Someone posts a relevant link, or an important bit of news.
Unabashedly ignorant comment which derails the conversation for the next 15 comments, and is indirectly responsible for a string of un-funny spider-man memes.Source: idunnoaname
I always liked political cartoons as a kid. I thought they were smarter and funnier than anything that ran in the Sunday funnies. Political cartoons always seemed like a legitimate art form, and that appealed to me. Rather than sneaking in a message over time, through the development of characters who may or may not grow to fill their roles, the political cartoon is a one-shot dose of truth, or truth as the cartoonist sees it. That is not to say that comics like Doonesbury or Funky Winkerbean are not without value as sources of political commentary, they are simply a slower, more diffuse venue. The example I’ve chosen is one of my favorites because it points out a fact of the political process that seems as though it should be obscenely obvious, but which people fail, and have failed, to notice time and time again. The message is obvious, but the central metaphor is fresh and genuine. That is what I like about a good political cartoon. It makes you think, but hopefully in a new way, and with a refreshing side-dish of visual narrative tropes.Source: superpunch2
I like rituals. I always have. I’m not religious so I never had a set of formal ones, no prayer five times a day towards Mecca, no Hail Marys, and no Mantras to repeat. What I do have are habits to which I cling, little ticks and habits that I repeat almost unconsciously, but to which I ascribe an enormous importance. I smoke a cigarette every night at midnight. I make a wish, the same wish, at 11:11. I lace up my boots, first the left, then the right, then double the knots, again left to right. These little habits have taken the place of religious devotion in my life. When I was little my parents warned me that addiction runs in my family, and so my cigarette ritual has become more and more worrisome to me. As I smoke that single Camel each night I wonder whether I am smoking because it is a ritual or because I am addicted to nicotine. I tell myself that smoking is just a habit, like lacing my boots in a particular order, but I’m not sure. In fact, if I treat my boots with the same reverie as a chemical fix, could I not be addicted to that little bit of order in my life? What, I ask myself, if I am addicted to a multitude of behaviors, and one of them simply has the potential to give me cancer? I’m not sure if that’s possible, or rational, but it does cross my mind every time I step out for a single smoke. Maybe rituals are that important to me, or maybe I’m a habit junkie, or maybe I’m just a smoker who happens to order his world through repetition. I don’t know. I can’t know, but I do know that I need a cigarette.
There’s a term that a lot of people have been throwing around lately that has piqued my interest. With the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall-Street and the global displacement of the Romani people (see Dale Farm, etc.) there has been a lot of talk about “class warfare.” Now, that’s an interesting concept. Pundits and politicians have started (or rather, resumed) using the phrase as a subtle smear against populist movements arising from lower-income areas and centering around the economic disparity in the First and developing worlds. This bothers me. Not because it is inaccurate, in the case of Libya or the recent London riots, the term applies perfectly, but I think our definition of class warfare should be expanded a bit. In the modern world, war is not waged only through open violence and showy acts of resistance. A war can be, and has been, waged on the very populations which are now stirring in their dissent. The recent demonstrations and uprisings are a retaliation; not an act of aggression, but the escalated response to the war of attrition which the world’s elite have been quietly leading since time immemorial. Unjust laws, regressive taxes, and the slow but inexorable restriction of civil liberties are, and should be considered, acts of warfare themselves. The punk rock scene which gained in popularity decades ago, with much help from The Clash (see, this is topical) was and is all about recognizing and resisting those acts of warfare. In that light, recent global events which have highlighted the intense friction between the ruling caste and the rest of us schmucks are pretty damn punk. This topic deserves far more discussion than I have space for here, but I’d like to leave this album cover, this emblem of “class warfare” as an item for reflection in these incredibly punk rock times in which we live.
This fuselage has been sitting in front of that house for over fourteen years now. When I first moved into the neighborhood it still had a tail section, but otherwise it has remained unchanged for all these years. I remember when I first noticed it, as a kid, driving down what was then a back-country road. I liked it immediately. Who wouldn’t? That strange piece of wreckage promised adventure, it spoke to the childish curiosity which guided my every thought. I still wonder who put it there and what, if anything, they meant to do with it. Maybe it’s just a huge conversation piece; the ultimate lawn ornament? I like to think that inside there somebody’s been working, fixing it up with discreet improvements, and that one day it will sprout wings and come roaring down the highway to an improbable but incredibly thrilling takeoff. Probably not, but whatever happens to it, that lonely bit of abandoned engineering has lived a long and fulfilling life, zooming around my dreams.
