We started the week off with Richard Cook’s discussion of the story of St. Catherine from the Big Book of Martyrs.

Ng Suat Tong skewered Usamaru Furuya’s Genkaku Picasso.

Sean Michael Robinson discussed the child porn conviction of Steve Kutzner.

Vom Marlowe reviewed Allie Brosh’s webcomic Hyperbole and a Half.

And finally I discussed Manny Farber, termite art, white elephant art, and Galileo.

Utilitarians Everywhere

At Comixology I talk about Escher, time, space, and Dr. Manhattan.

Of course, you don’t really need to make a choice for one or the other. The title of the piece may indicate that there are a bunch of reptiles here, but much of the enjoyment of the image — and of Escher’s work in general — is the sense of moving pieces caught in a pleasurably regimented dance. Even if it’s not technically one reptile moving, the individuals are nonetheless interchangeable. You know that the reptile climbing the triangle is going to get to the top of the D & D die and that it’s going to blow smoke out of its nose when it gets there just as its predecessor did. The reptile blowing smoke will climb onto the little cup; the reptile on the cup will crawl back into the abstract pattern. Whether the image is showing a sequence as a comic would or merely implying it, the point is still that time and identity are flattened out across space.

At Splice Today I review Cool It!, a movie about the dangers of overreacting to climate change.

Cool It has more ambitions than merely setting the record straight on global warming, though. One of the talking heads that Cool It drops on the unsuspecting viewer notes with the slightly condescending chuckle of the large-brained that Gore’s film, An Inconvenient Truth, was a “great piece of propaganda.” No doubt it was. So is this. Cool It uses, in fact, many of the same hagiographic tactics as its more famous predecessor. We see Bjorn biking healthily through Denmark, chatting earnestly with impoverished children in third world nations, and puncturing bloviating politicians with his rapier wit. We get porn-movie close-ups of his book as voiceovers speak sternly of its controversial and brave counter-intuitiveness. The movie even trots out Lomborg’s Alzheimer-afflicted mother for a few scenes—because nothing adds depth to a wonk’s character like a little family tragedy.

Other Links

Suat pointed out to me this really interesting article in praise of abstraction at Comets Comets by Blaise Larmee.

VM wanted to let folks know that the anatomy book she reviewed a while back is now downloadable.

R. Fiore has a beautifully snide article up about Drew Friedman.

And this is from Wax Audio, who is a fucking genius.

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