Posts Tagged ‘Chris Ware’
Ruin Your Life, Major in English, and Doom Yourself to Decades of Grinding Isolation, Solipsism, and Utter Social Disregard
Robert Matz at Inside Higher Ed: The truth, however, is that reports of the deadliness of English to a successful career are greatly exaggerated. According to one major study produced by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, the median income for English majors with a bachelor’s but no additional degree is $48,000. This figure is just slightly lower than that for bachelor’s degree holders in biology ($50,000), and slightly higher than for those in molecular biology or physiology (both $45,000). It’s the same for students who received their bachelor’s in public policy or criminology (both $48,000), slightly lower than for those who received their bachelor’s in criminal justice and fire protection ($50,000) and slightly higher than for those who received it in psychology ($45,000).
Another study by the same center paints a similar picture with respect to unemployment. In this study, the average unemployment rate for recent B.A. holders (ages 22-26) over the years 2009-10 was 8.9 percent; for English it was 9.2 percent. Both rates are higher than we would wish, but their marginal difference is dwarfed by that between the average for holders of the B.A. and that of high school graduates, whose unemployment rate during the same period was 22.9 percent (also too high).
Among the study’s other findings:
• While aging has a detrimental effect on reasoning and short-term memory, it leaves verbal abilities “completely unimpaired.”
• Smoking has a negative impact on verbal abilities and short-term memory but does not affect reasoning skills.
• People who play video games performed “significantly better” in terms of both reasoning and short-term memory.
• Products that are advertised to improve brain function aren’t effective. “People who ‘brain-train’ are no better at any of these three aspects of intelligence than people who don’t,” Owen said.
* We need DNA tests before you can vote: Iowa’s GOP Election Official Has Found Only 6 Examples Of Voter Fraud Out Of 1.6 Million Votes Cast.
* Somewhere in Portland, there’s a very old building, and that very old building has a very, very old basement. An incredible basement, a video-game-level basement, a set-decorator’s dream basement.
With this sense of historical determinacy in the background, Building Stories turns from problems of the collective past to questions of personal memory. In one of the text’s most virtuosic sequences, Ware presents a cross-section of the ostensibly titular building, overlaying it with a catalogue of events and experiences that took place therein over the past century, along with the objects that filled it up: “296 birthday parties,” “68,418 orgasms,” “61 broken dinner plates,” and so on. This record of prior feelings, frustrations, and occasional pleasures, is notable first for the way that it detaches them from particular bodies. While Ware positions the accumulated orgasms, for example, over the female narrator, she sits placidly upright in bed, reading by herself. In their enormous numerical excess, these items outstrip the scope of any one individual form, indeed of any one life. While Ware letters this sequence with the same delicate cursive script he used when investigating Jimmy’s paternal past in his earlier novel, he pointedly detaches these terms from any single historical trajectory. What we find here, then, is something like a sedimented record of all those everyday banalities that must go forgotten if we are to continue going about our lives. Like the apartment building itself, which disappears into the weave of the text as a whole, these are the things we leave behind as we mature. Indeed, the most striking of all the items on the page may be the one that Ware places on the porch of the building, at the very edge of its steps: “11,627 lost childhood memories.” Surely it is no accident that this page appears near the start of Building Stories’ “golden book” volume, an object whose gilt spine and cardboard cover summon up images of preadolescent reading, of those works that shape us in ways we can never fully recall.
“The purpose would not be to exterminate programs or keep students from pursuing them. There will always be a need for them,” said Dale Brill, who chairs the task force. “But you better really want to do it, because you may have to pay more.”
* But wait, there’s more! As unmanned aerial vehicles start crossing over from military to civilian use, Hinds Community College is starting Mississippi’s first program to train drone pilots and technicians.
