Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #038: F-Bombs Away!

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #038: F-Bombs Away!

Frack. Frick. Fug. Frigging. Fenorking. Freaking. Funked-up. Boffing. Boinking. Deuced. The F-Word. The F-Bomb!

Generally speaking, these euphemisms are substitutes for the unholiest of all words,“fuck.” When you hear any of these terms — depending upon the context, of course — your brain understands them as “fuck.” Simply reading the word will send you straight to Heck, so I guess if you made it this far I owe you an apology.

Euphemisms are needless conduits to reality. They don’t work unless the real word already is in your head. Cut the cheese and say what you mean.

This past Sunday, Bill Nye The Science Guy dropped the F-Bomb (seriously; that term is far more banal than the source term) on Last Week With John Oliver something like five times in five minutes. It was hilarious, but the fact that it was just proves the word still has some power. This astonishes me, as it achieved commonplacehood a couple generations ago. Nonetheless, it persists.

We shouldn’t need these words to shock. Pick up a newspaper. Turn on the news. Take a look at your retirement fund. Think about all those people who voted for Trump. That’s the stuff that should shock you. The fact that most of the near-infinite circumlocutions truly are sophomoric shows how impotent the word fuck really is.

Yet these words continue to offend those who make the conscious decision to be offended, to show that they are superior to the riff-raff because they are better, because they think euphemisms show off that superiority. These are people who keep their noses so high in the sky they would drown in a light drizzle. They are elitists who want to delineate their moral dominance. They have no functional belief system other than their own elitism; they haunt the rosters of both the left and the right.

A week ago today, the National Review — one of the comparatively sane conservative publications — published a well-written essay by Heather Wilhelm, who probably is a very nice person with an obvious sense of humor, but who probably wouldn’t like me very much.

The piece was called “The Banality of the F-Bomb,” and she starts with several instances of the use of the word — starting with Maurice Chevalier, for which she deserves serious props. But Ms. Wilhelm establishes her moral superiority by asking “What is wrong with everyone? Have we lost our national “edit” button? (I’ll answer my own question, because the answer is obvious: Yes.)”

No. No, we haven’t. We’ve simply gone honest on your ass. We’ve accepted the fact that times change and some words that previously were unacceptable are now acceptable and other words that previously were acceptable are now unacceptable. Fuck is in common usage, but we now have the N-word to replace a previously common phrase.

Is that progress? Not really. It’s fashion. By 2076 other words will be verboten and some others will get a reprieve. Calm down; I’m not taking a position on which words should be good and which words should be bad. I’m simply pointing out the vicissitudes of history.

If a single word causes you to foam at the mouth and writhe around in an epileptic fit, that’s on you. If that word causes the overwhelming majority of people to foam at the mouth and writhe around in an epileptic fit, that’s on society.

Besides, despite common liberal philosophy words in and of themselves really are harmless. If I say the word fuck to you, you will still be the same person you were the moment before and it will be your reaction that might be childish. It’s concepts that are dangerous. I’m much more concerned about White Nationalists than I am about whether they use the N-Word itself or simply say “N-Word” as illegitimate proof that they are not racist. If they want to call me a kike, that’s fine. Forewarned is forearmed.

I agree with Ms. Wilhelm’s final observation that “Americans will get bored with using it.” Well, not bored so much as running out the fashion clock. Of course, what goes around comes around.

Euphamisers are shitheads. Is that the S-Word, or the S-Bomb? I dunno. Fuck ‘em.

• • • • •

Mr. Gold will be joining much of the Pop Culture Squad tomorrow (Friday) through Sunday at the East Coast Comicon at New Jersey’s Meadowlands Expo Center. He doesn’t make as many shows as he used to, so if you’re in the area drop by and tell him to bugger off.

Brainiac On Banjo #037: Pat Mills and the Mitzvah Patrol

Brainiac On Banjo #037: Pat Mills and the Mitzvah Patrol

Back when books were still printed on papyrus, those of us in comics fandom did what the Ashkenazis call a mitzvah. We started honoring the men and women in the comics world shortly after the time they had been been identified by Congress, the Saturday Evening Post, Reader’s Digest and Dr. Frederick Wertham as something akin to child molesters. We showed these talented people that their work entertained us and maybe even inspired us, and that we appreciated them for those efforts. These were creative people who, at parties and family gatherings, would self-identity as “commercial artists” in order to avoid being ostracized.

