Friday, 29 May 2009

Groogh

Blogs are hard. First, you make one. Then you most two articles in it, zipping along like crazy. Then the next day your significant other ends a three year relationship with you and you forget about your shiny new blog.

You know, what with all the drinking and such.

Now I've remembered, but bugger me senseless if I know what to write about. Damn, I'm beginning to remember the problem with these things. I suppose I will just have to be ruthless.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Why are big American comics such arse?

I like comics, why shouldn't I? I'm an emotionally stunted white male in his early twenties, who enjoys graphic violence and craves escape from his almost unbearable life but is too afraid to take the mans way out. Comics are the perfect medium for me. However, my love of comics, through kindled in early childhood with plentiful Beanos and Dandys, took a while to develop, mainly because of one simple factor: Marvel and DC are both pretty much utter wank. With the exception of a few decent Batman graphic novels not under Vertigo, they may in fact be total wank. Why am I saying this? Well, partly for hilarious angry comments, and partly because it's true.

Let me explain my position.

My favourite publishers of comics, and my favourite comic (in the sense of something that come out weekly or biweekly and costs far too much) is 2000AD. What is the difference between, say, Marvel, and 2000AD. Let's take a look at some of their more popular creations. For example, Marvel have Spiderman, an emotionally crippled geek who shoots epoxy resin out of his wrists. 2000AD have Judge Dredd.


You see where I'm coming from?

You see, the thing about superheroes, is that they are, for want of a better word, retarded. Firstly, the costumes. Really, if you were an alien superbeing who could fly, shoot lasers out his eyes and bend steel with his bare hands (along with fuck knows what else) would you really wear your gold spandex y-fronts on the outside of blue spandex tights? Maybe it's a good way of starting fights? Has Superman ever fought interstellar fashion police? Okay, yeah, so, he's an alien and he can play snooker by headbutting the moons of Jupiter. But what about, to pick a random example, Captain America? As far as I understand it, Captain America was a frail man who was transformed into the ultimate soldier with drugs to fight the Nazis. This is an American soldier in world war two:
And this is Captain America:
The urge at this juncture to say something that could be construed as homophobic in the wrong light is almost devastating. It also brings me on to suspension of disbelief. Now, both Marvel and DC comics, I believe, take place in alternative universes, so that's not my particular gripe. It's more about internal self-consistency and just having things make SOME sort of sense. I mean, in one early Strontium Dog story, Johnny Alpha and Wulf go back in time to arrest Hitler. This is arguably much more insane (and bold) than anything ever attempted in mainstream American publications, but it does make sense. Johnny Alpha is a time-travelling, dimension hopping bounty hunter, and it's not even the most bizarre thing he does (he goes to hell at one point, and kills the devil*). This is more remarkable because Johnny Alpha exists in the same timeline as us, since 2000AD's universe is consistently portrayed as our future**. Yet all the Marvel and DC superheroes, despite living in worlds which seem to have definitely had Hitlers, did sweet fuck all. OK, fine, it wouldn't have been politic to have superheroes defeating Hitler back in the actual forties, but it's all been retconned to fuck now anyway. Yet these superheroes seem to make bugger-all real impact on the world around them, not in the way you might actually expect at least. To be honest, I am kinda covering dead territory here, as everything I've just said is one of the subtexts of Watchmen, expressed with infinitely more crudity. The truth is, I'm kind of in danger of shooting myself in the foot. It's not like I'm an expert on this shit. I was going to go into the political aspect. Political and social content within American comics, apart from obvious exceptions such as the 'insert minority here' undercurrent of the X-Men, seems generally right wing. Apart from the most blatant examples (Frank Miller's Batman), just the basic idea that all someone needs is to dispense justice with not just deadly but often apocalyptic force is a spandex suit and a laser powered orifice or two is somewhat suspect. Then we have that recent 'fighting against superhero registration' plot in Marvel. I wonder what superheros stand for there? I'll give you a clue: they're both good at killing people quickly, but Charlton Heston only liked to fondle one of them (as far as we know). Then there's all those 'very special comics', in which social commentary is obtained by having Captain America teach a diverse group of children that drugs are bad (despite, you know). And I've had people actually tell me they don't like Judge Dredd because it's 'Fascist'. Way to miss the point.

Anyway, what was I saying? Ah yes, American comics are full of dull people in tights, British comics are full of magnificent bastards in black leather who kill a lot. I should have done a degree in Media Studies.


*It's much more complex than this, but no spoilers.

