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Showing posts from August, 2010

The Sad "Knowledge" of Urban Dictionary

I was under the impression that "urbandictionary.com" was a site for looking up definitions for popular slang terms. Boy was I wrong. Not content to provide definitions for vulgar argot, the Urban Dictionary folks now like to define historical personages, concepts, and everything they know absolutely nothing about. At least wikipedia entries, despite the ideological/historical problems there, have some semblance of historical facticity (some semblance); urbandictionary.com, however, is, well...

The following are my favourite stupid definitions.

1. Lenin


This one is posted by the brilliant historian "Gumba Gumba" who has enlightened us with the little known fact that Lenin was a car collector. Apparently this was the "sole purpose" for the Russian Revolution... I knew it! "Screw the tsars and their feudal methods of transportation," said Lenin, "I want to start a revolution so that I can collect Rolls-Royces, an entire fleet of Rolls-Royce…

The Stupidest and Most Problematic Comic Ever

I have made the mistake of reading several issues of Jim Balent's Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose and I feel that I have become both stupider and politically retrograde because of this waste of a couple hours I will never, ever get back. Believing that the combined terms "fantasy" and "comic" and "cult following" would lead to something awesome (I love fantasy and comics and things with cult followings!) I decided to download this abomination of a comic. Perhaps in the past I would have paid for it at a local comic book store but, since I am currently jobless, that is not an option. Also, now having seen the cover art I can honestly say that, "fantasy cult comic" notwithstanding, I would not buy anything that looked so hideous.

Of course, fantasy-sexist-erotic covers might not, to be fair, be adequate representations of the content. I made that point in a previous entry, and so perhaps these terrible covers, one would hope, are like the gl…

More "Profound" Political Insights

Months back I posted an entry regarding common sense political insights that, despite the fact that those who voiced them thought they were being original, were ultimately banal. Here are a few more.

1) You wouldn't like communism so much if you actually lived in a communist regime.

This one is more common amongst people who were still alive during the Cold War, though it does occasionally manifest amongst people who are under the impression that China is a communist country (though they think I'm even crazier when I say that I supported the Cultural Revolution and that China stopped pursuing communism when Mao's political line was defeated).

It is even more annoying when people who apparently "lived under" a communist regime try to teach me about the evils of communism. Often, if I bother to expend the energy and actually engage in a debate that will go nowhere, I discover that they were actually members of the more privileged caste of the disintegrating socia…

RCP(Canada)'s Anaysis of G20 Violence

The Revolutionary Communist Party of Canada (based in Quebec) has just recently released a statement regarding the G20 violence. In general, I think this is one of the better analyses coming from an established left organization, and an organization that I respect. Post-G20, when so-called "anarchists" are under attack and organizers are in prison on charges of "conspiracy," it is very upsetting when aspects of the left itself begin to turn on the supposed violence of the direct action protesters. Fight Back, a group that I have complained about before, blamed the Black Bloc for police violence in one of their statements. I think the RCP's statement does a good job of countering this idiocy, contextualizing the violence, and rejecting these sort of claims as nothing more than conspiracy theory elitism.

At the same time, however, I think the RCP's focus on "Trotskyism" in this article damages the general content. They tend to homogenize every l…

Judging Books by Their Covers: brilliant books ruined by hideous covers

5. Coin Locker Babies- Ryu Murakami


















The Impression: The flying car race of the future will be won by Mr. Flaming Hair. Or maybe he's a goblin. Or maybe the book is about video games and manga culture. And what's with all the scribbling around the title?


The Reality: Murakami's Coin Locker Babies is a Dostoevskian story about two orphans whose mother abandoned them in a coin locker. Very disturbing, though not as disturbing as the guy with face paint and flaming hair on the cover.


4. Thunderer - Felix Gilman



The Impression: Thunderer is not a novel but an album by Felix Gilman, heavy metal god. It should be called "THUNDERER!" Look at Gilman, standing on the bow of a flying ship, surrounded by lightning, prepared to unleash metal doom upon the city.

The Reality: Thunderer is a beautifully written and surreal fiction. Magic Realism meets New Weird. If it wasn't for Jeff Vandermeer's critical comments, the cover would have prevented me from ever buying this o…