Tagged: essay by michael konik

Remix Manifesto

1. Culture always builds on the past. Whether it was composer and piano virtuoso Franz Liszt using Gypsy melodies in his compositions, Metallica borrowing song structures from Diamond Head or The Rolling Stones recording Robert Johnson’s “Love in Vain” as a “traditional, arranged by Keith Richards,” composers have always used previous works as inspiration for...

Caloric Equality

Our finely developed sense of American vanity keeps us obsessed with working out and dieting, with inspirational weight-loss stories and TV game shows in which dramatically shrinking waistlines are seen not as a sign of dwindling well-being but as a heroic conquering of anarchic eating compulsions. We fortunate ones desperately want to be thin, but...

An Opinion You Can Trust

The most irksome problem with the Blogosphere is that everybody is a critic, which is cool for everybody but troubling for everybody else. Without institutional authority — a newspaper, a university, a trade group — to certify who should be listened to and respected and who should be dismissed and neglected, discerning the wheat from...

The Time to Care About Disaster Victims

President Obama sent us an email a few days ago, and this time it wasn’t to ask for monetary support of his healthcare reform boondoggle. He was asking us (and the millions of others on his OFA database) to help Haitians. He wrote: “Despite the fact that we are experiencing tough times here at home,...

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...