**To be fair, Hitler is only nabbed after he has faked his suicide.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Oh, conspiracy theorists

So, I've been meaning to create a new blog for a while, but what actually inspired me was one of those NWO conspiracy documentaries on Youtube.

Yes, I know, but I have a real, unhealthy obsession with such things. I suppose it's a bit like those people for who used to spice up their sex life with fluffy hand-cuffs and now can barely get aroused unless they are dangling from the ceiling of a German warehouse with a meathook through their genitals. But enough about my DVD collection. The video in question was this, in all its interminable parts. Now, I freely admit I haven't watched the whole thing, mainly because, given the fact that the first ten minutes mainly consisted of footage from Prison Planet and The fucking Matrix, I highly doubt it has anything particularly earth-shattering to impart. The thing that got me thinking though, was the part where it quote from a speech by JFK, in the first segment. You can find the whole speech (predictably paranoided to all fuck) here.

Now, I've heard this speech before, both in conspiracy contexts and otherwise, but its use by conspiracy theorists has always glossed over me before. Really, I don't think I should have to explain it. It's an interesting window into the world of conspiracy nuts that when they hear an American president, at practically the height of the cold war, say "we are opposed, around the world, by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy, that relies primarily on covet means for expanding it's fear of influence" they say "BILDERBERG GROUP SKULL AND BONES MASONS ILLUMINATI OMG" rather than any other powerful, secretive groups with enormous power that happened to be around at the time.


Which got me thinking. I've read a few articles and seen a few youtube videos exposing the dishonest use of quote mining by creationists (The TalkOrigins Archive is, as normal, bang on the money). But I've never really seen someone attempt to dissect conspiracist screed this way. Oh, likely it has been done. This is the internet after all, and nitpackers and paranoid sociopaths cross paths hundreds of times a day. So, lets have a crack at this video. Moving on to part two, which is confusingly titled part one. Apparently this guy sells this on DVD. Presumably in case Annunakis vampire lizards and big pharmaceuticals ever start using youtube to subliminally control the minds of an unwilling populace. Trying to imagine the kind of person who buys this stuff is depressing and a little frightening, like photographs from Victorian textbooks on developmental biology. ANYWAY. Part two. 'The Global Elite'.

First up, we have William Pitt (the older one), advising us in 1770 that:

"There is something behind the throne greater than the King himself."

Well, why, yes, of course there is. It's called 'Parliament'. Pitt may have been referring to the citizenry in general either, but given that 1770 was the year he re-joined the House of Lords, I think that this is a safe bet, as well as making perfect sense. Britain was well into the century and a half long process of reforms that stripped the monarch of all remaining power and established parliamentary sovereignty by this point. And why is power behind the throne such a bad thing? Is this man advocating absolute monarchy as a good alternative to the NWO? Or does he think Pitt was the king?

Also, what is it with the music in these films? There's practically a genre of this stuff. Electro-Paranoid. Lots of simple drum loops straight off some charity shop sample CD, with bad reverb splashed everywhere. You'd think if this guy has the balls to rip scenes from the Matrix and sell it on DVD he could be bothered to infringe the copyright of some decent music.

Next we have Roosevelt informing us that large financial institutions have a lot of leverage in government. Well, of course. One of the most annoying abilities of conspiracy theorists is their capacity to take a lot of things that are basically true and mould it into something utterly retarded.

Damn, I thought this quote run would be longer. Instead we segue straight to a sort of pseudo-documentary bit. Apparently the American Revolution was fought against central banks. I'm sensing that we're about to see a stream of incomprehensible graphs badly cropped from GIS and a lot of bollocks about Adam Smith. Fucking libertarians. Because I can't be bothered to learn once again how money like, doesn't really exist man and we're all like, totally in debt to the Rockefeller Group and doubtless how the way to fix it is to put us back on the chuffing gold standard, I'm going to skip ahead.

Oh fucking hell. Twenty minutes on the fucking Bilderberg group? "What are these rich and powerful people doing behind closed doors?" What do you think? They're smoking cigars, drinking brandy and getting expert blowjobs, of course. Damn, when I started this article, I thought I was going to get more play out of the central premise, rather than just swearing at a badly edited video which is trying to get me to believe rich people and politicians need to control the world with conspiracies, rather than, you know, openly. Like they actually do.

Bilderberg...Bush...Icke...oh sod this. This post is over. I'll get you next time, you dastardly fiends.

A New Beginning

All other blogs have now been rendered historical curiosities.

Stand by.