So it appears Erin Palette and I are cooking something up. Wow!
Unfortunately, this means I have to find something new to blog about today…
Hold on, just let me look in the tickle trunk…
“Some Circumstantial Evidence Is Very Strong, As When You Find A Trout In The Milk” – H.D. Thoreau
So it appears Erin Palette and I are cooking something up. Wow!
Unfortunately, this means I have to find something new to blog about today…
Hold on, just let me look in the tickle trunk…
Return with me now, Bloggers, to those thrilling days of yesteryear: 1997!
The place: Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory!
(Or it could’ve been 1996…I’m kinda doing this all from memory…)
The event: the first creation of a controlled fusion reaction!
Yeah, it really happened, no joke. Fifty years and some unknown tens of billions of government dollars after Nagasaki, the dream of the world came true!
Unfortunately, it was just a little too late. One week later (and by the way I saw this on TV with my own eyes), the U.S. Congress cancelled all funding for the program, on the grounds that it wasn’t the kind of fusion they were looking for. We’d had that flurry of excitement over the cold fusion scam, you see; and cold fusion is really a lot more attractive than hot fusion, which is what this non-scam breakthrough was…they did it with lasers, of course…God bless lasers, what the hell would we do without them!…so that was the end of that.
Boo! Hiss! Cat-call!
...Anyway I always wondered what happened to all those researchers, at the top of their game, who had their funding yanked away because they succeeded too well…
My current best guess is that they’re living in France.
Because the European Union recently concluded an open-tender process to see which country would win the distinction of running its big new fusion research laboratory, and if I recall correctly, France won.
Now if you’re like me, you hear something like that, and just one thing springs to your mind: zeppelins. Because the byproduct of nuclear fusion is helium, and right now helium is freakin’ expensive…but if helium was cheap, you could do all kinds of things with it, couldn’t you? God only knows what kind of cool-ass zeppelins we could cook up using 21st century materials…faster than ships! Cheaper than planes! The implications for air freight alone simply boggle the mind. One foresees a chain of zeppelin routes playing ring-around-the-Pole, embarkation points at St. Petersburg, Stockholm, Reykjavik, Iqaluit, Inuvik, Nome, Yakutsk, and Ulan Bator (because, you see, New York to Paris would be a much longer trip over open ocean)…vast herds of reindeer and caribou roaming beneath your comfortable chair as the waiter brings more champagne…ahhhh, gentility. And, new trade routes. Money for the North.
On the other hand, maybe not. Up in the space shuttle (and, presumably, in those areas of the International Space Station not entirely given over to governmental myopia and foot-dragging), for the past few years scientists have been exploiting the virtues of microgravity to better study those magical molecular factories called Photosystem 1 and Photosystem 2…the twin engines of photosynthesis, one cracking carbon dioxide into oxygen and carbon, the other cracking water into oxygen and hydrogen. At this point, if we want fusion, it almost seems we’d better hope for slower breakthroughs…because if we could synthesize P2 (think I’ve got that right), then can one not also foresee a day when you can go down to the Home Depot and pick up a couple cans of fairly-expensive paint, and take it back to your place to slather all over your discarded swimming pool or old bathtub, from there to wring hydrogen out of rainwater? Fuel? Just plain falls outta the sky, man, and what’s this “grid” thing you keep talking about? Everybody makes their own power, haven’t you heard?
And on the other other hand…no, that isn’t the answer either, really. Because there’s still something like seven hundred million times the amount of energy used by the whole human race raining down each day on this planet from the sun, driving our entire ecosystem along. That’s a lot of power. From light. Since the Seventies it’s been fashionable to pooh-pooh solar power as pie-in-the-sky, but really, come on, come on, COME ON…how hard could it be? The ancient Egyptians built the pyramids with only the inclined plane and beer, for God’s sake, and the pyramids weren’t even good for anything but looking at! So, show me the man who says solar is silly, and I’ll show you a sheltered plutocrat with a fossilized brain, and no faith in human ingenuity. In the Seventies, the average person could maybe run a couple of 100-watt bulbs with a roof full of solar panels. By the late Nineties, people in England and California were selling a winter’s worth of washing-machine power back up to the grid over the summer months. You are here; we’re all here. It’s going to happen. In our lifetimes. Guaranteed.
