On HU

I started out the week by reviewing the Mike Sekowsky run on Wonder Woman.

The discussion of whether or not manga critics are too nice continued with some snark by m. of coffeeandink and a long, long comments thread.

Kinukitty reviews the yaoi Sense and Sexuality.

Suat talked about problems with Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms. There’s a long comment thread as well, with Kate Dacey, Jog, Derik Badman, Bill Randall and others commenting.

Vom Marlowe reviews a good white ink.

Utilitarians Elsewhere

At the Chicago Reader I reviewed Garry Wills’ new book Bomb Power.

There’s no doubt that the bomb and nuclear fears are regularly marshaled in defense of unlimited executive power. And Wills makes a good case that the Manhattan Project provided institutional impetus for, and training in, federal secrecy. But his claim that the bomb “caused a violent break in our whole government” is less persuasive.

He argues, for instance, that our foreign policy following World War II was in large part predicated on our need for missile bases—a claim I don’t see any reason to dispute. But in the course of that argument he also states that the need for bases “began a long history of friendly relations with dictators.” This neatly elides America’s extended, inglorious prebomb encouragement of tyrannies abroad, starting with our support for the slave-holding regime in 18th-century Haiti and finding perhaps its most spectacular expression in our brutal and extended battle against a popular insurgency in the Philippines in the early 1900s.

At metropulse I review a number of recent Thai luk thung release.

Luk thung is often characterized as Thai country music, which is both accurate and misleading. It’s accurate in that, yes, luk thung is mostly created and consumed by folks from rural backgrounds, and its lyrics reflect their concerns—the love left at home, the joys of rural cooking, the shock of moving to the city and discovering that your new urban flame is a he rather than a she, etc.

It’s misleading, though, in that luk thung doesn’t sound anything like country music. It sounds like film music exotica. Also garage rock. And like J-pop and Bollywood and AM radio balladry. And like hip-hop. In other words, and very much unlike American country, luk thung is almost pathologically omnivorous.

Bert Stabler and I discuss Inglorious Bastards and Zizek and other things.

At tcj.com I review two crappy manga: Biomega and Ikigami.

At Madeloud I review Drudkh’s fantastic first album, Forgotten Legends.

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