Saturday, September 30, 2017


Over at the New York Review of Books, J. Hoberman writes about "Fake News", a new gallery show by veteran Pop surrealist Peter Saul, about whom/which Hoberman writes:
With his imposing paunch, outsized neckties, and pompadour as pointy as Woody Woodpecker’s beak, Donald Trump has the most recognizable profile of any American president since Richard Nixon. Yet, as a cartoonist of my acquaintance has complained, artists are having a hard time caricaturing Trump, mostly likely because he already is a caricature—one reflected in mass culture’s fun-house mirror for close to forty years. 
We’re sick of Trump and we’re sick of being sick of him. Well-populated by images of the president, Peter Saul’s new show “Fake News,” at Mary Boone Gallery through October 28, is hardly a palliative, but it does illustrate the crass absurdity of the current moment. 
Saul, now eighty-three, has been categorized as a political pop artist and a proto-punk neo-surrealist, although he has as much in common with the grotesque Mad magazine cartoonist Basil Wolverton as with any American painters.
Personally, any art review that references Wolverton's work has got my attention. Anyway, here's another piece from the show, one of many more that are showcased at the above-linked overview. Enjoy!


It has become an increasingly open question as to whether the creation of the Internet was more of a boon, or a bane, to contemporary civilization. Regardless of the ultimate answer to that fraught question, there can be no denying that the web has been a godsend to obsessive nerds who wish to pore over every conceivable element of their favorite artist/author/musician/superhero/cartoon or whatever. 

Take, for instance, one of yer old pal Jerky's personal favorites: the notoriously camera-shy Thomas Pynchon, author of such majestic literary milestones as V., Gravity's Rainbow, and Mason&Dixon. Without the Internet, would Pynchon scholar Christian Hänggi have been able to put together this... well... here, let me let Christian explain:
The British literature scholar Cedric Watts once wrote: “One test of literary merit is fecundity, the ability to generate offspring”. More than many other novelists, Pynchon’s work has generated not only literary but also musical offspring: songs, bands, entire albums inspired by Pynchon’s themes and novels. In 1982, Steven Moore made a first attempt to collect such songs and inspirations in Pynchon Notes under the title “Pynchon on Record,” to which Laurence Daw added “More on Pynchon on Record” in 1983. Sixteen years later, Juan García Iborra and Oscar de Jódar Bonilla published an article that added more names to the previous lists. Since then, the search algorithms on the internet have vastly improved—and so has the amount of available information and the possibilities to upload one’s own material. 
I wrote a dissertation on music in Pynchon’s work (which I hope to publish soon), and since I believe that no large-scale study on this topic would be complete without acknowledging his musical offspring, I spent many days researching his impact on the music scene. I ended up with a list of more than eighty songs, artists, albums, and record labels who make their nods to the novelist, and I am happy to present it here for the first time, replete with links and comments.
I don't know about you guys, but to me, stuff like Christian's article -- titled Pynchon on Record Vol. 4 -- is precisely what the Internet was made for. And no, you don't need to have read any of Pynchon's incredibly dense but indescribably rewarding novels to be educated, entertained, or even excited by Christian's literary detective project. Who knows? You might even be tempted to crack open a challenging book for the first time since you threw your tasseled mortarboard into the air on graduation day!
What with Google having abandoned Youtube to the self-described "anti-SJW" Alt Right, who've somehow managed to game that site's algorithms in such a way that it is now, for all intents and purposes, an Alt Right Propaganda Organ, I'm having a difficult time figuring out whether it's even worth linking to the few remaining anti-anti-SJW voices still operating there. 

On the one hand, I think unique, intelligent creators like Hbomberguy, Shaun&Jen, and Counterpoints (creator of today's highlighted video, below) deserve a big audience and a wider platform. I have serious reservations, however, about whether Youtube can be that platform. Because, in case you hadn't already noticed, no matter what your political predisposition or how many progressive videos you watch there, Youtube will invariably invite you to watch a continuous rolling cavalcade of Alt Right, Far Right, and even occasionally openly Fascist bullshit by the likes of Sargoon of Arcade, Milo, Gavin MacInnes, Lauren Southern, Dave Rubin, Black Pigeon, Atheism is Unstoppable, Ben Shapiro, Richard Spencer, Alex Jones, Blair White, Red Ice Creations, David Duke, etc, etc, etc, ad nauseum

It's fucking ridiculous. No matter how many times I've made the extra effort to try and block specific Youtubers on an individual level, it never fucking ends. I've even written Youtube's complaints department about it on more than one occasion, and have yet to receive any response or explanation whatsoever for this blatant bullshit. 

Anyway, Contrapoints is awesome; the most entertaining and intellectually substantive trans activist currently using Youtube as a platform. Not that she focuses exclusively on trans issues. She doesn't. But her education level, production values, and telegenic qualities are enough to make her a real up-and-comer on the punditry scene. If I was a manager at CNN or MSNBC or what have you, I'd snap her up as a special commentator in a heartbeat. 

Anyhoo, in today's offering, Contra steps up and tries to describe... THE LEFT! So buckle up, buttercup, and click play. But watch it here. Don't go over to Youtube. Unless you enjoy being assaulted by Alt Right propagnda... 


Support for Donald Trump's impeachment is now (and has been for months) higher than his approval rating, in virtually EVERY poll that measures such things. The last time I checked, his approval rating was hovering somewhere around 39%, while support for his impeachment was at 43%. So the next time you're feeling shitty about how low your fellow Americans have sunk in so many different and important ways... just keep in mind the fact that Trump is INCREDIBLY unpopular. It's a minor comfort, but it is comfort nonetheless.

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