Tagged: adam gopnik

Things Versus Experiences

We work to make money so that we may clothe, feed and shelter our family and ourselves. We also work so that we may acquire things: baubles, gadgets, appliances, games, art, and more clothes, food, and shelter just in case we run out. Sometimes a good life is measured by how many things we’ve managed...

Why Gays Should Be Permitted to Marry

Yesterday the Massachusetts legislature voted down a constitutional amendment that would have limited the august institution of marriage to people of the opposite sex. Hateful religious types traveled from out-of-state to protest at the Senate steps, outraged at the erosion of “family values” propagated by egalitarian lawmakers who inexplicably think the laws of our nation...

Janet Jackson’s Breast

During the halftime show at last weekend’s Super Bowl, Janet Jackson, a not very good singer who compensates for her dearth of musical talent with ribald gyrations and costuming befitting a budget-priced dominatrix, exposed her right breast on live television. She was assisted by Justin Timberlake, a similarly uninteresting singer bleating with faux passion about...

Mars Versus Earth

Like millions of others, I watched with fascination and wonder as NASA’s space probe Spirit touched down safely on Mars and began to transmit back to Earth images of our planetary neighbor. As a child who enjoyed reading the science fantasies of Arthur Clarke and Ray Bradbury, among others, I didn’t imagine that sending a spaceship...

Helping by Hurting

The 7-11 store in our neighborhood dispenses cigarettes, sodas, chips, hot dogs, coffee, cookies, and most every other snack food that can be fashioned out of partially hydrogenated oil and other trans-fats. This convenience outlet offers most of the noxious poisons people ought to ingest if they wish to slowly kill themselves. Though the products on...

Smooth Jazz

You can find karaoke machines in hundreds of bars and restaurants and bowling alleys around Los Angeles, where everyone is a budding star (or at least wants to be.) You can find fewer live piano bars, where a player well-versed in the standards and Broadway show tunes accompanies enthusiasts with cabaret dreams. And even rarer...

Performance Enhancing Drugs

The sports world is aghast — as it often seems to be — that athletes in disciplines as diverse as track & field, football, and baseball are ingesting “designer” steroids that allegedly make the competitors bigger, stronger, faster, and eminently more endorse-able. Since an organization like the NFL can’t possibly claim that it’s looking out...

Against Charity

Giving to the needy is supposed to be a virtue. Indeed, it’s once of the sacraments of most religions. In our venal world, being charitable — sharing with those who don’t have what you have — is akin to secular holiness. How much someone gives to charity is a powerful if imprecise barometer of how...

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...

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,...