Probing the strengths and limits of a poetics of fact
(sampled from Dee Morris)
Probing the strengths and limits of a poetics of fact
I took a couple of hours out of my day to be on a panel for Young Author’s Day, an event put on by the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association. I was invited to join by John Lustig, who I feel very lucky to call my friend and mentor. We answered the usual questions about the writing process and how we broke into comics, but I was even more intrigued by the audience. Notice something about them?
Yeah. GIRLS. Very. Young. Girls.
So I asked THEM some questions. “How many of you read comics?”
All hands went up.
"How many of you want to make comics some day?"
Most of the hands went up.
Here’s where it really got interesting. “How many of you BUY comics?”
Only one hand raised. I asked her where she buys her comics. She said, “At the comic book store.”
"Do you have a comic book store you like going to?" I asked.
She hesitated. “It’s complicated.”
That’s 10 year-old speak for “I have to go there to get comics but the store makes me uncomfortable.” The rest of them read webcomics. None of them had heard of Comixology before, but they knew all about it by the time the panel was over. What comic would they like to see most? Minecraft. Only Steve needs to be a girl.
It was a fascinating experience, especially in the wake of this article detailing why girls in the 1980s (like me and one of the moms nodding eagerly in the audience) stopped buying comics for 20 years.
The future of comics is bright indeed.
This is absolutely wonderful.
“The emotions, feelings, thoughts of the ‘underclass’ — such as these three men (c. 1903) are not recorded in books. But their history lives on in the memories of their grandchildren. It is through them that the oral historian ‘enters the minds and hearts of the ancestors’.”
DOCUMENTARY: “The Black Press: Soldiers Without Swords.”
In a world where segregation was back both by laws and social attitudes, it’s not surprise that the mainstream press in the United States served as a reflection of these ills.
Knowing firsthand the impact of words and images as weapons against their welfare, black people in the United States knew that left in the hands of racist publications, their representation, history, culture and identities would forever be at stake. Starting with communities and individuals of free black people in the 1800s, to the birth of more contemporary publications like Ebony, the power of images and the written word of black people by black people, and in the interests of black people, has always been an act of self-preservation.
This documentary brings to light a powerful and engaging account of American history that has been virtually forgotten: the story of the pioneering black newspapermen and women who gave voice to black America.
— i finally put some thoughts into words // thedeathcats (via taint3ed)
White people get so angry at the phrase, “You cannot be racist towards white people.”
I will never understand why.
Why are you so angry that you are being treated as actual human beings? You are not reduced to caricatures, but portrayed as characters. You are treated fairly, judged not by your skin tone, but by the ways that you carry yourselves, by your actions.
Why do you want to experience racism so badly? It is not fun to be mocked, dehumanized, attacked, killed, incarcerated simply for daring to exist. It is not fun to know nothing of your history or family because it was torn apart, whether through distance or death. It is not fun to hear, at every turn, comments reminding you of your lesser status as humans.
Do you really want to turn on the tv, open a magazine, watch a movie, play a video game, and not see yourself? Or, even better, to only see yourself as a criminal, as a drunk, a mocking stereotype, or as someone to be killed off? Or would you rather see fleshed out, well-written characters with lives and personalities and feelings? I know which I’d rather pick.
If I were a white person, the phrase, “You cannot be racist towards white people,” would be the best thing I could ever hear.
I did things in my 30s that were ignored by the world, that could have been quickly labeled a failure. Here’s a classic example; in 1974 I did a movie called Phantom of the Paradise. Phantom of the Paradise, which was a huge flop in this country. There were only two cities in the world where it had any real success: Winnipeg, in Canada, and Paris, France. So, okay, let’s write it off as a failure. Maybe you could do that.
But all of the sudden, I’m in Mexico, and a 16-year-old boy comes up to me at a concert with an album - a Phantom of the Paradise soundtrack- and asks me to sign it. I sign it. Evidently I was nice to him and we had a nice little conversation. I don’t remember the moment, I remember signing the album (I don’t know if I think I remember or if I actually remember). But this little 14 or 16, whatever old this guy was… Well I know who the guy is now because I’m writing a musical based on Pan’s Labyrinth; it’s Guillermo del Toro.
The work that I’ve done with Daft Punk it’s totally related to them seeing Phantom of the Paradise 20 times and deciding they’re going to reach out to this 70-year-old songwriter to get involved in an album called Random Access Memories.
So, what is the lesson in that? The lesson for me is being very careful about what you label a failure in your life. Be careful about throwing something in the round file as garbage because you may find that it’s the headwaters of a relationship that you can’t even imagine it’s coming in your future.
Important safety bulletin.
Good advices.(via bigredrobot)
Kathleen Hanna: As the lead singer for the garage band The Younger Lovers, I’m guessing you sometimes end up playing for predominantly straight white audiences. As one of the few gay men of color in the punk scene, do you ever feel pressured to be a role model?
Brontez Purnell: Yeah, it’s hard. There are ways in which I feel like a role model by proxy, but then there are definite ways in which I’m a cautionary tale. I wouldn’t want any younger boy thinking I’m a blueprint because I’ve had to make some tough calls that I wouldn’t want to see someone else go though. I’ve had to negotiate being a crazy black punk artist under the lens of the white gaze. If I act like a crazy performance art fool in a room full of mostly white art patrons, am I intrisically more demeaned by that because of my blackness than a white boy who does the same thing? But then, if I “act right,” then it’s me falling into the same cultural script of what it means to be a “real” black man in America, i.e. stoic, dignified, masculine, strong, silent. It’s always been a hard thing for me to negotiate. Punk rock is mostly white, but this is America. What isn’t mostly white? I’ve read Eartha Kitt’s autobiograpy, I’ve read Nina Simone’s autobiography, Josephine Baker’s and Billie Holliday’s, and they all say the same thing. There came a point in their careers when the more famous they became, the whiter the audience got. So what do you do with that? White performers have to perform for white people, so how the fuck is my black ass gonna get out of it? My hope is that one day if I’m an old man and I still get to rock out on stage and if I see ten black punk fags in the audience I’ll die happy. But this is America, and race, gender, and class are always an issue. I love, and by love I mean am repulsed by, how many people are invested in trying to tell you it’s never that way. [Read More]