Fear And Anger

by Buzz on 3/10/2016

It’s been observed by quite a few people that Trump’s appeal to his base is not one of logic — which can be debated by comparing and contrasting various policy points — but emotion, in particular fear and anger.

The fear is found among poorly educated voters, and by “poorly educated” I do not mean the degree of formal education they may have, but whether they make a consistent attempt to keep themselves informed and up-to-date on what’s happening in the world around them.

A high school drop out who reads extensively and is constantly on the look out for fresh points of view so as to better understand the world around her is far better educated that a think tank policy wonk who studiously avoids anything from outside his own echo chamber.

Many of Trump’s supporters do not understand the way the world is changing around them and because of that are fearful Something Bad will happen to them.

One can argue that Something Bad has already happened to them insofar as they have consistently voted against their own best interests to enable an entrenched system to come about that has no incentive to listen to them…but that topic brushes up against the anger part of the equation so we’ll put it aside for a moment.

They see the world changing rapidly and in ways markedly different from the (supposedly) safe world they think they grew up in during the 1950s (fear of commies and nuclear war), the 1960s (ditto), the 1970s (more ditto), and the 1980s (rise of unrest in the Middle East).

They have been told all their lives that dark skinned people are basically inferior and of a criminal bent, and while some of “them” may be nice and friendly, for the most part they’re rapacious monsters who will kill, torture, and mutilate those of a different color and rob them of their hard earned labor so the criminals can live cushy lives of leisure.

Wait…am I describing minorities today
or pre-civil war slave holders?

As I’ve noted about the dear friend who is terrified their neighborhood has become crime ridden (it hasn’t) since it’s become more brown (it has), they are not necessarily hate mongering bigots in sheets, but when you boil their world view down, it ain’t that different from the klan’s.

They fear a brown planet, and that’s doubtlessly from the inescapable knowledge that whites have treated non-whites pretty damn shitty in America since the day the first whites arrived here.  As the wheel of justice slowly turns, they fear their turn on the bottom.

So in their fear they choose to remain willfully ignorant of what drives them into the camp of a charlatan who promises to do something about “them” but whose history demonstrates he is more untrustworthy that Richard Nixon or P.T. Barnum.

Think about that for a while.
Take all the time you need.
We’ll be here when you get back.

The anger, as noted above, is related to the fear.

As their fear of losing status in an increasingly multi-ethnic world drove them to support GOPolicies, so too did their anger rise when the GOP failed to deliver.

Now, the GOP has been pretty slick about blaming their lack of success — hell, their lack of effort, much less progress — on the Democrats, but truth be told this country has been run on largely GOP policies since 1980, with their pandering to white supremacists going back to 1968.

They were tragically wrong about supply side economics, and as a result cost working class and middle class Americans — the bulk of Trump’s base — one trillion dollars in wealth and real estate and investments that got sucked up into the pockets of the top 1%.

They were tragically wrong about deregulation, which coupled with supply side economics effectively robbed the majority of Americans and put them at greater physical and financial risk.

They were tragically wrong about geopolitics, fueling a radical anti-Western movement in the Middle East that we will be dealing with for literally centuries to come.

These three items alarm and anger many Americans who have been very vocal in their desire to see something done to solve these problems, but because enough white Americans were more obsessed with what they perceived as their superior social status,[1] the GOP was able to convince them to vote against policies that not only would benefit them, but that the white majority clearly stated they wanted.

The wheels of time / history / justice do not stand still, and the world of white privilege is fast disappearing.[2]

Angry at having been promised much but not actually receiving anything, a lot of people who either were or leaned GOP in previous years are angry at the system as it exists now and want to shake things up.[3]

These voters support Trump because he promises to blow things up real good, and not being as fully cognizant of the world around them as they should be, or of the terrible lessons history affords on the topic, fail to realize that not only will they not be immune to said blow up, they are likely to suffer disproportionately because of it.

Fear and anger is going to decide this election, but it will not be the fear and anger of the average Trump voter.

Rather, it will be the fear and anger of rational voters who are cognizant of both the world around them and the history behind them, who have no great love of either Hillary Clinton or the Democratic Party, but take one look at the orange turdmonger who has hijacked the GOP and are saying, “Oh, fuck no!”

It’s the fear of what Trump will do and / or allow to happen if he occupies the White House. They see a man unable to discipline himself enough to take his run for the presidency seriously, who allows himself to be easily distracted by picayune matters instead of staying focused on his campaign, a man who can be and often is baited by opponents who read him like a book[4] and know to get Reaction A from him all they have to do is provide Provocation B.

