[tv] Evan Dorkin Exposes Geek Chic for Cartoon Network — Dorkin talks about Welcome to Eltingville … ‘”Because of Dorkin’s antipathy towards the “Eltingville” quartet, he plans to retire the group from comics. “I always knew ‘Eltingville’ was something I was going to stop doing,” he says. “I hate these characters, to a small degree. I find them maddening to work on. I’m drawing these horrific, ugly characters acting in a really nasty way.”
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[books] More, Now, Again by Elizabeth Wurtzel — the condensed version … ‘It’s December 1997 and I’m checking in to Silver Hill Clinic. There’s this guy there, Hank, who is fairly ugly but is the only one who’s remotely as clever as me. This is perfect as no way can we ever become lovers. Hank and I become lovers.’
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[comics] I invented Judge Dredd — BBC News interview with John Wagner … ‘This was back in the days of Dirty Harry, and with [Margaret] Thatcher on the rise there was a right-wing current in British politics which helped inspire Judge Dredd. He seemed to capture the mood of the age – he was a hero and a villain. That villainous aspect to Dredd’s character – and the Draconian laws of Mega-City One [the post-apocalyptic metropolis Dredd polices] – really caught the readers’ imagination. Occasionally we’d get letters from children who seemed to be agreeing with his hard-right stance, so we made the strip more political to bring out the fact that we didn’t agree with Dredd.’ [via Coffee Grounds]
[people] Various celeb profiles I’ve looked at recently …
Oh Brother — What happened to Brian after Big Brother … ‘Comparisons with Graham Norton and Julian Clary don’t do Brian any favours, however. He is every bit as original, but he has a beatific charm that allows you to forgive his bitchiness. When Narinder asked, “I wonder which celebrity guy is watching now thinking, ‘Ooh, I’d love to shag that Narinder’,” Brian didn’t hesitate: “Er, Stevie Wonder?”‘
Singer. Songwriter. Messiah? — profile of Bono … ‘Political gestures have been a part of Bono’s pop persona. Sometimes they have been inspiring, sometimes they have been inappropriate, even tacky. At the MTV awards in Paris in 1995, after French nuclear tests in the Pacific, he received the award for best group then attacked Jacques Chirac, saying: “What a city, what a night. What a bomb, what a mistake. What a wanker you have for president.” Perhaps that sort of outburst goes with the territory of being a rock star. Largely, though, Bono has succeeded in transcending this. It’s enough of a feat to remain musically and politically correct for 22 years.’
No Pain, No Gain — more on Elizabeth Wurtzel … ‘She is one of those spectacularly neurotic New Yorkers who have to have their coffee a certain way. You know, this much coffee, this much water, this much milk, at this temperature, then stirred anti-clockwise for three turns and then clockwise for two. “Shall we chance it?” she asks the waiter. He is up for it, but when the coffee arrives she takes a tiny sip then abandons it. Perhaps he foolishly skipped the anti-clockwise bit.’
[books] Elizabeth Wurtzel went shopping… — review of More, Now, Again … ‘More, Now, Again is the real thing, Elizabeth Wurtzel’s Diary: Complete and Unabridged. This time she’s left absolutely nothing out. For instance, quite a large percentage of More, Now, Again is taken up with what Wurtzel happened to catch on television – and I mean between 10 and 15 per cent. On page 26 she “discovers” ER, while on page 41 we find her watching Saturday Night Live. Occasionally, she attempts something a little more demanding – on page 45 she dips into the latest issues of Vogue and Mademoiselle – but this doesn’t last long and by the time we get to page 47 she’s relapsed: “I watch more MSNBC.” I honestly had no idea that writers could sell this sort of material.’
