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What I bought – 29 February 2012

In short, Roberto privately concluded, if you would avoid wars, never make treaties of peace. (Umberto Eco, from The Island of the Day Before)

Farewell! And where have you been? So ... there's that OYL! An issue that is clearly number four of six has 'the finish line' written on it? Just when you thought it couldn't get any more twisted ...

If you’re wondering if there’s something a little … off about today’s Airwolf panels, blame Mike Sterling. That’s always the best course of action anyway!

Green Wake #10 by Kurtis Wiebe (writer), Riley Rossmo (artist), and Kelly Tindall (colorist/letterer). $3.50, 26 pgs, FC, Image/Shadowline.

Green Wake comes to an end, as Jim Valentino lets us know at the end of the issue, which is too bad. It’s been a nifty little horror comic that has a lot of interesting parts to it, but I guess it just never caught on enough to justify more stories. I wonder if it was a mistake for Wiebe and Rossmo to bring Morley back after his arc seemed to be complete, but it’s too tempting for a creator to get more issues than what he (or she) expected, so I guess that’s the way it is. They do manage to wrap things up fairly well, and the identity of that weird frog-like being is interesting, and Rossmo’s art is a wonderful as ever, so there’s that to look forward to if you plan to get the trade. Wiebe and Rossmo are beginning another series in July, and I’ll be looking forward to that. We’ll see if it does any better!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

No wonder it stalemated!

Orc Stain #7 (“Through Mondo Pass”) by James Stokoe (writer/artist/colorist/letterer). $2.99, 31 pgs, FC, Image.

Well, it’s been a long wait for issue #7 of Orc Stain (issue #6 came out in April, if I remember right), but dang, it’s totally worth it. I would love even just two issues a year of this book if Stokoe could handle it, because it’s so motherfucking awesome. He puts in two double-page spreads which put the cheap ones that DC is padding its books with to shame – I imagine those four pages took him six months by themselves, which might be why the book is so late. Stokoe does a nice job with the recap page bringing us up to speed, and when the issue itself is 31 pages long, it’s packed with content in its own right, making this very much worth the wait.

When last we left One-Eye and Bowie, our favorite orc had confronted an old enemy, Beard, while Bowie had woken up the weird mountain monster, which then wreaked major havoc in the orc town (Bowie hates orcs, so she’s happy to help slaughter them). To begin this issue, we get a flashback to when One-Eye (with two eyes at this point) was still working for/currying favor with Beard, and then Stokoe transitions beautifully back to the present, showing us their battle. Bowie decides she’s intrigued by One-Eye, so she sends her pet/slave/scarf Zuzu to help him, and it turns out that Zuzu can kick some major ass. Once they’ve escaped, One-Eye agrees to let Bowie study him (his remaining eye has some unusual properties), and they head into the mountains to cross the Mondo Pass, where lives a feared creature that litters the entrance to the pass with the skulls of its slain. Of course, One-Eye and Bowie (and the orcs that are chasing them) come face to face with the creature … but what happens next will have to wait another year until issue #8 comes out!

One would think that Stokoe’s art is the sole reason to get this book, and it’s a big reason (check out his blog up there for more examples of his art, including a few devastatingly awesome Spider-Man pages) – as usual, his details are incredible, and his attention to the points of this world are amazing: In the Orc Stain world, everything is alive, so it’s fun to look at the weapons the orcs are holding. The scenes in which Zuzu is “bonded” to One-Eye are superb, flowing wonderfully from panel to panel while remaining stunning pieces of art on their own. The two double-page spreads are earned, one because it’s a great transition from the flashback to the present, showing how One-Eye remains a warrior even without one eye, the second because it shows the immensity of the orc army arriving in the area. Stokoe doesn’t waste any space whatsoever, and it’s a joy to page through one of his comics.

His writing is pretty good, too. He sets things up very well, keeping everything moving but still managing to get a lot of information to us, and the banter between Bowie and Zuzu and later Bowie and One-Eye (with Zuzu making disparaging remarks) is excellent. With many comics that take a long time to come out, I tend to forget what’s going on, but Stokoe’s recap page and the way he writes this issue brings it all back, and that’s a good thing. Considering that gaps like these might be common on this book, I’d say that’s a good thing.

Plus, the book smells good. Never underestimate the power of smell!

