»
S
I
D
E
B
A
R
«
MISCmedia MAIL FOR 2/3/17: CRIMES AGAINST CULTURE
Feb 2nd, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

Grave robbers are stealing precious carvings from the Lummi Reservation’s cemetery. We’ve also got scads of resistance headlines and scads of weekend event listings. But the big news: Seattle snow! However brief, it’s a precious miracle and an omen for brighter times again.

MISCmedia MAIL FOR 2/2/17: A WORLD DISAPPEARED
Feb 1st, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

As a new exhibit about local Japanese-American life (before and during the WWII internments) shows, we’ve been down the path of ethnic demonizing before, with tragic results. We’ve also got the now-usual roundup of resistance news, plus a real police-reform bill at last; how the state Senate could get re-tied; and the death of a ceaseless advocate for urban trees and plants.

MISCmedia MAIL FOR 1/31/17: THIS WASHINGTON STRIKES BACK
Jan 30th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

Gov. Inslee and Attorney General Ferguson are becoming national heroes for speaking truth to cruelty. A lot of other folk are also speaking out, ranging from Jeff Bezos to Amanda Knox. We’ve also got Tim Eyman vs. the Olympia GOP; memories of Tacoma’s anti-Chinese expulsion; Gonzaga reaching #1 in men’s basketball; and a once-prestigious candy brand sold off.

MISCmedia MAIL FOR 120/17: (MORE) NEWS ON THE MARCH
Jan 29th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

Our Monday e-missive is, natch, mostly about the weekend’s “emergency marches” against the immigrant ban and the Sleaze Machine that devised it. But we also find space to remember a local TV legend and nationally renowned Scandahoovian-dialect comedy singer.

MISCmedia MAIL FOR 1/27/17: ON THE EIGHTH DAY
Jan 26th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

Jay Inslee has joined the chorus of those metaphorically shouting a giant “@#**! You!” to the Thief in Chief. We additionally consider an Islamic/Mormon friendship on the Eastside; more pressure to blast the Snake River’s dams; “#GiftedSchoolsSoWhite;” and the usual scads of weekend events.

A DISNEY VILLAIN FOR OUR TIME
Jan 26th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

The total-control regime in Washington DC, and its egomaniacal central figure, are existentially frightening in their threat to every aspect of the American Republic and its people (and, by extension, all the peoples of the globe).

I’ve been thinking of how to portray this character in the context of the great villains of fiction and lore.

I’ve compared certain past politicians to everyone from Lord Farquahr in the original Shrek to a one-shot Get Smart! villain, Simon the Likeable.

This past summer, I began to call the then GOP presidential nominee “He Who Cannot Be Named” (from Harry Potter). But that became cumbersome.

So I went in search of the perfect pre-existing fictionalization for this man-child, a figure with an insatiable lust for attention and a craving to cause suffering just to maniacally laugh at his victims.

A villain this insanely sure of his own omnipotence would never show panic, so that leaves out the Master from Doctor Who.

The pantheon of Disney villains (even if you only count the studio’s “core universe” of animated features and shorts) is vast. But even these characters usually have a relatable core motivation for their various crimes (greed, power, vanity, revenge, even fashion). They largely don’t encompass the pure “evil just for the sake of ego” that I’m talking about here.

With one recent exception.

It’s a character described in a fan-written “wiki” as: “Insane, twisted, crass, mischievous, deceptive, manipulative, sly, vague, witty, lively, whimsical, hammy, confident, spiteful, temperamental, choleric, evil, chaotic, greedy, sadomasochistic.”

The character’s “likes,” as described on the same web page, include: “Chaos, the suffering of others, destroying things, partying, manipulation.”

bill cipher

I’m talking about Bill Cipher.

He’s the main antagonist on Gravity Falls, a Disney Channel cartoon show that ended last February, after airing 41 half-hours over three and a half years (the last two as a one-hour finale).

The show’s set in Central Oregon, in one of those fictional towns where assorted weird things show up every day. In various episodes, the show’s brother-and-sister heroes encounter such anomalies as gnomes, unicorns, ghosts, zombies, dinosaurs, a crashed UFO, and video-game characters come to life.

And, like several other sagas of its type (Twin Peaks, The X-Files, Lost, et al.), there’s a “meta-mystery” on Gravity Falls.

It involves Bill, who’s initially introduced as a “dream demon” from another dimension. He sees all, knows all, and can invade people’s minds, especially as they sleep.

Bill can take any visual form, but his default appearance is as a triangle with a single eye near its center. But even though he resembles the “eye in the pyramid” on the $1 bill, Bill’s motive is not material wealth.

Rather, he wants to “cross over” from the “nightmare realm” and become a physical presence in our world—not to merely rule it but to destroy it, just for kicks.

Bill Cipher’s depicted as both a homicidal maniac and as a brilliant schemer; a good of chaos and and a master manipulator.

In the series’ climactic story arc, Bill successfully cons two characters and obtains the materials to make a “dimensional rift” between his world and ours. He summons a hooligan gang of monsters to ransack the town, turn people into statues, and otherwise spread “weirdness” (pure destructive chaos).

From there, he aims to expand the “weirdness” across the Earth: “Anything will be possible! I’ll remake a fun world, a better world! A party that never ends with a host that never dies. No more restrictions, no more laws!” As he says this, the screen shows images of a giant-sized Bill in a potential future, etching a “smiley face” on the North American continent (destroying whole cities in the process), then taking a bite out of the Earth as if it were an apple.