[film] The Conversation … ‘Harry is a surveillance genius for whom other people’s privacy is an obstacle to be overcome using equipment he builds himself. He is also a man suffering intensely from guilt: one of his previous assignments resulted in the death of an entire family. This revelation, as well as the film’s depiction of Harry’s Catholicism (we see him at confession, an analogue of the secular eavesdropping Harry practices), complicates his detachment from others by introducing the one element that functions as the “bug” Harry can neither disable nor escape: his own conscience.’ [Related: Conversation at IMDB]
[lmg] LinkMachineGo is two today. Got any favourite quotes from LMG? Let me know. Below is a quick review of the last year in quotes (and one picture) …
March 2001 … ‘Uncle June and I, we had our problems, with the business. But I never should’ve razzed him about eating pussy; this whole war could’ve been averted. Cunnilingus and psychiatry brought us to this.’ — Tony Soprano.
April 2001 … ‘Pamela came round with an egg-decorating kit. William’s eggs were a riot of primary colours; Glenn’s depicted Jesus on the cross. He wrote a bubble out of Jesus’s mouth, “Father, why hast thou forsaken me?”, which disturbed Pamela: “For God’s sake, Glenn lighten up. It’s Easter!” Later, while William played with the packing of his Barbie egg and Glenn watched The Greatest Story Ever Told, she led me to my room and gave an erotic Easter egg, the centre of which contained a pair of edible knickers. She was keen for me to break it open and retrieve them. I was less keen: a glance at the ingredients told me they were choc-a-bloc with obscure chemicals and multisyllable flavourings.’ — Adrian Mole.
May 2001 … ‘Have you ever wanted to shove a glass rod right up Nick Jordan’s cock?’ — Venusberg.
June 2001 … ‘…do not dismiss a person until you have met them. It is a fuckload of work to be open-minded and generous and understanding and forgiving and accepting, but Christ, that is what matters.’ — Dave Eggers.
July 2001 … ‘Oh no! You’re not still seeing her, are you? You’ve been wanting to get out of this relationship for years, and now the mother speaks of marriage? You must do something drastic my friend. Make a pass at her father! Go on…. just give his knee a little squeeze…’ — Tango Advert.
September 2001 … ‘I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.’ — Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto.
October 2001 … ‘Okay. I have a vestigial tail. It’s more of a nub, really. The spine just goes on a little longer than it should. Also, I’ve dabbled. I mean, perform fellatio once and you’re a poet, twice and you’re a homosexual. I remember once I was being fisted by Sebastian Cabot- but here’s where the story gets interesting…’ — Dr Evil.
November 2001 … ‘Sat in a sandwich bar in Westminster I meet the sharp south-London wideboy occultist that I’d created some years previously for a U.S. comic book. He looks at me. He nods, and smiles, and walks away. Years later, in another place, he steps out from the dark and speaks to me. He whispers: I’ll tell you the ultimate secret of Magic. Any cunt can do it.’ — Alan Moore.
December 2001 … ‘If the hijackers had been able to imagine themselves into the thoughts and feelings of the passengers, they would have been unable to proceed. It is hard to be cruel once you permit yourself to enter the mind of your victim. Imagining what it is like to be someone other than yourself is at the core of our humanity. It is the essence of compassion, and it is the beginning of morality. The hijackers used fanatical certainty, misplaced religious faith, and dehumanising hatred to purge themselves of the human instinct for empathy. Among their crimes was a failure of the imagination.’ — Ian McEwan.
January 2002 … ‘What kind of man are you anyways? I’m talking comics and you bring up chicks and romance.’ — Brodie.
[tv] This is a Setup — yet another interview with Louis Theroux … ‘Would he happily pull out a pack of condoms from Jimmy Savile’s bag in real life? “Oh, no,” he says, shocked. “I’d never do that if the camera weren’t there. I’d worry that he’d get offended.” So the camera offers protection? “Well, it’s a licence to behave in a certain way.” He says that on television he is in character, even though that character is just a heightened version of his true self.’
