Friday, June 08, 2012

Four Great (Mostly Geeky) Links, Not (Despite Appearances) All Stolen From Gerry Canavan

...because while now Dr. and soon-to-be Professor Canavan did link to all four, one I saw independently. Really.

Anyway, didn't T. S. Eliot say something like "bad bloggers imitate, good bloggers steal?"

Ahem. The Links:

1. The Wire: The Musical.

Only worth seeing & funny if you've seen The Wire... but if you have seen The Wire, then you should click over and see this without fail. (If you haven't seen The Wire, then you should go get the DVDs and watch all five seasons because it's so !@#$% awesome and there's a reason that everyone says that it was the best show ever on TV and that's that it was the best show ever on TV. Then see step one.) Update: David Simon's response to the musical: "Someone hand me a burner and Sondheim’s number."

2. David Graeber, "Of Flying Cars and the Declining Rate of Profit".

Graeber may have embarrassed himself terribly at the recent Crooked Timber seminar on his work, but that shouldn't distract us from the fact that he's one of the more interesting and creative public intellectuals working today, and one who really manages to bring an array of different types of ideas to bear on our current situation, and does so in a way that actually provides some sort of hope -- even, some sort of hope that feels real. It's a remarkable accomplishment, and this essay is Graeber at the top of his form. (If you've never read any Graeber, or never heard of the man, the best place to start is probably here.)

3. Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal for Wednesday, June 6

Ok, when I opened this to copy the link, the image didn't load, and it seems to be broken. Hopefully by the time you actually read this it'll be fixed. Because this short (14 panel) comic strip is actually a flat-out terrific SF story -- sort in a PKD meets Greg Egan mode. It should be in all the "best SF of the year" anthologies next year (but probably won't be). SMBC has become one of my favorite web comics, actually -- it's got a somewhat XKCD sensibility at times, but is also very much its own thing. Other recent favorites include this one, this one and this one, and actually today's is pretty good too. But the one linked above is the best... assuming they've fixed the link, that is.

4. Andrew Hickey's review of Before Watchmen

I have some thoughts on the entire BW fiasco that I haven't managed to write up yet (and earlier posted certain other people's thoughts on the matter that actually summed up my views on the matter fairly well), but beyond that I actually have no interest in reading the relevant extruded corporate comic product myself. But Hickey did (don't worry, he starts off: "Of course I didn’t buy it. What do you think I am? I torrented it, of course. And if DC want to complain about me taking their copyrighted work, the work that talented artists put time and effort into, and using it without their permission, well…they started it."), and his report is well-worth reading for some choice points about this particular chillul hashem.

Actually, to end where I (almost) began, while T. S. Eliot's famous line (above imitated) is often quoted as "bad poets imitate, good poets steal", what he actually wrote was:
One of the surest of tests is the way in which a poet borrows. Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different. The good poet welds his theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different from that from which it was torn; the bad poet throws it into something which has no cohesion. A good poet will usually borrow from authors remote in time, or alien in language, or diverse in interest....
-- which is a key part of the answer to anyone who asks (as many have) what the difference is between Moore's reuse of concepts and ideas from earlier works and the extruded corporate product that is Beyond Watchmen.

And that's all, folks, quoth the rabbit (and the pig).

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