Tagged: essay by michael konik

Underfed and Overpopulated

For Americans drowning in super-sized sodas, bursting with high-calorie fat bombs from the Dollar Menu, and dying from generally too much of everything except self-discipline, it may be hard to understand that a large portion of the planet’s population doesn’t have enough to eat. If the projections are to be believed, it’s only going to...

Defining Cowardice

The new book I’ve just completed writing attempts to examine several Big Ideas through the prism of a fable. One recurring theme is cowardice.  Our common conception of this repulsive quality is that it is simply a manifestation of outsized fear. (A soldier sees his city being overrun by intruders; instead of upholding his duty...

Belaboring Labor

Given a choice unconstrained by financial imperatives, most human beings would probably not willingly toil for nearly a third of their waking hours on earth at a job that requires them to use their brain solely for repetitive motor functions. In a utopian scenario, most people would not choose to do the same thing over...

The Immorality of Discouraging Contraception

You may have noticed that people like to have sex, including countless youngsters whose testosterone levels dramatically exceed their intelligence. Everybody’s conception of permissible activity varies somewhat, based on controlling factors that most of us don’t bother to examine. But whether or not you approve of pre-marital sex, or marital sex, or post-marital sex, whether...

Frightening America Out of Healthcare

There was an election in November, 2008. You may recall it. A person of color with a vaguely suspicious first and last name — and a positively terroristic middle name — was on the ballot, promising “change” and “new beginnings” and all that hoo-hah. The other guy was reassuringly old and white and aligned with...

How Passive-Aggressive Behavior Destroys

All of us have at one time or another known someone who has behaved in a way that psychologists identify as passive-aggressive. We may have even been that person. For those who may be blissfully unaware of this syndrome, I would like very much to join you on whatever planet you live on. For the...

Jazz is Dead

If, like me, you listen frequently to jazz radio, often you hear DJs and other concerned constituents urging folks to “keep jazz alive,” as though it were an invalid on life support. Falling sales, vanishing broadcast formats, venue closures — they all suggest that America’s greatest contribution to the planetary arts is indeed on the...

Congratulations, America

For all of our Republic’s obvious imperfections (such as a dysfunctional healthcare system, environmental catastrophes looming at every river and lake, an obscene infatuation with violence, to name a few) the United States of America is still the place that everyone from everywhere else is trying to get to. If you talk with recent immigrants,...

Baddest of the Badd

This space has previously catalogued a pantheon of Badasses, the bad-to-the-bone boys and girls whose badness makes them (and what they do) impossible to ignore and glorious to witness.  The past two weeks, we’ve had the pleasure of experiencing two of the world’s very baddest musicians at Hollywood’s Catalina Bar & Grilll Jazz Club, one...

The Fable of the Fable

There once lived a Regular Person with regular talents and regular desires, including the one that most regular people have: to be less regular and more extraordinary, to be more like an exalted Them and less like an unheralded Us.  So, despite her regular looks — some would unkindly say that she was not even...