[comics] Writer Cool with Unauthorized Use of Script in Cerebus — Dave Sim stirs up a controversy again (kinda… no misogyny or fistfights this time) … ‘When the Journal, disheartened, expressed the opinion to Sim that this seemed to be shaping up as one of the smaller Sim controversies, he responded, reassuringly, “When it comes to Dave Sim, there are no small controversies.”‘
[tv] The Truth about me and Louis Theroux — a profile of Ann Widdecombe … ‘One thing does, however, leave the viewer still utterly dumbfounded by the end of the show. Widdecombe actually believed that Theroux would stick to his promise of not bringing up her alleged virginity, which, predictably, he does within the first five minutes. (Widdecombe famously threatened to sue a reporter who suggested to her that she wasn’t still a maiden.) “As you probably realised, there was a huge row off-screen,” she says. (There’s a pretty enjoyable on-screen humdinger, too.)’
[politics] You Ask The Questions… Christopher Hitchens … Who is worse — Henry Kissinger or Mother Teresa: ‘With Kissinger, you can tell how many people he killed. With Mother Teresa, who only preached surrender to poverty, disease and ignorance and against family planning, we can’t be sure of the figures. But together they certainly make two out of the four pale riders of the Apocalypse.’
[film] Oh, I can’t bear it. I really can’t bear it — Nicole Kidman talks about her fascination with The Shining … ‘In The Shining, Kubrick made these ostentatiously smooth camera movements – relatively new to audiences – into a motif for the film. The steadiness of the camera movements mixed with the grisly subject matter into a mood of unease, especially when juxtaposed with the odd, often emotionless speech. “Stanley would tell us he was not interested in naturalness,” Kidman recalls. “He was not interested in a sort of documentary style performance. He liked it to be slightly odd, slightly off.”‘
 America more serious? You must be joking — Christopher Hitchens on America after 911 … ‘”Can we be funny?” the hosts of Saturday Night Live asked Rudy Giuliani when they nervously invited him on to the set a few nights after the immolation of the World Trade Centre. “Why start now?” was his mordant reply and, with that, frivolity resumed her reign.’
[comics] The Ultimate Writer — Sequential Tart interview with Mark Millar … How to “save” comics: ‘The formula is very simple and was utilized in microcosm in Marvel Knights; the best writer and the best artist you can find on a character and the audience will seek them out. This was then applied to the Marvel Universe itself and created the beginnings of the new boom we’re looking at. DC will hopefully follow the trend and add their considerable marketing and retail muscle to the boom. I don’t know if it’ll happen under the current administration, but history has a habit of sweeping aside anyone who’s standing still.’
[machines] Why does it take so long to mend an escalator? — lots of escalators being replaced on the London Underground at the moment… ‘Why does it take so long to mend an escalator? As far as that goes I am willing to believe what I am told: that escalators are big, complicated machines packed into tight shafts and there aren’t many hours when you can work on them. More money wouldn’t remove those obstacles to seamless service, nor would improved logistics. In fact, a large influx of capital would, in the short term, increase time-outs – it takes longer to replace an escalator than to maintain it – even though the end result would be fewer maintenance sessions.’ [via Feeling Listless]
[war] Does bin Laden matter anymore? … does the Pentagon care about ObL? ‘ Try as he may, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld cannot seem to shake the dreaded “OBL” question – even coming from his wife, Joyce. “Every once in a while … as I get up about 5 o’clock and get ready to take a shower and head for the office, she says, ‘Don, where is he?’ ” Mr. Rumsfeld told a military gathering last week. “I tell her that if I want to bring up Osama bin Laden, I’ll wake her up and bring it up myself,” he quipped.’ [via Red Rock Eater]
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[stats] 795,763 tonnes of building rubble — War on Terrorism statistics … ‘US planes have dropped 328,000 blankets, 3.4 million pounds of wheat and 2.5 million daily rations into Afghanistan. Ten thousand tonnes of bombs have fallen on Afghanistan since 11 September, half of what fell on London in the Blitz.’ [Related: Observer War On Terrorism Section]
