I got my copy of Alan Moore’s new underground magazine Dodgem Logic in the mail a few days ago and have been reading through it, pretty excitedly. Just finished it last night. And this thing is weird. Yet accessible. It’s very clearly in the spirit of 1960’s counterculture magazines, complete with the bizarre cartoon nudity, but does an excellent job of… normalizing radical politics? That’s a phrase I’m obsessed with these days. But basically, it’s good at saying “hey, of course you’re concerned with equality, surviving the apocalypse, and sticking it to The Man, aren’t we all?” The magazine isn’t all “a magazine for anarchists!” (though that can be done well, of course). But the very first person described, on the inside front cover (as “hipsters in history”) is Emma Goldman. Anyhow, there’s an excellent overview of the underground press, a recipe for a delicious pumpkin & quinoa soup that I’m eating as I type this, a piece on living without money (which was interesting to compare to my own traveling/crusty version that I pulled off for several years), and lots of other entertaining matter, like comics about guerrilla gardening or why you should dump people.
XKCD has saved me.
One of my friends has a pickup truck, and he doesn’t actually tell many people he has a truck, because otherwise he would be buried under a deluge of requests to borrow it. I feel similarly about being computer literate. The funny thing, in my mind, is that I’m not computer literate. I learned how to fix networks and build websites back in 1999 or so, and I never actually bothered catching up to what goes on a decade later. I use computers a lot, but I mostly use them for media stuff, like InDesign and such. And yet, so often people ask me to help them fix their computers, or solve problems or whatever.
So my basic plea to you is: if you are someone who works on computers every day, learn the basics of how they work! It’s one thing to call in help when you’re exporting a file and it ends up corrupt somehow. It’s another to not know how the folder structure works on the operating system you use.
Anyhow, here’s a handy chart from XKCD that explains everything. I will be printing them out and distributing them.
I think that most people who are computer-literate are fundamentally self-taught, primarily through trial and error. Perhaps it is because of this that being asked to solve problems all the time is irritating… we had to do things the hard way. But I will, begrudgingly, admit that sometimes it makes more sense to ask someone in the room rather than spend an hour trying to solve a problem. It’s just that whole “teach a person to fish, and they’ll be able to eat until commercial fisheries permanently destroy the stock of fish in the ocean” thing.
Another conversation, with someone who studies medicine. “How do you think I feel,” he says. “Every time someone cuts themselves, they come to me. They never actually bother to learn how their bodies work.”
It’s one thing to have specialization in a society, another for people to not know how to troubleshoot basic problems that they are likely to run into on a regular basis.
I found this comic today, from A Softer World. This is an exact thing that happened to me, about 3 years ago. Not much has changed since then.
One of my favorite stories I’ve read so far as part of my research into anarchist fiction has been Jim Munroe‘s Therefore Repent!, which he has just made available for free download on his site. It’s a graphic novel about the rapture happening, and what happens to people who stay behind. I don’t want to ruin it, but it’s got some seriously great moments.
The reason he’s putting it online is to try to drum up interest in the serialized comic (that’s funny… graphic novels have become the norm, I think) that takes place in the same universe. It’s called Sword of My Mouth and it’s available for pre-order for those of you who do things like go to comic book shops.
Okay, so some of you know that I have a book coming out from AK Press this fall. It’s titled Mythmakers & Lawbreakers, and it’s a series of interviews with anarchist fiction writers about the intersection of their politics and their fiction. Trying to explore how fiction writing can be useful, but also why we do it on other levels as well. In fact, I’m looking for help for some of the research that will be included in the appendices.
Anyhow, one of the interviews I did was with comic book author Alan Moore. And it might just be my favorite interview I’ve ever conducted. It’s been posted on infoshop for a long time now (yes, putting together a book takes a long time, it turns out), but for some reason that page seems to be defunct, only showing the first paragraph or two of the interview. So I’m reposting it here, after the break. (It has also been translated into what appears to be Ukrainian or Belorussian.)
Continue reading Mythmakers & Lawbreakers – Alan Moore on Anarchism
Alan Moore, the genius behind so many wonderful comics, is once again watching what should be his intellectual property taken by hollywood without his permission. And no, he’s still not happy about it, as he told the LA Times. I interviewed Mr. Moore about a year ago about his views on anarchism as well as his take on steampunk (which can be found in SteamPunk Magazine #3). Of particular note is that there is a film he’s supporting, a documentary about him and his projects called The Mindscape of Alan Moore (see the trailer or order it).