The Great Work Begins

I’m so excited.

obama acceptance speech

The roomie and I watched him being sworn in, and I definitely got teary. I’m still trying to make myself understand the fact that there is now a government in place that I’m not bitterly at odds with. For people in my age group, the Bush administration has been the only political reality in our adult lives. We’re used to being angry, unheard, fed up, all the time.

Not anymore, fuckers. Things really are changing. I really do believe it.

Obama’s (amazing) speech, his call for citizen action and civic responsibility and rebuilding, reminded me of the end of Angels in America:

The world only spins forward. We will be citizens. The time has come. . . The Great Work Begins.

To borrow the words of the religious, AMEN. And speaking of we merry atheists, how awesome is it that Obama included “non-believers” in his description of the American spiritual gamut? Love it. Love him. Love it all.

Here’s to the future!

Another Friday night in Allston

Today was an unusually collectively drunken Friday night in ol’ Rock City. I mean, every Friday night in Allston is collectively drunken, but tonight is one the nutsiest I’ve seen since the BU kids moved back in August. Maybe everyone’s still celebrating election fun? Who knows.

Anyway, having just returned from my jerb–seeing a play, that is (btdubs-Pinter is so badass)–I was not in on the boozelry; but I did get to overhear some singularly classic lines whilst walking Tuck around the block. A sampling:

GUY: …And then I said to her, ‘I may suck at flip cup, but you suck at life.’


DUDE 1: Dude, we’re gonna rage so hard.
DUDE 2: We’re gonna rage SO HARD!
DUDE 3: We’re gonna rage even HARDER, because we know there’s pictures being taken!

…and then my dog tried to eat a condom off the sidewalk. Like I said, classic.


Went to see the Decemberists last night at the Orpheum, which was about exactly as totally amazing as I had hoped it would be. Colin Meloy was in an uncharacteristically jubilant mood, on accounta happy-yay-election-future! It was an experience, watching the swarm of hipsters in the audience slowly learning to square themselves with all this newborn optimism.

Having tossed a life-sized cardboard cutout of Obama into the audience midshow (“He belongs to the people!”), the band closed with “Sons and Daughters,” a sort of let’s-all-run-away-and-build-a-utopia song. It was written smack in the middle of the Dubyah tenure, but now it’s got a whole new color: let’s-all-stay-here-and-build-a-utopia! I was up in the balcony, but I watched Colin call the floor audience onto the stage, where a massive sing-along of the refrain (Here all the bombs fade away) ended the night. I’ll admit, I got pretty choked up. Oooh, someone got it on tape:

OK, OK, I swear I’ll stop with all this Obama mushiness and return to our regulary-scheduled snark n’ bile next post.

I like the sound of that… Snark n’ Bile. That should really be a dog food brand or something.

But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

We did it. We fucking did it. Barack Obama is going to be the President of the United States.

For the first time in a long time I can honestly say that I am looking forward to the future. There’s no irony, no double meaning, no seedy underbelly. This is just good. Good things really happen. There’s a lot I could say, but something like this leaves me at a loss for words. So I’ll let Maya Angelou say it for me.

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise

R.I.P. Opus the penguin

Listening to: “Everyday is Like Sunday” – Morrissey

It’s election day, yes, and you need to go vote. GO VOTE GO VOTE GO VOTE.


In other news (wait, there’s other news?), Berkeley Breathed, the legendary cartoonist who brought us Bloom County, Outland, and Opus, all starring an earnest-eyed penguin and his fellows, has officially ended his run. After Calvin & Hobbes, this was my favorite comic strip. As a kid, it was my first introduction to political issues and lying naked in the periwinkle alike.

In this interview from Salon, Breathed talks about why he thinks his brand of gentler satire can’t survive intact in our increasingly sharp-toothed, snark-saturated cultural landscape:

It’s not so much dark times now, as profane and loud. Satire you’ll have, oh dear me, indeedy yes. “Vomitous” and “awash” are two words that come to mind. It used to be that everyone would be famous for 15 minutes. How antediluvian. Rather, everyone will now want a satirical YouTube film with 15 megabytes.

