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contagious media - EXCELSIOR, YOU FATHEAD!

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August 19th, 2009


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10:06 am - contagious media
When Warren Ellis' excellent Transmetropolitan was still running, I remember going out to Million Year Picnic to pick up the latest issue, reading it almost immediately in Harvard Square, and then riding home basking in the newly-gained contempt and loathing I had for Everything And Every One Around Me. Such was the misanthropic power of Spider Jerusalem and the future dystopia which he inhabited and despised.

(That was ten years ago. Today, all that's needed to generate the same level of contempt is a simple ride on the Red Line during rush hour. hoorj)

I have a similar reaction after watching a new episode of MAD MEN, though the attitude is different. After an episode now, it becomes very clear to me that Everybody Has An Ulterior Motive and everything that's said is a cipher. There's obviously subtext hiding in even the most innocuous statement such as "It's 5:15." CLEARLY!!

Fortunately, much like the reaction to Transmet, that feeling only lasts for a few hours (longer if there's a T ride involved) and we regain that sense of silly almost-optimism and get on with our lives. It's rare that a television show can throw me into this mindset for as long as it does (even rarer for a comic book to do, so more power to Transmet) and even if the results aren't pretty, I have to admire the talent it takes to make those attitudes so oddly contagious.

(13 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


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From:ruthling
Date:August 19th, 2009 02:34 pm (UTC)
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thanks for the tip. I already hate pretty much everything today, and I was curious about Mad Men...
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From:iheartoothecae
Date:August 19th, 2009 02:37 pm (UTC)
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Mostly it makes me want to start smoking again. Thankfully, that also dissipates within a few hours.
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From:goldsquare
Date:August 19th, 2009 03:51 pm (UTC)
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My wife and I are out of step. We just started renting season two while simultaneously recording season 3 - which we won't watch until we finish season 2.

The acting and writing are amazing, but what really sends me into their world is the level of detail in the costumes, dress and even posture. The old office equipment, the ash trays, the bullet bras, the way women held cigarettes are all different today.

For me, it not only reminds me vividly of the world when I was a child and youth, but I can practically smell the stench of smoke. Something I despised as a boy, and which I had never dreamed of escaping.

I love that every line has depth and nuance. It makes watching the show feel like reading a novel.
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From:fancycwabs
Date:August 19th, 2009 07:25 pm (UTC)
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Unfortunately, the only the Warren Ellis does for me is remind me of how much he isn't Hunter S. Thompson. The fact that a good portion of his fanbase does their best to emulate his writing style without the slightest regard for who Ellis is copying makes min that much more obnoxious.

Mad Men I like, though. And in HD, it is a beaaayooooteeful show.
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From:fancycwabs
Date:August 19th, 2009 07:26 pm (UTC)
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min = him. Maybe the $20 paid account was worth it to be able to edit comments, after all.
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From:mmcirvin
Date:August 20th, 2009 05:22 am (UTC)
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I know I'm supposed to get crankier with age, but I find that as I get older this Hunter Thompsonesque pose of spiraling run-on misanthropy gets more and more unattractive to me. Thompson himself gets a pass because he was just the one guy and he was fearless and occasionally insightful. Besides he's dead anyway.

But I think it only occurred to me just now, reading your comment, that most of the people you see spouting imitation Hunter Thompson rants on the web are really Spider Jerusalem fans.
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From:fancycwabs
Date:August 20th, 2009 05:39 am (UTC)
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I had the misfortune of running into Warren Ellis devotees before reading any actual Warren Ellis, and while their misogyny-disguised-as-feminism and obsession with violent body discharges seemed really strange originally, now they just seem kinda pathetic, like pretending to be a movie character after seeing a REALLY COOL movie--cute when you're ten, not so much when you're thirty. It's the hipster equivalent of quoting Monty Python.
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From:sanspoof
Date:August 19th, 2009 10:59 pm (UTC)
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This happens to me all the time. When I read William Gibson, I'm always all "That thing that person is wearing is DEEPLY SIGNIFICANT!" When I read Temple Grandin things become very straightforward and causal. Fortunately I don't think there is such an effect when I read Philip K. Dick.
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From:derspatchel
Date:August 20th, 2009 02:06 am (UTC)
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I once saw Taxi Driver at the Brattle on a drizzly night and when I came out, the rain had passed and all the streets were the right kind of rain-slick and reflective. I was deeply worried that Travis Bickle's world had followed me outside until I realized there was no steam billowing out of manholes.
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From:cursethedark
Date:August 20th, 2009 02:40 am (UTC)
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Transmet is great stuff. One of my friends has the Spider tattoo on his forehead; if he ever finds the glasses, he's got his Halloween costume set.

And when this happens, I will dress as Mitchell Royce, Two-Fisted Editor.
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From:redtheblue
Date:August 20th, 2009 05:55 am (UTC)
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"Two percent. HAHAHAHA!"

Alas, be it even of the quality of Transmet or Mad Men, the spell eventually wears off and all you can hear is the author yelling, "I AM GOING TO FULFILL YOUR WISHES," in a Gumby voice.

Also, the art in Transmet got rushed, splashy, and lazy toward the end.
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From:puddnhead
Date:August 20th, 2009 12:38 pm (UTC)

The seats are seductive.

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5:15 is CLEARLY a Quadrophenia reference.
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From:boggle_e_oggle
Date:August 21st, 2009 07:31 pm (UTC)
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For the opposite effect, I highly recommend episodes of The Monkees.

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