Thursday, July 26, 2007

Oh but those were the days...


Nothing like a bit of nostalgia, and that's what I got when reading this great list of someone's 25 all-time favorite Calvin and Hobbes strips. Was that a wonderful comic or what? I mean, the sarcastic and macabre humor, the stupendous vocabulary, and beautiful artwork do indeed make C&H the greatest comic ever. So here's to those good old Calvin and Hobbes books; you know, the ones with titles like "Homicidal Psycho Jungle Cat," "Revenge of the Baby-Sat," and "Attack of the Deranged Mutant Killer Monster Snow Goons." This strip was creativity, pure and unadulterated. I still remember when it stopped, it was rough, but at least it went out on top. Calvin and Hobbes is probably at least 50% responsible for most of my love of reading. I definitely learned more words reading it than anything else before high school. I just can't say enough about it, so I'll stop, and just remember. mmm...

p.s. image is from simply calvin and hobbes

Monday, July 9, 2007

Beginning to see the light

I'm listening to The Velvet Underground for the first time in about a month. Their self-titled CD (their third studio album). It is amazing. Pale Blue Eyes is a masterpiece. The whole feel of it all is overwhelming. So sad and poetic. These guys (and gal) were geniuses, I don't care what anybody says. Ahead of their time at least, timeless at best. Doesn't get any better than this.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Michael Row the Boat Ashore

So I just finished watching Fahrenheit 9/11 and my reactions are somewhat mixed. I think Michael Moore made some excellent points, and I definitely think it's very important to have his voice be heard since his critical viewpoint is woefully underreported in mainstream American press. He also had some great footage, ranging from one-sided propaganda that made Bush and his cabinet look like complete botches (biased, but you must admit skilled) to powerful footage of reactions to horrible situations: New Yorkers staring up at the WTC, a woman whose son was killed in Iraq and who read his last letter home, an Iraqi woman crying about the innocent members of her family killed in American bombings, etc. Also intriguing footage of a man whose friends at a local gym reported him to the FBI because he said Bush was a bigger asshole than bin Laden (pardon the crudeness, but I don't know how to paraphrase that without it losing its meaning) and a benign peace advocacy group that was infiltrated by a government agent.

All that having been said, I think there were some deep flaws to the film as well. Of course it's one-sided, that goes without saying. But I really didn't appreciate Moore showing footage of Bush and editorializing on what he might be thinking. Shoot Mike, I can make you look like an idiot if I show video of you sitting in a chair and say in voice-over "Maybe right now he's thinking of eating another donut..." Ad-hominem attack and unfair? Yes, that's why I don't think it should be done. And at times Moore let his mouth go on for too long over powerful footage that could speak for itself. Some cheap shots were taken, but one must admit that it was done very convincingly and effectively. It takes a sharp mind to put together the incongruities that Moore does; one that I thought was very skillfully done was Rumsfeld talking about how amazing our bomb aiming was while shot after shot of innocent Iraqi civilians maimed and killed by those bombs were shown on the screen. Again, bordering perilously between tastelessness and caustic truth.

I liked it a lot overall. I think I'm good at ignoring flaws when there is something so forceful underneath it all. Go see it. It's a strong voice against war, and I think that is generally a very good thing--especially in the case of this war.