January 24th, 2011

Peter G

Taking The Knee

I didn't bother with posting or anything on Sunday because I had work to do.  Lots of work to do.  Quantum Redshift is entering the home stretch (I'm currently on page 20).  So I hunker down with a nice glass of tea, put on some music and get to work.

Partway through, I remember this is Sunday and the Bears/Packers playoff game is today.  Once again, I'm the lone holdout in a family full of Bears fans.  My dad is a huge Bears nut and is going to watch the game with his brother and his nephew, and if the Bears do as badly as I'm expecting, he's gonna want to call and bitch.  And I lack the time and interest to listen.

So, I put on my "answering machine."  It's not a real answering machine, it just does outgoing messages like what churches use for their dial-a-prayer.  The outgoing message is, "Hello.  If I wanted to talk to you, I would have called you first.  So at the sound of the tone, please hang up."  Misanthropic?  Sure, but that's my shtick.  I also disable my cell phone.  I leave the TV off and lock myself in a media blackout.

I know things aren't going well when the phone rings.  I check the caller ID.  It's dad's cell phone.  Me no home.

It's only after I'm comfortable with the progress I've made on the pages that I end the blackout.  I jump on line to see what I'm looking at.  Bears lost.

The coder channel has some football nuts and I ask if I missed anything interesting.  I get some information on key problems and such, as well as some links to see those parts of the game.  But one of them says something that made my blood boil.

"People are burning Jay Cutler's jersey."  Nice to know, in these days after the Arizona massacre, people are still behaving with maturity and clarity.

Jay Cutler is the quarterback for the Bears.  Keep in mind, quarterback is the most important position on the field.  Cutler apparently got nailed because the Bears' offensive line still sucks.  Knee injury, he was hobbling.  So the decision was made for him to sit starting early in the third quarter.  And now people are dubbing him Jay Quitter.

Now, don't get me wrong, I don't really care about Cutler.  He acts like a braggart on the field and like an immature idiot off the field.  However, questioning the guy's tenacity is a mistake.  Here's a guy who got sacked 57 times this season, plays with Type 1 diabetes which him constantly checking his insulin levels on the sideline, and is dating a cast member from The Hills.  Translation:  this guy knows how to deal with suffering.  So saying he quit on the team is bullshit.

People love heroics.  It's why comics sell so well.  It's why activists are admired.  Because they are doing something great and inspiring.  But here's the problem -- people are only admired when they succeed.  No one cares if you don't achieve your goals.

Consider this -- I think her name was Kerri Strug.  She was on the US Olympic gymnastics team.  That part I know.  Anyway, you know who I'm talking about.  The American team was a few points shy of the gold.  With an injured leg, she did some sort of vault (I think) and nailed a high score before collapsing into her coach's arms.  Now, it turns out the US didn't need that score to be so high, the other top contender blew it, so they would have won.  But everyone cheered the bravery and determination and guts of this little girl.  Because she got a high score.  Didn't matter that the score was ultimately meaningless, which means she put herself at risk of breaking her leg for nothing.  Had she landed and her bones turned to powder, people would have been screaming, "What the fuck was the coach thinking letting her do that?!?"  But because she's a winner, it's bravery, not stupidity.

So, here's Jay Cutler.  This is a guy who got his bell rung early in the season.  Potentially, his brain could be mixed up like a fresh daquiri and we won't know it.  He was kept in the game way too long and took ten sacks, and everyone watching could see those seven step drops weren't part of the play, he was out of his goddamn mind.  And everyone wondered why they didn't pull him earlier to keep him from getting hurt.

And now?  He should have stayed in there?

Here's the thing.  Doing heroic stuff is great and inspiring and all that jazz.  But ultimately, we're not talking about a guy rescuing orphans from a burning building or something.  It's not like anyone's life was on the line.  He's a football player.  He's playing a silly game.  When historians go through our culture, they'll wonder about our President and our businesses and our theology and such.  They won't care who won a football game.  Cutler did the smart thing, not only for his health, but also for his career.  He can't keep playing if his knee is shot (last I heard, it was a torn ligament, so he should be okay).

