Aggregator aggravator

August 6th, 2009

A new, regular linkpost. Check it every Thursday


  • Great post by Bob from Tearoom of Despair on the stunning conclusion of Garth Ennis & Goran Parlov’s penultimate Punisher MAX arc. For a moment it looks like Frank is going to justify the abandonment of his daughter and the hope of a normal life she offers with the Aunt May defence: ’She’s not safe around me’, but Ennis’ Punisher extends his unflinching brutality even to his own illusions. He admits to himself that’s just another lie, with a chilling line that goes something like ‘I know that one day I’d open up the paper and see something that needed to be done’. The long, cold, dark of the story’s title isn’t a simple hole, a gaping void that he has to bear as an affliction of fate – it’s the act of digging that grave all by himself, the responsibility he bears for his own damnation. Frank’s need for violence is ultimately bigger than the love for his daughter. He knows that and hates himself for it, but can’t escape the future of his traumatized past, or the hard, sharp, facts of his own crimes. Ennis’ run can be summed in the mighty Marvel manner as ‘With great violence comes greater violence’, and this is the moment he pins it to the wall and forces Frank to realise that for himself. (b)
  • Whether in Paris or the New World, a stroll up Main Street, U.S.A is a profoundly psychedelic experience, an essential lesson to psychogeographers, architects, ergonomicists and other occultists everywhere. It imparts a nitrous oxide elation, a weightlessness overlaying but not entirely erasing the walker’s pre-existing mood, in the clearest modern example of the power of the managed environment to elicit subjective alterations in human emotional states. The universally reported alienation experienced in the glassy warehoused atmospheres of the airport or shopping mall is a means to another end, an encouragement to either endlessly consume or sit quietly to ease the anxiety, but the Disney dream hidden in the oppressively perfected frontages of Main Street is pure end product, the unholy culmination of the arts of masonry. Usually a brand will have only contextual meaning, and will only have the purpose of self-propagation, but Disney’s has an actual psychophysiological corollary in that Main Street saunter that is unique, and uniquely dangerous.  Uncle Walt, Uncle Phil and K-Punk work it out in a typically headspinning post here. (b)

what if our earth is their heaven?


  • If you have been deeply irritated by the knowing, arched eyebrow that has framed so much of the criticism of Lars Von Trier’s latest, Antichrist, then this is the comment piece for you. You don’t have to have seen the film to know that the kind of cooler-than-thou rot that has been produced by so much of the liberal press over the last few weeks will be quickly consigned to the bin of history when everyone stops behaving like teenagers and actually starts writing about the film rather than how they’re in on Von Trier’s oh-so-wicked sense of humour, or similar nonsense. Thirlwell’s opinions aren’t perfect – it is, of course, entirely possible to be shocked by things that aren’t real – but it’s nice to see someone try and cut through the crap that has clogged up the critical process. This is, hopefully, the thin end of a much smarter critical wedge. (z)
  • Comics! Everyone fucking loves comics, and if you don’t, you can fuck right off. Part of loving comics, a necessary and not contingent part, is that you have to love ‘internet personality’ Abhay Khosla;  unless you don’t know who this is and therefore cannot fully realise your love of comics! You will then love him so much sputum forms at the end of your organs (all of them), possibly after a swatch at Abhay Khosla’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula.


