Tag: art

Two Pics

Diane makes our home look so beautiful. It’s like I’m coming home to a lush garden.

Also I got a cool action shot of Tito today:

Sack on Mandates

Steve Sack from the Minneapolis Star Tribune won the Pulitzer Prize today for his editorial cartoons. Here’s my favorite of the gallery. I also really like this one.

Matt Taibi on Zero Dark Thirty

From his Rolling Stone blog:

Bigelow made it clear that she wasn’t making any half-assed Rumsfeldian claim that what went on after 9/11, in thousands of grimy rooms around the world with thousands if not tens of thousands of people, somehow wasn’t torture. […]

Here’s my question: if it would have been dishonest to leave torture out of the film entirely, how is it not dishonest to leave out how generally ineffective it was, how morally corrupting, how totally it enraged the entire Arab world, how often we used it on people we knew little to nothing about, how often it resulted in deaths, or a hundred other facts? Bigelow put it in, which was “honest,” but it seems an eerie coincidence that she was “honest” about torture in pretty much exactly the way a CIA interrogator would have told the story, without including much else. […]

Bigelow is such a great storyteller that she has to know, deep inside, that the “depiction is not endorsement” line doesn’t wash. You want audiences gripped to the screen, you’ve gotta give them something to root for, or against. This was definitely not a movie about two vicious and murderous groups of people killing and torturing each other in an endless cycle of increasingly brainless revenge. And this was not a movie about how America lost its values en route to a great strategic victory.

No, this was a straight-up “hero catches bad guys” movie, and the idea that audiences weren’t supposed to identify with Maya the torturer is ludicrous.

Why War is Boring is Boring

I just spent a few minutes writing about why I disliked the memoir War is Boring, by David Axe with art by Matt Bors. I figured maybe other people would like to read it.

Mostly I found myself annoyed by the equanimity and detachment that the author presented toward places of incredible human suffering. Obviously a war correspondent becomes numb — as a matter of course — to the horrors of conflict. But it is this exact internal struggle that creates some of the best war reporting on the planet. (I’m thinking here of Robert Fisk, Amy Goodman, Allan Nairn, even Anderson Cooper.) I cannot recommend Joe Sacco enough for a superb example of a comics-artist war correspondent.

I have no problem with war correspondents putting their own emotions — even if I disagree with them — into a story. The author of War is Boring, on the other hand, seems to represent the worst traits of 21st-century US ennui: Everything is just a re-run or a big yawn. It reminds me of this scene from My Dinner With Andre. Alas, rather than wrestling with this boredom, or interrogating its sources or the dangers it presents, the author chooses to wallow in it.

As someone who has been deeply involved with human rights and international solidarity activism for nearly 20 years, I simply cannot sympathize with this view. There is so very much work we need to do to resist the constant needless suffering on the planet, and if the author believes that there’s nothing we can do to stop the sort of conflict he witnesses, then he is simply and factually wrong.

And as someone who has written four novels and a wide variety of stories, autobiographical pieces, and other materials, I am strongly annoyed by the solipsistic nature of his book. If war (and therefore his life) is so boring, why write a book about it? As Saul Williams said: “Are your tales of reality worth their sonic-laced discussions?” It seems like the author here just kinda wanted to write a book, and he figured he had enough material to make it happen, so why not?

But — again — what’s the point? What did he intend to illuminate about the nature of war (or war correspondence)? What does he want to say to his fellow humans about our condition on the planet? What is the intended takeaway? I consider it one of the rare few graphic novels that I seriously regret investing my time into.

RIP isolatr

A few years back I stumbled upon a new social media website called isolatr. It was fun and new and fresh. Alas — as I mentioned on this week’s SynCast — some fitness company swiped the URL, according to SeanBonner, the guy who created it.

Fortunately, I found some screencaps recently. I’m posting them here so you can get a taste of what it was like. Thanks, Sean, for the memories. Please set up a mirror! (Danger: Bad words!)