Sep 25, 2016

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 578: Concrete: Fragile Creature #4, February 1992

So we come to the wrap of the Rulers of the Omniverse film shoot. Concrete is exonerated of any wrongdoing in the accident that almost shuts production, Maureen figures out a way to continue her governmentally frowned upon relationship, and the film turns out to be....pretty good, actually.

The best part of this whole series is the last few pages, in which Concrete thinks back over his time on the set, and begins to put down his words on paper. "This is life. This is it. This is what I do." So simple and so achingly beautiful. Concrete, the series and the character, remind me of Wallace Stevens' poetry, explorations of the still moments that make up the vast and unceasing movements of lived experience. I'll be reading the rest of this series, once I've tracked it down, to be sure.

There is one other moment I want to highlight. I've recently finished reading Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death, an occasionally hysterical, but more often brilliant, take on the movement from a print-based discursive culture to an image/televisual based discursive culture. Though 30 years old, there are still moments in it that resonate, some perhaps more so than Postman might have anticipated with the advent of the Internet. Similarly, facing down a crowd of reporters, Concrete turns the cameras upon one another and says this: "Here's the big story...I'm just a footnote. Camcorders are the real story. And the cheaper and more numerous they get, the more they will determine history. Before long we will all live in view of the one-eyed idiot god, at least outdoors. Our actions will be subject to the snap judgments of the collective consciousness, looking for good guys and bad guys. But to you now worshipping in the flickering blue light, I say this: The beating of Rodney King notwithstanding, an image without context is less than half a truth. So be skeptical. Think critically. Read. And good day." Actually, having written that, I think Mr. Chadwick must have read Amusing Ourselves to Death. But that section "..the cheaper and more numerous they get, the more they will determine history..." is an eerily prescient moment. It has become our lived experience. Fortunately, though not ubiquitously, we have learned from the Internet, from digital manipulation, to be skeptical, but the fact remains that what is recorded on a cell camera is seen as truth, and "truth" becomes history.

"Think critically." That line alone, at the very least, gives justification for the job I do. Thanks, Paul Chadwick.

On to something else to start the week off tomorrow. Onward!

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