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Posts Tagged ‘comics’

I’ve always been dedicated to the idea of this as the time of year for spooky fun.  So every year I collect all the spooky, creepy or scary links and other content from the previous year into one place just before Halloween.  If you’ve come to my blog in the past year, or don’t remember previous editions, they are “Trick or Treat”, “More Trick or Treat“, “Tricks and Treats“, “This Trick’s a Treat”, “Tricky Treats“, and “A Trickle of Treats” (because I also love wordplay).  Horror, death or Halloween-themed columns of the past year include “Eros and Thanatos“, “Not Your Costume?“, “Its Own Reward“, “Frozen Smoke“, “The Science of Sin“, and the short story “Wheels“; there are creepy or spooky-fun videos in Links #433, #435, #445, and #447; and here’s a collection of spooky or Halloweeny links:

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One of the bizarre contradictions of modern American society is that at a time when consent has been raised practically to the level of a fetish, complete with various sects of authoritarians declaring themselves the absolute arbiters on what constitutes “true” consent and what doesn’t, many of the same people who would absolutely have a cow if some private citizen slightly smudged a consent-line in some minor fashion have absolutely no issue with government operatives trampling all over consent in the most horrifying ways imaginable.  The same politicians (and their lackeys and followers) who bloviate about “revenge porn“, align themselves with “Me Too” and posture performatively every time a non-cop accused of rape is found not guilty after a trial, suddenly lose their concern for individual consent when it’s government operatives violating it via spying, groping, assault, robbery, rape, abduction or even murder; when confronted with this contradiction they’ll nearly always vomit out nonsense about a “social contract”, as though consent were something which could be granted for individuals by some collective, possibly even a collective with no living members.

A large part of the problem is that while we see lots of explanations of consent like the one above, nobody dares to explain to kids that just because an adult has a costume on or is called an “authority” doesn’t give them the right to ignore your consent.  Not even if they call it “punishment” or a “search”, or say you need it to get on an airplane or enter a building.  People are always wringing their hands about how many cops, teachers, clergy, etc molest or even rape kids & teenagers, yet they never consider that the root cause of these violations is that they’ve drummed it into those kids’ heads that “authorities” must be obeyed and have various excuses to touch or hurt those kids without their consent, simply by giving the abuse some fancy name like “discipline”, “arrest” or, worst of all, the innocuous-sounding “search”.  Nobody has the right to violate their consent, and they owe nobody unquestioned obedience.  And until we start teaching that, we’re never going to see an end to the nauseating parade of “authorities” groping, molesting and raping society’s most vulnerable members while the adults who should be protecting them utter pious platitudes about “security”, “obedience”, and “law”.

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I wandered lonely as a clod,
Just picking up old rags and bottles,
When onward on my way I plod,
I saw a host of axolotls;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
A sight to make a man’s blood freeze.  –  Mad #43

Given the sad news about Mad, it seemed appropriate to feature one of the songs from one of its albums (some of which were actually included in “specials”; if you’re old enough to remember those, you should remember “sound sheets“).  The links above the video were provided by Radley Balko, Nun Ya, Emma Evans, Mike Siegel, Ivan Dragomiloff, and Radley Balko again, in that order.

From the Archives

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The single biggest fallacy in Randianism is the notion that the great industrialists of the past succeeded by their own genius.  They didn’t; every single one got wealthy due to crony deals with politicians, “officially”-granted monopolies, protectionist laws, subsidies, etc; in other words fascism, not the free market.  I’m an agorist; I believe all human interactions should be voluntary exchanges, and that nobody has a right to insert themselves into others’ voluntary arrangements.  But crony capitalism warps markets with collectivist violence, making them evil.  Let’s take one modern example, far more subtle than bailouts, subsidies or “regulations” so complex it takes a full-time legal department (such as big companies have and small ones don’t):  the copyright scam.  Basic copyright is a good concept; it allows creative people to make a living from their creations.  Without it, nobody could afford to be a full-time creator because the unscrupulous would constantly be stealing their work.  But look at how collusion between government and giant media corporations (especially Disney) have warped this good concept into a sick means of fascist corporations making billions from the intellectual creations of people who have been dead for decades.  Mickey Mouse and many other characters should have entered the public domain years ago, but the collectives which “own” them paid off enough Congresscritters to ensure that won’t happen, and the process will continue indefinitely until something is done about it.  But what could be done?  Well, If I were dictatrix, I’d set copyright at life plus 21 years, so any minor children of a creator who died young could enjoy those rights until majority.  But anything longer stifles future generations from doing new things with those creations (as Disney himself did with public-domain characters created by others).  I’d also bar corporations from owning copyright; only human creators (including teams of specifically-named individuals) could have that.  Of course, the creator could license his creation to a company, as Charles Moulton licensed Wonder Woman to DC.  But 21 years after the creator croaks?  It’s all over, including the licenses.  Under my system, everything John Lennon did solo (post-Beatles) would’ve come out of copyright a couple of weeks after George Harrison died in ’01, and Harrison’s work would now have only three years left.  But the collective Beatles creations would still be protected until 21 years after the last Beatle shuffles off this mortal coil.  Superman would’ve entered the public domain two and a half years ago, 21 years after Jerry Siegel’s death (his co-creator, Joe Shuster, died in 1992); imagine what stories new creators could soon write about him or about Batman (out of copyright this coming November in my system).