I like this idea, the morality ladder. I don’t necessarily think it’s as cut-and-dried as this, there’s not really a clear more or less in terms of morality, but if you go by broad cultural norms, then yeah, everybody has a zone which they occupy and they judge everyone outside their zone to be weird in one direction or other. Even the sentiment expressed at the end makes sense to me, if you’re going to live peacefully with as many people as possible it’s far better to occupy the lower ground. Nobody likes a judgmental asshole, but plenty of people will hang out with people who they consider to be below them, whether because it makes them feel good about themselves or because people with a little bit looser view on what is and is not acceptable are generally more fun. In fact, if the majority of people would relax their views on morality in general I think that instead of a vicious slide into debauchery we would see a noticeable increase in general quality of life without a corresponding spike in crime or misbehavior. I think that most antisocial behavior is derived from the sense that somehow you are better than those who you, directly or indirectly, victimize. When everyone is huddled in the trash in the sub-basement of society, there’s not a whole lot of judgment going on. I’m not saying you should all go out and perform horrid sex acts on unwitting sea-life but maybe let your preconceptions go for a while and see if you don’t get along better with the people around you. Just a thought.
I often think about what life must have been like during the time before the Earth was all carved up into property. As recently as the early 20th century there were large swathes of land which belonged to no-one and which no-one had yet explored. I wish I had been there. “There” being any time and any place when you cold still walk into the woods with nothing more than what you could carry and make a go of things. I sometimes feel as though humans are defined by the way they handle adversity, and that sometime before I was born we set about the task of abolishing it all together. We want to make our lives safer, easier, less fraught with danger. But at what cost? Somewhere along the way, did we trade lives worth living for lives that we knew we could live through? I digress; my original point wasn’t that we’ve tried to take the adventure out of life (though we certainly have) but that because there are no more truly wild places, no unmapped and un-owned territories against which to test yourself I feel as though we, as a species, have lost something precious. Maybe someday, long after the bombs inevitably fall, we will awake to a new world, a frightening and tantalizing new landscape and exploration will once again be the order of the day.
I’ve always liked graffiti as a form of protest and as a form of art. Contrary to what countless city officials would have you think, most graffiti artists are just that, artists, who care whether or not their pieces look good. Graffiti is both visual art in the mode of gallery paintings and performance art which relies on the public forum and illegality of it’s construction to send a message. Graffiti follows in the tradition of pop artists and the political cartoonist, merging beauty with social awareness to create works which are pleasing to both the eye and the mind. Certainly by including an artistic element the painter may reach an audience who would be turned off by merely screeching a message on some street-corner while holding a cheap placard. Graffiti is, somewhat ironically, the most refined form of protest available to the common man today.
Our generation is so fixated with the zombie apocalypse, it probably hints at some deep-seated narcissism flavored with a sense of isolation, but that’s not what I’m concerned about right now. What worries me is that were a zombie outbreak ever to occur, our generation is so ludicrously over-prepared that it would be over before it ever really began. College campuses are stocked with hordes of people in their peak physical condition who have spent their whole lives playing zombie games, watching zombie movies and talking about what “they would do.” All of that adds up to some pretty shitty odds for the undead army. Imagine the disappointment you would feel if on the very same day it was announced that an outbreak had occurred, it all blew over. All of that semi-hopeful nerdy expectation would finally have a release and then BAM! Over. All because you and every teenager you know was jumping at the bit to go decapitate some corpses.
I’ve had pretty bad insomnia for a while now. I can never sleep when it’s appropriate; I stay up all night and then try to fit in a few naps when I can throughout the day. Insomnia makes everything feel fake, like you’re always dreaming or you’re not really in control of your body. Sometimes at night I go on long walks or sit at my computer making edits like this one in Photoshop. I was never very good at keeping up hobbies but when you can’t sleep you tend to develop coping mechanisms, routines and behaviors which don’t require too much thought. I like this picture because it’s cool and was fun to make, but when I look at it I also see the time it took to make, time that I could have used to get some healthy rest.