I can’t fault anyone for waiting for the trade on this, because it’s frustrating not getting the complete story in a relatively short period of time, but I would also point out that so far, the two actual issues of Orc Stain I’ve bought (I got the trade of the first five issues) have been bursting with great pages that make it less important to get the whole story because the journey is so cool. I can wait for the story to resolve because each issue is so damned excellent!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

One totally Airwolf panel:

One-Eye would fit right in at Inchon

Pigs #6 (“Fred”) by Nate Cosby (writer), Ben McCool (writer), Breno Tamura (artist), Will Sliney (artist), Chris Sotomayor (colorist), and Rus Wooton (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, Image.

So there’s the cover that was too controversial to show in Previews. In case you were wondering.

I wrote last time that Pigs wasn’t clicking for me, and it still isn’t. I’m getting the next two issues because I pre-ordered them, but I don’t think I’ll be continuing after that. It just doesn’t seem like Cosby and McCool have a good handle on how to pace this book. Every issue has been focused on the mission so far, with a tiny bit of character development, but so little happens in far too many issues, and then there are issues that feel overstuffed with action, and the herky-jerky pace never feels right. In this issue, for instance, we don’t really get a lot about the characters (we get a little about the two women on the team – Havana and Ekatarina – but not much), but nothing actually happens. Havana, somehow, knows that the guy they sent into San Quentin to murder the dude they’re supposed to murder was found out and butchered by that Nazi dude on the cover (his name’s Fred), so the team figures they have to go in themselves. But they don’t go in, at least not in this issue. We don’t know how Havana knew that their first plan didn’t work. Basically, the entire issue shows the team sitting around (there are two pages where Viktor and Aleksandr kill some dudes, but even that’s kind of dull) waiting to break into a prison. We find out that Havana and Ekatarina had a rivalry over Felix when they were young, and I assume Ekatarina still carries a torch for Felix even though he’s married, but to stretch that out over the course of an entire issue is pushing it a little. Unlike Orc Stain, which takes a really long time to read because it’s both ridiculously detailed and contains a lot of development, you can fly through Pigs in a minute or two and feel like you’ve gotten everything you need out of it. We still don’t know who the target is (at least we get a scene with him, but we don’t know why he’s been targeted) and we don’t care enough about Felix and Ekatarina yet for their scene together to have an impact. If you’re going to do an issue where everyone is sitting around and waiting for the prison break-in, you better make the dialogue really good. It’s not, though.

I’m disappointed by Pigs, because the first issue was pretty cool and the idea of a Communist sleeper cell causing problems in the U.S. remains a good one. The execution just isn’t there, however. I hope that the next two issues pick up, but I doubt they will.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

See what happens when you say icky things?

Scalped #56 (“Trail’s End Part One”) by Jason Aaron (writer), R. M. Guéra (artist), Giulia Brusco (colorist), and Sal Cipriano (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, DC/Vertigo.

On page 3 of this issue, the caption reads “Eight months later.” I’m kind of surprised Aaron did that, but it works – after last issue, the resolution of this series needs to come when Red Crow is going to go on trial, and the wheels of justice move slowly in these here United States of North America! This also allows Aaron to reset the status quo just a little, as we catch up with the principals and discover how Red Crow might, just might, get away with murder. I don’t want to write too much about this issue (have I already written too much?), but I will say a couple of things: I love that a plus-size woman is totally enjoying some sex in this issue, and Red Crow continues to be one of the most fascinating characters in comics. Dang, this is a cool comic book series.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

The Republicans are right - sex leads to chaos!

T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #4 (of 6) (“The Long Con”) by Nick Spencer (writer), Wes Craig (artist), Sam Kieth (artist), Hi-Fi (colorist), Jeromy Cox (colorist), and Jared K. Fletcher (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, DC.

Sam Kieth continues to be a strange artist. Some of his work is superb, and some just looks so sloppy that I wonder why he even got out of bed to draw it. Presumably, he’s getting paid some decent money by DC to draw five (5) pages of issue #4 of T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, so why does it look so sloppy? If you go back and look at some of the best Kieth art (recently, that would be on My Inner Bimbo, but there are other examples), it’s wonderful, and while it might take a bit longer, he only had to do five (5) pages of this issue, so why phone it in? I pick on writers for getting neutered when they go to work for the Big Two because they can’t upset the apple cart too much, but why that should extend to artists, especially ones who are only drawing five (5) pages, makes no sense. It’s not completely awful art, but when I know Kieth can do a lot better, it really bothers me.

