A new collection of the haunting, nightmare inducing work of Fletcher Hanks (the artist R. Crumb calls “one twisted dude”) is now available:
“You Shall Die By Your Own Evil Creation!” is the companion to the Eisner Award winning, “I Shall Destroy All The Civilized Planets!”. Together the two books comprise The Complete Works of Fletcher Hanks, the Super Wizard of the Inkwell who worked for three years in the earliest days of the comic book industry, created 51 stories and then disappeared.
Volume I includes a 15 page comics story by Paul Karasik explaining Hanks’ haunted past.
Volume II includes a prose introduction putting the work in historical context.
The two teenagers who killed 13 people and themselves at suburban Denver’s Columbine High School 10 years ago next week weren’t in the “Trenchcoat Mafia,” disaffected videogamers who wore cowboy dusters. The killings ignited a national debate over bullying, but the record now shows Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold hadn’t been bullied — in fact, they had bragged in diaries about picking on freshmen and “fags.”
Their rampage put schools on alert for “enemies lists” made by troubled students, but the enemies on their list had graduated from Columbine a year earlier. Contrary to early reports, Harris and Klebold weren’t on antidepressant medication and didn’t target jocks, blacks or Christians, police now say, citing the killers’ journals and witness accounts. That story about a student being shot in the head after she said she believed in God? Never happened, the FBI says now.
A decade after Harris and Klebold made Columbine a synonym for rage, new information — including several books that analyze the tragedy through diaries, e-mails, appointment books, videotape, police affidavits and interviews with witnesses, friends and survivors — indicate that much of what the public has been told about the shootings is wrong.
“Goths have been in the news recently for the most terrible of reasons. Last month a 20-year-old from Manchester spoke out after being beaten up by a gang who had mocked him for the way he looked. Stephen Jones, a Goth, had piercings and tattoos and wore his hair tied back in a ponytail. The case echoed the tragedy of Sophie Lancaster, also aged 20, who was murdered by a teenager in Lancashire. In the court case three months ago, it was said a gang had launched a vicious and unprovoked attack on Sophie and her boyfriend Robert Maltby, simply because they were dressed differently. They were Goths.
Adrian Crawley, who organises the quarterly Gothic Balls at the Bartons Arms in Aston, Birmingham, says he has always had to make the safety of those who attend a priority. ‘We make sure that nobody leaves on foot. It’s just because people are dressed differently from those in the surrounding area. ‘You have to be careful because you are bound to attract attention,’ he says.
But what is a Goth – other than someone who sometimes attracts hostile attention through piercings, jewellery and wearing black? In Birmingham, there are plenty that can answer that question for themselves. The city had a thriving Goth scene in the 80s and 90s and while it has gone more underground now, there are still those who meet and tell their stories:”
“He had learned this extreme form of tightrope walking from a homeless man who wrote books on quantum physics. But that was years ago, while goofing around on a flexible piece of nylon webbing tied close to the ground between a tree and the bumper of a Chevy van.
This was something else entirely for Dean Potter, one of the world’s best climbers, barefoot in the dying sun last Friday, walking between ledges of a U-shaped rim above Hell Roaring Canyon, a 400-foot sheer sandstone wall on his right, a 900-foot drop to a dry riverbed on his left. No leash tethered him to the rope. Nothing attached him to earth but the grip of his size-14 feet and the confident belief that, if needed, his parachute would open quickly and cleanly and not slam him into the canyon wall.
At 6 feet 5 inches and 180 pounds, wirily strong, Potter dressed in jeans and blue T-shirt emblazoned with a hawk. He wore a wide headband over unruly hair, gaining the appearance of a less gaunt and reckless Keith Richards as Alpine daredevil. As Potter stepped onto the 180-foot rope – a strand of iridescent blue against desiccated canyon shades of brick and tan and coppery green – he was believed to be the first person to combine the adventure sports of highlining and BASE-jumping.”
