It Neither Picks My Pocket Nor Breaks My Leg

Apparently some grumpy French film critics have gotten themselves worked into a tizzy over Terrence Malick’s new film. To which I say, who the fuck cares?

In a world where Michael Bay gets the GNP of a small European nation to make movies about transforming cars, Terrence Malick should be allowed to do whatever the fuck he wants. Our job is to say, “thank you, may we have some more?” and pray to whatever god is trendy this month, that he says yes.

Art is not a zero sum game. Who cares if it makes sense or is profitable? Let the Bays and Spielbergs of the film world do the profitable shit. You could fund Malick’s entire career on the left over coke hoovered out of Micheal Bay’s couch. So give him some money and let him make breathtakingly beautiful nonsense. It’s not taking food out of anyone elses mouth. And who knows, someone might think about a movie for once. I’m sure we’ll go back to not thinking about movies next week.

(Or this week. There’s a new Pirates of the Caribbean movie coming out Friday!)

Happy Halloween

Ghosts and spirits and the wind of autum greet you by the light of the moon

A little early still I know but it’s feeling decidedly Hallowed here in Oregon, with the wind and the rain and the cool weather. I’ve been a bit scarce in these Intertube-related parts and the image above is a hint as to why. I’ve been drawing more lately on top of my already full writing schedule. Between that and the work what actually pays me, there’s just enough time left to sleep. Almost.

As to why I’m spending so much time writing and drawing, well, more on that later. But it will be fun news, I’ll tell you that!

Til then have a happy Halloween and check back soon. I’ll have more stray thoughts and random links to weird stuff coming soon.

‘Scuse me While I Whip This Out

This has gotten way out of hand. The Birther nonsense was amusing at first, in a surrealist, after dinner game sort of a way. “The president is a secret Muslim from Kenya!” has Andre Breton’s fingerprints all over it. That he’s been dead for decades only makes it sweeter. The banal repetition though, that’s all late stage Dali, where he’s just scribbling his name on sheets of paper for future prints of future masterworks. Still in the vein, but it’s tapped out and clearly a gimmick done for the money.

But demanding to see the Presidential schlong? To verify that our President is cut like a good Christian? Except that Jews and Muslims like to take a little off the top as well, which would pretty much defeat the stated purpose of the Birther contingent. Unless their true purpose all along has been just naked, hot longing to see a Democrat’s penis. It’s been almost 12 years since they saw one last. Long enough for it to wander off into the mists of legend. Leave it to Republicans to get the scientific method when a black man’s tumescent member is involved. But the real question is, does Obama and Clinton share one mythical member? Is it stuffed and mounted, like Epicene Wildeblood‘s, passed down from one Democrat to another? Inquiring minds want to know! (Then they want to suck off a pistol).

This loops around on itself into Dadist territory, which is fine for the advanced connoisseurs of artistic lunacy like myself, but may scare some of the squares a bit. Freepers will turn heads among their own kind if they show up at a town hall with signs demanding to see Obama’s great throbbing penis in all it’s glory. You cannot look directly at the gods — not even their cocks — and survive. Especially their cocks. Aren’t you the ones lamenting the loss of the classics in our schools? Leida and the Swan, people! Leida and the fucking swan!

But go ahead. Show up to the next public forum and start shrieking about the President’s dingaling. carry a gun. Why the hell not? Wear a rubber pig mask and paint your chest green. That’s what a REAL American would do. But when the crowds wander off, shaking their heads in dismay and confusion, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

True art is not meant to be understood.

What I’ve Been Doing For the Last Month

Sorry for the lack of interesting content but for most of the last month or so I’ve been spending every spare moment prepping my book. Above is the final cover, and as you can see I’ve gone back to the Yuri image. I just can’t quit Yuri. Once you go cosmonaut, you can never go back.

This version is a lot less Shepherd Ferry Obama poster and more expressionistic portraiture. With little orange stars. The back cover has some cool space porn for those who like that sort of thing (raises hand) but this is a fucking family blog, so no dirty pictures of stars doing it.

Anyway, every non-spare moment has been spent with me up to my eyeballs doing highly technical and of no interest to non librarians stuff, so lets just pretend I was traveling the south east, wrestling alligators semiprofessionally instead.

If all goes as planned, I should have the proof copy in about 10 to 12 days, and the book should be available for sale by the third week of July at the latest. Then, I will be rich and famous, just like all the other self-published authors out there.

I Humbly Submit My Name for the Position

I can only hope Obama takes this consideration to heart because if there is one job I was born for, it’s Secretary of the Arts:

A call for President-elect Barack Obama to give the arts and humanities a Cabinet-level post — perhaps even create a secretary of culture — is gaining momentum.

By yesterday, 76,000 people had signed an online petition, started by two New York musicians who were inspired by producer Quincy Jones. In a radio interview in November, Jones said the country needed a minister of culture, like France, Germany or Finland has. And he said he would “beg” Obama to establish the post.

