Page Three Propaganda

101 Reasons to Despise Modern Conservatives:
1. "Conservative ideology" is almost always a thinly disguised excuse for being a shitheel.
2. "Conservative ideology" isn't. Confucius was a conservative. Mean-spirited sophists who shamelessly kiss up to power and kick down at everyone else are not truly "conservative".

REASON 100 and ONE to Really, Really, Hate the Bastards (counting backwards): Tim Ireland, media watchdog thrice blessed (though Allah be the wiser) who keeps a weather eye on Rupert Murdoch, reports the following:

"In the US, Rupert Murdoch's most effective propaganda tool is FOXNews. In the UK, it's a tabloid newspaper called The Sun with a daily circulation of about 3 million and change (more). Almost every day in The Sun, you can turn to Page 3 and see a picture of a topless woman. I know you're keen to hear more about that, but first, some background....
".... In Ye Olde Days, the topless models on Page 3 were accompanied by just enough insight and innuendo to allow the average reader to identify with the model and perhaps imagine they would be welcome to step into their lives and treat them to a 'playful' tweak of the nipples or a 'harmless' bongo session. Were the model training to be an accountant, the text would playfully refer to her "ample assets" and the "bottom line". Had she been a vet's assistant or even the owner of a small domestic animal, the caption would suggest that "She also brings the beast out in us, eh readers?".... and so on and so forth until you feared your sides would split.
... "Under the new editor, Rebekah Wade, this changed. Pictures of Page 3 models were soon accompanied by a caption entitled "News in Briefs". This is funny for two entirely different reasons; because (haha) she's wearing briefs and because Murdoch's news outlets are notorious for blurring the line between news and editorial content. And what editorial content, ladies and gentleman!
.... "The following are all actual News in Briefs items that have appeared over the last 6 months or so. Throughout the page, we'll be charitably operating on the assumption that these are the actual opinions of the models, and not those of the government, the editorial team at The Sun and/or their master Rupert Murdoch....
"Tue, February 03, 2004: Today, Zoe, 22, from London, uses her empowering platform to tell us that she is certain that Blair was right to take Britain into the war with Iraq. And good for her. She reassures readers who may be bothering their heads with small details following the publication of the Hutton Report and lays it on the line with the following statement (which closely echoes one of Tony Blair's only remaining defences at this stage): "You don't need to be an international diplomat to realise the world is better off without Saddam. We should be proud of what has been achieved." Wed, February 25, 2004: Today, Katie (19, from Liverpool) is 'horrified' at the thought if EU health tourists clogging our NHS and says: "The government should do something to protect the health service from these freeloaders." Thu, February 26, 2004: Today Melanie (23, from Watford) has an ample chest that is 'full of pride' for the war heroes who received medals from the Queen. She goes on to say: "Their exploits were an inspiration. They deserve all the praise they get after going beyond the call of duty to topple Saddam." Wed, April 07, 2004: Natasha (21, from Torquay) believes it's vital that our troops remain in Iraq and says: "Our boys are doing a fantastic job peacekeeping. To give in to a minority of extremists would be an insult to the brave soldiers who lost their lives fighting to free Iraq from its evil regime...."

endquote; © Tim Ireland 2004 , please see Murdoch Watch for more.

This is not, repeat not, a parody, though the editorial board at Ormondroyd's remembers fondly the testimony of Miss Rita Fang, Page Three Girl, in a courtroom scene from Monty Python. We here at Ormondroyd's Encyclopedia Esoterica are firmly in the grip of Maia, the Illusion that Men mistake for Reality. We freely admit our fascination with the transitory lure of beauty. No one holds a candle to our admiration for the Page Three tradition. Our Chief Editor is still convinced that Justine Greiner, Playboy's Miss February of 1984, is in her private life a philosopher, wit, religious icon and philanthropist of profound depth. More evidence that the universal force we call "God" is probably female.

We would sooner deface a work of art than use Page Three girls for propaganda purposes. This out-Herods Herod. Ken Kesey once worried that if commercialization and hype persisted, we would one day have our pudenda tatooed, "MOTHER NATURE PRESENTS!"

