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It’s All Political

Because a recurring theme of the manchildren that want comics that solely cater to their own preconceptions and prejudices is that anything not wholly reflecting their own identity is unnecessary politics that comics were never sullied with previously, goodness, never, a few items reminding you that politics and art — even comics — are inextricably linked.

  • Word comes today that there will be a comics adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five releasing later this year, from artist Albert Monteys, colorist Ricard Zaplana, and oh that’s what he’s been working on this makes perfect sense Ryan North on words.

    A scathingly funny indictment of war, Slaughterhouse Five will anger some people just by existing, but then people like them have been angered by Slaughterhouse Five existing in all its forms for the past fifty years, and will anger other people for the next fifty and beyond. The cohort of people determined not to learn the lessons of war are as unstuck in time as Billy Pilgrim. The graphic adaptation is due in September from BOOM.

  • A central part of Slaughterhouse Five is protagonist Billy Pilgrim’s unlikely survival of the the Dresden firebombing, which Vonnegut experienced firsthand. There may be nothing more terrifying than fire so widespread and hot that it alters the normal patterns of weather, physics, and reality around it, becoming a wholly unpredictable and uncontrollable entity in its own right. There’s a reason that Dresden and March 1945¹ are shorthands for destruction beyond comprehension.

    Conflagration need not come from war, but human stupidity will certainly be involved:

    As I type this (on Monday 6 January), 25 people have been confirmed killed by the fires, 7 remain missing. Well over 1500 homes have been destroyed, as well as thousands of other buildings and structures. The total area burnt so far is over 80,000 square kilometres, which is larger than Ireland, almost as large as Austria. These numbers will continue increasing for weeks, as the fires continue to burn, unstoppable in the hottest part of summer, as we suffer the worst drought in recorded history.

    Even in places not directly affected by flames, the smoke from the fires is causing hazardous air quality across much of south-eastern Australia. For over a month now, air quality in Sydney (where I live) has been marginal some days, and officially “hazardous” on many other days. Visibility has been down to 100 metres or so because of thick smoke in the air, the sun shines down with an apocalyptic orange glow even during the middle of the day, and the smell of smoke is everywhere. Ash and burnt leaves fall from the sky, even in the middle of the city. Outdoor surfaces, wiped clean, are covered in a fine gritty ash the next day. Hospital admissions are up around 10-15% because of people experiencing increased asthma and other respiratory conditions. Canberra, which is a long way from any fires, has experienced several days in a row of horrible air conditions, with many institutions and government departments shutting down because it’s too hazardous even inside the buildings for people to work.

    That from David Morgan-Mar (PhD, LEGO®©™ etc) from his vantage point in Sydney, on the ongoing fire season in Australia — which started four months earlier than usual, exacerbated by climate change-driven drought and high temperatures. The news from Down Under is heartbreaking, with serious predictions that by the end of fire season in March or April, there may be essentially no non-urban space untouched by the bushfires. Places that I’ve visited and loved may not recover in my lifetime.

    And more infuriating is the now repeatedly demonstrated utter indifference on the part of Australia’s senior governmental officials, starting with their sociopathy-demonstrating Prime Minister. Read the whole thing, get mad, and do what you can to express to your own government, wherever you are, that climate disasters aren’t abstract, they aren’t off in the future after senior officials will be safely dead and thus insulated from their effects, that we are well past prevention of worldwide tragedy, and instead playing a game of mitigation.

  • And yet, even in the face of ongoing crisis, small acts of utter optimism and hope in the future take place every day. It’s a couple years late (then again, the documentation is a couple years behind the event), but let’s take a moment to welcome Elizabeth Anna Trogdor Breeden to the world, and to resolve to make her lifetime less stupidly hellish than the current trajectory seems determined to be. Vonnegut had a famous benediction for newborns that’s widely quoted, and I’d like to offer it up to young Trogdor with an addendum: God damn us, babies, we weren’t kind and now it’s all on you. I’m sorry.

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This sounds like it should be covered by Erika ‘n’ Matt when they come back from their break.

¹ Please, Ryan, I love your work, but do not also adapt the other great narrative work about World War II firebombings. It’s the greatest piece of art that I never want to experience again.

“… that climate disasters aren’t abstract ….”

Surely they are not. But in this case the human factor in their cause is in a great many cases far more proximate than fossil fuel usage, etc. – dozens of people have been arrested for SETTING the fires. What the h**l is wrong with these people?

And I was just recently in a similar pose to that comic myself, except that it was my 3-week old grandson that I was holding. Welcome to the world….

The latest news from official sources in Australia is that human-set fires are responsible for less than 1% of the current burned areas.

Yes, what is wrong with people, overwhelmingly the people in power structures that have ignored repeated and insistent expert testimony that all of this was going to happen because: coal. That’s where you want to focus your rage.

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