Friday, March 9, 2007

The first cut is the loudest

-Our first Waver of the Bloody Shirt: Jonesy (it's what we called him in prep school). Oh Jonesy, why do you hurt the ones who love you? Also: 1994 called, and it wants its scanner back. LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL.

-I was listening to Mastodon a few nights ago, and it occurred to me that they are totally the Grant Morrison of heavy metal. I meant to share this with you yesterday, but I forgot.

-Hey remember Chris Mautner's post on Newsarama Blog with the quote from Meth? The one from several days ago? People are still leaving comments on it, for now at least. Given the prevailing tone, I expect someone to eliminate this forum for discussion by midafternoon, EST. (EDIT: And that's just what happened!) In fact, I have a feeling all these comments are going to disappear into the ether soon, so I'll go into a bit more detail than I normally would. First up, a post by "fangirl":

"Groth’s brownshirts should have a field day with Michael Netzer’s take: 'Gary Groth has been a self-proclaimed extremist critic within the comics community for decades. Such a mission gives rise to actions of self-defense, on the part of his targets. When the sparks reach the level these have, it would behoove Mr. Groth to take responsibility for his own messengership rather than play the victim in need of community support. His targets are more the victims, in many cases, than he is.'”

Unfortunately fangirl didn't provide a link, and Google isn't really helping either. Still, based on what I'm seeing here, this is the current frontrunner for Dumbest Thing Anyone Has Said About Comics This Month. I'd love for Mr. Netzer to elaborate on that last sentence, assuming he can take time out of his busy schedule of tirelessly defending Ronee Bourgeois (perhaps the "fangirl" in question?) and helping Neal Adams change his legacy from "great artist" to "great artist who later became a depressing crackpot" (which presumably entails a lot of time spent arguing with actual scientists on wikipedia).

Also: brownshirts? When did FOE become the SDS? When you all went down to Berlin and joined the Ice Capades (ayyy-yeeeds)?

Another basically anonymous commenter going by the handle "NickW" calls Ellison a "geriatric old perv." I'm surprised the Newsarama legal team is letting that one stand. Same poster goes on to chide those offended by the Comics Journal's handling of certain stories: "[T]he comics world is this insular, little, inbred, pond that even a small pebble can make a big splash."

This leads to someone adopting the handle "Pity NickW" to claim Groth is driven by jealousy, which can apparently be blamed on his parents. The comment also compares Groth to Ann Coulter, thus convincing me it's the same person comparing Groth's admirers to fascists. Worst of all, "Pity NickW" suggests that Gil Kane might not have been any better than Don Heck. Remember that: the pro-Ellison camp is deluded to the point of thinking Don Heck is in Gil Kane's league, simply because Kane was a friend of Groth's. Awesome.

-From this week's Joe Rice Media Review, a rather baffling turn of phrase in a review of the current Ennis Ghost Rider (horse version) limited series:

"This book is like if my dad and I combined into one person and wanted only one thing."

I was just saying the same thing about Magnus, Robot Fighter just the other day. There might be other stuff worth pointing out, but I haven't read Shazam or Criminal yet and I forgot to buy The Authority altogether, so I only read the parts of the column dealing with stuff I had no interest in buying.

-Achewood has some suggestions for Sleestak.


Dan Coyle said...

My opinion on Ellis can be summed up thusly: one of my favorite books of all time is Spider Kiss. One of my other favorite books of all time is The Book on the Edge of Forever.

I'm surprised there isn't SOME Transformers nerdery out there about the new Movie Prequel out this week, with their weird designs and revision of Optimus Prime and Megatron's history.

Of course, that would require someone to actually understand what's going on in the damn thing, which isn't possible thanks to the horrific coloring job.

Speaking of not being able to understand things, for all the hype, I wish Fall of Cthulhu was BIT easier to read than it was.

Dick Hyacinth said...

I thought you were talking about Warren Ellis for a second there. Maybe that's because the lawsuit is taking a backseat (in my mind at least) to the ABSOLUTE BATSHIT INSANITY coming from Ellison's supporters.

The best thing HP Lovecraft ever did is inspire the absolutely awesome Rudimentary Peni album Cacophany. The rest of their stuff is typical British anarcho-punk, but Cacophany is one of the great, underappreciated works of mad genius ever recorded. Fans of Roky Erickson, Syd Barrett, or early Butthole Surfers really need to seek it out.

