BOOK REVIEW | "GABBA GABBA HEY!: THE GRAPHIC STORY OF THE RAMONES" BY JIM MCCARTHY & BRIAN WILLIAMS
the unlikely story of PUNK ROCK originators THE RAMONES is one for the ages. coming out of the QUEENS cultural wasteland known as FOREST HILLS, the group was made up of three social outcasts that could not be more different in demeanor and personality, i.e. the FRANTIC speed freak bassist DEE DEE, the RECALCITRANT RIGHT-WINGER guitarist JOHNNY and the NERVOUS and SOCIALLY AWKWARD BIPOLAR singer JOEY. original drummer TOMMY was their initial manager and producer who took up the sticks as a means of necessity and made way for MARKY after a two albums. the fact that such a VOLATILE and IN-COHESIVE mix of clashing personalities managed to survive as a creative unit and have the LONG-LASTING impact on AMERICAN culture writ large as they did.
THE RAMONES did nothing less than revitalize a DEAD, BLOATED corpse and breathed AUTHENTICITY and confrontational INTENTION back into the form, paving the way not only for PUNK and HARDCORE, but virtually every major ROCK N ROLL variant and sub-genre thereafter, from ALTERNATIVE ROCK, POST HARDCORE and POP PUNK to STONER ROCK, METALCORE, INDIE ROCK and GRINDCORE.
the graphic novel GABBA GABBA HEY!: THE GRAPHIC STORY OF THE RAMONES (OMNIBUS, 2013) very much gets at the heart of the DYSFUNCTIONAL inner-workings and INTIMATE inter-relational dynamics of the LEGENDARY band. most of which center around JOEY and JOHNNY who for decades didnt speak after the latter married the former's ex-girlfriend. that SCHISM was one which never got repaired. how the unit functioned was one of differentiated labor in which JOEY's sphere of influence was the lyrics and vocal melody and JOHNNY (with help from DEE DEE and drummer/producer TOMMY) as the de facto musical director. that is not to say that such a state of affairs is UNUSUAL in ROCK N ROLL history, where CELEBRATED songwriting tandems from ELTON JOHN and BERNIE TAUPIN, HENRY ROLLINS and GREG GINN to MORRISSEY and JOHNNY MARR had differentiated responsibilities in the process.
there is a thread throughout of the FUTILITY of such a BROKEN MARRIAGE within the band. the fact that they never achieved the financial success that they felt they earned, despite decades of touring and creating consistent quality records. watching up-and-comers like NIRVANA, GREEN DAY and the like take their innovations to the bank was an ever-present FRUSTRATION, despite the EFFUSIVE and constant PRAISE of both for THE RAMONES in the press. the picture presented of their career almost feels analogous to that of NEW YORK YANKEE great MICKEY MANTLE, who in his rookie season he infamously tore his ACL on a drain pipe while deferring a pop up to JOE DIMAGGIO in centerfield at YANKEE STADIUM during the fifth inning of the second game of the 1951 WORLD SERIES. as hard as it is to believe, in essence MANTLE's whole HALL OF FAME career was conducted on one good leg, thus creating one of the biggest "what ifs" in sports history. it just makes you wonder how the career of THE RAMONES may have been DIFFERENT if the two leaders of the group actually spoke with one another for the majority of their career. maybe such would never happen given their INCONGRUOUS personalities, but one would think they may have been better able to take on new opportunities if there was a better meeting of the minds rather than kicking those decisions to outsiders like managers. feels like their whole career is HANDICAPPED in retrospect.
and with that self-imposed limitation in place, they are still on a short list of the most INFLUENTIAL ROCK N ROLL bands of the 20th century, easily right up there with THE BEATLES, THE ROLLING STONES, LED ZEPPELIN and BLACK SABBATH. which is an INCREDIBLE accomplishment for a few glue-sniffing pinheads from the eternal cultural abyss known QUEENS.
GABBA GABBA HEY is lovingly written by JIM MCCARTHY and illustrated by BRIAN WILLIAMSON and is most definitely worth checking out.
with MUDBITE (FANTAGRAPHICS, 2018) and its two stories "MUD RIVER" and "BUG BITE" find DAVE COOPER's EDDY TABLE character at the center of ABSURD PLOT-LINES and phantasmagorically SEXUALLY-CHARGED imagery that feels like the id run WILD. making sense of both PLOTS seems besides the point as if COOPER is more interested in a sort of anything goes, FREE-ASSOCIATIVE approach to STORYTELLING, where his CHARACTERS are pulled into their deepest urges and oddly unconcerned with the consequences of such ADVENTURISM and SELF-DISCOVERY.
that being said the ILLUSTRATIONS are astonishingly LURID and deliciously DEBASED with a muted palette that RUBANESQUE, PILLOWY FLESHY figures with wide EXPRESSIVE eyes in DREAMY LANDSCAPES that meld into one another. im hesitant to refer to the IMAGERY as DRUG-LIKE but that is more than an apt description of such. in fact the whole EXPERIENCE of consuming MUDBITE feels akin to an ILLOGICAL and HALLUCINATORY MISADVENTURE with NO MEANING embedded or lessons learned. it just starts and ends in a seemingly endless loop of MISCHIEVOUS and consciously PERPLEXING GOBBLEDYGOOK.
do i recommend MUDBITE? not really. even for me this publication was a prime example of someone being WEIRD solely for the sake of being WEIRD. its OPAQUE NARRATIVE and LUSCIOUS ILLUSTRATIONS seemed to be a distraction from the fact that NOTHING MEANINGFUL was being communicated.
at least i didnt get it. but then maybe i am not the right audience for this. thats probably it.
