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“There are no homosexuals doin’ homosexual things in my junk pile”

[ 17 ] February 12, 2015 |

This report on conditions on the ground in Alabama now that gay marriage is legal is not to be missed.

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In which SEK is, for once, rendered speechless

[ 54 ] February 10, 2015 |

SEK was — as you well know — once a respected academic who hobnobbed with the people at the very top of his discipline. So he is accustomed to meeting people whose work he has invested days and months of his life into. But none of them were on the television and apparently that makes a big difference, as SEK learned at the Dallas Comic Con this weekend.

SEK was wandering around in a futile attempt to keep up with one of the Con’s organizers, Devin Pike, when he “accidentally” ended up in the “backstage” area where the talent hangs out when they’re not signing or taking photographs. And before you ask — if you give SEK media credentials he will “accidentally” end up a lot of places he’s probably not supposed to be. That is the nature of SEK and even if he didn’t do it deliberately the universe would oblige. Or possibly insist. 

So SEK was “backstage” and he walks smack into the preternaturally charming John Barrowman. 

SEK: (audibly gasps) …!

BARROWMAN: (reading SEK’s name tag) And you are…media!

SEK: (trying to remember what words are and if they mean) …!

BARROWMAN: And where do you media, Scott?

SEK: The Onion.

BARROWMAN: I love The Onion! You should hire me, I’m hilarious!

SEK: (losing his words again) …!

BARROWMAN: Great to meet you, Scott, gotta go!

And then he danced out of SEK’s life forever. SEK takes comfort in the fact that, at least, he got two words out in the face of Captain Jack’s relentless charm offensive. In SEK’s defense he did fare better here than the first time he met Gay Talese. That was an unmitigated disaster.

Also, for those of you who amused by such things — here was how to find SEK at the Con. He is nothing if not consistent.

What happens when you walk up to a frat bro and say, “Don’t be racist”?

[ 18 ] February 9, 2015 |

If you’re me and they’re like they are, they’d probably yell “KIKE!” and run away.

File under: Some days I really don’t miss teaching.

“The first out gay in space is way bigger than hate chicken”

[ 33 ] February 4, 2015 |

Just great — thanks to what is possibly the greatest pull-quote ever, I’m now required to love 2/5 of ‘N Sync:

In the “Keep it 100″ portion of the show, in which panelists are asked uncomfortable questions and urged to be completely honest, Wilmore asked certified Russian cosmonaut Lance Bass the following question:

“You have an offer to do a corporate event, and if you do, they’ll pay your way into space — but the sponsor’s Chik-fil-A. They’re not trying to get rid of you, by the way, they just want you to have an awesome gay space adventure. Do you do it?”

“I’m about to be a 100 right now,” Bass replied. “Yes, I’d do it, because the first out gay in space is way bigger than hate chicken.”

About that new Harper Lee novel…

[ 15 ] February 3, 2015 |

…it’s important to remember something about statements like this one reprinted in the BBC:

“I hadn’t realised it [the original book] had survived, so was surprised and delighted when my dear friend and lawyer Tonja Carter discovered it,” Lee continued. “After much thought and hesitation, I shared it with a handful of people I trust and was pleased to hear that they considered it worthy of publication.”

Namely, that they were in all likelihood written by her “dear friend and lawyer Tonja Carter,” who has been writing such statements on Lee’s behalf — if not with her knowledge — since at least 2012.

In an interview with NPR last year the author of The Mockingbird Next Door, Marja Mills, noted that the blind and deaf Lee — who recently suffered a stroke — often signs any document put in front of her by Carter.

I know everyone is very excited to read this sequel/prequel of To Kill a Mockingbird, but I have a feeling that something very sad precipitated this novel’s publication, and that it involves taking advantage of an elderly woman.

In which SEK seems to be trying to get arrested

[ 60 ] February 2, 2015 |

SEK is on his way from Baton Rouge to Houston. Outside of Scott, Louisiana he witnesses a bus try to switch lanes, clipping the car in front of him and sending it spinning into the median, where it finally comes to a halt on an incline, almost sideways.

The bus just keeps on going.

SEK pulls over, exits his vehicle, and walks back toward the car and peers into the car. SIDEWAYS GUY is slumped over unconscious on his deployed airbag. Then —

MYSTERIOUS VOICE: Hello, are you OK?

SEK (confused): Are you OK?

MYSTERIOUS VOICE: Are YOU OK?

SEK (still confused): I’m fine. Who are you?

MYSTERIOUS VOICE: Who are YOU?

SEK (still, yes, confused): I’m Scott.

MYSTERIOUS VOICE: And where are you?

SEK: (you guessed it) Scott.

MYSTERIOUS VOICE: No, WHERE are you?

SEK: (baffled) Outside of Scott, Louisiana.

MYSTERIOUS VOICE: Don’t worry, help is already on the way.

At this point, SEK FINALLY realizes he’s been talking to an OnStar representative and he hears sirens. The EMS and police arrive, and SEK points to unconscious SIDEWAYS GUY and starts talking to the cops.

COP: Could you describe the vehicle?

SEK: It was a bus. It had the [company name written] on the side and…

COP: And what?

SEK: It had a cartoon character on the side of it, and it was…

COP: What was it?

SEK: This is going to sound terrible, and you know I’m trying to be helpful, but…

COP: But what?

SEK: I’m pretty sure it was a cartoon pig dressed up like a cop.

COP: A cartoon pig — dressed up like — a law enforcement officer?

