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Thursday, October 26, 2006


A: "That's What Positive People Do."

Q: Why does George W. Bush have a pathological aversion to contingency planning?

People fret that Bush's decisions are governed by End Times delusions, when the truth is that his guiding principles all come from self-help and management books. He's trying to run the country according to Norman Vincent Peale. You can hold the Congress if you think you can. Eliminate all the negative thoughts that prevent you from achieving happiness and success in Iraq. Visualize a way to destroy Social Security and then attain it.

Does the following sound like any big-eared, beady-eyed homegrown would-be dictator you know?
When you have a problem, one that is especially difficult and baffling, perhaps terribly discouraging, there is one basic principle to apply and keep on applying. it is simply this--never quit. To give up is to invite complete defeat.
--Peale, You Can If You Think You Can, page 1
Of course, Peale goes on to suggest approaching a problem in a different way if your current methodology isn't working, but hey, that's paragraph 2, and this is George W. Bush we're talking about.

By the way, during his press conference yesterday, Bush said some variation of "what the American people need to understand" 37,002 times. I counted. Because it would never occur to a positive person that others reject his position because it, you know, sucks. Maybe if he explains it to us one more time, slowly, we'll break "the worry habit", find faith in ourselves and good things will start happening for us.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Found Dead, With A Hooker Or Both

These are the only circumstances under which Rush Limbaugh deserves to be on the front page of a major newspaper. Yet there he is at the Washington Post, drawing on all of his medical training to denounce Michael J. Fox's ad for Senate candidate Claire McCaskill as acting. And before this more "balanced" version of the story, the Post briefly ran, on its home page, an entirely uncritical version by staffers Daniela Deane and Matthew Mosk. I expect Limbaugh to make sweeping, sneering proclamations about things he doesn't care to understand--it's pretty much his job description--but why would the Post give him such an assist, even if only for a few hours?

Update--ABC News just ran the headline "Hannity: Michael J. Fox Can Be Criticized For Stem Cell Ad", one day after the network's political director Mark Halperin told Bill O'Reilly: "If I were a conservative, I understand why I would feel suspicious that I was not going to get a fair break at the end of an election. We’ve got to make sure we do better, so conservatives don’t have to be concerned about that." This is just more evidence that with 13 days to go, we're all snugly inside the electoral event horizon, where reality itself is bent by the propaganda singularity and no logic, decency or rationality can escape.

Monday, October 23, 2006


Lightning (Lad) Strikes

I'm kind of an on-again, off-again (right now I'm on) comics reader over a really long period from about 5 to 35. It's hardly novel to point out that I'm typical - there were a lot of 5 year olds reading comics when I was 5, and now all the readers seem to be 35 and up. Once in a while I wonder where the new readers will come from, and what will draw them to comics. I'll admit that I hope my daughter likes comics, because it would be fun to share them with her, but I know that it's pretty statistically unlikely that she'll be interested.

This weekend I went to a really great store in San Diego because a good friend who is a relatively new comics reader was looking to put a dent in her want list of back issues. We had perused the store's booth at comicon and she knew they specialized in old comics. Maybe this happens all over the country all the time - a woman, seemingly normal, suddenly decides that she's interested in collecting obscure comic books from the 1960's - but I think it's pretty unusual. The funny part is that her interest is almost entirely due to something completely coincidental: her cat has the same name as Supergirl's. Seriously.

Due to this extremely minor fact, my friend was willing to go to comicon with me and rope her husband in too (Cole didn't make it out to SD this year, and I thought it would be depressing to go alone so I was grateful and willing to risk boring them), buy a copy of Legion of Super Heroes Archives Vol. 1, and search around on the web for a list of appearances of the Legion of Super Pets. I keep waiting for her to say, "wait a minute, why am I buying these comics - they're retarded!"

Instead, her interest grows. After we went to the comics store I loaned her and her husband a pile of comics that I thought they might like along with Scott McCloud's "Understanding Comics". By the next day they had read through the whole pile and she was on to the McCloud. So far, however, I haven't been able to come up with anything she likes as much as the Legion of Super Heroes stories from the 60's. I tried Madman, because I thought the tone and the clean layouts would be somewhat similar, but I got a somewhat tepid response. The only thing that really got a good response was a Silver Age Flash story with Gorilla Grodd. Maybe it was his special radiation that made her love him.

As we drove home from the store I started thinking about how frustrating it must be for whoever is out there trying to market comics to new readers. My friend's story is completely useless as a roadmap for how to get new interest in the medium. Goofy coincidences are not a strategy.

I'm left with a couple of questions:
What would you suggest for modern comics for a person who loves 60's LSH stories?
Have you ever seen anyone else become interested in comics after about 10 years old?

I'd be curious what you have to say.

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