Friday, July 22, 2016

JOHN STEWART HIJACKS COLBERT'S LATE SHOW AND... WOW.

Sit back, get comfortable, and prepare to enjoy a nice thick slice of muscular liberal satire. 


SUGGESTED READING LIST ~ JULY 22, 2016


1. It's been over a week since an abortive coup attempt appeared to take place in the strategically pivotal nation of Turkey, and even though increasingly disturbing developments have been taking place on a seemingly hourly basis ever since, we still essentially don't know shit about what really happened.

Upon first learning of the coup, I took to Facebook to state my belief that not all democracies are equally democratic, and not all military coups are equally militaristic. I wrote that we might all soon be wishing that the Turkish coup had succeeded, and that all that was left to do was wait and see. 

Today, even some of the most mainstream journalistic sources are open to the possibility that President Erdogan and his increasingly tyrannical AK Party cronies launched this deadly, false flag coup themselves, in order to manufacture a pretext for a speeding up of their ongoing crackdown on any dissent or opposition, no matter how slight. 

Of course, the ever growing chorus of Vladimir Putin fanboys in the "alternative" news media are having none of it; for them, the failed coup was obviously launched by Americans terrified of the recent Russo-Turkish detente.

In any case, if you'd like to learn more about exiled Turkish billionaire cleric Fethullah Gulen - the man whom Erdogan and his cronies are accusing of being behind the coup - check out this mini-dossier I wrote on the subject over at our sister blog, Useless Eater, over five years ago. Tuns out it's still relevant!


2. Speaking of coups, counter-coups, and questionable parapolitical shenanigans, have you ever wondered what a humour-impaired Communist cultural critic might think of Star Wars? It starts off, as all good pseudo-intellectual takes on Star Wars must, with an explanation of Joseph Campbell's highly influential theory of the "monomyth", before proceeding thusly:
But all this assumes that Campbell’s story really is universal and absolute, something that precedes culture and ideology. Which it isn’t: it’s the product of an antisemite’s ecumenicalism, the kind of syncretic cultural milkshake that Umberto Eco describes as the first condition of fascism. 
Look at the Rebel Alliance in Star Wars, really look at them, and try to see anything like a radically democratic revolution against tyranny. What is the class composition of these rebels? Of the ones we know, there’s one member of a hereditary royal family, one petty criminal, one former ruler of a privately owned city, and one adopted child of rural landowners (and, possibly, slaveholders) who is also the scion to an ancient religious order of aristocratic knights. 
At the start of A New Hope, we hear that the Alliance has growing support within the Imperial Senate, and Imperial Senates aren’t usually very fond of proper revolutionaries. Consider the Alliance’s tactics. Every time we meet the rebels, they have built themselves a base on some deserted planet, where they’re stockpiling heavy arms. 
As any good student of Mao knows, a revolutionary movement can only succeed if it wins the trust of the people; holding territory is a game played by the State, not those trying to overthrow it. We never see the rebels being sheltered from Stormtroopers by grateful peasants (while they do ally with the Ewoks, it’s with a fully colonial sense of entitlement); we never see Alliance propaganda being passed around in secret by the oppressed; we never see any indication that this armed faction has any kind of popular mandate whatsoever. It’s not just infantile bourgeois ultraleftism — Blanquism in space. 
At the end of The Empire Strikes Back, we see for the first time a full Rebel Alliance fleet; vast blobby spaceships to rival the Empire’s. Aren’t warships expensive? Who’s funding these people? Consider that when we see that fleet, it’s positioned outside the Galaxy. There’s a name for groups like the Rebel Alliance. Not freedom fighters, but Contras, right-wing death squads.

Fun stuff, n'est ce pas? And if you thought the above was goofy, just wait until you get to the part where the author, Sam Kriss, declares his preference for the sequel trilogy!


3. And lastly for today, I am pleased to announce that the most brilliant satirical mind of the "fin de millennium" media milieu is, at long last, working on a new project: his second full-length film, after 2010's excellent and tragically under-appreciated Islamic terrorism satire, Four Lions. No word yet on the topic, but considering Morris' track record, it's pretty much guaranteed to be a work of genius.