Utopian enough for you yet? Well, it won’t be a real utopia until I get my hands on those sweet, sweet zeppelin tickets…but homebrew hydro will go a long way in that direction, I think. Because, look up at the header of my humble blog here for a second: that’s where I come from, and where I hope to be back at some day. But right now, it looks like it’s going to cost me a whale-sized load of money that I don’t have (though hopefully I can substitute some ingenuity for it), that really hardly anyone has. When I was born, a life outdoors was easy to find and cheap to trade for; now, you have to go a lot farther, work a lot harder, and pay a lot more, if you want to get your hands on it. It becomes a long shot.
But, put a power revolution of the type I describe above in a person’s hands, and those odds change. Power generation = quality of life, that’s the simple equation: what you put in on one end determines what you get out at the other, whether it’s firewood or fusion. Mind you, in The Fortunate Lands (as J.K. Galbraith called them), we don’t really see this, because we don’t have to: a smooth-flowing power supply is the backdrop of our lives, it’s the very air we breathe. We’re so surrounded by light-sources (for example) that we forget that after the sun goes down it usually takes one light-source to perform one activity: if one light is all you’ve got, you can find your bed; if you’ve got two you can also cook your food; if you’ve got a third you can reclaim some time, as by a flywheel, that you can spend on doing other things. Reading, perhaps. It’s not nothing. It’s everything.
Not that you were saying it wasn’t, I understand that. Pardon me, I’m ranting. It’s just that I can almost taste it, you see…
And I hope I do get to taste it.
But I may not.
Because, at least politically speaking, North America doesn’t seem interested in that sort of thing anymore. Yes: we’re “Old” North America, because for all our politicians’ talk, we’re not really interested in alternative fuels or new technologies. Europe is. And therefore Europe will, in all likelihood, lead the way.
So go East, young man! And grow up with the technology.
I think I must’ve just caught this show as it was cycling back around to the first episode. The marks of “buy me!” are all over tonight’s episode in a way I find slightly annoying, even if I do understand its necessity…we start in high-energy 24-style gear, then segue into a certain amount of shamefully-manipulative string-pulling as characters exposit their saddest secrets for us, before SLAMMO! back to the high-intensity stuff…
And yet, underneath all that, there’s something else going on, and despite the damn cookie-cutting, you can feel it. I’ve spoken before about the way Canadian shows usually turn away from their high concepts, and ReGenesis seems no different, if you take the high-concept part to be the 24-type stuff with all the surging of the adrenaline and the unselfconscious hammering-out of the assembly-line character beats…hence, I’m happy to report that as this episode wore on, it got less and less knee-jerky and more and more interesting, until it almost looked like the relatively low-key program I liked so much last week. Jeez, it’s a fast mover, this show! Thank God. And then by the time the sainted Chris Wiggins drops in as an ex-Soviet germlord turned painter, the assembly-line stuff looks a lot more like what it is: a Trojan horse.
Now, if you happened to see the same episode as I did tonight, and if you’re as intolerant of current American TV drama tropes as I am, you probably had a powerful urge to flick away to something else. Terrorism, espionage, governments pursuing a hidden agenda, two-part cliffhangers — oh no, not again. Not still. Hey, I wonder if Iron Chef’s on? But, this is the very stuff that gets this show’s foot in the door, that gets it on TV in the first place, and it’d be unkind to blame it for doing what it has to do in order to move along to the real stories it wants to tell. Little notes in the actors’ performances, and in the quality of the direction, indicate that this show has more in mind than just pitching sexy or thrillride at you: rather than placing stock characters and dynamics in a futuristic setting — in other words, rather than merely using science-fictional elements in the crafting of a drama so as to better reflect the present day — I take ReGenesis to be a full-on science fiction program, with the same ultimate aim as any other full-on SF work. Which is: to show how people might live in the future, and not just how they will have to adapt to it. An important distinction, I think! In fact I’m tempted to elaborate on it a bit…
But I won’t. At least, not right now. Because all I mean to say at the moment is, I am not put off by the first-episode pitchability, here, and I’ll be watching this show again.
There. That was pretty painless, wasn’t it?