Now it has come to this. Have you at last, Sir Rupert, lost all sense of decency? Have you no sense of shame?

Orwell Award Nominees, August 2005

Poor George Orwell; to have his name forever connected with what he hated most.

THE WHIRLIGIG AWARD, for STATEMENT MOST LIKELY TO MAKE ERIC BLAIR SPIN IN HIS GRAVE: Donald Rumsfeld, finding a new way to describe dead American soldiers: "The lethality, however, is up." (Aug. 19, 2005)

THE JOSEPH GOEBBELS AWARD, given for attempts to ALTER INCONVENIENT FACTS BY SMEARING THE TRUTH TELLER goes to the Rove/Libby/Plame/Wilson affair, the best summary of which can be found in the Lost Angeles Times. And why isn't Robert Novak in jail yet?

EVIL MASQUERADING AS VIRTUE, ANTICHRIST DIVISION: Pat Robertson, nominally a Christian: ""You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war, and I don't think any oil shipments will stop. We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability. We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator. It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with." (Monday)

BALD FACE CHUTZPAH AWARD: Wednesday: nominal "Christian" Robertson denies having called for Chavez to be killed and said The AP misinterpreted his remarks. "I didn't say 'assassination.' I said our special forces should 'take him out.' 'Take him out' could be a number of things including kidnapping."

Perhaps 'take him out for dinner'; a Last Supper might be nice.

'GOD CAN'T STRIKE THEM DEAD, BECAUSE PAT ROBERTSON HAS KIDNAPPED JESUS' AWARD: Tombstones for American war dead may include the name of the war they served in, as in "WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam". Now instead of place names like "Iraq" or "Afghanistan", the Pentagon names operations with phrases like "Enduring Freedom" that will inspire or imply public support for conflicts.

These nominees have invited themselves into our homes and posed as experts, while receiving vast sums of money for swimming pools and second homes. They have to expect a bit of impertinence from the Flyover states.

Finally, our equivalent of the Jean hirscholt Humanitarian Award, BEST DEFENSE from DOUBLESPEAK:The gentleman in this photo, Bill Moyer, served in WWII, Korea and Vietnam. Here he is shown listening to President Bush address the VFW in Salt Lake City.

Real Music for Imaginary People

Any excuse to mix and burn CDs for friends (Lewis owes me a few-- his taste is now so rarified he's afraid any mix he makes will cause a rift in the space time fabric.) A couple of Christmases ago, Marte gave me a book of recipes from the Napoleonic Wars, "Lobscouse and Spotted Dog: Which It's a Gastronomic Companion to the Aubrey/Maturin Novels of Patrick O'Brian". Chefs Anne Chotzinoff Grossman and Lisa Grossman Thomas researched the book not for profit but out of love for the novels,
The Iron Chef panel might make smacking noises over "sea urchin roe like mother used to make", but some of these recipes might give them pause. It's wonderful to read through, especially if you wanted to know how those underfed midshipmen actually prepared "millers" (rats) for dinner.
In the same spirit, Essay Recordings has several albums of music performed in the novels by Jack Aubrey on violin and Stephen Maturin on cello.
Hear Some