I believe this sadistic madness, not any mere material avarice, is the type of villainy that fits our age.

You can hear Bill Cipher’s sneering laugh among goons who laugh too hard at their own racist/sexist “jokes.”

You can see his smug taunting among the online “trolls” who belittle and insult everyone deemed different from them.

You can hear Bill’s line about how “there’s no room for heroes in MY world” echoed in the voices of conservatives who want the rest of us to shut up and fall into line.

You can sense Bill’s lust for destruction among certain “religious right” figures who not only oppose all efforts to save the environment, but who sometimes vocally wish for the “End Times” of Fundamentalist prophecy.

To prevent Bill from spreading his “weirdness” to the rest of the Earth, the surviving townspeople have to hold hands in a rite that will send Bill away. They include characters that had been mortal enemies in previous episodes, but who now must work together against a common foe.

It doesn’t work at first, because two of them refuse to cooperate with one another. In the final episode (titled “Take Back the Falls”), those two have to finally cooperate (and one of them risks losing his mind) to trap and remove Bill, revive the frozen townspeople, and bring the town back to a semblance of “normal.”

Similarly, to stop the threats to America’s civil society, we’ve got to forge alliances across lines of race, gender, region, religion, and social class.

(As an aside, someone put up a “Bill Cipher for President” Facebook page late last summer. One smarky commenter wrote: “You’re seriously making me choose between a horrible demon bent on destroying everything he touches, and Bill Cipher?”)

MISCmedia MAIL FOR 1/26/17: HE SELLS SANCTUARY
Jan 25th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

Mayor Murray (and Sheriff Urquhart) proclaim they, and we, will not be bowed by the DC dictatorship’s anti-immigrant scare tactics. In lighter topics, we comment upon the latest fashion in space suits; how dense Seattle’s really gotten; a perky protest song name-dropping scientists and free thinkers; and the end of the deli-mart with the plastic cow on its roof (the cow’s staying).

MISCmedia MAIL FOR 1/25/17: A TIE FOR THE WIN?
Jan 24th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

The first quasi-sorta-positive thing out of the new DC regime has happened. By poaching two WA State Senators, that body now has a temporary tie. We make further glances at instant pipeline protests; more looks back at the Womxn’s March; Seattle’s not-that-purely-progressive past; and one beloved bar surviving by kicking out another.

MISCmedia MAIL FOR 1/24/17: A DIFFERENT KIND OF BUBBLE
Jan 23rd, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

The first locally-invented “tsunami survival capsules” are ready. We’re also onto still more Womxn’s March reactions and post-march plans; a different approach to this year’s homeless count; the closure of a gourmet-chocolate chain’s flagship café; and the death of a sports-promotion legend.

MISCmedia MAIL FOR 1/23/17: NEWS ON THE MARCH
Jan 22nd, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

A lot more thoughts, and links, about the bigger than big Womxn’s March here. We’ve also got good news for Belltown historic preservation; a “virtual reality visit” with some of the homeless; and more speculation about D.B. Cooper.

 

THE MARCH OF (IT’S ABOUT) TIME
Jan 22nd, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

P1140431 copy

Well, that was certainly a relief.

It was exactly what we all needed.

P1140420 copy

A massive, clear, emphatic statement of NO! to the authoritarian DC regime—that was also a YES! to a completely different way of looking at, and doing, things.

A way with real “family values”.

A way that values people, even if they’re not billionaire campaign contributors.

P1140399 copy

Now comes the hard part: translating the Womxn’s Marches’ inclusive, positive alternative worldview into specific short- and long-term actions; in DC, in every state capital, in every Congressional and Legislative district. Nobody left behind.

P1140391 copy

I’ve been particularly obsessing about one thing Madonna said at the DC rally: “Welcome to the revolution of love.”

Could Bikini Kill’s “Revolution Girl Style Now” be about to come true?

P1140381 copy

MISCmedia MAIL FOR 1/20/17: WELCOME TO OCCUPIED AMERICA
Jan 19th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

Life During (domestic) Wartime begins here with some vital guidance on making an effective, long-term opposition to bigotry and brutality, and many protest/reaction event listings. Plus: A lawsuit against encampment “sweeps;” a chance to end GOP control of the state Senate; and whither the band name “Thunderpussy”?

MISCmedia MAIL FOR 1/19/17: THE DAY BEFORE
Jan 18th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

One day to rest up, make plans, and enjoy the calm before the GOPocalypse. So read up today about those weird restaurant-inspection icons; a possible municipal lawsuit against OxyContin’s makers; politicians who want to ban wind farms; and a UW Muslim student on the activist front lines.

MISCmedia MAIL FOR 1/18/17: THE LAST LEGGINGS
Jan 17th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

As American Apparel shuts down here and elsewhere, we look fashion-forward to discuss more attempts by GOP legislators to make the laws for (or rather, against) Seattle; a dispute among anti-inauguration marchers; diversifying Bellevue and its challenges; and a beloved local bar closes two years after it first said it would.

MISCmedia MAIL FOR 1/17/17: ‘MAKE AMERICA AGAIN’
Jan 16th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

A local Af-Am activist says we shouldn’t try to go back to some perceived past golden age of the U.S., but to create a more equitable country at last. We also view MLK and pro-school-funding rallies; Boeing’s (and American industry and labor’s) racist past; a strange Amazon request to the FCC; and Seattle having one-quarter of the world’s very-richest people.

»  Substance:WordPress   »  Style:Ahren Ahimsa
© Copyright 2015 Clark Humphrey (clark (at) miscmedia (dotcom)).