Picks of the Week

“…you’re apt to find your thoughts returning again and again to a certain dark box in a certain Hilton half a world and three careers away, to the torture and fear and offer of reprieve and a certain Young Voter named John McCain’s refusal to violate a Code. Because there were no techs’ cameras in that box, no aides or consultants, no paradoxes or gray areas; nothing to sell. There was just one guy and whatever in his character sustained him. This is a huge deal. In your mind, that Hoa Lo box becomes sort of a dressing room with a star on the door, the private place behind the stage where one imagines “the real John McCain” still lives. But the paradox here is that this box that makes McCain “real” is: impenetrable. Nobody gets in or out. That’s why, however many behind-the-scenes pencils get put on the case, be apprised that a “profile” of John McCain is going to be just that: one side, exterior, split and diffracted by so many lenses there’s way more than one man to see. Salesman or leader or neither or both: the final paradox — the really tiny central one, way down deep inside all the other boxes and enigmas that layer McCain — is that whether he’s For Real depends now less on what’s in his heart than on what might be in yours. Try to stay awake.”

– David Foster Wallace, on McCain 2000.

The picks of the week from around the web. A little late this time around, due to traveling and such.

  • “The Weasel, Twelve Monkeys And The Shrub”. Remembering David Foster Wallace at his sad death by his own hand on Friday, I’d like to hype this piece from Rolling Stone on the McCain campaign trail in 2000. While perhaps a little overlong, it is not only eloquent, but presents singular moments of empathetic exposition, acute observation and clever analysis. It also depressingly reminds us how McCain 2008 is nothing like its precursor.
  • The Comics Journal enters Deitch World! For what is surely the best issue of the Journal in a long while, Gary Groth talks to the cartooning family of the Deitches: Gene, Kim, Simon and Seth. Only there wasn’t room enough in the magazine to print the entirety of the great interview with Kim, so here’s some more.
  • Berlatsky & Crippen. Two remarkable comics critics expand and join forces. Crippen has signed up with Berlatsky’s blog The Hooded Utilitarian and starts out with his 2007 memoir of fanboydom “True Believer”, while Berlatsky opens his new column at Comixology, A Pundit in Every Panopticon, with an essay on Andres Serrano’s Piss Christ and the transcendence of art. Good stuff.
  • Noboru Ôshiro’s “Train Journey.” Matt Thorn brings us scans of an astonishing work of exploratory sequential art, surely a precursor to Yuichi Yokoyama’s great Travel. Don’t miss it!
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