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December 04, 2008

Sendak v. Seuss in a no-holds-barred cage match!

I really gotta remember to look in on Noah's blog more often. The Hooded Utilitarian: Send Back Sendak! Boost the Seuss!
I find Donald Phelps' writing style maddening; circumlocution is piled on parapraxis until all you can really see is the giant, rather desperate sign waving back and forth: "Kiss me! I'm erudite!"... Phelps' basic point is that Sendak is better than Seuss because Sendak is more of a formalist. ... The difference between Seuss and Sendak, in other words, isn't only, or primarily, that Sendak is more interested in form. Phelps can natter on all he wants about the link between homilies and formlessness,capitalizing "Marketable Commodity" just to make it look more official, but that doesn't change the fact that the central claim is complete bullshit.... In other words, I think that, in choosing Sendak over Seuss, Phelps is just proving that which should come as a shock to no one who has read his prose; namely, that he prefers the pose of an aesthete to the pose of an entertainer. That's certainly not always the wrong choice, but I think it is in this instance.
Journalista! again.

December 03, 2008

Was Emily the Strange stolen from 1970's Nate the Great?

Was Emily the Strange Based On Rosamond From Nate The Great? | Laughing Squid

The strongest argument suggesting that Emily the Strange was based on Nate The Great , however, was just recently published on the art theft blog You Thought We Wouldn’t Notice. YTWWN user chelseamca not only mentions the similarities between the two characters, but shows an actual scan of Rosamond and her cats taken from “Nate the Great Goes Undercover” that is nearly identical to the original Emily Strange stickers printed in 1991. Although the main character may vary slightly, the reworded copy and reversed cat poses are unmistakably inspired by the pages of this classic book.

December 01, 2008

Neil Gaiman on the importance of defending the indefensible

Neil Gaiman's Journal: Why defend freedom of icky speech?

This is in response to a reader asking why we *shouldn't* let people censor lolicon hentai (japanese comics eroticizing prepubescent girls, that is)

. . .

The Law is a blunt instrument. It's not a scalpel. It's a club. If there is something you consider indefensible, and there is something you consider defensible, and the same laws can take them both out, you are going to find yourself defending the indefensible.

I was born the day of the conclusion of the Lady Chatterley trial in England, the day it was decided that Lady Chatterley's Lover, with its swearing, buggery and raw sex between the classes, was fit to be published and read in a cheap edition that poor people and servants could read. This was the same England in which, some years earlier, the director of public prosecutions had threatened to prosecute Professor F R Leavis if he so much as referred to James Joyce's Ulysses in a lecture (the DPP was Archibald Bodkin, who also banned The Well of Loneliness) , in which, when I was sixteen and listening to the Sex Pistols, the publisher of Gay News was sentenced to prison for the crime of Criminal Blasphemy, for publishing an erotic poem featuring a fantasy about Jesus.

When I was writing Sandman, about eighteen years ago, I had thought that the Marquis de Sade would make a fine character for my French Revolution story (I loved the fact that at the time he was a tubby, asthmatic imprisoned for his refusal to sentence people to death) and realised I ought to read his books, rather than commntaries on them, if I was going to put him in my story. I discovered that the works of DeSade were, at that time, considered obscene and not available in the UK, and that UK Customs had declared them un-importable. I bought them in a Borders the next time I was in the US, and brought them through customs looking guilty. (You can now get De Sade in the UK. The arrival of internet porn in the UK meant that the police stopped chasing things like that.) . . .

Very long. Very worth your time.

November 29, 2008

William S. Burroughs - "A Thanksgiving Prayer"

William S. Burroughs -- A Thanksgiving Prayer