Utilitarians Here

The big news this week is that sometime in the next couple of months HU is going to be moving over to TCJ.com. You can find more details at the link…but the short version is that the content will stay the same; only the URL will change.

This week started out with the third part of my discussion of comics, gender, and gayness.

Vom Marlowe expressed her surprised but enthusiastic affection for Marvel Adventures Spider-Man.

I had a more mixed reaction to the Giffen/Hamner revamp of Blue Beetle (check out comments for a dissent from popular and talented artist Gene Ha.

Richard sneered at Strange Tales and Wednesday Comics alike.

I claimed that Andy Helfer’s Malcolm X is better than Crumb’s Kafka.

Kinukitty praised Waning Moon despite the squicky boy in cat ears.

Vom Marlowe explained how librarians have made it easier to find graphic novels.

And finally this week’s music download featuring everyone from Bobby Gentry to Frost Like Ashes is up. If you missed last weeks shoegaze extravaganza, it’s still available here.

We’re getting started a smidge late this week, but tomorrow we’ll begin a roundtable on race in comics, featuring discussions of Marston’s Wonder Woman (of course), Lee/Kirby Fantastic Four, American Born Chinese, and more. The estimable Steven Grant will be guest-blogging as part of the roundtable…so check back throughout the week!

Utilitarians Everywhere

I have an article on Reason about the new movie, Men Who Stare At Goats.

It’s no secret that New Age mumbo-jumbo is the driving force behind every third Hollywood movie, from Field of Dreams to Fight Club to Star Wars. The Men Who Stare At Goats may begin by mocking this impulse, but it’s careful to leave itself an out: In the end, it never firmly declares that Lyn’s powers are bullshit. Indeed, if the movie begins with skepticism enlivened by a cutesy hedge of belief, it ends with full-on gullibility, gilded with an occasional patina of irony. Thus, in the climactic scene, army soldiers inadvertently tripping on LSD wander around harmlessly while guru Bill Django frees captured Iraqis from their torture chambers. As he flings open the door, he triumphantly declares “in the name of the New Earth Army and loving people everywhere, I’m liberating you!”

Again, if the analogy were to work, the freed Iraqis should instantly be shot—possibly by some of those tripping soldiers carrying guns.

My review of the 1950s Bill Monroe boxet from JSP is at Metropulse.

And my review of a 70s kraut novelty record, Dracula’s Music Cabaret is over at Madeloud.

Other Links
In response to my Comics in the Closet series, Gene Phillips makes an entertaining case for the gayness of Captain America.

Steven Grant has a nice discussion of the Comics Journal’s heydey in light of the recent announcement that it is going to a bi-annual format.

Andrew Sullivan has a really lovely piece on race in the U.S. from his British perspective.