Thursday, December 10, 2009

Age of Stupid, Part Duh

I know we’re instructed to never watch either sausage or laws being made, but it’s getting really hard to pay attention to Congress during its “health care reform” debate. I know that most of Congress is a wholly own subsidiary of the health insurance companies, but what’s so amazing is the level of stupidity and venality on display.

Even weirder is the so obvious contempt Congress has for The Public that elects them. It’s odd. The Public elects these people to go to Washington to do The Public’s business and when The Public says, we want a Public Option, Congress recoils in horror. Public? it spits out? PUBLIC? as if it were a filthy word. And, naturally, some scheme that is second-rate and bound to fail is labeled “Public Option” and dragged into view. Handled with rubber gloves and held noses. Eeeuuuu, public. Eeeeuuuu.

And, the most amazing part. The Public will reelect these people during the next election cycle. It’s like America has turned into a battered wife. Lied to, manipulated, beaten down, fed crumbs and garbage, pimped out to Congresses’ Corporate and Banking Buddies, all her earnings spent on weapons of useless destruction and gambled away on the stock market while her Congress husband gets the finest health care available and she has to make do with a trip to Walgreens in hope that the pharmacist is in.

Yet she loves her Daddy, keeps voting for him, because she’s convinced she doesn’t deserve anything better anyway. Amazing.

And truly scary, for if The Public is held in such contempt over the relatively small issue of delivering decent health care, you can imagine how little The Public will be of concern when it comes to climate change legislation that will literally mean life and death for them and the planet. The Public? The Planet? Ptah! King Coal and corporate profits are our clients.

And Speaking of Not Stupid

When I was a kid, my Mom bought my sister and me a bunch of Classic Comics. I suspect she was trying to undo the brain rot setting in from my reading Mad Magazine. They were cunningly drawn, a sort of illustrated Readers Digest type-precis of such works as “Silas Marner,” or “Gulliver’s Travels,” “Treasure Island,” and etc. The drawing was similar to the newspaper’s Prince Valiant and it was a pretty good way to introduce kids to the basic outline of the classics without scaring them to death. And, of course, to this day, there are “classics” that I only know because I read the Classic Comic (or saw a PBS production.) I know, my education is sadly lacking, but there’s so many books, so little time.

Anyway, in a review written by David Ulin in the L.A. Times book section Dec 6, 09 was a write- up of R. Sikoryak’s “Masterpiece Comics” (Drawn & Quarterly:66 pp., $19.95). So I googled it at Amazon and sure enough. Only this time, Sikoryak’s mixing up the classics with various DC comics, hence you get “The Crypt of Bronte,” as in Heathcliff and Kathy racing around on the moors while muddling Crypt tales with Wuthering Heights. Or, as the Times has it, “It takes a perverse kind of genius to reimagine the Man of Steel as existentialist antihero [Camus’ “The Stranger”], but that’s the power of Sikoryak’s work. A protégé of Art Spiegelman’s [“Maus] (with whom he worked for many years on the ‘commix’ magazine RAW,), he is an uncanny visual mimic, able to draw in a wide range of styles and to reinvent classic comics imagery.

“That’s the appeal of ‘Masterpiece Comics,” which juxtaposes classic literature and classic comics with result that are striking and surreal.

“In one extended sequence, Raskolnikov is portrayed as Batman – a paordy of both Dostoevesky’s ‘Crime and Punishment,’ and CD’s “Detective Comics” that manages to do justice to them both. In “Blond Eve,” Blondie and Dagwood are cast out of the Garden of Eden directly into suburbia; ‘Good ol’ Gregor Brown’ frames Franz Kafka’s ‘The Metamorphosis’ as a series of Peanuts strips. Never once does Sikoryak slip off the tightrope that he’s walking between absurdity and grace. Best of all is “Inferno Joe,” in which Dante’s ‘Inferno’ plays out over 10 three-frame Bazooka Joe comics, complete with facsimile fortunes and ads.”

Well, what’s not to love about THAT? So, you can guess what’s going to be waiting to be unwrapped when my sister comes over Christmas Day. Bwa-hahah.

You Better Not Pout

At there’s a bunch of recipes for home-baked goodies that make good holiday gifts, so if you’re baking, that should be a good source of some easy and yummy recipes.

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