Ah, debates about whether the Seventies mattered, how I love ‘em. There are so many ways of going at them. Did the Seventies Suck, or were they Sensational? Or, did they even exist at all? Does it make sense to talk about these numbers as having a period-like character, rather than the mere ability to measure out the proportionality of events?
Well, that depends, naturally.
In “real” history, nothing exists except what happened, I think we can all agree on that…but then again, that’s a bit of a problem, because we can never have anything like a comprehensive record of “happening” no matter how hard we try to build one up: eventually, all the influences become untraceable, all the stories get dropped out of the record, and we have to resign ourselves to looking at the past through a pinhole. Oh well! No one ever said it was going to be easy! And it’s made harder still when we consider that, to the degree that history functions as a kind of institutionalized memory, it isn’t ever about the past at all, but the present, and so the category called “happening” is itself almost too flexible to be useful. Or should that be, too useful to be reliable? Everything becomes a story, if you let it ferment long enough: in the world of superhero comics (as in folk and rock music), there’s no doubt that people talk about the Seventies as a definite period with a definite character, instead of just another arbitrary space of ten inches on an infinitely-long yardstick…and are they wrong, to do so? Probably not: the trees in the forest and the fish in the sea may not know about the Sensitive Singer-Songwriter, but we do, and without allowing some minimal amount of zeitgeist into our historical listmaking I think we’d be hard-pressed to account for him. So we really might as well grant the Seventies their character, that everyone seems so sure they have anyway. But, was it important, that’s the real question. Was it a watershed, or just a placeholder?
Again, it depends, this time on what sort of criteria you apply to it. Talk about business models, and it doesn’t look so important, perhaps. Talk about storytelling in comics, though, particularly Big Two comics, and I’m going to argue it’s very important. Not for the reasons everybody else is giving, although I agree with their reasons wholeheartedly. But for one reason, that I think always goes overlooked, so I always keep harping on it in blog posts.
Because the Seventies was the decade that saw the maturation of narrative voice in comics.
Well, in superhero comics, I mean. Even so, it’s funny: people talk about the unique advantages of the comic-book form, but somehow they never mention this one, which to me is a very big deal. Of course anyone who’s a regular reader of this humble blog (how strange that sounds!) knows that I think the supreme master of narrative voice in comics is the one-and-only Steve Englehart – when you’re reading an Englehart-scripted story, you’re not reading about the characters or about the action in those little yellow rectangles…you’re reading a sophisticated, lyrical call-and-response duet between the narrator and the characters, and being invited to join in the song and make it bigger. Novels can’t do this. It’s not enough to have an omniscient narrator who merely sees or reports, he must be directing and framing the action, too, always providing counterpoint, argument: showing one part of the picture, and then whisking it away so that he can show another part, all as part of the arrangement of the trick, and so all very deliberate. This kind of voice is less the voice of a sympathetic God describing the interlinked nature of events and their causes, than it is the voice of an artful magician delighted to show off his illusions, to a crowd that expects to be caught surprised. It’s practically a spoken-word performance, at Englehart’s level: in amongst the “meanwhiles” and the “soons”, there’s always room for a little slam poetry, a little off-the-cuff philosophy in his captions, to better bring the reader right there to the story as it unfolds.
But, he didn’t exactly invent this, you know.
I’m not writing a dissertation, so I’ll just go back a little ways, to illustrate my point: just back to Carmine Infantino’s infamous “pointy hands” captioning. It was Infantino, wasn’t it? Anyway, that’s about the Sixties. The Flash. And the pointing finger emerging from the yellow caption to indicate part of the page, while the words form:
“But, hold on – what’s this mysterious spinning device, Flash?”
You could argue that (in a way) this sort of indication goes all the way back to the epistolary novel, but let’s not do that, even though we did see a lot of captions at DC in the Sixties that addressed the reader (as “Reader”), too. We’re starting from the pointy hands, damn it! Later on, at Marvel, we’ll see Stan Lee adopt his typically jocular narrative/editorial voice (and it is that kind of voice precisely: narrative slash editorial) that includes the reader not just in the reading experience as a consumer but in the club of the cognoscenti as a participant: not just “Hold tight, True Believer!”, but later on “As seen in ish #33 of the merry mutants’ own madcap mag – Shit-Eatin’ Stan!” This is obviously the same sort of thing as the pointy hands, just all hopped up on the Merry Marvel Marching Powder, but it begins to become more than a storytelling quirk in fairly short order: pretty clearly, it’s well on its way to becoming a house style. Roy Thomas then comes along, and proceeds to load up every word-balloon, thought-ballon and caption way past its expositional carrying capacity…
And then apparently – suddenly, ironically – it appears some kind of critical mass is reached.
