I am looking for a talented webcomic artist to produce a weekly strip (which I will script) as part of a cross-platform narrative for my novella series, Blank State.
Blank State, the books, are a satire on the Toronto condomarket and art-scene, about a Toronto that has been shut-off to the rest of the world due to an overabundance of condominiums, leaving only the Artists and the city’s extreme poor in the core. These Artists are building to a massive war with one another. Blank State volume Zero: Condopocalypse Now! has been enjoying some mild success and, with the release of the new book and, hopefully, the creation of this webcomic, the series will enjoy continued success.
The webcomic will deal with the prequel to the events of the first book and will involve drawings of the city in its newly-imagined state, and a focus on a group of characters that, by the beginning of the first book, are dead.
I would love to sit down and talk with you about what it would take to do this project. I do not believe anyone should work for free if its something they believe in and will be compensating my artist. However, as I’m a broke artist as well, we’ll have to reach some sort of negotiation.
Mere moments after the Library of Congress announced on its own Twitter feed (@librarycongress) the acquisition, for digital archiving, of every tweet since 2006, steps were put into place by Toronto publisher Dave Proctor to archive the entirety of Twitter’s photography uploading sites Twitpic, Yfrog, Twitgoo and Twitxpic in hardcopy format in cardboard boxes.
“It’s just, you know, it’s just something that I felt I needed to do,” Proctor said.
The photo-sharing sites, which allow storage space for image and video files and provide “Tweeters” with a short URL to allow brief sharing in Twitter’s 140 character posts, host upwards of 1bn images combined, which Proctor has begun purchasing bankers boxes from Business Depot to store.
“I figure if I push the bed up against the wall, you know, I can ram a few more boxes in there. I won’t really sleep because if someone wants to check the library in the middle of the night I’ll have to be there.”
While the Library of Congress has stated that their focus will be on the scholarly and research applications of the acquisition, they have not yet stated the methods by which it will be accessible. Proctor’s image archive, currently printing on his shitty Canon BubbleJet, will be accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, “if people just want to come up the back deck on knock on [his] door.”
I’ve made it no secret that I get around to things a little later than others, mostly because of an ongoing thesis that no man or woman’s opinion is invalid simply because he or she does not have the same approach as everyone else does. I also do this because I can’t afford to see a lot of movies when they come out. So it goes that I’m going to slowly work my way through the unnecessarily-long list of Oscar nominated films and decide, at my own pace, which one was in fact the best, based on my own tastes (probably because that particular movie references an episode of Cadillacs and Dinosaurs I really loved.)
The film is about Leigh Anne Tuohy, who adopts lost black drifter Michael Oher and nurtures his protective instincts enough to turn him into a better student, happier person, and successful left tackle for Ole Miss. Along the way Tim McGraw looks vaguely concerned and Kathy Bates talents are left unchallenged.
I came into The Blind Side having already heard the jokes (a Collegehumor article renamed the movie “White Lady Saves the Day,” which I shall continue to do), and yet still watched it, eager to see what about it was so award winning. My knee-jerk, hulk-smash reaction to the film was “Rawr! Black Helpless Narrative! White Guilt Tropes, ROAR!” and yet I still watched, eager that the film would do something I wasn’t expecting. Something.
But what happened was the opposite. Nothing dramatic happened in this film; nothing was at stake. Michael Oher was found, picked up, tears were hinted at. Friends of Tuohy proved to be racist but they were diffused. Tuohy herself thought “what am I doing?” but didn’t further question it. The issue of Oher possibly coming on to the younger daughter was brought up but nothing ever comes of it. Tuohy’s son is in a car accident, Tuohy arrives to the scene, talks to Oher, he says “Go see SJ, he’s over there, I’m fine,” the music swells, Tuohy is almost crying, emergency personnel are everywhere and… the kid’s fine. There’s even a sub-plot later on where the Tuohys themselves may be supporters for the school they push Oher into and… is this a controversy? Nope, everything’s groovy. Nothing happens. But I had to be reminded… “Well, Dave, it’s based on a true story.”
Then the meat of this ramble started to grow in my brain–why was it made into a film if it was this uninteresting? A better film could have been made, a more engaging, entertaining film, if names were changed and drama was injected. As my creative writing professor taught me, just because something happened a certain way doesn’t mean you have to represent it that way. It’s not always interesting to read.
Moreso, the narratives of black helplessness than were joked about before White Lady Saves the Day first screened are not underplayed. The Tuohys are the saviours of the film, plain and simple. When their motives are questioned (in a curious yet COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS accusation: ‘you adopted him so he could play football for the school you support.’ It’s a Kafkaesque republican nightmare…) they are quickly dispelled and everything they touch turns to white gold. This movie was made for the bible belt, the block of middle America that believes that this dehumanizing savagistic treatment of black people that need to be “brought-up-to-their-speed” is actually how the world works. The only violence in the film? A cradle-smashin’, TV-breakin’ brawl between all the neighbourhood gangsters.
It is the responsibility of good filmmakers to challenge the preconceived notions people have and not put out a movie like this. White Lady Saves the Day is not challenging in a representational sense and, at the end of the day, hurts the reality of Michael Oher’s struggle.
It is the responsibility of filmmakers to make films that challenge the notions that we (often wrongly) hold dear. One such notion is that “drama” entails pain, drama entails hurt, rejection, rape, death, and suffering. Tears and car-wrecks, fuck-ups and knife-fights. It should not be tacked on to the internal meaning of the word that real dramatic representation is also representation of the awful things in the world. There should be a chance that drama can also mean joy, happy endings, people getting everything that they want and a kid becoming a better student. If White Lady Saves the Day was designed as a conceptual art piece meant to remind me that drama doesn’t have to be painful, then it succeeds, admirably, and yet it still pisses me off.
But drama has to be representative of something that is universal, and real. But this boring and hurtful story of helplessness and uselessness isn’t universal, accurate, or real. It does nothing to make steps forward for the republicans it so glowingly reflects to its audience, or the people that they sorrily think they have to save. It does nothing. And it pisses me off.