Thursday, May 29, 2014


In the latest culture war eruption, the horrible Amity Shlaes wants conservatives to start producing propaganda comics, but first she has to explain to her apparently geriatric shut-in audience "the oddly named genre of the 'graphic novel'":
Counterintuitive as it may sound, these graphic novels not only feature nonfiction but also lend themselves enviably to difficult nonfiction topics. Take Persepolis, a mauve-and-grey depiction of a girl’s life in the Iranian Revolution... Maus, another graphic novel...
Also, sometimes they even animate these drawings! What a world we live in.
What’s more, these long cartoon books have much the same capacity as films to entice the reader to delve deeper. As Bill Bennett, one who gets the medium, noted recently: “After reading the comic of The Iliad, then I read the children’s edition of The Iliad, and then I read The Iliad.”
I don't know what's funnier: The idea that the noted blowhard Bill Bennett "gets" graphic novels, or that he worked his way to The Iliad via comics.
What was and is troubling, therefore, is that the many of the more serious graphic novels are like Marx’s Capital — reinforcement weapons for progressive, or even outright Marxist, messages.
Shlaes mournfully catalogues some of these wrongthink funnies ("other graphic novels lionize redistributionists and revolutionaries"). The saddest bit, for me, is her description of "a hilarious but anti-capital comic"; I imagine the poor woman tittering and then shuddering, a la Justin Green's Binky Brown: But my thoughts -- no! -- impure thoughts -- no!

"But where are the conservative mangas and graphic novels?" asks Shlaes. Get this:
One explanation for the missing graphic novels is the political bent of the artists themselves. A number of these talents — some of the best, in fact — study and draw together in White River Junction, Vermont, not too far from the home of President Coolidge. A few years ago I traveled up to this cartoon heaven to find someone to draw my own print book, Forgotten Man, or even to help illustrate a bio of the local president, Coolidge. The artists had to work to live, clearly. But this kind of work, they let me know, and in the politest way, they would not take. I left impressed: At least they lived by their convictions.
Rather than wait for the Invisible Hand to starve the Vermont commie-artists into acquiescence, Shlaes  found someone else to do a comic of her book, and advises her comrades to follow suit. First she flatters them, though -- which makes sense, because the target audience, wingnuts with money, is probably thinking they spend enough keeping the thinktanks running and Jonah Goldberg farting out columns, so why should they pay for comics too?

Shlaes assures them she understands: "conservatives themselves have expressed no demand for graphic novels: After all, they have plenty of lively content of their own." When you've got the films of Dinesh D'Souza and books like God Less America to amuse you, comics may seem a useless luxury. Also, "giving in to the graphic style is perceived as dumbing down, and offends conservatives’ inner librarian." So you guys are too smart, too intellectual to do this "visual art" thing. But you should bite the bullet, pull out the wallet, and find some art-drones to do your funnies anyway:
But this attitude, high-minded though it be, is itself a bit of a manga. After all, almost nobody reads books these days. Not radio hosts, not newspaper editors, not union officials, not politicians, and certainly not children. By turning their collective nose up at graphic books, conservatives surrender education ground to the more artful progressives. In the case of economics, conservatives leave fans of markets, not to mention fans of balanced history, unequipped to rebut when the progressive cartoon books come along.
The dummies don't read, and they're being exploited by "artful progressives" -- so we must hire somebody to counteract them. After all, "these long cartoon books have much the same capacity as films to entice the reader to delve deeper" -- so even if they have no intellectual value in and of themselves, they may lead the sheeple on to Hayek and Ramesh Ponnuru.

This is how things look to someone who has no idea what art is for, and who thinks people only respond to it because they're stupid.


  1. redoubtagain11:29 AM

    I thought they'd already done this before.
    "If at first you don't succeed, cry, cry again"

  2. susanoftexas11:31 AM

    Shorter Shlaes: Buy my book.

    Shlaes does not know what manga is.

    Teachers have found that kids who start with manga, the Japanese fantasy style, switch easily to cartoons about history or economics....
    But this attitude, high-minded though it be, is itself a bit of a manga.
    She should tell the Japanese that they need to write cartoon books that aren't in their fantasy style.

  3. susanoftexas11:36 AM

    They know their audience.
    1.)Install fear in obedient followers.
    2.)Tell followers to buy your products, which are designed to alleviate the fears you just installed.

  4. runsinbackground11:40 AM

    Well, they'll always have Cerebus!

  5. Oh! I was confused as hell about what "a bit of a manga" was supposed to mean. Turns out she's under the impression that it's interchangeable with the word "fantasy" in all senses.

    That's a really bizarre impression to be under.

  6. Christ, guys, John Galt's speech is long enough when it's not broken up into speech balloons.

  7. "After all, almost nobody reads books these days. Not radio hosts, not newspaper editors, not union officials, not politicians, and certainly not children."

    Is there a conservative out there who is capable of going a whole column without resorting to a made up stereotype of the segment of society they intend to reach?

  8. Derelict11:50 AM

    So the new plan is to add to the mercifully short list of conservative cartoons? I guess too many people find Mallard Filmore too subtle.

  9. Rheinhard11:51 AM

    As you observed elsewhere, always check the comments!

    My Day by Day"!

    Also too, anyone who pluralizes "manga" to "mangas", as Ms. Shlaes does, immediately gets their modern pop culture card revoked.

  10. Budbear11:52 AM

    She should hire the guy who drew this masterpiece for her Coolidge book. I bet he'd do a bang-up job.