There are signs of it all the way back into (ha!) the early seventies of Avengers issue-numbering: gradually, Roy begins to play with some more adventurous captioning, some deathly and dramatic diction. From #73, “The Sting Of The Serpent”:
NARR.: Night cloaks the secret, sinister tableau that you have just witnessed! In Africa, however, a blazing sun beats mercilessly down…as a sleek and silvery aircraft lunges into the sky…!
BLACK PANTHER (piloting plane): Long weeks have passed since I last beheld my adopted homeland! Still, I imagine it has changed but little!
NARR: Perhaps, King of all the Wakandas…and yet, some things may have changed more than others…!
Roy has not as yet gone totally crazy with this stuff, but it’s there, and it’s becoming a bigger part of what it means to read Avengers comics: exposition as self-conscious address as scene-changing. It’s night, there…it’s day, here…and the Panther is about to make a crossing between those states in more ways than one. It’s not particularly complicated, and it’s not particularly exotic, but it is a much more fluid thing than we saw in Stan’s time, and it gets a lot more done with a lot less, to the point where the reader is carried along with it into a certain kind of portent-rich ellipsis…is Roy addressing the reader? Is Roy himself the narrator, in his own voice? Is the narrator addressing the Black Panther? Does the narrator know the Panther can’t hear him? Does Roy know, that you know? Obviously, the answer to all these questions is yes…and, no. Roy’s narrative voice slips from being (presumably) his own, to being that of a “mere” omniscient narrator-persona, and from addressing character to addressing reader, whenever it needs to: the whole thing is Jeet Kune Do, it’s essentially pre-emptive if you want to think about it that way (and I do, I do), and it’s all very…let’s say artistic.
Anyway it’s more artistic than what Stan was doing. Or even what Roy himself was doing, just a few years earlier.
Now, skip forward to Avengers #101. In the intervening time, Harlan Ellison has parachuted in and plotted a couple of stories, that Roy’s scripted, and now he’s back again. What the working relationship is like I don’t know, but much as I’m loath to give Ellison credit for things I must admit that his style and Roy’s are a bit of a fit: for some reason when Roy and Harlan are working together, Roy’s scripting takes his growing artistic narration up a couple steps. It isn’t even quite this poorly-defined address anymore, much of the time, but full-blown second-person narration instead: “you are the Hulk, and you have never felt such pain in all your life,” stuff like that. It does indeed sound very Ellisonian (“The Hulk. Is. A man. Who…”), at the same time it sounds very Thomas-ian, and when Ellison goes away, the style relaxes somewhat. Until Avengers #101, which some of you may shudder at the memory of, because it’s that goddamn Lawrence Tippet story, and if you’re like me you never liked it much. Anyway, this is where the Thomas/Ellison style really flowers, even as the Thomas/Ellison story really founders…see what I did there…and after Harlan goes away, something is different. The next step has been taken. I come across it for the first time in Avengers #104, the conclusion of the Larry Trask Sentinels story, but since the Vision’s encounter with the Grim Reaper in #102 it has really been ramping up to full speed…and Roy at full extension here looks and sounds much as Englehart will when he comes along in #105: his Avengers voice is finally perfected, finally 100% part of the action even as it exposits away to beat the band. His character-based exposition, too, has a snap it never did before, a certain amount of jerky bombast removed to make way for more useful, Jeet-Kune-Do-ish declarations. Here’s a great action sequence from #104 (a comic well worth owning, by the way, and I’m sorry I can’t scan this for you so you can see the fabulous Buckler/Sinnott art):
NARR.: There are thoughts of the Vision, too, in this perilous moment. Still, perhaps it is wisest not to intrude upon them…but rather to focus on the one who has shared the pain of growing up alone with Wanda…the mutant called Quicksilver!
