Thursday, 16 February 2006

Batman Vs. Shameless, Whiny, Scumbag Baby Boomer, Sixties-Generation Spoiled Brats . . . Or Possibly Al Qaeda. [More meta-academic-blogging later. After a long day of responsible grading I needed to lash out. I promise to bring you more questionable categories and half-baked theories about the status and future of academic blogging tomorrow.] The year is . . . some year in Eighties. A tired old man watches a presidential news conference: President: Now it's taken some doing— Old Man: Yeah, some doing. Like repealing the Bill of Rights. President: —but we have arrived. We are at peace— Old Man: Of course we're at peace! We've killed just about everybody who disagrees with us! President: —our children live in a world free of crime— Old Man: Our children live in a damn police state! President: —we are prosperous beyond the dreams of previous generations— Old Man: We're well-paid slaves. WHO WILL STOP ALL THIS. BOOMING Voiceover: My patience is at its end. The time has come. Who booms the end of his patience? Who agrees with the tired old man that peace has been purchased at the cost of thousands of lives overseas and servitude in a police state at home? He does. Examine that page carefully. Look at the artful despair on the face of an aged Jimmy Olsen. Look at the eyes in those center panels—blue and wide on the left and bruised and battered on the right—and tell me that isn't the work of an artist who understands the complex ways contemporary cultural myths resonate with the American public. The graphic novel from which I scanned the above changed the way I thought both about superheroes and cultural mythology. Thinking about the complicated interaction of myth and politics depicted therein forced my fourteen year old brain to consider a picture more realistic than the superheroes-fight-supervillains and larger than vigilante-fights-petty-crime. Sure I could've waited a few years and read Umberto Eco on Superman as defender of property rights and all things status quo. But because of that graphic novel I didn't need to. So needless to say I felt profoundly disturbed when I learned that Frank Miller had nearly finished "a piece of propaganda" in which "Batman kicks Al Qaeda's ass." The man who aligned Superman with Reagan foreign policy has decided to align Batman with Bush's? (Click on that link even if you don't read comic books. It's about as brilliant a panel-to-panel progression as you're likely to see.) Conservatives danced in the street. But consider their logic: If Batman attacks al Qaeda then Miller must've turned Dennis Miller's corner. He must now believe in the conservative way of life because . . . no liberal would approve of a vigilante going to Afghanistan and finding and fighting Bin Laden. Now I have no idea whether Miller will reverse the symbolism of the above panel and align Batman with The War President and The Global Struggle Against Extremism . . . but isn't it strange that conservatives can't imagine how Miller sending Batman to Afghanistan might constitute a criticism of the current administration? How can...
EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT! The following is an email The Acephalous Sun recently acquired: Dear SmartPodiums "Я" Us: We here at the Instructional Resource Center would like you to modify the Model-T51789 SmartPodium previously installed in HIB 110. The specific alterations we request are: When an instructor presses the "up" button on podium touchscreen the cursor should move down and when "down" is pressed it should move up. Similarly when the instructor presses "right" the cursor should move left and when "left" is pressed it should move right. Every time an instructor touches the touchscreen it should emit a shrill "beep" to inform the students that their instructor has touched it. If possible we would like it to randomly emit multiple beeps despite being touched only once. That "beep" should not correllate to the cursor moving in the opposite of the desired direction. The cursor should only move when it wants to. But the SmartPodium should beep everytime the instructor touches it. And sometimes when he doesn't. We also request a camera with video capability be secreted in or next to the touchscreen. It should be programmed to record whenever the touchscreen is activated. Once completed the SmartPodium should automatically email the recorded video to the email addresses specified in previous correspondence. We hope these modifications can be completed before 16 February 2006. Thank you again for your willingness to go the extra mile for the IRC. P.S. If you would like your email added to the aforementioned mailing list we'd be more than happy to oblige. Watching these idiots cajole then threaten your quality podiums is all the meaning we can muster from our tiny little lives.

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