  11. Derelict11:52 AM

    "Yeah, nobody reads books these days. That's what I was trying to explain to my editor when he shot down my book proposal. He's obviously part of the liberal conspiracy!"

  12. I'd make a joke about breaking it up with action scenes, but I'm not sure I want to risk giving anyone ideas.

  13. sharculese11:53 AM

    I'm not ashamed to admit "God Less America" got a chuckle out of me but then I clicked through and saw they felt the need to spell out the pun on the book jacket and welp it's back to fuck you wingnuts.

  14. William Miller11:54 AM

    If kids aren't reading books these days, then why are conservatives so busy banning them from school libraries? Seems like a waste of time.

  15. mortimer200011:55 AM

    I think Schlaes overestimates her imbecilic audience. Aside from the Help! Mom! There Are Liberals Under My Bed!, Help! Mom!, The 9th Circuit Nabbed the Nativity and Help! Mom! Hollywood's in My Hamper! books for conservative college grads, the best they can manage for winger young'uns are coloring books. There's Cruz to the Future, The Tea Party Coloring Book, and my favorite, The Libertarian Party, where you can color in Koch-spittle on John Stossel's mustache, which is a lot of fun. (Hey, every boy needs a hobby.)

  16. sharculese11:56 AM

    So thanks to your name/avatar I now just want to know what NRO would make of Legend of Galactic Heroes.

  17. sharculese11:58 AM

    My favorite thing about my image is everything but my favoritest thing about it is that they couldn't think of five people who were actually current members of the Libertarian Party.

  18. susanoftexas11:59 AM

    It's almost like she pulled the entire mess out of her ass just to have an excuse to prod her readers into buying her book.

    Cartoon books are new but hip conservatives like Bill Bennett gets them; why, he even read a comic version of the Iliad--back in the '50s, when Classics Illustrated started.

    A comic book like Maus can lead a reader to find deeper material, such real literature or those fact-y books?


    The graphic novel is a genre that can serve conservatives as well as it does progressives.

    All hail the Party line! All art exists to serve our political purpose! Which is why you all should buy my books, t-shirts, novelty mugs, gold shares, bottled water, and utopian community in Florida/Idaho/Atlantis.

  19. Jay B.11:59 AM

    In the case
    of economics, conservatives leave fans of markets, not to mention fans
    of balanced history, unequipped to rebut when the progressive cartoon
    books come along.


  20. mortimer200012:02 PM

    pluralizes "manga" to "mangas"

    Not to mention that most nouns in Japanese don't have plural forms. It's one wingnut, two wingnut, three wingnut.

  21. sharculese12:05 PM

    Is 'balanced history' a new formulation? Its meaning is both immediate and obvious, because these are not subtle people, but I don't think I've encountered that particular bit of cant before.

  22. What, you've never heard of Ron Paul (L-TX)?

  23. Red wingnut, blue wingnut?

  24. XeckyGilchrist12:10 PM

    I think if you need the plural to be explicit you can use wingnut-tachi.

  25. mortimer200012:10 PM

    Obligatory Bob the Angry Flower link.

  26. tigrismus12:12 PM

    This seems especially strange considering her assertion that comics "entice the reader to delve deeper." Why bother with the mere appetizer if you can be the main course? I suppose since she also asserts people don't read, maybe the "delving deeper" would a book with a higher word:picture ratio, leaving the market still undefended in the market.

  27. XeckyGilchrist12:12 PM

    And a few folks who started out somewhat normal and went bugfuck, like Johnny Hart and Frank Miller.

  28. tigrismus12:14 PM

    I know, I was hoping she meant the attitude had huge eyes and a short school uniform.

  29. glennisw12:17 PM

    That's a real thing? {Gobsmacked}

  30. Jay B.12:19 PM

    I really am in a kind of shock. The whole thing reads like something Terry Southern would've banged out on a coke bender -- and she's the serious conservative historian.

  31. XeckyGilchrist12:20 PM

    "Also, sometimes they even animate these drawings! "

    I gotta tell my buddy Winsor about this! I told him back in 1914 it'd never fly, so I hafta go eat some crow.

  32. tigrismus12:21 PM

    Dreams of the Rare Crow Fiend...

  33. mortimer200012:22 PM

    Holy shit. You weren't kidding about that Goldberg thing. It was such a perfectly synthesized line about the cretin I thought you were joking. I mean, I wanted it to be a joke, too, because there's only so much wrongness and despair you can take in one lifetime. But as long as NRO exists, there will always be more.

  34. Chap a quid Duck12:23 PM

    Remember when the Mallard Fillmore guy would go on and on about Ted Kennedy, and what a drunk he was, and then the Mallard Fillmore guy got busted for drunk driving? Good times, good times.

  35. "Balanced" used to be a nice word.

  36. Rheinhard12:26 PM

    Initially it would give Victor Davis Hanson a boner what with all the massive set-piece fleet battles drawn right from the tactics of Napoleon and Prince Eugene of Savoy, which would then deflate as soon as we got to the bits where Jessica Greenhill starts asking uncomfortable questions like "Hey super-patriot war-hawk politicians, when are YOUR kids gonna go fight at the front lines?" It would subsequently be denounced as liberal anti-military propaganda as soon as Yang Wen-Li writes that "a sign of a democracy in decay is that it clamors for a charismatic military commander to lead them".

    And yes, I think this is my favorite comment I've written on a snarky liberal blog ever. ;-)

  37. "Designed for All Ages" *
    *As long as you are emotionally and intellectually adolescent

  38. Jay B.12:29 PM

    In the end, no matter if we think they are stupid, or evil, or just wrong, they really are spectacularly awful people.

