And, after I complain about Hallowe’en, I go for a monster-themed song. What can I say? I’ve been in a particularly Hallowe’en-y mood all day because of a thing I’ve written for Newsarama that will hopefully go up today, despite everything. Even so: I love Edgar Winters’ “Frankenstein” for the following reasons:
That riff is awesome.
There is something ridiculously wonderful about the way that the organ at 0:16 reminds me of the theme to Taxi.
The extended freak-out from 2:22 through to 3:54 is arguably the greatest argument against prog-rock ever recorded.
(Actually, this live version is even greater for the progginess of the whole thing:
As they used to say on The Fast Show: “Nice.”)
I actually discovered the song in the 1990s, through They Might Be Giants, and I have to admit, I may still prefer their version –
– and yet, in whatever form it takes, there’s no denying that “Frankenstein” is one seriously weird, wonderful and stupid song that demonstrates in its own way the value of not caring what anyone thinks and following your bliss. Even if your bliss is a spectacularly grindy song that seemingly never ends.
I try, I promise, but I’ve never really been into it; I’ve never been the one who gets excited about dressing in outrageous costumes or drawing attention to myself and how I look, and I’ve never really enjoyed Trick’r’Treating, either (When I was a kid, lo those many years ago, it was still called “galoshing” in Scotland. Although, looking at that word there, I wonder how badly I’ve misspelled it. “Galoshin’,” maybe? “Galloshing”?), so the whole holiday feels like a strange waste of energy and attention to me. I feel like the Grinch saying that, especially now that I live in America, a country that seems to consider Hallowe’en a national holiday on par with Christmas and Thanksgiving, but it’s true; when people talk about going to parties or getting dressed up, I find myself shying away mentally and thinking “Eh, you’re all crazy.”
I’d call it a sign of getting old, but I was always like this.
I think I bristle at the “you’re so negative” thing that I get every couple of months because it ain’t true. I can be, have been, and will be negative, sure. But if you look at my work, you’d have to be crazy to come to that judgment. ‘cause, here’s the other thing about writing about comics: no one pays attention to everything online, but everyone pays attention to certain things, and posts that are going at someone or negative get a lot of attention. They can and will outshine the sloppiest kiss you ever laid on a comic.
Of course, sometimes positivity just doesn’t work, either. I started, the other week, just showing art from comics that blew me away on the Newsarama blog. They weren’t the best known comics, but they looked amazing. How quickly do you think I got accused of shilling for publishers? Spoiler: Very.
This is a screenshot from the front page of Time.com as I write these very words. Those two un-pixelated stories? They’re both by me; weirdly and somewhat wonderfully, I ended up doing two stories for Time this week (Yes, the Lucasfilm/Disney thing was a last-minute thing, because I journalist well at times, thank you very much) and they both ended up on the front page of Time.com. I swear, I’m almost getting good at this writer thing.
The stories can be found here (Disney/Lucasfilm) and here (Horror on Broadcast TV), respectively.
I sure as hell won’t miss getting requests to participate in articles where you list all of the Marvel NOW! books you’re looking forward to and why. Oh, not a rundown of all of the titles and what you think of each. No, just what books you’re looking forward to! Because it’s a fun article! And it’s only fun when it’s positive and pretty flowers and free advertising for the largest comic publisher in North America! I don’t know if I’d like it more or less if money had been offered. I guess getting paid to participate in an article like that would be more honest. I mean, it’s a fucking ad for a bunch of comics — an endorsement! And, usually, people get paid for endorsements, right? Then again, it’s not like this is Marvel asking that this article happen, it’s just something that someone came up with, because it’s a ‘fun idea.’ How sad is that… ‘Fun’ equals ‘free promotion.’ Not actual balanced content — not even the illusion of it. Hey, if you genuinely love something, then shout it from the roof. I’ve never shied away from that. But, this… this is shilling pure and simple. Sucking Marvel’s cock and pretending it’s journalism.
From here, where Chad Nevett writes about his decision to step back from writing for The Comics Internet and explains why. He’s not wrong, but I’m still surprised that this saw print on ComicBookResources itself, simply because it’s… I don’t know, pulling back the curtain a little bit too much for comfort, maybe? I can’t imagine that there aren’t as many CBR writers who’d see this and think “I am a sell out” as there will be people reading it and thinking “I KNEW IT!” (This isn’t just something that is restricted to CBR, by the way; Newsarama and iFanboy and other comic sites do it just as much, too. And, yes, I write for many of these comic sites, and I sometimes contribute to this type of thing, for the purposes of full disclosure). Nonetheless, I’m really glad he wrote it; I think it’s smart and passionate and needed to be said by someone who actually has experience in this field. I just wonder what the reaction will be, both privately and publicly, is all.
…Somewhere in my head are thoughts about “fun articles” and positivity and the way in which they do serve a purpose beyond shilling or cowering to publishers/creators/whatever, but they’re nowhere near well-formed enough to actually write into anything coherent yet. One day. I still have to write about being on television last week, too.
