…and just this once, the Republicans are Charlie Brown:
UPDATE: Credit where it’s due: it was Hoyer, not Pelosi, but all that matters is who Lucy’s pulling for.
Only, it is. I feel like with all that’s going on, I’m becoming a bit like a self-absorbed teacher providing comic relief, but whatever — it’s Spring Quarter, I’m exhausted and everything seems awful, so comic relief it is. That said, when I finish teaching students how Scott McCloud thinks word-picture relations and panel-transitions work, I challenge them to a competition to see who can most hilariously re-imagine these five text-less panels from Making Comics:
The Joker, of course, has a theory:
The difference could be that wives and children can be replaced—for tax purposes, if not in our hearts—whereas birth-parents cannot, but while that’s true, that’s not the most significant difference. The most significant difference—the one that, despite not knowing the secret identity of the Batman, the Joker deeply understands—is that “one bad day” is far worse when, instead of being told of a death secondhand, you witness it yourself. Hence, his plan:
I found this image floating around Facebook earlier:
But after reading this article — linked to by the late and lamented Bitch Ph.D. — I couldn’t help but think that it needed a little editing:
SEK is substituting for his co-author/course director, so he when he walks into class, he doesn’t know which students are supposed to be there and which aren’t … and there’s one that certainly isn’t. SEK doesn’t know that yet. It is imperative for the reader to read said student’s voice like this:
SEK walks to the Smart Podium and begins to open the images and videos he will be projecting on the wall during class. MR. HELLO! approaches him.
(I never thought I’d dip back into this well, but then life happens and there you go.)
Heath Ledger notwithstanding, I think it’s fairly obvious that Batman Begins is the better of recent reboots. Nolan structures the first film not around an admittedly ingeniuous performance, but around a modified classical dynamic, by which I mean, he abides by his Aristotle. It opens with the most incentive of incentive moments—a boy watching his parents murdered before his eyes—then proceeds to a classic peripeteia*—that moment of reversal when the boy who witnessed his parents’ murder decides to forsake revenge and fight all crime instead the responsible criminals. It need not bear mentioning, I don’t think, that the deus ex machina, which Aristotle would otherwise despise, in this case fits within “the unity of action,” because it has “an air of design” that’s well-nigh indisputable.
The real crux is the film’s anagnorisis—or “revelation” in the I-murdered-my-father-made-kids-with-my-mother-sense—which occurs at a time Aristotle would’ve approved of, but not in the way he’d prefer. You’ll remember that, early in Batman Begins, the recently returned Bruce Wayne takes his horny butler’s advice and invites some models to go swimming in a restaurant with him:
Since I’ve been paged, and since it’s being discussed in the comments, and since some people are thick enough to believe Cashill possesses “evidence” that requires “ironiz[ing] away,” I believe it’s time to reconvene the standards committee and remind people—via embarrassment—what the source of their “evidence” considers an “A-level match”:
As all actual, practicing literary critics know, few sentences in critical works scream tendentiousness louder than:
What should be transparent to any literary critic is that . . .
Literary matters are only “transparent” when they’re not properly literary. If something is transparent, you don’t need a literary critic to ponder the depths it doesn’t have—any old idiot will suffice. And that’s exactly why Jack Cashill, author of the above [italicized text] and an idiot of long-standing, is just the man to prove that Bill Ayers wrote Obama’s autobiography, Dreams From My Father. For Cashill and his mysterious contributors (“[t]he media punishment that Joe the Plumber received” requires they remain anonymous), the case against Obama is a compelling one:
What Mr. Midwest noticed recently is that both Ayers in [A Kind and Just Parent] and Obama in [Dreams From My Father] make reference to the poet Carl Sandburg. In itself, this is not a grand revelation. Let us call it a C-level match. Obama and Ayers seem to have shared the same library in any case . . . Ayers and Obama, however, go beyond citing Sandburg. Each quotes the opening line of his poem “Chicago” . . . This I would call a B-level match. What raises it up a notch to an A-level match is the fact that both misquote “Chicago,” and they do so in exactly the same way.
So both Ayers and Obama misquote the opening line of Carl Sandburg’s “Chicago,” substituting “hog butcher to the world” for “hog butcher for the world.” This mutual error would be significant (an “A-level match”) if Ayers and Obama were the only two people who ever made it, but according to Google Book Search—a secret search engine to which only I have access—the same mistake has been made by Nelson Algren, Alan Lomax, Andrei Codrescu, H.L. Mencken, Paul Krugman, Perry Miller, Donald Hall, Ed McBain, Saul Bellow, S.J. Perelman, Nathanael West, Ezra Pound, Wright Morris, Allen Ginsberg, Langston Hughes, and the 1967 Illinois Commission on Automation and Technological Progress. (To name but a few.) According to Cashill, I have now proven that Dreams From My Father was written by many a dead man of American letters, a living mystery writer, a New York Times columnist and the 1967 Illinois Commission on Automation and Technological Progress. That bears repeating:
I have an “A-level match” that proves that Obama’s autobiography was written by a “study of the economic and social effects of automation and other technological changes on industry, commerce, agriculture, education, manpower, and society in Illinois” when Obama was only six years old.
What you see there is actual evidence—against Cashill—of being a blinkered, methodologically unsound literary scholar. I challenge anyone to demonstrate that Cashill’s method is sound and likely to produce accurate results. No one will, because they either aren’t experts in literary analysis or they “know a thing or two about interpretation” but are choosing to set said knowledge aside in the interest of what they believe to be great justice. That they’ve offered no evidence, but have merely piggy-backed on Cashill’s demonstrably inadequate noodling, is beside the point. Or would be, if there were one. There isn’t. Why isn’t there?
