Incline Left!

Just another WordPress.com site

Alan Moore on Frank Miller

If you remember a few weeks back, comic legend Frank Miller decided to take down the Occupy Wall Street movement with some choice slurs.

SF writer David Brin came back with a deconstruction of Miller’s world view by dismantling Miller’s history-challenged “300”.

Now, Alan Moore puts in his two cents:

Alan Moore Responds to Frank Millers ‘Occupy’ Rant

I have always been a huge fan of Moore’s work. I love that the guy is crazy and always pushing the envelope. He’s unafraid of touching any material.

Miller, on the other hand, helped change comics in the late 80s with his take on characters who were at that point getting stale.

His work since then has been kinda Meh.

Miller’s work is riddled with right-wing fantasy and misogyny, and most criminal of all seems to have stayed absolutely still for decades, opting to move into film.

His last film offering, “The Spirit” in 2008 was a boring disappointment.

Miller’s comments on OWS really struck a nerve with comic book fans and now Moore:

“Well, Frank Miller is someone whose work I’ve barely looked at for the past twenty years. I thought the Sin City stuff was unreconstructed misogyny, 300 appeared to be wildly ahistoric, homophobic and just completely misguided. I think that there has probably been a rather unpleasant sensibility apparent in Frank Miller’s work for quite a long time. Since I don’t have anything to do with the comics industry, I don’t have anything to do with the people in it. I heard about the latest outpourings regarding the Occupy movement. It’s about what I’d expect from him. It’s always seemed to me that the majority of the comics field, if you had to place them politically, you’d have to say centre-right. That would be as far towards the liberal end of the spectrum as they would go. I’ve never been in any way, I don’t even know if I’m centre-left. I’ve been outspoken about that since the beginning of my career. So yes I think it would be fair to say that me and Frank Miller have diametrically opposing views upon all sorts of things, but certainly upon the Occupy movement.

“As far as I can see, the Occupy movement is just ordinary people reclaiming rights which should always have been theirs. I can’t think of any reason why as a population we should be expected to stand by and see a gross reduction in the living standards of ourselves and our kids, possibly for generations, when the people who have got us into this have been rewarded for it; they’ve certainly not been punished in any way because they’re too big to fail. I think that the Occupy movement is, in one sense, the public saying that they should be the ones to decide who’s too big to fail. It’s a completely justified howl of moral outrage and it seems to be handled in a very intelligent, non-violent way, which is probably another reason why Frank Miller would be less than pleased with it. I’m sure if it had been a bunch of young, sociopathic vigilantes with Batman make-up on their faces, he’d be more in favour of it. We would definitely have to agree to differ on that one.”

What he said.

-Chris

Advertisements

December 5, 2011 Posted by | Civil Rights, Entertainment, Media Criticism, Politics, Republicans, Tea Party, Unemployment, Wall Street | , , , | Leave a comment

The Decline of Paper Books

A friend of mine shared a link on Facebook today about the book business.

“Barnes & Noble Up, Borders Down” details B&N’s celebration of fourth quarter sales by the New York-based (and largest book retailer in the world).

However, the sales did not really come from selling paper books.

The company attributed the gains partly to interest in its e-reading devices, especially the Nook Color, which was introduced last fall.

I have worked at a bookstore on and off for 15 years, and have noticed a steady decline in the number of people who come in regularly to browse and buy.

The regular browsers have disappeared, having purchased an e-reader of one kind or another.

Despite the sales pitch, these devices are anti-social and raise some serious concerns about the future of society and our political system.

Some concerns:

E-readers

  • Eliminate face-to-face human contact and the direct dialogue.
  • Help foster the already rampant epistemic closure that threatens the free exchange of ideas (something necessary in democratic society).
  • Put a reader’s access to information in the hands of corporations (see digital rights management).
  • Remove the incentive to publishers to actually produce physical books (why go through the expense, when you can put a file up on a server?)
  • Will cost hundreds of thousands of jobs, once enough people purchase them and make physical books way too expensive
  • Will bar information access to people who cannot afford computers, e-readers and the cost of books

Much of the above has already happened with the proliferation of a cable news station devoted to partisan bickering and the equally virulent sites on the internet.

Most young people don’t read, and most older people only read what the personalities on television tell them to.

The kids I see in bookstores almost invariably are there for an assigned book (ridiculously mispronouncing book titles and authors) or for the latest in teen “romance”.

There is actually a section of on major retailer for “teen paranormal romance”.

Older people come in to get books on the bestseller list, or political books they see hawked on television by Fox News drones.

Fewer and fewer come into the bookstore to really browse and intelligently seek out books on interesting subjects.

