June 1, 2020
[movies] The Rolling Stone Interview: Stanley Kubrick in 1987
… Interviewed by Tim Cahill – a two-hour recording of the interview is on YouTube
Cahill: People always look at directors, and you in particular, in the context of a body of work. I couldn’t help but notice some resonance with Paths of Glory at the end of Full Metal Jacket: a woman surrounded by enemy soldiers, the odd, ambiguous gesture that ties these people together…
Kubrick: That resonance is an accident. The scene comes straight out of Gustav Hasford’s book.
Cahill: So your purpose wasn’t to poke the viewer in the ribs, point out certain similarities…
Kubrick: Oh, God, no. I’m trying to be true to the material. You know, there’s another extraordinary accident. Cowboy is dying, and in the background there’s something that looks very much like the monolith in 2001. And it just happened to be there.
June 2, 2020
[movies] How We Made: Airplane!
… The Zucker Brothers and Robert Hays on making Airplane! ‘The film is not about a particular time. It’s a satire on a style of acting and that makes it timeless. Robert Stack, who played Captain Rex Kramer, used to say: “I get it – we’re the joke!”’
June 3, 2020
[truecrime] Murder in the Aquarian Age
… Engrossing, early true crime story from tech reporter Steven Levy. ‘Chitwood put on the clear rubber gloves and went back to the open trunk. On top were some newspapers, dated in the late summer of 1977. Underneath was a layer of packing material and compressed plastic bags from Sears. Chitwood began scooping the Styrofoam aside. After three scoops, he saw something. At first he could not make out what it was, because it was so wrinkled and tough. But then he saw the shape of it—wrist, palm, and five fingers, curled and frozen. It was a human hand, and now there was no doubt in Chitwood’s mind about the contents of this trunk. He dug just a little deeper, following the shriveled, rawhidelike hand down the wrist. He saw an arm, still clothed in a plaid flannel shirt. He had seen enough. He turned to Einhorn, who was maintaining his studied nonchalance. “We found the body. It looks like Holly’s body,” he said. “You found what you found,” said the Unicorn.’
June 4, 2020
[comics] Why I Hate Christians.
… I love a rant from Dan Clowes – here’s a complete set of original art pages from Eighball #11.
June 5, 2020
[books] H.P Lovecraft on 1918’s pandemic – Spanish Flu
… Some interesting snippets on Lovecraft’s view on the big pandemic of his time. ‘H. P. Lovecraft to Lillian D. Clark, 2 December 1925 – Influenza has not yet struck the east this winter, though it probably will before long. With freely accessible railways, one can’t segregate maladies of this sort nowadays. It’s odd, but despite all the repeated epidemics of the past decade, I’ve never had influenza. No doubt the gods are saving a deal of picturesque suffering for my very last days!’
June 8, 2020
[tv] Forget Friends! The 25 greatest overlooked sitcoms – from Lovesick to Younger
… List compiled by Stuart Heritage
. ‘Loudermilk – In some ways, Loudermilk is the archetypal comedy of the decade, in that it’s a) a sad and vaguely redemptive show about an alcoholic and b) maybe a fraction of 1% of people have heard of it. However, it was created by Peter Farrelly and features a brilliant central performance by Ron Livingston, so while it isn’t going to make you fall out of your chair laughing, it is at least capable of being compelling.’
June 9, 2020
[comics] Alan Moore’s Big Numbers Outline Chart
… The script outline for AM’s unfinished comic Big Numbers typed out and handily converted to an HTML page with annotations.
June 11, 2020
[bignumbers] The Meaning of Big Numbers
… Some interesting analysis of Big Numbers
plot and what it might have meant. ‘If there’s mathematical order in the apparently chaos of these divinely beautiful fractal images, and we buy the theory that there must then be mathematical order and divine beauty to life, too, just an order too grand for us to comprehend (sure enough, the chaotic soup of unconnected human interactions in this story seem to end up giving the good people what they want, and punishing the bad people)… then perhaps letting a numerical system take over our life isn’t so different to our present existence. Perhaps there’s a divine beauty in that that’s beyond our comprehension, too. Perhaps the story is an optimistic one.’
