Thursday, December 01, 2005

Watching the Watchmen Watchers

Slate has an essay up about the 20th anniversary edition of the Watchmen. Overall the review is positive (it calls the book a masterpiece). It also gives props to Judge Dredd, the number-one, most super-awesome superhero comic of all time. But the essay wraps up with this incredibly insulting, anti-intellectual tone that ruins any good that went before because it ultimately reveals a disdain for the comic book form. Here's the quote:

But did the comic book have to "grow up"? The last time I looked, the only ones reading Ulysses and quoting Nietzsche were teenagers. No adult has time for aesthetic "difficulty" or "self-consciousness." Life is too short. Frankly, we'd much rather be watching The Incredibles.

Most of the essay before this was fine. I'm 100% down with a critical view of the Watchmen, especially considering the lame hagiography seen in other reviews. It drives me crazy when media like the New York Times or the New Yorker get hip to comic books like 20 years after the fact (Peter Schjeldahl's recent essay in the New Yorker was particularly annoying).

But the end of this Slate piece is retarded. Frankly, Mr. Shone, I would much rather read a challenging work than curl up next to a pack of commercialized sweet nothings. Life is too short for challenging yourself with art? It sounds like you have to grow up and learn that taking risks can help you grow intellectually. The idea that you don't have time for that is a pretty weak defense.


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Wanting

Xbox 360 launched today, and Com$tock wants it. Mrs. Com$tock thinks $399 is a lot to pay for a videogame system, and she is right. But, damn, that thing looks fine.

I even entertained fantasies of dragging myself out with all the other dorks last night to buy it at midnight. But it was cold and rainy in Com$tock land, so F that. It made a comforting excuse, at least. See, self, no need to feel left out, you simply don't want to stand half the night in the rain.

In the cold, rainy light of dawn, I was able to think a little more critically. First, watching the morning news and seeing coverage of all the tools who did stand out in line to buy something made me feel slightly superior for not being such a consumer. Second, four hundred bucks is a lot to pay for videogames (plus the $50 to $60 for each game).

But I know I'll cave eventually. Some series of seriously kick-ass games will come out and I'll get that familiar consumerist itch, which is really more like an obsession. And I'll hear so much about it I'll start to feel like I did when I was in middle school and I had to wait months before I could get a fashionable Banana Republic t-shirt from the mall (thank God a punk phase came quickly on the heels of that to shake me out of my sheepish stupor).

But the questions remain: Do I even want to escape the herd when it comes to video games? Will Mrs. Com$tock tolerate yet another game machine? Will I be able to at least hold out until a price drop? Stay tuned.


Saturday, November 19, 2005

Materialistic Materialist

Philosophically, I'm a materialist of the no-qualms variety. I'm also rather materialistic, but I feel kinda conflicted about that one, which I suppose is one reason for the title of this blog. Among the material things I most covet are video games. I can now covet them with in-your-face style thanks to Sony. Check out what Com$tock wants for Christmas here. I want to rock Guitar Hero harder than LL Cool J rocks bells.


Friday, November 18, 2005

If Darwin is everywhere, is he in the toilet?

I usually like to avoid the deification of Darwin because I think it gives creationists ammunition for their silly arguments that evolutionary science is simply a materialistic religion in competition with their sky-god worship. But this news is too good to resist. According to a post over at Pandas Thumb, Darwin's visage has appeared in a frying pan. Take THAT, Catholics!


Thursday, November 17, 2005

First post

I'm a bad diary keeper. Who knows if I can keep this up. Maybe I'll discover that a blogger blog is not punk enough for me. In any case expect at least a bit more about biology, video games, and the media to appear here.