So why not create playlists for imaginary characters or historical persons we admire, to try and evoke their personalities for friends? (Nudge: ALWAYS WITH MUSIC THAT WE PAID FOR, ahem.) Pat Hanavan has never watched an episode of "Buffy" or "Angel", so Darling Violetta's theme from "Angel" and Bill Kennedy's Stiff Records collection (Costello and Pogues) turned into a mix called "Blues for Wesley Wyndham Price". (The less said about my mental state and Wesley's near the end, the better.)
1. "Allison", Elvis Costello
2. "Watching the Detectives", Elvis Costello
3. "I Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself", Elvis Costello (Oh, Fred...)
4. "The Sick Bed of Cuchulain", The Pogues (Wes finds his balls again)
5. "Dark Streets of London", The Pogues
6. "Sally MacLennane", The Pogues
7. "Words that We Couldn't Say", Yoko Kannon and the Seatbelts (Cowboy Bebop)
8. "Call Me", Yoko Kannon and the Seatbelts (Gunn: "What happened to you, man?" Wes:"My throat was cut and my friends abandoned me.")
9. "The Real Folk Blues" alternate version, Yoko Kannon and the Seatbelts
10. "Space Lion", Yoko Kannon and the Seatbelts
11. "Bela Lugosi's Dead", Bauhaus (goes without saying)
12. "Call Me", Blondie (Wes's relationship with Lilah)
13. "Dreaming", Blondie (Lilah's relationship with Wes)
14. "Tank!" Yoko Kannon and the Seatbelts (Wes going Chow Yun Fat on your ass)
15. "Good Morning Heartache", Billie Holliday (goes without saying)
16. "Bye Bye Blackbird" (any version with all the lyrics)
17. "Oh Sinner Man", Nina Simone
18. "Angel Opening Title Theme", Darling Violetta

RIPPER aka RUPERT; playlist for Giles
1. "Me and the Devil", Robert Johnson
2. "Everybody Wants to Rule the World", Tears for Fears
3. "Cemet'ry Gates", The Smiths
4. "Behind Blue Eyes", The Who (Anthony Head sings this himself in one episode)
5. "Standing" (Giles' lament from "Once More With Feeling")
6. "I've Got a Theory" ("It must be bunnies, bunnies, bunnies, BUN-NIIEEES..")
7. "Frankly, Mr, Shankly", The Smiths
8. "Me and My Big Ideas", Tears for Fears
9. "Walk Through the Fire" (Buffy cast again)
10. "Falling Down", Tears for Fears
11. "What You Feel" (Reprise) Hinton Battle, "Once More With Feeling"
12. "Where Do We Go From Here?", Buffy Cast, "Once More With Feeling"
13. "West End Girls", Pet Shop Boys
14. "Hounds of Love", Kate Bush

None of these are cast in stone, and Suggestions/additions/deletions from these are welcome. As time wasting and impulse allow, I'm thinking about mixes for Travis McGee (Buena Vista Social Club, La Pistola y el Corazon, Paul Desmond, etc.), Albert Camus (Django Reinhardt, Edith Piaf and Jacques Brel, but which songs? and what else?) Frida Kahlo, Harlan Ellison...

Writer Reginald Hudlin has been asking readers for playlists to go with the new "Black Panther" comic. HIGHLY recommended and issue 6 has some good tips on afro-pop titles. Let's see some lists and links.

Scylla and Charybdis in Iraq: Bush Broke It, We Bought It, Let's Fix It

I went down to the demonstration
To get my fair share of abuse
... but there wasn't much abuse to be had. Here in Kalamazoo "more than 300 people" (local news estimate) showed up at the federal building last night to stand vigil regarding the war in Iraq.

Back when this invasion began, support and verbal abuse ran about half and half. Last night, only one driver suggested we "get a life". "Fair enough," was the response on the line. No fingers were furled, except as peace signs. This is an unscientific sampling, taken by a intuitive extrovert (me) on a street corner in Kalamazoo. Next door in Portage, where they never saw a parking lot they didn't like, I'm sure support for the current president is solid.

Most of the gentle souls at the vigil want the troops out of Iraq yesterday. I cannnot pretend to be a pacifist; I was there as a person in favor of occasional violence, but against the management of the war in Iraq. They let me hang out with them anyway. (I try to avoid the political "Spanish disease" of being too particular to make common cause with people who share some, but not all, of my beliefs. "Hold your nose and vote fer the Democrat," because the alternative will be more Bushites elected by default. Somebody kick Nader one more time.)

I seem to recall someone saying to the president, "If You Break it, You Own It". I am offering the following slogan to all: "Bush Broke It, We Bought It, Let's Fix It". It lacks nuance, but this is a crowd that doesn't "do" nuance.