FRENCH cartoonist DAVID B through his HALLUCINATORY and vividly PHANTASMAGORIC drawing style depicts a series of impenetrably PSEUDO-RELIGIOUS, MYTHOLOGICAL ALLEGORIES within the graphic novel THE ARMED GARDEN AND OTHER STORIES (FANTAGRAPHICS, 2011). based loosely on PERSIAN and CENTRAL EUROPEAN TRADITIONS, the narratives within convey man's inability to discern and appreciate matters related to the DIVINE.
all three narratives depict the search for DIVINE PROVIDENCE and esteem as a potent cudgel to be utilized for POWER and INFLUENCE in the physical realm. its hard not to read into such and deduce that with matters of the METAPHYSICAL REALM, our daily struggles and squabbles are beyond MEANINGLESS. DIVINITY and the concept of PARADISE is seen in these narratives to be beyond constraints of space and time, or even earthly bodily forms for that matter. it is a DEGRADATION of sorts to even involve such in our psychodramas related to POWER and INFLUENCE, but that is what the characters repeatedly do to their own peril.
the highlight of these graphic novels is not the plot or the subtext of the narrative, but just the INCREDIBLE artwork DAVID B provides that seems to split the difference between ESOTERIC MYSTICISM, ISLAMIC FOLKLORE and more than a little AUBREY BEARDSLEY. it is very much a visual treat, even if the narrative itself feels a bit CLUTTERED and UNFOCUSED in comparison.
as a former secondary english teacher i love wading in the pools of OBTUSE references and deliberate OPAQUENESS. but if you dont definitely check out DAVID B's more traditionally written and depicted graphic novel EPILEPTIC (review linked HERE) which is a memoir related to his family's experience living with his older brother's UNCONTROLLABLE and DANGEROUS bouts with epilepsy. that is probably a better starting point than this lovingly depicted yet largely INCOMPREHENSIBLE historical narrative.
the graphic novel EMBROIDERIES (PANTHEON, 2003) by celebrated FRENCH-IRANIAN cartoonist MARJANE SATRAPI sheds insight on the often TABOO and often UNDISCLOSED and UNDISCUSSED SEXUAL ATTITUDES and personal lives of IRANIAN WOMEN. the graphic novel revolves around the remembered gathering of SATRAPI's GRANDMOTHER with her DAUGHTER as well as close friends and relatives, all WOMEN, for an evening samovar tea and PRYING discussion.
and that talk centers around SEX. at times SALACIOUS, these cascading tales of the physical and emotional disappoints and cultural DOUBLE STANDARDS of being a WOMEN are both SOBERING and INSIGHTFUL. they depict a GENDER SOCIAL LANDSCAPE that doesnt seem much different from WESTERN CULTURE, where woman are still prized for their physical attributes and MEN still hold much INSTITUTIONAL POWER. the title even references the lengths WOMEN will go to reestablish their untouched VIRGINAL state through PAINFUL, INVASIVE surgeries aimed at pleasing their MALE PARTNER, as well as the INTERWOVEN tapestry and mutually SUPPORTIVE network of experience witnessed in this all-FEMALE gathering. though these PERSONAL narratives that the WOMEN share with one another often depict past selves in LESS EMPOWERED circumstances, what they all share in common is a SUBVERSION to GENDER EXPECTATIONS surrounding FIDELITY. often this is shown through a leveraging of their DOMESTIC duties or SEXUAL DOMINANCE over an OLDER, SLUGGISH and wholly INEPT MALE PARTNER. even the ending shows the PATRIARCH of the SATRAPI family pushed back to his room with no input or fight of his behalf in the matter. its an INTERESTING metaphor for the lives of WOMEN in IRANIAN culture that although their public lives are STRICT and PREDETERMINED, the inner dynamics on the home front are not up for discussion.
and none of this should be any surprise to anyone. GENDER DYNAMICS are a manifestation of a much larger conversation regarding one's ability to self identify and public express one's INDIVIDUALITY. generations of WOMEN in IRAN brought this state of affairs regarding CONSERVATIVE GENDER RELATIONS and SEXUAL MORES to fruition through either SUBMISSION, COLLABORATION or quiet acquiescence to AUTHORITY. i question whether these closed circles of INTERGENERATIONAL FEMALE networks have the potential to change the state of affairs. such is definitely currently in play in IRAN in the wake of the police custody death of 22 year-old student MAHSA AMINI and the PROTESTS that have followed. interestingly, MEN have joined their ranks. its a dynamic still being played out and the discussions elucidated in EMBROIDERIES definitely seem PRESCIENT to that movement.
with an absolute minimum amount of exposition, NORWEGIAN cartoonist LARS FISKE in his mostly wordless graphic novel GROSZ: BERLIN - NEW YORK (FANTAGRAPHICS, 2017) vividly depicts the life and career of noted GERMAN DADAIST painter GEORGE GROSZ in a style that expertly imitates his EXAGGERATED, CARICATURISTIC style. there is a certain NIHILISM to the work of GROSZ, especially that from the 1920s in which he showcased the PSYCHIC, MORAL, PSYCHOLOGICAL and PHYSICAL DAMAGE of the first world war on the collective GERMAN psyche. this was shown through a series of BRUTAL paintings depicting the DEBAUCHED nightlife of the WEIMAR REPUBLIC and all the opportunists, prostitutes and elites that frequented the bars and cabarets.
often compared to MODERNIST GERMAN peers like OTTO DIX and MAX BECKMANN, GROSZ had a harsh SARDONIC tone all his own which seemed to depict humanity as CORRUPTED and easily MANIPULATABLE, almost like DISCARDED marionettes once their value to the war machine has expired. this unbridled ability to hold a mirror to GERMAN society got him fined numerous times during this period, leading him to jump ship to the UNITED STATES in the early 1930s right as the NAZIS came to power. not surprisingly, HITLER had GROSZ's bitterly CAUSTIC paintings confiscated and deemed "degenerate art" alongside EMIL NOLDE, ERNST LUDWIG KIRCHNER, PAUL KLEE, MAX BECKMANN, MARC CHAGALL, OTTO DIX, WASILLY KANDINSKY, JOAN MIRO, OSKAR KOKOSCHKA, FERNAND LEGER and MAX ERNST as well as that of more famous artists like HENRI MATISSE, PABLO PICASSO, EDVARD MUNCH and VINCENT VAN GOGH.
what i love about FISKE's style is that it cleverly utilizes GROSZ's style in order to pass JUDGEMENT on his character and life decisions. id argue that this decision places GROSZ as a key part of a much larger tableau of GERMAN society, not separate from it as an outside observer. it seems to suggest that his experiences, perspectives and sense of FRACTURED IDENTITY are an outgrowth of this society that is largely in a state of FLUX. meaning here is fluid and so are the rules that govern society and the relationships that makeup politics and personal relationships. in this book it feels like everything pre-NAZIS is CULTURALLY, SEXUALLY, and ARTISTICALLY up for grabs. almost a year zero mentality that sees the forces that led to the CATASTROPHE of the first great war of being worthy of SCORN and DISMISSAL. but therein lies the problem of what to fill the void with and that is the world depicted in GROSZ: BERLIN - NEW YORK. at least in the early first half of the graphic novel before he moves to NEW YORK.
it is quite an achievement that such a dense depiction of such a notable artist was rendered efficiently utilizing such a minimum of words and almost completely through the power of GESTICULATION and TABLEAU. by presenting the multiple perspectives that made such a WARPED, FRAGMENTED reality possible very efficiently showcases the potential of the post war period and how that sense of fluid opportunity also gave way to the unleashing of the DARKEST RECESSES of the human id and our collective susceptibility to such. in the era of boundless GRIEVANCE and digital platforms that monetize such that is the DONALD TRUMP era, GROSZ and his artwork feels all the more RELEVANT and even PRESCIENT, probably more so than in the many decades past the second world war. GROSZ: BERLIN - NEW YORK is definitely worth checking out, especially for fans of MODERNISM and DADAISM or even that of EFFICIENT and thoughtfully executed storytelling constructs.
through an eloquently told and LOVINGLY depicted generations old family narrative about her great-uncle during pre-revolution IRAN, CHICKEN WITH PLUMS (PANTHEON, 2009) by FRENCH-PERSIAN author / cartoonist MARJANE SATRAPI is an extended meditation about the DELICATE relationship between ART and SUFFERING.