Kieth’s part of the book flashes back to Professor Jennings faking his own death and going to Subterranea, where he eventually began working for Demo, the big bad villain of the series. However, in the present, we learn that he’s not really working for him, but he isn’t working for the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents anymore, either. He’s trying to stop the two sides from killing the innocent populace of Subterranea, but of course, NoMan doesn’t want to hear it. Meanwhile, an Agent dies (as they do) saving another, and Toby acts kind of like a douchebag. Because that’s when he’s most awesome! Of course there’s a big twist at the end, but it makes sense when we consider the entire history of this short series. Once again, it’s clear that this is not a mini-series for those people who didn’t read the earlier ongoing, but if that’s the way it has to be, that’s the way it has to be!

Overall, this is an entertaining and exciting mini-series even though it’s not really breaking any new ground in the medium of serial storytelling. That’s okay, though. I just wish Kieth’s art was better. Is that too much to ask?

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

The Republicans are right - bad parenting leads to chaos!

Gantz vol. 21 by Hiroya Oku (writer/artist). $12.99, 200 pgs, BW, Dark Horse.

So, in this volume of Gantz, the team meets another team, who act very blasé about the threats they are confronted with and are kind of the “regular” team’s evil doppelgängers: they smoke weed, they stand around while the monsters kill innocent bystanders, they rape one of the aliens who looks like a hot chick … but then they run into a monster that pretty much slaughters them all, so that’s all right. Most of the volume concerns Kaze and his search for the little boy, Takeshi, who went into the war zone before the rest of them, and it’s fun to see Takeshi finally figure out how to use his suit. Generally, though, it’s Gantz. This is what every issue pretty much looks like:

create an animated gif

**********

So Davy Jones died yesterday at 66. Jones, of course, is most famous for playing “Nigel” of Tiny Cowboy on Phineas and Ferb, where he sang about meatloaf. Wait, you mean he did something else before that?

In less terminal news, the Oscars were this past weekend. I watched absolutely none of the broadcast. I’m not sure what the appeal is, either, and I like movies. I didn’t watch any of the Super Bowl either, and some people do even if their teams aren’t playing or they don’t like football. It makes no sense. Anyway, I guess the big deal was Angelina Jolie was showing some leg, and people went nuts. Here are some of the best ways people have paid tribute to it, and here’s an actual news story about it. Here are some other photo bombs. This might be my favorite one:

Praise it!

Here is a comic strip about an Oregon Trail family road trip. Yes, from back in the pioneer days.

I’m sure you’ve always wondered why we poor Yanks don’t get to see celebrity commercials, because the famous people all go overseas (Japan, quite often) to make them, but thanks to the Internet, you can check a bunch of them out. Some are from when the actors were already famous, but a few (Yvonne Strahovski and Naomi Watts, for instance) are from when they were just getting started, so of course we might have missed them! Speaking of commercials, Carl’s Jr. continues to be really, really good at them.

My kooky daughter, conspiring with my lovely wife, got her ears pierced this past weekend. I was trying to get her to hold off until she turned 13, but in that area, I suppose I had no say whatsoever. Oh well. Here she is, looking adorable as usual:

You cannot deny the cuteness!

We’ve had a bit of a kerfuffle here in Arizona recently, as the Superintendent of Schools shut down a controversial ethnic studies program in Tucson’s school district even though it’s not technically a violation of state law. Opponents of the program claim it promotes hatred of the United States because it teaches kids about their heritage as Mexicans or Native Americans, but instead of simply teaching pride in that heritage, it casts the U.S. as villains. I don’t know about that – both sides claim their interpretation of the class is correct, of course, and I’ve certainly never sat in on a class – but what’s interesting is that supporters of the program were gathering in Phoenix on Wednesday (actually, all over the country, I guess) to read passages from the books used in the curriculum, which they claim have been “banned.” Interestingly enough, an Arizona State teacher wrote an op-ed piece in Tuesday’s paper supporting the “read-in day” even though she admitted the books have not been banned. Wrote Karen Leong:

[T]he Arizona Ethnic Studies Network [hey, it’s their web site!] has designated Feb. 29 a National Read-In Day to protest the Tucson Unified School District’s decision to ban particular books from being taught in the classroom, even as we celebrate the knowledge and historical experiences contained in these books.