  39. susanoftexas12:32 PM

    Since her only goal is to serve her political agenda she can afford to demonstrate low standards. And then blame her audience for not buying her material because they are not fulfilling their duty to disseminate propaganda.

  40. sharculese12:35 PM

    I think that's true, but I also think he would have a bunch of nonsense about 'war by committee' while the Alliance is trying to figure out what to do with Yang, and he would absolutely have a bunch of weird things to say about how the friendship between Reinhard and Siegfried is reminiscent of the ancient Greeks.

  41. So very sad about Johnny Hart. I didn't read enough Cerebus to grasp what was happening there but my brother was a big fan.

  42. So I pulled up Shlaes's foray into sequential art. I'd hoped to find a copy at the local library - which has an impressive selection of both graphic novels and wingnut scribblings - but no such luck, so I stuck with the Amazon preview. Holy shit, this thing is dull. A typical page is a big wall of text split up by competent but remarkable uninteresting images. It's the kind of thing you see a lot in webcomics done by amateur artists - yes, you have both images and text to work with, but it's a visual medium and the story should be told largely through imagery. I don't know, maybe her anti-FDR screeds aren't the best for the style.

    Which brings me to the art. It's not bad, it's just uninteresting. It's reminiscent of one of those cheap-o comic books from the post-war period. I'd say that this is what Shlaes was looking for, but judging by her comments on the medium I don't think she put that much thought into it. Graphic novel artists really obsess over style - they'll expound at length about why they chose a specific line weight or color scheme. The whole point of sequential art is to create a feel using visuals that can't be captured through text alone, so style is key. The style of this thing...well, I can recognize Roosevelt when the artist draws him. Beyond that, the art adds nothing. It's there solely because Shlaes thinks her audience is stupid and needs to get her message in what she considers a dumbed-down format.

    Even if you're just using it as propaganda, you can't go with a comic style just because you think it's dumb and easy to digest. You have to love the style for what it is. Some propaganda is great art in its own right precisely because the creator was able to overcome the message with creativity. There's nothing creative about throwing a few talking heads into your historical narrative.

  43. Maybe she meant Mango.

  44. Look, she just means that Conservatives should use comics the way Catholics used stained glass windows and carved images over church doors. To tell a simplified story to the illiterate.

  45. Such wingnut. So dull.

  46. It's funny how used to telling the message that way they got, institutionally. Or at least they never liked the questions I asked as a teenager who could read the damn book.

  47. Derelict12:44 PM

    That was the least of Tinsley's problems. But I think, in the scheme of things, being a drunken stumble-bum might well be the best and highest use of his talents.

  48. Derelict12:44 PM

    My Shiba Inu wants to nip the heels of this comment.

  49. Dr. Hunky Jimpjorps12:45 PM

    Paragraph 1: these two anti-capitalist books are dangerous because everyone's gonna read them
    Final paragraph: nobody reads books so we need to make things that trick people into reading them

    Is the editorial board at NRO just a drinky bird hovering over the "APPROVE" key on the big coal-belching mimeotype machine or what

  50. Derelict12:46 PM

    Well, that just makes you on the outs with conservatives. Remember: The greatest freedom is attained when you follow blindly and ask no questions.

  51. susanoftexas12:46 PM

    I think it's a fake nun who spends most of her time writing devotional fan fiction.

  52. lawrence09046912:46 PM

    I thought conservative comics were covered by Chick tracts.

  53. Megalon12:47 PM

    I know I'm always pretty disappointed to read a tankobon of one of my favorite "mangas" and discover that all 200 pages aren't devoted entirely to showing one guy giving one speech.

  54. Jaime Oria12:48 PM

    There's also Peter Bagge's collection of libertarian maunderings.

  55. Of course! Which is why 1984 is a masterpiece of conservative literature.

  56. BigHank5312:51 PM

    One suddenly ceases to wonder why the artists of White River Junction were less than enthused about the idea of drawing some "mangas" of Calvin Coolidge* for some fatmouth right-winger.

    *Imagine an unconscious cartoonist drooling onto a piece of bristol board, forever.

  57. Matt Jones12:52 PM

    Shorter RW nuts every time: "We believe that the market is always right, but the complete lack of demand for conservative comics is clearly a LIBERAL CONSPIRACY!"

  58. susanoftexas12:55 PM

    Wow. He really does think that everyone is stupid but him.

  59. redoubtagain12:55 PM

    "balanced history": Coolidge (quite possibly the most useless hunk of meat to occupy the Oval Office in the 20th Century)=FDR

  60. sharculese12:56 PM

    The editorial board of the NRO is too busy with her Mrs. Katheryn-Jean Romney collage to bother with checking things.

  61. Megalon12:58 PM

    Somehow I feel that I should be making a Rob Liefeld joke. I don't know anything about his political beliefs but his art consists mostly of Grotesquely over muscled men with tiny heads firing over sized, improbable looking guns while gritting their teeth and grimacing in rage at all times, even when not fighting. It just seems like it SHOULD be something they'd like.

  62. tigrismus1:02 PM

    OMG, his "Coolidge" would have been MAGICAL.

  63. redoubtagain1:03 PM

    Thought that was Sgt. Rock. Shows what I know.

  64. BigHank531:09 PM

    Given how much of Rand's work is given over to scenes of matte-black steel phallic stand-ins for CAPITAL doing hideously unpleasant things to moochers and looters, y'all could just recycle the B-reel from any Bruckheimer film ever.

  65. BigHank531:11 PM

    serious conservative

    You would not believe where that bar is now.