Because none of the evidence has changed. Cashill’s attempting to bulwark an unsteady argument with information extraneous to it. Whether Ayers made “a strained effort to take credit without taking credit” has no bearing on the quality of Cashill’s argument. Whether “Donald Trump has proved willing to challenge the story” has no bearing on the quality of Cashill’s argument. Nothing outside of the “case” Cashill’s made against Ayers and Obama matters, and the “facts” in evidence are still so pitiful that belief in them basically functions as an indictment against your intelligence.
This is the political-theater equivalent of a student who’s been told he’s written a non-passing essay, runs to Rite Aid and buys a snazzy binder, then slips the same essay into it and turns it back in. The student expects a better grade, but only because the student is an idiot. Until he addresses the failings of his non-passing argument, he’s going to continue to receive a non-passing grade.
Given that I have all of four days to wrap up the Winter quarter and vault into the Spring, lesson-planning’s taken the bulk of my time of late. I’m thinking, as per the tentative title of this post, of delving into meta-fictional accounts of the origin of comic “heroism” this quarter, and have come up with the following (largely other-side-of-the-pond) syllabus:
“The Origin of Batman” (excerpt from Batman 47) – Bob Kane
You begin with the almost-begin: this is the first time Joe Chill’s mentioned, by which I mean implicated, in the death of Wayne’s parents. There’s an earlier reference to their murder in Detective Comics 39 (November 1939), but it’s abridged in a way that makes the story itself unrecognizable. (Which is, yes, the very opposite of the point I make below about Morrison’s All-Star Superman, but that’s because you can’t already assume an audience is familiar with a story before it’s ever been told.)
Batman: Year One (comic) – Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli
See what I did there? In terms of comparative styles, now I can introduce Asterios Polyp. To wit, Mazzucchelli in Year One:
So, while I was occupied with my day job, it appears you folk 1) concluded the blog-feud with a certain numskull and his Internet bride that I had no part in starting, honest, and 2) broke the Internet, possibly permanently, because I agree with these sentiments almost in their entirety:
I fail to see why Obama’s hypocrisy should be a huge concern to conservatives. If he’s flipping to the right policy, who cares what his old view was? And if he’s flopping to the wrong policy, it’s not the flop that should concern us, but the wrongness of the policy itself.
Anyway, the argument that we shouldn’t be intervening in Libya because we’re not intervening elsewhere is a pretty weak claim, by my lights … But the simple fact is that foreign policy is never a fertile ground for perfect consistency. You do what you can, where you can, when you can.
I leave for a little more than a week and now I have to agree with Jonah Goldberg? That’s the last time you lot will be allowed to Internet — as the kids say — unsupervised.
…but I actually think it’s objectively true that I should take a big red pen to Althouse’s statement at 0:24 in this video and have her eight-six “has found” and replace it with “is.”
This is completely irrelevant and I apologize in advance for posting it, but as it’s been recommended by people with law degrees that I track this closely and keep it out in the open, The Donalde has again claimed that I threatened his life … by threatening to throw journalism students at him. (Which, as anyone who knows me knows, is extremely unlikely unless said students have bird-bones, and in that case wouldn’t actually constitute a threat.) Which is only to say, it saddens me (and the profession) that a tenured faculty member thinks I’m a “[m]urderous progressive bastard” because I wrote:
The Donalde, I am absolutely serious here: try to drive traffic to your shit site one more time on this thread and I will end you. Remember, before I taught composition, I taught journalism, and some of my former students are very, very intrepid.
So yes … if you believe that “taught journalism” is a euphemism for “training highly trained snipers with training in death,” then I supposed I must’ve threatened him. But if you’re someone who knows what I’ve actually been trained in — and that any sniper trained by me wouldn’t know how to load a rifle, much less hit the broad side of a barn — I think you’d realize that The Donalde’s trying to smear my name via claims he can’t support with evidence.
*You probably thought I was kidding, but sadly, I’m not.
UPDATE: The Donalde’s forced me to update this post by writing that I’m “bloviating with a bunch of nonsense about how some of his former students graduated from law school,” which is a reference to my having written, as is block-quoted above, that “I taught [and this is my overexerted emphasis] journalism, and some of my former students are very, very intrepid.” I’m trying to figure out absurd ways in which his “comprehension” skills can embarrass the profession even more, but I can’t top him.
But I might be wrong, so help me out with this one. All day, I’ve read and heard that “Japan’s Leading News Network,” “Kyodo News,” estimates that 88,000 people died in the earthquake and subsequent tsunami yesterday. That first link’s significant, as it’s to a Google News search of “Japan 88000,” and every return — many of which are from reputable news agencies like the BBC — cites some variant of the phrase “the official Japanese news agency Kyodo,” though the links to said agency either won’t resolve or direct Google Chrome and Firefox to sites both browsers warn me is overrun by friendly malware. There’s a Wikipedia entry for Kyodo News, but it boasts of it being “the only remaining news agency to transmit news via radiofax,” which strikes me as an odd thing to boast about.
Then there’s the fact that “Kyoto” handily defeats “Kyodo” in a Google Battle by 35,800,000 votes and that Kyodo News is the unlinked-but-most-frequently-cited-source concerning the impending nuclear holocaust and I can’t help but wonder whether (1) Kyodo News is the Japanese equivalent of Fox or (2) there’s a deliberate and profoundly cynical effort by spammers and link-farmers to drive traffic to sites Firefox and Chrome won’t load by preying on people’s unacknowledged desire to bear witness to increasingly unspeakable disasters.
Much as (2) would cause me to lose faith in the human race, I’d rather be the victim of an online advertising ploy than 88,000 Japanese be one of this earthquake and its aftermath.
Because I don’t know Japanese, if someone more knowledgeable can weigh in, I’d appreciate it.
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