Skrip - tyur' - i - ent: adj. Possessing the violent desire to write.


#265 In which our hero writes his daughters a letter regarding the day things changed.

Dear Lily & Macey,

Earlier today I witnessed the inauguration of the 44th President of the United States. Barack Obama has been president for almost 11 hours. Now, by “witnessed,” I mean I watched it on TV… there were more than two million people actually there in the streets of D.C., a crowded, cold environment that I had no desire to be part of. That said, it was amazing to watch. So many people wanted to be there because it was a big event. Perhaps, one of the biggest that I’ll ever witness.

You’re only five- and three-years-old, respectively, right now, so the importance of this event is wholly lost on you. And, God willing, it will always be lost on you. That is to say, when you’re old enough to care about such things, having a black president hopefully won’t be anything special.

But right now, it is special. Because America, the wonderful, exciting, forward-looking country that she is, is also pretty backwards in many ways. Like our puritan attitudes about sex, or our constant meddling with other cultures, to name two examples. Sadly, these are things that I don’t expect to have changed when you’re older.

But today… today we, as a country, seemed to turn a corner. We did something that many people thought to be unattainable: we elected a black man to the highest office in the nation. That’s a big deal. Because that means a lot of people voted for the guy; actually, more people voted for him that any other presidential candidate in history. Black and white alike. I voted for him, and so did your mother.

Now, his landslide win was certainly assisted by the horrific situation that the past president put the country into. George W. Bush will be judged, I believe, to be one of the worst presidents in history. Not in modern history, but in all American history. I could rant and rave about him, but I won’t. Not right now, at least. When you’re covering the modern history unit in school, I’ll give you girls an earful.

I find it difficult to articulate the… hopelessness… I’ve felt over the past eight years. It seemed not a day went by that I didn’t look at the people around me and feel like a stranger in my own country. I was in the minority, an outsider. I didn’t think like most other people in the country. Frankly, I just didn’t get it how people could vote for a man like Bush, and then do it again four years later.

But now, with Obama in office, I feel like I belong again. It’s a little self-serving, but I feel like all those dense people finally figured it out, finally pieced together how they needed to vote for something new, something different to get the country out of the mess its in now. And man, what a mess it is.

The economy is in the dumper. Homes are being foreclosed left and right. We’re still mired in pointless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Banks are failing. People are watching helplessly as their 401Ks spiral down the drain. It’s a bad time. A scary time.

And you girls, thank God, are oblivious to the whole thing.

I really wonder how your views of the presidency will be shaped by the Obama administration. If he serves for two terms (and at this instant it seems unthinkable that he wouldn’t win a second term) that means you girls will be 13 and 11 when he steps down. The only president you’ll ever have known in that time will have been a black guy. That’s amazing to me.

Now, I don’t expect Obama to save the world. I hope he can start moving this country back toward prosperity but, frankly, I’m not too hopeful of that, either. The country will recover… probably more slowly and painfully than anyone wants, but we’ll get there.

What I am hopeful is that America can once again regain her standing as a noble, respected world power.

The last eight years have sucked. Not every part of them, of course. I mean, both you girls were born, which is a wonderful, wonderful thing. However, at times things seemed so dark that I questioned the wisdom of bringing in a child (or two) into such a shitty world.

I want the world for you girls. I want you to achieve everything you set your hearts on. And now, as we near the end of the very first day of Barack Obama’s time as our 44th president, things feel different, better. I’m filled with something that I haven’t felt in far too long: hope.

Hope for the future of the country. Hope for the future of our family. Hope that you girls, you silly, rambunctious, sometimes frustrating girls, will have a future of happiness and prosperity.







Hey! Who wants to obsessively critique new footage from the Watchmen movie? I know I do!

This is the expanded trailer show at Comic-Con 2008 in front of an audience of fanboys who were most certainly beside themselves with joy.

Okay, so there really isn't that much new here. But some of the new stuff I find very interesting.

