Three things about pictures and capitalism…

1:One of these lives has a future…

Here’s o good example of one of the bones that soul-sucking multinationals throw us as a reward for our craven subservience: I’ve just discovered that it is possible for me to get daily comic strips on my spiffy new cell phone. The only one I’ve subscribed to so far is Ernie Bushmiller’s Nancy. The interface provides a peculiar pleasure: the strip fills the whole screen, so one is forced to scroll left to right bit by bit, making the final pay-off panel even more mysterious and surprising, since there’s no way to anticipate it with your peripheral vision. It’s like the way I used to read as a kid, nose stuck in the comic, hanging on every panel – inhabiting the universe of the strip. Bushmiller’s Euclidean rigor is also perfectly suited for the low res format – the drawings seem even more solid.
Nancy itself is an odd odd strip the more you think about it. As beloved by a certain postwar intelligentsia as Krazy Kat was for an earlier generation, it seemed to have a particular appeal for gay men. Why? Aside from rough trade icon Sluggo, Nancy herself is oddly gendered; a girl but not really femmy. Her relationship with Sluggo is one of cohorts and seems under sexed. The kids in Peanuts, by way of contrast seem specifically wedded to gender, so much so that Peppermint Patty becomes clearly legible as a dyke. But jokes in Nancy rarely if ever revolve around sexual situations – usually they revolve around visual anomalies.
One other thing – I’ve wondered lately if Nancy’s bombshell Aunt Fritzi Ritz is the inspiration for the character Fritzi in Gilbert Hernandez’s porn comic Birdland. In the background of the photo: Neo is implanted by agents in The Matrix.

2: Gone daddy gone…

Across the street from my office they’re tearing down the entire block, except for the new Conde Nast building. This is the most recent phase of the “revitalization” of Times Square, a dreary exercise in corporate culture that uses nostalgia as a weapon against true remembering. One of the casualities, as you can see from the picture I took above is The National Debt Clock:

The clock was put up in 1989 by real estate developer Seymour Durst. It was stopped for a while in 2000, when the debt was actually going down. Luckily our current administration’s policies quickly put it back in business again. Unluckily, Douglas Durst (Seymour’s son) recently completed all the negotiations necessary to buy up the remainder of the block and begin construction on a 40 story office tower,the anchor client of which will be Bank of America.
Having had my own battles with debt, I would always get an anxious knot in my gut when I looked up at the debt clock, and often had fantasies about being able to just pay off “my family’s portion”. Now If I want this same guilt/rage fix I have to go online to:
Another casualty is Peep-O-Rama:

one of my fave peep booth locations. I tracked it’s evolution from booths that showed 8millimeter film loops through the final iteration of hundreds of channels of digital porn where one had to basically alternate feeding tokens through the slot with frantic channel hopping, with nary a chance for pud pulling between. As I watched the walls come down I thought about the thousands and thousands of men who passed through its doors and left their tribute on its mingy linoleum floors

3: And Finally…
What the fuck is up with that new Mascot for Six Flags?

They claim America has fallen in love with the spastic Swifty Lazar-esque corporate tool, who reminds me of something Catherine Deneuve had stuffed in the attic in The Hunger, and who disrupts peoples’ innocent, every-day lives by flailing and grimacing toothlessly to the Venga Boys’ We Like to Party. Only upside: his baldness makes it easy to locate the Mark of The Beast

29 thoughts on “Three things about pictures and capitalism…

  1. benjiej

    Every time a commercial comes on with the Six Flags guy I literally scream obscenities. He just creeps me out! Only a truly spectacular roller coaster will lure me back.

  2. eireangus

    Wow, I have walked by Peep-o-rama dozens of times. I’ve never been in, but I’ve thought about the guys dropping their loads in there. Hehehe.

    That guy from Six Flags is absolutely annoying!

  3. thornyc

    I was sorry you didn’t win this piece up for auction at eBay.

    Can you capture stills from the comic?

    Is it time for a Henry revival and reappreciation?

    Here’s a bonus Nancy which speaks to art (and perhaps to the movie The Exorcist), which you can get on a T-shirt here.

  4. furr_a_bruin

    If my current cell phone ever dies or is lost/stolen, I’m screwed.

    It’s getting increasingly difficult to get a model that includes Analog mode, and despite glowing claims by the various cell phone companies, there’s still a LOT of territory that has analog coverage but no digital. If I’ve gotten a cell phone so if my bike suffers a breakdown when I’m out on some country road, I want that [censored] thing to have access to every possible band to maximize my chances of being able to call for help!

  5. bikerbearmark

    Since losing my virginity on the floor of one at sweet sixteen, I will always have a special place in my heart for 8-milli film booths. Smells of freshly licked balls, sawed chipboard and that curious anxious/eager smell of guys desperate to get sucked but afraid to get caught; don’t even get me started on textures and tastes.

    As for the Six Flags guy, I think he’s great! He gives a fresh new outlook on all creepy old neighborhood uncles, and makes me look downright wholesome.

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