Tagged: michael konik essay

How Police Officers Make Themselves Easy to Despise

IN MEMORY OF KELLY THOMAS, MURDERED BY FULLERTON, CA. POLICE OFFICERS In most “developing” countries, law enforcers develop nothing but bribes and shakedown money. They’re seen not as upholders of justice but as uniformed thugs to be assiduously avoided, officially sanctioned criminals who serve no one but themselves. Here in the United States, most police...

The Triumph of Vulgarity in Popular Singing

Of the many nefarious effects televised singing contests have had on American culture, the most harmful and lasting one is the debasement of musicality and the apotheosis of vulgarity. This syndrome has been simmering forever; lately, it’s boiling. We’ve been conditioned to embrace and celebrate the elements of popular music that are least musical and...

The Meaning of Sports

Reliable sources report that there’s some sort of governmental event going on this week in Washington, D.C. But anyone who has cable TV knows that the really big news is that the NFL Divisional Finalists have been set, and either the Pittsburgh Steelers or Arizona Cardinals will win the upcoming Super Bowl.  Lest you scoff,...

Too Big to Fail

While we’re genuinely sympathetic to the enormous hardship that accompanies the loss of a job, the spectacle of Detroit automakers pleading for alms from us, the citizenry, from whom they have earned unfathomable wealth over the decades, is one of those macabre spectacles that normally appear in only the most imaginative science fiction. Our compassion...

Labis: “Too Much”

If there were an easy answer to endemic poverty, the kindest among us would surely have already implented it. There’s no simple solution. But one thing is obvious — at least to an outsider: desperately poor people must stop having desperately poor children, most of whom cannot be fed, educated, and cared for properly.  The...

Getting it Wrong on Prop 8

This weekend, a number of dear friends, some straight, some gay, will be picketing in front of Los Angeles City Hall, venting their anger at an empty building. The protesters are furious about the passage of Proposition 8, which amends the California Constitution to permit holy matrimony solely between a man and a woman. Prop...

President Obama: Reasons to Celebrate

For those who came of age in segregationist America, while Jim Crow laws still littered the South and neighborhoods in the North observed pernicious unwritten boundaries, Barack Obama’s victory feels like a hot shower after an interminable day spent toiling in a filthy, disease-ridden swamp. Even for people of my generation, who grew up post-Martin...

Jazz Competitions, In and Out of the Marketplace

One of the 20th Century’s greatest artists, a cat named Thelonious Monk, the pianist and composer of countless jazz standards, including “Round Midnight” and “Well, You Needn’t,” left behind, among other things, a brilliant son (the drummer, T.S. Monk), a lucrative publishing catalogue, and a legacy of musical encouragement. The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz...

The Healing Power of an Apology

All of us have felt the cleansing and restorative power of a simple apology. Whether offered or received, the words “I’m sorry” tend to make everyone involved feel better, dampening the flame of indignation and encouraging assuagement instead of outrage. When things go badly, someone — or many someones — is usually responsible, and acknowledging...

Brooding on Death

The remains of my dear friend Ella the dog arrived from the crematorium in a nice fabric-covered box. The ashes themselves were in a plastic freezer bag, which was probably a good thing, since in addition to a fine grey powder there were many pinky-nail-size bone fragments and flakes from the few teeth Ella retained...