  • A big part of modern life is proliferating your ceaseless self into virtual nirvana (i.e. the internet) via things called ‘avatars’. Neal Stephenson wrote about this, it is very complicated, but if you have an XBox you probably have, like me, spent countless hours modding the moderately effete 3D cartoon of yourself to look “just right“. This is an avatar. Mine has a vintage Italy 1970 top, just like me! Anyway, if you want to be ‘hep’ and ‘with it’, like all the messageboard (web 2.0?) kids what you need is to make  a Mad Men self, just in time for series 3. Help, I’ve not watched s2 yet and still can’t shake the implacable feeling the show is set in the 1950s! It isn’t! Mmm, relaxing music.
  • When David Lynch’s Dumbland cartoon first came out they were only all available from his website to the exclusive content subscribers.  NOT ANY MORE!  We’re probably late to the party but these hilarious, disgusting, disturbing brain-twists are all up on Youtube. (gl)
  • This trailer for Robogeisha has everything you’d possibly want to see in this film!  Consequently we have a great trailer for an almost certainly terrible film.  (gl)
  • Listening to most podcasts about comic books is by and large like having your eardrums slowly pierced by turds (see our very own efforts), but some of them are actually quite good.  One recommendation would be Everything Comes Back To 2000AD. It has a simple and effective format in which two laddy-but-likable types,  Stephen and Richard review an old prog (currently they’re on #8) and the two or three most recent progs.  A weekly schedule would be even better, perhaps reviewing more than one classic prog.  After all there’s over one and a half thousand of them so it’s a pretty safe bet they won’t catch up with themselves anytime soon! (gl)
  • Thanks to Douglas Wolk’s heads up, I found the rather wonderful Slow Wave web-comic, produced by Jesse Reklaw described as an ‘ongoing webcomic that incorporates actual dreams submitted by readers into a fictional narrative’. It’s in a similar vein to Rick Veitch’s equally brilliant Rarebit Fiend dream comic, but in producing it sequentially Reklaw captures the same strange fluidity and crazy logic that characterise the best dreams. Lovely understated artwork reminiscent of Jeffrey Lewis’s work. (tbmd)

14 Responses to “Aggregator aggravator”

  1. Bucky Sinister Says:

    Nice! That’s the most enjoyable collection of links I’ve found in many a moon. Thanks!

  2. Zom Says:

    I quite liked clicking everyone else’s

  3. The Beast Must Die Says:

    I’ve heard that about you.

  4. James Says:

    “Thirlwell’s opinions aren’t perfect – it is, of course, entirely possible to be shocked by things that aren’t real”

    Yeah, thought there was a smidge of hypocrisy in that; “Look at all these desperate buffoons, boasting that they aren’t shocked… It’s not supposed to be shocking!”

    Maybe (i.e. definitely) I’m a big girly-girl, but I feel queasy just reading about that stuff.

  5. Zom Says:

    I think you’d have to do some spectacular semantic juggling to make Thirwell’s case in that instance, but on the whole I have a lot of sympathy for his position

  6. The Satrap Says:

    Bucky Sinister speaks for us all.

  7. Zom Says:

    Good stuff. Like I said, we’ll be doing this every week.

  8. Zebtron A. Rama Says:

    Bucky said it.

    (goddamn, we don’t get Anti.Christ until October in the U.S. – I wonder how critics will react here. I can’t wait to view it, personally.)

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    J le C – fact and fiction – more fiction than fact in fact!

    Fiction, fiction, fiction … why are so many historical and in particular espionage novels thus? It is a real shame more historical and espionage thrillers aren’t truly fact based. Courtesy of being fictional the readers’ experience is narrowed and the extra dimensions available from reading fact based books are lost. Factual novels enable the reader to research more about what’s in the novel in press cuttings, history books etc and such research can be as rewarding and compelling as reading an enthralling novel. Furthermore, if even just marginally autobiographical, the author has the opportunity to convey the protagonist’s genuine hopes and fears as opposed to hypothetical drivel about say what it feels like to avoid capture.

    A good example of such a “real” espionage thriller is Beyond Enkription, the first spy novel in The Burlington Files series by Bill Fairclough (ex MI6 codename JJ). Its protagonist was of course a real as opposed to a celluloid spy and has even been likened to a “posh and sophisticated Harry Palmer”. The first novel in the series is indisputably noir, maybe even a tad Deightonesque. It’s considered compulsory reading for espionage aficionados. If anyone ever makes a film based on Beyond Enkription they’ll only have themselves to blame if it doesn’t go down in history as a classic espionage thriller.

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