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WTF MO?

27/11/2014

Consider this:
Missouri, while lumped among the Midwestern states, is actually part of the Old South. It didn’t join the Confederacy but it clearly had slave holding partisans who both fought for the South on the battlefield and waged guerilla war against Union authorities in their home state.

Consider this:
Despite the lies and phony narratives and romantic myths spread after the Civil War, the Confederacy existed for one reason and one reason only: The enslavement of African-Americans. It is the reason they cited explicitly in their various declarations of secession. The only state rights they were interested in were the right to enslave people.

Consider this:
In order for slavery to function as a system, the slave owners have to be able to murder slaves with impunity. This is as fundamental a denial of another person’s humanity as one could hope for. There is no difference between slavery and genocide; the former is just a slow motion form of the latter.

In order to steal their labor, slave owners need the ultimate threat over the enslaved: The ability to kill with them impunity, any time, for any reason, and in any manner.

Further, they had complete and total domination / ownership / possession of the enslaved’s physical bodies: They could rape / sodomize / castrate / mutilate / maim / whip / flog / demand wet nursing at will. They need not respect any basic human rights, they could and frequently did split up families and tear spouses apart.

This sin was not confined to the South. True, the South consisted of slave owning states, but several Northern states held slaves as well. However, more than the actual physical ownership of the slaves, the North profited off of the stolen labor of the slaves, and as noted, that labor was only available because refusal meant death.

Southern slavery made tobacco and cotton and corn huge cash crops, driving up profits by reducing labor costs to just the purchase price of a slave[1] and what meager rations / medication was needed to sustain life. They dressed in rags, they lived in shacks thrown together with whatever they could scavenge, they were worked mercilessly to profit a few, and if they ever raised an eyebrow in defiance they were brutally punished.

The South profited off this directly, but the North used their products to manufacture goods for sale at home and abroad. They took the profits from those goods and re-invested them in their own businesses, paying themselves hefty dividends and salaries. Their banks and stock exchanges willingly took Southern cash to invest and grow, all the while millions of African-Americans died and suffered and were denied their basic humanity.

The wealth of this country comes in no small part from the stolen labor of many generations of African-Americans. Other ethnic groups who came to this country were allowed to own property and build businesses and lives; African-Americans were systematically denied this not only through the official era of slavery but for nearly a century afterwards.[2]  And even after the most onerous brutality against African-Americans was officially repudiated, they have been denied rights and benefits and short changed on programs they are fully entitled to.

The Southern oligarchs who exploited African-Americans worried about two things: Slave rebellions and poor white Southerners waking up to the fact they were being used and exploited by the very wealthy to make themselves ever wealthier.

To keeps slave rebellions from occurring they encouraged gun ownership and state militias; the second amendment exists to maintain local strike forces that could crush any unarmed African-American uprising.

To keep poor whites from wising up, they encouraged and stressed the idea that no matter how bad off they were, at least they weren’t black.[3]  The poor white Southerners, having only that precarious social status to cling to, eagerly carried the oligarchs water and helped suppress African-Americans.

Eventually Northerners began having second thoughts
about the morality of slave trade money.

Do not delude yourself that they suddenly saw African-Americans as equal to whites, but they did understand there was a terrible basic injustice that tainted the entirety of the American body politic. The North’s desire was to shift from the immorality of outright slavery into the slightly more palatable form of a permanent underclass, the equivalent of South American peons or European peasants. Not a good solution, certainly not a just one, but definitely a marked improvement over the dehumanizing brutality of slavery.

The South took exception to this; the oligarchs because it trimmed back their profits a smidge, the poor whites because it deprived them of the one consolation they had in life.

They had guns, they had greed, they had pride. They plunged the country into war. With the assassination of Lincoln, a governing hand that would have regulated the North’s occupation was removed; Northern radicals overreached during Reconstruction and when their political fortunes failed, the Southern oligarchs and poor whites reinstated de facto slavery in the form of Jim Crow.

There is among Southern whites and political conservatives around the country a strain of incipient racism that has polluted and perverted the ideals tis country claims to be based on.[4]  It has created an environment of white privilege that makes it possible for many whites — who in their heart of hearts are not racist or bigots — to still nonetheless turn a blind eye when confronted with the injustice others suffer on a daily basis.[5]

And while the entire country suffers from this endemic situation, in the conservative Christian American South — and boy, howdy! does that ever describe Missouri to a T — there is an ugly, evil, virulent strain of racism that threatens to mestasize into a second civil war.