NASSER ALI is a TAR musician of note whose life was DERAILED by his INABILITY to secure a desired marriage due to his would-be bride's family qualms about his profession. out of duty to his family he agreed to a LOVELESS marriage of which he felt no sense of KINSHIP or RESPONSIBILITY and after his wife destroys his TAR he wishes only to DIE.
there is an interesting parallel with his mother, who years earlier was held back by DEATH by NASSER's constant praying for her SURVIVAL. after being asked to stop praying on her behalf and let her go, as well as continue playing music outside her window, DEATH is utilized as a form of DEEP COMPASSION. the music that soothed her through the process was informed by this closely felt sense of LOSS but also EMPATHY towards her condition. when NASSER himself seeks DEATH in a SIMILAR manner there is no sense of COMPASSION or EMPATHY, but instead a deep reservoir of SELFISHNESS and SELF-PITY.
its interesting that his master tutor when training to master the TAR catches on to his LOVELORN SUFFERING and that his career, reputation and GLORY as a musician was based on such an INTIMATE sense of IRREDEEMABLE LOSS and CONSTANT MISERY. the destruction of his INSTRUMENT is in essence the loss of his IDENTITY, which itself was just the collected remnants of an UNREQUITED LOVE. its all quite TRAGIC and quite MOVING.
i should also give mention to the POWER of SATRAPI's images which are heavily inked-out in a strict monochrome palette that simultaneously exudes a SEVERE tone of austerity as well as intimates a sense of lyrical mystery. its both MINIMALIST and highly EXPRESSIVE and really uplifts the POWERFUL narrative themes of surrounding the COMPLICATED nature of LOVE, FAMILY and DUTY to a preternatural extent. its a masterclass in STORYTELLING and comes off as a deeply felt coming to terms with a family TRAUMA generations old but as relevant to the current moment as it was back then before society was effectively shut down after the ISLAMIC REVOLUTION. CHICKEN WITH PLUMS is required reading in my opinion.
photo manipulation & text by nacrowe
i found the documentary WARREN ELLIS: CAPTURED GHOSTS (SEQUART, 2012) about the NOTORIOUS BRITISH graphic novel writer to be quite a bore. my interest for watching this film came from reading his work in TRANSMETROPOLITAN (VERTIGO, 1997-2002), RED (WILDSTORM, 2003-2004), and THE AUTHORITY (WILDSTORM, 1999), all three are INTENSE, THOUGHTFUL comic book series that utilize TRANSGRESSIVE scenarios as a means of prodding the reader's sense of HUMAN DECENCY. in essence, WARREN ELLIS is producing MODERN ALLEGORIES and MORALITY PLAYS, utilizing familiar narrative forms while pushing them to their ethical limits. in contrast with his creative work, which i found to be quite CONTEMPLATIVE and entirely THOUGHT-PROVOKING, this documentary which follows him basking in his own TIRESOME attempts at SELF-MYTHOLOGY just came off TRITE and BANAL. to be perfectly honest, i had a difficult time staying awake throughout.
it is important to state that this film came out years before reports of SEXUAL COERCION allegations were brought on by multiple women in the summer of 2020. since then he has been something of a PARIAH within the industry and has effectively been BLACKLISTED in the wake of said claims.
i think this documentary is interesting in how it presents a REVERED cultural figure and the lengths to which peers and acolytes rationalize and contextualize aggressively DEVIANT and unapologetically DEBASED behavior. i found the BRAZENNESS of these justifications by lackeys to be pretty SHOCKING, even in the wake of DONALD TRUMP. its a situation entirely reminiscent of MARILYN MANSON and how his public and private persona fed into one another and led to his DOWNFALL, which likewise included SEXUAL COERCION as well as false-imprisonment and grooming allegations. none of it felt like a surprise in that an army of misguided apologists attempted to justify such as part of his art in some VILE and absolutely WARPED perspective. its truly BIZARRE in that you even have JOSS WHEDON (BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, TOY STORY, THE AVENGERS) expressing opinions on said behavior, himself someone in just a few short years after the recording of this film will be publicly alleged to have utilized his authority on set to coerce sexual favors from subordinates. just proves the power of celebrity and the gender power imbalance that is still very much a feature of western society, despite our attempts to point fingers at other parts of the globe.
it should be noted that ELLIS has since come out and apologized from what reports i could gather, but the documentary i am interested in would be the 2022 version of his personal narrative, not this 2012 version. especially given the nature of his work and the SAD legacy of his personal choices, he may be an ideal candidate to eloquently shed light and poignant insight into the CORROSIVE mindset of TOXIC MASCULINITY and the societal structures that encourage such to metastasize and flourish.
i first became aware of artist JAY HOWELL via his CRUDE yet singularly EVOCATIVE CLASSIC TALES animations for VANS where prominent athletes and musicians recount extreme events from their lives. basically everyone from KEITH MORRIS (CIRCLE JERKS / OFF! / BLACK FLAG), ANDERSON .PAAK, DARRYL JENNIFER (BAD BRAINS) and ROBERT TRUJILLO (SUICIDAL TENDENCIES / OZZY OSBOURNE / METALLICA) to SCOTTY CRANMER, ELIJAH BERLE, JEFF GROSSO, TONY ALVA, GEOFF ROWLEY, CHRISTIAN HOSOI and so on. what i loved about these figures was how DISFIGURED and CREEPY they were, with flapping stick limbs and bulging facial expressions these GROTESQUE humanoids felt like the perfect avatars for athletes and musicians that live outside the normal guardrails of society, both physical and moral.
