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Posts Tagged ‘comics’

Diary #561

Whenever a person expresses surprise upon discovering that I’m a colossal nerd, I have to wonder if they’ve actually been paying attention for the past decade.  I mean, it isn’t like I’ve made any effort to hide it; I made a Star Trek reference in my very first column, and I have frequently mentioned sci-fi stories and TV shows, comic books, horror movies, Dungeons and Dragons, and many other nerdy things here, on Twitter, and in real life (this column was inspired by my glancing up at the tiny Dalek atop my desk).  And really, it’s important that I and other “out” sex workers not hide our nerdiness (or academic brilliance, or any other trait not generally associated with hot chicks), because showing the world what we’re really like makes it harder for prohibitionists to depict us as two-dimensional victims, vixens, or villains.  Social media does a lot more for sex workers than act as a vehicle for marketing; it allows people who might never have thought much about sex worker rights to recognize us as real, complex human beings like themelves, worthy of rights and respect.  And if Maggie Fucking McNeill can admit to owning enough stuffed animals to fill a good-sized display case, I doubt it will hurt your business to ‘fess up to writing Buffy the Vampire Slayer fanfic.

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I’ll fucking kill you.  –  unnamed loose-cannon cop

Reason often produces amusing videos, but few are as funny as this one which demonstrates that libertarians, unlike most political groupings these days, have not entirely lost the ability to laugh at themelves.  The links above it were provided by Cop Crisis, President Dawg, Franklin Harris, Furrygirl, and Cop Crisis again (x2), in that order.

From the Archives

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Last week, a New York Times reporter who apparently believes there is no actual news to cover at present took to Twitter to claim that the Looney Tunes character Pepe Le Pew “contributes to rape culture”, because obviously there was no such thing as rape prior to the appearance of theatrical cartoons in the 1930s.  Rather than merely consider this idiocy as one more part of the growing lust for censorship of basically everything and everyone not pre-approved by the Grand High Board of Puritans, let’s consider the particular nastiness of this repellent specimen of malodorous moralism.

First and foremost, this pearl-clutcher proceeds from the typical assumption (beloved of humorless scolds without even the most rudimentary knowledge of the history of the medium) that anything animated is “for children”.  The Looney Tunes were comedic theatrical shorts intended mostly for adults, shown before Warner Brothers films in theaters to fill out an evening of viewing.  When in the 1950s, the young television industry started mining Hollywood for content to fill its programming schedules, cartoons were naturally part of that, and when television became the default evening entertainment in the 1960s, theatrical cartoons were one of the casualties of Hollywood’s struggle to survive.  By the 1970s, Americans had succumbed to the collective delusion that any entertainment involving illustrations must be the sole province of children, despite many of them being old enough to remember a time when even housewives, GIs and businessmen read comic books, and most of them being old enough to remember prime-time animated shows such as The Flintstones.  Illustrated entertainment went from being a medium also appreciated by children to one abandoned almost entirely to children, and though that began to change again in the 1980s, authoritarians still cling like embedded ticks to their battle cry “THE CHILDREN™!!!” as an excuse for censorship of any and all illustrated entertainment (including comic books, anime, South Park, and yes, Looney Tunes), because their desire isn’t to “protect children”; it’s to cram all of society into a government-controlled nursery school where No Fun Shall Be Had.

As a child, I didn’t find Pepe Le Pew funny at all, because I lacked the necessary frame of reference to see the humor.  Like so many Looney Tunes characters, Pepe is a grotesquely over-the-top burlesque of a particular type of person, in this case the clueless man who, despite being repulsive to others, has convinced himself that he is the second coming of Casanova.  Pepe isn’t the hero of his cartoons; he is the butt of the joke, a person so clueless he doesn’t even realize that he literally reeks.  His creators aren’t celebrating him; they are mocking him, and only women who have endured the attentions of his real-life counterparts can fully appreciate the mockery.  Censors, on the other hand, are chronological adults burdened with a child’s view of a universe without free will, where things just happen because of malign forces from outside of themselves; they are therefore not only impervious to the humor, but see it as a source of evil magic that programs passive viewers.  Frankly, I’m sick to death of moronic tabula rasa arguments proposed by dimwits whose entire grasp of psychology amounts to thirdhand Skinneresque pseudo-intellectual rot.  Garbage people who see humans as machines to be programmed also invariably have cartoonish views about sex work, and usually support policies that allow steroidal thugs to rape women and call it “rescue”.  And it takes a truly Loony level of hypocrisy to be more concerned about the “rapey” behavior of cartoon skunks from the last century than about actual rapes of marginalized women by present-day government officials.