Most of us continue to shed light on creators who have not received their proper due. One such gifted human is well-known in his native United Kingdom, but here in the States… not so much. He probably doesn’t feel wronged, and if I’m helping to strip away some of that anonymity, I owe him an apology. But, hey, he signs his work. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #037: Pat Mills and the Mitzvah Patrol”

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #037: Weed Prefer Reason

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #037: Weed Prefer Reason

My local newspaper (those things we used to wrap fish) says “Many Democrats view (marijuana) legalization as an opportunity to reverse some of the effects of the War on Drugs, increase state revenue and invest in urban communities. But Republicans and some Democrats believe the social costs of legalization – particularly concerns about driving under the influence, teen use and addiction – outweigh the benefits.”

Well, if that’s true — and it’s right there in black-and-white, so it must be true — then Republicans and some Democrats are a bunch of idiots who have been living under a rock… and that comment embraces truthiness. It’s like these people were hiding in church until the flood receded. America’s become a different place, whether these busybodies like it or not. Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #037: Weed Prefer Reason”

Brainiac On Banjo #036: Women Unite — But In Mongolia, Hold The Soda!

Brainiac On Banjo #036: Women Unite — But In Mongolia, Hold The Soda!

Avengers: Endgame passed the $2,100,000,000 mark ten days after release, so in honor of that momentous event, here is a photo of my all-time favorite superhero team-up, even though it has yet to happen on-screen.

Now that the Avengers movies have made about as much money as your average Wall Street cocaine dealer, I think we can say the “women heroes don’t sell movies” bullshit is behind us. It’s time to do the A-Force movie.

Seriously. It’s well past time, but before this weekend the banks might not have financed such a film. I think an A-Force movie will inspire more young girls than a woman president, though that is not an either/or proposition. And the prospect of women getting their boyfriends to take them to a big super-hero movie epic is the very meaning of “turnabout is fair play.” Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #036: Women Unite — But In Mongolia, Hold The Soda!”

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #036: It’s The Planet That Got Small

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #036: It’s The Planet That Got Small

For several billion years the planet Earth had grown just a bit more unusual every day, but for the past several years overall global weirdness has been multiplying faster than amoebas on Viagra. In the past week or two, we have enjoyed or endured so much wacky stuff that it now seems commonplace.

For example, the voters in the Ukraine elected a new president who happens to be a comedian and an actor without any governing experience. But seriously folks, he did play the part of a teacher who accidentally became president. He might have been the most qualified candidate and he might become a great president, but as an American I’m a bit shy when it comes to television stars taking over the reins of government. To his credit, President-elect Volodymr Zelenskiy said to his supporters “I promise I won’t mess up.” Make the Ukraine great again!

Meanwhile, Peru’s former president Alan Garcia had an amusing response to his forthcoming arrest in a multi-billion dollar corruption scandal: he took out his gun and blew his brains out. Mister Garcia was but one of four former presidents involved in this scandal, but he’s the only one to have committed suicide thus far.  Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #036: It’s The Planet That Got Small”

Brainiac On Banjo #035: Niles Caulder’s Doppelgängers

Brainiac On Banjo #035: Niles Caulder’s Doppelgängers

When it comes to the DC Universe streaming series Doom Patrol, the world can be divided up into three groups: those who have never seen it, those who have seen it and hate it, and those who have seen it and love it.

It’s exceptionally weird and based (self-referentially) more upon Grant Morrison’s work on the comics series than the original Arnold Drake / Bob Haney / Bruno Premiani creation. Why not? We’ve got plenty of straight-forward superhero dramas on television. On streaming. Whatever. It is clear to me that everybody gets paid by the number of times Brendan Fraser utters a curse word, and that might upset the uptights. After the pilot episode, there isn’t much nudity or on-screen sex. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #035: Niles Caulder’s Doppelgängers”

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #035: The Great American Crossroads

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #035: The Great American Crossroads

Nancy Pelosi has been promoting the position that we should not be seeking the impeachment and conviction of the President of the United States at this time. She makes some good points about how impeachment would be very divisive and will energize — and arguably grow — the President’s so-called base. It is clear that, at this time even if the House votes for impeachment, the Republican-controlled Senate will not vote to convict and remove.