Maureen Dowd describes our unpleasant reality: "Americans can't get out, or they risk turning the country into a terrorist haven that will make the old Afghanistan look like Cipriani's. Yet his war, which has not accomplished any of its purposes, swallows ever more American lives and inflames ever more Muslim hearts as W. reads a book about the history of salt and looks forward to his biking date with Lance Armstrong on Saturday."

Bush is the best poster boy Al Quaeda ever had. Our soldiers, and the families who express their love by unquestioning loyalty, will be slow to recognize this. "To die for love is one thing; but to die for nonsense is the Very Devil."

In the same issue, Bob Herbert wonders Whose War Is This, Anyway:
"If Mr. Bush were willing to do something he has refused to do so far - speak plainly and honestly to the American people about this war - he might be able to explain why U.S. troops should continue with an effort that is, in large part at least, benefiting Iraqi factions that are murderous, corrupt and terminally hostile to women. If by some chance he could make that case, the next appropriate step would be to ask all Americans to do their part for the war effort.... College kids in the U.S. are playing video games and looking forward to frat parties while their less fortunate peers are rattling around like moving targets in Baghdad and Mosul, trying to dodge improvised explosive devices and rocket-propelled grenades.... If the war in Iraq is worth fighting - if it's a noble venture, as the hawks insist it is - then it's worth fighting with the children of the privileged classes. They should be added to the combat mix. If it's not worth their blood, then we should bring the other troops home."

My students-- "9/11 babies", I'm calling them in my head-- went in to fight terrorism, not to make a breeding ground for more terrorists. They are being badly used.

The right is working overtime to turn this into a referendum on the character of Cindy Sheehan; this is because they cannot defend Bush's conduct of the war. We want a better war from our leaders; I would settle for more honesty.

Ibrahim Ferrar 1927-2005

"¡OĆ­game compay!
No deje el camino por coger la vereda.
Usted por enamorado ..."

Truth is the Daughter of Time: Popular American Delusions

"The Daughter of Time" is a famous short novel by Josephine Tey. A streetwise policeman is laid up in a hospital bed with a broken leg. Proud of his ability to "read" human faces, he starts playing a game with himself to pass the time. Flipping through a book of historical portraits, he tries to guess what kind of person is shown in each portrait before looking at their name.
The cop's faith in his ability is broken by a portrait of Richard the Third. He then uses his skills to investigate an old mystery: was Richard really the "bunchbacked" monster who murdered the little princes in the Tower and murdered his way to the throne?

In the western film, "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance", everyone KNOWS that Jimmy Stewart killed the outlaw and he rides to the US Senate on the basis of his heroism. When Stewart tries to expose the truth, he is told, "When choosing between the Truth and the Legend, print the Legend."

People believe what they want to believe in spite of all evidence to the contrary. They WANT Richard the Third to be a villain, though evidence suggests that the family of Henry VII framed Richard to support their own prestige. In the film, they WANT Jimmy Stewart to be a pistol packing tough guy, and not just a lawyer who abhors violence. (Neil Gaiman suggests in "1602" that any cure for Ben Grimm will always be temporary, since "Story" finds him more interesting with his affliction).

The theme in these stories speaks to the media-saturated culture of the 21st century. The common myths, superstitions and political beliefs of a society can have terrible effects on the material world. We are all too familiar with what can happen: the Salem Witch Trials, the McMartin preschool case, the Weapons of Mass Destruction that overpaid fools all KNEW were there REGARDLESS of the objective facts presented by their intelligence services. Witness the numbers who STILL perceive Bush and Cheney as warriors, in spite of their proving themselves as "chickenhawks": they themselves have admitted that both had "other priorities" when called on to fight.

The effects of mass delusion can be ridiculous as well as dangerous. Witness the time wasted in Kansas over the mechanism of evolution. When I behold a magazine cover showing the Flavor-of-the-Month Pinup boy or girl, there is a consensus on the part of New York and Los Angeles that he or she is indeed the Sexiest Thing Alive. There is no objective fact behind this assertion; they do not excrete more pheromones than others, they do not match the favored hip-to waist ratio. The masklike perfection of their features are the result of surgery or lucky genes. We ourselves might not find them attractive, but the idea that they ARE sexy is so pervasive that comedians can use their name as a shorthand phrase meaning "erotic". This is manipulating the archetype. What happens to a culture that does this over and over again?

