Tagged: adam gopnik

Poem: Our Penchant for Bombing

If you had a million billion dollars with which you could Do anything you please Would you build a schoolhouse or a hospital or Bring Arabs to their knees?   If the purse strings of the Treasury were under Your control Would you vaccinate a child or Blow up a larger hole?   With riches...

The Problem with Cirque d’Soleil

Montreal’s famed “circus without animals” has delighted audiences around the globe with its amalgam of acrobatics, clowning, original music, and spectacular lighting effects — all without tortured elephants and disgruntled tigers. The company — or, more accurately, the corporation — has as a hand in seemingly every other show in Las Vegas, where its productions...

Our Unusual Species

Thanks to sciences like biology and books like the Bible, we humans see ourselves at the apex of nature’s dominion, and not just because we’re at the top of the food chain. We’re special. We’re chosen. We’re God’s favorite of all the creatures. We have feelings, and languages, and the ability to make things that...

Poker in Perspective

The World Series of Poker main event — the world championship — begins on July 28th. I’ll be playing in it for the fifth time, after a hiatus of several years. When I first joined the competition, in the late 90s, I think there were fewer than 300 entrants. This year the organizers are expecting...

The Charity Enigma

I saw a beggar (and his dog) on Sunset Boulevard the other day. They — well, the human — were soliciting cash donations for “food” from pedestrians. A well-meaning but foolish fellow threw a few bucks at the doleful couple, thereby cleansing himself of whatever sins he had committed in the name of acquiring his...

An Inconvenient Truth

Global warming is not a speculative theory. It’s a proven syndrome, despite what so-called “skeptics” (read: those with financial interests in carbon dioxide producing industries) claim. Former vice-president of the United States, and possibly the rightfully elected president in 2000, Al Gore, has toured the world for years giving a power-point slide show that cogently...

In Praise of Lewis Lapham

The venerable editor of Harper’s magazine, Lewis Lapham, recently announced his semi-retirement. The most alarming consequence of this decision is that he plans on writing his monthly “Notebook” essay only six times a year. This is like saying you will henceforth be limited to every other breath of air. Lapham’s essays aren’t merely good reading....

End Times

Despite God’s omniscience, He, apparently, can always use some help in orchestrating His master plan for His earthly kingdom and the wretched sinners that inhabit it. This is why more than a few — tens of thousands — fervent souls are working to bring about the apocalypse sooner than later. As with almost every page...

The Foul-Mouthed Umpire Redeemed

Yesterday’s paper carried a column by the sportswriter Bill Plaschke about Bruce Froemming, an MLB umpire closing in on the all-time record for most games officiated. Plaschke’s gimmick is to write one sentence paragraphs, as though he were being paid by the inch. Not the word. He’s also well known for essaying sentimental stories that...

South American Travel Notes, Part Four

To those who haven’t experienced the beast outside of its natural habitat of strip malls and gated communities, the Ugly American seems an outlandish caricature, a literary device employed to make a point about modern capitalism. Unlike Nessie or Sasquatch, however, this monster really exists. You can see him every summer in Europe, and at...