Missouri…Governor Jay Nixon in particular…what the bloody hell are you trying to do?

I would think as the chief executive of a state that I would be interested in calming down any potential civil unrest: It just helps things run more smoothly, more efficiently, more profitably.

If I were in the driver’s seat and an incident like the Michael Brown killing occurred, I would take steps to quell the unrest ASAP.

At first Nixon did this: He sent an African-American police officer to calm the situation. And by all accounts, that officer succeeded; he promised the protestors at Ferguson that their concerns would be addressed, he marched in a protest to show his empathy to their feelings.

Nixon immediately yanked him from the scene and replaced him with white officers who were more confrontational.

Back to what I would do: Sometimes for the greater good, a scapegoat must be singled out. If that scapegoat is responsible for a bad situation due to his own racism / incompetence, so much the better.

If I had been the governor of Missouri, I would have made sure the following happened: That Darren Wilson admit culpability and immediately resign from the Ferguson police department and that he be charged with manslaughter. To insure Wilson’s compliance, he’d be offer a plea bargain that would result in probation but no jail time, then I’d dump whatever resources I had available into Ferguson to indicate official empathy with the people there and to quiet down the unrest.

Yes, yes, it is a great tragedy. No, young black men should not be unjustly singled out. Yes, we need to see out police are better screened and better trained.

That’s what common fnckin’ sense would dictate to me.

Instead, what Nixon and the rest of the predominantly white power structure in Missouri has done is this: They have deliberately set out to create a situation that doesn’t relieve the tension but acerbates it.

Hoo dahfuq would want to do something like that?
Why would you want to do something like that?

The answer, which will come as no surprise to anybody who’s even half awake, is that to the entrenched white supremacists of Missouri and the rest of the American South and much of the conservative political spectrum the idea of a society where they are not superior to African-Americans and other minorities is abhorrent and unthinkable.

In their minds it is easier by far to demonize and denigrate and oppress African-Americans than to simply ask themselves, “Would I want this happening to me?”

The wheel turns. Their own churches teach that.[6]  As they have done to others, so they fear happening to them.

The oligarchs know this (indeed, many expressly share that fear) and exploit it to continue lining their own pockets.

Poor whites and poor blacks have far more in common than they have separating them, but it’s to the oligarchs’ advantage to play both sides off the other.

We see a slashing of social programs, because why should white people pay for lazy blacks to fnck and do drugs and crank out babies?

We see a reckless concentration of capital in the hands of a very few and to those who lack capital, a reckless concentration of firearms with the explicit thought in mind that if this government of the people / by the people / for the people ever does something an individual doesn’t like, they can just shoot the bastards.

We see a nation where a big black kid who does something foolish is literally demonized, while a proven racist is protected and exonerated.

People, this is not the way a civilized nation exists.

There is among the oligarchs and their political stooges a certain sense of après mois, le deluge.

They have stashed their capital off shore, they have homes and estates in foreign lands, they have gated communities and fortified manors here in the US.

They want more more more more and do not care who else suffers.

For all their religious piety, they reject Christ and embrace Mammon.

They have deliberately cultivated an ignorant, fearful lumpenproletariat and allowed them to arm themselves to the teeth in preparation for a coming race / class war against Godless minorities and libtards.

They are spending trillions of taxpayer dollars on weapons systems (built by companies they own) to defend their overseas business interests while letting pressing infrastructure, social, economic, and educational needs wither and die.

They want a government small enough to drown in a bathtub, which is just another way of saying if they can’t run the whole thing, they’ll take their ball of money and go.

They’re fully prepared to abandon this country, leaving it an empty empire, a broken and ungovernable ruin.

We can’t go on like this,
not if we want to survive.

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[1]  And that was non-existent if the slave had been born to another slave in the owner’s possession.

[2]  And, with for profit private prisons, forced labor has been reintroduced.

[3]  I’m being as gentle with my language as possible, but you know what I mean here.

[4]  Yes, I’m fully aware of the irony of many of our founding fathers being slave owners, and those that weren’t beneficiaries however indirectly of slavery, just as I am aware the Southern Baptists and many other evangelical Christian denominations were founded with the deliberate intent of religiously justifying slavery and the subsequent segregationist policies.

[5]  The late David Foster Wallace likened them to fish who are unaware water even exists, much less that they are soaking wet because of it.

[6]  Though typically in the fiction that they are the ones currently being oppressed and someday soon they will arise to dominate all the hated minorities.