One thing this country has always lacked is a national arts and culture program. Sure we have the NEA but it’s a joke. Every other nation that we compete with has a cultural post, so why not the US? And since Obama wants to create jobs, there’s nothing better thana good old fashioned WPA program to help fuel that. The old WPA produced more than a few cultural gems, and it fuled a whole raft of artistic traditions and counter-traditions whos einfluence lasted well intot he middle of the 20th cnetury. While a science and infrastructure related jobs program might be more pressing, ana rts program could also inspire us, which is just as important.

A Future made of Steam and Rivets

Warren Ellis asks an intriguing question:

Is it possible that steampunk is making a comeback as acquiescence to the notion that our more recent apparently plausible models of the future will never come to reality?

To a large degree, I would say, yes, it is. Continue reading “A Future made of Steam and Rivets”

Sweet Chocolate Jesus!

Jesus made of food is bad but Jesus as food is… holy? No wonder I don’t get religion:

NEW YORK (AP) — A planned Holy Week exhibition of a nude, anatomically correct chocolate sculpture of Jesus Christ was canceled Friday amid complaints from Catholics, including Cardinal Edward Egan.

The “My Sweet Lord” display was shut down by the hotel that houses the Lab Gallery in Manhattan, said Matt Semler, the gallery’s creative director. Semler said he resigned after officials at the Roger Smith Hotel shut down the show.

The artwork was created from more than 200 pounds of milk chocolate and features Christ with his arms outstretched as if on an invisible cross. Unlike the typical religious portrayal of Christ, the artwork does not include a loincloth.

The 6-foot sculpture was the victim of “a strong-arming from people who haven’t seen the show, seen what we’re doing,” Semler said. “They jumped to conclusions completely contrary to our intentions.”

But word of the confectionary Christ infuriated Catholics, including Egan, who described it as “a sickening display.” Bill Donohue, head of the watchdog Catholic League, said it was “one of the worst assaults on Christian sensibilities ever.”

I’d think that something like the President’s response to Hurricane Katrina or Abu Ghraib would be a worse assault on Christian sensibilities, not a fucking sculpture made of chocolate. But then, I’m not a giant pick like Bill Donohue.*

Via Boing Boing.


*Who now will call me anti-Catholic for calling him a prick.

That Old Time Premiscuous New Art

Harpers has a great essay up by Jonathan Lethem. It covers a wide range of topics from artistic appropriation to copyright law:

Blues and jazz musicians have long been enabled by a kind of “open source” culture, in which pre-existing melodic fragments and larger musical frameworks are freely reworked. Technology has only multiplied the possibilities; musicians have gained the power to duplicate sounds literally rather than simply approximate them through allusion. In Seventies Jamaica, King Tubby and Lee “Scratch” Perry deconstructed recorded music, using astonishingly primitive pre-digital hardware, creating what they called “versions.” The recombinant nature of their means of production quickly spread to DJs in New York and London. Today an endless, gloriously impure, and fundamentally social process generates countless hours of music.

[…] Novelists may glance at the stuff of the world too, but we sometimes get called to task for it. For those whose ganglia were formed pre-TV, the mimetic deployment of pop-culture icons seems at best an annoying tic and at worst a dangerous vapidity that compromises fiction’s seriousness by dating it out of the Platonic Always, where it ought to reside. In a graduate workshop I briefly passed through, a certain gray eminence tried to convince us that a literary story should always eschew “any feature which serves to date it” because “serious fiction must be Timeless.” When we protested that, in his own well-known work, characters moved about electrically lit rooms, drove cars, and spoke not Anglo-Saxon but postwar English—and further, that fiction he’d himself ratified as great, such as Dickens, was liberally strewn with innately topical, commercial, and timebound references—he impatiently amended his proscription to those explicit references that would date a story in the “frivolous Now.” When pressed, he said of course he meant the “trendy mass-popular-media” reference. Here, transgenerational discourse broke down.

This is something interesting. Art, all art, is quickly changing. This greybeard novelist strikes us as hoplessly outdated in his puritanism. But it wasn’t that long ago, just a few years, really that this was the law of the Arts. Andy Warhol is still cursed in some artistic circles, because he had the audacity to incorporate popular culture (pitewy!) into his painting! The nerve! Painting is reserved for alegorical murals depicting moral and religious themes, not soup cans and garish silk screen prints of mocie stars!

Today, we’re starting to see the first generation of people raised on pop art. We don’t fear the stigma of borrowing or quoting. We’ve internalized the idea that there’s nothing new and are setting out to explore the used. Pop art and highbrow met at at a party one night and fell in love, now their babies are making a mess of things. Isn’t it beautiful?

Lethem also has something interesting to say about copyright as well. Read it all and borrow the good parts.