Tagged: adam gopnik

A Modest Proposal for Saving the Planet

Unless you’re from Oklahoma, a state whose citizens managed to elect (and re-elect) Senator James Inhofe, protector of oil concerns and denier of global warming — which, in a statement that brought relief to the world’s great religions, he deemed the “greatest hoax ever perpetrated upon the American people” — you probably understand that we’re...

Sexism and Women’s Athletics

With apologies to the approximately 250,000 people on average who watch women’s basketball on ESPN2, if you’re reading this you’re probably among the rest of the world who remain blissfully unaware that the WNBA had its All-Star game this weekend. The spectacle, conducted in a Washington arena, was the 11th such affair, cementing the NBA’s...

Sicko

“Bowling for Columbine” and “Fahrenheit 911,” Michael Moore’s last two provocations disguised as “documentaries,” were entertaining (and infuriating) because they took on emotional issues — guns, and the Bush administration’s criminal incompetence — that genuinely have two sides to the ongoing story. As demonstrated by the result of our last presidential election, millions of Americans...

Gambling on the Future

The state where I live, California, needs money to pay for massive infrastructure improvements, a sprawling penal system whose budget is larger than most sovereign nations’, and the salaries and pensions of a bloated bureaucracy. Our movie star governor, Arnold Schwarzennegger, has a plan. Rather than issue more municipal bonds, the interest on which must...

The Myth of Democracy

The past five years seem at first blush to be the Age of Democracy — well, at least in every sector of our society except the federal ballot box, where shenanigans and chicanery continue to infect our putatively free and fair elections. We the People decide who and what succeeds, and what doesn’t. Our popular...

The Vegas Shell Game

Work commitments take me to Las Vegas frequently, where, like millions of other visitors, the excess of it all, the unashamed pursuit of pleasure disconnected from meaning or what passes for reality in more responsible precincts awes me. Behind the seductive veil of the casino come-on, though, is an unpleasant fact I’ve written about in...

Anthropomorphism

Being a dog owner, I understand completely the impulse to anthropomorphize our pets, imbuing them with human traits that canines and felines — and goldfish and hamsters and salamanders — don’t really have. Our furry (or scaly) friends seem so much more than mere animals. They’re companions and confessors, students and teachers, and they magically...

The Good, Bad and Ugly

Good: Watching the Los Angeles Marathon. My dog and I walked to the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue, yards from the Kodak Theater (site of the Academy Awards and the American Idol finals). Accompanied by hundreds of other cheering neighbors, we saw thousands of our fellow residents stampede past, a herd of disparate...

Vegas, Old and New

While the core business of Las Vegas is the same as it’s always been, i.e., separating people who aren’t very good at remedial math from their money, the style of the place has undergone a well-documented facelift. Gone are the Mob-run grind joints; scrapped are the family destination ambitions; almost forgotten are the days of...

Astonishing Talent, Astonishing Anonymity

At the annual International Association of Jazz Educators conference, held this past weekend in New York City, one could wander through acres of hotel ballrooms filled with musicians of all ages, colors, and nationalities. And no matter what room one entered, even those chosen randomly or by mistake, one was confronted with so much talent,...