Tuesday, August 19, 2008

FOWP Update: This is not my beautiful house

I'm reading Alan Moore's guide to comic book writing. I've been reading it along with other more practical guides, because it's something new for me, but not so different from writing plays or screenplays.
Of course I am stricktly amateur in all writing endeavors. But its been interesting having to write instructions for myself to interpret as an artist as well, all the time having neither confidence in my ability to draw or to write. Kind of a fucked from square one.
But Alan Moore's guide is practical in a non practical sense. It doesn't outline any techniques that are easy to grasp, but it is reassuring and an immensely positive affirmation that out there there are human beings that think about their job. That shouldn't be taken lightly, people who think are the best of us and move the world for the most-part forward.
But anyway I was thinking about what I've read today in chapter 2 about thinking about your audience. Alan Moore directs you towards the joke as an example of some point of basic humanity, some universal appeal. It reminds me of Rod (I think) saying that the best decisions are emotional ones.
The joke is an example of something that whilst it amuses us personally even as a creator of the joke it passes a test that if we as individuals find it amusing then chances are someone out there will too.
And so I thought I'd share with you the emotion I really want to tap into, that to me is both a sick joke and immensely distressing.
It happened in Rotterdam, as on a beautiful crystal clear Spring day I was walking along a street to see a man about fixing my bike wheel. (I just uploaded the incredibly poor photos of how many spokes I broke on my bike called Rosante) and I'd been listening to the John Butler Trio's album Grand National.
I had also just finished reading 'Deterring Democracy' by Noam Chomsky, suddenly on the track 'Good Excuse' the preamble to the chorus popped up and I heard 'You don't even know who's side your fighting for...' and suddenly, suddenly I was horrified, upset and alone.
And I wouldn't say I burst into tears, but I more glazed up like a child being told they were adopted. As everything I'd read about these democratic nations, basically bullying and reigning terror on small impoverished nations, subjecting their people to a choice between economic slavery and a life of constant abuse with no hope of respite, I felt complicit.
I felt complicit and betrayed.
Much like if you were to suddenly discover that the substance called meat comes from cute little animals. For me the substance called wealth came from using superior military might to deny other societies the basic humanity we supposedly stalwartly defend.
So this sick, upsetting feeling is what I hope to capture in Fear of a White Planet, and as such even though my friend Andy has already asked to be 'first reader' when its done, and I am going to try hard to deliver it. I am actually aiming for a book that people wont like, sure some smartarse knowalls like me may like it, they may get the joke. But hopefully for most it will be a sickening, disgisting, upsetting book that offends them highly, makes them think less of me and they throw down wishing they could unread it.
Fortunately its not a commercial venture. But hopefully I see it as positive, that someone who reads and understands it, will be empowered to not subscribe to nationalism, defending freedom and other rhetoric based ways we try to avoid dealing with our own humanity, and just confront humanity and seek real and positive change in the world.
Just like...

Oh come on. Price. There are a lot more important
problems than Sri Lanka to worry about. Sure our foreign
policy is important, but there are more pressing problems
at hand.

Like what?

Well, we have to end apartheid for one. And slow
down the nuclear arms race, stop terrorism and world
hunger. But we can't ignore our social needs. either We
have to stop people from abusing the welfare system. We
have to provide food and shelter for the homeless and
oppose racial discrimination and promote civil rights while
also promoting equal rights for women but change the
abortion laws to protect the right to life yet still
somehow maintain women's freedom of choice.

The table stares at Bateman uncomfortably.

We also have to control the influx of illegal
immigrants. We have to encourage a return to traditional
moral values and curb graphic sex and violence on TV, in
movies, in pop music, everywhere. Most importantly we have
to promote general social concern and less materialism in
young people.

Price chokes on his drink. Everyone is silent and

Patrick, how thought-provoking.

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