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.