We started out the week with Kinukitty’s review of the fetishy yaoi Kiss Your Hair.

For July 4, Richard Cook provided a history of Captain America in covers.

Erica Friedman talked about her childhood love for Classics Illustrated (and in comments various Utilitarians debate the worth of Jane Austen.)

Ng Suat Tong discussed Jim Woodring and the world of the Unifactor.

Alex Buchet discusses his own racism in light of Tintin’s.

I discussed the relationship between interviews and criticism, prompting an epic attack in comments from our esteemed proprietor, Gary Groth. Jeet Heer and Tom Spurgeon throw a few punches as well.

Vom Marlowe and her mother explain why Wonder Woman’s new costume sucks.

Caroline Small discusses the art deco illustrations of John Vassos.

And Robert Stanley Martin’s Frazetta thread went on and on and on, with further contributions from Robert, Jesse Hamm, Domingos Isabelinho, Charles Reece, and others. As those who read the TCJ message board have grown to expect, Mike Hunter appears to be the last man talking at the end….

Utilitarians Everywhere
At the Chicago Reader I discuss what’s wrong with experts.

Willie Sutton was famously quoted as saying that he robbed banks “because that’s where the money is.” We go to experts because they’re the ones with the expertise. Sure, we figure out that water is wet and the floor is hard on our own, but it’s not long after we’re up and walking that we start relying on outside sources for information. Electricity turns the lights on, seat belts save lives, the earth is round—for most of us most of the time the basic assumptions of our lives are based on expert knowledge. Which is to say that a lot of what we think we know isn’t knowledge at all, but faith. When the laptop stops working most of us call the tech guy out of childish hope, just as a medieval peasant with a poisoned well might look for a witch to burn.

At Splice Today I express some mild appreciation for the new Kylie Minogue album.

So I hate it, right? Well, not exactly. This album is not good, but I don’t resent its existence. In part, that’s because of the resolute lack of pretension; Aphrodite is rote, but it isn’t going for anything but rote. Kylie isn’t trying to share her pain like Keyshia Cole; she’s not trying to be edgy like Lady Gaga; honestly, she doesn’t even seem like she’s trying to be sexy. You wouldn’t think you could declare, “I am Aphrodite!” without some concupiscent intent, but Minogue pulls it off through sheer plastic anonymity. This is the goddess of love as showgirl Barbie.

Other Links

I enjoyed this article about word balloons in manga and American comics.

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