Tagged: cultural criticism

Violence Voyeurism

Outrageous. Horrifying. Disgusting. These were some of the adjectives hurled in the press when news broke that the former world champions of football, the New Orleans Saints, for years had instituted a bounty system that rewarded their players for knocking opponents out of the game. Players contributed to an in-house pool and collected $1,000-$1,500 when...

What the Frack!?

In 1969, the Cayahoga River, one of Lake Erie’s major tributaries, caught fire. This provided the kind of visual evidence boring old science never could. Folks got hip: Industry, they realized, was using American waterways as a massive free sewage system for their most noxious waste. Americans got serious about pollution in our water for...

Encouraging Words for Despairing Artists

If you’re an artist, or have an artistic impulse, or care deeply about art, you probably experience the kind of quiet despair that I find in many of my jazz musician friends, my poet friends, my painter friends, and frequently from myself. Yes, it’s heartbreaking to be part of a culture that finds the work that...

Cages

After reading Adam Gopnik’s masterful examination of the American prison system in a recent issue of the New Yorker, in which he examines our fetishistic compulsion to warehouse millions of errant citizens in prisons, it’s easy to conclude that our conception of “cruel and unusual punishment” needs reconsideration. Gopnik burrows through the rotten veneer of...

A F*cking Problem in the Comedy World

We here at MichaelKonik.com aren’t persnickety. We’re not prudes. We don’t take offense. Very little is out of bounds in our way of thinking. Sure, venality and cruelty and mendacity tend to rankle and annoy, and, sure, we’re probably more squeamish than most when it comes to violence. But “bad words” don’t bother us like they...

Heroic Murderers

At the Super Bowl this Sunday, when most of America will gather to watch our national character accurately represented by a brutal, war-like game (football), controlled by a ruthless, cartel-like corporation (the NFL), selling us mostly disposable, harmful products (automobiles, alcohol, online gambling), you’re almost certain to see an expensive (and weirdly effective) propaganda campaign...

The New Devil’s Dictionary (Abridged)

With apologies (and mad props) to Ambrose Bierce, we offer a few selections from our upcoming blockbuster The New Devil’s Dictionary: Tellin’ it Like it Is, Ya’ll!  We invite expressions of gratitude, outrage, derision, glee, dismay, and insight to be entered as comments below, or sent to via registered and insured mail to the executors...

Matters of Public Insertion

Aside from their protective utility, latex condoms aren’t anyone’s first choice for a sexual accoutrement. Claims to the efficacy of certain “ribbed for her pleasure” varieties notwithstanding, folks use them to prevent pregnancies and transmittable diseases, not because rubbers enhance sex. Sure, the old putting-it-on-with-your-mouth trick, redolent of European brothels and Asian massage parlors, has...

The Benefit of Benefits

“Guinnessport,” is not a British drinking game. It’s a new sport/lifestyle choice that fetishizes (and glorifies) obsessive-compulsive behavior. Guinnessport contestants compete to hold the most certified records in the Guinness Book of World Records, including the record for holding the most records (367, at present). Activities like cycling underwater. Carrying a brick in one hand...

Evolutionary Doubts

Mr. Darwin has some ‘splaining to do. Our species, which has managed to rise to the top of the food chain, conquer and colonize every region of the planet we care to inhabit, and control the fate of almost every other species unlucky enough to exist contemporaneously with humankind, seems to be partially exempt from...