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[wtf?!] The Enema Within … slightly extremely disgusting article about colonic irrigation holidays in Thailand. ‘…octogenarian bowel specialist, V E Irons, attempted the Herculean task of selling colonic irrigation on its erotic potential. I would lose my frigidity, he promised, my sex life would go stratospheric. “How could anyone fully enjoy sex when he has up to 15 years of encrusted fecal matter and mucus in his colon?” asked Irons. “HE CAN’T – and HE WON’T. If you want to remain sexually potent for your entire life, start cleaning your colon today. I’m 87, and I still enjoy sex. And if I can at my age, I know you can at your age… so get on with it!” It was of little consolation to Mez, whose hunger had now assumed epic proportions. She was considering eating her apricot moisturiser, she told me.’ [via Coffee Grounds]
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[books] Excellent oldish interview with James Ellroy from 1995 … Ellroy on Oliver Stone’s JFK: ‘I was just enthralled for an hour and twenty minutes. Bravuro moviemaking, wonderfully layered and dense and jazzy, and then Donald Sutherland arrives to posit this preposterous theory, and it goes downhill from there. I think organized crime, exile factions, and renegade CIA killed Jack the Haircut. I think your most objective researchers do as well. When Oliver Stone diverged from that to take in the rest of the world (Lyndon Johnson, the Joint Chiefs of Staff), I lost interest. I went out and bought a copy of the video and I watch it right up until Donald Sutherland appears, then I turn it off.’ [via Book Notes]
[film] Salon looks at Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey … ‘…we see Bowman, now an old man, living out his old age like a zoo attraction in a feigned Louis XVI-style bedroom, assumedly created for him by the aliens. And then suddenly the creation theme continues as a giant fetus inexplicably rises over Earth. Although birthdays have noticeably been happening in the background all along (Poole, Floyd’s daughter), all bets are off as to the movie’s ultimate statement. At the film’s Hollywood premier in 1968, Rock Hudson walked out saying, “Will someone tell me what the hell this is about?”‘
…and mention that he’s pretty popular with Middlesbrough football team… check out Stuart’s guest book: ‘Like your site. You must put a tremendous amount of effort into it. I spend most afternoons checking it out, after my morning’s training. I shall get more of my teammates to follow suit. The links are impressive. I only wish I had a laptop so I could access it from more places.’
[nologo] America is not a hamburger — Naomi Klein on the “rebranding” of America. ‘…Beers views the US tattered international image as little more than a communications problem. Somehow America still hasn’t managed, in Beers’ words, to “get out there and tell our story”. In fact, the problem is just the opposite: America’s marketing of itself has been too effective. Schoolchildren can recite its claims to democracy, liberty and equal opportunity as readily as they can associate McDonald’s with family fun and Nike with athletic prowess. And they expect the US to live up to its claims. If they are angry, as millions clearly are, it’s because they have seen those promises betrayed by US policy.’
[books] Salon interviews Jon Ronson about his book Them: Adventures with Extremists … ‘The way I portrayed the people is accurate. Because they’re human beings and we have a kind of wonderful capacity to be absurd and ridiculous. It would be easy to portray them as one-dimensional demons, but I wanted to do the opposite. Just because they’re buffoons it doesn’t mean they can’t fly planes into the World Trade Center. It doesn’t have to be one or the other.’ [via I Love Everything]
[tv] Keepin’ it Real, for Real — profile of Ali G … ‘His school reports also contain an intriguing hint about Ali’s secret life. Despite his often repeated boasts about his enormous membrum virile, his PE teacher confides that “he has, to my knowledge, only once been prepared to take a shower with the rest of the boys. Admittedly, certain cruel remarks from a few of them are probably a factor here…”‘
 Six Months that Changed a Year — an “absolute atrocity” special by Chris Morris and Armando Iannucci … Highlights include: ‘Julie Burchill: How I liberated Kandahar with the news that Tony Parsons is a bastard.’ [Update: Post on Metafilter]
[celebs] Is Pete stalking Danny La Rue? ‘If you walk down Malett St and look up there’s a balcony of sorts with shrubs and trees. That’s where he lives. His front door is the one with the arm holding a hammer. I know this because someone told me.’