And I’m not even alluding to the absolute worst case scenarios such as those involving nuclear weapons. Trump the primary candidate can say silly things about renegotiating the interest on the US debt (which is remarkably low because we’ve always paid it on time) because nobody takes anything said to party loyalists on the campaign trail seriously; Trump the president can make one intemperate remark that will send markets crashing around the world and set lord knows how many dominoes a’tumbling.

He can alienate long standing allies, irritate adversaries into action, and because of his history of lack of oversight, lack of attention to detail, and boredom, can easily walk away from a serious problem that requires long term supervision and thus allow things to fall apart even more quickly.

Clinton may set very few hearts a’flutter, but she isn’t causing hearts to stop in sheer terror, either.

A year or so back I made the observation that Clinton would start her campaign with the maximum number of voters she could hope to have; it would be her task to keep from losing a significant number of those voters to her GOP rival (Jeb or Ted or Mario or John: One lox, two louts, and an average politician, all of whom are temperamentally better suited for the presidency than Trump).

Trump may have actually made it possible for Clinton to gain voters insofar as people who previously had been disinterested in national politics now recognize it’s not the choice of the lesser of two evils but a choice between a competent middle-of-the-road career politician who has sense enough not to kill the goose laying the golden eggs and an infantile narcissist business failure with no government experience whatsoever who wants a drumstick.

Those voters very logically fear what Trump is capable of, and are angry that the GOP and its voters have served the nation so poorly that it now requires these previously indifferent citizens to cast votes in order to prevent unmitigated disaster.

As Robert A. Heinlein once observed:

“You may never find anybody you want to vote for, but I guarantee you’ll always find somebody you want to vote against.”

animated nightmare trump

Donald Trump is that candidate.




[1] “We’re all Nixon’s n[egroe]s.” — George Carlin, circa 1968

[2] Which is not to say whites are going to suffer any sort of loss in the future, merely that non-whites are going to enjoy the same rights as whites do. And that drives a great many white people absolutely apeshit.

[3] There are a lot of Democrats and / or left-leaners who are p.o.ed at their party as well, but one of the big differences between the Democrats and the GOP is that for the most part Democrats see it as a game of inches and are willing to make compromises that move them down the field. The GOP have become all-or-nothing sorts who are rapidly ensuring they will get nothing in the end.

[4] A real book, not one of his ghost written self-congratulatory hagiographies.

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by Buzz on 30/09/2016

In the 1950s and ’60s, scientists were alarmed by a series of experiments in which laboratory rats were given unlimited doses of opiates. The rats wasted away, not even ingesting easily accessible food or water. The implications were ominous: What would happen if people became hooked like the rats? The takeaway was that drugs are so addictive that people need to be kept away from them at all costs.

But the story wasn’t so clear-cut after all. Take heroin, one of the most addictive drugs, for example: Only 23% of users become dependent. By some measures nicotine is more addictive, possibly because tobacco companies made cigarettes more addictive by design. The actual rates for dependency are 15% for alcohol, 17% for cocaine, 23% for heroin, and 32% for nicotine. Marijuana clocks in at just 9%.

 — Tom McKay, The 5 Big Lies That D.A.R.E Told You About Drugs

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Yipes! Swipes!

by Buzz on 27/09/2016

Artists and writers and musicians and all creative people have long had a love / hate / I-kill-you-filthy! relationship to homages.

“Homage” as you know is the French word for plagiarism blatant rip off swipe.

It’s all fun and games until somebody swipes your stuff, then it’s “Drag hang ‘em over a mile of broken coke bottles!”

It you want to waddle through an area full of moral / ethical complexity, this is the category to do it in.

(We’re gonna stick to art because it’s easier to show examples of what I’m talking about, but what I’m posting about applies to all creative forms.)

Some people & cultures take swiping very, very, VERY seriously.

The Japanese have been know to cancel best selling titles simply because the manga-ka relied a little too heavily on stock sports photos for reference.

On the other hand, the late great Wally Wood told more than one aspiring artist, “Why are you drawing everything originally? Get a reference file so you don’t have to!”

Wally Wood also put together the famous graphic 22 Panels That Always Work for hard working cartoonists who needed to meet a deadline and, stumped for inspiration, could use one of his examples to get them through a tough point in the story.


But the thing about Wally Wood’s swipe files was that he used them for feel or reference, he didn’t copy them line or line, detail for detail. Take a look below, comparing a panel from his famous sci-fi story “My World” and the original news photo from the 1930s.


This terrified baby was almost the only human being left alive in Shanghai's South Station after brutal Japanese bombing. China, August 28, 1937. H.S. Wong. (OWI)NARA FILE #: 208-AA-132N-2WAR & CONFLICT BOOK #: 1131

This terrified baby was almost the only human being left alive in Shanghai’s South Station after brutal Japanese bombing. China, August 28, 1937. H.S. Wong. (OWI)NARA FILE #: 208-AA-132N-2WAR & CONFLICT BOOK #: 1131

The same idea,
only different.

But at the other end of the extreme, one of Wood’s acolytes was an artist of extremely modest talent who could at least draw a straight line and ink it to satisfaction; while he often worked batting clean-up on other people’s work, this person also sold his “own” illustrations to sci-fi digests of the era: Typically panels from comic books copied pretty much directly with no effort to add any science fictional elements.

But then, that’s what “fine” artist[1] Roy Lichtenstein did, swiping panels from comic book cartoonists whom he bore grudges against, copying them as extra large canvases, and selling them for mucho dinero.


One of the guys he ripped off was inspired by took him to court, but the judge ruled what Lichtenstein had done was to take an idea — in this case an artistic expression — and by copying it large enough to see the printing dots, turned it into a brand new work of art that wasn’t a direct swipe after all.

Then Lichtenstein tried the same stunt with a Disney character and Disney threatened to drag him through every court on the east coast regardless of what the first judge ruled[2], and Lichtenstein painted Disney no more.

Money, as the eminent philosopher
C. Lauper once observed, changes everything…

This orbits back to a recent series of complaints about convention artists selling work that is not wholly their own.

For decades the major comics and media companies have been looking the other way as artists sell prints and commissioned drawings of characters they do not own. The unspoken agreement is that what is being sold is not a picture of Daffy Duck or Batman or Harry Potter but rather a representation of that particular artist’s skill.

As these convention artists make no representation they own any rights to the characters, this legal fiction has been allowed to stand. It could be a big X, it could be super-detailed drawing of every blessed Avenger ever, but the thing actually being sold is not the art in and of itself but the art as a representation of the artist’s skill level.

Not all the major media companies are happy with this but as they say in The Sopranos, “’Ey, whaddya gonna do?” or (more to the point) as they say in the Army: “Never give an order you can’t enforce.”

The major media companies can not enforce every single solitary copyright violation so they let the little fish swim free, going after the big pirates of posters and T-shirts and media.

But recently an interesting new charge has been floating around.

Warner Brothers / DC Comics own Batman.

Artist Pat draws a picture of Batman based on a pose from a recent comic book or movie; the point being that it’s not Pat’s character nor is the pose original even though that particular execution is done by them.

Artist Pat then sees Artist Leslie selling prints that exactly copies Artist Pat’s work.

Artist Pat takes umbrage at Artist Leslie, yet Artist Leslie has done nothing that Artist Pat hasn’t already done!

It’s one thing when Artist Pat sees a T-shirt retailer selling dozens of shirts based on Artist Pat’s art without paying Artist Pat, yet if Artist Pat is using someone else’s character, Artist Pat is doing just as much “stealing”.

Every creative person starts out with some sort of imitation. Maybe not wholly conscious, maybe without intent to profit directly from it, but every creative person learns their craft by studying what those who came before them did and then learns to add their own stylistic interpretation.

And somewhere on a gamut from “not nice” to “outright criminal” there falls the issue of copying somebody else’s art and making a buck off it for yourself.

Is it always wrong? Is it never right?


Re-create another artist’s work but acknowledge the source ala “reproduction of Fantastic Four #1 cover by Jack Kirby” and it’s hard to point fingers.

Take another artist’s idea but add your own twist to it — “See, it’s the dogs-playing-poker picture only this time they’re human!” — and it seems to fall into the category of “fair usage”.[3]

But it’s pretty unkosher to swipe another struggling artist’s idea even if that artist swiped it from somebody else.

Basically, don’t be a yutz about it. If you like what somebody else did, figure out what you liked about it then do that in your own way.

Just added!


Théodore Géricault – The Raft Of The Medusa


Earl Norem – Not The Raft Of The Medusa




[1]  As opposed to a “howard” artist?

[2]  Because nobody fncks with The Mouse!

[3]  And if it doesn’t, MAD magazine and about sixty million pornographers are in a world of hurt because of their parodies of famous movies and TV shows.




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Writing Report September 23, 2016

by Buzz on 23/09/2016

Tallying up my recent productivity, I find I’ve had a pretty good summer, at least in terms of actual stories completed / submitted.

A lot of fictoids (i.e., poems and short-short fiction), along with four regular length short stories, one novella, and of course The Most Dangerous Man In The World which will be out by Sept. 30 God willin’ ‘n’ the crick don’t rise…

The thing is there are relatively few stable (i.e., open year round) markets for shorter (i.e., novella and under) fiction.

Some are really good about speedy responses, but I have one story out to a market that I learned after I submitted it now takes up to ONE YEAR to respond to submissions instead of the three months their website claims!


I’m really starting to lean towards publishing anything under 2K words on my blog (unless by chance I stumble across a market where the story is exactly the right length and subject matter). I’m already starting to noodle around some ideas for anthology titles so I can put them online in collected form.

The novella (the barbarian fantasy) promises to be just the first of a total of four stories about the character I’ve created. I’d love to place it at a publisher who does that sort of thing, but all the ones I’ve checked have either closed submissions or take forever and a day to respond.

Still, I’m going to do the other three novellas…eventually…then combine them into a single novel length narrative online.

I originally planned to send out every short piece I wrote at least five times before publishing it myself, but it’s looking more and more like three strikes and then self-publish may win out.


BTW, keep your eyes peeled next year for American Gothic Press’ Tales From The Acker-Mansion, a graphic novel anthology dedicated to stories about sci-fi’s #1 fan, the late great Forry Ackerman. While most of the stories will be in graphic format, one or two will be illustrated prose stories – and that includes “Make Mine Monsters!” by yrs trly.

More on this as the publication date nears!

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On The Convention Trail: Alpha-Omega Con III Sept. 24

by Buzz on 23/09/2016


I’ll be at Alpha-Omega Con, the Third Annual Christian Comic & Pop Culture Convention to be held from 10AM to 6PM this Saturday (September 24th) at the Well Church in Artesia, CA. (New location!  NOT the previous venue!)

We have a full schedule planed with numerous activities and guests on tap, including:

Mike Shields IITownsend ColemanWill MortonKatie LeighStephen WeeseBrett BurnerMike S. MillerMike KunkelEric JansenPastor Fred PriceDr. Thomas ParhamClint JohnsonKevin YongScott A. ShufordCarmi FellwockBuzz Dixon (Wot da — ? Sheesh, they’ll let anybody in!)

There will be three tracks of programming, and I’ll be on two panels:

Creating 3D Characters in a 2D World (moderated by Dr. Thomas Parham)


Gender Roles in Comics and related Media: Bias vs. Biblical (moderated by yrs trly)

See ya there!

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The Beam In Their Eyes

by Buzz on 23/09/2016

if-you-want-to-police-others-police-your-own-firstMatthew 7: 3-5 [paraphrased]

I know a number of pastors personally, and the fact that they are pastors with congregations they need to serve buys them a certain degree of protection.

As pastors, they have responsibilities far beyond doctrinal / moral / ethical / political disputes. There are real people who can suffer if those pastors are rebuked for some bullshit they say / write / post publicly.

So I tend not to beard those particular lions in their particular dens. The satisfaction of exposing their errors is dwarfed by the potential harm that could be visited on their congregations in the process.

I won’t name names or confront them on their home turf…

…but by God I will expose their errors to the rest of the world so even if they are not called out by name, their arguments will be exposed to much deserved shame, ridicule, and approbation.

Case in point:
The continued hypocritical defense of North Carolina’s hideous anti-transgender restroom ordinance.

I’m not going to argue that law.

I don’t have to.

I’m cutting straight to the chase:


Stew on that one a while.

Take all the time you want.

To pass laws against innocent transgender people when politicians have been committing far more sexual crimes and offences against children, to support those laws when far more pastors and public scolds have been raping men, women, and children is an abomination in the eyes of God and man.

Remember Matthew 7: 3–4 ?

“And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”

People pushing the transgender discrimination bills have flippin’ sequoias in their eyes!

It kinda goes with the territory:
Any group that gathers large numbers of broken / weak / naïve people together is also going to attract predators of all stripes…and despite the best efforts of those institutions, there are still going to be far too many who slip through (“too many” = “greater than none”).

But this is a major ongoing problem facing all churches today.

And as noted, it dwarfs the tiny number of incidents of sexual predators attempting to disguise themselves as members of the opposite sex to commit assaults, much less the number of those attacks that occur specifically in public restrooms.

As if sexual predators, already committed to raping someone, will somehow be dissuaded from that crime by threat of misdemeanor prosecution if caught wearing ladies’ clothing.



And tragically, as often as not when a child or woman or even a man is raped or abused by a religious leader in a religious setting, the organized church’s response is to blame the victim and / or deny any crime occurred and / or protect their leader / organization.

Jesus is really very, very, VERY explicit on this:
You need to do something about the ungodly high number of rapes by pastors and / or in religious settings before you can ever hope to have the moral authority to start criticizing innocent people for crimes they did not commit.

Go get some laws passed that regulate who can set themselves up as a pastor and / or start a church, or how the children and youth ministries in same will be supervised by outside monitors for their protection and then we can start talking about your getting the vapors over transgender people using the bathroom.


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Who Votes For Trump — And Why

by Buzz on 19/09/2016

There are basically 4 Trump voters out there.

First, the flat out bigots.

These include the overt white supremacists, but it also includes all those who realize, even if only deep down inside, that the era of white privilege is about to pass away.

And that terrifies them.

Because they know how shitty white people have treated non-whites (we can throw a lot of non-white Christians into this group, too, because they know Christians in this country have too often not acted in a Christ-like manner to non-Christians and as the Bible teaches “whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” and “with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again” so payback’s a’comin’).

They fear they will be treated shabbily by minorities in the same way they treated those minorities shabbily, and they cling to Trump because they are foolish enough to believe he can keep that from happening just because he’s white and he says he can.

Truth be told, not everyone in
this group is a sheet wearing,
cross burning race monger.

A lot of them are frightened old people who see the world changing around them and because it no longer looks as white as it once was, willingly overlook truth and facts in the vain hope they can some how return to an era that never existed, one in which they as whites and/or Christians never ever had to take the rights and feelings of non-whites and non-Christians into consideration.

The second group are short-sighted angry people.

They are pissed that the country’s political systems has been served badly.

They think the way to fix that is to bring the whole thing crashing down.

They tend to be people of privilege (albeit not necessarily white and / or Christian privilege) and they think somehow they will be immune to the chaos and suffering that will follow.

They will not.

If we’re lucky, such a systemic collapse would be like the Great Depression.

If we’re not lucky, it would be a Putin-like strongman taking over and looting what’s left of the country at every one else’s expense.

Or the French Revolution, with its attendant Reign Of Terror…and as bad as that was, it’s still better than the Russian Revolution, or the Chinese Communist Revolution, or the rise of the fascists in Europe after WWI.

This second group of Trump voters will suffer,
and they will suffer disproportionately because
they still have something to lose.

The third group are the rich selfish bastards.

These are those rich people who feel they somehow made all their money miraculously without the hard work of thousands if not millions of employees and laborers and investors.

They have resented sharing even a penny of what they have taken with those who made it possible.

They have spent decades — centuries! — claiming they should own everything and control everything, and that those of us who are unwilling to enslave themselves to the oligarchy for the eternal glorification of the plutocracy’s power and pleasure should be ruthlessly eradicated.

And, no, that is not an overgeneralization. Read any labor history. Read any history, period. The wealthy as a class have never been friends much less benefactors of humanity.

Finally, the sociopaths who don’t give a fnck about anyone or anything else so long as they can win.

They’re not the wealthy, nor are their aspirations to wealth the thing that defines them.

They are contrarians who do not seek the common good but rather want to win, even when their wins are based on lies that ultimately prove self-defeating.

They take glee in their contrarian opinions, not because they are displays of truly independent intellect, but because they enjoy pissing in other people’s wells. By and large they are immune to facts, and willingly so, determined not to listen to any point of view that doesn’t let them win and lord it over others.

There are overlaps along and between all these groups,
but in the end they are the ones who back Trump.

The best you can say is that some of them are merely fearful and foolish and naïve.

The worst is that some of them are willing instruments of evil.

animated nightmare trump

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Observations On A Super Nova

by Buzz on 15/09/2016

I saw a world burning

Too late to save

Anyone or anything

An ephemeral existence

Already gone up in smoke

Lives and love, all long lost

A trillion tragedies

None of them recorded

Who were they?

What were they?

What did they dream of?

To what did they aspire?

It matters not

They’re gone now

And we, arriving too late

Can only ponder their pyre


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On The Convention Trail: Granite State Comic Con Sep. 17-18

by Buzz on 15/09/2016


Having worn out my welcome on the West Coast, I’m now invading the Far East (well, U.S. East Coast) for Granite State Comic Con to be held Sept. 17 – 18 in Manchester, N.H. at the Radisson Center of New Hampshire.  Lotsa GI Joe and / or Sunbow related topics & guests, including Larry Hama, Tom Feister, and Samantha Newark among many, many more.  See ya there!

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Alex Toth Knows Where (And Where Not) To Draw The Line

by Buzz on 8/09/2016

Alex Toth on too many lines

Alex Toth knows whereof he speaks.
(This applies to alla youse:
artists / writers / musicians)

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