QUICKSILVER: Stay here, Trask – until I call you. I must scout ahead – find my sister Wanda.
TRASK: But, the Sentinels – they can match your speed! They –
QUICKSILVER: Even you can tell me little about the Sentinels, Trask. I repeat – stay here!
[...Quicksilver and Trask encounter a Sentinel in its underground lair...it goes for them with a big metal fist...]
SENTINEL: [...] What? Missed — !
QUICKSILVER: I am older than when you Sentinels last walked the Earth – older, and perhaps a wee bit faster!
TRASK: He missed you this time, mutant – but in a few moments, he’ll have adjusted to your greater speed! What then??
QUICKSILVER (evading Sentinel): Why, then I shall run even faster – leap even higher — !
SENTINEL (missing again): Insolent spawn of the atom!
TRASK (thinks): The Avenger can’t win! It’s impossible! Any speed he can muster – the Sentinel can quickly match – and Pietro must know it!
SENTINEL: Already the gap narrows, mutant – and soon – soon –
[Pietro dodges; the Sentinel crashes into a huge wall of machinery]
SENTINEL: VERY SOON –
QUICKSILVER: Soon, perhaps – but not yet, Sentinel! Not – Quite – Yet!
SENTINEL: A Sentinel is – patient! Each pass brings me closer –
SENTINEL: Why do you not surrender, mutant? Acquiesce – and accept your inescapable fate?
SENTINEL: What? Will you now add trickery to your nigh-human affronts? That is a sheer, solid wall toward which you race at breakneck speed! But, a Sentinel can match that speed! If you can stop yourself before you strike it – likewise a Sentinel!
NARR.: Ah, but there’s the rub, thing of steel and wires…Pietro doesn’t stop! He doesn’t even try!! And if his infinitely lesser mass is shaken and stunned by the shuddering impact – what about your much-greater volume? No, there’s nothing to be done for you, Sentinel – you hit the gadget-laden wall of the sunken chamber – there is a soul-shattering explosion – then stillness!
[Sentinel falls on top of Pietro, breaking some of his ribs. Pietro urges Trask to go on, and save the day.]
Now, I won’t lie to you, folks: there’s some nasty bad-writing goo in there, for sure. But those of you who know Roy, if you’re honest, must look at that and compare it very favourably with, say, the Ultron-6 storyline of just two and a half years earlier, in 1969…or if you really want a sense of shock, let me suggest to you some earlier, pre-Buscema Avengers, maybe something in a nice Hercules or a Collector (“I can’t…but…I must! I MUST!” “Strawberry ice cream…bad for my diet, but…dear Lord, it’s…delicious…!” “Surprised, fella? Well, maybe you never read a little thing called “The Purloined Letter”…by a joker by the name of Poe!” That last one’s Jan, by the way. No, seriously)…soon enough you’ll concede that this is a very different Roy we’re seeing here, than the Roy we’ve come to know and feel a strange clumsy affection for. Also, the sequence I outline above kind of kicks ass, if you want to know the truth…in fact this is without question the best story with Quicksilver in it that I’ve ever read. But back to Roy. No, no, no, back to voice, I mean.
This is where it starts. The Seventies.
If you read my beloved Conway/Andru Spider-Man, if you read anything written by Len Wein (and there’s a lot to choose from), or anything written by Gerber, who admittedly takes this new narrative freedom off to a place of his own choosing, there to whisper sweet satirical nothings in its ear…or any Englehart, from that day to this…or later on, any Wolfman or Claremont…you’ll see that a thing of the Seventies is just what this new, more experimental, more artistic narrative voice was, because it was everywhere, and unlike what had gone before, it had the ability to absorb influences from the larger culture. Novels and movies and college courses and mass-market philosophy paperbacks; some introspection, some juxtaposition, some atmosphere, and perhaps even a touch of psychological realism, this was what the young writers of that time brought to the storytelling table at Marvel and DC alike, and it cast a long shadow. It opened many new doors of story, that otherwise would’ve remained closed.
Of course, no one’s really using narrative voice for anything anymore…
But, the doors are still open!
