Tagged: thought of the day

What Makes a Hero?

As the casualties pile up in Iraq, we’ve grown accustomed to hearing young men and women described as heroes, which would seem to suggest that there’s something heroic in perishing for obscure financial-political reasons that no one can quite identify. Recently, as suspicion has grown that certain Major League Baseball sluggers hit their record-breaking home...

The Marathon

More than 25,000 people ran through the streets of Los Angeles yesterday. Their journey, whether completed in a little more than two hours or as much as seven, covered 26+ miles and a panoply of human emotions. Completing a marathon is one of those rare life events that are so fraught with symbolism and meaning...

Apologizing for Murder

The Philip Morris Company, whose core business is manufacturing and marketing tobacco products, has started running television advertisements for the company’s Web site, ads that spotlight PhilMo’s commitment to helping people quit smoking. The spots assure consumers that a visit to www.phillipmorrisusa.com will yeild stark scientific evidence that smoking causes all the diseases that for decades cigarette...

Critical Acclaim or Paying Off the Mortgage?

Movie studios, television producers, and publishers distribute creative products in the interest of making money, of showing a healthy return on investment. Period. They aren’t in the business of making art, bettering the world, or leaving something of lasting value behind for future generations. They want to sell things, preferably millions of copies of those...

Remind Us Again. . .

Remind us again…why one group of people should be permitted to tell another group of people what they may (or may not) eat, drink, or smoke? Why is it illegal to make a bet on a football game but legal to make a bet on the stock market? Why is it illegal for a woman to earn money...

How To Make Millions of Dollars

Take water. Add salt or sugar. Give water product a name that sound nutritious or refreshing. Acquire celebrity endorsement. Advertise heavily, imbuing sugar-water with perceived value and prestige. Sell at handsome profit.

America’s Greatest Export

While traveling abroad in Southeast Asia, we shirked from inquiring eyes when George Bush’s coronation was broadcast live on CNN. We weren’t ashamed to be an American — on the contrary, we’re proud to be a citizen of this glorious country — but at that inglorious moment in history we were mortified to have come...

Notes on Les Miserables, La Boheme and Love

The fabulously entertaining stage adaptation of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables is sold to consumers as “the world’s most popular musical,” an honorific that seems accurate upon first consideration, since Alain Boblil and Claude-Michel Schonberg’s retelling of the novel has been produced in every part of the world (including China) and enjoyed by millions of appreciative...

Thankful

On Thanksgiving Day most of us will eat too much. Many will watch football games. Some will retrieve playing cards from the closet, or a worn mah jong table. If we’re lucky we’ll be among friends and family, basking in the comforting warmth of people who know us well and love us anyway. Few of...

Mel Gibson’s Christ Porno

Last night, while most of us slept, the most cleverly marketed movie in recent history opened on thousands of screens across America. Before a single megaplex presented Mel Gibson’s “Passion of Christ,” the film inspired more editorializing, hand wringing, righteous anger, righteous pride, and cocktail party theorizing than every other work of creative fiction composed...