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She’s an adult as much as any fictional slime insect bug monster can be.  –  Slugbox

The Prudish Giant (#853)

Once Patreon started following in the footsteps of Facebook, this was inevitable:

Whether by choice or force, Patreon’s NSFW creators are increasingly ditching the site over its 18+ rules.  The latest casualties include a gay hypnosis erotica site and an adult anime artist [over whom] Patreon tried to “exercise a scary amount of financial and public control.”  On July 15, Gay Spiral Stories owner Martin announced that the site would no longer be available for funding on Patreon…when…Patreon [demanded he]…remove…fictional, fantastical stories around mind control…Patreon was attempting to control what content Gay Spiral Stories could host off-site, regardless of Gay Spiral Stories’ Patreon presence…Patreon is [also] increasingly forcing adult artists to surrender their portfolios to the site’s control.  In June, adult anime artist Slugbox…decided to leave Patreon for good…[because] under the site’s contemporary terms of service…“‘Slugbox’ becomes a ‘project’ that belongs to Patreon…[which can] dictate where Slugbox can operate, where Slugbox can make money, and how [Slugbox can] make money, and then hold my success here as a hostage”…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#855)

Blaming bad behavior on an imaginary “addiction” is the opposite of accepting responsibility:

A former west Kentucky teacher and track coach, Mark Boggess was sentenced to ten years in prison…for setting up a video recording device in the bathroom of the nurse’s station in the high school…[so he c]ould…watch people change in and out of clothes…The defense claimed Boggess has a porn addiction…

Lack of Evidence (#945) 

Alas, these lawsuits usually end in “settlements” that simply force cops to find a different excuse for harassing women:

A woman is suing San Jose police in federal court…[after] she was targeted, arrested, and jailed because [cops claimed]…transgender [women are all]…sex worker[s]…She is being represented by Bruce Nickerson, a prominent LGBTQ-rights attorney who is pursuing class-action status for the suit…Nickerson successfully sued San Jose police over undercover decoy stings…that…unlawfully targeted gay men…San Jose police declined to comment on the lawsuit…But [claimed stalking and harassing people for supposed bad thoughts was really FOR THE CHILDREN™!!!]…and [that]…street prostitution [magically attracts unspecified but scary]…harmful activity…from…other cities

Pyrrhic Victory (#985) 

Another (very) slight setback for universal facial recognition in the US:

Over about eight years, the American drugstore chain Rite Aid Corp quietly added facial recognition systems to 200 stores across the United States…in largely lower-income, non-white neighborhoods…after Reuters sent…findings [from its investigation] to the retailer, Rite Aid [claimed] it had quit using its facial recognition software….[and] all the cameras had been turned off…Rite Aid [also claimed]…that customers had been apprised of the technology through “signage”…[but] reporters found no notice of the surveillance in more than a third of the stores…with the facial recognition cameras…and [further claimed]…the rollout was…based on stores’ theft histories, local and national crime data and site infrastructure…Among the systems used…was one from DeepCam LLC, which…[is lin]ked with a firm in China whose largest…investor is [the] Chinese government…The Home Depot Inc said it had been testing facial recognition to reduce shoplifting in at least one of its stores but stopped the trial this year…Walmart…has also tried out facial recognition in a handful of stores…

You Were Warned (#1031)

Torture Chamber (#1041)

No human is truly free while governments claim the “right” to lock people in filthy, disease-ridden cages:

…conditions at the Indiana Women’s Prison are being [recognized as] “inhumane” by some [politicians.  Chief screws deny it, but a whistleblower sided with prisoners in telling the truth.  Bureaucrats claim that prisoners]…can go to the restroom every 30 minutes and are allowed to leave their cell every two hours to roam the common areas.  [But in reality the women are locked in cages and told to “stop faking” if they need to use the toilet]…Before the pandemic, the [screws] would keep the cell doors open so [prisoners] could go into the common areas and the air would easily flow through the facility.  However, the[y now use the pandemic as an excuse to keep]…cell doors [locked at all times]…“They are passing out from heat exhaustion as well as experiencing seizures,” said [politician J.D.] Ford…“I have seen vomiting, I have not personally seen seizures, but I frequently see reports of them,” said the…whistleblower…

To Molest and Rape (#1057)

Notice how often rapist cops’ victims are underage?