For years, the books were taught by teachers in TUSD’s Mexican American Studies Department. No more. While a handful of copies remain available in the district’s school libraries, teaching Mexican American studies at TUSD was outlawed in January — resulting in a de facto ban of these texts — all because the books’ authors dared to challenge readers’ assumptions about what they think they know when it comes to our country’s history and culture.

Did you like that? Ms. Leong herself admits that the books have not been banned. The books are available in libraries, but because the classes are no longer being taught, the books are “banned.” I wonder how two sides in this country can even find common ground when one side – the supporters of the program – call the Superintendent “Orwellian” – which they have – and fail to see the irony in that statement when they speak of these books being banned. Absolutely no one is stopping students from going to the library and checking the books out for themselves. Personally, I don’t think high school is the place for such specialized studies – primary education is for laying down the foundation of knowledge, whether it’s learning 2+2 or the fact that the Declaration of Independence was a pretty good thing, and college is for tearing all that crap down (imaginary numbers? Alien and Sedition Acts?) (and, okay, I learned about those things in high school, but only after I learned the basics!). If you’ll allow me to get on my soapbox for a moment, part of the problem with education in this country is that we’re teaching far too many esoteric subjects when kids aren’t ready for them (some, I’m sure, were, but the majority … maybe not). I have no doubt that this program was not as bad as the opponents claimed it was. But I wonder if the kids were not ready for such critical thinking about the institutions of our country, because, let’s face it, a lot of people who run our country aren’t ready for critical thinking about the institutions of our country. I hope to teach Norah critical thinking, but she needs to know her multiplication tables and the amendments of the Constitution first. Okay, I’m off my soapbox now!

And when I get off the soapbox, it’s time to find out The Ten Most Recent Songs On My iPod (Which Is Always On Shuffle):

1. “Them Toad Suckers” – Mason Williams (1964) “Suckin’ them bog frogs sure makes ‘em happy!”
2. “Ring the Bells”James (1992) “Got to tell the world we’ve all been dreaming”
3. “Keep Your Lamps” – 1989 All-Eastern Choir (traditional slave spiritual) “Children don’t get weary, the time is drawing nigh”
4. “Love”The Cult (1985) “Gonna drive away won’t get too far”
5. “Hey Boss” – Hamell on Trial (2006) “And I hung him by his organs out the window in the breeze”
6. “Deconstruction”Indigo Girls (2002) “And as for the truth, it seems like we just pick a theory”
7. “Far Away Boys”Flogging Molly (2000) “Lyin’ in your place was my hammer and my gear”
8. “Independence Day” – Elliott Smith (1998) “You only live a day, but it’s brilliant anyway”
9. “The Roof Is Leaking”Phil Collins (1981) “But spring’ll soon be here … Oh God, I hope it’s not late”
10. “Semaphore” – James (2008) “He’d tell you he was sorry, if that made good the hurt”

Well, that was fun, wasn’t it? Let’s do it again next week, when I’m sure there will be more comics to review! It is, after all, a fifth week. Hmmm. I wonder when February last had five Wednesdays in it? It’s an odd set of circumstances for that to happen! Have a nice day celebrating the first day of March, everyone!

31 Comments

Green Wake is ending? That’s terrible news, I was really liking that comic. Well, I guess I should be thankful for 10 issues.

Why was that cover too controversial for Previews? Because it had a swastika?

Love your new pic, Greg! How old were you, 7?

Pigs #6 is the last issue for me. I still can’t get over how the first issue begins with some cops getting the president’s ear/hand/whatever in the mail, jumps to a flashback, and then moves into a second arc without any resolution on the president thing.

Was this originally going to be four issues? I guess that would explain it. I guess I’m not as into this as an ongoing.

Pedro: I assume it was all the swastikas. That’s really the only thing it could have been!

I was 8 in that picture. It’s my third-grade class photograph.

Mike: Yeah, it’s weird how the book is structured. They returned to that scene once in six issues, and it was pretty brief. I don’t know if it was supposed to be four issues, although that might explain some of the odd pacing of the series so far.