Satire we’ll have. Rather, the real dearth in our world will be sweetness, comfort, thoughtfulness and civility…

There’ll always be great, classic cartooning. There’ll also be radio. Concept rock albums. Theatrical movie dramas for intelligent adults. Little kids riding bicycles down a neighborhood street without a grown-up. Family dinner hours. Eleven-year-old girls who dress like children. Instant coffee. Buggy whips.

They’ll just be much harder to find.

The very, absolute last comic strip characters destined to become true household words across America were invented 23 years ago: Calvin & Hobbes. There are and will be no more new ones.

That’s a technology and cultural issue. Not a talent issue…

For the old “Bloom County” fans who take me as a cold-heart cynic about my cartoon, know that I made the mistake of playing Puccini’s “Madam Butterfly” at midnight while I was drawing Opus for the very, final, last time last week and I got rather stupid. I’ll just leave it said that way. It’s an odd business.

Here’s to ya, ol’ penguin ol’ buddy.


Righto. Off to volunteer at an Obama phone bank! I’m crossing all my appendages and knocking on piles and piles of wood.

Political coverage, and other diversions

Listening to: “Freddie Freeloader” – Miles Davis

I never thought the day would come when I’d say this, but: I’ve become a political junkie. But I’ve always hated politics. What is wrong with me? I’ve been asking myself this question in between sessions of checking the polls, watching clips from the Rachel Maddow Show, witnessing Sarah Palin fuck up again and again and again, and looking at photos of Obama being gosh dern cute. (I know, I’m a filthy, filthy liberal aren’t I? Oh yeah, baby, you liiike it.)

But why is this my new form of online procrastination? What happened to photos of narwhales, minimalist webcomics, obscure music blogs and anonymous people’s impotent rage? Why do I care so goddamn much about this goddamn fucking election?

There’s probably a longer answer, but the short answer is that Barack Obama is the first politician in years that hasn’t struck me as a total dickbag. ((It helps, of course, that the competition is sooo dickbaggy.)) In fact, I really think I like him. He’s actually an inspiring, intelligent-seeming guy who actually makes me feel kind of good about America–not what it is now, lord knows–but what it could be. Like when he says stuff like this. He really does work as if he lived in the early days of a better nation (That’s an Alasdair Gray quote, by the way, swiped off the side of the Scottish Parliament building in Edinburgh).

All this keeping up with the news has even made me try to, well, keep up with the news. I started puttering around some major news sources’ homepages to see who thought what was important. A snapshot of some pages’ headlines, around midnight EST:

The NY Times is all about how a circus ringmaster is retiring. The BBC wants us to know that Communism is trendy again. The Guardian’s on about a PM embezzling from the Russian government. The Washington Post talks about some botched federal contracts. The Boston Globe’s top coverage is the Secretary General of the UN’s speech at Harvard. The LA Times highlights a piece about the President of France’s crisis-handling capabilities. The Times of India has what should arguably be everyone’s headline — the launch of India’s first moon mission. Al Jazeera, oddly enough, centerpieces Obama leaving the campaign trail. The Wall Street Journal highlights his edge in the polls over McCain. USA Today offers a dreaded trend piece about US travelers abroad getting grilled on politics. Le Monde in France spotlights a doctor shortage. The China Daily’s top story is Bush’s talks with President Hu. The Chicago Tribune talks about sadistic local cops. South Africa’s News 24 covers a fatal plane crash.

Moral of the story(s)? No two agendas are alike. Obviously, papers are more localcentric. But even take a look at the American papers alone, and you see a very different set of priorities.


OK, I just watched the Palin-Drew Griffin interview on CNN, and I’m too mad to write anything more that’s even remotely coherent. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more useless journalist than Griffin. They might as well’ve let a Teletubbie interview her. She twisted Joe Biden’s words so viciously, and dodged questions, and Griffin nodded and smiled, and she lied and lied and–OH GOD I HATE HER. I have to go stick my head in a tub of ice cubes now.