Edward Bernays, the father of advertising and mass manipulation, changed the Victorian taboo against female smoking by distributing photographs of women of fashion and trend setters puffing away on cigarettes.

I am currently revising PANDORA'S BASEMENT, a novel that uses these themes in a "dark urban fantasy" context (ah, the market that cannot perceive a thing until we impose categories on them).

This is a space for readers of this blog-- both of you-- to post your own examples of gross distortions between popular belief and objective fact. For example:

"Everyone KNOWS That": Social Security will run out of money because people live longer than they did during the Roosevelt administration. "The number of older Americans living now is greater than anyone could have imagined in 1935." (souce: Jo Anne Barhart, current commissioner of Social Security.)

Inconvenient Facts: "The 1934 report of F.D.R.'s Commission on Economic Security, which laid the groundwork for the Social Security Act, projected that 12.7 percent of Americans would be 65 or older by the year 2000. The actual number was 12.4 percent." (sources: Social Security's official website and The New York Times 8/15/05.)

A seminal book describing these phenomena before the days of Bernays and Goebbels is "Extraordinary Popular Delusions, or, The Madness of Crowds" by Charles Mackay. Heinlein says somewhere that in the Kingdom of the Blind, the one-eyed man is in for a hell of a rough ride.
And Gary Larson has a cartoon somewhere called "Lemming Philosopher", with one little rodent asking as the crowd plunges over a cliff: "Hey! Wait a minute! Can we talk about this first?"

Perception-- rather than truth-- has changed the course of recent history, but harsh reality will have the last laugh.

“(You) believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality. That's not the way the world really works anymore. We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."
--Unnamed senior adviser to President G.W Bush, summer of 2002, reported by Ron Suskind

Islands of Sanity #2: Kaiju, Or, the Love of Japanese Movie Monsters

As a small child, I reasoned that monsters such as Dracula, Frankenstein ot the Wolfman were small enough to fit through my door-- giants like Godzilla or the Deadly Mantis might crush me, but they couldn't hurt me. "Kaiju" is Japanese for "wonderous/mysterious/mythical beast"-- the film genre represented by Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan, and others. Add "dai" to "kaiju" for "giant monsters" and you have the joys of a film like "Destroy All Monsters", wherein the menace from outer space is so great that Godzilla, Rodan and Mothra have to combine forces...

"There are pleasures, as Algernon Swinburne tells us, "that the vulgar herd can never understand." To be fair, Swinburne probably used this phrase to defend his own perversions; who among us has not? Robert Graves in "Good-bye to All That")was wise to Swinburne even as a child, but that is neither here nor there. No, sorry, that was Baudelaire who said it. Good story, anyway, and why waste good html? It may be impossible for the herd to understand the pleasure that fills us when an obviously fake monster wreaks havoc on a miniature Tokyo and the electrical wires come spitting down and the badly lip synched voice cries, "Run for your lives..."

The pleasure we take in kaiju spans generations, but somehow skips over the humorless. My Aunt Dorothy often remarks, "I just love those little Mothra Twins", while less intelligent relatives voice the cliched reaction, "Oh those are just stupid." Yes they are, but that's not the point. Blue Oyster Cult paid tribute in a song. A copy of the original "Godzilla" poster is hung behind my desk, as a kind of Rorschach test: some visitors express delight. Some, sadly, mutter "those movies are just stupid", usually in a voice one step away from "hyuk yuk yukkity yuk."

The recent Hollywood remake WAS stupid and deserved to fail.

These fumetti are taken from the charming fanblog
  • Neo Monster Island.