What can I say? It seemed appropriate for a day when people lose their shit over Lucasfilm being bought by Disney and a new Star Wars movie was announced, instead of, you know, continuing to lose their shit about a hurricane – Sorry, “super storm” – decimating the East Coast. But, putting aside the timeliness and the “Really, Internet? Really?” nature of things, there’s no getting away from the fact that John Williams’ “Imperial March” is kind of a spectacular piece of music. Even if it wasn’t amazingly evocative and nostalgic for anyone who’s seen the original Star Wars trilogy, there’s such a narrative power in this music: You listen to it, and you can hear an epic grandeur, a militaristic element and a growing intensity – The bit at 2:49! – throughout, and you can imagine a story, even if it’s not necessarily the story of Star Wars. Williams is famous for his well-known themes to Star Wars, Superman and Indiana Jones amongst many others, but it’s this piece of music that will always make me love his work without any doubt.
Actually raising money is only part of the challenge with Kickstarter, which has to approve a project in the first place. The Amicos’ first Kickstarter campaign pitch last winter was rejected because the rewards they proposed — the special add-on that donors gets based on the amount they donate — weren’t good enough. (Update: Kickstarter’s Justin Kazmark emailed me after this article went up to say that the first proposal wasn’t rejected per se. “Someone from our team suggested they just give more thought to their rewards before launching,” he said.) This time around, awards varied from donors names being published in a “thank you” post ($10 or more) to getting the Homicide Watch team to guest-teach a class or lecture ($5,000 or more).
“Kickstarter is an odd fit for journalism in many ways,” Laura said. “The symptom of that to me is that rewards are so problematic. Public media does tote bags. Tote bags even have nothing to do with what you’re actually producing, which is the point of Kickstarter. It doesn’t have anything to do with the product we’re offering, necessarily.”
I have a weird fascination with crowdfunding, and especially the idea of crowdfunding what I do, which is journalism, I guess. Discovering that people have successfully done it already is oddly comforting, to be honest.
Terry Callier died this weekend. I never really knew his work, but this duet with Beth Orton, covering Fred Neil’s “Dolphins,” remains one of my favorite recordings ever made; there’s something about his vocals in here, how comforting, how rich and warm they sound. Orton’s own vocals dance around Callier’s; he grounds the performance, and provides the world for her to return to.
I love “Dolphins,” as a song, but often find the performances from various artists to be disappointing. Even Neil’s original doesn’t sound quite “right,” somehow. There’s something about the interplay of Callier and Orton’s voices, about the folk/jazz accompaniment (Those vibes!) that backs them up, that fulfills the song’s potential as nothing else I’ve heard actually managed. Maybe I should hunt down Callier’s earlier catalog and see what other favorites he worked his magic on, as well.
Mike Skinner is, let’s be honest, a kind of terrible rapper. He stumbles and mumbles over his delivery, and he sounds as embarrassed by what he’s saying as confident, more often than not. Despite that – because of that? – “Sharp Darts” is kind of wonderful. It’s an ugly, ungainly track, with the beat as stumbling as Skinner’s vocals, a musical bull in a china shop that’s not in the slightest bit worried about crashing into things or being polite. It’s also funny: “This one’s fat like your mother/Contains enough calories” is such a juvenile moment, it’s ridiculous, but I love that it’s in there nonetheless.
This isn’t a track that wants to make you dance, or admire the lyrical prowess; it’s a track of selfishness and brutishness, of a particular mindset that really doesn’t give a fuck, and at 1:34, it’s short enough that you find yourself wanting to listen again when it’s over, to double-check that it actually happened like you remember. “Shut up, I’m the driver/You’re the passenger.”
Is the troll engaging in bigoted speech in order to call out, and therefore subvert, genuine expressions of bigotry? Is the troll attempting to make a larger claim about sensationalist corporate media? Is the troll merely a racist or misogynist who hides behind trollings. Is the troll engaging in bigoted speech in order to call out, and therefore subvert, genuine expressions of bigotry? Is the troll attempting to make a larger claim about sensationalist corporate media? Is the troll merely a racist or misogynist who hides behind trolling as a way to distance him or herself from his or her own beliefs? Some combination of the three? Something else entirely? Regardless of the insights these sorts of questions might yield, it is critical to acknowledge that the troll’s reasoning — what they really think about a given subject — is ultimately less important than the effects his or her behaviors have. Put simply, whether or not the troll “really” hates women, for example, doesn’t matter if the targeted women feel hated as a way to distance him or herself from his or her own beliefs? Some combination of the three? Something else entirely? Regardless of the insights these sorts of questions might yield, it is critical to acknowledge that the troll’s reasoning — what they really think about a given subject — is ultimately less important than the effects his or her behaviors have. Put simply, whether or not the troll “really” hates women, for example, doesn’t matter if the targeted women feel hated.
From here. I have such an odd relationship with trolls, and the purposes of trolling; I can’t help but feel that there really is some value to trolling, sometimes, as weird as that sounds.