[…] What I bought – 29 February 2012- comicbookresources.com In short, Roberto privately concluded, if you would avoid wars, never make treaties of peace. (Umberto Eco, from The Island of the Day Before) If you’re wondering if there’s something a little … off about today’s Airwolf panels, blame Mike Sterling. That’s always the best course of action anyway! Green Wake #10 by Kurtis Wiebe [… […]

[…] What I bought – 29 February 2012- comicbookresources.com In short, Roberto privately concluded, if you would avoid wars, never make treaties of peace. (Umberto Eco, from The Island of the Day Before) If you’re wondering if there’s something a little … off about today’s Airwolf panels, blame Mike Sterling. That’s always the best course of action anyway! Green Wake #10 by Kurtis Wiebe [… […]

[…] What I bought – 29 February 2012- comicbookresources.com In short, Roberto privately concluded, if you would avoid wars, never make treaties of peace. (Umberto Eco, from The Island of the Day Before) If you’re wondering if there’s something a little … off about today’s Airwolf panels, blame Mike Sterling. That’s always the best course of action anyway! Green Wake #10 by Kurtis Wiebe [… […]

More “Orc Stain”? Oh, glorious day! Just give us enough for a second TPB, Stokoe, please!

New Orc Stain!? Need it now. I assume this means that Sullivan’s Sluggers is all finished now and will be out soon. Hopefully that will mean that Stokoe can devote more time to Orc Stain.

Tom Fitzpatrick

March 1, 2012 at 3:00 pm

As to GANTZ: TETTTSEOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. (oops – wrong book) ;-)

War is hell. What else is it for? Democracy?

Oz the Malefic

March 1, 2012 at 5:01 pm

I almost completely disagree with the statement:

“…primary education is for laying down the foundation of knowledge, whether it’s learning 2+2 or the fact that the Declaration of Independence was a pretty good thing, and college is for tearing all that crap down ”
Along with the information following it.

We should not be only teaching “facts” to our youth, we should absolutely be going into the grey areas and discussing issues critically.

By only teaching simple “facts” to our children we do not prepare them for the culture shift they will meet either when entering university or “the real world”

The risk not teaching children critical thinking is that we would have lower educated people with no interest in questioning information as provided. Accepting the simple facts of “my country is good, this is what happened”, and creating an even more insular society. (I’m sorry, but for the most part, Americans already don’t care enough about world affairs, this would only make it worse)

Also, the reason I put quotation marks around facts is that most things we are taught about history is untrue already.

Hopefully the above made sense…

You really can’t get this, Greg? You really can’t see the problem with “you can’t assign it anymore, but we’ll still technically have a copy in the library if the students want to find it on their own”? You often adopt a faux-naive tone, but at times it seems downright disingenuous.

The reason for these programs is that so much of high school relies on heavy-handed WASP cultural indoctrination (Victorian literature, pro-colonialist history, math word problems that require you to know the rules of tennis) that most students whose origins are in other, equally rich cultures feel that they are being forcibly excluded from the education process, whereas programs that acknowledge the validity of their cultural heritage can speak to them and keep them involved. You seem nostalgic for an era when your side’s “facts” were the one and only gospel truth, but that era has passed, thankfully.

Oz: I have no problem teaching kids critical thinking. The problem is that if kids have no foundation, they have nothing to be critical about. When I taught high school, I had kids who didn’t know what nouns were. Should I have taught them critical thinking about works of literature when they had no idea how to read properly? I know that’s an extreme example, but it’s not the only one. I learned critical thinking in high school, but I learned it after learning some kind of foundation. When I taught history in high school, I told the kids that they didn’t have to memorize dates because it doesn’t really matter. But I was teaching European history, so I needed to go over certain facts (and yes, in the study of history, you can teach facts, even though I do agree with you that interpretation goes a long way) to give them a framework for, say, the centuries-long conflict between the papacy and the Holy Roman Empire. They couldn’t think critically about those institutions without knowing something about them. I know that’s not what you’re arguing, but I still think that, in this country at least, we’ve lost some of the foundations of knowledge (and this stretches back to grade school, where I know some kids are moved from grade to grade due to “social” passing), and that’s too bad.

Matt: How can these kids be critical of colonialism when they know nothing about it? Just saying “The United States destroyed cultures with no regard for them” is a idiotic as saying “The Indians got what they deserved.” Again, I don’t know what’s going on in these programs, but opponents (naturally) are saying they’re NOT learning about their heritage, they’re learning about their heritage and being indoctrinated against the country that is providing them with an education (free of charge). I have no idea if that’s true, but wouldn’t anti-American propaganda be as bad as pro-American propaganda? And if every book that’s not taught in a class is considered “banned,” then where does it end? I was “forced” to read Shakespeare in high school, but I didn’t discover Vonnegut until college. Should I go to my high school and rant that they “banned” Slaughterhouse-5? I don’t think so. The point is not that the books have been banned, but that the program was shut down. The protesters can protest that all they want, but to claim the books have been banned seems to be an idiotic way to get their message out, because the books haven’t been banned.

