Pop Culture Gadabout
Friday, December 29, 2006
      ( 12/29/2006 06:38:00 AM ) Bill S.  

"THAT'S JUST THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG THAT SHOULD SINK THEIR TITANIC LUNACY!" – Whew! Though Ned Sonntag had alerted me to its existence last week, it wasn't until Heidi MacDonald posted a BoingBoing link to the "Freedom in Peril" NRA tract that I braved pdf. download to actually read the thing. Some pretty crackbrained stuff here: though purportedly written in defense of Second Amendment Freedoms, it quickly devolves into a screed against the Vast Left Wing Conspiracy that somehow manages to encompass the media, the UN, hairy-legged feminist animal activists, George-Soros-as-the-anti-Christ and more. Artist Chris Gall's agitprop faux woodcut art is sure nice to look at, though.

Been reading a lotta Greg Irons underground comix for a TCJ review this week, and though it's certainly not fair to contrast the comix work of an artist that spans his career with one piece by another, I'm gonna do it anyway. Irons – whether working in conjunction with scripter Tom Veitch or on his lonesome – was one of the most trenchant of the comix era's dirty long-haired leftists. His caricatures and characterizations of the figures of the day were unflinchingly vicious and, as seen in his work for the eco-horror s-f comic Slow Death, he was surpassed by no one when it came to imagining vast corporate/political conspiracies. And yet . . . for all the loudness of his ug screeds, another aspect that repeatedly emerged from Irons' work was a willingness to acknowledge how cranky he was sounding – and occasionally even accept that everything he was penning could be full of shit.

You see that in other ug work of the seventies (think of Crumb's occasional lamentations about this here Modern America): a sense that for all the ranting and fear-mongering, they really really hope in their deepest hearts that they're all wrong. Perhaps it's a matter of an essential difference between liberal and conservative – or maybe just the division 'tween True Believers and habitual Cartoon Iconoclasts – but I get no comparable sense of doubt when I read a right-wing tract like "Freedom in Peril." Whenever a piece of out-there John Birch-y propaganda comes up on the web, you can pretty much guarantee that someone'll defend it by saying, "Yeah, well, lefties indulge in overstated agitprop, too!" True enough. But at least they know to occasionally poke fun at themselves . . .

NOTE: Over at Journalista, Dirk Deppey rightly criticizes the "graphic novel" label that's been misapplied to this work by several bloggers who should know better.
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Pop cultural criticism - plus the occasional egocentric socio/political commentary by Bill Sherman (popculturegadabout AT yahoo.com).

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