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An Open Letter to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan

Dear Speaker Ryan:

Go fuck yourself with a telephone pole.

Sincerely,

A kid who was on the free lunch program.

(Context, if you’re into that sort of thing.)

Say Something Clever, Alex.

Okay, gotta say something about this week, if only because I’ve been slacking since May.

Here goes: I am nearly at the point of not having a rat’s ass to give about whether or not black, blue, all, green, pink with purple polka-dots, orange, zebra-striped, or all lives matter. And I know that sounds callous, but I just want people to stop killing one another. It’s that damned simple. Enough already, whatever–you know, I can’t do my whole aloof-above-it-all commentator routine, since I want to sneer in contempt or put my fist through the monitor. So, here’s what I’ve got to say: Stop murdering each other. More substantive content to resume eventually.

A New Direction

So, I’ve been thinking. Mostly about other stuff, but a lot about this blog and the direction I want it to take. And while I’m not entirely certain of what will happen going forward, I do have some ideas as to what I want to do with this blog.

The problem: Loss of momentum and desire for a clean start

I don’t know why, but I kind of lost all my motivation to move forward last year. Obviously, I did a lot of stuff—cancelling Diverged and starting Maple Street most notably —but 2014 honestly felt like a write-off in spite of all of the shake-ups and changes. I’d start a post, get caught up in revising it, and never finish or publish the damned thing. The upshot is that I have nine posts in various states of completion in various locations that will likely never see the light of day. I don’t know that I can finish these, let alone upload them; some I couldn’t say anything in, some were intimately tied to current events which have since vanished from the public consciousness, some just failed to cohere pending major revisions, two were topical and niche. I had a blast writing parts of them (in particular the one dealing with David S. Goyer’s idiotic, sexist comments about She-Hulk and the Martian Manhunter and his role in the increasing grimdarking [1] of modern superhero movies, especially those made by Warner Bros. about DC Comics characters, which I believe has some potential and relevancy in light of his involvement with Batman Vs. Superman), but I couldn’t finish any of them and I got bogged down in revision.

I turned eighteen last month, and that and the new year have ignited a desire to make a clean start of some sort. I don’t know what that start will look like, but it will probably take place away from this specific blog at this specific address in this specific part of the Internet. Some more specific changes:

  1.  A different workflow: This is a rather behind-the-scenes change and won’t affect this blog directly. However, I’ve decided to modify how I write the posts. Instead of multitasking and jumping between several posts at once, then wandering off to the Internet when I need to research something or get bored, I will focus my attention on one post at a time, working in as much depth as possible. I hope to move from occasional to monthly or biweekly updates in 2015. In addition, I switched to FocusWriter for my drafts rather than Jarte. This should help me stay on-target during the rough phase.
  2.  A move: This would be the major change—one of the “new directions” in this post’s title. I’m considering leaving Blogger and this blog altogether and switching to WordPress; I’ve already got an account and have started up a blog showcasing my fiction, though at the moment it’s more of a showcase  for the theme’s designers. I’ve been blogging here for five years, longer than I’ve lived anywhere, longer than I’ve gone to school anywhere, and frankly I’m done. I’m (probably) not done with blogging completely; but I am done with Blogger’s weirdness. Five years is a long time and I’m a different person now than I was in 2010 or even 2012. Most obviously, I’m a better writer and artist—better technically, more experienced, with my ambitions in a different place than when I started. I’m a slow and inconstant writer on top of that, and it’s against my religion to upload two consecutive posts in the same week, so I can never really become the daily content-spewing behemoth of the sort that dominates the blogosphere—not that I ever wanted to become such. The result is that this blog is no longer representative of the work I can do; it’s like my baby photos—Aw, look at the cute widdle bwogger getting all mad about razor bwades! Who’s passionately for LGBT equality? Yes, you are! Yes, you are—only the baby photos are on display for anyone with an Internet connection, so more like Facebook. Kids these days—no idea how hard they’ve got it. You try convincing your mom to hide the photo album [2] and even if she doesn’t agree that’s why God made attics. But online? Nothing ever goes away. Can’t even…
  3. Anyway, I’m in the final stages of resolving a dilemma, outlined above, about what to do with this blog. I’ll retain the URL and keep it as an archive, but I don’t foresee any new content on here after spring. I have a URL pinned down and a blog set up over on WordPress; it’s private, though, so you can’t see it yet. It should go live in March or thereabouts, and I anticipate some level of double-posting throughout spring.

 Oh, and one other thing…

I may also shake it up in terms of content. People seem to like humorous, linear reviews; maybe I can get in on some of that action. Also, should I start showing my art off? Thoughts? Opinions? Colorful euphemisms? Thanks for reading.
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[1] It is too a word.
[2] Photo album, you ask? Well, before Facebook—
You know, I hate this whole “explaining obsolete technology to kids” thing. It feels condescending and actively insulting to the reader’s intelligence. The landline isn’t dead, the typewriter hangs on, kids aren’t stupid, and the whole exercise is arguably an excuse to lord your superior intellect over someone. It’s the equivalent of yelling “your epidermis is showing!” but not funny.

