Tagged: adam gopnik

The Internet: A Safe Haven for Cowards

A beloved 1990s Peter Steiner New Yorker cartoon now adorning countless refrigerators depicts a cute canine seated in front of a computer terminal, where he says, “On the Internet, no one knows you’re a dog.”  As we’ve learned in the ensuing decades, on the Internet no one knows if you’re a man, woman, adult, child, Nigerian con...

The Stigma of Prostitution

The fall of the (former) Governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer, was a glorious windfall for comedians, political pundits, and connoisseurs of schadenfreude. But lost amid the jeering laughter (and disappointed tears), the competing tendentious agendas, and the grave scholastic commentary was an opportunity for us to collectively ask: what’s wrong with us?  Perhaps we...

He Doesn’t Believe In What We Believe In

Among the usual detritus that makes its way into my inbox, an email I got recently made the come-ons for penny stocks, penis enlarging pills and Nigerian lottery windfalls seem downright benign.   I was forwarded a missive featuring an authentic photo of Barack Obama standing in front of an American flag with his hands...

The Morality Trap

A nonprofit arts organization here in Los Angeles — call them “The Org” — recently announced the inauguration of an annual scholarship, named in honor of a deceased colleague, which will aid a deserving student in his college studies. The Org, staffed by well-meaning unpaid volunteers, believes in helping and promoting promising talents, and the...

Notes on Taking the Bus

I generally prefer to walk or ride my bicycle to get around the neighborhood, but sometimes distance or time requires that I use the car. And when that’s not possible — in the interest of consuming less oil (and everything else) we only have one automobile in our family now –I avail myself of public...

A Christmas Wish

Once, long ago, in an arid place where life was hard, harder than in the yet undiscovered precincts of what we now call the Americas, a crazy Jew started a cult. Despite the objections of the local authorities, who, like most authorities, preferred the populace to be docile and compliant, the crazy Jew spoke passionately...

In Praise of Rhiannon

Living in a culture where the surest way for a woman to achieve notoriety and celebrity is to inexpertly perform fellatio on a homemade sex tape, disingenuously decry its orchestrated release on the Internet, and then snag a “reality show” that broadcasts her inane yammering in excruciating detail, one desperately needs occasional doses of pure...

Poker’s World Championship on TV

This week, the final hands of the 2007 World Series of Poker Main Event , the unofficial “world championship” of tournament poker, will be broadcast on America’s unofficial Gambling Network, ESPN. The winner’s name has been public knowledge since July, but if you’ve been following the taped coverage and don’t want to know who earns...

A Dystopia Called Nacerima

When I was a boy, one of my grade school teachers passed out a Social Studies article about a faraway country called Nacirema. This crazy place was inhabited by natives with strange grooming habits and fanciful modes of transportation and peculiar foods — or at least it seemed that way based on the descriptions. Eventually,...

How the Media Feeds Us Our Cultural Rations

If you aren’t one of the few members of the Media Club, which regurgitates “stories” dreamed up by public relations professionals, you may be blissfully unaware that the popular culture you consume is driven largely by a system of payola that the practitioners prefer to call “news.” The Sunday Calendar section — or Arts, or...