Monday, February 17, 2020

"I, who had naively believed in peace and love"

I mentioned how much I enjoyed Trina Robbins' memoir Last Girl Standing.  In light of the recent success of Once Upon A Time In Hollywood and it's arguably problematic handing of hippies, Manson, and the far left in general, here's another passage worth quoting:
"In August 1969, beautiful actress Sharon Tate, almost nine months pregnant, was murdered in Los Angeles along with a group of her friends, all stabbed multiple times.  In November, the killers were found: a hippie commune of young men and women, but mostly women, led by a charismatic madman named Charles Manson.  I was horrified, but to a lot of hippies guys, including some of the underground cartoonists, he became a kind of cult figure.  Here was a guy who not only convinced women to sleep with him and whatever pals he had, but convinced them to kill for him, too.  They thought he was cool!  Kim [Deitch] was one of those guys who thought Manson was cool; so was his sometimes-cartoonist, drug-addled brother Simon, and so, it seemed, was Crumb, who drew comics obviously inspired by Manson.  He drew a cover for Print Mint's San Francisco Comic Book Club in which a Mansonesque guy hypnotizes a nubile teenybopper, and another comic in which the same Mansonesque character has brainwashed his chick followers into killing each other.  That one ends with a pile of naked women's bodies, on top of which sits the Manson character, fucking the dead bodies.  And it was supposed to be funny!  I, who had naively believed in peace and love, was beginning to realize that there was a lot of hostility toward women in these guys."
I generally find games of punch-the-hippies (pretty much the national past-time of even "centrist" news sources like CNN or MSNBC, or The Washington Post or New York Times) to be, at the very least, incredibly tedious.  But I don't think that was at all what Tarantino was up to in OUATiH.  His point was centered around changes in Old, Classic Hollywood and the New Wave represented by no other than Roman Polanski himself.  It's the two "old school" actors who heroically "save" the New Wave by, indeed, murdering the fuck out of those silly hippies.

I mean, there's a hell of a lot going on the last 15 minutes of that film.  To say that Tarantino is endorsing a punch-the-hippy world view, let alone a reactionary one, is only one piece of a larger whole.

Anyhow, I think Robbins has an important insight here (as does the rest of her book) as to how for men in the counter-culture free love meant just that -- non consequential hook-ups.  For the women,  they were welcome to as much sex as they wanted as well, but were still expected to make the beds and do the dishes and raise the babies, alone.

Better Safe Than Sorry

No surprise here, but my college is joining almost every other college and university in South Korea by delaying our opening by two weeks due to coronavirus.

There will be some definite scheduling headaches but it sounds like we can mostly get by just going an extra week into June.

FYI, the Korean spring semester is when the school year starts in Korea, as opposed to September.

Hell Is Other People And All-You-Can-Eat Buffets

I guess I'm one of those smug, disdainful libruls who has always considered cruise vacations to be prolonged bouts of imprisonment rather than an actual good time, a boring person's idea of an exciting trip.  (Objectively speaking, cruise ships are absolutely horrible for the environment.)

Still, I hope the hundreds of folks currently trapped on various cruise ships due to the coronavirus make it home safe.

But this homeboy will stick to land for now.

Friday, February 14, 2020

definitely not "all on acid"

"I visited the offices of Marvel Comics, and wrote my visit up for the LA Free Press.  It was almost as easy to visit the Marvel offices in 1966 as it had been to visit the Mad offices ten years earlier.  Flo Steinberg (although I didn't know at the time it was her) was sitting at the front desk, subbing for the receptionist who was on a break.  I told her the purpose of my visit.  She took one look at me -- I was wearing the shortest miniskirt in New York City -- went back to the bullpen and told them, 'You gotta see this.'

