Tagged: humorous essay

Cutting Scientology Some Slack

Not long ago I attended a concert at the Celebrity Center, on the campus of Scientology headquarters, in the heart of Hollywood. Independent producers like to rent out the theater there because in addition to a good sound and light system, the Celebrity Center offers below-market rental rates in exchange for subjecting the audience to...

Poker’s World Championship on TV

This week, the final hands of the 2007 World Series of Poker Main Event , the unofficial “world championship” of tournament poker, will be broadcast on America’s unofficial Gambling Network, ESPN. The winner’s name has been public knowledge since July, but if you’ve been following the taped coverage and don’t want to know who earns...

The Impulse to Take Offense

All of us, if we search widely enough, can find ourselves a minority group into which we can fit. Even if you’re a white male, there’s always something about you — your religious or sexual proclivities, your dressing habits, your viewpoint on animals or voting rights or the 2nd Amendment — that will situate you...

A Dystopia Called Nacerima

When I was a boy, one of my grade school teachers passed out a Social Studies article about a faraway country called Nacirema. This crazy place was inhabited by natives with strange grooming habits and fanciful modes of transportation and peculiar foods — or at least it seemed that way based on the descriptions. Eventually,...

How the Media Feeds Us Our Cultural Rations

If you aren’t one of the few members of the Media Club, which regurgitates “stories” dreamed up by public relations professionals, you may be blissfully unaware that the popular culture you consume is driven largely by a system of payola that the practitioners prefer to call “news.” The Sunday Calendar section — or Arts, or...

Dog Fighting

My sweet old mutt, Ella, is napping in her corner bed, dreaming, I reckon, of squirrels that are slower than she and big plates of rare prime rib (bone in) that someone mistakenly, providentially, left on the floor for her to bolt. When she was much younger, thinking she was providing essential security for her...

The Joy of Abetting Others

As an author and musician, I’m usually concerned about the humble goods I bring to the cultural marketplace. After I’ve written or recorded, doing the best I can to say whatever it is I’m trying to say, my quotidian worries revolve around selling the wares, earning enough money to have the luxury and privilege of...

ESPN, America’s Gambling Network

ESPN, the cable TV empire, covers all things sports-related. Except sports betting.  Apparently the wry, hip, knowing, ironic, slick, and authoritative on-air broadcasters may discuss anything and everything about the sports and athletes they cover provided there’s no mention of the pointspread line or the underlying odds that swirl around virtually every event that ESPN...

The Sporting Scene: America’s Morality Tales

The eternal battle between Good and Evil rages on. We watch (and learn) in awe, each of us better somehow for having witnessed Virtue collide with Sin. But America’s most instructive forum of late hasn’t been the Church pulpit; it’s the sporting scene.  The characters in these Morality Tales are so clearly identifiable, so devoid...

A Modest Proposal for Saving the Planet

Unless you’re from Oklahoma, a state whose citizens managed to elect (and re-elect) Senator James Inhofe, protector of oil concerns and denier of global warming — which, in a statement that brought relief to the world’s great religions, he deemed the “greatest hoax ever perpetrated upon the American people” — you probably understand that we’re...