[tv] At home with Orville (and Keith) — interview with Keith Harris… the latest subject of Louis Theroux … ‘Certainly, I think Keith thinks he should still be on telly, as he was with his own show between 1982 and 1990. “Once you are off TV, people think you’re dead, think your talent’s disappeared. And you do lose status. You’re asked to be fourth on the bill to someone from Gladiators, and that does annoy me. Why? Because they are not as good as me. They can’t be. They don’t have my experience. Do I sound bitter?” Um. Yes?’
[comics] Thrown to the Wolves — a review of my comic du jour… 100 Bullets. ‘The basic story-line is simple, but as I’ve indicated not without its complications. A highly secretive group of vengeance-seekers, the Minutemen, are locked in battle with the Trust, the obligatory nasties. The Minutemen operate outside the law, specializing in setting up victims of criminal wrongdoing with hard evidence of who did them wrong, along with a tasty firearm and one hundred untraceable bullets. The victims get to decide whether and how they are going to use the information and weaponry the Minutemen have dropped in their laps. Those who succeed in blowing the bad guy(s) away might then be approached to see if they have what it takes to join the ranks of the secret revenge society.’ [Related: 100 Bullets on-line comic]
[war] He wants War. And he thinks he’s ready for it — profile of Saddam Hussein … ‘…he had two sons, Uday and Qusay, who today are his chief lieutenants. In official Iraqi paintings they are usually portrayed as young Arab horsemen loyally riding behind their father, the Sheikh. Family solidarity has been repeatedly shaken by Uday’s murderous rages. In 1988 he killed his father’s bodyguard and confidante during a drunken row at a party on an island in the Tigris river. For many years his power base, bizarrely, has been the Iraqi Olympic Committee which has a large, fortified headquarters in Baghdad with its own prison cells.’
[film] The trouble with Harry — brief update on Harry Knowles… the “ultimate movie geek”. ‘…I don’t believe that their [Movie fan websites] opinions affect or alter the tastes of the moviegoing public. Far from it; most web geeks are so leadenly conservative that their opinions actually reflect and reinforce the lamest conventional tastes. “Fan”, after all, derives from “fanatic”, and fanaticism is rarely progressive, original or mould-breaking.’
[comics] King David — DC Comics PR for Kyle Baker’s new graphic novel … ‘Hilarity of Biblical Proportions! Violence! Intrigue! Polygamy! Mass circumcision!’
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March 21, 2002
[quote] ‘In 1930, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, in an effort to alleviate the effects of the… Anyone? Anyone? …the Great Depression, passed the… Anyone? Anyone? The tariff bill? The Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act? Which, anyone? Raised or lowered? …raised tariffs, in an effort to collect more revenue for the federal government. Did it work? Anyone? Anyone know the effects? It did not work, and the United States sank deeper into the Great Depression. Today we have a similar debate over this. Anyone know what this is? Class? Anyone? Anyone? Anyone seen this before? The Laffer Curve. Anyone know what this says? It says that at this point on the revenue curve, you will get exactly the same amount of revenue as at this point. This is very controversial. Does anyone know what Vice President Bush called this in 1980? Anyone? Something-d-o-o economics. “Voodoo” economics.’ [Thanks Meg, Scally]
[politics] Just What Was He Smoking? — The Washington Post takes a look at audio tapes from Richard Nixon’s White House. ‘…he does explain many other things in these drug tapes, including the insidious nexus between drugs, homosexuality, communism and, of course, Jews. The excerpts begin with the Nixon doctrine on why marijuana is much worse than alcohol: It is because people drink “to have fun” but they smoke marijuana “to get high.” This distinction was evidently enormously significant to Nixon, because he repeats it twice.’ [via Scripting News]
[fashion] Shopping Rebellion — The New Yorker on Japanese Fashion … ‘One of the striking things about spending any time among fashion-conscious Japanese kids is how utterly nerdy they can be in their pursuit of cool. In Europe and the United States fashion falls decisively into the category of the frivolous and playful; in Japan the right T-shirt or cap is sought with a kind of dogged intensity, and not just by a fringe group of fanatics. Japanese boys in particular seem to treat fashion in a manner appropriate to stamp collecting or train spotting. Entire magazines are dedicated to the subject of teen boys’ haircuts.’