“Born without legs, Kevin Connolly snaps photos of people staring at him — turning the watchers into the watched. When Kevin Connolly was ten years old his family took him to Disney World, but for some theme park visitors that day, it was Connolly who quickly became the main attraction.
“I remember distinctly being surrounded by Japanese tourists trying to take my photograph without talking to me or asking me,” he says from his apartment in Bozeman, Montana. “My dad was right behind me, and I remember him getting pretty frustrated with the whole process, because it was something that was happening every single day.” Born without legs, Connolly was already used to the stares of strangers — but that moment would help him start to understand that the lens could work in both directions.
On a solo trip to Europe, more than a decade later, he was riding his skateboard down a Vienna street when he felt a man staring at him. Connolly lifted his camera to his hip, pointed it toward the man and without even looking through the viewfinder, clicked off five or six shots. Connolly would repeat that action 32,000 more times during his travels, creating a diverse portfolio of individuals from a broad assortment of countries. He posted some of these images online, under the title “The Rolling Exhibition.”
“A 15-year-old boy kicked and stamped to death a woman because she was dressed as a Goth, a court heard. The drunk teenager was among a gang of five who ‘savagely and mercilessly’ attacked Sophie Lancaster, 20, and her boyfriend, Preston Crown Court heard.
Miss Lancaster was begging the gang to stop beating Robert Maltby, 21, when they turned on her in Stubbylee Park in Bacup, Lancashire, the jury was told. The 15-year-old, who cannot be named because of his age, denies murder. At an earlier hearing a 16-year-old boy, who was aged 15 at the time of the attack, admitted Miss Lancaster’s murder and admitted attacking Mr Maltby.
The accused, and four other youths, two aged 17 and one 16, have already pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm to Mr Maltby. The court heard Miss Lancaster’s facial injuries were so severe, paramedics did not know what sex she was. Tests indicated she had been kicked and stamped to death, with the pattern of some footwear still on her head. Miss Lancaster, a gap-year student, died two weeks after the attack.”
I’m just reading over some design sites trying to fill in my afternoon here and came across this interesting piece on the wonderful A Brief Message:
Your most intuitive, meaningful, and devastatingly clever design is worthless – unless it’s shallow enough to appeal in the first five seconds.
Most of the time, that’s all you’ll get before they walk, click, or turn away.
Every day, millions go window shopping. Flip through magazines or channels. Walk bookstore aisles, quickly judging each book… by its cover.
Ask us what we’re looking for, however, and most of us won’t know. Though we can’t articulate what we want, it’s clear that we all know it when we see it. Design helps us see it.
With more email, more channels, and more data, we’re left with less time. And more and more, we’re forced to make decisions in a split second, often based on less information than before.
Though we may think of design as a process that runs deep, often it works at very superficial levels.
It’s here that design plays an increasingly important role: communicating a concept, feeling, or attitude in a moment. It condenses the larger body of information that we’re no longer willing (or able) to attend to, and conveys it instantly. It’s what good design has always done, and it’s more important than ever.
This makes me wonder about the state of selling things as quickly as possible. Not just products/services, but people, too. The douchebag New Jersey kids with spray-on tans, the ditzy bar hussies who spend too much time thinking about their hair, people in general with no practical experience with their own subjective opinions.
It has to do with this post I recently made on the difference between how Americans the French can tell when they’re full. One group grows up being told to eat everything on their plate, and feels dissatisfied till they do. The other, they eat and drink only until they’re comfortable and sense they’re comfortable capacity has been met.
After observing the whole national movement which garnered around the Internet vs Scientology, I have to wonder: how do we inspire a Fight Club-like knowledge of subjective value and worth?
At the heart of the occult arts is the Art of knowing the limitless that exists within each one of us. And even that doesn’t do the concept justice, as we’re all One and we can shape and experience things in a multitude of levels, every living moment we’re gifted with on this plane.
So how might the Few go about designing interactions that are both attractive at face value, but also inspire a deeper interaction. Not an easy question, I know. But I want to know if any readers’ personal experiences testing those around them have produced results we can share here.
