1990-05-30

Chazan | A Fine Litter of Puppies

One of the handful of truly splendid things about America is the newspaper comic Garfield. While the strip doesn’t quite have the art snob street cred of Peanuts, Nancy or even Calvin and Hobbes, there’s something about the fat cat that seems to stick around throughout the humdrum of our lives. Out of the corner of your eye you almost see him, each bemoaning of a Monday morning comes from a voice we may have learned from him. Each one of us is a little bit Jon Arbuckle, each of us grapples with a Nermal or an Odie in our midst. Not unlike the country we live in, Garfield is exactly as bad as you’ve heard, but it’s always there, and there can be a lot of good and beauty to be found in that banal reality.

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SHERMAN | When I Worked for the Greatest Website in the World

The fact that, back in high school, I was very, very smart and knew many more things than a lot of other people is indisputable. While I certainly read more books, watched more movies and generally thought about more interesting things than pretty much all of my classmates, what I was most proud of was my music taste, which was impeccable, unsurpassable and precisely cultivated. To put it bluntly, I was much better listened than you or anybody else. Anybody else, that is, except for one man: the prolific music critic, even more prolific blogger, part-time poet, full-time hiker, politically enigmatic historian, dubious scientist, insatiable and indiscriminate (and, in all likelihood, prevaricative) consumer of media, insidious/inescapable online meme and — most importantly — my one-time employer, Piero Scaruffi. Known on the internet over for his, um, uncommon takes on the history of rock and popular music, Piero first wandered into my life while I was doing research for my final project in a “History of Rock” class.

SCAD Presents aTVfest 2016 - Day 2

Chris Savino, Cartoon Brew, and How NOT to Respond to Sexual Violence

If you read the news, you’ve heard of the unfolding scandal with Harvey Weinstein. It’s put a spotlight on show business, demonstrating the rampant sexual harassment that occurs throughout the industry. More producers are now facing allegations, and, sadly, the animation industry that I love is not immune to sexual harassment. Chris Savino, the creator of Nickelodeon’s hit show The Loud House, was suspended from the show last week over allegations of sexual harassment. Twelve women came forward and recounted instances, stretching over the past decade, of Savino making unwanted advances and threatening to blacklist them if they spoke out.

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GOULDTHORPE | Why the Hate for 3D Animation?

After I reviewed My Little Pony: The Movie a couple weeks ago, I did two things. First of all, I went to see the next available screening of It to set myself at balance. Second, I started to look around and see what other online critics had to say about the movie, a favorite pastime of mine. To my surprise, I found a number of comments saying things like, “Go see the movie! It’s the last chance to tell Hollywood that we want traditional, hand-drawn animation back!”

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JONES | Where Eminem, Finally, Draws the Line

A lot of words have already been written about Eminem’s BET cypher last week, in which he attacked the president. There’s been a good deal of praise, some measured and some fawning. Colin Kaepernick tweeted his appreciation of Eminem’s declaration of allegiance with Kaepernick, for the protests that have (arguably) prevented him from signing onto a new football team. There’s a Politico Magazine feature responding to the cypher with an analysis of Macomb County, the area that both Eminem and rapper-turned-Senate candidate Kid Rock hail from. There’s also been criticism, notably a Noisey article by Lawrence Burney that argues that Eminem has received unearned praise simply because people are impressed by a white rapper declaring solidarity with a black athlete.

SHERMAN | Animals as Metaphors and a ‘Cruelty-Free’ Guggenheim

If, for the past couple of weeks, you’ve been following either the art world’s murmurings or the Most Popular Petition category on change.org, you would be well aware of the Guggenheim’s recent Animal Rights-related quagmire, a tiff with PETA advocates which resulted, on Sept. 25, in the removal of three pieces from its fall blockbuster exhibition. Whether or not you’ve been keeping close tabs on both, you likely missed the fact that the show in question, Art and China After 1989: Theater of the World, opened to the public this past Friday, Oct. 6. What reviews it has received have been, for the most part, somewhere between tepid and enthusiastically restrained (or else just petty), colored by and large by the Guggenheim’s milquetoast reaction and concession to those accusing it of complicity in animal rights violations. The 70 artist, 140 work-strong exhibition, which was supposed to be a milestone for U.S. reception and awareness of contemporary art from Chinese artists (Holland Cotter, in his review for the New York Times, calls it a show capable of reminding us that the country of 1.4 billion has given the world more than Ai Weiwei), has, it seems, been too profoundly marred by the museum’s willingness to nix some art at a cry of “Wolf!” This cry began in the form of a change.org petition — written by Stephanie Lewis, directed at the Guggenheim’s curators, administrators and corporate sponsors and subsequently backed by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals — which garnered nearly 800,000 signatures.

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GOULDTHORPE | My Little Pony: The Movie Is Pretty Much What I’d Expected

Now, I want to make something very clear before I proceed: I am not, nor have I ever been, a “brony.” That is, I have never been a fan of the My Little Pony series. Those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, I’ll give a little refresher. In 2010, Hasbro released the newest iteration of its My Little Pony franchise with a show on the Hub (now Discovery Family). The show, spearheaded by Lauren Faust, become wildly popular… but not just with its target audience or young girls. A group of older viewers, especially male teens and young adults, joined the fanbase of the show and inflated its status into a cultural phenomenon, complete with their own conventions.

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SWAN | Bowling and More Art to Augment the Debate

This past Sunday night, the United States witnessed yet again another worst mass shooting in modern American history. Dozens of people are dead, and hundreds of individuals will have the rest of their lives marked by this violent catastrophe. It’s heartbreaking to think that all they were trying to do was have a good time and a catch a Jason Aldean concert. Now, in a near formulaic fashion, some media outlets are dominated by discussions on matters like effective gun control and a little less on issues like access to quality mental healthcare. A strongly partisan and highly rhetorical battle ensues, where conservative voices become increasingly creative in their defense of the present lack of gun control while liberal writers become continuously more pessimistic in their hopes that stringent laws will ever be passed.

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GUEST ROOM | Stay Cool, Stanley Uris

On Sept. 8, The Forward published a column by Noah Berlatsky titled “Stephen King’s ‘It’ Shows Hollywood Still Has a Jewish Problem.” You don’t have to tell me twice that anti-Semitic tropes still run rampant in Hollywood. But I was surprised that Berlatsky argued that It proved this point. In It, Pennywise the Clown faces off against a ragtag band of lovable outcasts — the fittingly named “Losers Club.” Among the misfits stands Stanley Uris, a Jewish tween in what seemed to be an almost entirely Christian town. I could relate.

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Sherman | Absurd, Radical, Fancy: on Avant-Gnar and the Right Way to Move

More than three years after the Vice article which put them on the map (and almost two years after the next Vice article which let everyone know that, yea, they’re still hanging around somewhere on that map), skateboarding’s least reverent crew, Fancy Lad, released their fourth full-length movie one week ago to much… acclaim? The Fancy Lads are are an amorphous collection of giddily impoverished and moderately talented skate-rats from Boston, whose main schticks include (but God knows are not limited to) inventing vaguely skateboard-related four-wheeled contraptions, not landing their tricks, splicing forgotten VHS clips into their edits, shaky camera-hands and yelling. FL4: The Final Chapter, this most recent opus of theirs, brings all of these “techniques” (and so many more) to a sort of inglorious and completely captivating fixation. The movie’s “frame story” revolves around a bunch of (literal) Craigslist actors at an audition for FL4 itself, where the lines they (poorly) recite are just variations on the Lads’ ad-libs throughout the actual video.