Wow, now just imagine if they weren’t…
Go ahead, imagine it!
So…it appears that Mark Millar has suddenly found out about the existence of Graeme McMillan, and he has let himself get all in a tizzy about it. Over on Millarworld, he has publicly wondered if Graeme might not be dangerously unbalanced mentally, and in need of an intervention. Mr. Millar urges him to take the matter seriously, and not just make a big joke about it, because Graeme clearly has a problem…he then asks his legion of fans (some of whom decline to participate in this bullshit, it must be said) to display a little collage of Graeme’s most cry-for-help-ish anti-Millar posts, so that when Graeme sees them all stacked up together like that, he’ll realize how far out of touch he’s fallen with appropriate social conduct.The resulting thread runs to eight pages.
This is UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOUR.
One yearns for the Trump-like asshattery of a John Byrne, or a Harlan Ellison, in this case: as dickheaded as they are, at least they’re forthright dickheads, and don’t descend to pretending to be genuinely worried about the mental health of those who criticize them. I really feel for Millar, in a way: he seems quite hurt by all of Graeme’s roasting, and apparently isn’t sure what he should do about it. He appears to consider it harrassment, but apparently his personal ethics won’t permit him to send an angry e-mail to the big cheeses at Newsarama, or file a report with the police. So he asks his message-board men to justify his position for him, and sure enough they do.
It’s hilarious, by the way.
Apparently the life of a comic-book professional is a pretty sheltered one, when it comes to criticism: for example, in the world I live in, the kind of passive-aggressive weaselhood that Millar indulges in here leads, pretty inevitably, to a fist in a face. Oh, I wish it didn’t, but it does, and it’s hardly ever what you’d call surprising: why, even in the elevated realm of highbrow literary magazines like (for example) the New Yorker, dust-ups in public places are not unheard-of. Someone implies someone else has the literary equivalent of a small dick, and BOOM! It’s on. At least it isn’t sniping. At least it isn’t defamatory. The person who throws the punch looks like an ass; the person on the receiving end is often perceived as having had it coming; sometimes, I presume, the whole thing ends up with Judge Judy scolding both parties for their childishness. But that’s as far as the thing goes. No one tries to get away with saying that they were just trying to help the other person.
Mark Millar and Graeme McMillan are just names to me. I think these days Millar writes a lot of stuff which is averagely-good for wrapping fish in, and then makes himself look like an idiot by praising it to the skies. Graeme McMillan, by contrast, writes a lot of things which cogently and amusingly indicate the absurdity of this endless self-promotion, all somehow without ever descending into mean-spiritedness. I admire that in him. Millar should, too. Because this is probably the easiest and most genial criticism he will ever have to face.
And if he plays the bully again, he’ll get much worse.
Unacceptable behaviour; however, if it isn’t repeated we need say no more about it. Everyone acts like a jackass sometime. But seriously, Millar, get a grip on yourself: you don’t want a name like this to stick to you.
For me, anyway. Because I finally recognize that thing I remember from when I was a kid, see. It happened just like this, a couple minutes ago: I was flicking channels, was suddenly caught by a documentary on Katrina. I missed Katrina, by the way: I was in a no-media zone pretty much the whole time. Didn’t see a thing. People would call me and describe it, I would go “whuh…?”
I’ve seen a bit of the footage since then, of course. Chilling, enraging stuff.
So there I am, a few minutes ago, watching this, and then I realize I have some work to do before I go to bed, and I switch away from the documentary because I know I’ll watch it if I leave it on. And there’s…
I mean, I feel like I should be making this up, it’s that incredible. It’s hard to credit, plain and simple.
…There’s Tom Delay on TV, making his case for how Saddam Hussein had the weapons of mass destruction, and even if he didn’t, he might’ve, but even if he mightn’t have, the war on terror still BLAH BLAH BLAH OH MY GOD.
Oh my God!
How can I be seeing this? Who in hell permits this sick bullshit to continue?
Seriously. FLICK. Katrina: black people stranded on rooftops waving American flags at helicopters, begging for water. Babies, grandmas, mothers and fathers, dropping like flies in the street. FLICK. Tom Delay fights his lonely rearguard action on what good sense Iraq made, and still makes.