so of course i sought out his equally MAKESHIFT zine anthology PUNK'S GIT CUT (LAST GASP, 2015) just to get a sense of where this dude is coming from. and for that effort i am still quite lost because this publication defies definition. most of his graphic work is HASTILY-CONCEIVED SHARPIE notes of nonsensical scenarios meant to prod and titillate with references to UNUSUAL methods of SELF-HARM, SEX and BODILY FUNCTIONS. id say it was SOPHOMORIC in nature if the actual drawings werent so damn PRIMITIVE and RAW. if anything those drawings convey an ANARCHIC sense of PATHOS and PERSPECTIVE that far outruns the text that contextualizes them. in HOWELL's rudimentary work i see nods and echoes of work by another NOTORIOUS CALIFORNIA artist in RAYMOND PETTIBON, who similarly takes delight in the IMMEDIATE and RANDOM juxtapositions of image and text.
my favorite section of this anthology is "THE DARK WAVE" narrative about a BLACK METAL singer tripping balls during a concert and then running into a forest graveyard and ultimately surfing a coffin before aliens presumably accost him in the ocean. just the LAWLESS humor, ABSURDITY and the just plain RANDOMNESS of it all was thoroughly enjoying. i look forward to seeking out his other more recent publications.
definitely check out the work of JAY HOWELL. its hard to believe this dude has done work for NICKELODEON for children's programing. nothing more INSIDIOUS then that i guess, then again i was raised on PEE-WEE'S PLAYHOUSE so who knows.
STANLEY DONWOOD's graphic novel BAD ISLAND (W.W. NORTON COMPANY, 2020) is a POIGNANT MEDITATION on the cyclical nature of life and the ENDURING capacity for the PLANET to survive and continue on unabated. it should be mentioned from the outset that there is NO TEXT throughout, only STARK, highly EXPRESSIONISTIC black-and-white graphic representations of an ISLAND and its contents over time from the ETERNAL OMNISCIENT PERSPECTIVE of the SEA. dinosaurs rise and fall as well as humans and their ability to conquer NATURE and develop TECHNOLOGY which ultimately does them in as well through POLLUTION and NUCLEAR APOCALYPSE. but the SEA rolls on and the PERSPECTIVE of the graphic novel recedes into the SEA just as the ISLAND came into view from the SEA at the outset.
i very much appreciate the MINIMALIST conceit of this graphic novel which allows the viewer to project themselves into the narrative unabated by LANGUAGE. there is a certain AUTHENTICITY and PURITY of vision by pulling everything back to its most basic elements. im always taken aback when advocates speak about the SURVIVAL of the PLANET being at stake with climate change since the EARTH will carry on regardless and ultimately heal itself after humanity, its whether life as we know it will carry on with it. essentially it is our SURVIVAL that is at stake, not the PLANET's. and from what i gather from BAD ISLAND's narrative, such is one takeaway from the graphic novel with its MYSTERIOUS PERSPECTIVE departing as it entered the narrative as some third entity unaffected by the TRIALS and TRIBULATIONS of the ISLAND's inhabitants over time. it merely passively observes and then silently carries on.
one point of interest are these ghostly sprite-looking shadow figures amongst the TREES throughout the history of the narrative, from the dinosaurs through humanity. are they harbingers of our COLLECTIVE DEMISE or eternal inhabitants likewise observing life on the ISLAND? is our PERSPECTIVE as the reader one of these likewise STILL, INAUDIBLE, UNKNOWABLE figures?
DEATH comes with being alive and humanity will ultimately END much as the dinosaurs did, but is doing such prematurely by our own hand INEVITABLE? is that the cost of our capacity to construct TECHNOLOGIES that force magnify our PHYSICAL and MORAL LIMITATIONS? i love how BAD ISLAND presents more questions than it answers, which is the mark of any COMPELLING piece of art and this WORDLESS narrative has stuck with me long after my initial consumption of it. i feel strongly that DONWOOD has presented a uniquely intriguing story that transcends LANGUAGE, culture, geography and political persuasion. this should be required reading for everyone and most definitely is worth checking out.
YOU ARE THERE (FANTAGRAPHICS, 2009) is a KIM THOMPSON english translation of the deeply SATIRICAL FRENCH serial ICI MEME, which was a legendary 1978 collaboration between notable FRENCH illustrators JACQUES TARDI (IT WAS THE WAR OF THE TRENCHES) and JEAN-CLAUDE FOREST (BARBARELLA). it is often credited with spearheading the modern EUROPEAN graphic novel movement in the 1980s.
the narrative deals with the PECULIAR protagonist ARTHUR THERE, who ODDLY lives on the INTECONNECTED walls that divide the land of his ancestors. generations before they have had it stolen by the antecedents of the current landowners and the unusual arrangement is that THERE opens the gates that give these families access to their properties. in return he charges a small toll for the effort. a consistent theme throughout includes the INTERACTION that borders on PLAY in HUMAN CONNECTION and ISOLATION. THERE by definition provides access and CONNECTION for the inhabitants of the region but he himself is situated ALONE OUTSIDE SOCIETY. he is paradoxically an inert gas as well as an enzyme at the same time, figuratively. THERE is in the middle of a lawsuit over his stolen lands which ABSURDLY finds the region caught up in a national PSYCHODRAMA/POWER STRUGGLE by a leader with low poll numbers before an ELECTION. since technically the land THERE controls is its own self-determined state, this POLITICIAN seeks to reinstate him as a ploy to rally voters to support him.
its an ABSURD plot with ABSURD characters, many of whom i am glancing over, but at the heart is a FATALISTIC, almost EXISTENTIAL, view of the FRAILTY and IMPOTENCY of humans to AFFECT CHANGE in the world. ABSTRACT concepts like DEATH, LOVE, JUSTICE, MONEY, COMMUNITY and even HEALTH are seen as distractions that dont provide meaning in a cosmos that has no rhyme or reason to it, even for a CONFUSED, HALF-MAD protagonist. the whims of HISTORY is seen as a wave that carries us all with it and we have no capacity to alter or fundamentally affect change in any meaningful manner beyond the fringes. this DIRE perspective feels incredibly OF-THE-MOMENT given the FRAIL STATE of global democracy (ala JANUARY 6TH INSURRECTION), threatened nuclear war (with RUSSIA) and the collapse of trust in the AMERICAN JUDICIAL SYSTEM given the recent DOBBS V. JACKSON WOMEN'S HEALTH ORGANIZATION decision.
i feel like THERE. i escape to my own REALITY. that is probably why i read books at the rate i do. i think its hard not read this graphic novel and think about the gatekeepers to our own INTERACTIONS with each other (SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS, POLITICIANS, INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS) and their own AGENDA in that exchange.