  66. Rheinhard1:15 PM

    "Reminscent", possibly, but with BIG disclaimers that the "smile that launched a thousand ships" (and by "ships" I don't mean space battleships, but shipping in the fandom sense, the stuff from which yaoi doujinshi get made), is totally NOT GAY because teh buttsecks will destroy all our American warrior manliness!

  67. Jaime Oria1:20 PM

    And for The Fountainhead, just panel after panel of artwork by Hugh Ferriss -

  68. FMguru1:22 PM

    It's likely the comic adaptation of The Iliad that Bill Bennett read was the very fine AGE OF BRONZE by Eric Shanower.

    I still can't get over seeing Bill Bennett being lauded as That Hep Cat Who Really "Gets" Where Today's Kids Are Coming From.

    Shlaes also neglected to mention the right wing culture warrior whose comics have earned a worldwide audience, with more than 750 million pamphlets printed and distributed - Jack T. Chick.

    Finally, nice to see that conservative cultural awareness continues to lag multiple decades behind the curve. Maus led to big media articles about how Comics Aren't Just For Kids back in the mid-1980s. Manga peaked in the American market back around 2007 and has been in sharp decline ever since. But that's about what I'd expect from a party that thinks Paul Ryan affection for Rage Against The Machine will appeal to the kids of today (RATM's last album came out 14 years ago, by the way).

  69. Jaime Oria1:24 PM

    Nope -

  70. Dr Pretorius1:25 PM

    Delve deeper!

  71. Susan of Texas1:30 PM

    Let's hope she never finds out about Miyazaki.

  72. "giving in to the graphic style is perceived as dumbing down, ..."

    Fortunately, Shlaes then reassures her conservative colleagues that this isn't possible.

  73. redoubtagain1:38 PM

    Gott im Himmel. Somebody gave a ten-year old the keys to an art studio.

  74. I am friendly with the excellent Noah Van Sciver, who had The Hypo published by Fantagraphics a year or two ago. His brother is Ethan, who illustrates mainstream spandex stuff and is a notorious asshole conservative; so much so Noah says that he turned off his brother on his FB feed. I asked Noah why he thought there are so many comic illustrators and creators who've embraced a kind of angry white guy brand of politics, and Noah said something a bit insightful, especially for us alicurati: comic creators spend an inordinate amount of time completely alone, listening to the voices in their head while they work. After a while, says Noah, you tend to believe you know everything, more so because you have total mastery over the world you're building.

  75. I was a liberal until I became disgusted by The New 52.

  76. JennOfArk1:47 PM

    I'm thinking hentai.

  77. sharculese1:52 PM

    Okay, so despite the multiple disclaimers in their faq that this is not a parody, I cannot tell if this is a parody.

    Have people committed suicide due to RPGs?

    No cases of RPG-related suicides have been proven in court. However, that does not mean that it doesn’t happen. For all we know, BIG-GAMING may just be very good at covering them up.

    I heard that C.S. Lewis and J.R.R Tolkien influenced the first RPGs. Are they OK?

    Dark Dungeons the movie has researched the work of those noted and possibly pagan authors, as their works can both be found in occult bookstores and may be part of the witchcraft bible;

    I want this to be real, but it feels too good to be true.

  78. tigrismus1:56 PM

    Man, that would've been a GREAT way to improve sales of her Coolidge book.

  79. tigrismus1:58 PM

    Tiny wings, huge breast... he got bit by a radioactive GMO chicken?

  80. JennOfArk2:00 PM

    Er....that's not Koch spittle....

  81. willf2:05 PM

    Paul Ryan affection for Rage Against The Machine

    Well for the sake of fuck.

    Wtf? Does he think "Rally 'round the family with a pocket full of shells" was meant literally?

  82. tigrismus2:06 PM

    Bill Benett's first exposure to a graphical Illiad was painted on urns.

  83. willf2:08 PM

    "Spirited Away is a remarkable story of one girl's abduction into a world run by liberals, and her desire to escape back to the 'real world' of conservatism."

  84. KatWillow2:08 PM

    That's just- I can't- Ew. I mean, ug? Not Human.

  85. marindenver2:12 PM

    " After all, almost nobody reads books these days. Not radio hosts, not newspaper editors, not union officials, not politicians, and certainly not children."

    Yes, people are *not* reading books this year to the tune of a projected $28 BILLION in combined physical and e book sales. Buy why would a conservative writer concern herself with *facts* when a condescending sneer feels so much better? (This statistic gleaned from an article about Amazon trying to strong arm Hachette Book Group for a bigger share of sales proceeds Sucks to be one of those little people hoping to read J.K. Rowling's next book.)

  86. M. Krebs2:14 PM

    Maybe it makes more sense if, as I did, you think RPG stands for rocket propelled grenade.

  87. Glock H. Palin, Esq.2:20 PM

    Like it'd be much worse than any given Dragonball Z fight scene.

  88. M. Krebs2:21 PM

    Try to imagine the skree if it were discovered that there were a Democratic Party coloring book. Now stop.

  89. sharculese2:22 PM

    One of the things that these sorts of pieces perpetually fail to get is that reading comic books/graphic novels is still reading. Analyzing sequences of images uses different skillsets, to some extent, than analyzing sequences of words, but you're not turning your brain off and just staring at the pictures.

    You're never gonna succeed at condescending to your audience if the audience can tell you only think your condescending to them.

  90. Glock H. Palin, Esq.2:22 PM of markets...

    Something about this phrase just strikes me as sublimely ridiculous.

