3.5 rounded up. Alan Moore's early short pieces for 2000 AD, the UK comic magazine famous for producing Judge Dredd. These are Moore's entries for a r3.5 rounded up. Alan Moore's early short pieces for 2000 AD, the UK comic magazine famous for producing Judge Dredd. These are Moore's entries for a regular 2000 AD feature called Future Shocks, which is typically a 2-5 page comic short story with a futuristic but jokey premise. While the plot and punchline are telegraphed from the beginning of each strip, Moore made them his own by applying his hyper-creative powers. Despite the shortness of the medium and Moore's artistic youth, there is so much material here. Moore's shorts are so dense, I could only read two or three a day. There is a story about retired gods, who are banished to a retirement netherworld and forgotten because they are no longer worshiped. This premise prefigures, and is central to, Neil Gaiman's work on Sandman and American Gods. There is a story about a metal band whose concerts lead to planetary destruction and kill large populations, prefiguring Metalocalypse and Dethklok. I am not suggesting theft, but surely creators of such works were inspired by Alan Moore's work at 2000 AD. As mentioned elsewhere, Gaiman views Moore as a mentor. Moreover, Gaiman and Grant Morrison also worked on Future Shocks at 2000 AD and their work is collected in another book: All Star Future Shocks. ...more
A self-described, pop-art Blade Runner from Brian K. Vaughan. A private investigator wades into a conspiracy because a femme fatale darkens his door iA self-described, pop-art Blade Runner from Brian K. Vaughan. A private investigator wades into a conspiracy because a femme fatale darkens his door in a future America obsessed with privacy. People wear masks in public, moving through their lives as avatars with aliases. The masked avatars allow them to compartmentalize different aspects of their lives. People can explore politics, religion, family and sex under different living avatars so that this experimentation does not ruin their total identity. This future society is the result of the internet/cloud having "burst," ruining lives by sharing everyone's shameful search history with everyone. The PI is on the case, snooping after the identity of the femme fatale. This brings him into conflict with new and old technologies, several aspects of privacy, and the warring groups who want to keep the status quo and those who want another cloudburst.
Great book. The art looks good in the widescreen format. My only qualm is that the book is physically awkward to read since it is so wide. I had to be sitting down at home to read this tome. My arms kept falling asleep if I tried to read in bed, and there was no way I was going to lug this badboy on public transit. The story is predictable if you have read a few noir and watched films featuring mad scientists, though BKV subverts genre tropes as often as not. In sum, it is good premise based on great sources that worked out admirably....more
**spoiler alert** Full disclosure, I don't know what to make of this book. Eric Hoffer writes in a folksy knowing way about fanatics and their influen**spoiler alert** Full disclosure, I don't know what to make of this book. Eric Hoffer writes in a folksy knowing way about fanatics and their influence on mass movements. The man lived through two world wars, held a variety of blue collar jobs, and read lots of books during the tumultuous years of the American 20th century. While Hoffer's musings ring true, he writes in giant headlines that can neither be proven nor disproved. He pulls quotes from the Bible, Mein Kampf, biographies, and sociology and philosophy texts. He gives these selected quotes equal footing and novel interpretations, all of which support his thoughts. But it can be equally argued that these quotes were pulled deliberately out of context, clipped and positioned by his novel interpretations to perfectly fit his thesis.
The bulk of the book details the mechanics of the vile fanatic vis-à-vis mass movements. The terrible fanatic drives mass movements to do irreparable damage to societies. In the last few pages, Hoffer says immense, reforming creativity is often unleashed before or after the active phase of mass movements. He asserts that it is better that some people die and society is reformed to create a new order rather than have a stagnant, decaying society slowly crumble. It is unclear to me whether the Hoffer who says fanatics and mass movements are mostly bad can be reconciled with the Hoffer that who says we can break some eggs when we conclude we are living in a dark age. The last few pages felt like they were from another book, written by an editor, or revised by the author later in life. Though it was probably all Hoffer, the last few pages felt like a huge left turn. Awkwardly, Hoffer also discounts all Asian societies as stagnant, except those industrious and fanatical Japanese. This latter view is clearly prejudiced.
Hoffer believes the masses are composed of desperate men looking for movements, theatrics, causes, and rituals to envelope themselves in. The movements and rituals hide people's shortcomings from themselves. This is echoed by Ernest Becker in The Denial of Death and Escape from Evil; however, Becker's focus is the individual, performing heroic rituals to hide death from himself, to distract himself with adventure and achievements. Hoffer asserts that these frustrated masses can be ripe for elitist men of words, men of action and fanatics to exploit.