A San Diego [cop was finally] arrested…on criminal charges of child molestation, pandering and luring a child into a sex act, among other offenses…Jaylen Devon Fleer…is being held without bail…[after being on paid vacation since] May…[other pigs from the same cop shop who have been] charged with sexual misconduct…in recent years [include molester] Richard Fischer…[molester] Timothy Wilson…[rapist] Juan Andrade…[and sexual harasser] Assistant Sheriff Rich Miller…

If you can stomach it, read down to the part where the reporter tries to build up sympathy for a molester by telling us how good he was at playing kids’ games in high school.

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I think I’ve drawn almost everyone in Hollywood.  –  Mort Drucker

This 1933 cartoon version of The Wizard of Oz only resembles its source material in that it features a little girl, her dog, a tornado, and an animated scarecrow and tin man.  It was provided by Jesse Walker, who also gave us “Heyerdahl”, “Drucker”, and “fireworks”.  The other links above the video were provided by Angela Keaton (“puritans”), Clarissa (“Blackman”), Kevin Wilson (“surprises”), and Brooke Magnanti (“Cthulhu”).

From the Archives

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He picked the wrong house to break into.  –  Willie Murphy

Most “Southern” humor isn’t that funny, but I’ve found “It’s a Southern Thing” often has amusing videos, and I especially liked this one.  The links above it were provided by Scott Greenfield, Cop Crisis, Brooke Magnanti, Mama Tush, Mark Kowal, Franklin Harris, and Grace, in that order; “Florida man” was also provided by Scott.

From the Archives

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I’ve always been dedicated to the idea of this as the time of year for spooky fun.  So every year I collect all the spooky, creepy or scary links and other content from the previous year into one place just before Halloween.  If you’ve come to my blog in the past year, or don’t remember previous editions, they are “Trick or Treat”, “More Trick or Treat“, “Tricks and Treats“, “This Trick’s a Treat”, “Tricky Treats“, and “A Trickle of Treats” (because I also love wordplay).  Horror, death or Halloween-themed columns of the past year include “Eros and Thanatos“, “Not Your Costume?“, “Its Own Reward“, “Frozen Smoke“, “The Science of Sin“, and the short story “Wheels“; there are creepy or spooky-fun videos in Links #433, #435, #445, and #447; and here’s a collection of spooky or Halloweeny links:

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One of the bizarre contradictions of modern American society is that at a time when consent has been raised practically to the level of a fetish, complete with various sects of authoritarians declaring themselves the absolute arbiters on what constitutes “true” consent and what doesn’t, many of the same people who would absolutely have a cow if some private citizen slightly smudged a consent-line in some minor fashion have absolutely no issue with government operatives trampling all over consent in the most horrifying ways imaginable.  The same politicians (and their lackeys and followers) who bloviate about “revenge porn“, align themselves with “Me Too” and posture performatively every time a non-cop accused of rape is found not guilty after a trial, suddenly lose their concern for individual consent when it’s government operatives violating it via spying, groping, assault, robbery, rape, abduction or even murder; when confronted with this contradiction they’ll nearly always vomit out nonsense about a “social contract”, as though consent were something which could be granted for individuals by some collective, possibly even a collective with no living members.