  • In October, Marvel Comics is offering a tongue in cheek revival of its goofiest Jack Kirby/Steve Ditko/ Stan Lee monsters from the days before Fantastic Four and Spider-Man. As Lee himself has said in an interview, the idea was to come up with a goofy name like Mootoo and then see what the artist drew. Culture snobs should remember the surrealist/dadaist game called "minotaur", in which artists each drew a different part of an imaginary beast. Our favorite at Ormondroyd's is Jack Kirby's Chinese dragon, Fin Fang Foom. When he pulls up the Great Wall of China and cracks it like a whip...

    The monsters of kaiju films are forces of nature, without motivation beyond warning us not to tamper in God's domain. The real world is full of little monsters who don't know they're monsters. They smash lives in the name of profit, patriotism, gamesmanship, power, religion, ephemeral causes-- and they are small enough in body and spirit to fit through doors.

    If Education Was a Business, I Could Throw Back Half the Students

    Putting in my two cents on teaching over at
  • Peter David, Writer of Stuff

  • ".... Cultures put their resources, including their best and brightest, into whatever they think is most important. For a while, churches and cathedrals dominate the landscape; then the palaces of government, courthouses and legislatures. Nowadays the largest and grandest buildings are those belonging to the great financial powers-- and the sports arenas they name after themselves. Now take a look at the schools..."
    To read the complete entry,

  • "Like most web arguments, this one ended with a bloody stain on the pavement, all that was left of a dead horse." (Author Unknown)

    You Broke It, Some of Us Bought It, All of Us Will Be Paying For It

    Posted earlier at
  • Peter David, Writer of Stuff Blog:
  • regarding Cindy Sheehan's demonstration in Crawford:

    A former student of mine signed up with the Marines the day after 9/11. We all supported him; I'm sure you know some "9/11" recruits yourselves. He signed up to defend his country after a hideous attack. He thought he was going to Pakistan or Afghanistan to catch Bin Laden and his crew. Instead he was shipped to Iraq in the initial invasion. Walked from Kuwait to Baghdad and looped south again. Came home for a visit. Went back again and was in Falujah. Home again now and we expect a visit today or tomorrow. Then he's being shipped out a THIRD TIME for Iraq.

    Those who say "these kids should have known what they were signing up for" are evading the issue. The issue is not whether to fight or not.

    J, and his generation signed up to fight terrorists, to put themselves between the enemy and our beloved homes. Instead they have been used in a sideshow that has only recruited more support for Bin Laden. Bush's invasion of Iraq has given aid and comfort to the enemy.

    Ironically, I demonstrated against the invasion of Iraq, but now I cannot in good conscience call for an immediate withdrawal. In the words of the not-quite-courageous-enough-to-resign Colin Powell, If You Break It, You Own It. The initial invasion was a mistake that will cost us for years to come. It would be even more monstrous if, like drunken fratboys, we were to say, "gee, sorry we trashed your house, not fun anymore, gotta go now."

    The war on terror IS being mismanaged, and lives ARE being wasted, and we are clumsily losing the battle for hearts and minds and bombs in the Middle East. Let's deal with that instead of complaining about the messenger's style.

    SOURCES FOR THE NUMBERS ABOVE: "The amount is based on the National Priorities Project analysis of what Congress has allocated for the Iraq War. To date, four supplemental requests have been made by the Administration for funding, and Congress has appropriated funding with minor changes. The first included approximately $54.4 billion for the Iraq War (enacted in April 2003); the second $70.6 billion (enacted November 2003), the third $21.5 billion (passed as part of regular appropriations for the Department of Defense for fiscal year 2005); and the fourth $58 billion (enacted April 2005). "

