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Midweek miscellany

Dealing with some stuff right now. Having a chaotic and upsetting day (in part because of a dog rescue gone wrong and causing a neighborhood uproar). Should have a nice, content-heavy post soon, but for now, just so you’ll know I’m thinking of you …


  1. Kent McManigal
    Kent McManigal July 24, 2012 8:30 pm

    I’m not a big fan of superheroes, but I’d respect Batman more if he got a new gun. Maybe we need to invent a better superhero: ZAPman. He carries a gun and will not initiate force.

  2. FishOrMan
    FishOrMan July 25, 2012 6:26 am

    Those cables prove a drone strike against a 16 year old US citizen outside of any war zone. This government wants to derail any chances the Child Murderer In Chief will have to explain himself in court.

    The real reason they must remain “secret.”

  3. Kevin Wilmeth
    Kevin Wilmeth July 25, 2012 4:24 pm

    ++ Kent’s ZAPman idea. Perhaps El Neil and Scott Bieser would be interested?

    Regarding the “Batman’s Gun” article: I may have to revise my standard statement about writing so ridiculous that it couldn’t possibly pass as fiction. If I write a story, say, explaining that Brian Boitano built the pyramids (and beat up Kubla Khan in the process–Brian Boitano doesn’t take shit from aa-nyy-boo-dyyyy), does that mean I can get it published in The New Yorker as well?

    Gawd, now I feel the need to go wash.

  4. Claire
    Claire July 25, 2012 7:43 pm

    “What Would Brian Boitano Do?” OMG! Kevin, you come up with the coolest links. Not being a “South Park” fan (though I watched a hilarious episode or two on a friend’s computer) I’ve never heard of that. Off to YouTube in hopes of hearing it for myself …

  5. LarryA
    LarryA July 25, 2012 9:50 pm

    “Maybe we need to invent a better superhero: ZAPman. He carries a gun and will not initiate force.”

    That’s why I always preferred the Phantom and the Shadow. Fists when fists suffice, if not, .45 ACP 1911s.

  6. Kevin Wilmeth
    Kevin Wilmeth July 26, 2012 12:15 pm

    Claire, hopefully you found a media file; if not, I’d highly recommend patronizing the SP creators by acquiring the feature film*, which is a fabulous statement on freedom.

    The series in general (all of which is freely available, with the usual ad-insert annoyances, at after initial airing) is worth diving into as well; Parker and Stone do an excellent job of using their medium to poke all kinds of fun at the nannystaters. Here’s an iconic teaser.

    * If you do see the feature film, it would be materially useful to at least see the first season or two, just so you know who the characters are. It’s a lot funnier if you know who you’re looking at.

  7. Claire
    Claire July 26, 2012 8:17 pm

    Kevin — no apologies! The Chick-fil-A story is appalling. I can hardly believe some of what I’ve been hearing about it in the last week. Denying a company a business license or declaring it’ll never be allowed in a city because of the opinions of its execs??? Egads. That’s sick. Insane. As the writer behind your link says, fascistic. It’s one of those things that brings home what’s happening to the old “land of the free.”

    Whatever happened to equality under the law?

    Whatever happened to allowing customers to patronize, support or boycott as they see fit?

  8. Claire
    Claire July 26, 2012 8:22 pm

    Kevin — On South Park, I did find the clip with the song on YouTube, thank you. I’m not going to be buying the movie or looking up the series because despite parts of it being hilarious (and oh such good political satire) I’m not fond of pottymouth humor. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I think the same points would be better made without all the vulgarity. To each his own; that’s just me.

    That said, however, I can listen to all the songs from “The Book of Mormon” and howl ’til my sides hurt even though some of them (and the plot of the musical) are pretty raw. It’s masterful how those guys can pillory something while being strangely reverent toward it at the same time.

  9. Kevin Wilmeth
    Kevin Wilmeth July 27, 2012 1:02 pm

    “Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I think the same points would be better made without all the vulgarity. To each his own; that’s just me.”

    Of course. And you distinguish yourself by leaving it at that–rather than, say, calling Bloomie to “do something” about it. 🙂

    I actually find it an interesting topic in general. Personally, I usually see vulgarity as a cop-out for not being articulate enough to say something more powerful, and at least from my perspective, the vast majority of vulgarity seems to exactly fit that pattern. Like you, I respond simply by not seeking it out. It’s really not that much different than “pop” anything: most pop music irritates the snot out of me as banal and inane, as certainly do pop notions of politics; it even goes down to what most people call “beer”, technical designs of various physical and virtual products, etc. Let’s say I seem to have…ademographic tastes across the board. If any of what I can’t stand for myself is what makes someone else happy, I wish ’em well, but personally I tend to steer elsewhere.

    But art surprises me sometimes. For example, until well into my thirties, I held that the comic/graphic novel genre was simply for children and things to laugh at. (My disparagement wasn’t much public; I’d just very early written it off as uninteresting, and never much thought about it thereafter.) Then a couple of people whose opinions I trust said–“seriously, Kevin”–that I should give the genre a try, and I was handed Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns. Certainly the stories themselves were wildly thought-provoking and as serious as anything I’d read, but what did it for me was realizing, at some point in Watchmen that I can’t quite remember now, that what was going on on the page could not have been done in any other medium than this one. Not possible in a prose novel. Not possible in film. Not possible in anything other than a graphic novel. It was at exactly that point that I realized this was a serious medium, and I’ve looked at it with completely different eyes since then.

    I now carry a lot more appreciation for the judicious use of some artistic tools that would otherwise make me gag. Particularly, I see a lot more art in some things that I’d previously written off for reasons that now I must admit were somewhat superficial. Doesn’t always mean that I seek the art out, but I can nod and appreciate much more effectively, and can even use it myself, intentionally. Vulgarity seems to be one of those, and I absolutely love South Park both despite, and for, that.

    This isn’t, by the way, an attempt to persuade you differently. I thought it would be an interesting topic because I think that is one of the things that helped me finally get past the state-as-fait-accompli concept. It certainly helped me understand that “anarchy”–even “chaos”–wasn’t the big, scary monster that I’d been so carefully trained to believe it was; instead it was something I participated in all the time without realizing it, and was in fact how the rest of the natural world worked on its own. Everywhere, all around me–tap in or out as much as you like. Somehow there was a parallel there, and finally my thick head “got it”.

    And how funny to realize, too, as a new, chaos-friendly way of looking at the world started to take hold, how I noticed other things: turns out that almost all of the music that most moves me, tends to be not at the apex of a musical genre, but at the margins of two or more genres…scrapping at the margins, loudly, and in ways it’s not “supposed” to.

    Realizations like that make me smile.

    Thanks, Claire, both for prompting the reflection, and for indulging it. As I know I’ve said here before, this is what separates you: your observations, and the way you prompt people to make their own.

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