In Quotes on December 7, 2011 at 3:22 pm
I was paging through some John Dos Passos at the library today and noticed some lines that eerily apply to today’s cultural environment. It’s astonishing:
“It is time for all honest men to band together to resist the ravages of greedy privilege.”
“I make the prediction that unless those in charge and in whose hands legislation is reposed do not change the present system of inequality, there will be a bloody revolution in less than a quarter of a century in this great country of ours.”
“Law-Hating Gatherings not to be allowed in critical time threatening social upheaval.”
“Bankers Hail Era of Expansion”
“These are men for whom the rabid lawlessness, anarchistic element of society in this country has been laboring over since sentence was imposed, and of late they have been augmented by many good law abiding citizens who have been misled by the subtle arguments of those propagandists.”
In Books on June 13, 2011 at 7:16 pm
I don’t talk about comics too much on here anymore. That’s a shame, I should.
Part of the problem stems from this glorification of “geek” culture, which makes media like comic books and video games bigger business and therefor more susceptible to the trappings of mainstream culture in a world of corporations and conglomerates.
I picked up a stack of books today at my local comic store (Big Brain Comics). The local comic book shop — known in certain circles as “LCS” — is, thankfully, one of the few things that hasn’t changed in the wake of comic book properties as “big business”. I hesitate to use simply “comic books” because by and large comic books aren’t reaping the millions of dollars in benefits the comics-to-film boom has resulted in, with sales relatively stagnant since the days of the first X-Men and Spiderman movies (some time around that point marked the “beginning”). Comic book creators, bless ‘em, deserve a huge piece of that pie, and I don’t begrudge them that. But as far as I’ve heard and read, they aren’t getting much (other than maybe the ones who really, really go out of their way for it; Mark Millar, Frank Miller).
So the comics-to-film boom and the glorification of “geek” culture has not resulted in a more successful comic BOOK industry necessarily (trades perhaps, but sold in a national bookstore like B&N or Amazon, not single issues) nor significantly more comfortable comic book creators nor local comic shops.
This is going somewhere.
One of the books I read regularly is called SCALPED. It is a prime example of what the comic book as a piece of art is capable of. A singular experience, unlike anything else. As intelligent as an art-house film, as comprehensive and dense as a world famous novel, as breathtaking as classic art. It may one day take shape as an HBO mini, a legitimate (cable only, due to adult themes) television series, or even a film; but as of now, it is a comic and a comic only. It’s printed under DC’s imprint Vertigo, a subset of the company specializing in a more off-kilter and adult form of comics books. No tights and underwear. Point being: lots of people who read SCALPED could care less about the mainstream DC Universe (or it’s upcoming historical revision/reboot…). I don’t care.
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In Sonny's Journal on February 23, 2011 at 3:48 pm
I got my laptop back and I’ve got this to say: DO NOT EVER GO TO GEEKSQUAD. Perhaps this isn’t a company-wide thing… but they’ll perhaps — or, likely — play games with you that would put the most shady of auto-mechanics to shame. Their employees are at best barely competent, some totally unqualified for what they’re doing. Their policies reek of satisfactory indifference. They are, from what I’ve seen and experienced, a large scale scam; the type of thing that makes capitalism not work and funnels money upwards to the big-businesses like Best Buy. I can’t say enough bad things about them.
(Check out the hits you get when you Google “geek squad sucks”. There’s even a website called “Fuck Geek Squad“.)
Fela Anikulapo Kuti is blasting through the place right now. I suppose if I was back working at the record shop he’d be cataloged under “Afrobeat” (such a category never would have existed at my previous job, unfortunately). But that really isn’t fair considering his albums dabble in everything from Funk to Soul to Jazz to Tribal to Psychedelic Rock. The album is 1984′s “Army Arrangement“. When it was originally released, it featured only one self-titled track clocking in at 30 minutes. The reissue, which I’ve got playing, came with a B-side called “Government Chicken Boy”, falling just short of 30 minutes. It’s an interesting way to make an album; I’m finding myself being inspired by it, no doubt. It’d be interesting to release a series of one-track albums… ranging from 20 minutes to 30 minutes. One long piece of music. That isn’t the way to SELL records, but who’s interested in that? Hell, even Odd Future gives all their shit out for free.
