Category: Thoughts

Strom und Drang

From the Department of Delicious Irony we get news that the late Strom Thurmond, the perpetual Senator from South Carolina who died in June, had fathered a child out of wedlock with a black teenager. That child, Esther Mae Williams, is now in her sixties, and for the first time in a life of secrecy...

It’s Almost Over

My barber was incredulous. “Do you believe it, Mikey?” he said, gesticulating with scissors alarmingly close to my ear. “Only three more weeks and this year is over. I can’t understand how this year went by so fast. It seems like we celebrated New Year’s just yesterday.” Franco is in his late-forties. His eldest daughter...

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,...

The Nature of Vice

Drugs like caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol are legal and more or less woven into the fabric of daily American life. Drugs like cannabis, cocaine, and LSD are not and those who use them are more or less consigned to the squalid fringes of society. Paying a woman to take off her clothes and display her...

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...

The Dust of a Comet

The other night in Los Angeles, it was possible to see faintly the Leonid meteor showers with the naked eye. A bright gibbous moon made the show less spectacular than it will be tonight, on the 19th, when the moon will be on the wane. The light we saw shooting across the sky was thrilling...

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...

In God We Trust

The recent comedy involving judge Roy Moore, a 5,300-pound granite sculpture of the Ten Commandments that’s been ordered removed from Alabama’s halls of justice, and weepy acolytes of the Christian Way falling to the ground in prayer to protest the monstrous blasphemy of those who would attempt to separate Church and State, reminds us of...

Stock Pickers Versus Sports Bettors

Recently a man in North Dakota was found guilty of placing sports bets over the Internet, in violation of state (and possibly federal) law. He was fined a nominal amount of money and made an example to the hundreds of thousands – millions? – of people who use their computers to make wagers on football...

What’s Wrong With ‘Hate’ Crimes

In our West Hollywood neighborhood not long ago, a gay man was brutally beaten by a trio of homophobic thugs. Much hand-wringing was done in the local press about whether the miscreants had targeted their victim simply because he was homosexual. If this were so, activists argued, the crime was even worse than a simple...