    Islands of Sanity #1: "Zippy" and Bill Griffith

    Bill Griffith's "Zippy the Pinhead" is an island of inky goodness in a mediocre sea. The great daily strips took a mortal blow when newspapers started to shrink the panels, and the loss of a generation of highly-literate creators probably finshed them off, but Griffith soldiers on. I still miss the Zippy t-shirt I wore in the 80's: "If you can't say something nice, say something surrealistic."
    This is the world that
  • Edward Bernays
  • made, the father of commercial propaganda and modern advertising. The messages that bombard us are so full of rhetorical tricks, image manipulation, and uncritical reportage that it is almost impossible to sort out What's Important from What's Trivial. The average American, waiting by the grocery store newsstand, flipping through the television channels, knows almost nothing about the ramifications of the war in Iraq, but knows more than anyone needs about Jessica Simpson, Jessica Alba, or Jessica Fill In the Blank (as of August 2005-- two years ago it was someone else, two years from now the names will change again). Most remarkably, you might never have listened to a song, watched a movie, or bought a product related to these stalwarts and yet you WILL recognize them. Another amusing exercise: discover a ten year old copy of "People" magazine in a northern cabin; count the number of "most (fill in the blank) people" featured who are now forgotten.
    This is the world in which our minds are drowning, held under by the likes of Karl Rove, Jerry Bruckheimer, and the 24 hour news cycle. Why do we regulate guns, tobacco and alcohol but not PR firms? Zippy navigates these waters with little regard for the weather, and when you find yourself overwhelmed, his babbling voice will lead you through the fog.
    Here is Griffith's own description of Zippy, from his webpage:
    "Zippy is the "wise fool". He knows nothing at all and everything at once. Media-soaked, he has the attention span of a channel-surfer. He’s giddy from information overload. He speaks in an expressive voice, full of emotion and media sound bites. His mind works in a distinctly non-linear fashion, leap-frogging from one thought to the next , creating a speech pattern that closely resembles the swing of improvisational jazz. Though his behavior may appear "surreal", he’s really making his own kind of sense of the world. His seeming "non sequitur" style is really more of a rearranging of subjects, objects and emotions, flowing like poetry. Zippy thrives on an additive-rich, high MSG diet and a hefty dose of celebrity-spotting (after all, he lives in Hollywood). He’s fueled by Ding Dongs and taco sauce. Of course, there’s an intentionally satiric edge to Zippy, but this never takes a back seat to his strong attachment and loyalty to those around him. When he’s not hanging out at Donut Hut, the bowling alley or the laundromat, he lives with his family in a courtyard apartment building a few blocks from Hollywood Boulevard. When he wants to get away from it all, he goes to his fur-lined fallout shelter in an vacant lot on the other side of town. He’s the central character of the show, bouncing around inside each episode, both reacting to and directing (often unwittingly) the storyline."

  • Bill Griffith's webpage and hundreds of Zippy strips HERE
  • New Novel! Birth Announcement for PANDORA'S BASEMENT

    Just finshed:

    PANDORA'S BASEMENT, a dark contemporary fantasy by Michael Fountain

    Carpenter Joseph Snow, end of a long line of Michigan shop rats, inherits a “haunted” house from his Great-Uncle Jack. Jack was a mover and shaker in the world outside of Motor City, an intelligence officer who took over the occult practices of Nazi prisoners.

    The forgotten house holds the secret of Project Demiurge, a witches’ brew of black magic, mass psychology and modern advertising. Demiurge has the power to alter reality, and a strange parade of characters— a charming war criminal, a senator, and a sinister Chilean— want their hands on it.

    Joe wants no part of this, until a stolen child and a sexy librarian-- who may or may not be one of the mythical Furies-- force Joe to turn loose the angry ghosts of Demiurge…

    PANDORA'S BASEMENT now begins the anguished process of looking for a publisher. The painting shown is "Orestes Pursued by the Furies" by Bourguerau, my initial choice of cover art.

    The novel contains:
    a ghost story set in Flint, Michigan
    a novelist's response to the September 11th attacks
    a look at the "secret history" of the United States
    a meditation on parenthood and loss
    a virtuous stripper against American pharisees
    a corgi dog and a house rabbit
    an anguished carpenter reshaping the world (what, THAT again?)
    an apology for murders I didn't commit

    ... and who knows what else?

    Suggestions for publishers and agents welcome.

    PANDORA'S BASEMENT is copyright 2005 by Michael Fountain, or