the informative graphic novel HYPER-CAPITALISM (THE NEW PRESS, 2018) by cartoonist LARRY GONICK and PSYCHOLOGY professor TIM KASSER is essentially an exhaustive breakdown of the extent to which INTRINSIC VALUES (such as appeals to SOCIAL JUSTICE, CREATIVITY, connection to NATURE / COMMUNITY) are INCOMPATIBLE with the prevailing ethos of the modern corporate system we all inhabit. this graphic novel very much gets at the heart of what makes MODERN CAPITALISM such a PERNICIOUS threat to GLOBAL SUSTAINABILITY efforts as well as the stability of communities and the general well-being of its inhabitants. corporations in particular are terrible neighbors who, by design, have an insatiable need to seek and ultimately leverage various COMPARATIVE ADVANTAGES (regarding RESOURCES, LABOR, TECHNOLOGY, etc.) in order to appease shareholders and exploit stakeholders in the process. the drawings are targeted and delineate numerous complicated strategies, postures and procedures (with regards to the culpability of the CONSUMER, GOVERNMENT, LEGAL SYSTEM and BUSINESS OWNERS) in a succinct and efficient manner. the effectiveness of these panels is pretty staggering and is really a testament to how talented and knowledgable both GONICK and KASSER are as a team.
but its all so DEPRESSING and just OVERWHELMING.
such is why the pair decided to have write a second section of the book that outlined how various practices (at both the consumer and business level) can ward off the DESTRUCTIVE elements of CAPITALISM and reinvigorate communities and social congruity. making purchases (and long-term investments) based on HUMANISTIC VALUES and participating in local communal efforts (FARMER'S MARKETS, TIME BANKS, LIBRARIES, etc.) keeps the immense influence and power of capital at the local level. and that is basically they key to transforming what the author refers to as "HYPER-CAPITALISM", you have to alter it from the inside out. by changing how you interact with the system you are in essence transforming it to something that is more HUMANISTIC and in line with INTRINSIC VALUES that better everyone.
or so that is the central thesis. i feel that MATERIALISM will not change and that people will forever be mindlessly subject to the GREEDY, PERNICIOUS whims of coordinated corporate ADVERTISING, LOBBYING and LEGAL efforts. i dont see a communal change in our CONSCIOUSNESS as AMERICANS, which is essentially built on RACIST, MATERIALISTIC and unapologetically NARCISSISTIC framework devoted to the idea of the INDIVIDUAL.
the antidote to this DEVASTATING situation is a seemingly QUIXOTIC dream that i share but dont see coming true. we are doomed. our individual and collective desires are doing us in.
BOOK REVIEW | "AMERICAN CULT: A GRAPHIC HISTORY OF RELIGIOUS CULTS IN AMERICA FROM THE COLONIAL ERA TO TODAY" EDITED BY ROBYN CHAPMAN
there is something distinctly AMERICAN about EXTREME RELIGIOSITY. maybe it comes from our collective unabated allegiance and piety towards MARKET CAPITALISM and the need for all of us as individuals to assume and attest our own INDIVIDUALITY and SUPERIORITY over the herd. i can remember as a PEACE CORPS volunteer in ALBANIA the lengths to which other volunteers consciously separated themselves from those they sought to "assist." they were often CONFUSED why they were not thanked for their SELFLESS efforts by their new neighbors. it is that need for status and lack of EMPATHY that i'd argue makes us SUSCEPTIBLE to FANATICAL CHARLATANS and POWER / MONEY-HUNGRRY HUCKSTERS, both in terms of RELIGIOUS and POLITICAL CULTS (cough, cough, DONALD TRUMP).
in the comprehensive graphic novel AMERICAN CULTS (SILVER SPROCKET, 2021), edited by ROBYN CHAPMAN, there is an EXHAUSTIVE array of testimonials and narratives from over 20 cartoonists surrounding various DOMESTIC RELIGIOUS CULTS ranging from the benign (SUFISM REORIENTED, ONEIDA, THE SOURCE FAMILY, THE SULLIVANIANS) to the infamous (THE MANSON FAMILY, HEAVEN'S GATE, CHILDREN OF GOD, SYNANON, THE BRANCH DAVIDIANS, ORTHODOX JUDAISM, THE PEOPLE'S TEMPLE AGRICULTURAL PROJECT aka "JONESTOWN", CHRISTIAN MOVEMENT FOR LIVE aka "MOVE", THE FUNDAMENTALIST CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS and NXIVM). seemingly what they all have in common is the need to supplant the individual's need for an independent identity with that of a community ethic modeled on a CHARISMATIC leader, whether that be DAVID KORESH, KEITH RANIERE, JIM JONES, CHARLES MANSON, WARREN JEFFS, DAVID BERG, JOHN NOYES or MARSHALL APPLEWHITE. sometimes this new group ethic espouses COMPATIBLE VALUES with that of AMERICAN society at large, so the group is largely BENIGN. but most of the examples explored in this collection showcase when a new set of RETROGRADE value systems are implemented and the untold DAMAGE such creates, not only on members and their children, but the larger communities they inhabit.
one interesting aspect of how these CULTS flourish is through a LAUNDERING of their reputation, especially initially, with regards to local political and business interests. its pretty interesting to know that HARVEY MILK and ROSALYNN CARTER endorsed JIM JONES at some point, likewise the DALAI LAMA with regards to KEITH RANIERE. the CULPABILITY of the broader community in allowing cultural loopholes whereby these insects burrow and later flourish into caustic colonies that threaten the larger body politic seems to be a narrative as old as the founding of our country, which itself was initiated by CALVINISTS and CHRISTIAN FUNDAMENTALISTS with BACKWARDS views on RACE, GENDER and the ENVIRONMENT.
especially in a post-TRUMP (or perhaps pre-TRUMP's return) world there is an understanding of the DANGERS that come with HUCKSTERISM that plays on our COLLECTIVE FEARS and BASE INSTINCTS. and yet it continues on unabated. having lived overseas for many years i questioned whether it was something about being AMERICAN that made us so VULNERABLE to such. now im convinced our ISOLATION, ARROGANCE and NAIVETE about world affairs leaves us distinctly susceptible to such outright FRAUD and CHARLATANISM.
and we seem to celebrate it.
there is something about the SUBTLE interplay between TEXT and ILLUSTRATIONS in a WELL-CRAFTED graphic novel. especially when both are done with a sparing MINIMALISM that allows for much PROJECTION and INTERPRETATION on the part of the reader, much like when deciphering cues when watching an early silent film.
such is the case with ITALIAN cartoonist MANUELE FIOR's highly EXPRESSIONISTIC revisiting of WESTERN MYTHOLOGY in RED ULTRAMARINE (FANTAGRAPHICS, 2006) which combines both the ANCIENT GREEK DAEDALUS/ICARUS narrative with that of the GERMAN FAUST myth. at the heart of this intertwining HYBRID NARRATIVE are the DIRE consequences associated with OBSESSION. this search for PERFECTION may be the result of a WELL-INTENTIONED objective in order to save or assist a loved one, but it seems that challenging one's fate (and the gods' wrath) is another thing altogether.