I agree that we need to have a more inclusive curriculum, especially in American history. But, once again, I have taught 17-year-olds who have no idea what the Declaration of Independence is. How does teaching them critical thinking about America’s role in colonialism help them?

FunkyGreenJerusalem

March 1, 2012 at 7:45 pm

I’ve really gotta check this Orc Stain business out.

I’m sure you’ve always wondered why we poor Yanks don’t get to see celebrity commercials, because the famous people all go overseas (Japan, quite often) to make them, but thanks to the Internet, you can check a bunch of them out.

Does George Clooney appearing coffee machine ads in America?
He does in Australia, and although he does make their machine seem cooler than it has any right to be, it’s kind of weird.

But I wonder if the kids were not ready for such critical thinking about the institutions of our country, because, let’s face it, a lot of people who run our country aren’t ready for critical thinking about the institutions of our country.

The people running the country don’t want critical thinking, because they are in power, and critical thinking probably isn’t going to lead to them getting more power – quite the opposite. It’s to their advantage to have people accepting what they are told, and people disliking them for dumb things rather than the important things.
I went to a state run high school, although it was selective, and we did plenty of critical thinking about institutions in the country, the politics of the day as well as the past, and highly critical studies of the media/advertising*. I loved it, and was way more engaged than when it was the standard rope learning.

*Although Australia seems to me more critical of it’s media than America is (in a generalized, government approved way).
For example, there’s a long running show ‘Media Watch’ that just points out the faults and mistakes in newspapers/reports etc, and a rather popular show ‘The Gruen Transfer’ which looks at the ads of the day, with advertising professionals, and explains the techniques used, how they affect you etc Media Watch is serious (Well, the host makes wry comments, and often the blunders in the reports they out are hilarious), and Gruen is comical (though insightful). Both shows on the government funded ABC, and throw in that being critical of media was in both Social Studies and English curriculum’s, it just seems to me somewhere along the way the government decided to immunize people to advertising and shonky reporting.
(Other shows on the government funded channels do it in various ways as well, be they comedy or news based, I just chose those two as that’s all they do).

FGJ: No, George Clooney doesn’t do commercials in the U.S. Unfortunately!

Yeah, we don’t have anything like those programs in the U.S. Heck, I remember that the D-Generation was more political (of the radio sketches I’ve heard) than most of what we have here. I watch the television news and I can’t believe that the interviewers don’t rake more people over the coals. It’s depressing.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

March 1, 2012 at 10:28 pm

Greg, you’ve never seen a home coffee machine look cooler than when Clooney sings it’s praise!
My mother bought one, and it’s nowhere near as cool as when he’s using it. Decent coffee though.
So no Hugh Jackman selling iced tea either? You must at least get ads for anti-pimple creams from Avril Lavigne, both Simpson sisters, and other such pop stars?

We still get really crappy news shows that are just ads for new diet crazes, and hating on minority crime and the like, and it rates more than you can fathom as well, so it ain’t perfect over here. Plenty of soft-ball interviews as well. It’s just nice to have the alternatives as well!
Have you ever seen the 90’s tv show Frontline, by the folks from the D-Generation? Hilarious show set behind the scenes of a current affairs program – all about how much they tweak stories, ignore jounalistic ethics, and chase ratings. It used a lot of actual reporting controversy to fuel it. When I was in high school, it was used as a text in some classes, for analyzing the media!
The bugger of it is, I showed it to my girlfriend last year, she’s English so hadn’t seen it before, and whilst it was still a hilarious show, the corrupted current affairs it portrayed seemed idyllic compared to what we get now. Honestly, it’s like news producers saw it as a handbook rather than a satire.

Hey, how is The Island of the Day Before? I’ve had a copy sitting on a shelf since I got married and just haven’t ever gotten around to it.

MAdlib Flash doom

March 2, 2012 at 12:10 am

ORc sTAin is DoPe as FuKe

FGJ: Nope, none of those!

I haven’t seen Frontline – I assume it came out after I left Oz in ’92 – but I wouldn’t mind tracking it down. I guess in the States we have The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, which is nice, but even then John Stewart, who has gotten better interviewing people he agrees with, is still too nice to them. I don’t know if there are any others – the news on Saturday Night Live doesn’t count, I don’t think, or at least it didn’t back in the day when I watched it.

