Politics and Culture in the Comic Zone

Daniel Rigney

Daniel Rigney
New Texas, USA
August 01
free-range writer
In this writing workshop and citizen's blog I'm exploring various short forms, often from a satiric angle. My interests include politics, culture and the human comedy; old and new media; social theory and urban ethnography; the commercialization, corporatization and tabloidization of everything; sustainability; Unitarianism (UU); coffee; and writing (sorry, I mean providing content). Turtle stamp is from Tandy Leather. Interested in republishing a piece? Contact drigney3@gmail.com.


Daniel Rigney's Links

APRIL 25, 2014 12:19PM

Bill McKibben Violates Houston Taboo

By Daniel Rigney

Leading international climate activist Bill McKibben is a cofounder of 350.org, an environmental organization that has coordinated thousands of climate demonstrations worldwide. This week he’s in Houston and speaking publicly in flagrant violation of the Houston Taboo.

The… Read full post »

By Daniel Rigney

The Giving Pledge campaign, created in 2010 by Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, invites the world’s 1,600 or so billionaires to pledge at least half of their wealth to philanthropies. The campaign’s call to generosity recalls the example of steel baron Andrew Carnegie, a re… Read full post »

By Daniel Rigney

An editorial cartoon by Chan Lowe in the South Florida Sun Sentinel poses the question, “Can corporations have religious beliefs?” The question has arisen recently as companies such as Hobby Lobby have challenged legal provisions in the Affordable Care Act on religious g… Read full post »

APRIL 15, 2014 3:10PM

The Street Poetry of Berkeley

By Daniel Rigney

Free Speech 

I’m reporting to you from the streets of Berkeley, California, a university city that has more than its share of street performers. I wish some of them would come to my own city of Houston as cultural missionaries.

My favorite… Read full post »

APRIL 5, 2014 12:35PM

Fear of the Year Awards, 1999-2013

By Daniel Rigney

We Americans are a deeply fearful people. In a previous post I recalled that when I was young, a Communist was lurking behind every shrub. Later the Communist was supplanted by a black militant, and white people fled to the suburbs. Then it was drugs (as in… Read full post »

By Daniel Rigney

My jaw dropped last Sunday when I visited a church in Houston and heard a frank and scientifically-informed sermon on climate change.This is a rare event in Houston. I’ve lived here nearly four years, and beyond academic circles I’ve rarely heard this disturbing subject… Read full post »

MARCH 21, 2014 12:40PM

News Headlines of 2034

by Daniel Rigney

Imagine the year is 1994.  You open a newspaper and confront these headlines:

Spy Drones Monitor Android Smartphones

You ask yourself, “What in the world is a spy drone? What’s an android? And what’s a smartphone?”


Google Glass StillRead full post »

by Daniel Rigney

News on the statistical front. Americans are no longer 5 percent of the world’s people.

For many years, social statisticians have highlighted the size of the U.S. footprint in the world by noting  that the United States, with only 5 percent of the world’s population… Read full post »

MARCH 17, 2014 12:17PM

Republicans Favor Minimal Wage

by Daniel Rigney

Wealthy conservatives, including Charles Koch, Steve Forbes, and Rupert Murdoch, are standing their ground in opposition to any proposed increase in the federal minimum wage. Indeed, their media  communications suggest that they oppose any minimum wage whatsoever, believing ins… Read full post »

MARCH 14, 2014 6:48PM

Scenes from SXSW

By Daniel Rigney

Austin, Texas has been called the easternmost city in California. I’m here today to enjoy its most celebrated annual event, the South By Southwest film, music and electric culture festival, or SXSW.

sbs keep austin weird

“South By” is putting Austin near the center of the Ame… Read full post »

MARCH 10, 2014 12:57AM

The Minimalist Movement

By Daniel Rigney

I’m here at Brazos Bookstore in Houston, where Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, authors of The Minimalists, are promoting their next book on the art of living better with a lot less stuff. They didn’t invent the concept of minimalism, but they’re spreadin… Read full post »

MARCH 7, 2014 10:57AM

Name That Band

By Daniel Rigney

The time comes in the life of every garage or basement band when its ragtag players must agree on the communal name that will define them for the rest of music history, or at least until they choose another name.