One experiment I came up with my friend was to detail three adjectives about your closest friends, the Why that you like them, Why they are your friends. Seems a pattern emerges after you go through enough friends, and the adjectives used seem to reflect things about ourselves. This reflects the old ideas that we can only know ourselves through those around us.
It also raises some interesting questions ? la Prometheus Rising. What happens when you have a dear friend that is a skinhead and another that is a Bible-thumping Christian, as I do. Dropping labels from this we find a few characteristics of each person that define why I like them as people and hold them dear. Then there are a bevy of other characteristics they have that might not be to my liking, but I overlook them in favour of the way my preferred characteristics make me feel in their presence.
I might not like the skinhead’s disposition towards violence, but I admire his intellect. The Christian’s unquestioning faith in something they’ve been led to believe in drives me up the wall, but also intrigues me – but overall, I am elated by the sexual chemistry between us that is only amplified by these other differences.
What does this say about them? Not a lot, aside from that the skinhead is intelligent (as many typically seem to be), and that the Christian is sexually flustered and willing to take flirtation to a level of art that permiscuous women aren’t capable of (due to the relative ease of putting the penis in the va-jay-jay).
On the other hand, what does this say about me? Might be a poor example of my character, but it would seem you could accurately say I enjoy both intelligence in thought (even aggressive philosophies that might characterise the skinhead stereotype) and that I get off on flirting. Why are different, these are subjective things that I’ve come to learn about myself. Over the years, it’s been no secret that I’m fond of the controversial philosophies of the likes of Julius Evola (Italian fascist occultist) and that while I admire the layers upon layers of subtle sexual innuendo that flirting can bring about, the actual act can be a bit of a let-down and I am not an overly sexual person by nature. (I feed off the energy of sex, not the act itself. In that, I don’t actually require the physical stimulation.)
Popularity among social circles is also something that’s always piqued my interest, as has fashion, status, leadership, charisma, introverts, violence, and a host of other shit.
In contrast, I’ve inquired with a number of persons I know to list off adjectives about the friends they keep. Not all, but many are stumped and leave me with answers such as ‘They’ve just always been my friends,’ or vague miscellanies like ‘She’s just such a good person.’ I’m not saying that there aren’t good reasons to befriend these individuals, but there seems to be a lack of narrative to both identify and contemplate the Why. This brings me back to a lack of awareness of the self.
Which makes me wonder what activities might bring about this awareness?
While I am fond of people thinking in their own terms, I also believe words act as stepping stones to provide ground for new ideas to be explored and traversed. As is put forth in the Gospel of Philip:
Truth made names in the world,
and without them we can’t think.
Truth is one and is many,
teaching one thing through the many.
I am thinking promoting honest storytelling and dialogue amongst people is gonna be one of the first steps to developing subjective awareness. Perhaps difficult in America, the Land of Hollywood and TV, where stories are told for you, rather than by you. And us Canadians are no better, don’t think I’m not shaking my head at myself here.
I know I got more to think on, but I just wanted to get this out as I ponder away for the coming weeks. Little tidbits of random thought…
“The Last American Freakshow” is a movie (still in progress), that follows a traveling freakshow. Disabled film-maker Richard Butchins says in his own words: “I filmed the elephant man, the dwarf, a giant, a pair of lobster people, the half woman, a clown and a jumble of jug band musicians. On tour in a 20 year old school bus, travelling 2500 miles across America, the ‘freaks’ worked their way through the wild west. Laughing, crying and drinking – a carnival of the damned – searching for a home…”
Originally the British Academy of Film and Television Arts was going to show the film at their awards ceremony. After deciding that the film wasn’t “politically correct”, they backed out of the agreement, and chose to show “Lars and The Real Girl” instead. According to Butchins’ blog: “the kicker is this: BAFTA offered to show ‘Lars and the real girl’ as an alternative to my film. For those of you that don’t know ‘Lars and the real girl’ is a Hollywood comedy about an able bodied man who has a life sized doll as a girl friend. It’s a good film but hardly a film that prompts debate or challenges the societal view of disability, let alone highlighting the problems of being a disabled film-maker – talk about insensitive….So, they are trying to use their PR company to stop them looking like the prejudiced tyrants that they are. I really don’t know why they have taken against my film in this way, it sort of defies understanding. I suspect, though, that right now they are more concerned about not wanting to be portrayed in the National Press as anti-minority, than with my film.”