FIOR effectively showcases with an adroit IMPRESSIONISTIC touch the deep well of AFFECTATION and EMOTION at heart with multiple character's pursuits. this is done with a sparing use of text, letting the ARTWORK push the NARRATIVE. the space in these PANELS gives voice to the INTERNAL DIALOGUE in all of us as we go about our daily pursuits and pedestrian desires. the UNADORNED IMAGERY is not EMPTY, but rather rich in anticipation for meaning. this is a PSYCHIC, MENTAL and EMOTIONAL space we all live within throughout our existence. at the close of RED ULTRAMARINE there is no victory, solace or knowledge gained. we are just mired in our own INTERNAL DIALOGUE and personal NARRATIVES that have no bearing on REALITY.
i believe FIOR illustrates in this graphic novel the extent to which FAUST and the MINOTAUR are aspects of ourselves. our OBSESSIONS and SELF-DELUSIONS are not real but projections of ourselves upon an UNCARING, seemingly NEUTRAL physical world. life is less about dealing with actual REALITY, but that which we create ourselves. RED ULTRAMARINE is a THOUGHTFUL graphic novel well worth investigating.
BOOK REVIEW | "LOGICOMIX: AN EPIC SEARCH FOR THE TRUTH" BY APOSTOLOS DOXIADIS & CHRISTOS PAPADIMITRIOU
the ambitious graphic novel LOGICOMIX: AN EPIC SEARCH FOR TRUTH (BLOOMSBURY, 2009) by APOSTOLOS DOXIADIS and CHRISTOS PAPADIMITRIOU attempts to do nothing less than present the evolution of LOGIC from the perspective of towering 20th century BRITISH philosopher/logician BERTRAND RUSSELL and his many cohorts and forebearers from the likes of ALFRED WHITEHEAD, GEORG CANTOR, DAVID HILBERT, LUDWIG WITTGENSTEIN, KURT GODEL, GEORGE BOOLE and GOTTLOB FREGE among others. in essence, since the time of EUCLID, generations of mathematicians have been search for the essence of LOGIC, otherwise known as FOUNDATIONS OF MATHEMATICS, in which no proof is assumed and everything is proven. from this base all else is proven.
ultimately such a objective turn out to be a bit of a white whale that drove many a logician to madness, divorce, infidelity and ruinous despair. in a sense the whole enterprise was a failure since no final proof was ever determined. even the inexact, impressionistic filter of LANGUAGE was called into question. ultimately this important work laid the bedrock for all that has followed, especially with regard to the advent of computing under ALAN TURING, which was based on said principles.
the graphic novel itself takes acknowledged liberties with the life of RUSSELL, which serves as the central narrative, which includes invented meetings, conversations and events that never happened. such is fine by me since the complex concepts are what take center stage here. what i do appreciate are the stakes at play with logic, which is presented at a lecture RUSSELL "gave" at an AMERICAN university with a crowd looking for intellectual justification for their reasons for sitting out the second world war in EUROPE (assumably pre-PEARL HARBOR). RUSSELL recounts his life story but ultimately puts the locus of control over LOGIC to each person since ultimately there is no empirically derived correct opinion.
that responsibility is within each of use to deduce as we see fit in accordance with our values, concerns and obligations. in this sense LOGICOMIX is an intellectual call to arms for its readers to consider the MORAL POWER they hold as individuals and not farm such out to leaders and experts. even there are lots of charlatans out there, such comes with the territory of INTELLECTUAL FREEDOM.
cant say the same for internet culture. god id love to know what some of these thinkers would have made of TWITTER.
LOGICOMIX is an ambitious and compelling graphic novel well worth repeat revisiting. the format seems ideal for transmitting such complex and seemingly obtuse concepts to a general audience. it is quite the achievement.
MARKET DAY (DRAWN & QUARTERLY, 2010) tells the poignant story of a JEWISH rug weaver from a turn-of-the-20th century, presumably EASTERN EUROPEAN country who travels from his small village to a town market in the hopes of selling his wares in order to provide for his pregnant wife and unborn child.
you really get the sense of the OPPORTUNITY and SOCIAL CONNECTION that the market represents to an artisan, but also the sheer IMPOTENCE and VULNERABILITY from being unable to discern environmental economic shifts. such is what happens to our protagonist MENDLEMAN, who despite having a connections and a good reputation for his superior rugs, finds himself unable to secure a buyer. disgruntled and deeply frustrated for putting so much time, effort and creativity into his work, he sells not only his remaining stock of rugs but ultimately his loom as well at a steep discount.
for me this narrative is an evocation of the SUBSISTENT EXISTENCE that much of the world's COMMUNITY deals with day to day whereby steep BARRIERS regarding EDUCATION, CORRUPTION and PREJUDICE keep them down. CAPITALISM is a BRUTAL system and does not universally reward those who put in their TIME, EFFORT and CREATIVITY into their trade or craft. instead it usually rewards those that are able to leverage marketshare at scale and undercut the competition. MARKET DAY showcases how the influx of cheap goods through INDUSTRIALIZATION decimates the individual artisan who simply cant compete. it likewise showcases in striking terms the PSYCHIC DAMAGE dealt to an affected individual's lost sense of IDENTITY. i saw this unfortunate dynamic play out during my time in NIGERIA, VENEZUELA and ALBANIA where local labor was denied a dignified existence and left to serve the corporate interests of foreign companies (with no regards to their country) in order to make a decent living.
it is an INTOLERABLE yet far from unique situation and is the untold seedy underbelly of global CAPITALISM. i can image when MARKET DAY was released not long after the 2008 financial crisis that this sort of dynamic of the potential damage wrought by soulless corporate interests who care not for the DIGNITY of the COMMUNITY beyond its shareholders may have been top of mind.
it was when i read this graphic novel which is a touching PARABLE of our current predicament. MARKET DAY should be read by everyone.