I mean, even if you somehow still believe in the war in Iraq, you’ve gotta know that shit’s wrong. Don’t you?
This is what I remember from my youth, made only slightly more colourful in hindsight: you saw someone in a suit say something, and it sounded pretty good, but then two minutes later somebody came along and tossed a bucket of blood on it. And the stuff just stopped holding up. Pretty simple. Of course that was before “embedded reporting”…well, and I don’t think anybody can be too taken by surprise if I parse it like this: you didn’t want to show it to us, and we didn’t want to see it. So we had a little bit of a deal, there.
It’s different, now. Now, all the footage that was never supposed to be taken is coming out…all the footage that can’t be held up anymore is making it out…all the people who got discharged are talking to whoever wants to interview them, and speaking it out. The stuff is everywhere now. So, finally, at last, it does kinda look like Vietnam did. FLICK. Katrina. FLICK. Effin’ Tom Delay. Now that’s a two and two that’s real easy to put together. Hell, you don’t even have to put it together, it’s pre-assembled for your viewing pleasure. You’d almost have to work really, really hard to avoid it.
Not that I’m telling you anything you don’t already know, obviously. But, I just saw it, and…
Hey, wasn’t Tom Delay supposed to be in jail, or something?
I mean it’s just sooooooo there, isn’t it. It just makes you want to fucking weep.
I’ll probably never turn this into one of those full-on questionnairey things, but I just threw it together, so I’m interested to see if it’ll work. So, if anyone would like to be my beta tester…
1. Sign up by leaving a comment on this post.
2. Copy and paste the list of questions into email, fill ‘em out, send ‘em to me.
3. Await my response, probably sometime later today.
Here they are:
1. What’s wrong with this piece of dialogue?
“I may be the weakest Defender, and you may be the second-strongest Avenger, but the person who carries the Eye away is gonna be me!”
a) Nothing, if you’re Steve Englehart!
b) Kind of hits you repeatedly right in the face a bit, doesn’t it? Hmm…could be on purpose…
c) Arrrgggh, I’ve been Marveled! It burns! My power…overloading…reaching CRITICAL MASS…!
d) Well, if I’d just let her take the damn TV with her, I probably wouldn’t've ended up on Maury…
e) That isn’t really a sentence, it’s a drawing that’s masquerading as a sentence…
f) One of these days I’m gonna catch that ol’ Stan Lee, and I’m gonna cook ‘im, and I’m gonna eat ‘im.
2. How often do you update your blogroll or post a linkdump?
a) Uh…that’s not really my thing, actually…I usually don’t do it unless it’s a useful citation inside a post.
b) I have a regular Links feature/blogroll update strategy which I’m actually rather proud of.
c) When I come across something I think is cool, I may link to it in a post.
d) Are you kidding? This is the 21st century, man, it’s all linkblogging one way or another!
e) I hate updating stuff like that, and try to avoid thinking about it.
f) Sure, I update my blogroll and I post links, but it’s not like my whole life. God!
3. Do I need a university degree to follow your blog?
a) Just stay close, keep up as best you can, and do what I do. You’ll be fine.
b) Well, hopefully I’ll have written in a clear enough style so that it’s all pretty accessible.
c) There’s absolutely no reason to think this is too specialized for the average person to handle.
d) Dude, are you feeling okay? You know it’s just a freaking comics blog, right?
e) No, I have the degree; you’re not supposed to. That’s part of the fun. It’s edu-whimsical!
4. How much stuff have you got on your blog?
a) I seriously have all kinds of stuff on my blog. Please to check it out.
b) I mix things up a little bit to keep it fun, do some different things in different posts on different days.
c) I mostly just type my thoughts. Sometimes I’ll do a review.
d) Hell, I’m like the goddamn Chuck Connors or something: all I need is my horse, my scanner, and my longboxes.
5. How often do you post?
b) I shoot for weekly. Some weeks are a lot more weekly than others, though.
6. Does your online persona have a character gimmick or a “bit”?
b) To my shame: yes.
c) Maybe just a little.
7. Do you have an unreasoning devotion to a favourite character or characters?
b) Hey, I can explain…!