  91. sharculese2:24 PM

    That's because the Democrat Party is a sinister behemoth, not the scrappy upstarts who ironically call themselves 'America's third largest political party' even though they know how pathetic that sounds.

  92. sharculese2:27 PM

    It's both accurate and telling. They're not advocates of markets who have cogent arguments for why we should distribute resources in that manner, they're the ones who write to the newsletter and have the poster on their walls and it shows in everything they attempt.

  93. gocart mozart2:27 PM

    A second amendment anthem for the ages.

  94. tigrismus2:27 PM

    She begins the whole piece talking about how Piketty's "best-seller" seems "unstoppable." So yeah, she can't even keep her story straight from sentence to sentence. "People don't read, except for stuff liberals write" maybe sounded too plaintive.

  95. Dr Pretorius2:28 PM

    It's satire, but they're playing it wonderfully close to the vest.

  96. Matthias Neeracher2:28 PM

    Bennett probably left off the part about listening to The Iliad on tape while feeding the slot machines.

  97. gocart mozart2:33 PM

    No because Robert Byrd

  98. sharculese2:47 PM

    That was the exact place my mind went too, but I couldn't express it as pithily.

  99. Shakezula2:47 PM

    Mwahaha! That's right! We're thieves, thieves and kidnappers I tells ya! The minute we detect a Consymp with any talent, we nab 'em and lock them up in our FEMA Sex-Toy Testing Camps until they become louche lackeys for The Cause. Just ask Garry Trudeau - Oh you can't, he doesn't remember his days as a bright-eyed true-bleu conservative after what we did to him!

    But we aren't without feelings. So we left you Day by Day, Howard the Duck. And Reply All, which may not be conservative, but Lord does it suck.

  100. Conservative screeds really should be replaced with 10 minutes of just groaning with rage/power/puzzlement. I can see it now:



    And so on while lightning flashes and Ann Coulter assumes her final form.

  101. chuckling2:57 PM

    What? Frank Miller isn't conservative enough for her?

  102. TGuerrant2:59 PM


    See what happens when you relegate pierced men with printing presses to the warehouse district at night?

  103. They'll always have Rorschach, who was partly a send up of Steve Ditko characters. So, you know, they're indirectly made fun of in actual art. That's something!

  104. lcSpruce3:05 PM

    sinCity babee

  105. You should see his women. Or see the definitive

  106. Carbon Dated3:08 PM

  107. lcSpruce3:09 PM

    well they have Sabo. whose really the lil evil genius.
    think tedCruz with tattoo's.

    ew. sorry.

  108. Bethany Spencer3:09 PM

    Frank Miller, line 1.

  109. Richard_thunderbay3:13 PM

    Miller is a sad case. He went looney after 9/11 and never recovered. His productivity in the meantime has slowed to the trickle. I guess the latter can be seen as a blessing. The Holy Terror graphic novel is the the only original work that he's put out in the last 9 years.

  110. NonyNony3:14 PM

    I doubt Bennett read Age of Bronze. I'm betting that he was talking about a "Classics Illustrated" version of the Illiad. Teh Googles tells me that there was a Classics Illustrated version of the Illiad out in 1950, and Bill Bennett was born in '43, so he would have been about 7 years old when it was published. A bit young for the target audience for Classics Illustrated back in 1950, but not by much.

  111. Sean Cooper3:15 PM


  112. lawrence0904693:18 PM

    I guess they wouldn't like Barack The Barbarian

  113. Rheinhard3:18 PM

    Wait, I thought that it was called "The Machine Rages On", and didn't Gary Bauer tell us that they are "anti-family and pro-terrorist"?

  114. Basically, they need propaganda without words, because the base is so thick.

  115. JennOfArk3:25 PM

    They've almost got it down to that point already - just flash a picture of Obama or Pelosi or Hillary, paired with screeches and grunts, punctuated with the occasional "BENGHAZI!" "SOCIALIST" or "LIBERAL" - or any number of interchangeable dog whistles - and the wingnutterati will lap up just about any vomit they spew.

  116. BG, dismayed leftie3:26 PM

    Dear Ms. Shlaes,

    Try using The Google. Search for Bible comic book. I'm sure you will be quite relieved by the results you get.


  117. Frank Miller's Charlie Brown was great, precisely because Frank Miller didn't do it.

  118. stuckinlodi no more3:31 PM

    What about Jack Chick?

  119. Or this one:

  120. stuckinlodi no more3:34 PM


  121. Dark Dungeons the movie has researched the work of those noted and
    possibly pagan authors, as their works can both be found in occult
    bookstores and may be part of the witchcraft bible;

    Yeah, if "BIG-GAMING" weren't enough, this gives it away to us escapees. Plenty of the Talibornagain lurrrve them some C.S. Lewis, all while denouncing J.K. Rowling for promoting witchcraft.

    I'd say it's because Rowling's use of magic is not so explicitly subordinated to thinly-disguised Christianity, but it's even more simplistically kneejerk than that: Their current masters have asserted that Harry Potter is evil, and God forbid [heh] that they should think for themselves ever again. I mean, I was openly reading fantasy novels when I was eight**, yet should the mdslet ever take to Harry Potter, we'd better not let my parents hear about it.

    **(On the other hand, my parents were hysterically opposed to Dungeons & Dragons, but that was during the bullshit "Satanism everywhere" scare.)

  122. NonyNony3:35 PM

    I just assume that when she says "nobody" she means "nobody that counts to Amity Shlaes". So just sprinkle the word "conservative" into that little sentence and you'll have the meaning.