The “creative team” structure leaves a loophole, but I think it’s a sensible one that could allow a creator to care for loved ones after his death.  All a creator would need to do is give equal creative credit (at the time of publication; retroactive attribution would not be allowed) to the person he wanted to protect.  So if Lennon had given Yoko Ono official equal credit on all or some of his post-Beatles work, the music so credited would still be under copyright until 21 years after she croaks.  A clever creator could even give equal credit to their kids on individual works (one book or album per kid, that sort of thing).  And it would last until 21 years after that “co-creator” died, but there would be no such thing as collectives of investors who never even met Walt Disney profiting from his genius 52 years after his death.  This wouldn’t kill companies; for example, Disney would still hold rights to all from their ’90s revival, probably for decades to come, and they’ve got plenty of money to keep licensing new characters ad infinitum.  But no more resting on laurels, and no more using the power of government to stop other people from doing exactly what 19th and 20th-century creators did.

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In the Gilligan’s Island TV show, Dr. Roy Hinkley was originally stated to be a high-school science teacher with a degree in botany.  But like all TV “scientists” his store of knowledge and his technical abilities grew as required by lazy writers; he soon became a university professor rather than a high-school teacher and his expertise grew to include chemistry, entomology, psychology, engineering and several obscure Polynesian languages (and that’s just what I recall from childhood).  Whatever intellectual ability or STEM-type skill was required by the plot, the Professor was sure to have already or be able to rapidly acquire by consulting one of the many books he inexplicably brought along on a “three-hour tour”; that he not be skilled in boat repair was also required by the plot, so we’ll just leave that one alone for now.  The important thing is that in episodic fiction (whether that be television, comic books, pulp novels or whatever) “scientist” or “sage” type characters are generally assumed to have vast and encyclopedic knowledge and to be nigh-omnicompetent (Spock in Star Trek wasn’t quite as bad until the third season, when he suddenly acquired previously-unmentioned competencies such as comparative linguistics and art history, again as required by lazy writers).  Such formidable intellectual prowess rarely exists outside of fantasy, and yet you’d be amazed how often people in real life seem to expect unusually intelligent and erudite people to display similarly-superhuman intellectual abilities.  It happens to me on a regular basis; people seem to expect me to know basically everything, and while I certainly do have an exceptional memory, an excellent education, an uncannily-large store of mostly-useless trivia and an above-average learning rate, there are still vast gaps in my abilities and whole intellectual realms I know no more about than the average person (or even less than average if it has anything to do with popular culture from about 1995 to the present).  One of those gaps is computer stuff; in 1989 I actually had above-average practical computer skills (though I had flunked programming half a decade before), but I never really kept up and I’m still not entirely sure how a microprocessor actually works (THIS IS NOT AN INVITATION TO ATTEMPT AN EXPLANATION IN THE COMMENTS).  Add to that a general aversion to change, a neurological & emotional inability to deal with formal systems, and the fact that my brain was already fully canalized several years before I had home access to the internet, and I think you’ll be able to understand why I’m really not good with computer and internet stuff.  And because I am good at so many things, I tend to be very uncomfortable with and anxious about the things I’m not good at.  I tend to deal with obstacles in my path by figuring them out, charming them, intimidating them, or crying, and none of those work on a computer which is doing something I neither desire nor comprehend.  So if you want to interview me or have me on your podcast or whatever, you are really really really going to have to take care of “the technical details of anything more complicated than ‘click here’, ‘please look into the camera’ or ‘answer the phone’.”  I’m sorry if that reduces me in your estimation; perhaps it would restore your faith if you think of computer stuff being for me as boatbuilding must have been for The Professor.

