Michael Sigman: It’s tough to be a politician and a member of what Larry David calls “the bald community” in America, particularly when your shoulders also carry the burden of taking our country back. On last week’s Real Time with Bill Maher, one of the host’s New Rules was, “If Rand Paul is a true libertarian, he has to free his toupee.”
Michael Sigman: Given the commodification of dissent in corporate America, it’s doubtful Fey or anyone else will achieve Twain’s trifecta of talent, courage and mass popularity. But worrying about what we can’t control will only invite the kind of unhappiness that caused the great man himself to reflect that, “My life has been a series of disasters, most of which never happened.”
Michael Sigman: Reacher fascinates more because his isolation isn’t metaphorical. He has no home, no family, no ongoing relationships, no cell phone and no possessions. He buys a new set of generic clothes every few days, and earns pocket money via odd jobs as he randomly drifts from place to place, encountering more troubles than Job and more liaisons than Ricky Nelson’s Travelin’ Man.
Michael Sigman: Just as it was perversely gratifying to find out that no one — including the experts — understood the complex financial derivatives that undermined the global economy, it’s nice to know that even the top physicists don’t really understand the mind-bending contradictions of quantum theory.
Michael Sigman: it was refreshing to hear Washington Post Chairman Donald Graham’s candor about the fate of Newsweek, his company’s iconic money-hemorrhaging magazine, about which he said earlier this month, “If anyone should take the blame for this ending, it is me — for not seeing early enough and reacting in the right way to the changes that have come to our industry.”
Michael Sigman: Basketball legend Bill Walton is beloved as much for his boundless enthusiasm and quirky individualism as for his hoops heroism. But the class and perseverance he’s shown through decades of severe chronic back, leg and foot pain might just top his most courageous courtside achievements.
Michael Sigman: Community Arts Resources’ mission emphasizes the development of public space in Los Angeles, a concept that may seem oxymoronic to Angelenos who have panic attacks when they have to walk more than a few feet to their valet-parked cars. Bergin/Paley helped with the design for the new Grand Avenue Civic Park, slated for 2012 opening, which will feature a fountain plaza, performance lawn, community terrace and event space, along with a children’s garden and an area for community markets.
Michael Sigman: I am a mechanical moron, a species to whom Larry David once gave voice when, in the opening scene of a 2009 episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” he exploded with “wrap rage” after a death-struggle with the plastic shell that encased a newly gifted GPS device. The mega-humiliating payoff comes at the end of the episode, when he’s lost and desperately needs to un-package the GPS. But the box cutter he’s sure will do the trick turns out to be so hard to open that it requires a box cutter of its own.
Michael Sigman: There are those, Dr. Cohen himself passionately among them, who don’t see death as an evil to be avoided at all costs. They believe each individual has the autonomy to make reasonable end-of-life decisions, and that prosecuting doctors and nurses for anything short of criminal malfeasance is a travesty that will only ruin innocent lives and increase patient suffering.
Michael Sigman: Isn’t it precisely the job of political, financial and religious leaders to imagine disasters and then prepare for them? (Plausible ones, that is, as opposed to, say, anti-asteroid Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher’s crusade for funds to combat “objects coming from space that could cause colossal loss of lives on our planet.”) And if their imaginations fail them, and us, shouldn’t they be held accountable — morally and, when appropriate, criminally?
Michael Sigman: It’s often momentarily satisfying to react to outrage with more outrage. For years, I’ve rooted like a sports fan for MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann when he righteously matched and even outstripped the bile of the ignorant Right. But during his recent absence from the airwaves, it’s been a tonic to follow Laurence O’Donnell’s more reasoned approach and Rachel Maddow’s measured, humorous way of skewering the opposition.
Michael Sigman: The decimation of the media industry, and particularly the newspaper business, has meant the elimination of health insurance benefits not only for the tens of thousands thrown out of work but also for the many writers, designers and others now forced to freelance. Media companies have to make cuts to stay in business, and some outsourcing is inevitable. But rewarding execs with big bonuses for, in effect, taking away workers’ health insurance is unconscionable.
Michael Sigman: Many of the thirty-thousand-plus newspaper journalists laid off in the past two years have signed on to corporate public relations gigs, further blurring the already-murky line between PR and news. When the handful of corporate chieftains who control most mainstream media hire as PR agents the journalists who used to expose them, they’re one giant step closer to commandeering the information narrative in America.
Michael Sigman: Community can be created in many ways — geographically, electronically, or around a shared interest or cause. The community of singers which has formed around SOS and its sister organizations needs help from another community: us listeners, whose lives have been so enriched by the wonderful singers — past and present — performing in Los Angeles and around the world.