Forbidden Zone (1979) » Satan » Danny Elfman
Recently I realized that when I admire a talented man that I also find attractive, I come up with a lovingly handcrafted insult that instantly comes to mind every time he does.
Michael Fassbender? That terrifying ice-blond entity. H.P. Lovecraft? That bigoted long-jawed Yankee son-of-a-bitch. Danny Elfman? This evil ginger bastard. I wanted him on my dash just once more and this entry is an excuse for that.
“Pair-bonding is a neurochemical device designed to facilitate the birth and rearing of juvenile H. sapiens in an environment with the most societal advantages, including the advantages provided by the probable survival of the mother and of a reasonable number of siblings to assist in continued care and family life.”
“I think I just figured out why nobody’s ever asked you to be a maid of honor.”
“So it is that each of us is shackled to desire, just as each of us is sentenced, in the end, to death. And just as it is with death, the body will humble the strongest of minds in the end; it is only the kindness of those we have near us that can grant us any joy or dignity in extremis, either in love or in death.”
“Okay, look, I’m goin’ out for a Diet Coke. Do we want any more Trident?”
“We do not. In further quantities, it would induce gastrointestinal upset.”
“ … Such emotions throw into sharp relief what we have come to learn is a key element of most human lives – to desire a thing that cannot be had, to know the foolishness and the root of that desire backwards and forwards, to despise that desire and to hold oneself in contempt for it, yet to remain entirely powerless against it – to be a prisoner of that desire all one’s life, until the flesh fails at last, and to be tormented every day till then by Pandora’s final horror, the broken-winged Hope.”
“God damn it, Werner Herzog, I am trying to revise a report here DO YOU MIND.”
[Note: the title is literally true. I get mighty low in the mornings, and I tend to think in dialogue. What keeps me productive is pausing to write such things down, then giggling.]
Archaeological News: "Frankenstein" Bog Mummies Discovered in Scotland -
In a “eureka” moment worthy of Dr. Frankenstein, scientists have discovered that two 3,000-year-old Scottish “bog bodies” are actually made from the remains of six people.
According to new isotopic dating and DNA experiments, the mummies—a male and a female—were assembled from various body…
“Anterior cingulate cortex. How may I direct your call?”
Here’s something I often get to enjoy on Sunday mornings. If I wake up very slowly and I have been dreaming, there are ten or twenty seconds in which I’m not sure where or when I am. Even once I see my bedroom, it might seem that it’s in Mississippi or Tennessee or any time in the past twenty-five years. In another moment, it’s all slotted into place: I’m this and it’s then, which is now.
I spent most of my childhood – and after that, a good deal of my adulthood – in bedrooms that were arranged much like the room I’m in now. High ceiling, hardwood floor, 1920s construction, lots of natural light, window to the left, thick tree branches just outside, the rumble of traffic from the busy road. My room as a kid, then later as an adult living at home, then in the apartment I had in Nashville – all more or less like this one.
This little timeslip is never frightening. It’s a bit like being suddenly snatched up into the air by a much bigger person – surprising, embarrassing, sweet.* It occurs to me that it’s much like the mechanism of time travel in Jack Finney’s Time and Again. I can’t try not to figure out when and where I am – it’s instinctive – but it’s always just a little disappointing when it’s done.
* I don’t know what it says about my family and friends that I have had this happen to me many times well into young adulthood.
Today, I was struggling with how to pretend to be amused in a social situation requiring exposure to a number of painful, saddening jokes. I hit on a substitute: instead of thinking of the pun or joke made per se, think of Seanbaby describing what it is for a writer to be truly unfunny.
“Eyeliner researchers are funnier than this when they explain to their boss why they need more rabbits.”
“This man is so unfunny that instead of fart sounds, his asshole recites obituaries.”
Seanbaby is truly a guilty pleasure. Many are the happy hours he has given me over the past ten years. I used to have to use dialup to read his site, but it was worth it.
I’m not going to try to defend all the cruelties of his jokes, but he doesn’t seem to believe anything truly racist or sexist — or anything at all, really. Whatever else he is, the man’s a master of metaphor and simile, and that’s something I truly envy. If he diversified his work, he could be the American Charlie Brooker.
As a reader, I am often disappointed in myself when I cannot get my teeth into an acknowledged classic of the SF/F genre, even after a second try. Even after all these years, it makes me wonder if I am not imaginative enough, if I am insufficiently cerebral and advanced in my perception — this suggestion was a favorite weapon of other fans, especially male fans, when I was coming along.
And yet, even if that is so, what can one do? The world is full of amazing books, and our time here is short. Goodbye, well-loved but impenetrable library book; go on to be loved by someone else!
What was the Nearsighted Monkey doing 32 years ago? Drawing this comic strip.
Click on image to read it big!
Lynda Barry comic from 1980, included in first volume of collected work, Blabber, Blabber, Blabber, published by Drawn and Quarterly.
Oh dang Lynda Barry is always posting a thing that is true.
What I think that this week’s miserable business about Karen Klein goes to show is this: there is a critical mass of people in our society who remember what it was like to endure childhood bullying, and they burn. Her internet vacation fund became enormous because so many people felt so deeply, saw the donation link, and thought, if not in so many words – something has to be done; this is something; therefore I am going to do it.
On thinking further about the cruelty of children, though, I began to wonder if it is not, in fact, an artifact – but a necessary artifact – of living in a modern society.
Kids are mean; we are told this all our lives. We certainly remember it for ourselves. Even the most pathetic among us were nasty to other children at least once, whenever we happened to spot a weaker little bird to be pushed out of the nest. The cruelest bully I remember was also the smartest and the nerdiest. As soon as he moved to my school, he took up the business of tormenting me, simply so that there would be no mistake as to which of us was lower. His plan worked. I soon left that school, but at the last I had heard of him, he had made himself huge and joined the football team.
This dynamic, the caste system of childhood, is a part of what growing up has been like for any of the billions of people who underwent some kind of a schooling situation at any time in the past, oh, three thousand years. It is only natural that most of us suppose it is part of childhood itself.
Is it? Why do we suppose that it is natural and healthy for children to keep company chiefly with people of their own age? Why are we surprised when their tiny, hothouse societies are rife with cruelty, ignorance and madness?
I have no children and no education in pedagogical theory. Still, I like children; they are capable of much worse things than adults, but also much better things, and I never forgot what it was to be one. I particularly remember how much friendlier adults and older teenagers were to me than most children my own age. Children, in general, deserve better than what we expect of them, which is that they are only fit company for their own peers. Children need to become fully adapted members of their species, H. sapiens sapiens. They need to be taught how, exactly, to be human. This isn’t really unusual – it’s much the same with other primate species. How can children learn how to be fully human when their daily lives are ruled by the whims of other children?
There is no real solution to this problem, if there ever was. What could we do – eliminate schooling? Go back to apprenticeships and tutoring and so forth? Even if it were possible, it wouldn’t be worth the price. A world without school, without the mixing of young people with each other and with ideas, builds a naturally slow and conservative people. What would have become of me in such a world, where I was raised to learn only at my mother’s knee, and trained to be a tradeswoman, a servant or a wife? I’d have hanged myself long ago – if I’d ever been born, that is, because my mother would have hanged herself long before that.
Perhaps the roughness, isolation and bullying we associate with childhood are prices we pay as a society for our system of education – for the daily separation of children and families, which makes possible social and intellectual mobility for individual children. If this is so, children will always have to face bullying, to know this fear and this cruelty, because that is simply part of how we build a world worth living in.
(Naturally, I am no historian, and a hell of a lot more data and analysis would be required to determine whether any of this is tenable.)