January 25th, 2006

blowhard

Interviewsday!

Man, I feel all loosey-goosey today. Flippy-floppy. Heart-stoppy. Tight binding underwear. Full access, final wisdom. You know? Just a little...funny.

Speaking of being only a little funny, Lileks today proves that like many people on the right (I think specifically of Ann Coulter and Bill O'Reilly), he is capable of the massively hypocritical lack of self-knowledge necessary to rip someone a new asshole for doing something you yourself do on an almost-constant basis. His target today is bland Los Angeles Dog Trainer humorist Joel Stein, who had the bad taste to write a column in which he let some of his private opinions about the war seep into the yuks. Ha ha! Good thing Lileks never does that! Anyway, here's the lead-in:

Some people tell me to read such and such, guaranteeing I will sunder my abdominal walls with convulsive mirth, but it often turns out to be that curious sort of humorous writing that’s never actually funny. It has the structure and appearance of humor, but it’s a honeycomb without honey. Having judged a few humorous writing contests, I can attest that this sort of stylist is common in the small-town weeklies. They don’t often make it up to the majors. It’s truly rare for a C-grade humorist to fail upwards nowadays, moving one from national gig to the other, making a series of sweaty attempts to connect with an audience that has no clear idea why this oddly charmless fellow has been given another gilt-edged soapbox. But it happens.

I would sure love to give Jim-Jam the benefit of the doubt here and assume that he knows exactly who this bitchy spitball at Stein is going to put a lot of writers in mind of. Anyway, he goes on to say:

Picking on an average Joel Stein column is like arranging your old Powerball tickets in chronological order; it’s something to do, but the effort seems misplaced.

Here Jimmy has stopped talking about himself while talking about Joel Stein, and is now talking specifically about me. My obsession with Lileks in this space is nothing if not a collated, sorted and numerically cross-referenced collection of losing lottery tickets. He concludes:

A tip for Mr. Stein from someone who also does the self-deprecation-via-self-aggrandizment schtick: The goal is to make yourself appear endearingly clueless.

Good tip, James! Physician heal thyself! Good luck with no fuckin' head.

Today should be a fun, if exhausting, day. When I leave work, I have not one, not two, but THREE interviews for various freelance gigs: I'm doing a face-to-face with Anna Fermin (of Trigger Gospel pseudo-fame), and then two phoners with (first) Brian Weitz, a.k.a. Geologist, of Animal Collective, and then one of my hip-hop heroes, DJ Stretch Armstrong. Let's hope I don't get sonned...interviewing Stretch will be not unlike talking to Sam Phillips, at least from where my fat ass sits. Wish me luck. And also pizza.
can you dig it?

Whorin'

Hey, look at this! There's a new Ludic Log up today, wherein I shit all over the Hindu religion and don't even get any good laffs out of it! Also, there's new lists and sausage, an updated clips page, and all of the layout issues and site bugs have (I think) been fixed. So set a spell, take a look around.
bizarro am drunk motherfucker

In a bind, in a binder

Hey, big thanks to calamityjon, who was kind enough to send me unbidden a big pile of the 1991-1992 version of Who's Who in the DC Universe. In case you're not as massive a dweeb as I am -- and who is? -- this was the version of Who's Who that was released as cardstock one-sheets, and you were meant to put them in order in these big goofy three-ring binders.

Even without the bizarro format, this was without a doubt the strangest manifestation of the Who's Who series. It wasn't as original as the first version, as exhaustive as the second, or as swanky as the DC Encyclopedia iteration of a few years ago; it resembled nothing so much as the sort of project a smart high school kid might come up with if the real thing wasn't available from DC itself. It also came at a really strange period in DC history, and by "strange", I mostly mean "shitty". It fell into that odd Phantom Zone that came after Crisis On Infinite Earths (so we get the rebooted, no-multiple-earths interpretation of the DC continuity), but before Zero Hour (so the versions of a lot of the characters aren't recognizable to plenty of modern-day fans.

Frankly, this is a helpful thing for me to have, for no other reason than it's a period of DC history I know next to nothing about; after being raised on comics my whole life, I stopped reading them for several years from around 1990 to right around Zero Hour (1994). So the history of DC (and Marvel too, for that matter) around this time is somewhat of a mystery to me; included in Jon's package was a Who's Who in the Impact Comics Universe, and I don't have any fucking idea what Impact Comics even is. According to Wikipedia, it began in 1991 and ended in 1993, which means it came and went during the exact times that I wasn't reading any funnybooks that had combative dipshits in tights in them; the entire thing was created and then ceased to exist without my having even known it happened. I hate to deploy the tunnel-vision criticism so common to all stripes of writers and assume that anything I don't know about must not be worth knowing, but honestly, even compared to the generally wretched stuff DC did around Zero Hour, their output around this time looks pretty dire. There's not a lot of good art in the set (compared to the mid-'80s Who's Who comics, at least), the writing is terribly inconsistent (especially when they try to be funny; this is something you should really leave to the pros, guys), and for some reason, DC decided around this time that pretty much everyone should have a mullet.

Still and all, it's a great resource, a ton of grist for my mill, and an important tool for when I finally revise the Who's Who/OHOTMU recaps later this year. Thanks, calamityjon!