    "After all, almost nobody conservative reads books these days. Not conservative radio hosts, not conservative newspaper editors, not conservative union officials, not conservative politicians and certainly not the children of conservatives."

    Okay, so it's a stretch given that she sticks "union officials" and "newspaper editors" - typical conservative stand ins for "liberals" - in there. But I suspect she stuck those in there for balance.

    (And if she thinks kids aren't reading, she's an uninformed moron. Since Harry Potter kids have been more into reading than ever before. But then it's Amity Shlaes - I know she's an uninformed moron.)

  123. NonyNony3:38 PM

    His comics productivity has slowed to a trickle, but that's because he's been making movies. And his All Star Batman and Robin and Dark Knight Strikes Again made his name a punchline among comics fans. (Holy Terror did him no favors among sane comics readers, but it wouldn't have done much overall since the market right now is dominated by fanboys who are fairly conservative in their politics. But they hate it when you make a mockery of Batman, and that's what he did with his last two mainstream comics projects).

  124. I love that shit- I downloaded the entire PDF for yucks.

  125. Gromet3:40 PM

    I've been sitting here trying to think of a good Coolidge Hentai line, and coming up empty. Glad to find you and Jenn are on the case.

  126. Satire, eh?

    Is Dark Dungeons the Movie a satire?

    NO! Satire is “a humorously exaggerated imitation.” ... Dark Dungeons the comic shows that RPGs can lead to suicide,
    joining a witches coven, and gaining real life magical powers and Dark
    Dungeons the movie shows exactly those same things as well. The film adaptation does not exaggerate or alter those claims.

    I want to marry everyone involved with this production in a Black Mass.

  127. Maybe conservatives shouldn't have gone nuts with that "seduction of the innocent" campaign to ban comic books.

    First they fight you
    Then they laugh at you
    Then you lose
    Then you wonder what the hell went wrong
    Then you try to co-opt them
    Then you desperately try to play catch up by aping their forms

  128. satch3:43 PM

    "As Bill Bennett, one who gets the medium, noted recently..."

    Amity, babes, I'm pretty sure that the only thing that Bill Bennett "gets" about the medium is tentacle porn...

  129. Megalon3:46 PM

    Back in the nineties, Liefeld was hailed as an artistic genius. Seriously. There's a reason many comic fans find that decade particularly embarrassing.

  130. Suggested titles for soon forthcoming right-leaning graphic novels:

    The Government Death Panels Will Put You The Fuck To Sleep
    Girl Genius? Ha! Who the Fuck Does She Think She’s Kidding?
    Stuck Rubber Tar Babies
    Gigantic Beards And the Sickos They Hide
    Watchmen: Real Heroes Guard Our Fence
    Persecuteopilis: Christians Under Liberal Fire
    The Smartest Kid on Earth Is a Republican
    Black Hole In a White House

  131. Hmm, Gandhi did eventually stop wearing underpants ...

  132. Gromet3:50 PM

    Oof. This is a perfect, succinct distillation of everything they do. You have just rendered them all so ridiculous, it actually hurts to read.

  133. He reinvented cubism and made it suck.

  134. It's the son of Frank Perdue and one of his feathered concubines.

  135. Gromet3:56 PM

    White wingnut, white wingnut. Always.

  136. From what I've read, the frothers were all het up because Rowling dropped in the names of actual "occult" figures like Hermes Triwhatshisname.

  137. They had to pretend to play it straight to get the rights.

    I, for one, await the pivotal "Not Blackleaf!" scene.

  138. monarda4:02 PM

    One more item for the pundits to buy by the truckload and give away as door-stoppers in convention goody bags.

  139. Literature? I thought it was a cookbook how-to manual!

  140. Trismegistus, or "Thrice-greatest." (That's what she said.)

  141. BiS1474:07 PM

    Coolidge sounds like an English word that a Hentai would use on the cover titles as a stand in for the Japanese Characters for Pimp.

  142. cekman4:12 PM

    Well, it's not as dull as, say, the graphic novel adaptation of the 9/11 report. But I agree, despite being polished, it's not very interesting. What jumped out at me is how stodgy it looks. It resembles the continuity strips of the '40s and '50s, like Rip Kirby or Rex Morgan or something, only a little bit streamlined, as if it had been inked by Darwyn Cooke. It's very old-fashioned - and yet, not quite old-fashioned enough to evoke the period.
    You know what they should have done? Aped a strip that loathed Roosevelt as much as Shlaes does - Little Orphan Annie. They could have hired Chester Brown to do his best Harold Gray impression. (They'd have to make him use a pseudonym, though, to keep Shlaes' conservative readers from stumbling across things like Ed the Happy Clown.)

  143. The tentacles represent the vast liberal conspiracy, attacking our children.

  144. Unholy Moses4:19 PM

    "these long cartoon books have much the same capacity as films to entice the reader to delve deeper ..."

    And as proof, she offers Bill Bennett, who went from a graphic novel version of the Illiad to a ... children's version?

    ::blink blink::

  145. And they are graphic, they are novel, but they're aren't graphic novels.

  146. "Gandhi Goes Commando" would make fine graphic novel.

  147. Kordo4:41 PM

    You know, at some point, she's going to find out about Frank Miller. I can just imagine the column she'll pen after seeing the movie version of "300". Oh, well; even sociopathic hacks deserve an orgasm now and then...

  148. montag24:42 PM

    Shlaes' "inner librarian" is not what she thinks. Unless Ted Bundy was a librarian once, too.

  149. That means signature practice is Friday, as usual.

  150. DN Nation4:51 PM

    DBD is traced porn and Randroid blog posts thrown into the Babelfish machine one too many times.

