September 2nd, 2004

smokin'

I's gots the RNC blues

Cripes. I realize both political parties are full of shit, but I cannot fathom -- especially in light of the RNC centrist bait and switch convention, the flimsiest mask of moderation possible placed over such a terrifying batch of manipulative, ideological, fundamentalist creeps ever assembled in one room -- that anyone with a working brain could vote for Bush/Cheney. Unless, of course, the person in question hated gays like Alan Keyes, still resented the Civil Rights bill, unquestionably loved god and country the way the RNC wants them to, was married to a party through thick, thin and logic, was unreasonably terrified of terroriists lurking behind every Wal-Mart, or was the corporate recipient of tax cuts, bailouts and favors. The RNC is putting on such an obvious dog and pony show aimed at undecided independant moderates and showing a "compassionate" face to the cameras that its disgusting. I'm far from a genius, and I don't like when the Democrats bullshit me, but I would think that even a diehard Republican with a working brain would be bothered and embarrassed by how Bush/Cheney is playing people, playing with people's lives, and playing with people's livlihoods. He's shortchanged the military, sought to cut veteran's benfits, did nothing after someone high up in his administration outed a CIA mole, and hasn't fired anyone after all the admitted mistakes in intelligence and military planning over Iraq and Afghanistan. No one has gotten in trouble over the CIA incident, bad intelligence, screw-ups in procedure during and after 9/11, the troubles in mainatining order after we wrecked Iraq, not finding Bin Laden, not preventing the Taliban from re-emerging in Afghanistan, losing jobs like Herbert Hoover in heat, not apportioning anti-terrorism funds in a timely or fair fashion, not getting body armor and bullets to troops when they needed them, the prison torture in Iraq, etc, etc. No bad move or mistake or oversight is ever punished -- let alone admitted -- in this administration. That's pathetic leadership, whether you believe in the platform or not. There's staying the course and there'sa rigid circling of the wagons against everything. If nothing else, I don't know how anyone can not be upset and suspicious of an administration that hand picks who can ask questions of them, and decides what questions can be asked. I'd be upset and horrified by a President who gives stump speeches at public facilities and doesn't allow certain Americans to attend the events. The fact that Bush has people questioned and processed before they're allowed a ticket to see their American President, that people are asked to sign an oath of support and loyalty or are refused admittance, sickens me to no end. This is anti-American. This is anti-Democratic. An independent or a curious Democrati or somebody who simply wants to take their kids to see their American President, or hear what he has to offer, to make up their mind or reinforce their opposition cannot enter a Bush rally unless they state their political views and who they're going to vote for at the gate. That is just so indicative of the control, manipulation and cowardice of this Administration, that they can't even brook one iota of dissent or disagreement, to the point where they come off as totalitartian cretins. They are shameless, they are unrepentant liars, they remain unaccountable for anything and everything, they wage culture war and breed intolerance and division, and apparently people are not outraged enough by this behavior to make anything of it. I just wish it was Friday and these people were out of NYC , the city hasn't stunk this bad since the Dinkins administration couldn't keep the streets clean.

Of course, your opinion may vary. I respect that, I just don't understand that. Not with this administration, not at this point in time. And I realize that as a political analyst I'm a largely ignorant moron, this is just my opinion, based on paying some attention, coming from the head and from the gut. I'm not a die-hard Democrat, but today's Republican party actually makes me sick, and if Bush remains in power in November I'm going to get stoned drunk. If that makes me a "girly-man" in Arnold's, fuck it and fuck him. Besides, I thought the Republicans had issues with Hollywood elites who make children-affecting violent movies and have had a history of taking drugs. Forget the groping issue -- Guiliani brought his mistress home while his wife and kid were asleep, Al D'Amato got an anullment from the Catholic church even though he already had kids, and that's barely the tip of their hypocrisy. Family values, sanctity of marriage my ass.

Sorry about that. I just needed to vent. And I don't wan to get into any fights with my Republican friends, because they get messy and resolves nothing. I really fucking hate poliitcs for that reason. If everyone treats it like sports or religion, nothing will ever get resolved intelligently. It's just us vs. them, whgich is generally reductive and stupid. Although I have to say, for the first time in my life, I have nothing in common with any aspect of this current administration, no agreement on any major issue whatseover. And I voted for Guiliani, for the record, I have switched parties when I thought it made sense.

Anyway, in the happy uncluttered world of comicky books, I really enjoyed the third issue of Street Angel from SLG, and the latest Comics Journal was terrific. First issue I've read cover to cover in years, and enjoyed a large portion of it to boot. I also largely enjoyed Sam Hitis End Times vol 1, and recommend it, although with reservations. Hiti conveys a tremendous sense of place and mood, reminding me of Mignola's work in that sense. His drawing reminds me of Pope and Mazzucchelli as well as several European and Manga types, probably those who have influenced the aforementioned cartoonists. I really liked the artwork, and his sequential chops are pretty impressive in most places. Sometimes he drags out actions and moments so long a japanese reader might lose patience, I think he stretches things longer than even the Lone Wolf and Cub guys do, and at times individual panels are muddled and hard to make out because his style renders everything as organic, people, objects, buildings, etc. The extended pacing also points up to how little "meat" there is in the book, story-wise, I started checking page numbers at about page 66 because nothing had really "happened" at that point. The material is so deliberately paced that pretty much nothing happens after 118 or so pages. A man is called on by forces to slay a demon in a village. Some demons want to stop him. He fights the demon. A new character is introduced at the end of the book. That's it. Some folks might not have a problem with that, in this day of manga influence and Marvel's skimpy "cinematic storytelling". I generally like a little more meat on the bone, even if what little is there is lovely. And while I liked the genral mood presented, the characters speak Spanish and are translated, the Spanish (Mexican? South American? Please excuse this NYC jew's ignorance) locations and imagery are decidely un-American and refreshing, besides beautiful. Unfortunately, for me, I didn't like how the spanish translations were handled -- asterisks and captions beneath panels holding the English text -- because they were distarctions from the careful visual flow of the panels. I preferred how Hiti handled the conversations between the main character and the children -- having the English-speaking kids answer the man, letting the reader get the exotic feel from the Spanish dialogue, but translating it organically within the panels themselves. Similarly, I didn't like the translations of the crow's dialogue for similar reasons, and I thought that while the use of sound effects was largely effective, use of effects like "shake shake" and "ruffle" seemed off-putting, mixed in with more organic, less dead-on effects. Minor point, there, personal feeings as well. The upshot -- , End Times is beautiful to look at, nice use of toning and shading, some virtuoso cartooning and touches, some mystery, but at 118 pages...pretty slim goings on, and if you don't care about demons and stuff, maybe not for you. Still, I think it's worth checking out, esp. if you like Pope and Mignola (although they may not be actual influences on Hiti). It's a big, good-lloking interesting book by a promising new cartoonist (at least new to me) at a good price. As with politics and wrestling, this is all imho.
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