Amusing, but slight. It reminds me that I need to rejig my star-rating of Jason comics. I liked it but this is definitely one I will never need to reaAmusing, but slight. It reminds me that I need to rejig my star-rating of Jason comics. I liked it but this is definitely one I will never need to read again....more
To my surprise, this book lost my interest once the adventure plot really kicked in. It's early chapters were biting, brilliant riffs on our (AmericanTo my surprise, this book lost my interest once the adventure plot really kicked in. It's early chapters were biting, brilliant riffs on our (American, African-American) obsession with racial identity, a satire, which in the later parts of the book becomes too broad, dancing over the edge past the point of absurdity. ...more
The title was promising but I'd have liked this a whole lot better if the werewolves looked more like werewolves and less like jason's usual anthropomThe title was promising but I'd have liked this a whole lot better if the werewolves looked more like werewolves and less like jason's usual anthropomorphic dogs....more
Kyle Baker has a pretty specific POV on comics/cartooning that is kinda interesting. The bits on animation vs live-action storytelling were edifying iKyle Baker has a pretty specific POV on comics/cartooning that is kinda interesting. The bits on animation vs live-action storytelling were edifying in the post-Crank 2 storytelling place my head is now. ...more
Slumberland is probably the most intensely racialized book i've read in a while. It hits it from a multitude of angles - self-loathing, self-deprecatiSlumberland is probably the most intensely racialized book i've read in a while. It hits it from a multitude of angles - self-loathing, self-deprecating, self-mythologizing...
"There are many similarities between Germans and blacks. The nouns themselves are loaded with so much historical baggage it's impossible for anyone to be indifferent to the simple mention of either group. We're two insightful people looking for reasons to love ourselves; and let's not forget we both love pork and wear sandals with socks."
This is a funny book. Beatty is hyper, a master of quick wit, pointed asides, unreliable narrator, always trash-talking, bullshitting. So many references and digressions, you won't/can't/don't! catch them all. & you'll consistently ask which are lies and which are truths.* the answer, of course, is all.
Plot points: Berlin, before & after the fall of the wall. Blackness, passé and/or freedom. Phonographic Memory. Jukebox Sommelier. The perfect beat. The search for Charles Stone a/k/a The Schwa.
"A beat so perfect as to render musical labels null and void. A melody so transcendental that blackness has officially been declared passé. Finally, us colored folk will be looked upon with blithe indifference, not erotized pity or the disgust of Freudian projection. It's what we've claimed we always wanted, isn't it? To be judged 'not by the color of our skins, but by the content of our character'? Dude, but what we threw down was the content not of character, but out of character. It just happened to be of indeterminate blackness and funkier than a motherfucker."
*(is Sun Ra really truly completely ignored in Ken Burn's Jazz? that's crazy!)
I've got terrible amnesia when it comes to books, even books i loved, like White Boy Shuffle. Was it as dense and delirious, exhilarating and full of shit as this book?
My favorite bits: at the end of Part 3 ("The Souls of Black Volk") where the narrator (a/k/a DJ Darky, a/k/a Ferguson Sowell) plays three "life-altering" gigs, DJ'ing 1) a neo-nazi (white laces=white power?) skinhead rally - "It's the hate that's important. It doesn't matter who does the hating, but who you hate." - 2) an annual Afro-German gathering in the Black Forest - "When we get to the Black Forest, we won't be able to see the n------ for the trees." - 3) a barely attended gig at the Free University - "What if you had a concert and nobody came?"
I finished this yesterday and then slept on it (literally, book under pillow, princess & the pea style, & now my head hurts).
At gig #2, pg. 180:
""I need to know what is happening to me. Why do I feel so unsecure? Afraid, and yet not frightened." The room rumbled with agreement. Overcome with German inquisitiveness and black paranoia, these sons and daughters of Hegel and Queen Nefertiti wanted an answer. I wanted to tell them that the Schwa's music leans heavily on semitone, that tiny musical interval that's a half step between harmony and noise, for a reason. He wants to show us that the best parts of life are temporal semitone, those nanoseconds between ecstasy and panic that if we could we'd string together in a sensate harmony. If only we could be Wile E. Coyote walking on air for those precious few moments before the bittersweet realization he's walking on air. Before falling to earth with a pitiful wave of the hand and a puff of smoke. I didn't say any of that because I didn't know the German word for semitone or if my audience knew who Bugs Bunny was. I simply said, "What is happening is that you've been turnt out, baby." The Schwa turns us all out sooner or later." ...more
that title page drawing of Ming the Merciless sitting idly on his throne is what the kids today would call pimptastic. "Alex Raymond meets Alexandre Dthat title page drawing of Ming the Merciless sitting idly on his throne is what the kids today would call pimptastic. "Alex Raymond meets Alexandre Dumas" is what it is, kids. Can't describe it any better than that. Jason's mix and match genre explorations get better and better. It's like if Godard and those other gods of early New Wave had gorged on the duck and mouse comics of Barks & Gottfredson instead of feasting on all those Hollywood westerns and film noir....more