Monday, July 11, 2016

AN UNLIKELY HYPOTHETICAL

If a hyper-advanced race of aliens came to earth and told us to assemble our species' greatest achievements so that they could use them to stand in judgement over us, I would be perfectly comfortable with including Pink Floyd Live at Pompeii in total, and "Saucerful of Secrets" in particular, among the prime exhibits in our favor.


If you have any suggestions for achievements and artifacts to include in this hypothetical collection in defense of humankind, please either e-mail them to me, or let us know in the comments section, below. I know it's annoying to sign up to YET ANOTHER online entity just to leave a lousy comment or two, but I'd like to include more polls and things making use of Blogspot's commenting function, so please take the time to sign up, okay? I know that there are scores - and sometimes hundreds - reading each post, and I'd like to see that reflected in comments activity.

MEDIAVORE // COMICS ~ DAN CLOWES' LATEST IS A MASTERPIECE


Alternative comics legend Daniel Clowes is nothing if not prolific, and his output generally falls into one of two categories: short form comedy and long form graphic novels that, while retaining some comedic elements, tend somewhat towards detached, ironic bathos. Patience, Clowes' latest long form narrative project, is by far the most impressive work he's produced in the latter category.

Without giving too many plot details away (I've seen many reviews of Patience that are chock full of ridiculously revealing spoilers), I can tell you that Clowes has crafted a deft blend of soft sci-fi time travel fantasy and idiosyncratic, multiple stream-of-consciousness character study. So if you've ever wondered what Back to the Future would be like if it had been directed by Todd Solondz, then this is the book for you.

For those of you without access to a quality neighborhood comics shop or alternative independent culture store, Patience may be purchased at a seriously discounted price from Amazon.com. Also, if you buy it via the provided link, yer old pal Jerky gets a few shekels tossed into his beggin' cup.

If you're looking for a book that highlights an entirely different aspect of Clowes' substantial talents, look no further than his formally innovative misanthropic gut-buster WILSON, which continues to be my favorite thing that Clowes has ever done, and one of my favorite graphic novels of all time. And yes, purchasing it from the above link helps to keep me blogging.

SUGGESTED READING (WATCHING) LIST ~ JULY 11

Sometimes, it's easier to watch than it is to read. Something about the information getting injected directly into your neocortex or something. Anyway, sit back, relax, and watch. - YOPJ
1. First off, here's a quite amazing little allegorical animation from German artist Emanuel Strixner. No words are necessary to convey its timeless message.


2. Here is the story of Alex Landau's 2009 traffic stop in Denver, which resulted in... well, just watch this animated version of his version of the events that took place. I have looked into this incident, myself, and have found Landau's credibility to be far greater than that of the officers involved in this disgusting case of cut-and-dried brutality.



3. And finally, thanks to Birth Movies Death for bringing Jon Lajoie's latest, A New Beginning - described as "the perfect love letter to slasher films" - to all our attentions. It is most definitely a thing of beauty, and perfectly captures a piece of my own childhood.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

OUR OLD PAL MARC BELL GETS BEST AMERICAN COMICS 2016 COVER!

Buy it now from this link, so that I can earn a few shekels in my beggin' cup! In fact, make ALL your Amazon purchases via links from my page, to help keep me in Caesar Salad and licorice whips!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

WORDS OF WISDOM


"All great, genuine art resembles and continues the 
Revelation of St John."

