs earn 1,000 times more than the average employee they oversee, then you probably don’t have any problem with wealth and income inequality. You’re certainly not going to...

James Adomian’s Bernie Sanders

The brilliant comic and impressionist James Adomian, known by many as “George W. Bush” in the Harold & Kumar Guantanomo movie, has a new character in his astonishing repertoire: Senator Bernie Sanders, candidate for President. As with all of Adomian’s creations (Alan Rickman as the Sherriff of Nottingham, Orson Welles, Tom Leykis), the vocal resemblance...

Brody Stevens: Enjoy it!

Originally a Comedy Central documentary-style series that morphed into an HBO Digital series spearheaded by Zach Galifinakis, “Brody Stevens: Enjoy it!” is simultaneously funny, disturbing, encouraging, entertaining and sort of heartbreaking. “Brody” is Steven Brody Stevens, an eccentric but lovable “comedian’s comedian” who suffers from bi-polar disorder (a diagnosis he ultimatey rejects.) The series, which...

Marina Abramovic

Marina Abramovic is one of the most powerful artists of our time. Her medium is performance, the human body as a maker and object of art. In the arresting and illuminating documentary “Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present,” about her landmark 2012 exhibition at New York’s Museum of Modern Art — entitled “The Artist is...

We Didn’t Know

If, like us, you don’t watch much television and, therefore, effectively shield yourself from the indignities of all the marketing/messaging/propaganda used to sell products and “lifestyles,” when you come face-to-face with the fire-breathing beast, your ignorance of Basic Ideas might take your breath away. It did ours. We were forced from our hermetically sealed cave...

The Healing Power of Carbon Neutrality

Terrific news! We’ve discovered a handgun company, Gang Green Firearms, whose entire product line is certifiably carbon neutral. They have certificates that say so. Their pistols and automatics do what all other guns do – shoot bullets that kill living creatures – but, even so, you’ve got to admit that a carbon neutral gun has...

The Battered Bastards of Baseball

It seems impossible today. But from 1973-1977, before corporate control of America became nearly absolute, the Portland Mavericks, a Class A minor league baseball franchise, played independently, without any Major League Baseball affiliation. Competing against future Yankees and Dodgers (and the giant organizations that bankroll them), the Mavs improbably ruled the competitive Pacific League, fielding...

Century of the Self

Originally released in 2002, Adam Curtis’s “Century of the Self” was a four-part series on the BBC that examined how Sigmund Freud’s theories of human psychology have been employed (and refined) by the rich and powerful to control the dangerous impulses of the masses. Much of this dazzlingly entertaining yarn focuses on Freud’s nephew Edward...

The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology

Slovene philosopher Slavoj Zizek is a charming public intellectual whose accented-English, absentminded nose-wiping, and obvious enthusiasm for Ideas make him a kind of ambassador of deep thinking. In the 2012 documentary “The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology,” directed by Sophie Fiennes, Zizek delivers dazzling deconstructions of many popular films, showing how they function as instruments of...