Tag Archives: Doonesbury

Weekend linkage

Now that the clouds of incense surrounding the late Christopher Hitchens have dissipated, the pushback is underway, and welcome. I enjoyed his book reviews and his readiness to tangle with religionists — he was certainly the earliest and most articulate truth-teller following the death of the odious Jerry Falwell — but his posturing as a professional left-wing apostate and cheerleader for the Iraq disaster soiled any of his other accomplishments. “His tragedy, which his careful revisions and rationalisations cannot conceal, is that he became what he had despised – as Hazlitt put it, ‘a living and ignominious satire upon himself’.” Yep. 

Spend some quality time with Bob Dylan’s Planet Waves.

Bertrand Russell appeared in a Bollywood film. Who knew?

I’ll drink to that.

So the Tealiban, the Elmer Fudds, and the Charles Whitmanites have declared that Martin Luther King’s birthday will also be National Gun Appreciation Day. Stay douchey, wingnuts. The more of you come out into the sunlight, the more people get to see you for what you are.

Jeff Redfern learns about the daily demands of the writing life. It even brings him closer to his journalist dad. Doonesbury continues to surprise.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Friday finds

Doonesbury stays as timely as ever, doesn’t it? Back then, it was the stem cells keeping Dubya awake; now it’s Kanye West, but the creepy disassociation from reality remains the same, and Garry Trudeau nailed it. For a comic strip to have been so consistently good while remaining surprising and unpredictable is amazing, and this appreciation by Garry Wills gets at all the reasons why.

Cat Stevens or Yusuf Islam — he’s still a theocratic creep.

Before you send out that fantasy manuscript, run it past this Fantasy Novelist’s Exam.

Allen Barra correctly praises Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove as the great American Western, and correctly downgrades the overrated Cormac McCarthy and Blood Meridian. But what about John Williams and Butcher’s Crossing?  What about Frederick Manfred and the “Buckskin Man” cycle? I’ll take Lord Grizzly or Conquering Horse over Ghost Town or Welcome to Hard Times.

This is sick.

Wanna hear Gilgamesh read in Babylonian? Here you go.

Podcast alert! An excellent conversation with Noam Chomsky, the American Socrates. From fanboy to filmmaker: a talk with Joe Dante, director of The Howling, Gremlins, and The Hole. The natural history of the unicorn.

The 100 Greatest Horror Movie Quotes, as compiled by Harry Hanrahan. I was pleased to see my favorite lines from Hellraiser, John Carpenter’s The Thing, and the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. And The Haunting — classy! All that’s missing is the conversation between Herbert West and Dr. Hill’s head in Re-Animator.

Tagged , , , , ,

Rizzo the Raider

Shortly after my folks moved us to the suburbs of Philadelphia in 1975, I began to hear about the Philly police department’s Gestapo-like reputation, and the bullyboy tactics of then-mayor Frank Rizzo. At one point, a bunch of goons actually encircled the Philadelphia Inquirer building and blocked access for at least an hour, apparently to express their displeasure with an Inquirer series that cast Rizzo in an unflattering light. Even Doonesbury made jokes about Frank Rizzo. Mike Doonesbury and Mark Slackmeyer, stopping at a Philly diner during a cross-country road trip, are warned to get out of town before sundown by a thug with bandoliers criss-crossing his chest. “Who was that?” they ask. “The mayor,” the counterman says.

Like they say, you had to be there, but if you weren’t here’s a good documentary about Rizzo’s penchant for  conducting surveillance against anyone with the nerve to criticize the powers-that-be. A lot of it reminded me of my favorite political boss, Frank Hague, when his newfound obsession with stamping out communist agents dovetailed conveniently with his crusade against the CIO as it tried to organize workers in Hudson County.

Who knows? Maybe I ended up writing this book because life just outside Ciudad Rizzo gave me an appreciation for the workings of political bosses.

Tagged , , , ,