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March 23, 2002
[film] Harry Knowles reviews Blade 2 … ‘I believe Guillermo Del Toro eats pussy better than any man alive. Watch his ‘HOUSE OF PAIN’ sequence in BLADE 2. BLADE 2 is the tongue, mouth, fingers and lips of a lover. The Audience is the clit. Watch your audience. This is where Guillermo Del Toro goes down on the audience. It starts with long licks with a nose bump on the joy button slowly. He smiles as he does this?’ [via Do You Feel Loved]
‘The daughter of a Greek ambassador, Elektra is the beloved of Matt Murdock. When her father is murdered she becomes a ninja assassin, ultimately betraying those who trained her and turning to a life of senseless crime.’
[blogs] Are You A Hit-Obsessed Weblogger? … ’35 points is in the 20 through 39 precent TYPE C (HIT-CURIOUS). You do the weblog thing for yourself instead of for an audience, but you are aware that you do have an audience, small as it might be. You are often curious as to what other people find so interesting about your weblog. You check your weblog referrers every now and then just to satisfy your curiosity.’ [via Feeling Listless]
[buffy] The oval that men do — article on the Buffy Easter Egg … ‘Of course it might be said that Buffy, in her role as a vampire “Slayer”, acts upon the undead much in the same way that a crucifix does, albeit with more kick-ass force. The crucifix is the central symbol of Easter, indeed of Christianity, and we might care to regard Buffy as a modern equivalent. I would even dare to describe Buffy as a sort of all-American version of the Messiah (the mouse mat also says “into each generation a Slayer is born”) unless there is some kind of blasphemy legislation pending that I don’t know about.’
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March 29, 2002
[film] Great review of the 20th Anniversary edition of E.T. The Extra Terrestrial … ‘Watching it again is like getting a masterclass in American popular culture. Without ET there would be no Toy Stories, yet the Toy Stories with their hi-tech sheen can’t match the easy swing of Spielberg’s live-action storytelling. Without ET there would be no X Files, but Spielberg’s passionate idealism and faith in the power of love make the cramped, paranoid X Files look ridiculous. Without ET there would be no Harry Potter, but ET doesn’t have Harry’s glow of self-congratulation. In the strange and beautiful love story of ET lies the genesis of Douglas Coupland’s vision of Generation X: people in the west growing up in a secular, affectless society, yearning to feel rapture, and looking for love in the ruins of faith.’
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[blog quote] Inkiboo: ‘Really think I shouldn’t call this site a ‘blog’ anymore. Two reasons for this. First being that there seems to be a high percentage of male bloggers who are gay. This is all well and good, but it could reduce my chances of getting laid. Second, a lot of bloggers are just self obsessed assholes.’ [more]
[tv] Queen of Cringe — interview with Daisy Donovan from William Leith … ‘It would be over-simplistic to say that what Donovan does is to interview people on television in order to embarrass them, but it would not be inaccurate. Some people say she’s a bit like Louis Theroux; she has also been called “the female Ali G”. In a way, she’s the anti-Dando. She has a way of subverting all televisual authority, including her own. She started off as a presenter on Channel 4’s 11 O’Clock show, where she interviewed important, or self-important, people and asked them awkward, deflating questions in the manner of Dennis Pennis. Asking the former Tory chairman Norman Fowler about his life, she suggested that it must be like standing on the edge of a precipice: “Have you ever tossed yourself off?” she asked.’