8. Is it all about the superheroes for you?
a) Yes. It is all about the superheroes.
b) No, it’s all about the comics. But I don’t shun the superheroes.
c) I guess you could say it’s more around the superheroes than about them.
d) No, it isn’t all about the superheroes. Sometimes it isn’t even about the comics.
9. Do you have a theory?
a) Many! Would you like to try one? They come in an assortment of different flavours…
b) I have the odd one or two that I’m polishing up…thing is, I think they might be the same theory, really…and, I think that theory might even be true…
c) It isn’t a theory, it’s an inspiration!!!
d) My theory is: comics are awesome. Oh wait, no, I forgot – that’s been PROVED already. So, no.
10. Is it better to have a lot of supervillains whose names end in “A”, or whose names end in “O”?
a) “O”, because it’s more old-school and kickass.
b) “O”, because it’s more honest about what it is.
c) “A”, because it has a more plausible ring to it.
d) “A”, because it sounds more modern.
e) What? I don’t care about this at all.
f) Seriously, just “A”s and “O”s? That’s pretty limiting, don’t you think?
11. Are you snarky?
a) I can be.
b) Snark is funny, or hadn’t you heard?
c) Infrequently, but when the occasion demands.
d) I avoid snark. Not deliberately, it’s just that the usual assholes seem to find my blog kind of boring…
e) I think people must just read their own stuff into what I say. I am not that snarky, damn it!
f) I am an innocent little stuffed bull, and have never heard of snark. But it sounds delicious!
12. Does it have to be funny?
a) Well, is there any reason for it not to be funny?
b) It should probably be at least a little funny, most of the time.
c) Funny is kind of what I do, and I’m too old to change now.
d) Well, maybe not laugh-out-loud funny…
e) It doesn’t have to be funny, no.
f) Honestly it is rarely what you’d call funny.
Well, that’s it! And now, we wait.
Maybe for nothing.
Pass the bottle…
I think it was last year that the Guinness company — a fine organization I’ve got no problems with in the usual course of things — put all these ads on TV urging Canadians to sign an online petition, that asked the federal government to make St. Patrick’s Day a statutory holiday.
This was crossing the line, I think. For one thing, we don’t need a holiday in March, we need one in February, and with the number of times we’ve asked for one then and been turned down, it would be an awfully bad omen to see the government grant one to Guinness for some date roughly a month later on. Kind of like renting out holidays as advertisements; once let it begin, and you can be sure they’ll all come just when you can use them the least.
Also: jeez, what’s the matter, Guinness, are you seriously telling me you don’t think you’re moving enough booze on St. Patrick’s Day?
Downtown Vancouver’s Business Improvement Association (ptui! – yes, I actually just spat) organized us our first-ever St. Patrick’s Day parade last year, too.
Kind of them, wasn’t it?
See, it’s like this: way fewer people self-identify as Irish up here, than seem to do so down in the States. Green beards are hard to come by, green beer harder still. You get more people self-identifying as Scots, actually, sporranning up to attend big St. Andrew’s Day balls (you do not want to know how far ahead you have to reserve your sporran for one of these functions), and waving sabers over the haggis on Robbie Burns Day. Och aye! Wha hey!
I don’t particularly care for this either, but at least it’s still got a certain harmless quaintness to it — even without official government sanction, St. Paddy’s is still responsible for an amazingly-higher number of stomach-pumpings than is St. Andy’s. But, it’s only harmlessly quaint until somebody puts a kilt on a statue of Dr. Sun-Yat Sen or dyes a Spirit Bear green, and that’s for sure, bhoy. Terrible, divisive crap, and I never grew up with it, so no thanks, I don’t miss it, I don’t need it, and I don’t want it. The odd shamrock shake is enough St. Patrick’s Day for me.
Maybe with a little Tullamore Dew on the side, just to clear a path for it.
That’s all. Less of a punchline than one might have hoped for, but…oh well…
Can’t have everything.
Who knew that “Lying In The Gutters” and “Facedown In The Gutters” were different things?
Can’t believe I’m been missing this all this time, particularly since if there was an Internet quiz that promised to reveal “What Comics Blog Are You?“, my answer would come up “You Are Facedown In The Gutters“…
Oh no. Now I’ve done it. Say, anybody know how to make one of those questionnaire thingies?