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Women…are being undermined by a system that should be supporting them.  –  Joan Phillips

Surplus Women

Two women were murdered, but this reporter thinks the real story is the neighbors’ sadfeelz about how they made their living:

Over the past [two] years, two women were murdered in [DeKalb County, Georgia]…one…in 2017…[and] the…second…a few months ago…[but sociopathic] neighbors…[are more concerned with] solicitation [on a local stroll than the deaths of two human beings]…They said they see it in early mornings when school kids are waiting for the bus…A [WSB-TV] photographer also rode along with DeKalb County police to…listen…to [copaganda about] human trafficking…

Note that this is the same copsucking TV station which we saw demonizing people’s religion a few days ago.

Yellow Fever

Modern media companies like The Guardian are willing to discard whatever credibility they once enjoyed:

…[the] vastly profitable and largely unregulated [sex industry] has…become infested with criminality, turning Spain into a global hub for human trafficking and sexual slavery…the scale of the problem…is staggering…the [new prohibitionist] Spanish government [claims] that up to 90% of women working in prostitution could be victims of trafficking…[Spanish cops claim to have] rescued 5,695 people from slavery but acknowledge that thousands more remain under the control of…gangs operating with impunity…

Shame, Shame

Most journalists abandoned most of their ethics long ago:

Last June, Florida Today decided to…scrap its traditional gallery of mug shots…an increasing number of editors…have recognized that the American style of crime reporting— picking sensational cases with the most odious details, printing mug shots and full names, and not providing contextual information on crime and statistics in stories —needs a long-overdue overhaul.  Still, on the internet, the salacious news story and the quest for “hits” too often subsumes  conscientious reporting.  Despite the fact that most prisoners will be released, permanent digital punishment in the form of salacious reporting or mug shots hinders reentry…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#627)

It’s so good to see more widespread recognition of this:

…Dr Joan Phillips said while there was a lot of [hoohah about “sex trafficking”] in the Caribbean…it seem[s] to be [simply] a matter of people moving for…work…She argued that too often, Caribbean countries were made to feel that “something needs to be done” about [what the US calls] human trafficking and that it needs to be done now…“we in the Caribbean…are being pushed to look at something that we are not sure…is happening but because of the political and economic influence of US foreign policy we need to do something or we will lose funding”… she argued…that…[US bureaucrats and politicians do] not take into consideration the willing movement of people to work in various settings including nightclubs…“The…issue with the sex [trafficking] paradigm is that poor women are becoming poorer and…the systems that have been put in place [to supposedly help them] are lip service…we need to look at…the ideology about trafficking in a totally different way…Caribbean governments have to…deci[de]…whether they accept the foreign policy of the US and talk about this sexual trafficking and put all this law in place and not focus on…the bigger issues…poverty, vulnerability, lack of education, the need for support for children, unemployment and so on”…

To Molest and Rape

Anything to avoid the word “rape”:

A Richmond [Virginia cop] has been indicted by a…grand jury…Michael Bryson…has been charged with a misdemeanor count of…sexually abusing the victim against their will by force, threat, intimidation, or ruse…

Election Day (#840) 

This is beginning to look like the beginning of the end of the War on Drugs:

A referendum in Denver to decriminalize psilocybin, or “magic mushrooms”, appears to have passed by a narrow margin…But the activists who worked to get the issue on the ballot say their fight was the beginning of a larger movement…Cindy Sovine, a political consultant who worked on the initiative [said]…”Whether you’re using this plant for a medical reason, or a spiritual reason, or a recreational reason, you should not be going to jail or losing your children for it”…

Dangerous Speech

The government’s entire case against Backpage is based on lies and wanking fantasies:

The Arizona Republic recently…claim[ed]  prosecutors had revealed “new evidence”, which demonstrated that Michael Lacey, a former owner of the now defunct classified ad website Backpage.com, was aware of and complicit in sex trafficking taking place on the site.  This so-called evidence consisted of internal Backpage emails from 2012…where Lacey and others discuss how to respond to an inquiry from…Nicholas Kristof, a notorious prig, who, in preparation for an opinion piece, had asked Backpage to comment on the case of a 13 year-old girl alleged…[by disgraced racist prosecutor Lauren Hersh to have been] advertised on Backpage…The…quote from [Lacey’s] email…reads…”We do how many million ads, and he picks out one, tells us by the end of the day and wants our total response by a.m.?  Of course there are kids who get through the system.  As there are in bars.  This makes pursuit of solution…more critical rather than scoring political points”.  Given…that Backpage regularly cooperated with law enforcement in order to catch perpetrators who were misusing the site, only a latter-day Inspector Javert would look at such an email and assume that it established guilt.  It would be far easier to draw the opposite conclusion, that the email’s author does not want underage individuals accessing Backpage…

Welcome To Our World (#888)

Do you really need more evidence of the link between anti-sex work and anti-abortion campaigns?