A large part of the problem is that while we see lots of explanations of consent like the one above, nobody dares to explain to kids that just because an adult has a costume on or is called an “authority” doesn’t give them the right to ignore your consent.  Not even if they call it “punishment” or a “search”, or say you need it to get on an airplane or enter a building.  People are always wringing their hands about how many cops, teachers, clergy, etc molest or even rape kids & teenagers, yet they never consider that the root cause of these violations is that they’ve drummed it into those kids’ heads that “authorities” must be obeyed and have various excuses to touch or hurt those kids without their consent, simply by giving the abuse some fancy name like “discipline”, “arrest” or, worst of all, the innocuous-sounding “search”.  Nobody has the right to violate their consent, and they owe nobody unquestioned obedience.  And until we start teaching that, we’re never going to see an end to the nauseating parade of “authorities” groping, molesting and raping society’s most vulnerable members while the adults who should be protecting them utter pious platitudes about “security”, “obedience”, and “law”.

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I wandered lonely as a clod,
Just picking up old rags and bottles,
When onward on my way I plod,
I saw a host of axolotls;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
A sight to make a man’s blood freeze.  –  Mad #43

Given the sad news about Mad, it seemed appropriate to feature one of the songs from one of its albums (some of which were actually included in “specials”; if you’re old enough to remember those, you should remember “sound sheets“).  The links above the video were provided by Radley Balko, Nun Ya, Emma Evans, Mike Siegel, Ivan Dragomiloff, and Radley Balko again, in that order.

From the Archives

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The single biggest fallacy in Randianism is the notion that the great industrialists of the past succeeded by their own genius.  They didn’t; every single one got wealthy due to crony deals with politicians, “officially”-granted monopolies, protectionist laws, subsidies, etc; in other words fascism, not the free market.  I’m an agorist; I believe all human interactions should be voluntary exchanges, and that nobody has a right to insert themselves into others’ voluntary arrangements.  But crony capitalism warps markets with collectivist violence, making them evil.  Let’s take one modern example, far more subtle than bailouts, subsidies or “regulations” so complex it takes a full-time legal department (such as big companies have and small ones don’t):  the copyright scam.  Basic copyright is a good concept; it allows creative people to make a living from their creations.  Without it, nobody could afford to be a full-time creator because the unscrupulous would constantly be stealing their work.  But look at how collusion between government and giant media corporations (especially Disney) have warped this good concept into a sick means of fascist corporations making billions from the intellectual creations of people who have been dead for decades.  Mickey Mouse and many other characters should have entered the public domain years ago, but the collectives which “own” them paid off enough Congresscritters to ensure that won’t happen, and the process will continue indefinitely until something is done about it.  But what could be done?  Well, If I were dictatrix, I’d set copyright at life plus 21 years, so any minor children of a creator who died young could enjoy those rights until majority.  But anything longer stifles future generations from doing new things with those creations (as Disney himself did with public-domain characters created by others).  I’d also bar corporations from owning copyright; only human creators (including teams of specifically-named individuals) could have that.  Of course, the creator could license his creation to a company, as Charles Moulton licensed Wonder Woman to DC.  But 21 years after the creator croaks?  It’s all over, including the licenses.  Under my system, everything John Lennon did solo (post-Beatles) would’ve come out of copyright a couple of weeks after George Harrison died in ’01, and Harrison’s work would now have only three years left.  But the collective Beatles creations would still be protected until 21 years after the last Beatle shuffles off this mortal coil.  Superman would’ve entered the public domain two and a half years ago, 21 years after Jerry Siegel’s death (his co-creator, Joe Shuster, died in 1992); imagine what stories new creators could soon write about him or about Batman (out of copyright this coming November in my system).

The “creative team” structure leaves a loophole, but I think it’s a sensible one that could allow a creator to care for loved ones after his death.  All a creator would need to do is give equal creative credit (at the time of publication; retroactive attribution would not be allowed) to the person he wanted to protect.  So if Lennon had given Yoko Ono official equal credit on all or some of his post-Beatles work, the music so credited would still be under copyright until 21 years after she croaks.  A clever creator could even give equal credit to their kids on individual works (one book or album per kid, that sort of thing).  And it would last until 21 years after that “co-creator” died, but there would be no such thing as collectives of investors who never even met Walt Disney profiting from his genius 52 years after his death.  This wouldn’t kill companies; for example, Disney would still hold rights to all from their ’90s revival, probably for decades to come, and they’ve got plenty of money to keep licensing new characters ad infinitum.  But no more resting on laurels, and no more using the power of government to stop other people from doing exactly what 19th and 20th-century creators did.

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