Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A crooked coffin maker is just an undertaker who undertakes to be your friend

-Word has gotten out about Shazam scriptwriter John August's bad taste, with most of the venom directed at his "I hate old things" stance. Not many people have covered his follow-up, where he claims he was kinda trolling, maybe:

"Was I deliberately exaggerating to make a point? Yes.

Was I baiting readers to write in? Sure.

Was I serious? Sort of."

Off to a good start, I see. Don't blame me, blame my desperate need for attention.

"...for every great old masterpiece, there are a lot of non-masterpieces. And what frustrates me is when society insists on elevating and fawning over these non-masterpieces simply because they were part of some mythical Golden Age. To me, that includes The Honeymooners. Sorry. I can understand why it was groundbreaking, and the enormous challenge of creating a live show, and why it was seminal. But I don’t care. It doesn’t connect for me whatsoever, and I’m too honest to fake any interest in it....

I could have softened the blow by saying, 'Many old things suck' or 'Some old things suck.' But that wouldn’t be true to my experience. When I watch a classic film and have that holy shit, this is just as good as everyone says experience, that’s the glorious exception. That’s when I’m happy I’ve deliberately set my expectation meter low for anything older than I am."

If he stopped here, we could just chalk this up to August being a mental midget whose understanding of film and comics is limited to only the most obvious surface qualities--about what you'd expect from the dude who wrote both Charlie's Angels movies. But then he twists the argument into something entirely different:

"Setting aside the implicit ontological paradoxes, most people I know would be curious to travel back in time. They’d love to meet historical figures, marvel at extinct animals, and experience daily life in an earlier age. But I’ve yet to meet someone who wants to travel back in time to watch TV. Imagine, you could watch The Honeymooners in its proper context, live, as it was made. Wouldn’t that be the best thing ever? No?

Of course it wouldn’t, because you live in 2007. The world has changed a lot since the days of Ralph Kramden threatening domestic violence against his wife, and you can’t pretend it hasn’t."

What the fuck is he talking about here? Having read this bizarre tangent, I'm wondering about John August's mental state. This is the sort of thing that insane homeless people say to you when you're waiting at the bus stop. I don't think saying "he doesn't get it" really does him justice anymore.

-One thing I've already learned from Alice in Sunderland: it's Lindisfarne, not Lindisframe. I'm really not good with the proper nouns.

-Totally unrelated to comics:

"The ding-dong from the neo-Gothic church next door signals to Wu Yuqing that it's time to wake up. On her way to the grocery store each day, she walks past the Cob Gate Fish & Chip shop and bronze statues of Winston Churchill, Florence Nightingale and William Shakespeare. Tall men decked out in the red uniforms of the Queens Guard nod hello.

The place looks a lot like a small town on the Thames River, but Wu's new home is actually in a suburb of Shanghai.

As China's modernization continues to pull hundreds of millions of people from farms to cities and suburbs, a construction boom has given rise to a vast landscape of foreign-looking settlements. These real estate developments are the latest manifestation of the technique that has fueled China's economic boom: making copies."

This is going to be a strange century.

-Notes from my visit to the comics shop today: The proprietor ordered Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service on my recommendation and he's pleased with how it's selling (then again, I bought one of the volumes). I know that he and his staff were not actively selling it to people, so I take this as some kind of statement on the impact of internet buzz. KCDS has been praised, but not universally or extravagantly; several reviewers recommend it with serious reservations. I'm interested in seeing how Monster does for him, since that's a series which has received much more effusive acclaim.

Second, I actually had the opportunity to buy the Dupuy-Berbérian thing, but I passed. It's a pretty steep price for an book collecting illustrations and commercial art (as far as I could tell from the few moments I spent with it). Anyway, I guess this means I live in one of four cities in which Tom Spurgeon would like to hang out on this spring day. Note to Mr. Spurgeon: it's been snowing all day, and not the pretty kind of snow, either. It's the kind of snow that blows right into your face, often landing right in your eyes. Might I remind everyone that IT'S FUCKING APRIL.


Greg said...

How do you know anything about Lindisfarne but not how to spell it? I'm just wondering, because it's not like it's a popular word in the culture that gets mispronounced or anything, so if you know of the existence of the Gospels or Lindisfarne itself, it seems like the spelling of it should come with it. You're an odd duck, sir.

Dick Hyacinth said...

There's an old English band named Lindisfarne, who supplied the title for today's post. Plus I've never heard anyone say the word out loud (in fact, its obscurity means I'm more likely to have made this mistake). Plus I probably need to go see the optometrist. (Or is that optician? I get them confused.) Your last statement is well-taken, though.

Dick Hyacinth said...

Also, try Googling "Lindisframe." I'm apparently not the only one to make this mistake.