“There’s no room in the evangelical right wing for the arts, I mean these people are just into propaganda, brow beating, evangelism and so forth. So it was not my life. It was not my calling. And then, you know, when I saw the religious right really become the enemy of the American people, literally, in the sense that they hate America, they don’t love America. They wrap themselves in the flag but they hate the actual America. They hate multi-cultural diverse America. They hate their gay neighbors. They don’t want a black man in the White House. They are bitter people. When you realize that you were really just part of a kind of an extended white power movement in the name of Jesus, I decided to just get out and that was in the mid ‘80s. I watched my income, by the way, drop by 2/3 in one year. It was a nightmare on a personal level. But in terms of a life spent serving something, you just can’t do that in good conscience. And I got out, I became a writer. I’ve written a number of novels and I’ve gone from there. So, this latest episode from me, with Sarah Palin and the healthcare debate is just one in a long string of evidences that there is a disingenuousness, essentially a lie, at the heart of the right wing machine, and it continues. And whether it’s in the name of Christianity, or in the name of the Republican Party, essentially it’s all the same sect.”—Frank Schaeffer (via azspot) (via robot-heart-politics)
So I’m just now getting into Belle & Sebastian (I know, dudes, it’s my b), and this song’s what’s fun for me. And that’s just it, really: the band can be way more fun and far less mopey and airy-fairy than I ever gave them credit for. Check out this playlist: The Switchblade and The Cross.
Clowes, who was born in Chicago in 1961, was by his own estimation a “shy, loner, bookworm kind of kid.” After studying art at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, Clowes graduated in 1984 with few career prospects. He discovered the Hernandez brothers’ brilliant and influential Love and Rockets comic-book series at a local comics store and decided to send some of his drawings to their Seattle-based publisher, Fantagraphics. The editors there recognized his talent and quickly signed Clowes to their stable of artists and writers in the mid-eighties.
His most famous series, first published in Eightball#11-18 and then reprinted as its own comic in 1997, was Ghost World. Set within a suburb with no name and no distinctive characteristics, beyond the usual detritus produced by chain stores and fast-food restaurants, it followed the lives of two teenage girls and best friends, Enid Coleslaw (an anagram of “Daniel Clowes”) and Rebecca Dopplemeyer (an anagram of seemingly nothing, even though it was attempted), after their graduation from high school as they grapple with the melancholy that’s inevitably a byproduct of the late-teen maturation process.
When Clowes collaborated with director Terry Zwigoff on the movie adaptation of Ghost World, released in 2001, he approached the task with the same all-encompassing devotion he gave to his comics − it took more than five years and nearly two dozen drafts before they finally got it right.
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SACKS: Is it true your first professional published work appeared in Cracked magazine?
CLOWES: It’s true. I contributed to Cracked from around 1984 to 1989, though I think I only published one piece under my own name. After that, I was “Stosh Gillespie” − Stosh was the name my father originally wanted for me.
Any particular reason?
He worked in a steel mill when I was born, and several of his Polish co-workers had that name. Also, I think he was trying to bum out my mom.
As for Gillespie, it’s my middle name.
Were you even a fan of Cracked?
No one was ever a fan of Cracked.
Growing up, my friends − okay, “friend” − and I used to think of Cracked as a stopgap. We would buy Madevery month, but about two weeks later we would get anxious for new material. We would tell ourselves, Okay, we are not going to buy Cracked. Never again! And we’d hold out for a while, but then as the month dragged on it just became, Okay, fuck it. I guess I’ll buy Cracked.
It was like comedy methadone.
Right. Then you’d bring it home, and immediately you’d remember, Oh yeah, I hate Cracked. I don’t understand any of the jokes, and [Cracked mascot] Sylvester P. Smythe is the most unappealing character of all time.
“You fight your superficiality, your shallowness, so as to try to come at people without unreal expectations, without an overload of bias or hope or arrogance, as untanklike as you can be, sans cannon and machine guns and steel plating half a foot thick; you come at them unmenacingly on your own ten toes instead of tearing up the turf with your caterpillar treads, take them on with an open mind, as equals, man to man, as we used to say, and yet you never fail to get them wrong. You might as well have the brain of a tank. You get them wrong before you meet them, while you’re anticipating meeting them; you get them wrong while you’re with them; and then you go home to tell somebody else about the meeting and you get them all wrong again. Since the same generally goes for them with you, the whole thing is really a dazzling illusion empty of all perception, an astonishing farce of misperception. And yet what are we to do about this terribly significant business of other people, which gets bled of the significance we think it has and takes on instead a significance we think it has and takes on instead a significance that is so ludicrous, so ill-equipped are we all to envision one another’s interior workings and invisible aims? Is everyone to go off and lock the door and sit secluded like the lonely writers do, in a soundproof cell, summoning people out of words and then proposing that these word people are closer to the real thing than the real people that we mangle with our ignorance every day? The fact remains that getting people right is not what living is all about anyway. It’s getting them wrong that is living, getting them wrong and wrong and wrong and then, on careful reconsideration, getting them wrong again. That’s how we know we’re alive: we’re wrong. Maybe the best thing would be to forget being right or wrong about people and just go along for the ride. But if you can do that - well, lucky you.”—