Before I begin, I want you to understand that I have no reason to lie to you. I don’t care about alienating the companies I’ll be attacking in the following article because they have nothing to offer me.
The comic book industry I dreamed about being part of since I was a boy is dead. It’s never coming back. It will never recover.
A long, long time ago, in a previous century far away, I wrote a song called “Doing Without”.
Yes, believe it or leave it, I used to “write lyrics”, although I never had much aptitude for it, and I preferred repetitive chants over sophisticated poetry. Plus, I was the vocalist out of necessity and proprietary right; I don’t have the greatest singing voice, I confess. I can carry a tune about as well as I can carry a Volkswagen bus. Not well, would be my point here.
In 1993, Rhino Records released the two-volume hardcore punk compilation Faster & Louder, containing a cornucopia of gems from the golden age of the genre. The covers unfolded to reveal spectacular art by the great Gary Panter (above image, Jimbo), and incisive liner notes that briefly break down every track, by Brooklyn record collector and writer Johan Kugelberg.
It’s time for us, as a species, to make a healthy admission.
The world we knew and loved, just years ago, is dead. It’s gone. It’s never coming back. Not even as a side mission in a GTA game. Now we are left with the nagging sensation that things were once better. It’s too painful to consider the reasons why. Hold on to the memory, and carry on.
There’s an entire genre of movies, TV shows and music, explicitly designed to mollify you in your time of emotional distress. Plus, there’s a contrived ending that tells you everything’s okay. Or not. It’s basically sadness porn, after all.
Feel like laughing? Same deal. Entire blocks of television programming are devoted to laughter, loaded with disparate commercials for unhealthy items and services. You can “binge-watch” every stand-up special a comedian has produced, and then argue about a decrease in their edge, on the Internet. Isn’t that fantastic?
Facebook and Twitter have a very appealing form of casual censorship; if you have a difference of opinion with another user, you can block them.
Did someone infer that Islam is dangerous? Make them disappear. Is “Black Lives Matter” not being treated with the utmost solemnity and reverence? Bye-bye. No need to empathize or try to understand a different point of view; it’s better to treat opposing ideas as annoyances, to be clinically expunged.
I’m not warning you against social media, I’m saying see it for what it is; a method of grouping people by their beliefs and predilections, so they can be monitored and controlled. By companies, government, and people who have more money. That’s all the Internet is anymore. It’s not about sharing information. It’s about controlling who sees it. Continue reading →