Belltown Messenger - Documenting Downtown Seattle

Belltown Messenger #75 - January 2010

misc - by Clark Humphrey

I Survived the Bush Junta and All I Got Was This Lousy iPod

BOOM! Historic media event.

OF CREATIVES AND OTHER UNDESIRABLES: The kind folk at United States Artists released a survey claiming 96 percent of Americans “highly value art in their lives and communities,” but only 27 percent believe that “artists contribute ‘a lot’ to the good of society.” I can believe this. I came of age in a Seattle that loved old R&B music, as long as it was performed by whites. A Seattle whose favorite cultural genre was the foreign art film, something that came in a tin can from creators safely far away. I now live in a Seattle that just built a huge trinity of art museums, which take little interest in local artists and even less interest in living local artists. It’s easy for me to imagine other folk around the country taking a similar attitude of enjoying the delicious milk of culture, as long as they don’t have to don’t have to smell the cows who make it.

THE NEXT MOVIE SUPERHERO?: Whilst perusing SeattleTimes.com’s old stories about the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, I discovered this headline from May 2007: “This is a composite guy’s dream.” I can see it now: COMPOSITE GUY! Assembled from spare parts! He’s got the heart of a nun, the brain of a rocket scientist, the hands of a surgeon, the legs of an Olympic distance runner, the arms of a warrior, and the guts of a CHAMPION!

‘EDITOR & PUBLISHER’ TRADE MAGAZINE FOLDING: Now where will we get our industry-insidesr news about the shrinking print-media business?

UPLIFTING THOUGHT OF THE DAY (via Rosa Blasi at HuffingtonPost): “Show me any man who has sick amounts of money and power, and I will show you a man playing musical vaginas.” DEPT. OF MORBIDITY: We didn’t learn about it until early December, but Bob Kondrak passed away late November at age 61. He was an avid photographer, an early documentor of the Seattle punk scene. His son Kuri currently DJs around town. Also recently deceased is Serbian novelist Milorad Pavic, 80. Pavic became an international success with his novel Dictionary of the Khazars, a nonlinear revisionist history of the entire western world. His works dealt deftly with the clashes of races, religions, nationalities, genders, and schools of philosophy over the tumultous centuries, and treated all the parties in said conflicts with equal humanity. But when it came to his own time and place in history, Pavic chose sides, defending Milosovec’s violent but futile drive to hold onto the mini-empire that was Yugoslavia.

I CAN HAZ IRONY?: Jim Windolf, writing in Vanity Fair, has a lot of frowner words to say about America’s recent obsession with cuteness. And he even comes close to understanding it. This comes when Windolf goes into the artistic roots of Astro Boy creator Tezuka Osamu, one of anime/manga’s first popularizers. Osamu made some big-eyed boyish heroes and placed them in awe-inspiringly beautiful settings. But his stories were informed by his lifelong obsessions with two related, real-life horrors—war and environmental destruction. The current crop of ironic image artists displaying at places such as Roq La Rue take Osamu’s schtick a step or two further. These ladies and gents depict superficially cloying animals and children as portals for the viewers, drawing them into tableaux scenes portraying a full range of powerful emotions.

NOW LEAVING ORBIT: Three months after CBS extinguished Guiding Light, the network’s axing the only other remaining Procter & Gamble-owned soap opera, the 53-year-old As the World Turns. The last episode is scheduled for next September. (Yes, conspiracy theorists, it looks like the network staggered the cancellations so P&G couldn’t offer both shows as a package to another outlet.)

TUBE OF PLENTY DEPT.: Seattle’s first TV station, KSRC-TV (soon to become KING-TV) signed on for the first time on Thanksgiving 1948. The debut telecast was a live high school football game, from the then-new (and apparently now doomed) High School Memorial Stadium. In honor of this occasion, Feliks Banel at Crosscut offered a list of Seattle’s 25 most memorable live TV moments. In chronological order, they begin with that first local telecast and end with the Pike Place Market’s centennial concert on the Seattle Channel. In between are the first and last J.P. Patches shows, Mt. St. Helens, the Kingdome implosion, the WTO protests, and Cobain on Saturday Night Live. Banel didn’t include, but I would’ve, the Seattle World’s Fair opening (KING, 1962), the last hour of the Dog House restaurant (KCTS, 1994), the weird Jay Leno-hosted party at the Microsoft campus for the launch of Windows 95 (KOMO, KING and KIRO, 1995), the Sonics’ final game (FSN, 2008), and perhaps one or two particularly naughty cable access shows.

The Oughts In Review: or, I Survived the Bush Junta and All I Got Was This Lousy iPod
WE’LL WONDER HOW WE EVER DID WITHOUT: The whole WWW thang, social networking, smart phones, Netflix, Adobe Flash, Netroots organizing, Jon & Stephen, Keith & Rachel, HBO-style serial drama, digital video, Pixar, the gay-marriage movement.
WE’LL LOOK BACK AND LAUGH AT: ‘Sexting,’ Twitter, Auto Tune, tea parties, Jon & Kate Plus Eight, Glenn Beck, CGI-enhanced superhero movies, Sarah Palin, American Idol, Botox, the first dot-com frenzy, the second dot-com (“Web 2.0”) frenzy, the real-estate frenzy, the stock-market frenzy, the war frenzy.
ALTERNATE-HISTORY FANTASISTS WILL DREAM ABOUT WHAT IF: Gore won, 9/11 was prevented, the print-media and music industries got their heads out of their asses, the New Orleans levees had been properly built.
ALREADY FORGOTTEN: Y2K, Napster, $4 gas, Enron, Octomom, Balloon Boy.
ALREADY MISSED: The P-I, the Sonics, Washington Mutual (pre-”WaMu”), “big book” catalogs, Tower Records, the Bon Marché (and all the other Macyfied stores), New Yorker Films, The Rocket, Sunset and Leilani Lanes, the Ballard Mannings/Denny’s, the International Channel, Olds/Pontiac/Saturn/Plymouth, Chubby & Tubby, the Twin Teepees, McLeod Residence, Northwest Afternoon, inauguration morning, Ted Kennedy, Pluto.
GOOD RIDDANCE TO: Bush/Cheney, all the corrupt cronies of Bush/Cheney, all the graft-happy funders of Bush/Cheney, all the apologists and hucksters for Bush/Cheney (even the ones currently still on air and in print). )

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