People are told what to read, usually by a corporate marketing machine, or a political propaganda outlet. Obediently they shuffle in, grab the book in question, and leave — never glancing at anything else in the store.

We have become a nation, perhaps a world of sheep-like consumers, conforming to marketing needs of corporations.

How else to explain the runaway success of the offensive “Eat, Pray, Love”?

E-reader devices are only going to accelerate this process, and make it harder for people to break out of their boxes and expand their horizons.

Can you imagine that browsing books online will ever be as satisfying as wandering any bookstore and finding a previously unknown work that immediately grabs your interest? Me neither.

Don’t get me wrong, I love gadgets, and some of the e-readers are nifty and do some amazing, useful things, but I fear that the end of printed books is closer than you may think.

Last nail? Meet coffin.

Soon, books may go the way of the CD, and the DVD movie rental place.

Hopefully, creative people can come up with solutions to the above problems that the end of print will bring, but I am not optimistic.

I can’t help being sad about the decline of books.

In my lifetime, I have seen the beautiful artistry and package design of LP records shrink to the palm-sized jewel cases for CDs, which will soon give way to files on a thumb-sized MP3 player.

Similarly, I have seen the death of Betamax and VHS, and the birth and decline of DVDs and Blu-Ray — which will likely be supplanted by file downloads before I die.

The saddest part of all for me is watching the parade of people  in and out of the bookstore, who don’t realize that with every “I’ll just order it online” and “I just got my Kindle/Nook/Sony” they are helping kill a piece of culture that I have had a personal and satisfying relationship with.

For the time being, I will console myself with a long-standing practice: I will continue to hoard books in my apartment, collecting sturdy volumes of classics and my favorites to pass on to my children and to lend to (trustworthy) friends.

As Egon says in “Ghostbusters” — “print is dead”.

Long live print.

-Chris

January 7, 2011 Posted by | Books, Entertainment, Media Criticism, Technology, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Jon Stewart vs. Fox News

Host Jon Stewart in the studio of The Daily Sh...

Image via Wikipedia

Alternet is reposting a piece by Jason Easley’s PoliticusUSA.com blog about Jon Stewart’s threat to Fox News and the Republican media establishment.

Quite honestly, Stewart is one of the few folks who are doing the most basic journalism out there.

Republican positions depend on people being distracted and deeply enraged — about gossamer nothing issues. Under the cold light of facts, the Republican record and their myriad tangle of lies, dishonesty and hypocrisy are readily apparent to anyone with half a brain.

The rest of the corporate media establishment spend a lot of time being “fair” and pretending that all arguments carry equal weight — when a simple look at the facts (easily obtainable records, video, audio recordings) could easily cut to the heart of the matter.

Instead, the lazy, ratings-driven media creates a false “two-sides” dichotomy that bears not resemblance to reality.

Position A: The moon is a rocky object that orbits the earth

Position B: The moon is a hole cut in a big black sheet that makes up the sky

In the mainstream media, what we would see is an interview of the a supporter of position A, followed by something like this nonsense:

“…but detractors say that people who hold Position A are part of a NASA cover-up, and the moon is merely the light coming from behind the big sheet that wraps the earth. Back to you, Vance.”

And that’s assuming that there aren’t more sides to the story — as there are in most complex policy issues.

Stewart knows this game, and educates his audience to be media savvy.

Unlike Fox, the Daily Show host has a young audience that will continue to grow as the elderly who regularly view Murdoch’s monstrosity die off, leaving no one to replace them. The Colbert Report, which follows Stewart’s show, also has a vibrant, smart younger viewing demographic.

That’s why, Easley argues, Stewart and the hilarious Stephen Colbert are such a threat to Fox:

Fox News has made no secret of their distaste for Colbert, and especially Jon Stewart, and it is pretty obvious why. Colbert and Stewart are educating an entire generation of younger viewers to critically think about what they see in the media. The long term health of Fox News is going to depend on their ability to attract and retain younger viewers. These are the same viewers that are watching Jon Stewart expose and mock Fox News on a nightly basis. This is why FNC goes out of it’s way to impugn the credibility of Stewart anytime they can.

This is a glimmer of hope in an otherwise dismal mediascape.

The Republican war on science and intellectualism has taken its toll, and the consumers of right-wing pabulum often display pride in their ignorance and lack of education.

For those in the reality-based community, the nation would be better served to develop serious news sources that use the reporting basics Stewart uses to good effect on his nightly comedy program.

Truth and facts are a killer to failed Republican ideas. And they know it.

-Chris

September 14, 2010 Posted by | Entertainment, Fox News, Politics | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments