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Search string fun

Some actual search strings that brought people to our web site:

dog semen
That one’s my fault, for writing about American Wedding on the previous version of our blog.
how to eat semen
Yeah, my fault too. One wonders who would need a how-to guide for this.
postmodernism inflatable
This is what happens when you store your blog archives with multiple posts on each archive page. One post on this archive page from our old blog contains the word “postmodernism,” another contains the word “inflatable.” Result: somebody searches for “postmodernism inflatable” and Google returns a nonsensical link to our site. Now I want to know why somebody was searching for “postmodernism inflatable.”
violent stiletto heel school girl
I bet this is a hentai manga.
superpowers stiletto heels
i am curious (black) superman
It warms my heart that somebody somewhere is looking for information on this excellent comic book.

Lois Lane #106

Site updates

Some new stuff on the blog:

  • The breadcrumbs script is fully functional—navigate around the site and watch in amazement as the little bar across the top of the page tells you exactly where you are in the site’s organizational hierarchy!
  • There’s an archive page, which actually isn’t terribly useful since the archives are already listed in the sidebar.
  • Archive pages don’t show the full text of posts, they just show an excerpt/summary with a link to the full post.

The Dark Tower

[Edited 2003-01-05 5:21 am UTC]

I’ve just finished the new revised and expanded edition of Stephen King’s The Gunslinger. I detect a lot of the changes—much of the dialogue has been rewritten in the distinctive dialects developed in subsequent books. Several references (to LaMerk Industries and North Central Positronics, among others) are in this text that I don’t think were in the original, but I could be wrong. Oh, and there’s a reference to nineteen which I don’t remember from the original, but I could be misrembering. There’s only one change I noticed that I really regret: the second sentence of the original text is something like “The desert was the apotheosis of all deserts, standing to the sky for what might have been parsecs in all directions.” Now that sentence reads, “The desert was the apotheosis of all deserts, standing to the sky for looked like eternity in all directions.” Damn, but that sentence in the orignal was great. You’ve got your Clint Eastwood gunslinger trekking after the man in black through the alien deserts of Sergio Leone’s spaghetti Westerns (as a kid reading The Gunslinger for the first time I’d never seen a Sergio Leone movie, probably didn’t even know very well who Clint Eastwood was, but Leone and Eastwood’s Westerns are deeply enough embedded in pop culture that I instantly got what King was evoking), and that word “parsec” immediately disturbs things. “Parsec” isn’t a word you generally expect to find in the second sentence of a Western story or a non-sf fantasy story, what’s it doing here?

I guess can see why King might have wanted to take it out—the narration is focalized on the gunslinger, and parsecs are not a concept he’s probably familiar with. Nevertheless, I would rather King did a little narrative cheating than lose a classic line like that. But maybe King was right to take it out… the story doesn’t necessarily gain anything from giving away its sf influence so soon, and maybe it makes it more interesting to find out in the middle of the book that this story is more ambitious than a spaghetti-Western-influenced quest fantasy, when we learn that the gunslinger knows about atomic power (but doesn’t know what a TV is). Oh well, I’m just sad the book lost one of its great lines.


The Dark Tower is very much a story about telling stories—Most of the first part of The Gunslinger is narrated in flashback as Roland tells a story to another character. He spends a fair amount of the second part telling stories to Jake. When he finally meets the man in black, the man in black spends a long long night telling him stories. Wizard and Glass is almost entirely a story that Roland tells his companions. At least a third, maybe more, of Wolves of the Calla is one character, Father Callahan (who is also a character in Salem’s Lot, which I’ve not read), telling Roland and Co. the long story of his life. I bet there are many stories told in The Drawing of the Three and The Waste Lands, but it’s been long since I read those books and I don’t remember a lot of them. Related to all this tale-telling, The Dark Tower also seems to be a story about how a character who begins with no name and no story gains both. “The gunslinger was not a man to dwell on the past; only a shadowy conception of the future and of his own emotional make-up saved him from being a man with no imagination…” (p. 91 of the revised edition) He has a past, a story, but seems not to have thought much on it until events in this book forced it on him.