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On The Convention Trail: LosCon 41

25/11/2014

on conv trail 1950_04 ed_cartier_gnomepresscalendar

Heigh-ho!  Heigh-ho!
Off to LosCon 41 I go!

LosCon 41 will be held Nov. 28-30 at the LAX Marriott (that’s the good news)
and they’ve invited me to participate on two panels. (that’s the bad news)

My schedule & co-panelists:

SAT 5:30 pm – 6:45 pm: 916. YOU DID WHAT?

Atlanta Room

A panel in which each panelist starts a story and ends by dumping the next panelist into it!

  • Dr. Jerry Pournelle
  • Lawrence M. Schoen
  • Martin Young
  • Neo Edmund
  • Kenn Bates
  • Todd McCaffrey

SUN 1:00 pm – 2:15 pm: 1053. A SHOT RANG OUT

Saint Louis Room

Improvised storytelling under pressure of time and madness. See us invent stories and characters too bizarre for fiction just so we can set up random lines the audience picked for us.

  • Larry Niven
  • Sarah Adams
  • Lawrence M. Schoen
  • David Miller
  • True Thomas
  • Martin Young
  • Todd McCaffrey

In commemoration of the panels’ theme of improvisation in story telling, I’ll be running a batch of fictoids for the rest of the week.

Happy Turkey Day &
see you at LosCon!

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Yet Again I Blather On

20/11/2014

Andrew Rowland has a new podcast and the extreme misfortune to have me as his first guest.

Part One

Part Two

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“I Hate You, Ninjaman!”

12/11/2014

I hate you ninjaman 1

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I hate you ninjaman 2

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I hate you ninjaman 3

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I hate you ninjaman 4

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On The Convention Trail…

6/11/2014

on conv trail 1950_04 ed_cartier_gnomepresscalendar

I’ll be on the Spiritual Themes in Comics and Associated Media panel at Bent-Con this Saturday, Nov. 8, and 6:30-7:30pm.  With Cyn Duby,  David Berger, and moderator B. Dave Walters.

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On The Convention Trail…

2/10/2014

1950_04_cartier_gnomepresscalendar

I’ll be at the Dallas / Fort Worth GI Joe and Action Figure Show 2014 in Grapevine, Texas on Oct. 4 & 5 tap-dancing like a Nicholas brother discussing*my involvement with G.I. Joe, Transformers, Thundarr The Barbarian, and a host of other questions about my career in animation / comics / videos games.**

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*  Now that the statute of limitations is up…

** Besides the obvious one of “Who would hire you in the first place?”

 

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Alpha Omega Con 2014

21/09/2014

Well, we made it!  And a good time was had by all.  The first Alpha Omega Con is over, and a big 21 phaser cannon salute to Ralph Miley, Holly Knevelbaard, Eric Jansen, Clint Johnson, Kevin Young, Scot A. Shuford, and all the rest of the Christian Comic Arts Society and friends such as David Wood, Serena Travis, and Sheila Thompson who made it such a wonderful event!

Special thanks to our many, many guests and panelists, including:  Mike S. Miller (Justice League of America, Batman: Arkham), Flint Dille (Transformers, Teen Titans, Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu), Chris Yambar (The Simpsons, Mister Magoo’s Christmas Carol), Kevin Grevioux (Underworld, Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.), Pastor Fred Price Jr. (Crenshaw Christian Center), Mike Kunkel (Herobear and the Kid), Dr. Thomas Parham (Asuza Pacific University), Eric Jansen (Christ of Prophecy, Paraman), Mike Shields (indie film maker), Dr. Fred Sanders (Biola University), Clyde Taber (Visual Story Network), Bill Morrison (Bongo Comics, The Simpsons), John David Ware (168 Film Project), B. Dave Walters (PeaceLoveMoney.Com), Jonathan Moch (the Emanation fantasy triology), Peter & Carmi Fellwock , and many more.

AO Con 2

AO Con Cosplay 1

AO Con Ben Avery

Ben Avery

AO Con Cosplay 2

AO Con Jerrell Conner

Jerrell Conner

AO Con Bibleman n Captain America

AO Con Mike Kunkle Kevin Grevioux

Mike Kunkle and Kevin Grevioux

AO Con Cosplay 3

AO Con Chris Yambar

Chris Yambar’s “Duck & Cover” seminar

AO Con Faithwalker

AO Con Biola Film Students

AO Con Jose Guillen

Jose Guillen

AO Con Jedi Elvis

AO Con 1

AO Con Zombie

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Happy Birthday, June Foray!