I don’t know how I feel about Odd Future. And apparently the rest of the music world doesn’t either… not to say they aren’t paying attention. Here’s a short list of some big time names who’ve released articles on them just recently: Esquire, The Village Voice, and The New York Times. Their lyrical content involves the grotesque, the terrifying, the over-the-top, and couches. The Village Voice article preaches: “artists need to be able to say absolutely anything in order to properly function”. I don’t disagree with that, it’s hard to. Go to a Modern Art exhibit once, stroll the crowd; I guarantee you’ll hear the question uttered from someone: “what is the point of this?”. The easiest way to answer that question is expression. The artist is expressing him/herself. With someone else, it’d be hard to imagine how rape, kidnapping, and murder scenarios could equal artistic expression. I almost see them as the Dada equivalent of the rap world. Their over-the-top, nihilistic nothingness is a reaction to the seriousness of other independent hip-hop; the way Dada reacted to the “artist in the tower” notions of Jackson Pollack and his merry band of Abstract Expressionists. Or maybe they’re just trying to piss-off Christian Conservatives.
In Sonny's Journal on February 7, 2011 at 2:04 pm
- Thank [insert God(s) of choice] the NFL season is finally over with. No, I don’t hate the actual game; that’s a common misconception (I used to play). I hate the NFL in all its big-business, money first, capitalistic, corporate glory. Lucky for me, there’s a chance of a lockout next season. And, I think it goes without saying, but: what in the world were they thinking picking the Black Eyed Peas??
- Really, really excellent and articulate article arguing that intelligent extra-terrestrial life is probably similar to us and vice-versa. One of its points is that although there are over 100 elements on the periodic table, over 90% of them are hydrogen… therefor, “the odds that two randomly selected atoms are the same element is at least less than 80%”. One could refute these claims, though, pointing towards NASA’s recent discovery of arsenic-based life (if this is true, something poisonous to all life as we previously knew it being a building block of life, that means our understanding of how life is created and what it is made of is feeble, at best). The opinion is from an excellent blog called “Overcoming Bias“. I’d check it out.
- This picture has been making it ’round the Net today, but I can’t help myself… it’s just too damn cool (and no, from what I’ve read this is NOT Photoshopped):
In Sonny's Thoughts on April 13, 2010 at 1:58 pm
- “Hey, Drake, you own any Bruce Lee movies?”; “I got ‘em all on lazerdisc“… has got to be the most out dated line of any ex-SNL member’s comedy classic of all time. Okay, that’s pretty specific I guess. Know what this is from? The 1996 Farley/Spade classic Black Sheep. That’s Farley asking Gary Busey‘s retired-POW-now-living-in-school-bus character about the martial arts classics. Looking back, watching it now, sure maybe it seems dated (hell, I was still probably playing NHL ’95 for the Genesis at the time) but it really isn’t that old. Less than 15, more than 10. But still, at the time lazerdiscs were the premium non-VHS/tape/reeled movie viewing device on the planet. There’s no nostalgia for them, don’t get me wrong, and I’m sure as shit happy the DVD edged them out of the market (who needs a gigantic floppy disc looking movie the size of a vinyl record anyways?). It is a shame what happens to one-side of a medium though. We saw it again with HD-DVD‘s vs. Blu-Ray in what Wikipedia is calling the “high definition optical disc format war”. Am inside the TRON universe right now? What it comes down to is money. Sony, the pushers of Blu-Ray just had more money to market the damn thing, and the inclusion of a player in it’s much-hyped PS3 was enough to make HD-DVD obsolete forever. I wonder if Sgt. Drake collects HD-DVD’s now of classic martial arts films??
- The long-dead Deadwood HBO series was about a lot of things. Politics and corruption, law/chaos, architecture, gender, civil rights, even the rich history of American theater. More than anything else though, to me the show was about American capitalism. Looking back, one cannot say it’s a total indictment of capitalism nor does it hold the monetary system in a saintly light. Read the rest of this entry »