  151. Kordo4:52 PM

    Thank you, Sharculese. I was thinking it, but couldn't have put it better.
    Also, too: no one is reading?? Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, today seem to be reading a ton. Reading is actually getting Cool again.
    She doesn't know anyone who reads because she hangs out with dumbasses, and her publisher has already told her that her "sales" are the result of wingnut bulk-buys that get turned into garden mulch before the ink is dry...

  152. Jaime Oria4:53 PM

    and Ann Coulter assumes her final form...

  153. Catholic comic books aren't what they used to be:

    'Nuff said.

  154. montag25:05 PM

    A graphic novel of Calvin Coolidge's life would zing right past subtle and dive into somnolent. Let's put it this way--the very last thing anyone would think of doing with ol' Cal would be to make an action figure of him.

    When his reputation while in office was fading, and the country rightly thought him to be little more than a lump of Vermont cheese in a suit, the White House hired Eddie Bernays to "improve his image." He arranged for a day when twenty or so film stars would visit the White House and meet the President. The New York Times wrote of the encounter that "Mr. Coolidge almost smiled."

    The mystery of this is not that Shlaes had a terrible time finding someone to do a graphic book of her fanfic of Coolidge, it's that Shlaes bothered to write a book about him in the first place. After all, Nathanael West nailed Coolidge a long, long time ago. So well, in fact, that I cannot hear the name Coolidge without thinking of Shagpoke Whipple.

  155. wagonjack5:08 PM

    There's a big reason visual comics lean hard to the left. They are meant to take on the rich and powerful and explain what evil deeds they are engaging in and mock them. This doesn't work well when you are on the side of the oligarchy and making fun of the poor and powerless. That's why we progressives are so good at snark...because we are so powerless for the most part!

  156. Susan of Texas5:10 PM

    This whole "the kids don't read" thing is so wrong it pegs Shlaes as terminally out of touch. They read far more than most of my classmates did in the 70s. They read texts, tweets, and tumblers. They read emails. They read webzines, websites and web blogs on video games, tv shows, comics, colllectables, sports, fashion, animals, and anything else they are interested in. They read comics, graphic novels, novelizations, ungodly amounts of fan fiction, genre novels, and that's not even the kids who love to read and now have 24/7 access to libraries of books. My teenage self would have been so very jealous.

  157. montag25:13 PM

    Well, all one has to do is look at their party's votes in national elections to know that there probably are less than five.

  158. DN Nation5:19 PM

    That Jonah Goldberg shart on Angelou was Peak Goldberg until we reach it again, probably tomorrow. A brief rundown:

    - I didn't really like Angelou
    - Recent poetry sucks
    - She seemed like a nice lady, though
    - She really reminds me of this scene from the Simpsons

    This is the type of drivel I might text to annoyed friends when I'm on my last beer on a boring night out. I always issue forth a my-bad-on-being-a-moron. This bloated oaf gets paid serious money to opine like this.

  159. Susan of Texas5:22 PM

    Mrs. Kathryn Jean Lopez Romney
    Mrs. Willard Romney
    Mrs. Mitt Romney
    The Younger Mrs. Romney
    Sister Stigmata

  160. montag25:27 PM

    Oh, I'm sure that "delve deeper" phrase is there just because Bill "let it ride" Bennett said it did for him.

    Beyond that, I'm just horribly confused by the idea that free markets today would be a great subject for a comic book, given that most of the panels would require scenes of fatcats screaming, "fuck the customers, there's money to be made!," and of young brokers sniffing coke off the butts of hookers and pouring Dom Perignon over each other every time they moved 200 tons of aluminum ingot from one warehouse to another in New Jersey, or bribed yet another bunch of hayseed local politicians in Birmingham to destroy their county's water system.

    And Don Martin is the only guy who could do that justice, and he's dead.

  161. Frank Miller should do a "gritty reboot" of "Nancy". Sluggo kinda looked like a juvenile delinquent.

  162. MikeJ5:43 PM

    It takes a tough man to keep fuckin' that tender chicken.

  163. tigrismus6:00 PM

    I'm just horribly confused by the idea that free markets today would be a great subject for a comic book

    THE INVISIBLE HAND could work as either superhero OR hentai.

  164. Marion in Savannah6:01 PM

    "After all, almost nobody reads books these days."

    Ahhh... So THAT explains why Amazon branched out into selling garden hoses.

  165. I started back into community theater a few years ago, and you're absolutely correct. My experience from watching the kids doing there thing is that Shlaes doesn't speak to or know anyone under the age of 30 in her day to day life.

  166. I always wonder which President H. L. Mencken was talking about who received movie stars in the WH. Thanks.

  167. Sounds like you could be earning way more money if you pursued alcoholism as a career.

  168. eastcoastlib7:05 PM

    Actually, it's that "balanced history" thing that's the real "tell". Conservatives know the history of the last thirty years (stagnant wages, low growth, enormous wealth gaps, a middle class slowly disappearing before our eyes) won't be kind to Conservatives. They know the evangelical belief that tax cuts for hedge fund billionaires solve every problem known to man won't cut it. Not with the mountain of evidence stacking up over the last three decades. She knows in her heart the soul of modern Conservatism is essentially dead. She's hoping a few graphic comics can fool enough backward hillbillies to continue to belief the overlords rather than their own eyes.

  169. Ellis_Weiner7:22 PM

    You ain't just whistlin' Dixie. The Invisible Hand as super-hero: where is National Lampoon when we need it?

