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Beetle Bailey and the Duck-Bear Monkeys

  • Blog Post by: James Lileks
  • May 31, 2013 - 12:09 PM

What the heck are these things? What?

 

 

They looks like Duck-Bears. One does not expect Audubon-level accuracy in Beetle Bailey - or even Mark-Trail-level, for that matter - but these appear to have been drawn by a ten-year old. It makes you suspect that no one actually draws Beetle Bailey any more, but simply assembles the strip out of pre-existing character templates. When the writer sent this one to the shop, they looked in the files for MONKEYS and panicked, because there weren’t any pre-existing monkey templates.

LONG LONG TIMES AGO The Evolution of the Star Wars logo. Started out blah, got horrible, then ended up with the style that seems so obvious now.

In related news: Mark Hamill is picking cigarette butts out of public ashtrays. And he’s doing okay for himself, as far as I know. Well, add that to the “10 Frugal Habits of People Who Manage to Afford to Live in Malibu,” I guess.

 

ART This fellow wants to print out the Internet for an art project. Actually, he wants you to print out as much as you want, then send to him. In Mexico. Says the Yahoo story:

. . . it also happens to tie directly to Goldsmith’s past work: “quantifying ephemeral material.” In this instance, the goal is to “literally materialize the amount of information around us.” In the Internet era, figuring out what to do with information that exists is more meaningful than generating more information: “The advent of digital culture has turned each one of us into an unwitting archivist,” hoarding endless MP3s and digital pictures and old emails, he continued.

As a witting archivist, i.e. I make a point of finding ephemeral material and doing something with it, I have to disagree: figuring out what to do with information is more meaningful than generating more? I am tempted to agree but have no idea what he’s talking about.

What will he do with the stuff once the exhibit’s over? Recycle it.

 

IS THIS A TRICK QUESTION? Atlantic mag asks why everyone hates the Boomers. “F. Scott Fitzgerald's flappers also grew up in a time of plenty, but they were allowed to age out of their sybaritic image. What makes the Boomers different?" 

Without reading the article, I’m going to take a wild stab and say “their endless sense of self-importance, entitlement, and conviction that the popular culture of their dorm room years was the most singular contribution to Western Civilization since the Renaissance.” At least among the people who emerged from the demographic to fill the academies and media companies, and thus shaped the subsequent cultural narratives. And now I’ll read the article and see if I’m right.

Nope. Not according to the author, anyway. The article ticks off the differences between the Jazz Age youth - because “Gatsby” is still in theaters - and the Boomers. Then the comments pile on everyone. Nevermind.

 

NEW INTERNET CRAZE On the odd chance you haven’t heard this yet, well, here it is; it will be beaten to death in a week or two. The mocking parody videos have already begun. It’s . . . well.

 

 

Of course, she has a book:

With no publisher, no backing, “no family helping me—I don’t have a boyfriend or anything,” Rohrback decided she would publish her book herself. The cover features two different pictures of her floating alongside a fiery white steed.

“This book finally let me experience my inner horse. I was like a child again, prancing through the woods. At one point, I was convinced I had four legs. A smile radiated from my face. I punched the sky, knowing that I was free. Call me Prancer, for I walk my path with joy.”

 

At least she didn’t experience someone else’s inner horse. In the old west they’d hang you for that. Metaphysical rustling is still rustling. (via the Daily Beast.)

In related news, yesterday’s Internet Craze was the Hitler tea kettle. BuzzFeed says it’s found a new development in the case, and by “found” I mean “Took the post and picture from a tumblr, depriving the guy of the hits.” Poor guy has THREE reblogs. Here, give him some traffic.

 

ART BoingBoing has  an interesting piece about Hard Case Crime, which makes paperback books that look like paperback books used to look.

one of the people who gave a damn, and gave it early enough in our existence for it to make a big difference, was Stephen King. He decided he wanted in on the fun and when he wrote a book called The Colorado Kid – an unsettling little mystery about the nature of mystery – he invited us to be its publisher. It became our top-selling title ever (not surprisingly) and inspired a TV series called Haven that’s going into its fourth season on SyFy this fall.

I had no idea. I would never have watched anything based on the "The Colorado Kid," anyway.  It was the most inconclusive work since a Neolithic cave artist pressed his red-painted right hand on the stone and decided not to do the left one. The core mystery was okay; the presentation - two old newspaper coots acting like cliched newspaper coots talkin’ about the story, ayuh, to an intern - took away from the suspense, but it was one of King’s minor works that galloped along, and you trusted the author to bring you home at the end. He didn’t. He didn’t solve the mystery. Which would seem to be something that made people suspicious of the rest of the offerings from the publishing house, but they’ve done okay. The next King book will not be an ebook. Paperback only. Why? Out of respect for the forms of the past.

. . . our books are is a shrine to a particular way of consuming stories and the particular object that for decades delivered that experience to millions of people. An object that has dimensions and heft and feels a certain way when you handle it, that looks a certain way when you thumb its pages back, creases a certain way when you jam it in a jacket pocket or a lunch bucket. Shape and form and texture matter. The past matters. Preserving things we love matters. And insofar as we want people to remember something we love, putting an example of it in their hands is a powerful way to do so.

Even though I’ve gone the digital route, I agree. If it really wants to remind people of 1973, though, they could reprise something that was the most revolutionary thing in paperbacks since, well, paperbacks, and was met with such revulsion they stopped doing it out of shame.

A cigarette ad. In the middle of the book.

It was stiff, too - no matter how you opened the book, it fought you, because it wanted to flip to the TRUE ad. We hated these things like we hated the way Marvel reduced the stories by one page by splitting a double-truck so one page was distributed on the top half and the bottom half was ads. (Buy a poster that will teach you karate! Buy a glue-on Van dyke beard! Comics bought and sold, send for a mimeographed list offered by some guy in New Jersey, $1.00) Ads in a book was a line no one had thought to cross.

They never said they were sorry, but they stopped doing it.  I can only imagine the mail they got.

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