Friday, 9 February 2007

The stupidity tax.

Thought for the day:"First, we'll kill all the lawyers" (Henry VI, Pt.2)-Shakespeare. Quoted by Christopher Lydon on Open Source radio program (see further down).

I was cycling to town today, as is my wont a couple of times every week, to have lunch with my pals Best and White, and realized, when it was too late to turn back , that I'd forgotten the key to my bike's lock and chain. So I stopped en route and bought a cheap lock and chain for fourteen bucks, just a lightweight one to get me by for one day. There are two ways of looking at this. First, you can say that you paid fourteen bucks just to park a push-bike for two and a half hours (we take our time over lunch), or you can take a more stoical account of the situation and say the fourteen bucks was the quarterly 'stupidity tax.'
At least once every three months the world demands that you will spend money on some thing that you neither want nor need, and it could have been avoided if you were paying attention. Just accept it, hey?
* * * *
On the bright side, at least my pal White was pleased to see a couple of stories he wrote for me that have been translated into Italian. The latest volume of Bacchus has just arrived from Black Velvet in Italy. This is number 5. They collapsed 4 and 5 into one, and I collapsed 7 and 8 into one, so the Italian edition will cram the 10 stories into 8 books. Anyway, this one, The 1,001 Nights of Bacchus (its English title), contains 13 short stories, each done in a completely different style. I tried to cover as many different traditional types of story as I could think of. So there is, for examlple, a beast fable about a little mouse trying to cross a busy highway, a story told entirely in mime, or silent pictures, with Laurel and Hardy playing the parts of the leading characters. It's a good fun book. I was interested to see what my Italian editors would do with the Gilgamesh story, which is the mythical epic of Gilgamesh told in terms of Scottish soccer hooligans. In style it looks like a cubist ransom note, with every letter of text cut from a magazine and glued on individually. Here are a couple of panels from the Italian edition. They did quite well in the circumstances. (click for a slight enlargement)
That collage cover has served me well. In its original form it appeared on the Dark Horse edition (a much smaller, 48 page version) way back in '93. Their legal dept. had apoplexy when I sent the cover in, with all those trade marks flung across it, but Mike Richardson overrode their decision. When I used it in 2000(?) Mick Evans gave it some digital distortion to increase the effect. So I guess this is its third outing. Always good to see an old pal again.

* * * *

Back on the subject of PLAGIARISM, Jonathan Lethem’s essay, which I linked to yesterday, has become a cause celebre and he’s talking on the Open Source radio show along with other interesting folk. Podcast now downladable. (Thanks to drjon and Dirk at Journalista)
Obviously he's not urging us all to go out and steal the next guy's work. His proposal is that by 'dissolving the prohibition', and the terror of plagiarism that we can reopen the dialogue in art, as opposed to a situation where every artist beilieves he must find his own craggy outcrop and sit upon it in isolated uniqueness.
It fits with my concept of what art is and does: Art writes the dialogue that a society has with itself, with its gods and with posterity.

Labels: , ,

9 Comments:

Blogger drjon said...

...you can say that you just paid fourteen bucks to park your cycle for two and a half hours (we take our time over lunch), or you can take a more stoical account of the situation and say the fourteen bucks was the quarterly 'stupidity tax.

Or you can use it to lock your bicycle seat on. Remind me to tell you my bicycle-at-the-train-station story the next time I see you.

9 February 2007 2:08:00 am GMT-5  
Blogger Dean Simakis said...

At least once every three months the world demands that you will spend money on some thing that you neither want nor need, and it could have been avoided if you were paying attention. Just accept it, hey?

That's the great thing about eBay. It's like a year-round stupidity-tax refund.

I'm enjoying the ongoing, seemingly Internet-wide plagiarism discussion. Slate ran a pertinent slideshow Wednesday touching on the history (and/or non-existence) of photographic plagiarism; some interesting tidbits in there.

9 February 2007 2:16:00 am GMT-5  
Blogger Paolo said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9 February 2007 5:16:00 am GMT-5  
Blogger Paolo said...

Hi Eddie.

> The latest volume of Bacchus has
> just arrived from Black Velvet in
> Italy.

I don't know which is the frequency of your contacts with your italian editor :-), but I bought this volume on March 2006.

a typical "Twelve Monkeys" case?

9 February 2007 7:50:00 am GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"stupidity tax" reminds me that AAA is my Stupid Insurance. Locking keys in car, leaving lights on, etc.

Michael Grabowski

9 February 2007 2:42:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Johnny Walker said...

"Stupidity tax", ha! Reminds me of how a late friend of mine used to describe the lottery.

10 February 2007 3:58:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger HemlockMan said...

I, too, really like that Bacchus cover. Nice work, and my compliments to the brave dude at Dark Horse who ordered his lackeys to fall back.

10 February 2007 8:22:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

James, thanks

Paolo,
Ha@! i knew it had been out a while, but not that long. the publisher's site doesn't have the cover image with the earlier volumes, so i couldn't guess a publication date.
I lost my whole address book in a computer calamity last year, and before I reconstituted it I switched to broadband with a new email address, effectively putting me beyond communication for all but the most diligent of my former correspondents. Anyway, the Italian Bacchus should now be back on schedule.
Eddie

11 February 2007 2:06:00 am GMT-5  
Blogger tony said...

The stupidity tax for me usually takes the form of buying a book that I *know* I have but just can't find. The original copy usually turns up within the next forty-eight to seventy-two hours.

12 February 2007 10:42:00 am GMT-5  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home