Author: Mike Gold

Brainiac On Banjo #056: “Wait Till They Get A Load Of…”

Brainiac On Banjo #056: “Wait Till They Get A Load Of…”

I really don’t like doing three columns in a row about the same subject, unless that subject is me. But some people are working hard to keep alive the spirit of Fredrick Wertham while exercising their unimpeachable right to be a self-righteous arbiter of what other people should enjoy.

Yes, I’m talking about Martin Scorsese. I love almost all of his work and regard him as one of the finest filmmakers in history, but that doesn’t mitigate against his talking anus. Worse, I now have cause to conflate Scorsese with Bill Maher.

Now, I like Maher as well and I’m with him on a lot of important issues. He does confuse me because our nation’s leading advocate for the legalization of marijuana really shouldn’t be so damn skinny. He should use more indica and less sativa, except on show days. But I digress.

Bill’s been rattling against superhero movies for many months now, and I think he continues this crusade strictly because us fanboys keep on getting in his face. This starts a vicious circle. Why is he still ragging on comic book movies when he should be in Washington getting arrested for fighting for what’s left of our the environment, like Jane Fonda? And now Marty Scorsese is in the frame.

My gripe is not that Scorsese and Maher dislike superhero movies. That’s their prerogative, even if they don’t see such movies. I don’t go to movies that seem unappealing, although if enough people whose opinions I respect suggest I check something out, I might.

Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #056: “Wait Till They Get A Load Of…””

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #060: The Man Who Destroyed Time

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #060: The Man Who Destroyed Time

“It starts when you’re always afraid.” – Stephen Stills, For What It’s Worth

At first, I thought it was just another sign of senility. You gotta expect that, I guess. Then, I thought I was having one of those LSD flashbacks I was promised a half-century ago. I briefly considered the possibility I slipped through a hole in the time-space continuum, but, damn, no such luck. I had to face the truth.

Donald J. Trump destroyed my sense of time.

And I am not alone. Not by any means. I might even be in the majority; that’s a unique experience for me. Certainly, you’ve noticed this yourself. If you watch any of the talking heads panel shows, you’ve heard others bitch about this. You’ll hear of something Trump did yesterday – yesterday! – and you’ll say to yourself “Oh, yeah. Damn. I thought that happened a couple weeks ago!”

It’s not disconcerting the first time, but after a while (obviously, sooner than you think) you begin to think of senility, flashbacks – if you’re a geriatric hippie – and that time warp thing. Once to accept the truth, you just shake your head, shrug your shoulders, and wonder if you can hold on until this particular Joker is gone. Even if you’re part of the 55% of Americans who disapprove of him, you’ve got to face this important fact:

Donald J. Trump broke time. Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #060: The Man Who Destroyed Time”

Brainiac On Banjo #055: Send In The Clowns? Why So Serious?

Brainiac On Banjo #055: Send In The Clowns? Why So Serious?

I hope you had a great weekend. Mine came down to choosing between going to see Joker, going to see It: Chapter Two, or standing in line at Popeye’s for a chicken sammich.

Instead, I stayed home and wrote this.

I didn’t see It: Chapter Two because: a) I’m not interested; I already know clowns are disgusting and evil, and b) not having seen the first one, I’m afraid I’d feel lost. I didn’t see Joker because I’m a pathetic fanboy who is annoyed that this Joker isn’t THE Joker and, besides, if I want to see mindless violence I’d fly down to Texas and watch people shoot unarmed black boys who have the audacity to testify against a cop who murdered a peaceful civilian in his own apartment. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #055: Send In The Clowns? Why So Serious?”

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #059: Beneath Contempt and Beyond the Pale

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #059: Beneath Contempt and Beyond the Pale

The Democratic Party keeps on telling us that most Americans are too stupid to understand the different between impeachment and an impeachment trial. Underestimating the public and coming off as if they are smarter than the average citizen is among the Democrat’s greatest failings, and, clearly, they have not learned the most important lesson from the 2016 campaign.

Like just about everything else, there’s some truth to this one, but it’s overstated. The impeachment process is easy to understand: the House acts as a grand jury, the Senate acts as the jury. It’s just that simple. Instead of calling the electorate ignorant, the Democrats should adopt this line as their mantra. Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #059: Beneath Contempt and Beyond the Pale”

Brainiac On Banjo #054: Masks Don’t Kill. Joker Kills.

Brainiac On Banjo #054: Masks Don’t Kill. Joker Kills.

As we await all the violence and mayhem at this weekend’s debut of Joker, theaters all across this great nation are advertising: “If you’re a dejected, pissed off incel who couldn’t get laid on the night they cure AIDS and you’ve got a gun, we’ve got the movie for you!!!”

There are problems we create, and there are other problems we create by trying to fix them. The law of unintended consequences reigns supreme, but that never stops us from baiting the tiger-of-the-month.

In anticipation of the latest DC movie that has little to do with DC Comics, movie theaters are banning their patrons from arriving in costumes, masks and/or make-up. As we all know, the mere sight of a Batman villain in costume causes Batfans to go batshit and reach for their AK-47s.

Now we see the gigantic and fan-favorite Alamo Drafthouse theater chain going to great lengths to promote how they’ll have “additional” security at their sundry Joker screenings. Yeah, that’ll stop shit just fine. A couple thousand people in a dark theater who are physically incapable of exiting the room in an emergency are going to be saved by a freshman rent-a-cop working for minimum wage. Happens all the time.