EXIT WOUNDS (DRAWN & QUARTERLY, 2007) by ISRAELI cartoonist RUTU MODAN is a narrative concerned with the crippling PSYCHIC CONSEQUENCES that come with being SEPARATED from family. much of the narrative follows a cab driver named KOBY who learns that his estranged father may have been killed in a terrorist attack. given his distance from his father, the story unfolds as a series of echos and readjustments of this strained relationship as he meets more and more people that have varying degrees of remembering him, including a young wealthy girlfriend named NUMI. as the two seek out KOBY's father, the two find themselves likewise testing out their own feels of connection for one another.
its a very interesting dynamic that MODAN is adroitly manipulating throughout the graphic novel; that idea of CONNECTION and DISTANCE in a volatile geopolitical space. more than a decade ago i was able to visit ISRAEL and witnessed firsthand the extent to which public safety and calculated risk play a daily part of one's existence in major cities like TEL AVIV, JERUSALEM and HAIFA where i was visiting friends. there is a very real sense that anything can happen at anytime and that one's personal relationships are of paramount importance because there is the palpable concept of each day being your last. and that isnt hyperbole. within EXIT WOUNDS, you have characters that feel varying gradations of CONNECTION to one another, irrespective of this background noise of DANGER and wonton public VIOLENCE.
i think its an interesting choice that (SPOILER ALERT) KOBY never explicitly verifies his father's existence but is calmed and soothed that his new wife is such a pleasant person. it is almost as if the reverberations of his father's past actions and the BITTERNESS and PAIN they extolled are being replaced, effectively in abstentia, by a new set of reassuring echos of GRACE and UNDESTANDING. seeing this wonderful, selfless person who is nourished by her new relationship with his father is enough for him to move on as well and initiate a new sense of aspirational connection with NUMI.
its an interesting dynamic and very much reminded me of people ive met in places like VENEZUELA, MYANMAR and ALBANIA who make the most of life in volatile surroundings. life being experienced as ever more PRECIOUS. its something that i dont feel on AMERICAN soil, especially in recent years with the pandemic and political strife effectively bifurcating my country. maybe as some point we will all come to the same realization. definitely not.
BOOK REVIEW | "TRINITY: A GRAPHIC HISTORY OF THE FIRST ATOMIC BOMB" BY JONATHAN FETTER-VORM
in TRINITY: A GRAPHIC HISTORY OF THE FIRST ATOMIC BOMB (HILL AND WANG, 2012) author JONATHAN FETTER-VORM gets at the MORAL QUANDARY that was the MANHATTAN PROJECT and the creation of the ATOMIC BOMB during WORLD WAR II. initially viewed as a purely SPECULATIVE and PREVENTATIVE MEASURE that would help end the war with GERMANY, its creation instead sparked a new age of global PARANOIA and the threat of global MUTUALLY ASSURED DESTRUCTION.
at the center of the narrative is theoretical physicist and BERKELEY professor J. ROBERT OPPENHEIMER who, along with GENERAL LESLIE GROVES (who previously oversaw the construction of THE PENTAGON) gathers a team and spearheads this national project. part of what FETTER-VORM does exceedingly well in this graphic novel is literally illustrate the SCIENTIFIC THEORY and TECHNICAL WIZARDRY that came with solving COMPLEX PROBLEMS with regard to controlling this incredible NUCLEAR ENERGY. it really cannot be understated how much INNOVATION and INGENUITY was involved in the conception and construction of the ATOMIC BOMB.
whats hard to stomach is how little it seemed that these scientists considered the MORAL IMPLICATIONS of their work, so caught up in the PATRIOTIC FERVOR and EXISTENTIAL state of affairs that WORLD WAR II presented. even after its completion on a panel meant to analyze the POLITICAL RAMIFICATIONS of their work, these scientists obfuscated and essentially passed the buck to their enablers in the political sphere.
i understand that science, much like the nature of reality, is inherently neutral and that all DISCOVERIES, INNOVATIONS and APPLICATIONS of APPLIED TECHNICAL KNOWLEDGE are susceptible to the whims of people. people who are innately FALLIBLE and prone to OUTSIDE PRESSURES and INTERNAL NEUROTICISM. but when you are messing with NUCLEAR FISSION and the ELEMENTAL DESTRUCTIVE FORCES OF THE UNIVERSE, how could they be so NAIVE?
its an interesting dilemma that is expertly outlined by FETTER-VORM. and is beyond timely given the COMPLICATED GLOBAL POLITICS at play currently between THE WEST, RUSSIA and CHINA. that said, TRINITY: A GRAPHIC HISTORY OF THE FIRST ATOMIC BOMB is an incredible MEDITATION on the line between TECHNOLOGY, SECURITY and RESPONSIBILITY and is most definitely worth checking out.
ever since i first saw the BACK TO THE FUTURE trilogy (AMBLIN, 1985-1990) back in my early childhood there was always that PHILOSOPHICAL THOUGHT EXPERIMENT about what, if anything, you would want to revisit in the past if given the opportunity. would i spend more time talking with grandmother before she passed or maybe rewatch significant childhood moments from my past from a distance with the perspective of an adult? despite the EMOTIONAL CHARGE and immense temptation of the idea, i always come back to "no." the space-time continuum moves in one direction (i assume) and we are not PSYCHOLOGICALLY or EMOTIONALLY equipped to hand that sort of STRESS. moving forward in time is difficult enough.
but cartoonist DANIEL CLOWES' in his vividly colored and insularly CEREBRAL graphic novel PATIENCE (FANTAGRAPHICS, 2016) provides a character so utterly consumed by GRIEF by the death of his pregnant girlfriend that he is willing to risk all to alter that moment she was murdered. part CRIME MYSTERY, part SCIENCE FICTION, at its core PATIENCE is all about the transcendent power of LOVE and how such a powerful connective force transforms our very sense of MEMORY and IDENTITY. for JACK, the protagonist, this LOVE and its attendant emotions from is so strong that he is set off on an all-consuming course of SELF-VIOLENCE and SELF-DESTRUCTION to the point of SELF-ANNIHILATION that it very much makes you question the MORALITY of such a choice, even if the ends are somewhat redeemable. i know i just described the tired motivation of virtually every STEVEN SEGAL or JEAN-CLAUDE DAMME plot ever devised, but in the capable hands of CLOWES this narrative is more of a MORALITY PLAY than a revenge thriller. the focus is on the INTERIORITY of that MOTIVATION, rather than the SCI-FI or "whodunnit" aspects of the plot.