18/09/2014

june-foray

Happy Birthday, June Foray!
You’re 97 years young today
Your cartoons run every day
With characters that you play
And for all of them we say
Hip-hip-Hooray for June Foray!

thanx to Mark Evanier for the tip off

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Revival Houses

7/09/2014

Hollywood suffered a major disappointment at the box office this summer, and it looks like we’re seeing a major sea change in the way motion pictures and TV shows are viewed / consumed.

[We’re going full bore
theological after the jump,
but secular readers
are
safe until then.]

In a nut shell, fewer and fewer people feel like shelling out $10-20 bucks to eat overpriced popcorn while watching a movie they know little if anything about.

Previously, they had been willing to spend that kinda money for something they knew they would enjoy, either a branded form of entertainment like Walt Pixar Presents Harry Marvel’s War Trek 007:  Die With An Expendable Transforming Hard On, or Something Just Like It.

New[1] movies, unfamiliar concepts, non-popcorn crunchers just didn’t warrant a $10+ entry fee.

Wait till it comes on Pay-Per-Vue or HBO or Netflix or (really scraping the bottom of the barrel here) YouTube.

Heaven knows this is how I watch most of my media:
If it ain’t on Netflix /  HBO / YouTube or available on DVD, I’ll pass.

As a result movie theaters are slowly starting to spiral the drain.  Their biggest hits are aimed at a teen male heterosexual audience that can’t find dates and whose parents monitor their computer so they can’t watch porn.

There’s next to nada for older and/or female audiences.

Movies used to be a shared common public experience: 
You went to see something along with a bunch of other people, and then you discussed that experience with other people who hadn’t been there with you.

Now we share the experience online, comparing notes over TV shows and movies we watched in the privacy of our own homes.[2]

We don’t really connect with the rest of an audience in a movie theater.

Now, there is an exception to that, and that’s when  people come together to share a specific common interest.

Here in L.A. we have the El Capitan Theatre which shows Disney movies accompanied by elaborate stage shows.  People who go there go specifically to see a Disney movie with an elaborate stage show wrapped around it.

Or people go to sing-a-long events where classic musicals like The Sound Of Music are played with follow-the-bouncing-ball accompaniment, turning it into karaoke for the masses.

Or, if they are real film buffs, they go to the rapidly dwindling number of art / revival houses to see a specific film selected for them by the theater in the company of fellow film buffs.

Back in the day these sorts of theaters, while not exactly plentiful, were easy to find.  Every major urban area had at least two or three, sometimes many, many more.  Often they would show a new double every night ( not counting special kiddee matinees on Saturdays or late night cult films on Fridays and Saturdays).  The films would either be selected as complimentary to one another or as an interesting juxtaposition.  Once or twice a month there would be an evening of short subjects / cartoons / music videos.

ScalaForeverBeyondprogramme

In other words, every night a three to four hour block of interesting, thought provoking movies representing a wide variety of genres and styles.

If I were king of the forest, I’d want a neighborhood revival house where the staff selected an interesting double feature / selection of shorts for each evening.  Projection would be a state of the art digital system; it would be set up to scan 70mm / 35mm / 16mm / 9.5mm / Super 8 / 8mm films without having to run them through hellacious loud / hot / cranky projectors, as well as taking digital downloads / Blu-rays / DVDs / VHS / Beta / laserdisc / Fisher-Price PXL2000 sourced material.

There would be a selection of healthy / inexpensive drinks, good popcorn popped fresh daily, and quality snacks; and next door would be a Denny’s-style coffee shop so after the screening either the film makers or the theater manager could take people over to discuss what they had just seen and get to know one another better.

What we have instead, however, is a theatrical film going experience that relies more and more on variants of previous successes.  It is the rare theatrical film that makes even a token gesture at a fresh interpretation of old tropes, or presents itself in a style other than that of last year’s block buster.[3]

Read the rest of this article »

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It’s Jack’s World, We Just Live In It

28/08/2014

Today is Jack Kirby’s birthday.

Jack Kirby at work

Tom Spurgeon goes the extra lightyear will all sorts of kracklin’ Kirby goodness.

I’ve already posted my feelings regarding Jack, and since I don’t think I can do better at this time I’ll just link to it again.

Jack, we miss you and Roz.  You were one of the greatest artists ever to weild a pencil in the comics medium, but more importantly than that you and Roz were great people, a joy to be around, a blessing to others, an honor to know.

jackirby12

Roz & Jack photo found at Mark Evanier’s NewsFromME.com

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