In sum, I don't know what to make of this book other than to use it as a blueprint for experimenting on small groups of impressionable North Americans in order to galvanize them into doing my bidding. Wish me luck....more
3.5 Stars. Pop Gun War is set in a dreamy NYC populated by one-note characters: a winged kid who wants to find his sister, a child rock star who wants3.5 Stars. Pop Gun War is set in a dreamy NYC populated by one-note characters: a winged kid who wants to find his sister, a child rock star who wants to rock, a bespectacled goldfish who acts as a silent companion, a small man who grows in stature when given attention, etc. While the book is well drawn and impossibly cool, there is not much happening beyond open symbols as characters moving around an environment, playing their single notes. And yet it hangs together and is fun to read....more
A Disease of Language is the graphic novelization of two spoken-word sets/magic sessions by Alan Moore. In the first and better piece, "The Birth CauA Disease of Language is the graphic novelization of two spoken-word sets/magic sessions by Alan Moore. In the first and better piece, "The Birth Caul," Moore discusses finding his mother's birth caul among her effects after her death. His grandmother had wrapped it in butchers paper, keeping it as an amulet against drowning and bad luck. The second piece, "Snakes and Ladders," concerns imagination as transcendence from the earthly plane of sex and death. The second piece goes on a bit long, but reminded me favourably of the Promethea series, a more thorough treatment of the same ground by Moore....more
Aaron James attempts to define "assholes" as an initial step towards successfully interacting with them. According to James, an asshole is a person whAaron James attempts to define "assholes" as an initial step towards successfully interacting with them. According to James, an asshole is a person who "allows himself to enjoy special advantages in social relations out of an entrenched sense of entitlement that immunizes him against the complaints of other people." Assholes take advantage of cooperation among people to derive extra personal benefits, beyond their apportioned share, and they usually have what sounds like a moral argument to back their claim ("I'm a manager/rich/important/a celebrity/a banker") so that well meaning people back off and let them cut in line, take bonuses they don't deserve, treat people poorly, take credit and leave the work to everyone else, post selfies about how shameless they are, etc.
James perfectly defines the asshole and the problems that arise from trying to cope with him. Non-assholes struggle to cooperate in the wake of assholery, because the asshole is worse than a free-rider. He (usually the asshole is a dude, but ladies are not exempt, for reasons James covers at length) takes extra benefits, and if called out, the asshole gives a moral-sounding reason that he truly believes is beyond reproach, and uses it to discount any arguments to the contrary. Some non-assholes overreact and want to punish the asshole, drawing ire from the calmer quadrants of the group. Some people want to pretend it didn't happen or was a one-time occurrence. Others withdraw. Cooperation is damaged, gets more costly, and the asshole often pits people against one another to continue reaping slightly more benefits than they are entitled to, and everyone else is divided or at best acquiesces to forebear the asshole.
Another side effect is that since the asshole successfully gets away with his entitlements, this encourages others to act more entitled. The group is only galvanized when the asshole acts in the open in front of everyone. Usually, the asshole thrives in gray areas and stops well short of illegality or psychopathy. The asshole slowly degrades group cooperation, creating an entitled and needlessly competitive environment of treating others poorly for slight personal gains. On a macro level, this erodes societal institutions that require fundamental cooperation, even in a capitalist democracy, which is founded on the promise of people working hard to gain their share of the wealth produced. The capitalist democracy then fails to deliver on its promises, since the assholes reap more of the benefits without bounds. Hard-working people get left out, because they are "unlucky/not as talented/rich/important." Society then degrades into asshole capitalism, wherein the majority of people act in a self-seeking manner, "trying to get theirs and not be a sucker to some asshole."
The book ends bleakly, since James is short on methods for dealing with his aptly defined subject. James' solution is cooperate, pick your battles, try not to withdraw, work with the asshole only on your own terms, speak out on behalf of others when the asshole goes after them, and don't waste much time on trying to manage the asshole. The book was written in 2012, and speaks about a turning point in North America: assholes are proliferating and pushing an entitlement agenda, but it can be reversed. This seems naive given who is successfully running for US president this year.
The only solution seems to be to read James' book in order that groups of different people with divergent viewpoints can more quickly recognize the asshole in their midst, and cooperate quicker and more effectively to damper his effects, if not manage him.
I would have liked less definition of the asshole (a bit belabored at 190 pages) and more strategies (too short at 20 pages). Maybe James did his job well, and I am simply depressed by his conclusions.
If you think you are dealing with an asshole, I would recommend reading chapters 5-7, since the meat of the definition and attempts at asshole management are contained there. If you have a philosophical bent, read the entire book....more