* If you studied the liberal arts in an American college anytime after 1980, you were likely exposed to what is universally called Theory. Perhaps you still possess some recognizable talismans: that copy of The Foucault Reader, with the master’s bald head and piercing eyes emblematic of pure intellection; A Thousand Plateaus with its Escher-lite line-drawing promising the thrills of disorientation; the stark, sickly-gray spine of Adorno’s Negative Dialectics; a stack of little Semiotext(e) volumes bought over time from the now-defunct video rental place. Maybe they still carry a faint whiff of rebellion or awakening, or (at least) late-adolescent disaffection. Maybe they evoke shame (for having lost touch with them, or having never really read them); maybe they evoke disdain (for their preciousness, or their inability to solve tedious adult dilemmas); maybe they’re mute. But chances are that, of those studies, they are what remain. And you can walk into the homes of friends and experience the recognition, wanly amusing or embarrassing, of finding the very same books.
* Look, guys, I grew up in New Jersey. It always snow-hurricanes on Halloween there. Climate change is a myth.
* Rick Moody reviews Building Stories.
This book is a masterpiece. What would it mean for this book to be a masterpiece? First we would have to address on what basis, in a review of Building Stories, we would be able to use the word “book.” Chris Ware, as an artist of “comics” is not initially a maker of “books.” Not at first. In fact, Building Stories, having been assembled (or amassed, or compiled) from pieces made for Nest, The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, and elsewhere, would itself appear to be something quite different from a book. It would look, in fact, like something more ephemeral, more contemporary, perhaps like something closer to a “magazine” or a “comic strip” than to a book.
* Why Democrats probably won’t take back the House. Obama: The Rolling Stone Interview. Tina Fey Says She’s on the Verge of Losing Her Mind Over Ridiculous GOP Rape Remarks. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel to End Political Endorsements.
* Science proves men and women can’t just be friends. Sorry, all my female friends! But science.
* Ladies and gentlemen, your headline of the year: Feds Charge NYPD Cop with Cannibal Conspiracy.
* Next time you teach, open a window: Elevated carbon dioxide may impair reasoning.
* Gavin Mueller reviews the Onion’s bizarre (but intriguing) reality-TV parody Sex House.
* Douglas Wolk reviews Building Stories.
* Scenes from the future: Boy kicked out of school because he has gene for cystic fibrosis.
* And another: After committing a crime with a printed weapon, a person could simply melt down the plastic and reprint it as something as mundane as a statue of Buddha. And guns made of plastic might not be spotted by metal detectors in airports, courthouses or other government facilities.
* The CIA is urging the White House to approve a significant expansion of the agency’s fleet of armed drones, a move that would extend the spy service’s decade-long transformation into a paramilitary force, U.S. officials said. What could possibly go wrong?
* We have allowed ourselves to become mired in the habits of oligarchy, as though no other politics are possible, even in a putatively self-governing republic, and resignation is one of the most obvious of those habits. We acclimate ourselves to the habit of having our politics acted upon us, rather than insisting that they are ours to command. TV stars tell us that political stars are going to cut their Grand Bargain and that “we” will then applaud them for making the “tough choices” on our behalf. That is how you inculcate the habits of oligarchy in a political commonwealth. First, you disabuse people of the notion that government is the ultimate expression of that commonwealth, and then you eliminate or emasculate any centers of power that might exist independent of your smothering influence — like, say, organized labor — and then you make it quite clear who’s in charge. I’m the boss. Get used to it.
* Baldwin holds slight lead in Wisconsin. Obama up in Iowa, Wisconsin. Obama’s Lead Falls To 3 In Colorado. Ohio Remains Obama’s Firewall. Why the Gallup poll showing Romney +7 is almost certainly wrong: 1, 2, 3. Why I’d have you vote for Obama just one time more.
Behind Glass Doors Live Gasoline Alley and Peanuts Merchandise, Krazy Kat Dolls, Buck Rogers Rockets, and Many Other Items of Amazement from Bygone Eras
Trip City goes inside the home of Chris Ware. It’s even more like you think it’ll be than you think.
* The absolute craziest thing I’ve ever seen: Berkeley Researchers Turn Brain Waves Into YouTube Videos.