Seth: It’s pretty good. It’s about the hunt for longitude, and it gets into some weird ideas about time and science and such. It’s been a while since I’ve read it, so I can’t be much more specific, but I did enjoy it. It’s better written than The Name of the Rose (even though that’s more plot-driven) and it’s not quite as weird as Foucault’s Pendulum. I will soon be diving into my unread Eco pile, which should be fun!

It doesn’t help that the news corporations want politicians to work for them after they’re out of office.

The biggest celebrity I remember doing a commercial recently is Michael Imperioli for tequila. There are some bigger names that do a lot of voice over work though.

Unless you count Wilford Brimley for diabetes, but I don’t think he was endorsing them.

Please don’t underestimate the intelligence of children Greg. You’re better than that.

Riley: I’m not underestimating anything. Many children (not all, but many) might be intelligent, but their brains aren’t developed enough to deal with abstract concepts. I told my daughter (the six-year-old) the definition of an imaginary number the other day, because she bugged me about it, and she didn’t get it. Yet she’s very intelligent. I know that’s a silly example, but there’s a difference between being intelligent and not having developed enough to deal with certain things. I know I’ve used examples from my own teaching, because that’s where I figured some of this stuff out. I had, in 3+ years of teaching, perhaps five high school students who could think critically about history and literature. And that’s not to say others weren’t intelligent, just that they hadn’t learned enough about the basics to do so. Maybe that’s part of the problem – that we’re not doing this earlier in life in conjunction with teaching the basics – but even when the kids did something they really liked – I taught Watchmen one semester, and the kids loved it, and that ties into Matt’s contention that kids learn better if they’re involved – they didn’t do too well analyzing the book beyond the very obvious. I would love if high school was more like college, but I don’t know if it could work. I’d love to be proven wrong, though.

Funky, we do have Avril and the Simpsons sisters (I guess both), and even Katy Perry going on about their pimples. Ladies, my eyes haven’t gotten up that far! ;)

I definitely prefer the other bits of the Daily Show to the interviews, as that is where they tend to skewer the idiocy of the media more. A couple recent good segments from the correspondents were the one from John Oliver interviewing the lady that was the head of the group for more civility in public discourse. He then interviewed a lady who wrote a column equating Tea Partiers with terrorists. As you might figure out, it was the SAME LADY! The cognitive dissonance she had in not getting the irony was amazing to watch. The other good one lately was Wyatt Cenac talking with the head of PETA about their lawsuit to free Shamu using the (showing my ignorance, I forget which number it is) Amendment that freed the slaves (13th? that is it, right?), which went into a hilarious direction when he started talking with her about her pet dog and how she was enslaving the dog.

Uh, what were we talking about?

I do agree that kids need a good foundation of facts and the basics of different subjects before being able to really critically think about those subjects, and it’s a failing of everyone involved in schools that it’s not established well early on.

To bring this discussion to comics (and Korean war comics, even!), a bit, I remember an interview with Harvey Kurtzman where he discussed how he loved researching his EC war comics, and a big thrill was discovering the “real” history that wasn’t being taught in school. He grew up in the 1930s, so I suppose things haven’t changed all that much.

While you’re right that the books aren’t banned, the quote you included here does say “de facto” ban, which of course is hedging bets.

I learned a bit about the “Atzlan” (hope I spelled that right) idea of Mexican/American culture and heritage in college, from a hispanic professor, and iirc, a part of that POV is that the US unlawfully took the land in your part of the country, and that the land should be returned for Hispanics/Latinos/and so on. Apologies if I’ve mischaracterized the viewpoint of certain people, but I don’t think I’m completely wrong (in how the viewpoint was presented to me/how I understood it).

One thing I’ve been thinking about recently is that back in high school, I took some psych courses, and one of the things we did in one class was the “chitlin test”. As I recall, it’s a series of questions about southern US culture, terminology, etc. The idea was to question the notions like what Matt Bird brings up, and also the notion of how accurate IQ tests are, by having us (in upstate NY) take this test. Unless you were raised in that Southern culture, you wouldn’t score very high, and that was the teacher’s point with giving the test to us.

Except that I scored quite well on it, for some reason, despite being a yankee born and bred (well, my mom’s side of the family did come from the south, so it wasn’t quite so odd, thinking about it). I decided not to become the freak and therefore didn’t raise my hand when the teacher asked if any of us scored high on it.

