Stray thoughts 11/30

Some lists

  1. *crawls into file cabinet, shuts drawer, does not come out*
    we’re identifying criminals by their ethnic heritage in our headlines now, great

  2. Shit on your Steve Bannon profiles, especially the chin-stroking ones asking whether Bannon meant the whites or just people who went to good schools when he was musing about genetic superiority.
  3. “The secret of great fortunes without apparent cause is a crime forgotten, for it was properly done.”
    -Honore de Balzac
  4. The white rights movement is fundamentally different from other recent kinds of nationalism because it has no interest in looking forward. It’s all about claiming the past and redefining itself so it can squeeze into whatever category can be assigned a given accomplishment. If you look at Irish nationalism or Israeli nationalism, before those countries even existed in their current forms, the people who were trying to make them had formed national theaters (thanks to friend Shiraz for bringing this to my attention through my wife’s discussion of her work with me). They wanted an Irish and Jewish future, not a rewritten history in which they were the victims of an unjust Civil War and the thankless inventors of everything good.
  5. Heartily endorse this from Zaid Jilani on Twitter: “Trump appointed an Indian woman, a white woman, and black man all within 24 hours. What does that tell you about policy or justice? Nothing!”
  6. Here is why I am incredibly depressed about our prospects for the future: the whole media class is relitigating the election and having its dark night of the soul, meanwhile the election isn’t over. Foster Campbell, a Democrat, stands a slim chance of winning a crucial senate seat vacated by Republican David Vitter in Louisiana. It would be an incredible victory for the Democrats and could potentially rein in a president with absolutely no idea how to govern or lead or handle real, honest-to-God military power. It could make the difference between having Medicare and not having Medicare.
  7. I’ve come by what I’m slowly beginning to recognize are my more useful opinions well into my adulthood and with an embarrassing lack of reflection. Having patient friends really helps to form those into a practice, which of course is evidence of belief (patient friends, you know who you are). Says so in the Bible. It also helps to create a place where you can admit you’re wrong without feeling humiliated or like you’re being sold something, which is incredibly important.

Now, here are the best album-to-comics projects I know about. The records, appropriately, are uniformly the worst thing the artist in question ever did.

  1. The Replacements: Freak Show. Cover by Charles Burns, interiors by Dave McKean, Kyle Baker and Brian Bolland, among others.
    As with most culty things, you can get as obscure as you want with The Residents; they like it that way. The Shreveport, La. band/art collective/drama troupe is super weird, has fans from Matt Groening to Les Claypool, and generally has some pretty good, surreal ideas about how to make art. This is not one of them.
    The idea of a freak show as a metaphor for America is about on a par with the Vine gag starring “Banksy” whose great inspiration is a computer screen reading “MCDONALDS IS PRSEDINET.” So not very. But the comic is gorgeous! Bolland rarely does interiors any more and Baker’s work is sorely underrated; McKean just illustrates some of the record’s dumb lyrics, but who cares?
    Freak Show.jpg
  2. Voodoo Lounge. Written and drawn by Dave McKean from lyrics by the Rolling Stones.
    This may really be the Stones’ worst record, ever. This is the one that’s not as good as the Aerosmith record that came out contemporaneously. The photo-collage art by Dave McKean in it is really wonderful.
    Voodoo Lounge.jpg
  3. The Last Temptation. Written by Neil Gaiman, art by Michael Zulli. This is not even Gaiman’s tenth-best comics project but his work is always slick and fun to read, and I cannot say enough good about Zulli’s art. Gaiman actually wrote some of the lyrics Cooper used on the (dreadful) record; this comic is the best thing to come out of the collaboration, by far.
  4. Break the Chain! Written by KRS-ONE (as Big Joe Krash), art by Kyle Baker. Baker drew this autobiographical KRS-ONE comic; it’s impossible to find, not least because it came with a cassette tape of exclusive KRS-ONE tracks back in days of yore when comics came polybagged with cheap gimmicks. It’s the only one of these I don’t have, and I yearn for it, because Kyle Baker.
    Screenshot from 2016-11-30 22-42-50.png

Author: samthielman

Sam Thielman is a reporter and critic based in Brooklyn, New York. His blog is, his twitter handle is @samthielman, and if you can't find him you should check The Strand.

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