- Boris Pasternak

Thursday, June 9, 2016

SUGGESTED READING LIST ~ JUNE 9, 2016


1. Well, our old pal David Cole Stein went and dun diddit. He wrote an article that I've been planning to write myself for the better part of a year now: a definitive take-down of the increasingly unhinged, and inexplicably widespread, pathetically idiotic "conspiritard" mindset. That's what an epic case of self-sabotaging procrastination gets you pretty much every time. On the bright side, however, he has saved me a bit of a task. Of course, David comes at it from a different angle than I would have - for instance, his nonsensical fretting about "leftist tyranny", which in the context of 2016 America is almost as goofy as the stuff the "false flaggots", as he colorfully anoints his targets, are spouting - but it's still a pretty excellent piece of writing. He writes, in part:
False flag mania has now reached the point where the producers of a massively popular, high-profile Israeli TV series think the term is hip and familiar enough to garner their show attention and success in the U.S. There was a small air of condescension among some of the people with whom I spoke, a sense of (and I’m paraphrasing here) “if the goyim want to believe every Muslim act of terror is a false flag, we might as well profit from it.” Truth be told, I share that condescension. I wrote disdainfully about false flag conspiracy theorizing over a year ago, and after my experience at the LAJFF after-party, I thought it might be edifying to revisit the topic. 
First off, it’s important to get an understanding of the definition of “false flag” among the conspiracy-minded. Initially, the term had a fairly simple meaning. It’s an operation designed to hide the true identity of the perpetrators of a crime while at the same time framing an innocent person or entity. Soldiers from country A dress in the uniforms of country B and carry out atrocities to make country B look bad. That has happened, no question. In fact, it’s an age-old war tactic, although so is claiming that something was a false flag when it wasn’t (country B actually does commit an atrocity and tries to weasel out of it by claiming, “No, it was people from country A wearing our uniforms! We wuz framed”). 
Thanks to a dynamic partnership between trolls and lunatics, “false flag” has transmogrified into something very different these days. Now it is used to refer to fake events, hoaxes that were completely staged. “Crimes” (mass shootings, bombings, etc.) that involve no actual crime and no real victims. The “perpetrators” are all conspirators and the victims are all “crisis actors.” 
Not only did Sandy Hook never happen, there is no Sandy Hook. Obama faked a town called Newtown and a school called Sandy Hook. Thousands of average people were hired to portray residents, neighbors, students, and administrators, and every member of the media was bribed to play along. There was no gunman, no victims. And of course, not one of the pretenders—not even the small children—has ever betrayed the secret (because we all know that 6-year-olds are the world’s best secret-keepers). Bataclan never happened. The Boston Marathon bombing and the Brussels airport attack? Never happened. The Santa Barbara mass shooting? Aurora? Roanoke? Charleston? San Bernardino? Fake, fake, fake. Crisis actors and stage blood.
Unfortunately, despite my own best efforts over the years, I know that a few "false flaggots" still lurk amongst my regular readership. I therefore urge each and every person who comes across today's Suggested Reading List to surf on over to Taki's - enemy territory though it may be - and read David's excellent article in its entirety. It just might do you some good.


2. Thanks again to David for covering bogus conspiracy theories, above. Now, let's delve into some conspiracies that have a pretty good chance of actually being true, via this AOL-curated list of the Top Eight Conspiracies in the Sporting World. Keeping things topical and timely, let's take a look at Number Five on their list, Ali-Liston II's infamous "Phantom Punch", about which they write:
The theory: Sonny Liston took a dive and was "knocked out" by a "phantom punch" from Ali midway through the first round in their 1965 rematch. 
Why it might be true: There were rumors that Liston had run up major gambling debts to the mafia, so he may have bet against himself in the fight and then lost on purpose to make back what he owed. Also, footage of the Ali jab that floored Liston shows that it barely connected. 
Why it might be false: It was a punch that barely connected. Yet it connected. And it was thrown by Muhammad Ali. If the average person took a glancing blow from 1965 Muhammad Ali, they would not only be knocked out, they would be decapitated.
Keep reading and learn about David Stern's frozen draft pick envelope, Michael Jordan's "secret suspension", and Janet Jones' (NOT Wayne Gretzky's, surely!) gambling problem.


3. [adult swim] keeps surprising with their output. This particular short film, a trio of strange tales collected under the title MULCHTOWN, doesn't exhibit the terrifying refracting insanity of recent masterpieces like This House Has People In It and Unedited Footage of a Bear, or the self-assured, gleaming satirical perfection of Smart Pipe or For Profit Online University, but it has a certain charm all its own. Enjoy!