Give me a break. These measures are so insipid they don’t even qualify as band-aids. They address neither the problem of gun violence nor the problem of wandering vicious miscreants who are looking for an excuse to blow away the masses. All this so-called solution will do is promote the fact that the theater owners think this movie is so violent they should follow their insurance company’s orders and deploy useless measures that actually promote the anticipation of violence… and that little trick does more to foster evil than it does to prevent it while at the same time making a truckload of money.

Is Joker too violent? For that matter, what is too violent? We survived the genius of Sam Peckinpah, Quentin Tarantino, Walter Hill, Martin Scorsese, and John Ford. Their movies were violent. They keep on grinding out Evil Dead movies and RoboCop remakes. Brian DePalma hasn’t died for anybody’s sins. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #054: Masks Don’t Kill. Joker Kills.”

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #058: Counting Noses.

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #058: Counting Noses.

Willie Sutton

In case you’re thinking about a career in politics – and if so, there might be something seriously wrong with you – here’s the most important skill you will need to perfect. You will need to know how to count noses.

We have exactly two political parties. There is nothing in the Constitution about political parties, and therefore there is nothing in our establishing document limiting us to two. From time to time a new party starts up and takes its best shot but they just wind up splitting the vote. By way of example, if a person with ideals that tend to appeal to Democrats runs for president, it is possible that the newbie will strip away enough Democratic votes to throw the election to the Republicans, or vice versa. Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #058: Counting Noses.”

Brainiac On Banjo #053: Crisis On Infinite Heroes?

Brainiac On Banjo #053: Crisis On Infinite Heroes?

I got no time for a dozen / Six of you gotta go – Tuli Kupferberg, “My Bed Is Getting Crowded”

I enjoy the annual “Arrowverse” crossovers on the CW, where most of the DC characters who star in those sundry shows all get together to hop timelines and dimensions to fight, as Chickenman used to chirp, “crime and/or evil.” This year’s crossover certainly will be the biggest ever, and, if we’re just a bit lucky, the best.

Of course, by best I mean more fun. Coincidentally, Green Arrow, for whom the Arrowverse has been named, made his debut in DC’s More Fun Comics, but I digress. I’m not expecting Gone With The Wind here; I based upon the previous crossovers I’m expecting to have a good time.

This one is cleverly titled Crisis On Infinite Earths, borrowing the name, concept and logo design of Marv Wolfman and George Pérez’s game-changing miniseries. It was a brilliant and gutsy story that established the standard in all-inclusive event comics… even though the publisher completely pulled the rug out from under it by immediately rebooting Superman and Wonder Woman while the ink on the final issue of Crisis was still wet.

But I’m not here to continue my 34-year old rant about rebooting like monkeys on speed. I’m not going to get over it, but the comics’ DCU is not the Arrowverse. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #053: Crisis On Infinite Heroes?”

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #057: Nostalgia Ain’t What It Used To Be

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #057: Nostalgia Ain’t What It Used To Be

“These are the times that try men’s souls / In the course of our nation’s history the people of Boston have rallied bravely whenever the rights of men have been threatened / Today, a new crisis has arisen” – M.T.A., written by Bess Hawes and Jacqueline Steine.

Spats. Ethyl gas. Municipal steam baths. Mom’s Eats. Necco Wafers. Interurban trains. Screaming Yellow Zonkers. Montgomery Wards. Buggy whips. Magazines and newspapers. Yeah, I’m yelling at the clouds again.

Wait a minute. Magazines and newspapers? They’re still around. Sorta. Kinda. Almost. They’re coughing up blood, but they’re still around… if you know where to look. And while you’re doing that, say hello to Dr. Livingstone for me, will you? Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #057: Nostalgia Ain’t What It Used To Be”

Brainiac On Banjo #052: Sidekick Bastards

Brainiac On Banjo #052: Sidekick Bastards

Shortly after Hitler invaded Poland, the powers that were decided Batman needed a sidekick. Not to prop up sales – by all indications, those early issues of Detective Comics were doing fine. No, the good folks at National Comics decided the grim and gritty pointy-eared crusader with the cape needed a young sidekick, someone with whom their young readers could relate.

Maybe. Batman had been a soloist for only one year, so we really don’t know. But we do know that Batman and Robin together were exceptionally popular. Therefore, Robin begat Speedy, Bucky, Toro, Sun Girl (who clearly was a young adult), Ebony White, Captain Marvel Jr., Kid Flash, Kid Terror, Aqualad, Supergirl, Mary Marvel, Dusty, Tiger, Wing, Sandy, Speedboy … I could go on and on, but I won’t because I like you. Well, most of you. Sidekicks became a real thing, an inseparable part of the American superhero myth for at least a half-century. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #052: Sidekick Bastards”

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #056: Oh, Yeah. It’s For The Children. Sure.

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #056: Oh, Yeah. It’s For The Children. Sure.

Damn near every time the self-appointed, self-righteous so-called morality mavens are opposed to some significant change in our social structure, they proclaim they’re stopping it “for the children.” If you oppose their efforts, therefore, you must hate children and unless you’re W.C. Fields that means you are evil.

To this, I loudly and profoundly call bullshit. Little kids who can barely read have been marching around carrying placards saying, “I’m sure glad my mother didn’t abort me!” for so long they’re putting those signs in the hands of their own little kids. Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #056: Oh, Yeah. It’s For The Children. Sure.”