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September 19 at 1:30pm

Political Monsters by Gerald Scarfe

I have always dreamed of Alternative Careers.  Within that is the subset of Imaginary Alternative Careers.  Pursuits may be a better phrase; I dislike Career as it supposes that work is distinct from life.  The use of our labor is one of primary choices, inherent to whom we are — or rather I think it should be.

But back to the dreams: I once wanted to be a cartoonist.  Unfortunately that takes talent and craft. I once also wanted to be a journalist and also to work in politics — basically I wanted to both observe, comment, and to change things.  
Gerald Scarfe is a political cartoonist who’s stock in trade captures another one of those dreams: monsters.  For me it might have been more of a “monster shepherd”.  I envy that character on Doctor Who who collected all the beasts across time — but of course I would want to live with them, at least not these days.
BBC has a great slideshow profile on Scarfe and his work.  He’s sort of the Brit Ralph Steadman, but you probably know him best from Pink Floyd’s The Wall.


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August 23 at 10:37am

Complicated Is Better: Rube Goldberg


Over at BOWL OF NOSES, I am posting a series of Rube Goldberg “inventions” and the various things he has inspired.  I think Rube’s collection “INVENTIONS!” needs to be Required Reading at every grade level.

With our economy in collapse, and the U.S. becoming a country of debtors and indentured servants, Rube points out why we should all start visiting the tailor.
His contraption for avoiding bill collectors is pure genius:  

As Tailor (A) fits customer (B) and calls out measurements, college boy (C) mistakes them for football signals and makes a flying tackle at clothing dummy (D). Dummy bumps head against paddle (E) causing it to pull hook (F) and throw bottle (G) on end of folding hat rack (H) which spreads and pushes head of cabbage (I) into net (J). Weight of cabbage pulls cord (K) causing shears (L) to cut string (M). Bag of sand (N) drops on scale (O) and pushes broom (P) against pail of whitewash (Q) which upsets all over you causing you to look like a marble statue and making it impossible for you to be recognized by bill collectors. Don’t worry about posing as any particular historical statue because bill collectors don’t know much about art.

Whenever I am in a “story” or edit meeting on a movie and the executive is demanding we remove “layers” or subtly, I know we need more Rube in the world.  And whenever anyone breaks the world down to good vs. evil or some other simple black and white equation, I think of all the invisible Goldberg layers that I know are the truth.
The official Rube Goldberg site has many other great solutions in their art gallery.


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