Je Suis Charlie

[No footnotes this week. This post started as a journal entry of sorts, and I decided to make it my first official content of 2015 on a whim and because this is too imporant to pass up, as is my unofficial policy regarding acts of terror and other current events. The footnotes were omitted due to time constraints, and the fact that (ironically) this is too serious for my usual style.]
You should know what’s happened by now. If you don’t the BBC has good coverage. My thoughts, as an amateur cartoonist and political person, below the cut:

  • Bad move on the terrorists’ part. This gives the magazine a higher profile; also puts the people’s sympathy with the magazine.
  • Freedom of speech does not include license to engage in violence for political purposes—at most protest, not terrorism, not assassination
  • Why is the BBC covering this story so obsessively? Slow news day? Journalistic solidarity?
  • One lesson? I could get shot for cartooning. Presidents get shot, politicians get shot, soldiers and police officers get shot.  People want to stop satire. Therefore, satire is important. Satire is powerful.
    • Anyway, cartoonists are naturally perverse types; it’s in our nature. Asking a cartoonist not to make fun of something is like asking an iceberg to warm up a bit.
  • In closing, remember what happened to William Tweed. Remember Franklin and the severed serpent. Remember what happened in America, Poland, East Germany, Tunisia, Libya, France. In the long run, those who oppose free speech lose, simply because free speech overwhelms them and incorporates them. Just another booth in the marketplace of ideas, and ignore that the salesman is quite vocally calling to tear the place down. These terrorists don’t represent Islam any more than Pat Robertson represents Christianity or Benjamin Netanyahu represents Judaism. This too shall pass. And five or ten years from now, it will have passed into that vague memory of (depending on political persuasions and views of Islam) Weird Shit That Happened or Reasons Muslims Should Not be Trusted. But otherwise it will likely be forgotten; Charlie-Hebdo has come back from worse than this.

Throw it at the Wall and See What Sticks Edition

Thirteen years ago, three airplanes crashed into the World Trade Center and Pentagon. I would call this an act of senseless violence except that there was sense to it–in a Shakespearean sense of the word [1]. Senseless or no, it was a horrible tragedy and I assume that all of you have given the event some thought.

With the acknowledgement of the horrible, stupid, sense-making, tragic events of September 11th, 2001, out of the way, other events of note:

  • In a coup for the dying newspaper industry, Stephan Pastis’ Pearls Before Swine will now run in the Des Moines Register. Residents of Des Moines (of whom there must be some in this blog’s readership) take note.
  • Radar archaeology has uncovered [2] a lot previously unknown about Stonehenge. The major find is the buried city underneath and in the vicinity of the ancient monument, with–this is just what the Register led with [3]–a complex for human sacrifice and various pits for tracking the movements of celestial bodies. Also, they drank beer; the English don’t change much.
  • In other science news, the Canadian government has found one of the ships from Sir John Franklin’s doomed 1845 expedition to find the fabled Northwest Passage, though it’s unclear whether they found HMS Terror or HMS Erebus [4]Apropos of that, some Stan Rogers:

  • Although it’s been strongly windy today in Vancouver–you might even say blustery–it’s Thursday, so I cannot in good conscience wish you all a happy Windsday.
  • I can, however, share today’s Peanuts:

  • That’s it, I think.

–Alex Adrian, 9/11/’14

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[1] Macbeth, Act II, Scene i, specifically.
[2] Er, so to speak.
[3] The full headline was, “City hidden beneath England’s Stonehenge had a HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub/Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart.”
[4] Excellent ship names, those.

Why I Won’t Talk about Ferguson

So, some bad stuff is happening in Ferguson, Missouri. Michael Brown, an eighteen-year-old black man, was shot six times and killed by police officers. This made a great number of people justifiably angry, and a protest movement of considerable size and volume has ensued. The police and state government have cracked down; last I heard before writing this, the governor had called in the National Guard. It’s a big, controversial topic, but you’ll have to turn elsewhere for coverage. Chasing the Rabbit will not discuss this.
There are a few reasons for this decision. First, I’m a slow writer and anything I say would be outdated by the time it made it to the blog.

Second, I’m a seventeen-year-old white guy from Washington. I’ve never had to deal with discrimination because of my skin color, gender, or sexual orientation [1]. My experience is rather tightly circumscribed, and hasn’t anything that would shed any new light on the situation.

Third, Ferguson is just the tip of the shit iceberg [2]. Robin Williams is dead, I’m in a funk, I just got back from vacation [3], and I’m feeling just a bit discombobulated at the moment. There’s a lot of stuff I’m working on at the moment–several blog posts, a webcomic, the back to school thing–and writing one of my signature long rambles about a topic as messy as this would just depress me too much. I’d rather finish something that I enjoy and think is worth my while and in the area of my expertise than tinker with a poorly-thought-out response to a complete mess whose ramifications and scope I’ve yet to grasp. This is a major, important story, one I’m entrusting to more skilled hands.

–Alex Adrian, 8/19/’14

                               
[1]Admittedly, that last one has more to do with my tightly closeted nature and timid, retiring personality than my actually being straight.
[2] Shit-berg?
[3] NOTE: In the original version of this post I called the vacation the worst of my life. I changed it because it was ungrateful and inaccurate.

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