The First Victim of War

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“The strategic target remains our population… We can lose people day in and day out, but they’re never going to beat our military. What they can and will do if they can is strip away our support. And you guys can help us not let that happen.”

— General Conway, Director of Operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff

If you only read one news article this week, make it this exposé on the Pentagon propaganda programme in support of the war in Iraq, written by David Barstow and just published by the New York Times. It brilliantly details how “Internal Pentagon documents repeatedly refer to the military analysts as “message force multipliers” or “surrogates” who could be counted on to deliver administration “themes and messages” to millions of Americans “in the form of their own opinions”, relying amongst other things on surprisingly candid accounts by many of these analysts themselves. It especially focuses on the Government countermeasures undertaken to discredit the 2006 so-called “Generals Revolt” for then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to step down.

This is simply shocking reading. Not only for the utterly cynical, callous and irresponsible approach to public office of Rumsfeld evidenced by his handling of this insidious propaganda programme, but for the major American media’s apparent utter lack of critical vetting of by these “independent analysts”, several of whom doubled as military contractors with the government, consistently relying on them for information about the war effort for years on end. We all know that Fox News has basically acted as the Fourth Branch of the Bush Government over the last 7 years, but the success of this propaganda effort reaches way beyond that, extending to all the major networks. A bleak picture.

Photo montage from the New York Times.

Congratulations, Gordon!

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Finally, the stupid-ass lawsuit against comics retailer Gordon Lee, for having available a free comic in which Picasso’s limp dong is shown for two and a half panels in a completely non-sexual situation where a kid could pick it up (oh, the horror!), has been finally and conclusively dismissed. Shame on whichever idiot “concerned parent” and assorted “well-meaning citizens” it was that brought this ridiculous thing into the world to cause Lee anguish for several years and cost both him, the CBLDF and the Georgia taxpayers way too much money.

Cartoonist and Dickasso illustrator Nick Bertozzi on the case, in his Bunker interview.

Continuous Creation — Titian’s Nuova Natura

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This 2006 essay, posted here to supplement the review of the Spring 2008 Titian show in Venice, is an attempt, firstly, to analyze the loose finish of Titian’s late pictures as a natural development in his art with roots as far back as the beginning of his career, and, secondly, to provide a contemporary theoretical framework for it in order to assess its aesthetic implications for the cinquecento beholder.

Picks of the Week

The picks of the week from around the web.

  • Winsor McCay’s 1911 Little Nemo cartoon (above). For no other reason that it’s bloody awesome. McCay’s all the rage again, here’s a good article by Jeet Heer.
  • Great DJ Shadow breaks mix. Kinda the Cliff’s notes to a bunch of Shadow classics, but first and foremost a bunch of good music.
  • Inkstuds: Gary Panter podcast. Three hours worth of interview with one of the greatest cartoonists working today.
  • David Bordwell on There will be Blood and the Long Shot in contemporary film. Great analysis of a scene from P. T. Anderson’s movie and of the current trend for fast editing.
  • Vil I til MoCCA?

    Hermed videregives besked fra det danske konsulat i New York vedrørende årets MoCCA-festival. Sidste år var Danmark velrepræsenteret — er I på igen i år?

    Kære danske tegneseriefolk

    Tak for jeres deltagelse i Mocca 2007. Vi har fået mulighed for i alt 8 nordiske borde endnu et år og ved godt at det er en sen udmelding, da festivalen allerede finder sted 7.-8. juni. Men I skal alligevel have tilbudt to borde til danske forlag og tegnere, som måtte have lyst til at benytte sig af dem. Så vi har tilladt os hurtigt at gribe chancen og booke dem. Vi dækker udgiften til leje af de to borde men kan ikke tilbyde at dække andre udgifter. Hvis ingen fra dansk side kan bruge dem, vil de blive givet til de øvrige nordiske lande, så de kan brede sig noget mere. Det vil komme til at fungere meget lavpraktisk i forhold til sidste år: Er der nogen af jer, som gerne vil deltage, vil I selv skulle koordinere jeres deltagelse og brug af bordet. Vores kulturkontor her på Generalkonsulatet er nemlig lukket fra 1. maj og frem til 1. september på grund af en vacance, da jeg forlader jobbet som kulturattaché. Men assistent Louise Yung Nielsen vil kunne kontaktes for tilmelding og vil have kontakten til de to nordiske koordinatorer, Mats Silberg fra det norske generalkonsulat og Johan Brunkvist fra det svenske generalkonsulat.