0:13 Hey, Janey Slater again! And none too happy with Jon. Hint to any craftsman working the geek market: start making and stockpiling these earrings now.
Lots of stuff we've already seen. I like the music, though... is that Phillip Glass?
1:36 Finally, something new! And it's Laurie uncovering the Owl Ship. Big whoop.
1:53 Huh, Jon pouring over watch parts. The flashback to his past, or him fixing Janey's watch?
2:04 Man, Zach Snyder can't get enough mileage out of Osterman being blow to atoms.
2:15 Yeah, definitely Phillip Glass.
2:19 Does anyone else find this Nixon makeup less then convincing? Or is this supposed to be Bob Hope?
2:25 Hey! Is that Wally Weaver, "Dr. Manhattan's Buddy"? Funny.
2:39 This is the part that excites me the most. A little kid with an evil look? That's got to be a young Rorschach. Which means that they get into Rorschach's backstory in the movie. Which doesn't surprise, not given the level of detail we've seen in other clips. But I've never been shy about saying that sick, disturbing and completely fucked-up Rorschach is my favorite character. I'm really hoping they get his character right. The two scenes I'm most looking forward to (other than the giant space squid, which isn't going to happen) is the capture of Rorschach and his session(s) with the prison doctor. Dear Zach Snyder: please don't fuck these up.
2:50 Hello, Moloch! Great casting. Glad to see Max Headroom getting work.

Well, I continue to be impressed by the individual scenes. I just hope they all knit together to create an engaging movie.

Oh, and it appears that my somewhat obsessive following of this movie has been noticed in the larger world. Observe:

I got two of these. One for my birthday from The Scientist, and one from my brother- and sister-in-law (which, BTW, great non-wishlist gift, guys!). This is, of course, the coffee table book "Watching the Watchmen." It's subtitled "The Definitive Companion to the Ultimate Graphic Novel," to which I have to say, "Um, bullshit."

Now, don't get me wrong, it's a great book (not great enough to have two copies, but great nevertheless) and it is jam-packed with never before seen drawings, and rare editions, etc. The problem is that only Dave Gibbons participated in the creation of this book. Gibbons is the artist, of course. The writer, Alan Moore, is notorious for having nothing to do with any adaptations of his work. He has washed his hands of the movie (as he did with other movie adaptations of his work, including V for Vendetta--a smart move, if you ask me) and, far as I can tell, he didn't participate in this book at all, either.

So, if you want to learn more about the drawing of Watchmen, this might just be the definitive companion, but if you're interested in the creation of the story, the pacing or the plot, the inspiration for the characters... well, you're out of luck.

And that's exactly what I wanted to know about. The first couple pages include copies of the actual script that Moore sent to Gibbons... and it's the barest taste of the crazy that must exist in there. First of all, they're typewritten which, I suppose, was par for the course in the 80s. Sometimes I forget that it really wasn't the long ago that word processors overtook manual typewriters and -egads!- handwriting.

Anyway, the pages appear to be cracked out on a ragged machine that can barely keep equal spacing. The script for issue one, page one, begins:

Now, maybe this is standard fare for comic scripts, but seems to smell of crazy. Then again. Alan Moore has carefully created a persona of the mad Englishman. This may in fact be his real personality, but it all seems very manufactured to me.

Anyway, my point is that I'd like to see ALL of the scripts. The book contains only the first page. It hints at the 90 or so pages that exist for each issue, but we don't get to see them. Maybe there just wasn't enough room. Even though there was enough room to show the pencil thumbnails that Gibbons drew for each issue. And they are interesting, I suppose, but I really had seen enough after a couple of issues. Yeah, that looks just like the finished comic page, except much smaller and rougher!

Because as much as I enjoy the art of the book--and I do, very much--I want to know something about the plotting, the nitty-gritty of getting all the plotlines to work together as well as they do. I mean, were all the little details figured out from the start, or was Moore just flying from the seat of his pants? I mean, I've read about how the story was originally created with throw-away Charlton characters, but when that fell through, Moore and Gibbons invented all new characters. But the story is so dense with information (not even including the prose sections in the back of each book) it boggles my mind as to how you even approach such a story. And from what I understand Moore was writing the thing as it was being published. So it wasn't like he could go back and change something in issue 1 to make something in issue 10 work out better. It's amazing.

Or, I think it's amazing. The book gives no insight into the writing, so all I can do is guess.

But, y'know, maybe that's a good thing. I mean, I've read and re-read Watchmen dozens of times. I've read additional material and articles about the book. I've read this book. I've been following the movie news. I've dived deeply into the mythos of Watchmen, and uncovered just about everything I could. But the actual writing remains a mystery. And maybe I enjoy Watchmen all the more because of it.


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