Tagged: essay by michael konik

Perverse Priorities

Sometimes our chaotic, unknowable, seemingly random Universe arranges itself with perfect symmetry. In these moments of bracing clarity, authored by a Creator (in whatever guise or nomenclature you prefer) whose sense of irony is matched only by her/his/its sense of wicked humor, our innate foolishness and learned stubbornness are robbed of their pretensions. We see...

Lotteries, Poker, and Other People’s Money

Braving odds of 176 million-to-1, scores of otherwise sensible Americans, including several of our intelligent friends, were infected with Lottery Fever this past week, standing in lines of up to three hours to buy a ticket at “lucky” liquor stores and gas stations. The prospect of a $640 million jackpot and the assurance that some...

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...

Our Endless War(s)

First there was “shock and awe.” Then the counterinsurgency, or “surge.” Now it’s “targeted assassinations.” Evocative labels all, making state sanctioned murder easy to accept, if not easy to understand. But does anyone remember why we commit these acts of violence and commit unfathomable amounts of our GDP to their execution? Right! Because we’re fighting...

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...

The Dictator Hunter

Baltasar Garzon, the Spanish jurist renowned for attempting to bring the rich and powerful to justice, has been convicted of exceeding his authority. As part of a comprehensive corruption investigation of Spain’s conservative Popular Party, in 2009 he ordered wiretaps of jailhouse conversations between inmates and their lawyers. The Popular Party is now the Powerful...

Collapse

If all director Chris Smith did with his life was create American Movie, one of the funniest and most poignant documentaries of the 20th Century, he’d be assured of a place in the pantheon. With his latest film, Collapse, Smith outlines the obessive ideas of autodidact Michael Ruppert, a former LAPD cop whose powerful thesis — that...