Phalla was a surrogate paid to carry [a] baby for a couple in China.  Now, due to [totalitarian] measures enacted by Cambodian authorities late last year…Phalla is among dozens of women forced to raise [someone else’s] child…If she doesn’t, she faces up to 20 years in prison for human trafficking…Phalla had a caesarean birth in August [while pigs lurked and watched]…Three months later, she and her newborn were released on bail, on the strict condition that she did not give the child away and [was forced] to raise the child until she turned 18…Phalla must present herself — baby in hand — to a local police office once a month.  She cannot change her address without the investigating judge’s permission, and failing to meet these bail conditions could result in her arrest…

Forced parenthood.  Registered “sex offender” type treatment.  “Human trafficking” as a catch-all.  Get it yet?

See No Evil (#889)

Another prosecution for drawings of fictional characters:

The former commander of the 49th Medical Support Squadron at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico will face a civilian trial later…over accusations of possessing [what prosecutors call] virtual child pornography, and will also be court-martialed in August.  Lt. Col. Keith Vollenweider…[is said to have] knowingly possessed “visual depictions, such as drawings, cartoons and virtual images, that depict minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct”…

Note that people have been similarly charged for possessing Japanese manga books because the characters appear “child-like” by Western aesthetic standards.

Property of the State (#895) 

Critics of governmental abuses need to stop using neutral words like “taken” and call these crimes what they are:

Kentucky’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services…has a practice of obtaining blank [child abduction] orders pre-signed by judges.  Social workers then fill out the documents with the necessary information after they’ve been signed by a judge and then use them to [abduct] children from parents who[m somebody decided to accuse of something]…no judge actually reviews these orders, or the evidence used to justify separating a family, before signing them.  This…galling abuse of…basic civil liberties…only came to an end after an investigative report by WDRB…spotlighted the practice…

Pyrrhic Victory (#912) 

As long as cops suffer no consequences for disobedience, laws like this are mere political grandstanding:

San Francisco…is…on track to be the first municipality in the United States to [officially] ban use of facial recognition technology by the city government…the bill also requires all other types of surveillance technologies—like automatic license plate readers, predictive policing software, and cell phone surveillance towers—to only be adopted by city agencies following a public notice and vote by the Board of Supervisors.  The bill also requires [bureaucratic] policies for how surveillance technologies will [supposedly] be used by the city government…A similar proposal to ban the use of facial recognition across the bay in Oakland…will be debated later this month…There was [already] some pushback from [copsuckers and badge-lickers, especially those who]…give [cops access to] their private surveillance camera[s]

A Broker in Pillage (#918)

Nobody will be safe until this odious, contemptible practice is recognized as unconstitutional:

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed three bills into law…that significantly limit police’s ability to [steal] property…11 other states…have passed laws requiring convictions before forfeitures in some or all cases…Three states have abolished civil forfeiture altogether.  In Hawaii, a bill banning civil forfeiture is currently awaiting the governor’s signature…the new Michigan laws…still…[allow people to] be pressured by [cops] to sign away their property [under threat]…

Negative Secondary Effects (#933)

A lot of people are growing sick of the oppression of sex workers:

Hundreds of people have signed a petition backing workers at a strip club weeks after calls were made for its licence to be revoked.  [Prohibitionists who paid men to secretly film dancers without their consent claim their snitches] saw dancers performing sex acts at Spearmint Rhino in Sheffield…An open letter with the petition backing the workers at the club said: “We believe sex work should not be stigmatised as uniquely or especially oppressive to women in the context of widespread misogyny and male violence against women.  Sex work is legal, and advocating to take away women’s choice to do safe, legal work is anti-feminist and anti-worker”…

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I can’t breathe.  –  Derek Williams

I’ve shared a lot of Sesame Street shorts in this space over the years, but for some reason I had completely forgotten about this one, which was one of my favorites as a child.  The links above it were provided by Jesse Walker, Tim Cushing, Zuri Davis, Charles Hill, Eric Sprankle, and Wendy Lyon, in that order.

From the Archives

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