If you want to blame something for the Bears' loss, put blame on logical things, like the coaching and play calling.  Like that punt attempt from the 49 in the second quarter instead of a field goal.  Or that end around with the slowest runner on the team.  Or the wideouts not bothering to do their jobs.  The holding penalty that wiped out a first down.  Shit like that.  That's what everyone should be pissed about, not debating the toughness of a quarterback whose offensive line turns him into a crash test dummy.

I Wonder If Hero Illustrated Will Snap Up Their IP?

"Stick a fork in their ass, they're done."
--Lou Reed

Wizard Magazine is gone.

No, that's not a joke.

Wizard is spinning their comic conventions off and will have an IPO later on.  They are also working on a digital magazine.  But Wizard and Toyfare both are history.

I know a lot of people hate Wizard.  I was pretty ambivalent.  I mean, they celebrated fanboy culture, and I was never much of a fanboy.  So I honestly didn't care.  Gareb Semus wasn't someone who offended me or inspired anything more than indifference out of me.  It's biggest feature was the price guide.  Yeah, Overstreet was already doing it, but this pumped up the fanboys.  Then, when the speculator crash hit, that feature went down.

It was obvious Wizard was in trouble.  The big names in comics will rarely agree on anything, but most of them hate Wizard.  Marvel was the only holdout until rumors started shooting around about Wizard's handling of the Death Of Captain America issues.  Wizard was trying hard to remain relevant, and failing miserably.  There was an issue last year that had a page recommending certain books.  Reason -- "BOOBIES!", as it said across the top of the page in a large point font.  Wizard has steadfastly held itself to what it started, even as the audience has either outgrown it or moved on.  There have long been rumors that most of Wizard is done by unpaid interns now, very few actual staff remained.

Well, no official word, but so many people are talking about this, and so many stories match, this has to be it.  Remaining staff have been laid off and freelance assignments have been canceled.

So I wonder if we'll finally see Frank Cho's Monkey Fight Club.

Maybe He Should Ask For A Balloon Payment

His name is Jeff Koons.  He's one of those modern artists.  He mostly takes existing objects and rearranges them into art.  Sort of like Andy Worhol, but without the irony and humor.  He is known primarily for giant installations of flower covered puppies and for sculptures made of stainless steel that resemble giant balloon animals.

Koons is suing a San Francisco gallery and store.  Why?  They are selling a set of bookends shaped like balloon dogs.

He's claiming it too closely resembles his giant balloon dog sculpture and wants money.

Can anyone tell me how exactly a balloon dog looks different from all those other balloon dogs?  The bookends sell for $30.  "Replicas" of Koons' dogs go for $7,250 to $12,500 on eBay.

Of course, Koons suing for copyright infringement is a laugh.  Deceiver dug this out from the NY Times:

"Mr. Koons has had several well-publicized brushes with copyright law, most notably in the wake of his landmark “Banality” show at the Sonnabend Gallery in 1988. Shortly after the exhibition he was sued by a photographer, Art Rogers, whose black-and-white photograph of a couple holding eight German shepherd puppies was used by Mr. Koons as the basis for a sculpture called “String of Puppies.”

"Mr. Koons’s lawyers said that his appropriation of the image constituted fair use , arguing that the sculpture was intended as a parody of the kind of trite, mass-produced sensibility that the photograph represented. But the courts didn’t buy it; Mr. Rogers was granted summary judgment, which was affirmed by an appeals court. (The three-judge appellate panel was particularly harsh, accusing Mr. Koons and Sonnabend of believing that because they were major players in the art world, they could get away with piracy.) The case was settled for an undisclosed amount.

"Mr. Koons lost two subsequent suits stemming from the “Banality” show, one by another photographer and a second by United Feature Syndicate, which accused Mr. Koons of violating its copyright on the dog Odie from the Garfield comic strip. Those cases were also settled for undisclosed sums."

This lawsuit is like his art -- very interesting, very creative...LOGIC.  THAT'S what's missing.