“[T]he fool Man will oppose everything except a Hand Extended…he will stand up in the face of every hazard except Lonely Time…for the sake of his poorest and shakiest and screwiest principles he will lay down his life, endure pain, ridicule, and even, sometimes, that mos demeaning of American hardships, discomfort, but will relinquish his firmest stand for Love.”—Ken Kesey, Sometimes a Great Notion
“As I’ve said before… American gun nuts are always going on about how they need their guns to protect their rights as ‘mericans. But the only right gun nuts seem remotely interested in protecting with their guns is their right to own guns. Second Amendment fans would find lots of allies on the left—particularly among supporters of the First Amendment—if they functioned as the armed wing of the ACLU. If the gun nuts turned out in force whenever someone’s free speech rights were being violated—or the right to assemble or the sacred right to be left alone—more of us on the left might regard the social costs an armed-and-dangerous citizenry as worthwhile.”—Dan Savage
“If we look at American history, between 1942 and 1947, the data that was collected by the Census Bureau was handed over to the FBI and other organizations at the request of President Roosevelt, and that’s how the Japanese were rounded up and put into the internment camps…I’m not saying that that’s what the Administration is planning to do, but I am saying that private personal information that was given to the Census Bureau in the 1940s was used against Americans to round them up, in a violation of their constitutional rights, and put the Japanese in internment camps.”—Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachman, on her refusal to fill out a complete census form, via TPMDC
Bill Willingham’s Fables is one of my favorite comics; the concept of moving characters from fairy tales into the modern world borders on genious, the writing is unhindered by some of the more troublesome conventions of a more mainstream superhero title, the characterization is unmatched, the art (usually done by Mark Buckhingham) is strong and aids in the storytelling, and James Jean’s covers (a selection of which are pictured above) have a sense of what I can best describe as “serious whimsy” about them and cross from “very good” into “brilliant” more often than not. Unfortunately, as of issue 81, he’s left the book.
With all the said, I’m concerned; The Dark Ages (the story arc ending in issue 82) was one of the most interesting and emotional of the whole series and the follow through has been, well, subpar.
That follow-up is called The Great Fables Crossover, it occurs in the two main Fables titles (Fables and Jack of Fabies) and what I believe to be a mini-series called The Literals, and parts of it suck. The first three issues were, in particular, almost excruciating. Part of the problem is, I think, that I hate the character of Jack Horner (from tales like Jack and the Bean Stalk and the star of Jack of Fables); I can’t remember if I always hated him this much or I just hate how’s he being characterized now, but that’s not really the point; I hate Jack Horner. His presence here seems nessecary only to reinforce the idea that the Jack of the Fables universe is, rather than the clever hero of the Jack tales, basically a unlikable jerk, and it drags on what is already a subpar story.
I don’t really want to spoil anything, but I can tell you that the biggest reason that the story is subpar is because, as far as the ontology of Fables in concerned, it just doesn’t make any sense; part of the reason Fables is so excellent is that it plays with characters we all already know about and while the concept of the Literals (that is, a being who represents a literary devices) is sort of an interesting spin on the Willingham’s concept, the further adventures of the Metaphor really aren’t that interesting at all, and mostly the whole thing just seem superfluous; I kind of just want it to be over already.
Now, with all of that said, I will say the arc seems to be coming together some. It’s getting better, little by little, and this is heartening. Still, with only two issues left to go, I can’t help but be excited.
The problem with this sort of thing, of course, is that the people fighting handgun measures are the same people (or are at the very least associated with the same people) who are attempting to ban gay marriage, a move that many (including myself) see as a violation of the first section of the Fourteenth amendment:
Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
So on the one hand, you have a conservative faction who wants to deny the rights and priveleges associated with marriage (and, make no mistake, such civil rights and privileges do exist) in direct violation of the equal protection clause, and, on the other, you have a faction (which is presumably made of up at least some of the same people) who want to end gun bans based on the very same section of the Constitution.
Here’s a word to the wise on the Second Amendment; if you haven’t read it, you should; it’s ambiguities are interesting:
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
It’s always seemed to me that the wording of the Amendment, specifically the first clause, leaves us with some wiggle room, along the lines of “one has to be in a militia in order to bear arms”, or, and this one probably has less pitfalls, that the government is allowed to ensure that gun ownership is “well regulated.”
Still, if we have this shiny new right to own a handgun for the purposes of self-defense, I may as well take advantage of it, right? I’m going to go out and buy a gun, as is my right as an American citizen. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that; it’s a Constitutionally granted right, and if I respect anything its the Constitution. Still, guns are dangerous, and I wouldn’t want it to go off accidentally when a little kid got his hand on it, and I would damn-sure want to know that the other people who are Constitutionally allowed to buy lethal weapons aren’t convicted felons or diagnosed paranoid schizophrenics. These things aren’t a matter of civil right, they are simply a matter of safety or, if you prefer, a matter of life. If the well-regulated clause in the Second Amendment doesn’t make at least certain gun control measures Constitutional, this, at the very least, should.
This is EXACTLY why I love David Aja’s art; it’s got a kinetic beauty that can do as much storytelling as the dialogue. I just love the way that he endows the Iron Fist, adding an element of humor that accentuates the writing of Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction and that is sorely lacking since he left the title; even before you see the text bubble in the final panel, the change in mood from the last panel is palatable simply from the way the first guy’s body language changes. In a couple of days I’ll scan and post my favorite comics page of all time, which is, of course, an Aja.
I had forgotten what those things were, because I went off to college and I couldn’t break the worse habit that I have: taking myself to seriously. I was trying to be a person that I’m not, and I don’t like that person who I’m not.
The person that I do like is who I am, and all the following things are true: I like comedy, I like baseball, I like some philosophy (although I think Nietzche is full of shit), I hate movies that self-conciously attempt to be different and unique (and I question what the problem is with narrative film), I love television. More than I love movies, I love television and I think the sitcom is television in it’s perfected form (say, MASH or the Cosby show) and, mostly, I miss producing television. I love music, in many of its varied forms, and I wish I could make it.
What I love most, however, are comic books. I know this because, more than any other form, comics are the most comforting, the most interesting, the most innovative, and the most fantastic. I can’t put them down, and I have no desire to ever put them down. I want nothing more than to think and write academically about comics for the rest of my life.
What does this mean to you? Dear readers, all of this leads up to a promise, mostly, but not exclusively to myself. I promise to use this blog, Douglas Coupland All The Way Down, not simply as a repository of cool things that I find, but also as a place to share, and to create, and to be.
What better place for that, after all, than the internet?
How can a man who’s wrong on so many things also be so right on so many things? Sullivan has again and again proved that he is among the most astute of political observers around these days. His observations on Obama are always among the most interesting, with the added advantage of also being spot-on.