Dan Coyle said...

Dick, I have a lot to say about Warren Ellis, God, do I ever. But I'm the only one who wants to hear it.

Jack Norris said...

I was a big Ellison zombie in my teens, and a big Fantagraphics fanboy in my 20s and early 30s (naturally, the latter at the time involved the obligatory backlash against the former).
Now, I'm just sick of listening to either side, though I think that Fantagraphics puts out enough important stuff that I couldn't care less about Ellison's supposed "damages" (even if I believed him to have been harmed by this at all, which I don't).
I bought the Journal interviews book a year or so ago (you know, the one Ellison's also suing over because his interview is in it and they committed the hugely injurious act of mentioning that fact on the cover), after having not read the original TCJ interview that kicked off this whole circus in almost twenty years.
It did not inspire me take up arms in either's favour. In fact, they both come across as a pair of total dicks.
The Don Heck thing is especially funny, as the single meanest thing (if you ask me)in the Interview That Started It All was Ellison's petty, mean-spirited dig at Don Heck (which Groth snickers along to like a juvie jailhouse bully's buttboy). Maybe Ellison's fans are building Heck up as some form of bizarre transferred penance...
As for the Journal as it is today... well I'd probably still be a devoted reader if it hadn't crossed over into "Too Expensive to Buy Unless At Least Sixty To Seventy Percent of the Articles Are Ones I Have to Read or I'll Freak Out" territory. Are the fancy paper and binding really all that fucking essential, people?

Michael Netzer said...

You're not the only one in the world I take the time out to address an issue when asked to, Dick. Dumb as you think that comment is, another poster in that thread states that I hit the nail right on the head. So much for divergent opinions.

Your perplexity about the last sentence is unclear but I'll elaborate in saying that Groth challenges creators and publishers and often helps shape negative public opinion of their work. Whether his opinion is valid or not is not the issue, rather that he is the one who strikes first and disparages the work of others. When they strike back, it's disingenuous of him to play the victim.

I would defend you also, not only Ronee, if a similar thing was being done to you. In her case, the distortion of facts in order to prop up an elitist mob's witch hunt is so extreme that I find defending her to be one more virtuous things I can do.

You misunderstand what I did at Wikipedia. I did not argue with scientists there, as you said, rather with Wikipedia editors concerning the policy for inclusion of Growing Earth Theory. The final decision of the Wikipedia board was to keep it, which tells you that it's not a scientific issue as far as they're concerned, rather one of notability. The theory has enough notability and that's all that counts.

Your depression over Neal's science oriented work bears serious consideration, I believe. What is it about his theory that depresses you? Perhaps an open discussion of it might help you iron out whatever it is about it that causes you such a fall in spirit.

Michael Netzer said...

BTW, the quote which you couldn't find the source of is from the comments on my entry quoting Meth's ComicMix piece at my site.

Anonymous said...

" What is it about his theory that depresses you?"

Clearly he's living in fear that the Earth will pop like a balloon.

Dick Hyacinth said...

1. Thanks for the explanation of where the quote came from. I searched your site for it, but I didn't think to look in the comments section to your recirculation of the original Meth article.

2. Are you implying that Harlan Ellison's lawsuit against Fantagraphics is really just his attempt to strike a blow against a mean-spirited critic who has insulted other people's work?

3. Even if this were the case, how exactly does it justify Meth's entirely speculative article? Surely you will admit there's a difference between criticism of art and malicious speculation.

4. My understanding of wikipedia is that a fair number of academics are active in monitoring entries related to their field. Maybe that's not the case here; I have a hard time telling when there are so many cutesy handles involved. From the looks of the discussion at Wikipedia, it seems that most people wanted the article included as a crackpot theory with a modest following, rather than as a piece of legitimate science. Maybe the theory is right, but it has decades of real science to go against. I know that Adams' theory has at least one scientist behind it, but that kind of reminds me of the historians who claim that the Civil War was not caused by slavery, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. I'm not going to spend Saturday afternoon brushing up on my geology (I'd much rather spend it leaving long-winded comments on my own blog), but I'd be happy to read any defense of this theory, taking into account the criticisms lodged against it, if you can keep such a synopsis to something under 500 words.

