Saturday, January 12, 2019


Bonus round: This is one that won't actually run anywhere but here, as even I have limits as to what passes for regionally-appropriate humor. Using anthropomorphized Alaskan animals is about the only aspect that will connect with my usual audience in the local newspaper, but as far as any readership demographics that just-so happen to be familiar with postmodernist deconstruction, well, there's only a couple that I know of that would appreciate, much less "get" the gag. Not to mention, at its heart it ain't funny.
(more below the fold)

One of the hallmarks of postmodernism is to do an end-run around the creator of the image, as in the intent of the artist doesn't matter anymore, only its perceived effect upon the viewer, whose interpretation has priority. Recently I rewatched my copy of "Ghost World," Terry Zwigoff's film based on the graphic novel by Daniel Clowes, and immediately thought of the "Coon Chicken" poster art class assignment + ensuing gallery fiasco. Note: See here for a great review in retrospect.

So since the creator’s point - or even original context - is more often than not now relegated secondary to the viewer’s/public’s perception or potential (mis)interpretation of the original point, it dovetails with no more entitlement by anyone to invalidate another person’s perspective or potential (mis)interpretation, an example of which would be labeling something racist, misogynist etc. Which, in my personal (privileged) position I frequently experience as a cartoonist who, by virtue of the medium, relies on stereotypes to make meta-points. Satire + irony is quite often too nuanced and subtle to catch on the first take, esp what with the speed of social media in judging and shaming.
Hopefully, assuming there is a balanced perspective after informed discussion, it’s possible for two conflicting states to both be true, or both be “right.” Not that it’s possible for a lot of folks to possess  opposing viewpoints simultaneously… unfortunately all-too common given the mental bifurcation behind prevailing cognitive dissonance in today’s political landscape.

Postmodern posterior post

As of late I've developed a stock rebuttal to criticism (after an appropriate and requisite period of reflection) that calls out artwork on the grounds of being offensive. Typically that in and of itself shuts down any conversation at best, at the worst it triggers defensive anger and escalation of rhetoric which effectively ends any pretense at open debate. And then if that's the case, the only position which is could possibly answer any preemptive judgement is to immediately identify such criticism as advocating censorship and limiting free expression: it's obviously a call for all artwork which is deemed offensive and not politically correct to be destroyed and the responsible artist punished. See how easy stupid that was?

Of course such extremes are inherently ridiculous and naive. A case in point would be the ensuing controversy that erupted around the release of Wonder Woman, in particular the women-only shows.
I made several comments on social media on the "sexist purity troll" thing in that I'd maybe take such hurt feelings seriously if they cared just as much on how absolutely pathetic it is that the last (and only other) superhero film DIRECTED by a woman before this was Lexi Alexander in 2008’s Punisher. Context matters. Subsequent reviews and reaction to Wonder Woman has been nothing short of, well, heroic, as an inspiration to many as well as a lesson to the rest. This is all to say nothing of how her representation has evolved (somewhat, sometimes) in the comics.

Unfortunately Star Wars is suffering also from an influx of boycott threats from the alt-right that echoes the intelligence and ugliness of Gamergate  (now extended to Star Trek as well). Call it the last gasp of a dying, frightened demographic which refuses to adapt or adopt. Talk about not "getting it." All this goes hand-in-glove with my earlier post about Comicsgate, which given the toxicity of the trolling in the comment thread of this recent article, is unfortunately still a thing.

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