Tagged: cultural criticism

Notes on Attending a Phish Concert for the First Time

Beautiful Weirdos. The ethos at a Phish concert is “come as you are.” Before the show, the parking lot of The Forum, in Inglewood, where the Lakers used to play, resembles the set of a Fellini movie grafted onto an ancient Grateful Dead memory. All clothing and barbering choices are acceptable. Smiling at strangers allowed. Dancing...

White House Press Conference

The President’s PRESS SECRETARY stands at a lectern. The  WHITE HOUSE PRESS CORP sits before her.   PRESS SECRETARY I’ll make a brief statement and then take your questions. . .We’re in Day 3,034 of “Operation Iraqi Freedom,” and this administration is, and I quote, “tickled” with the progress that’s been made thus far. While...

Remembering “The Swan”

Satire Alert: This is not a satire. At a dinner party we attended recently, some friends were imagining outlandish premises for so-called “reality TV.” One young man proposed a “Hunger Games”-type show, in which attractive people wearing few clothes would be set loose in an unfamiliar woods, where “hunters” would track and “kill” them with...

The World As It Is

We don’t normally feature in this space books that are more than five years old. But “The World As it Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress” seems to us a most necessary read in these preposterous times. Authored by the brilliant journalist, social justice advocate and cultural critic Chris Hedges, “The World” is...

A More Exceptionally Perfect America

Experts on matters patriotic, including members of Congress and the corporate oligarchs for whom they toil, believe that those of us who are fortunate enough to live in the greatest country on Earth benefit from a magical phenomenon known as American Exceptionalism. According to those who have made a kind of casual study of our glorious history,...

Our Undemocratic Impulse to Defeat the Waze App

Vista, the little Sunset Square “capillary” street we live on, runs North-South between two major “artery” boulevards, Hollywood and Sunset. Because there’s a school at the end of our block, diverting traffic around the block to the East or West, Vista Street is inconvenient for those in a hurry. Most drivers take a more direct route, one that...

Vocal Music Delights

Two new vocal recordings — one from a likely source, the other not — remind us that genuine vocal artistry brings delight not quite like anything else. The human voice, malleable and expressive and colorful, vibrates with genuine (and profound) feeling on “Close Up,” by Sara Serpa, the celebrated singer, known for her angelic tone,...

Our Golden Age of Corporate Apologies

Some of the most popular and successful companies in America — Wells Fargo, Facebook, Uber — have suffered a series of highly unfortunate blemishes on their otherwise pristine public images. They did very naughty things. To their customers. Stole from them. Lied to them. Treated every person like a valuable revenue stream instead of an...

Further Refinements to the NFL Anthem Policy

The National Football League recently announced a change in their rules regarding the playing of “The Star Spangled Banner,” that great paean to durable fabric. They understand the symbolic importance of standing and pretending to know the words to a song about a symbol. It’s symbolism: Singing a song that pays homage to a symbol...

The Denuding of Los Angeles

Before he takes his war chest of political “donations” to the national arena, where his handlers will attempt to re-package him as “presidential,” our bumbling failure of a Mayor, the man who oversees an ongoing humanitarian disaster known as “homelessness in Los Angeles,” seems determined to wreck as many neighborhoods as possible. The Eric Garcetti ethos: If a...