*SAW R. CRUMB AT ROYCE HALL, UCLA LAST WEEK..
..and he was quite charming on stage (so don’t believe the hype). FAR more charming than the folks in the audience. Although it was pretty foolish to allow audience members to shout out questions at him.
Crumb was in town to talk about his new book in which he draws the entire book of Genesis. Every page is up on the wall at the Hammer Museum here in Westwood.
We took the Incredible Cuteness of Being to the Hammer for a “Halloween Hoedown” party. It was fun to watch the boy hide behind his stroller when I got the 6 foot 5 drag queen host to come over and say hello. She was dressed as a scarecrow, with the emphasis on scare (Bette Davis/Joan Crawford scary makeup).
*THOSE DAMNED YANKEES…
The only solace I find in a Yankee win is that it’ll put the pressure on Sox management to spend some $$$.
*EMAILS/LETTERS OF THE WEEK…
(the letter to the editor below was taken from the Rocket online, re: my Slippery Rock U. controversy)
In 1939, African-American jazz singer Billie Holiday began performing a song entitled “Strange Fruit.” But when she sought to record the song, Columbia, the recording company that had Holiday under contract, refused.
You see, the “Strange Fruit” to which the title referred was a “Black body swinging in the Southern breeze.”
“Southern trees bear a strange fruit, Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,” went the opening two lines, and the song later compared the “Scent of magnolia sweet and fresh” to the “sudden smell of burning flesh.” Columbia was fearful of the reaction of Southern record retailers, and of the offense the song would give to many powerful politicians, including the “Dixiecrats” in Congress. Columbia allowed Holiday to record “Strange Fruit” with a much smaller company, and this particular protest song sold well, reaching No. 16 on the pop charts. Still, it got very little radio play, and some nightclubs where Holiday worked wouldn’t let her sing it.
At another, Holiday complained that a bartender rang the cash register all through her performance. Keith Knight’s “K Chronicles” has appeared in The Rocket for several years but was absent this past Friday, as was the rest of the comic page. As a satirist who sometimes includes the uncomfortable and troubling in his strip, such as the image in an opening frame of a black man with a noose around his neck, Knight is probably used to strong reactions to some of his work. But it isn’t his loss but our own whenever a voice is silenced.
Even if we feel the need to drop his comic strip, I think we also need to keep two simple but important truths in mind. Depictions of racism in order to convey an anti-racism message aren’t in themselves racist. Censorship never serves to foster change, but struggles instead to prevent change from happening.
Censorship attempts to freeze the forward movement of thought and action, to sustain current power structures and to shut down potentially transformative conversations regarding perceptions and attitudes. Censorship is usually motivated by a fear of difference.
We need, instead, to find the courage to confront our differences, and to have a long, overdue, honest and forthright conversation about America’s racial history and that history’s ongoing legacy.
Professor of English
re: One Black Kid..
I just wanted to say that was one of the coolest comic strips I have ever
I know it’s not something you did, but I wondered if you were aware that Salon is
displaying the PUNCHLINE for K Chronicles at the TOP of the page that displays the actual
comic. It’s ruining everything. If you have any influence on them, I implore you to write
them and make them stop doing this.
Plus, even if I did want my comics ruined by a crappy layout that makes no sense in the
first place, they’ve edited the punchline panel at the top of the ‘First Halloween’ page
to where you can’t even tell which character is saying the line.
Banging comic, by the way!
There’s no real point to this message except to assure you I make sure
to read The K Chronicles every week in Seven Days — Burlington,
Vermont’s stalwart alternative weekly.
I dig your strip, man. The art style has a vibrant energy that
practically jumps off the page, and your writing has a nice, earnest
tone. I’m glad they’ve selected it for their comics section, and if
they ever cut it, I’d send them a nasty letter or two.
Why can’t strips like yours get even half the exposure that, say,
Cathy gets? It’s just not right…
That is all.
I do believe that you were the cartoonist (oop! sorry, artist) that had a
wonderful cartoon about children calling their mothers, and not asking for
anything in return, especially money. I have three daughters, but one, when
I call, says “I’m busy now”, or “I can’t talk now”, and I always want to
say…”Wow” “you have to be the busiest person on earth”..”How’s that
feeling?” Anyway, I would like very much to have a copy of that particular
comic you did this week so I can send it to my recalcitrant child.
Bye the way, I’ve love your strip for so long, even in the old days!
(aaah! the old daze!!-kk)