The subtitle of this book is “Resumption,” and the man in black surprises Roland by saying he has resumed his quest—the gunslinger never stopped questing, so how could he resume? Is it because the gunslinger had drifted without a name or a story (without an identity) and only now events (orchestrated by the man in black) in this story force him to make decisions and sacrifices which bind him to his quest? There are maybe other things in his past which bind him, but they’re revealed in subsequent books, they come later in the narrative order of the story. And in a story such as The Dark Tower in which narratives are so centrally important, might the flow of the narrative take precedence over chronology?

Well, I don’t know where King is going with these narrative-related themes, but I’m interested.

Oh, and it really bugs me that the gunslinger is now named at the end of the first part! It was very cool and tied into the “Man with no Name gets a name and a story” theme that Roland is named only in the (increasingly frequent) flashbacks until the end of the book when the man in black names him in the narrative’s chronological present. Now that’s been negated.

X-Men: Research help

Dear Readers, I need some quick research help. I want to map out how the X-Men high concept has evolved since its beginning, but I don’t want to have to buy and read every X-Men book ever—I just need the highlights. The only X-books I’ve read are New X-Men and X-Statix, so I’m look for other books of interest w/r/t the evolution of the X-Men high concept and the metaphors used in X-books. By “evolve,” I don’t mean “improve,” I mean “adapt to its current context.” E.g., the X-Men began as the Children of the Atom, I believe with the implication that mutation is caused by atomic radiation (surprise, everything is caused by radiation in that era of Marvel). How has the portrayal of mutation changed over the years? And just as importantly, are there stories (preferably ones available as TPBs) that exemplify various stages of the evolution of the mutation concept? I know I should look for the Marvel Masterworks or Essential X-Men. I’m also interested in the evolution of the metaphors in the X-Men. We’ve discussed that some already on the blog, w/r/t race, feminism, geek pride, more general political metaphors. Anything else interesting I might look out for? Are there 1960s-era stories that are especially metaphorically interesting?

More comics

While I’m posting comics, here are a couple more I’ve done:

Family Circus Photoshopping

Family Circus Photoshopping

Yes, that is the actual caption on today’s Family Circus. Is it a joke about supermarkets marking up their prices? I do not know. Now it’s an HTML joke, go me.

Wonder Woman Action-Packed Laundry Issue

Thank you, Steven Wintle: Wonder Woman #246 is on my must-find list!

Wonder Woman

The Amazons don’t have good fabric softener! Who wrote this brilliance? Jack C. Harris.

Theory is as dead as irony

Cultural theory is dead! (Link from David Fiore.)

In this age of terrorism, he [Terry Eagleton] says, cultural theory has become increasingly irrelevant, because theorists have failed to address the big questions of morality, metaphysics, love, religion, revolution, death and suffering.” … The postmodern prejudice against norms, unities and consensuses is a politically catastrophic one,” he writes.

Now this is apparently a standard criticism of postmodernist theory, that it rejects norms and consensuses. You so crazy, Terry Eagleton! What postmodernists reject norms and consensuses? Stupid ones, I guess? I don’t. I say, as a postmodernist, we have nothing but norms and consensuses. But see, (some) non-postmoderists seem to think something like, “If we see a consensus among humans, that’s probably indicative of some kind of absolute or truth or something like that.” But postmodernists, or postmodernists who think like I do anyway, think more like, “Well, we have this consensus, so we’d better deal with that and not worry too much about whether it’s a universal absolute truth or whatever.” See how that’s different than a rejection of norms and consensuses consensi? It’s a loving embrace of them.

Internet Explorer Eats More Babies

And another thing about Internet Explorer! It doesn’t display PNGs properly. If you’re viewing this page on IE, you won’t see a lovable little pirate underneath the Peiratikos title (by the way, “peiratikos” is an Ancient Greek word which, being translated, is “pirate,” or “pirates,” or something like that). If you want to see what IE does to our poor pirate, check out our 404 page.

Sue Storm has a boy head!

John Jakala brings tidings of ugly manga art from Marvel. Mr. Fantastic is Billy Bob Thornton flashing gangsta-rap hand things!

Now, the idea behind the Marvel Age is to republish 1960s-era Marvel stories with new manga art. At least Marvel is being honest now about their creative autophagy.