June 15, 2020
[movies] My favourite film aged 12: Aliens
… I think we can all agree that Aliens is a great film whatever age you are. ‘Rewatching it over the years I’ve only come to appreciate Aliens more. It remains a masterclass in building tension: we don’t actually see an alien until the hour mark, and when we finally do it’s in a bewildering frenzy of bodycam panic. The scene with Ripley and Newt (the girl Ripley finds living feral on a base long since overrun by aliens) trapped in a laboratory with a scuttling face-hugger is still a bum-clenching ordeal. Paul Reiser’s smarmy, flop-sweat-slick company man, Burke, has become ever more punchable with every passing year. And Ripley overcoming her prejudices to accept the android Bishop as a friend is more touching now than it ever was.’
June 18, 2020
[chernobyl] The Age of Forever Crises
… This analysis of the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl seems somehow relevant during Covid-19. ‘Chernobyl, in this sense, is a crisis that has never stopped unfolding, or as Brown puts it, it is a calamity “with no perceptible end.” It is just as much an environmental disaster as a crisis of information; Cold War politics prevented the free exchange of scientific knowledge, making a bad situation infinitely worse. Brown explains how, in 1986, Russian scientists asked UN officials for “precise information” about how the “Life Span Study” of Japanese survivors of the nuclear bomb was carried out; they were instead presented with data about a chemical explosion in Italy.’
June 19, 2020
[comics] 10 Questions: Chip Zdarsky Interviews Annie Nocenti
… Fascinating discussion about Daredevil between the current and former writer of the comic.
June 22, 2020
[mcsweeneys] Just Because They’ve Turned Against Humanity Doesn’t Mean We Should Defund the Terminator Program
… ‘Meanwhile, members of the Resistance are gathering support for extreme measures like disbanding the entire Terminator program and then restructuring it so that only Terminators that have been re-programmed to protect rather than harm people are brought back online. But what exactly are we supposed to do in the meantime? Who will keep our country safe if not these beefy robotic soldiers trained in killology (Cyberdyne’s patented split-second decision making murder algorithm) who, admittedly, do sometimes turn against civilians and go on unstoppable rampages of human carnage?’
June 23, 2020
[hertzog] Werner Herzog: ‘I’m fascinated by trash TV. The poet must not avert his eyes’
… Herzog interviewed during lockdown in Los Angeles. ‘The director sits bolt upright inside his book-lined study. His glasses are perched on the bridge of his nose. His fleece is zipped to his chin. “Your face has stuck,” he announces with disgust. “You will have to hang up and dial the number again.”’
June 24, 2020
[comics] JAKA’S STORY: What It Was in 1988, and What Cerebus Used to Mean
… A melancholy look at Cerebus and the fall of Dave Sim. ‘MELMOTH was spent talking about the illness and slow death of Oscar Wilde, at a time people were still dying regularly from AIDS and little was even being tried to stop it. It was deeply sensitive and empathetic. And I still see nothing insincere in Dave’s empathy and affinity to Oscar Wilde, both in the more fictionalized version of Oscar here, who is never not entertaining, but also MELMOTH where it’s virtually the real man himself. That’s what makes later on so baffling.’
June 26, 2020
[space] Happy Little Crater on Mercury
… Somewhere else in the solar system for Dr. Manhattan to visit.
June 30, 2020
[comics] Milton Glaser and the DC Bullet
… Todd Klein analyses the symbol designer Milton Klein created for DC Comics in the 1970s. ‘DC was still using letterpress printing for all their comics. Glaser’s design, with it’s thin lines and thin white spaces, looked great at a larger size, but comics printing wasn’t really up to making it work well at the small size used on covers. In the 1980s DC began gradually transitioning away from letterpress to offset printing with much better and more accurate presses, and then the original DC bullet would have worked fine.’