Monday, September 12, 2005

The Curmudgeon Manifesto

Cartoon by Alex Gregory from The New Yorker, 09/12/05.

Man, nothing makes me less excited about reading a new comic than someone else's enthusiasm. Because, Lord knows, comics fans can get enthusiastic. Sure, the stereotype is that all comic nerds are horrible cynics, buying crap they hate to keep their collections complete and complain. But at the opposite end of the spectrum, supposed connoisseurs of "good" comics are almost as bad. How many times have you seen someone or other champion a new OGN or alt-superhero series, proclaiming it to be the Greatest Thing Evar or The New Hotness or some other pithy catchphrase... only to get the book and find it much less numinously gorgeous than expectations would otherwise imply. You feel more cheated than you would from merely a garden-variety mediocre comic book - you feel the spite.

I won't name any names, but there are a handful of books which get unceasing praise from all corners of the internet... and the unceasing, absolutely glowing praise these books receive pretty much kills any and all interest I may have ever had. I don't know why this is: I think I'm just a contrary motherfucker.

So what do we need? A return to the values of our forefathers. We need well-meaning hacks and business-like craftsmen dedicated to the act of making a paycheck by producing decent but otherwise unexceptional genre entertainment for small children. Or, self-loathing autodidacts who cut themselves off from the outside world in an attempt to struggle with their ability to never meet self-imposed standards of perfection.

Any attempts on the part of creators or critics to drum up actual enthusiasm for the process of creating art or entertainment - both of which take an incredible amount of hard work and abnegation - will be seen as an example of Boosterism, which shall be punished by death. It's either sausages or Kierkegaard, people - ritual scouring with the lash of capitalism or presumptuous shame.

Remember, Kids: Don't Trust Any Artist Who Doesn't
Regularly Contemplate Suicide.

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