Another school related thing — recently in a local library, there was a display of artwork by, I believe, elementary age students, and the topic was “fracking”, which is a method of getting natural gas, and is a hot topic in my area, with the pro-drillers wanting the jobs and drilling and gas, and the anti-drillers wanting none of it, and pointing out the dangers of it. (I tend to think that as long as there’s some regulation, the drilling is probably not a huge deal, but the regulation IS needed. IBM started in my area, and in the late ’70s there was a chemical spill. I highly doubt there were strict regulations regarding the handling of chemicals, and 30+ years later, it still affects the area)

Back to the fracking — ALL the kids drew anti-fracking pictures (or at least all that were displayed). My comment to myself was “looks like these were all drawn LEFT handed”.

I don’t believe there’s a vast conspiracy to indoctrinate children into certain viewpoints, but I do think that since children, especially elementary school age, haven’t necessarily developed the critical faculties to understand multiple viewpoints (and also see teachers/authority figures as mostly infallible), teachers should be careful in what they present and how they do so.

God, I’m longwinded!

[…] What I bought – 29 February 2012Comic Book Resourcesby Greg Burgas In short, Roberto privately concluded, if you would avoid wars, never make treaties of peace. (Umberto Eco, from The Island of the Day Before) If you're wondering if there's something a little … off about today's Airwolf panels, … […]

Travis: You might be long-winded, but those are pretty good points!

I sense a Korean War theme in this posting.

I don’t care who wins the Oscars. I watch the show just to see how well or badly the producers organize it.

I addressed the Tucson book ban several times in my blog, including here:

http://newspaperrock.bluecorncomics.com/2012/01/tucsons-books-censored-not-banned.html

Aren’t the Mexican American Studies classes electives offered to 11th and 12th graders? I haven’t heard anyone say they’re given to kids who are too young and immature to appreciate them.

I took AP History in 11th or 12th grade and we got into questioning America’s verities. If I could handle it, so could other willing and able students.

I’m not sure, Rob. That’s part of the mystery of the program. I haven’t read one news item (granted, I may have missed it) that lays out exactly who’s taking these classes. Some people say they’re electives, but others say they’re the only history classes available. It’s annoying.

Well, obviously these courses should be electives rather than the main or only history classes. I’ve read a lot on this subject too, and I haven’t heard anyone say they were the only history classes available. I don’t know for sure, but I think the outcry would be much louder if that were the case.

I Googled the subject and here’s what I found:

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2011/0504/Tucson-district-in-turmoil-over-state-ban-on-ethnic-studies

In the meantime, the Tucson district has proposed changing the program. Currently, Mexican-American courses can help satisfy the social-studies requirement for graduation (although students don’t have to take the courses to fulfill the requirement). Under the proposal, the Mexican-American classes would not count toward the social-studies requirement and would instead be electives. Six-and-a-half elective credits are needed for graduation.

*****

I gather Mexican American Studies was one of several options that satisfied a social-studies requirement. The students had a choice of European History, the US Constitution, or MAS…something like that. So it wasn’t mandatory. Whether it was limited to more mature 11th and 12th graders is still a question.

Rob’s last link reminds of when I was in high school, although the story doesn’t relate that closely. I took the course on World History (I think it was that one) in 9th grade, a year ahead (as I was in a lot of courses. Damn, I’m a bragging nerd.). I got good grades on it throughout the year, probably low to mid 90s. Then I took the final Regents exam (in NYS, this is), and scored an 80 on it. A good 10+ points lower than my average all year. But with Regents, you don’t get to see the test afterwards and see what you did wrong (hopefully this has changed). So in other words, I have no idea what I actually learned in that class, if anything. Oh well.

The other thing about it is that the regular teacher got injured during the school year and was out for…a couple months. We had a long term sub, who happens to be a comics nerd, as were a few of us in that class. I remember that at that time, I hadn’t read Watchmen, which only just put me ahead of the rest of the comics people in the class, as they had barely heard of it, and this I believe saddened the sub. (This was…spring of ’94, I guess.) But yeah, I’m definitely gonna have to talk to the sub about that, cuz I still see him around ….

[…] enough for me. Pal Dorian featured it in one of his always-wonderful “Flop” posts, Greg went a little nuts with it in one of his weekly comics review columns, and even a Korean-themed podcast picked up on it. And a […]

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