The Beginning

16 11 2009

Today, was quite a busy day in work, so I didn’t get through my usual amount of reading, and only really visited YouTube once (or twice). Most of my best reading was done last night.

Firstly I managed to finish Mandroid by John Wagner

 

Wagner really shows his genius in this story, exactly what you’d expect from the creator of Dredd himself. The tale takes the usual war trauma story line and basically gives it the Megacity One twist. A soldier whose body has all but been destroyed is given powerful cyborg limbs. While attempting to readjust to civilian life with his wife and child he is slowly drawn back to violence by confused morality and a battle against insanity, his own and that of others around him. It’s one of the few graphic novels I have read of late with some good twists in it, fine dialogue and some interesting insights into Dredd, though sometimes I missed the more humorous crims with the funny hair dos and the weird drug names. I’m guessing we’re going to see more of these types of stories over the next few decades with the levels and types of wars being fought out there at the moment. We learned nothing from Siegfried Sassoon nor Wilfred Owen.

 

 

I had borrowed last May’s issue of Vanity Fair from the library. It wasn’t the picture of Giselle on the cover that caught my eye, but a reference to Bohemian Grove. Naive and as fond of conspiracy theories as I am, I have found any references to the Grove to link back to the more “crackpot” politics of the likes of Alex Jones. So an opportunity to read something a bit more mainstream was promising. It was, however, a let down. The article itself was concerned with the Grove members’ harvesting of the Redwoods on their property, and as horrifying as I found the fact that they were willing to cut down possibly 3,000 year old trees for the sake of about $850, the article itself was filled with references to laws and edicts I was not familiar with. Even the reporter’s description of breaking into the Grove, how he managed to sneak around and his eventual capture didn’t thrill me. The revelation that Nixon (who was a member) referred to the Grove as ” the most faggy goddamned thing you could ever imagine” thrilled me though. I find everything the man said even more hilarious since discovering he was a Quaker. That probably says more about me than him though. Actually, here’s the recording of him saying it.

All was not lost with Vanity Fair though, as they have a decent piece on the stealing of the Mona Lisa in 1911. (I haven’t posted a link for this as there are too many out there to trawl through to find the best quality, have a look.)


 

The BBC World Service has been running a series of programmes about the fall of the Berlin Wall 20 years ago. The Berlin Wall was the first political presence in my life. I was even taught German at a Summer Camp by a man who claimed to have stood on the wall the day its destruction began and there he was in the photo on the front of one of my Junior Cert books as he had told us. It was the most physical a representation possible for oppression and dominance a child’s mind could comprehend. I can still remember it coming down and that says a lot, my only other memory of a great event is the Freddie Mercury memorial concert. Years later I read Fuhrer-Ex by Ingo Hasselbach which really brought home how life was in the DDR at the time. I also read of many of the escape attempts and successes of the time as a child and accepted the “happy ever after” ending given in each case. The picture above, as dramatic as it was then, was the beginning of a very sad ending for Conrad Schumann, who is worth reading about simply to show and question the price of freedom.

I picked up this link on Twitter.

Which reminded me of this (it’s a long one)

I’ve always found how they can destroy something they have given so much of themselves to create fascinating. Obviously the final destruction is the point. Our own inability to realise that things are transient and nothing is permanent. I always think of my son when he was really small and just learning to draw. He’d spend maybe 10 minutes (a long time for a 3 year old) drawing something indecipherable (but interesting), look at it for awhile and then scrawl through it like some demented Pollock-possessed child until all that was left was a black mass. Now he’s possessive of everything and I wonder if he let that almost libertine trait go because of his environment or simply because he got tired. Reminded of a quote from Deconstructing Harry, “Tradition is the illusion of permanence”. But maybe that’s a discussion for another day.

Out of interest, could anyone who has read this tell me if it’s worth it?

I’m of a mindset of late that makes me think that his writing might make a lot of sense to me. If it’s in audio book form on which I can listen to his lisp while he reads all the better, I find it gives his work a little more drama.

I did not get a chance to read much news or design sites today, but the best bits for each I read were How Right-Wing Cult Leader Sun Myung Moon Bought Washington

and

Mistakes in Typography Grate the Purists.

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