In another post he states: […] “Freak carries, in some peoples minds, a pejorative meaning it means something bad. But is it? To be out of the mainstream isn’t necessarily a bad thing and meanings change over time. At one point in history having a black skin made you a freak and we think of that as ridiculous now. These performers are trying to bring an awareness of their ?normality’ to peoples attention through entertainment (it is, after all a ‘show’) and that’s a valid and worthwhile, if sometimes, challenging thing to watch. They deserve support not denigration for what they are doing. This film documents this and as a result is funny, entertaining and sometimes difficult, it makes you feel uncomfortable on occasion and encourages you to examine your preconceptions about disability and that’s the point. These characters are young and put themselves in your face – mostly people get it – but some figures in the media establishment can’t take it. Do the ?freaks’ have to be quiet little cripples and conform to stereotypical ideas of disabilty to be accepted. It would appear they do, that’s prejudice and prejudice always has a victim…”
They enjoy what they’re doing, and are paying their bills in the process. This should be celebrated. But, I suppose that those in the mainstream and the “politically correct” prefer them bagging our groceries and collecting carts. Or maybe they just expect them to stay out of sight all together. What a load of crap…
According to the Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog, actor Wesley Snipes was “found not guilty of federal tax-fraud and conspiracy charges Friday, but was convicted on three misdemeanor counts of failing to file a tax return”. Looking into this a bit further, I found an article which states that he “appears to have associated himself with not one but two radical extremist groups, each with a long history of criminal activity. In addition to being advised by Eddie Ray Kahn (pronounced “Kane”), an IRS antagonist since 2000, Snipes appears to own a fraudulent trust of the sort that recently earned anti-tax activist Arthur Farnsworth a conviction for tax evasion (he is scheduled to be sentenced in Pennsylvania later this month). It’s not the best company to be keeping if one seeks to maintain good standing with the U.S. government. But what makes the case truly bizarre is the anti-tax movement’s deep association with anti-Semites and white supremacists.”
It is also rumored that he has ties to a “bizarre Georgia-based black nationalist cult, the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors-an apocalyptic organization that preaches a ripped-from-the-X Files m?lange of UFO lore, Egyptian mythology, Afrocentrism, and conspiracy theory. The group is led by self-styled prophet Dwight “Malachi” York, who in 2004 was sentenced to 135 years in prison for a litany of convictions including tax evasion and the sexual abuse of more than a dozen children of his disciples.”
How did he become associated with two different groups with radically different views? They found something in common. The anti-tax movement.
“They stare blankly into the lens, their lips tellingly pursed. All are the Norwegian subjects of a terrifying Nazi experiment. All were involved in one of the most shocking trials of eugenics the world has ever known. All are Lebensborn – the “spring of life”. And all are here to tell their stories for the first time.
The Lebensborn Society was born on 12 December 1935, the brainchild of Heinrich Himmler, Hitler’s right-hand man and head of the SS. He had designed a project to promote an “Aryan future” for the Third Reich and turn around a declining birth rate in Germany. People were given incentives to have more children in the Fatherland as well as in occupied countries, most importantly in Scandinavia, where the Nordic gene – and its blond-haired, blue-eyed progeny – was considered classically Aryan.
But after the conflict had ended, many of the Norwegians born into the programme suffered. In an attempt to distance itself from the occupying forces, the Norwegian government publicly vilified the children born by Norwegian mothers and Nazi fathers. Many of those children subsequently experienced intense bullying, and in some cases, extreme mental and physical abuse. In recent years, a Lebensborn group in Norway has been fighting what it sees as the Norwegian government’s complicity in their horrific ordeal.”