Usually the critical moment comes during… Read full post »

By Daniel Rigney

Today I’m coming out of the shadows to acknowledge my affiliation with a small and obscure religious cult. I’d rather not identify the cabal by name quite yet. I’ll just call it U2  (pronounced “you squared”) and leave it at that.

If U2 had an… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 26, 2014 12:32AM

The Golden Rule in Texas

By Daniel Rigney

The Texas political economy operates according to its own version of the golden rule. Those who have the gold make the rules. I’m talkin’ about black gold. Texas tea. Awl, y’all.*

That’s why I’m not surprised to read that Dallas-based Exxon Mobil&rsquo… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 24, 2014 2:18AM

Norway Wins Per Capita Olympics

By Daniel Rigney

Russia and the United States racked up 59 medals between them in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, but it was Norway, a nation of only 5 million, that won the Per Capita Olympics (PCO) hands down.

Norway won 26 medals. By my reckoning, that comesRead full post »

By Daniel Rigney

Satirical Enterprises has announced the launch of a new dating service based on the shared hatreds of its members. Get ready to meet HateShare, and through it, perhaps, your perfect match as well.

Unlike most dating services, which match people based on their shared interests and… Read full post »

By Daniel Rigney

A recent satirical post entitled “Is the Tea Party a Liberal Conspiracy?” drew several fun-loving comments from readers. Tom Cordle, for instance, suggested that a movie based on the Koch Brothers’ machiavellian political machinations could be called “IncogniRead full post »

FEBRUARY 14, 2014 11:50AM

Is the Tea Party a Liberal Conspiracy?

Satire by Daniel Rigney

I’m not much of a conspiracy theorist. I tend not to believe, for instance, the viral legend that Dick Cheney is personally responsible for the Japanese Tsunami of 2011. But it doesn’t take a conspiracy theorist to suspect that behind the Tea Party’s meteori… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 13, 2014 2:23AM

Triple Translation: An Experiment

By Daniel Rigney

Here's a whimsical experiment in computer translation. In  the spirit of Olympic skating, diving and gymnastic events, we'll attempt to perform the daunting “triple translation with half twist.”

With the help of Google Translate, we'll convert the opening line of A… Read full post »

By Daniel Rigney

The results are back from my mother’s National Geographic DNA test. It turns out that her genetic ancestry is 2.2 percent Neanderthal. That would almost certainly make me part-Neanderthal.

What species are you? Are you sure?

Chances are you’re part-Neanderthal too. If… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 7, 2014 11:36AM

Predicting Our Next Big Fear (NBF)

By Daniel Rigney

For as long as I can remember, we Americans have been a deeply fearful people. When I was young, a Communist was lurking behind every shrub. Later the Communist was replaced by a black militant, and white people ran for their lives to the suburbs. Then it… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 5, 2014 12:27AM

Liberals vs. Confederates

By Daniel Rigney

As an American liberal, I have nothing against confederates as individuals. Growing up as I did on the edge of the deep South, I can testify that some of my best friends have been confederates. I cut my political teeth on phrases like “states’ rights” and “gu… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 3, 2014 6:55PM

Gladiators Unionize

By Daniel Rigney

ROME – Spartacus II, union organizer and spokesman for the newly formed Brotherhood of Gladiators, held a press conference today to present a list of union demands to the National Collegiate Combat Association (NCCA).

Spartacus warned that gladiators will go on strike and ref… Read full post »

JANUARY 31, 2014 6:08PM

Autocomplete's Id

By Daniel Rigney

Google’s Autocomplete feature is a great word toy. Not only is it fun to play with, but it can also reveal surprising things about our culture.

Autocomplete is that dropdown menu under your search box that tries to anticipate what you’re hunting for. If you… Read full post »

JANUARY 29, 2014 1:36PM

An Interview with Autocomplete

By Daniel Rigney

Danagram: Today we're interviewing Autocomplete, the Google search 'smart feature' that offers to complete people’s thoughts for them. You've seen it before. It's the menu that drops down under the Google search box after you've entered a word or phrase. It tries to guess what… Read full post »