    Så tilkendegiv om I er interesseret i at deltage ved at sende en email til Louise på louini@um.dk. Hendes telefon nummer her på det danske Generalkonsulat i New York er 001 212 705 4958. Louise vil også være den, som fremsender de praktiske informationer i forhold til indregistrering, hvor bordene er etc.

    I er meget velkomne til at give følgende tilbud videre til kollegaer indenfor branchen, som ikke har fået denne email. Henrik Rehr her i New York har spurgt om vi vil garantere et år eller to mere : det kan vi godt melde ud at vi gerne vil : såfremt den fællesnordiske oplevelse er lige så positiv som sidste år. Mocca er altså ikke noget det danske Generalkonsulat vil gå ind i alene, men vi vil følge en fælles nordiske beslutning om at gentage projektet. Og det ser sådan ud i øjeblikket.

    Mange hilsener

    Irene Krarup

    Imagined Communities

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    One of the fifty vignettes in Roy Andersson’s new film, Du Levande — or You, the Living in English — takes place in a basement-level office of what looks like a small-time service-provider, run in the old school fashion, on coffee and danish with dirty shirtsleeves, junk in the corners. A portly man sits at a small table in the foreground, leafing through a binder without paying much attention, punching a calculator with his pen. In the offices behind him two other men can be seen at their desks. One of them, in the office to the right, suddenly gets up, slightly startled, comes to the door and asks: “Did anyone call for me?”

    The Calculator lethargically replies in the negative, but turns obligingly to the other office, behind him and to the left, and asks the man we see in there. He doesn’t recall having called either, but perhaps their colleague, whose head now peeks into the frame like a glove puppet, might’ve? No, he hasn’t. Someone’s feet park a bike outside, at the upper edge of the office windows. Shrug. Nobody called.

    Hype: ZaMZaM Arts: Figurine

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    You in Washington DC? Have time this evening? Go to the opening of ZaMZaM Arts’ latest show, featuring work by Laura Falzon, Sangbin Im, Richard Jochum, Kevork Mourad, Aphrodite Desiree Navab, and Sarah Siddiqui, at the Touchstone Gallery. Prime mover of the project, Siddiqui, is a good friend and a firebrand organiser — her project is interesting. Go check it out.

    The opening is from 6-8.30, and the show runs till May 4.

    Picks of the Week

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    The picks of the week from around the web.

    Been busy this week, so not much of a selection this time around. However check these out:

  • Get your Rusty Brown on with the Legion of Lego Superheroes (above). How many of them do you recognize, without looking at the Cliff’s notes?
  • The Comic Book scare contd. Following last week’s links to Jeet Heer and Bart Beaty’s discussion of psychologist Frederic Wertham and the great comic book scare of the 1950s, here’s novelist Michael Chabon defending his portrayal of Wertham in his novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, and both Heer and Beaty responding. For completeness sake: The New Republic is running a discussion between comics critic Douglas Wolk and the author of the book that started all this in the first place, David Hajdu, but it is not particularly interesting unfortunately.
  • Nico and Warhol as the Dynamic Duo.
  • Om defekte dikotomier og andet dansk tegneserievås

    mouche.jpgMan må sige, at vores bette debatindlæg i seneste nummer af Strip! har været en succes, i hvert fald i forhold til Danmarks største (og eneste) tegneserieportal. Det har tydeligvis ført til både selvransagelse, nye initiativer og så selvfølgelig de sædvanlige automatreaktioner fra visses hold.

    Det er til sidstnævnte jeg her lige ville knytte en kommentar. Jeg vil antage at den tavshed garneret med personlige fornærmelser, Bestyreren har mødt vores kritik med betyder at samme var på sin plads og er taget til efterretning. I stedet vil jeg kigge på noget mere generelt og i sidste ende væsentligt. Lad os tage et eksempel. En bruger skriver:

    “Hvad Rackham angår, rammer Carsten Søndergaard i mine øjne hovedet på sømmet, når han i sin glimrende Strip!-artikel beskriver Thorhauge og Wivels gøren og laden med udgangspunkt i tegneseriens mange fanboy-fraktioner. D’herrer er lidt simpelt sagt højt begavede indie-fanboys – med alt, hvad det indebærer af smittende og fint formidlet entusiasme for de artefakter, der falder indenfor rammerne af deres personlige definition af god smag, men også med et væld af “blinde vinkler”, de ikke virker ret reflekterede omkring. At de insisterer på at begrunde deres lejrs æstetiske og værdimæssige idealer i hensynet til selveste tegneseriens fremtid reflekterer i mine øjne en selvhøjtidelighed, der er en anelse uklædelig …”