  170. Ellis_Weiner7:25 PM

    Me, too. Fans of farmers' markets or flea markets, okay. But it's like saying, "Hey, I just got into town, and I'm a big fan of the division of labor. Know where I can find any around here?"

  171. montag27:30 PM

    Terry Schiavo and the Pirates

    Angler (The Spy Adventures of Big Dick Cheney and his Sidekick, Addington's Disease)

    I, Dubya


    She Shlaes Me

    Bill Bennett and the Case of the Rigged Wheel

    Karl Rove, Space Cadet

    Ann Coulter Goes to Detroit

    D'inesh D'Souza Goes to D'Jail

  172. montag27:33 PM

    Um, Tom Tomorrow has that one covered.

  173. Ellis_Weiner7:38 PM

    As someone who has shifted from writing for adults to writing for middle grade (9-12), take it from me: that age, and YA (13 and up) are the only age cohorts in which reading is *increasing.* Shlaes suggesting otherwise almost makes me think she doesn't know what she's talking about.

  174. smut clyde7:41 PM

    Teachers have found
    Citation required.

  175. GeorgeMokray7:42 PM

    Well, Schlaes could talk to Jack Chick or Frank Miller.

  176. Ellis_Weiner7:44 PM

    Mrs. Kathryn Jean Romney *nacida* Lopez.

  177. smut clyde7:53 PM

    Any Ayn Rand adaptation can only be improved by "SPLA-DOINK" sound effects.

  178. montag27:56 PM

    Only in the sense of the meaning conservatives ascribe to "balance." More or less, we get dibs on history because we're the winners. To illustrate:

    "The Koch brothers are planet-destroying monsters with Midas Syndrome, but, on balance, they give money to the ballet."

    "Yes, Ronald Reagan was a drooler and a bigot and equated drug-running terrorists with the Founding Fathers, but, on balance, he was popular."

    "Ted Cruz is probably a fanatic wingnut demagogue, but, on balance, his physical similarity to Joe McCarthy shouldn't be seen as evidence."

    Fox's "fair and balanced" is now not just a propaganda slogan, it's embedded deeply enough into the wingnut consciousness that Shlaes thinks it's an ageless precept of historical research, and that conservatives win that game, too, period.

    Power of propaganda and all that.

  179. smut clyde7:58 PM

    THE INVISIBLE HAND could work as either superhero OR hentai.
    A few frames of Manara's "Butterscotch" fit the bill.

  180. smut clyde8:01 PM

    Plural is "mangi".

  181. Kordo8:38 PM

    I want to publish these titles in a leather-bound folio edition, with a forward by Will & Ariel Durant.

  182. Kordo8:43 PM

    Ok, that is just creepy. What the hell was going thru the artist's head there? Do I even want to know? Please tell me he doesn't draw women. Wait! No, I don't want to know...

  183. BigHank538:46 PM

    When you start with your conclusion (Everything the Heritage Foundation has ever said is true!) and then scrabble around in the couch cushions for arguments to support it, it gets kind of difficult to sound like you know what you're talking about.

  184. MichaelNewsham8:49 PM

    At the fringes there are some Fundies who denounce Lewis, mostly for introducing pagan gods- and really, the drunken Bacchus/half-clad maenads scene in Prince Caspian is skirting the edge in a children's book- plus underage drinking and curse words like "Dem", "Dam' "Lor'" and even "ass" (and no, you casn't explain the British usage is different; if talkin' American was good enough for Jesus....

  185. larry longmore8:55 PM

    I have a title: The Ayn Avengers!

  186. M. Krebs9:09 PM

    Say, that looks like the future!

  187. Noah is very smart and everyone should read The Hypo.

  188. I know a lot of the people involved with that school (no idea why Shlaes was coy about naming it-- it's the Center for Cartoon Studies) and the idea of Shlaes cold-calling them to illustrate her shlock is hilarious. One of the founders of the place, James Sturm, is the author of several works of very well researched historical fiction... if the appearance of a wingnut who thinks the New Deal caused the Depression did not cause him to fire several warning shots over her head, I presume it was because he was laughing too hard.

  189. davdoodles10:00 PM

    A professional writer (using both terms loosely) who complains that no-one reads anymore because they are stupid may be unfairly extrapolating from her own, dwindling, drooling, corked-fork readership.

  190. Shakezula10:06 PM

    Getting people to pay for deformed angry muscular cat man thing requires a sort of genius.

  191. William Hurley10:24 PM

    I've always found Shlaes' prose to be more interesting, even intelligent when it's text she's plagiarized rather than that she scribbles herself.

  192. hellslittlestangel10:44 PM

    "This is how things look to someone who has no idea what art is for, and
    who thinks people only respond to it because they're stupid."

    That's a brilliant observation.

    I have occasionally -- well, rarely -- wondered what became of the AmitySchlaes Horror.

  193. hellslittlestangel10:48 PM

    I think he probably started with the version from Classics Illustrated, which could turn anything from War and Peace to À la recherche du temps perdu into a 24 page comic.

  194. JennOfArk10:55 PM

    Someone should tell her about yeti porn. As a staunch supporter of free markets, she should understand that she's gotta give the people what they want. She could work in a yeti character named Calvin Coolidge.

  195. Gregory Gee11:10 PM

    "and offends conservatives’ inner librarian."

    Does she know we let people read books for free?

  196. hellslittlestangel11:15 PM

    Looks like Cappy's been smoking a lot of weed. Nice tits.

  197. moseyondown11:26 PM

    What about that early 60's comic book used as campaign propaganda to make George Wallace governor in Alabama? Now there was a god-fearing, states' rights loving classic work of literature!