Stan Lee was nice to me.  Everybody was nice to me.  Roy Thomas showed me around the office and took me to lunch.  I took one look at the guys in the Marvel bullpen, with their pens and pocket protectors, and realized that they were definitely not 'all on acid.'  Later, in the subway, on my way back to Marty's, I ran into Marvel writer Denny O'Neil, the only guy in the Marvel office who had looked the least bit bohemian.  He told me that once he had worn a 'Legalize Pot' button to the Marvel offices, and Stan Lee had told him to take it off, please."

-- Trina Robbins, Last Girl Standing

This was a fantastic read by an artist who started off in the world of underground comics and later became the first female to work on the mainstream Wonder Woman series.  Along the way, she was a successful fashion designer (made dresses for Cass Elliot), a friend to many in the 60's counter-culture in New York, San Francisco, and L.A., slept with Jim Morrison (not surprisingly, he turned out to be a total jerk), and later in life, a breast cancer survivor.  Highly recommended!

The joke in this passage, if it isn't clear, was that the guys behind the cosmic weirdness of Doctor Strange and Fantastic Four (Jack Kirby, basically) must have been doing no small amount of hard drugs.  Turns out, they were basically squares.  Very talented and creative ones, no doubt.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Kim Kwang-seok Street


Some shots from Kim Gwang-seok Street in lovely Daegu.



The man himself.


Heaven is a wild place, no doubt.

Since Nobody Asked Me

I've been pretty quiet about the Dem primaries.  I supported Warren and Harris and, well, I'm really stumped as to why the former did so poorly in New Hampshire of all places.

So of course, now it's looking like Bernie.

I'm not ashamed to say I lost some friends in 2016 when my support of (and actual vote for) Killary made me A Literal Enemy of Humanity in the eyes of the B-Bros.

I guess I just feel a little helpless about the whole thing.  Four more years of Trump will see an ultra-right wing Supreme Court.  Roe will be overturned.  Hell, gay marriage might be overturned.  The earth will continue to burn.  Shitty little despots in Russia and Turkey and Hungary will continue to do as they will, all with Trump's approval.  North Korea will be even more nuclear capable than it is already.  Trump will have a bad day on Twitter and start a war with Iran just for the hell of it.

The point being, I don't fucking know what's going to happen come November and neither do you.  Whoever wins the Dem nomination will have my vote, except for Bloomberg who is a Republican.

I'm honestly shocked that Biden faded as quickly as he did.  He would have been a disaster, obviously, but I'm not convinced Bernie won't be either.

I have zero excitement for Buttigieg.  He has the calculated expertise and triangulation of Obama but none of the charm and certainly no ability to excite non-white voters.  I don't see how he outperforms Hillary, basically.

That's all I got.  All of this is dreadful and anxiety-inducing and it can't end soon enough.

"other countries have interior lives"

Alex Pareene doesn't hold back -- America is the first true "Psychopath Nation":
"But something grimmer has to explain the actions of the people responsible for devising and carrying out our foreign policy—in Congress, in dubiously funded think tanks, at the Pentagon, and on the National Security Council. It is not simple hypocrisy to talk of peace and democracy while knocking over democratically elected governments and propping up friendly authoritarian states. It is a deeper inability to conceive of people in other countries as fully real. Without a rival superpower to help us justify our actions, the way we conduct business abroad has gone from 'ironic,' to use Niebuhr’s diagnosis, to psychopathic. America is perhaps the first psychopath nation: It does not act as if it has considered that other countries have interior lives.
It is perhaps natural for an imperial state to behave as if other countries do not have the right to respond to its provocations, but the United States takes this absurd notion one step further: Our leaders not only fail to consider how other state actors might respond; they seem to be unable to predict how other state actors might respond."
I'm not in the mood for Google-fu, but I remember way back during the initial invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan when a Bush spokeswoman on CNN was congratulating her boss for recognizing "Hey, Iraqis and Afghans have children just like we do!"

I'll never forget the look of completely unearned accomplishment on her smug, ugly face.  We bomb the shit out of people whose lives were already unimaginably miserable but don't forget, we simultaneously recognize them as humans too!  Even the dead babies!