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

JUNE 8, 2012 9:52PM

The Wall Street Casino

By Daniel Rigney

You’ve probably heard about the imaginary* new Wall Street Casino on the strip in Las Vegas. Many of the casino’s clients are small fry with pension funds, but its biggest clients, or “whales” as they’re known in the speculative industry, are major corp… Read full post »

By Daniel Rigney

As a kid growing up behind the Pine Curtain of east Texas, I heard more than my share of cultural and political cliches. You may have heard some of these yourself if you grew up in a red region, or maybe even if you didn’t.… Read full post »

By Daniel Rigney

How shall we characterize the American political system in this age of "Citizens United" and citizens divided, when big money speaks anonymously and carries a bigger and bigger stick?

De Tocqueville, if he could return to our shores today, would probably take one look at us,… Read full post »

JUNE 2, 2012 8:24PM

What Is a "Scottwalker"?

By Daniel Rigney

My dictionary of the future defines a “scottwalker” as (1) a political figure, usually Republican, who represents the private interests of corporate giants, esp. two wealthy brothers from Kansas  (2) a political sock puppet of any party affiliation.

A &lRead full post »

JUNE 1, 2012 11:41PM

Cannibalism in the News

By Daniel Rigney

We interrupt this blog to bring you a special news bulletin.

Three separate cannibalism stories are breaking this morning* on the pixelated front page of the right-wing political tabloid, Drudge Report, linking to articles originating in Miami, Baltimore and Montreal.  All thr… Read full post »

JUNE 1, 2012 1:00AM

The RepubliKen Doll

By Daniel Rigney

Those of a certain age will remember Saturday morning television ads for the Chatty Cathy doll. Pull the cord and Cathy says endearing things like “I love you unconditionally” and “I’m glad you own me.”

This fall, as we approach the holidays, be watchi… Read full post »

MAY 31, 2012 4:52PM

Ten Tattoo Tips: What NOT to Do

By Daniel Rigney

Here are ten things not to do if you're thinking about getting a tattoo.

1. Find the cheapest tattoo parlor you can, or ask a friend to ink you.

2. If the artist charges by the hour, ask him or her to “hurry it… Read full post »

By Daniel Rigney

The world of tattoo art is a cultural twilight zone for me, and maybe for you too. Yet here we are today, about to enter a gigantic traveling tattoo exposition that’s just arrived from Los Angeles.

A colorful crowd is gathering in Houston’s cavernous Reliant… Read full post »

MAY 25, 2012 12:30PM

Name That Racehorse

By Daniel Rigney

The Kentucky Derby is over for the year, but the dust hasn’t settled yet. Huffington Post reports this morning that I’ll Have Another's trainer is suspended under suspicion of “milkshaking” a horse in another race (HuffPost Sports, May 25, 2012).

A milkshake,Read full post »

By Daniel Rigney

The word “success” can denote many things, and it can mean different things to different people. But words have connotations as well as denotations, and in American culture, success typically implies material $ucce$$, the market society's core value.

As a euphemism for ac… Read full post »

By Daniel Rigney

Blogging can be a valuable discipline for practicing writers. It can serve as both a learning tool and an unlearning tool. Here are a few things I’m trying to unlearn in my own writing here. Your self-advice may vary, of course, depending on the unique nature of… Read full post »

By Daniel Rigney

Tabloid newsman Andrew Breitbart met his last deadline when he died a few months ago, but his mean spirit lives on at Breitbart.com, the website he founded in admiring imitation of conservative news-spreader Matt Drudge.

Maybe this is what immortality looks like in the 21stRead full post »

MAY 19, 2012 3:04PM

What Would Drudge Do?

By Daniel Rigney

One of my guilty pleasures in life is browsing political tabloid news, and nothing says tabloid politics like the Drudge Report. Today I’m scouting lurid Drudge headlines (or “Drudgelines”) in search of new lows.  

A working democracy, if we had one, needs a w… Read full post »

MAY 18, 2012 3:18PM

Bayou Diversity in Houston

By  Daniel Rigney

Today we’re in Houston, gateway to Louisiana, celebrating the biodiversity of this sprawling urban ecosystem built in a swamp -- I mean a wetland -- on the western edge of Cajun country.

Even those who don’t know their boudin from an etouffee will appreciate the… Read full post »

 By Daniel Rigney

A striking geographic pattern emerges when we map the migration of North American professional sports franchises during the past century. Before 1963,  migrating franchises moved from east to west, mirroring the westward migration of the population as whole. Baseball's Br… Read full post »

MAY 15, 2012 5:46PM

Back in the Space Age

By Daniel Rigney

I grew up back in the space age, when some kids (mostly boys) dreamed of growing up to be astronauts, and professional sports teams were adopting nicknames like “Astros,” “Rockets,” and “Sonics.”

I grew up back when we got our images of the futur… Read full post »

MAY 14, 2012 3:00PM

Tabloid Politics (Updated)

By Daniel Rigney

What if political news were presented in the style of tabloid gossip? (Oh, it already is?) It might go something like this ....

Mitt Romney’s ghostwriter is completing a memoir. The book will recount the G.O.P. standard-bearer’s childhood years as… Read full post »

MAY 13, 2012 2:01AM

Dispatch from the Art Car Parade

By Daniel Rigney      

We’re reporting to you, almost live, from the urban canyons of downtown Houston, Texas, art car capital of the world. Today marks the 25th anniversary of the Houston Art Car Parade, brought to you by the Orange Show, an eccentric and beloved local institut… Read full post »

 By Daniel Rigney

The image of politics as warfare is at least as old as Machiavelli's The Prince, and as current as tomorrow's headlines. In American politics today, Republicans and Democrats alike routinely wield military metaphors against each other, both offensively and defensively, in thei… Read full post »

MAY 9, 2012 4:06PM

What Studies Show

 By Daniel Rigney

A new study* finds that among the most common clichés in U.S. news media are stories claiming to report "what studies show."

Some news stories sensationalize or distort research findings (or invent them) in ways that play upon the fears and insecurities of readers, am… Read full post »

MAY 7, 2012 3:29PM

Unusable Ad Slogans

 By Daniel Rigney (as Rimshot the Sitdown Comic)

I was watching an episode of “Mad Men” recently when my mind wandered back to the actual ad campaigns of the sixties. That’s when I realized I had missed my calling. I should have been writing ad slogans all this time.… Read full post »

MAY 4, 2012 3:18PM

National Mottos: The World Tour


National Mottos: The World Tour

By Daniel Rigney

I’ve been collecting mottos lately the way some people collect butterflies, visiting all 50 U.S. states and hundreds of colleges and universities around the world in search of odd, intriguing or amusing specimens.* Today we tour the mot… Read full post »

MAY 2, 2012 1:04AM

The Great American Tweet


The Great American Tweet

By Daniel Rigney

I’m told there was a time when young scribblers in the United States dreamed of writing "the great American novel." It was a time when books were made of paper and ink rather than pixels -- a time when “text” was… Read full post »


By Daniel Rigney

In our last episode we went looking for distinctive college and university mottos in the United States.  Now we embark on a grand tour abroad, visiting universities around the world in search of fresh and  unusual words of wisdom.

 “I Am Still Learning.&rRead full post »

APRIL 29, 2012 8:06PM

Know Your College Mottos

By Daniel Rigney

I stumbled recently onto an intriguing list of U.S. college and university mottos.* I’d like to share some of the more peculiar ones with you.

Most academic mottos play endless variations on the well-worn themes of knowledge, wisdom, and making money practicality.Read full post »