Tuesday, January 25, 2011

State of my 'Net Union

I just couldn't face up to hearing the former junior Senator from Illinois explain how he was really, truly a moderate Republican. So I spent the evening with the family and looking for interesting oddities on the Interwebs.

Like this one: a woman in New Zealand is paralyzed by a hickey. Go Team Edward! What the hell was her inamorata thinking? Romance safety tip; when women say "Oh, my little snugglebottoms, you're so scrumptious I could eat you up!" she is speaking metaphorically. Do NOT attempt this.

Over at the ever-reliable Pink Tentacle, a collection of Japanese postcards from the turn of the last century to the late Forties. I was intrigued by the large number of "kewpie" variations, from kewpie as the Monopoly guy, kewpie soldiers, kewpie sumo...kewpie everything. The "kewpie doll"; talk about a monster fad that has been almost completely lost to memory.

I followed that lead from PT to various Web entries for kewpies and from there to a short article on the woman who created the little images, one Rose O'Neill, who once said that "Kewpie philosophy takes the unwieldliness out of wisdom, puts cheerio into charity and draws the fangs of philanthropy. I have put all of my love of humanity into this little image."

Well alrighty then.

She was a pretty terrific artist, as the illustration below testifies, in the Edwardian style. Very Whistler and Sargent, Arrow collars and picture hats, the tag-end pf the Gibson Girl days. Look at the delightfully scathing expression on her debutante; the woman could solid fucking draw, even if she turned her gifts to the Dark Side of Extraordinary Cuteness.Still, cute or no the kewpie story has a fairly unhappy ending. When the dolls and other kewpienalia fell out of pop culture in the mid to late Thirties the poor woman lost her shirt and died in what was then known as "straitened circumstances". Not what you'd expect for someone who put the cheerio into charity. And all that's left is the empty grin on the face of the doll. Rather a glum little story.

Although, personally, I think this 1940 card is much, much sadder. Being the daddy of an adorable little Asian tyke I couldn't help getting a bit chokey at the sight of this little Japanese air-raid warden with bright augite eyes, her fire bucket and mop, and her little "smoke resistant" headscarf. The characters on her bucket read "Bring It On". Really. That's what the Japanese thought was bravado at the beginning of WW2. A little girl with a "Bring It On" bucket against a sky full of B-29s pregnant with fire.Yeah. Fire raids.

Who knew?Just sad.

Here's something a bit more cheery; "Better Book Titles". My personal pash is the improved title for Kafka's "Metamorphosis": "A Bug's Life". Although "Ghost Dad" isn't bad for Hamlet. And then there's this one;

Okay, c'mon, admit it. Who doesn't love a love story?

For one of the more entertaining manga love stories on the Web, check out "Red String". Definitely the spunkiest, romantickest, most fun arranged-marriage-forbidden-love-tales-of-Tokyo-youth-written-by-a-woman-from-Voorhees-New-Jersey going. Check it out.

It doesn't hurt that the artist has a nice touch with the 少女漫画 (shojo manga) style, either. Here's a nice example featuring Miharu, her main character. Pretty, neh? And while I was chasing down references to the shojo genrve I ran across the fella who did this wonderful work back in the Thirties; Katsuji Matsumoto (松本かつぢ)

Here's a page from his Nazo no kurōbaa ((なぞ)のクローバー) - "The Mysterious Clover", one of the early shojo manga, from 1934. What's amazing here is the craftsmanship' the varying perspectives, the clean lines and attractive shapes, as well as the effective layout that pulls the eye along the story.Nice!

There's always something worth a look over at deviantart.

This made me think of my son's latest obsession; Battlefield Heroes. This easy online shooter game has a loopy cartoon sensibility, and the game is easy enough for a kiddo to enjoy but challenging enough to keep him wanting more. But I just liked the artist's appreciation of the incongruity of the tank commander with the sword (don't laugh - you see stuff like this in the steampunky sorts of fantasy gaming like Warhammer. Seriously. I shit you not)Forgotten about the damned politics already? Great! Then my work here is done.

See ya 'round the Net!


Lisa said...

What a fun and informative post -- thank you! I like your eclectic thought, and how way leads unto way.

'Tis unseemly for a 44-y.o. to have hickeys (that's the Edwardian in me)! Discretion in all things, except maybe the lover did her an odd favor (despite the stroke) as she discovered she had some artery blockage. No more fries for you.

Sad about the Kewpie artist; I would think the BESM style benefited from her work. Amazing Japanese postcard -- "The characters on her bucket read "Bring It On". So, GWB is not the only nutter.

FDChief said...

It sounds as though the blockage was caused by her daemon lover. Next time I'll bet she wears a turtleneck.

I always thought that the best parallel for the Bushies were the Imperial leadership of 1941 with their "victory disease" and their insistence that they made their own reality. Would that we could have had the equivalent of the postwar trials that hung Tojo and would have hopefully exposed and driven a stake through the heart of the Bushite nonsense that still lies within the heart of the GOP...ah, well.

Sadly, it is the nutters like Tojo and Bush that are the deciders and not they, but people like the little postcard girl, who are consumed in the firestorms they have no way to escape.

Lisa said...

Re. Tojo and Bush, and all the power elite: Same as it ever was.