* Paul Campos: “The law’s absurd formalism was part of its strength as ideology.” Precisely. This insight applies to many more aspects of the legal system than the revolting spectacle of our contemporary system of capital punishment, which in a case such as Davis’s — which is not in this respect was not unusual — psychologically tortures the defendant, the defendant’s family, the victim’s family, and others connected to the case for literally decades before producing what the system then has the temerity to call “justice.” (The climax of this spectacle last night involved Davis being strapped to a gurney with a needle in his arm for nearly four hours, waiting for various legal personages to respond to the question of whether, all things considered, it was finally time to stop his heart with state-administered poison).
That we tolerate this kind of thing so readily helps explain, in its own way, why it sometimes seems impossible to do much of anything about the absurdities and dysfunctions of the system of legal education that legitimates it in the first instance. Or perhaps it’s the other way around: perhaps we tolerate the absurdity of something like the 22-year “process” that resulted in the horror of Davis’s final hours because we ‘re socialized from the beginning of our careers in this system to accept all kinds of absurdity and injustice as natural, inevitable, and therefore legitimate.
Reading this I was reminded of Duncan Kennedy’s excellent article “Legal Education and the Reproduction of Hierarchy,” which Corinne linked the other day on Twitter.
* Ground Zero Mosque opens without controversy. It’s almost as if the objections to this were complete bullshit.
* I’m steadfastly not paying attention to the GOP primary, but this is pretty astounding, even by Republican standards.
* How long—how long must we sing this song? Forty years, give or take.
* Speaking at a Climate Week NYC event hosted by the Maldives, the TckTckTck campaign, and the U.N., Greenpeace International President Kumi Naidoo argued that the path to a sustainable future will involve peaceful, popular civil disobedience. “The struggle for climate justice is not a popularity contest,” he argued. He said the lesson of the Arab Spring, and the history of struggles from suffrage to civil rights to the end of apartheid, is that change only comes when decent men and women are willing to risk their lives and go to jail in peaceful protest.
* And Chris Ware on your iPad. Have a good weekend.
* Science proves naps are great.
* Science proves 3-D movies hurt your brain.
* Should we clone Neanderthals? OBVIOUSLY. (Please don’t.)
* Time to renew my campaign to steal Duke’s copy of Action Comics #1. I just need to find ten to twelve other guys to help me do the job.
* Science proves economic growth no longer possible for rich countries.
* BREAKING: Newsweek editors are surprisingly unprofessional in their private emails to each other.
* The public option is really popular! But you can never have it.
* The Republican Party’s obituary has been written before, but demographics simply aren’t on their side.
* Turkish temple predates agricultural civilization. (Via Kottke.) There’s no doubt this thing was built by aliens:
Most startling is the elaborate carving found on about half of the 50 pillars Schmidt has unearthed. There are a few abstract symbols, but the site is almost covered in graceful, naturalistic sculptures and bas-reliefs of the animals that were central to the imagination of hunter-gatherers. Wild boar and cattle are depicted, along with totems of power and intelligence, like lions, foxes, and leopards. Many of the biggest pillars are carved with arms, including shoulders, elbows, and jointed fingers. The T shapes appear to be towering humanoids but have no faces, hinting at the worship of ancestors or humanlike deities.
Wake up, sheeple!
* And some friends of mine have work forthcoming in Drawing Is a Way of Thinking: The Comics of Chris Ware, available now for pre-order from Amazon. Check it out.
* Forgot to mention yesterday that Chrome for Mac is out, and it’s crazy fast.
* Time one-ups the Onion by including both Planetary *and* The Walking Dead on its best-comics-of-the-2000s list. But the price is losing Chris Ware, Marjane Satrapi, and, as Bleeding Cool notes, any sense of variety at all.
* R.W. Johnson writes from South Africa to report on the World Cup for LRB.