my thought is that there is more than a bit of an unhealthy sense of HUBRIS, EGO and even ENTITLEMENT in attempting to change the past. out of all the possible past wrongs that could be rewritten, obviously it is to JACK's benefit for this wrong to be corrected so that he can enjoy the family that was taken from him. i understand that, but for SOCIETY as a whole there are plenty of other actions that could be taken to provide a far greater UTILITY for mankind related to preventable WARFARE, DISEASE, POVERTY and the like. possibilities are virtually endless, but the thing that gets me is that even these choices would have REVERBERATIONS and resulting OUTCOMES whose wake would inevitably result in more unintended CONSEQUENCES and unavoidable avenues and opportunities for HUMAN SUFFERING.
i just dont see the cycle ever ending. as much as we find connection with one another, we equally bring pain and SUFFERING to world. it is unavoidable and i dont see any "fixing" of the past solving such a DILEMMA. i really enjoyed PATIENCE for thoughtfully thinking its way through such a proposition. definitely a compelling read worthy of investigation for anyone interested in compelling thought experiments. definitely recommended.
it is difficult to read BOB FINGERMAN's graphic novel BEG THE QUESTION (FANTAGRAPHICS, 2002), itself a collection of his entire MINIMUM WAGE series, and not feel just the tiniest bit nostalgic for the less complicated, pre-internet existence of the 1990s. if only. FINGERMAN's narrative follows a BROOKLYN couple in their 20s as they navigate their way through ADULTHOOD PROBLEMS like moving in together, CAREER, SEX, DEATH, BODY IMAGE, FERTILITY, MONEY, FAMILY, CHILDHOOD TRAUMAS and ultimately MARRIAGE. to my understand the piece is basically an extended meditation on relationships and the evolving motivations for maintaining such as individuals inevitably shift through different phases. is it lust? is it emotional security?
BEG THE QUESTION employs an extended network of FAMILY and FRIENDS of the couple who offer various examples of the NEEDS, DESIRES and OBLIGATIONS that bind us to one another. for some it is all about ETHNIC and RELIGIOUS TIES, while for others maintaining a CONNECTIONS is done out of a sense of duty. again for others there is common PERSPECTIVE and TEMPERMENT that gravitates some to each while for others sheer SEXUAL ATTRACTION does so (which is pretty creepy given that such AFFECTION is intra-familial during parts of this graphic novel). for all of its questioning FINGERMAN does not give us a clear answer. the ties that bind are ultimately a MYSTERY and a core facet of the collective HUMAN EXPERIENCE.
speaking for myself, i find that i often cannot get out of my own head on these sorts of matters. i have always questioned what my MOTIVATIONS are for the people i maintain an emotional connection with. is not even possible to not be SELFISH and be around people that make you feel good about yourself? is that a bad thing? being around people that offer you a different PERSPECTIVE and look on life? do i have an ULTERIOR MOTIVE? and what about the people that are EMOTIONAL VULTURES and provide nothing but take. no NOURISHMENT or PERSPECTIVE, just baggage. are they not worthy? and what if they are family? how does that play into it, do i have an OBLIGATION to them because we are kin?
i dont know the answer to that. which is why i thoroughly enjoyed reading BEG THE QUESTION and wish to further seek other publications by FINGERMAN moving forward. i found this graphic novel to be quite THOUGHTFUL, despite its at times RAUNCHY and TRANSGRESSIVE subject matter, and highly recommend it for anyone interested in piercingly HONEST meditations on modern life.
and one last thing: in a post-ROE world it is hard to not think about how much AGENCY has been shifted away from women to make the types of decisions regarding FAMILY PLANNING and BODILY AUTONOMY examined in BEG THE QUESTION. its hard to stomach the fact that we have regressed that much as a society in terms of HUMAN RIGHTS and basic EMPATHY and COMPASSION. makes this graphic novel feel like a political and cultural ANACHRONISM id like to get back to.
its difficult reading about IRAQI, AFGHANI, SYRIAN and KURDISH refugees stranded in a HAPHAZARD, MAKESHIFT sites near CALAIS in 2016 as documented by KATE EVANS in her deeply affecting THREADS: FROM THE REFUGEE CRISIS (VERSO, 2017) graphic novel. its not just the INHUMANITY of EUROPEAN nations bickering amongst themselves regarding RESPONSIBILITY for this wave of immigrants (especially when they themselves are directly CULPABLE for the immense TURMOIL of these foreign conflicts) or the POLITICAL POSTURING and REGRESSIVE POPULAR RHETORIC that spew HATE and RACISM; what is most damaging is the manner in which people dont see the humanity in each other. reading this in 2022, its almost impossible to not see the current UKRAINIAN WAR and the ease with which EUROPEAN nations have taken such in refugees (albeit the UNITED KINGDOM being the exception again) as HYPOCRITICAL and baldly BIGOTED.
what i appreciate about THREADS is that it takes the perspective of EVANS and her experience volunteering at refugee camps in CALAIS, where she met with people, helped sort and distribute supplies, and drew portraits for inhabitants. this act of using art is such a powerful vehicle for giving evidence to the refugee's individual humanity. that they do exist and are accounted for and appreciated. EVANS also uses images of her phone to showcase anonymous messages (from what are presumed to be CONSERVATIVE BRITISH detractors back home) from those that see these refugees as an invading force with subhuman values bent on leeching from the welfare state. its appalling to read such but its that ingrained sense of PRIVILEGE and NARCISSISM that showcase the real values of the BRITISH commonwealth. the book ends with a note that the BRITISH are building bigger walls near the CHUNNEL outside CALAIS (i.e. the entrance to the UNITED KINGDOM).
i was in VENEZUELA for two years starting in 2013 when the economy collapsed in the aftermath of HUGO CHAVEZ' passing and the unrelated fall of oil prices not long thereafter. the whole country was collapsing in on itself and people were desperate to leave. some friends that i knew made it out to PANAMA, COLOMBIA and ARGENTINA, but most were attempting to go to FLORIDA to meet up with family. all left with the intention and hope of one day returning to their homeland. and that is the huge fallacy that people who dont appreciate the situation of refugees are caught up in; these people didnt want to leave their homeland. EUROPEANS and AMERICANS act like being in their countries is a reward, whereas for these people what they are looking for is SALVATION from dangerous and unlivable conditions for them and their families. fleeing was an act of EMPATHY and DESPERATION on behalf of their children.
to shit on them is such a SULLYING, DESPICABLE act. and the FRENCH and BRITISH authorities do so out of assumed MORAL SUPERIORITY and petty domestic politics. unless their UKRAINIAN and look like them. its all so DEPRESSING. just happy people like EVANS exist to bear witness and take these PATHETIC leaders to account through ART.