5. I find it depressing in the same sense that I find Dave Sim's pontifications on human sexuality and gender to be depressing. Actually, Sim's theorizing is more depressing, but I care a lot more about Neal Adams than Dave Sim. So I guess they're about equally depressing in the end. But lots of things depress me: the weather; my modem's irregular behavior; my inability to grow a cool beard; the difficulty in finding acceptable bell peppers at the grocery store, regardless of season; the amount of popcorn debris embedded in my gums after eating said foodstuff; my neighbors; my LCD's recent turn against UFC; dirty dishes; the thought of having to pack up all our stuff and move in the near future; the existence of a new type of toothbrush that plays music while one uses it; my wife's students; the removal of Peanut Butter Toast Crunch from store shelves; the possibility that the New England Patriots might be better next year, which might in turn result in a Super Bowl I won't bother to watch even though I love NFL football; our cat's incessant fiddling with expensive electronics, especially anything involving a wire thin enough to be severed by little feline teeth; the lack of ginger ale in the refrigerator, a liquid necessary for my favorite mixed drink; the thought that the lime I cut up the other day is going to waste because of the aforementioned lack of ginger ale; Countdown; Alan David Doane's steadfast refusal to come hear and knock our socks off with a burst of invective I could never hope to equal; the delay of Alan Wake; the possibility of Shin Megami Tensei being PS3 exclusive; allergies (though they're improving, thanks); TV Land's repeated airings of Bonanza and Gunsmoke; having to type out the html tags when leaving a comment--I mean come on blogger, couldn't you just integrate an "italicize" button into the comments?; the awkward punctuation in the preceding clause (or is that phrase?); my inability to recall the difference between a clause and a phrase; my sneaking suspicion that I use commas incorrectly; the vague memory that at one time I did understand how to use commas correctly; Sherdog's forums and the people who post there; and the inevitability of death.

6. Jack--$10 is hella expensive, yes. I only buy it on occasion myself.

Michael Netzer said...

1) You're quite welcome. Damned comments threads add an alien dimension to web research, I know.

2) I'm implying that Harlan Ellison's lawsuit against Fantagraphics is his attempt to defend himself and his work against a mean-spirited critic who has defamed him publicly and misappropriated his work.

3) My comment isn't intended to justify Meth's speculation but rather goes far beyond it to entirely disqualify Groth's appeal for community aid in order to defend himself. Groth hides behind "criticism of art" in his publications and practices malicious speculation on a regular basis. In his case, there appears to be no distinction between the two.

4) There are 3 serious geologists and geophysicists indicated as supporting Neal's theory, in the beginning of the Wikipedia article. There are also about 20 more at Growing Earth Consortium. You're right in that the theory flies in the face of about 150 years of science theory. We are not the only ones who believe the present model is lacking however. Look at the declaration and list of signatories at this cosmology statement to get an idea of the difficult situation modern science theory is in today.

I believe that we have enough evidence today indicating that the Earth has grown considerably in the last 200 million years. All around continental matching on a smaller globe is a formidable piece of evidence. The only way it could really come about is if the Earth was less than half its size at the 180 million years ago mark. There is much evidence for the creation of matter being an ongoing process. The problem is that for mainstream science to begin considering the evidence properly, they'd need to be able to question 150 years of theory which they've turned into a holy grail. We are contending more with religious zeal than we are with science, when questioning the constancy of energy and matter in a finite universe. This is all very unsupported theory whose time is running out.

5} I've read your list several times and remain captivated by it. Similar issues have plagued me for much of my adult life, but I've inadvertently developed a a thick skin for most of it by now. The last one, however, the inevitability of death, remains a thorn in the side.

This one intrigues the hell out of me. And as one who believes he is to play the role of the Anti-Christ in developing world events, and who also believes that Biblical prophecy indicates that the Christ and Anti-Christ are in fact one and the same man, and who also would like to test this theory by submitting himself to a public execution at the hands of the Pope and then surprise everyone by returning to life... well you can imagine that the inevitability of death is a subject which continues to haunt even my rather otherwise very mellow existence.

Well done, good sir.

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