SEK: I’m pretty sure.

COP: OK — you wait here.

SEK then repeats his story to a few other officers, and is informed he will be contacted on Monday to be deposed, as he is the only witness to the accident.

BUT THERE’S MORE — BELOW THE FOLD!

Read more…

New AV Club/Internet Film School column in which I argue that Divergent is worse than Saving Christmas

[ 75 ] January 27, 2015 |

So please feel free to … enjoy?

SEK on Graphic Policy Radio talking about Agent Carter

[ 26 ] January 19, 2015 |

If you’re so inclined, you can listen to myself and Elana Levin and Brett Schenker discuss Marvel’s Agent Carter. There’s a special bonus for those of you who think I’m a hypocrite — I begin the podcast strongly espousing one opinion and end it opining quite to the contrary.

Fun is had by all.

Also, people who know better than I do didn’t think this was a totally ridiculous idea:

And because I know you love him:

THUG LIFE 4EVAH

[ 35 ] January 8, 2015 |

It is 23°F and SEK is rolling home from the store with a car full of cat litter and sushi when he spots his HAT-HATING NEMESIS wearing a hat while taking out the trash.

SEK: (to himself) The worm has turned!

SEK slows the car down as he approaches his HAT-HATING NEMESIS.

SEK: (to himself) This is gonna be great — I’m gonna nail his hat-hating ass for wearing a hat in the middle of winter. I’m gonna be even more Internet-famous now!

HAT-HATING NEMESIS looks at SEK as he performs a patented “Prairieville drift” into 20 mph terrority.

SEK: (to himself) Time to roll down the window and give that fucking hypocrite what he deserves.

HAT-HATING NEMESIS raises his arm and politely waves at SEK. SEK prepares to roll down the window and give him the ol’ what-for when…

SEK’S CAR STEREO: Shouldn’t I have all of this — shouldn’t I have this — shouldn’t I have all of this and — passionate kisses!

SEK: (VERY ALOUD) FOR FUCK’S SAKE!

SEK hits the gas and speeds off in shame.

Headline of the year?

[ 25 ] January 5, 2015 |

I know 2015 is only five days old, but I really think this one’s going to be a contender.

And lest you think that that headline wrote itself, consider The Daily Mail‘s version based on my story.

If you let me choose the Person of the Year…

[ 19 ] December 30, 2014 |

…you shouldn’t be surprised when I choose Satan.

At least explain why John Romita Jr. is one of the top 50 comic book artists of all time

[ 43 ] December 23, 2014 |

Because it’s my birthday and I have the God-given right to behave insufferably on it, I’d like to complain about this otherwise excellent list of the top 50 comic book artists that Brian Cronin at Comic Book Resources has put together. Obviously, there are problems with objectively ranking art and what-not, but despite a bit of presentism, the list is mostly solid.

My complaint is with the analysis — or more accurately, the lack thereof. For example, Cronin includes this sequence of panels from Amazing Spider-Man #230:

jrjrartist6

And says this about them: “Amazing. His character work is different now, but his page designs are the same and they’re still excellent.”

I know Cronin’s capable of more — and again, because I have the right to be insufferable today and demand more — I’m going to provide more. Want to know why this sequence by John Romita Jr. warrants his inclusion in any top 50 list of comic book artists?

Panel 1 is open — that is, without defined borders — and that openness is used to indicate that events depicted within it don’t have a predefined outcome as of yet. This kind of non-panel paneling is often used in splash pages at the beginning of epic tight-filled battles, with hundreds of dozens of characters spilling over each other in a mad rush to do justice.

But here, despite the openness of the panel, Romita Jr. opts for intimacy — not only are Spider-Man and the Juggernaut the only two characters in the open panel, but they’ve been transported into a Beckett play. There literally is no world beyond their struggle and the words they have to say about it.

In Panel 2 — properly bordered as the outcome becomes more clear — the Juggernaut is still the dominant figure, and his defiant words occupy the bottom half of the panel.

But as Spider-Man starts to get the upper hand in Panel 3, the compositional balance shifts. Peter Parker’s thoughts start to crowd the action further down the panel, and no matter how hard the Juggernaut tries to pound him off — as indicated by the little stars dancing around Spider-Man’s head — Parker’s indomitable will is proving to be the decisive element in this fight.

In Panels 4 and 5, Spider-Man’s thoughts about responsibility are allowing him to subdue his much more powerful opponent. The weight of those thoughts is allowing the slight web-slinger to defeat a man who goes by nom de guerre “Juggernaut.”

Romita Jr. is using these first five panels to compose a stunning tribute to the power of will to triumph over brute strength — or it’s just a set-up. Panel 6 is a close-up of the Juggernaut’s gums, which had stopped flapping for a few panels there, indicating that he’s having mobility issues. Given the way the world fell away in Panel 1, the close-up in Panel 6 works like the final beat a comic holds before delivering the punchline — which in this case is that the pair had been fighting in a pond of wet cement.

All those words I wrote about how the weight of Parker’s responsibility overpowered the Juggernaut in Panels 2, 3, 4 and 5 remains true — but now it becomes clear that they were also slowly sinking in wet cement. Not that the reader knows that, because they fought in a Beckettian void of will and word, but even after the punchline’s been delivered, the tension remains. Yes, they were sinking into a sea of cement — but they were also engaged in a struggle which, for Parker, was deeply connected to his ever-present and always-punishing sense of responsibility.

And that, my friends, is why John Romita Jr. is one of the top 50 comic book artists of all time.

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