As one observes this huge event being put together one realises that soccer has become a matter of trying to defy gravity. Everything about the event – the expenditure on the stadiums, the players’ enormous wages, the vast sums for the TV rights, the glitz and glamour of all the WAGs and celebrities, and even the reasoning behind closing key city roads for Fifa or Blatter – indicates that extraordinary concentrations of wealth and power are involved. Everything we know about human behaviour when it is subjected to such powerful pressures and incentives leads us to expect that cheating and violence will become virtually inevitable. Not just handballs and diving, but crooked referees, crooked draws and all the rest. Yet we also know that it’s vital that the TV commentators are able to enthuse about ‘the beautiful game’ with at least a margin of credibility: think how disastrous it was for cricket when match-fixing was exposed, or how badly the Tour de France has suffered from all its doping scandals. In most countries in Africa and Latin America such pressures have led to the ruin of local leagues, while the match-fixing scandal currently being investigated in Germany suggests that the results of hundreds of matches in Central and Eastern Europe were also fraudulent. The number of countries in the world where a game of soccer is still a fair contest may be quite small.
* Sotomayor’s first Supreme Court opinions are making news in part for her refusal of the term “illegal immigrant.”
* And Candeblog has the clip from David Cross’s pitched BBC show The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret that he played at the end of his show in Raleigh this fall.
A few other late-night links.
* Philip Roth has surrendered to television on behalf of the novel.
“I was being optimistic about 25 years really. I think it’s going to be cultic. I think always people will be reading them but it will be a small group of people. Maybe more people than now read Latin poetry, but somewhere in that range.”
* ‘Man who threw feces in courtroom draws 31-year sentence for robbery.’ Live and learn.
* The Telegraph covers the laws of internet discourse.
7. Pommer’s Law
Proposed by Rob Pommer on rationalwiki.com in 2007, this states: “A person’s mind can be changed by reading information on the internet. The nature of this change will be from having no opinion to having a wrong opinion.”
* Will D.C. let J.J. Abrams have a crack at Superman? After the success of the Star Trek reboot this seems like an obvious move—and it would certainly be better than all their other attempts so far.
* And Ezra Klein puts the politics behind the public option very well:
For the real liberals, the public option was already a compromise from single-payer. For the slightly less radical folks, the public option that’s barred from partnering with Medicare to maximize the government’s buying power was a compromise down from a Medicare-like insurance plan. For the folks even less radical than that, the public option that states can “opt out” of is a compromise from the straight public option. Access to the public option will be a political question settled at the state level. It is not a settled matter of national policy.
In many ways, this is a fundamentally conservative approach to a liberal policy experiment. It’s only offered to individuals eligible for the insurance exchanges, which is a small minority of the population. The majority of Americans who rely on employer-based insurance would not be allowed to choose the exchanges. From there, it is only one of many options on the exchange, and only in states that choose to have it. In other words, it has been designed to preserve the status quo and be decided on the state level. Philosophically, these are major compromises liberals have made on this plan. They should get credit for that.
* io9 has your Disney/Marvel crossovers in the other direction. I too am looking forward to the Dark Mermaid Saga.
* And could Jennifer’s Body actually not be all that bad? Feministe reports.
17. Chris Ware
Though he’s philosophically more in line with the alt-comics community, Chris Ware draws so much media attention, and his books sell so well, that his work is arguably more mainstream than any current superhero title. Ware’s innovations in comic-page design—which include temporal shifts conveyed by complex diagrams and frames within frames—were inspired by Art Spiegelman’s ’70s experiments and by Richard McGuire’s seminal Raw story “Here.” But Ware marries his fetish for design with a singularly sardonic voice and a God’s-eye perspective on his characters, creating an overall tone that’s like a turn-of-the-century circus poster crossed with the post-war angst of literary lions like John Updike and Richard Yates. Ware’s influence is mostly seen among the younger alternative crowd and contemporary commercial artists, but his use of staccato pacing and visual repetition has popped up in a number of superhero comics over the past decade as well.
* Steve Benen remembers the day Medicare enslaved us all.