But the increasing moral outrage against each new revelations about our President’s lies, manipulation, and outright thuggery shows a growing desire for Congress to do its job and hold hearings that could lead to an impeachment vote, and that if the Republican Senate refuses to convict no matter what the evidence, we should see which ones will go on the record against the laws and values of our nation. That, alone, could give the Democrats control of the Senate a year from January.

That is a dichotomy of Nietzschean proportions. Perhaps it would be a bit easier to wrap ourselves around Pelosi’s position had she revealed the political mathematics behind her position.  Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #035: The Great American Crossroads”

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #034: Barr None!

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #034: Barr None!

As you read these words, and thank you for that, you are one up on me. You’re reading this after the Barr Report is released. I’m writing this the evening before the Barr Report is released.

I’ll bet you don’t know a hell of a lot more about this report than I do, or I did last night, which, for me, is right now. Can we predict future history based upon past history? George Santayana be damned! Have a little patience!

Then again, one person’s patience is another person’s deadline.

It is my belief that the Barr Report isn’t going to do squat aside from raising the volume of our already ostentatious national discourse. It’s not the Mueller Report; it’s a gaily colored, heavily-censored phone book marked up by our nation’s most talented obfuscator, William Barr. Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #034: Barr None!”

Brainiac on Banjo #034: A Matter of Perspective

Brainiac on Banjo #034: A Matter of Perspective

If you’ve ever had any inclination to be an artist, or if you’re old and decrepit enough to have had art class in grammar school, you probably received at least a rudimentary education in topics such as perspective, gravity and physics. Drawing remains (for the time being) a two-dimensional experience and so the pencil pushers in the comic book medium must figure out how to represent our three-dimensional world in a medium that lacks visual depth.

Our friends in the closely-related field of animation figured this out long before most of us were born. You ignore physics and keep the story running so fast the viewer is undaunted by technicalities. Bob Clampett’s Porky In Wackyland – the best cartoon ever – employs this concept in nearly every frame. It’s the very purpose of the cartoon. Chuck Jones’ Road Runner series, for the same studio, uses perspective manipulation as a running gag throughout the run: Wile E. Coyote runs off a cliff but does not fall until he realizes he’s run off that cliff. Then he falls into a chasm so deep it would make the Grand Canyon cross its legs. He survives the fall even though the intensity of the drop is so great he’s pounded into the ground – still alive – and usually gets hit on the head by a chunk of that cliff.

In this, Wile E. has defied all three of the laws of motion. I think Isaac Newton would have laughed his ass off, but then again, he very well might have been deeply offended.

We’ve seen all kinds of wacky science in comics. Sometimes, defying physics comes off just fine. After all, if The Hulk really existed and he really could get from point A to point B by scrunching down and leaping into the air, that “equal but opposite reaction” thing would cause quite a stir. So which laws of physics do you obey, and which can you ignore? Continue reading “Brainiac on Banjo #034: A Matter of Perspective”

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #033: Some Of My Best Friends…

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #033: Some Of My Best Friends…

Lately, our nation’s Despot-In-Chief has been facing growing accusations of anti-Semitism. On one hand, acts of anti-Semitism in America have been growing faster than the measles outbreaks in Orthodox neighborhoods. On the other hand, we have a tendency to think that just because a person repeatedly shows bigoted behavior towards various groups – in Trump’s case, Muslims, Hispanics, Africans and most all other people who are imbued more eumelanin than Casper the Friendly Ghost – they must be bigoted towards all groups.

That is just silly.

Clearly, Trump is also highly bigoted towards women, and, arguably, towards attractive women and women in power. He is bigoted towards anybody who vocalizes opinions that differ from his, even though his opinions frequently change within the course of his speeches, and sometimes within his sentences.

But is he bigoted towards Jews? That is an interesting question.

“Hey,” Trump might well say, “Some of my best friends are Jewish.” Then he would point to Stephen Miller, the juggler best known for simultaneously being both a Jew and a Nazi, adding “Yeah, that guy jewed down the price of those cages. He saved us a fortune.” Miller would be at home with the likes of Emil Maurice and General Erhard Milch.

Miller is a toxic turd. He is the mastermind of Trump’s immigration policy – the modern-day pogrom – and he got that job after years of stellar service to Jeff Sessions and Michele Bachmann. If we had been in a declared war and we had lost that war, Miller would be in chains shivering before Spencer Tracy. Yup, Miller is Jewish. He self-defines as a white nationalist, so his understanding of American history is negligible. Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #033: Some Of My Best Friends…”