Who gives a shit what one white kid thinks?
In a comment under Brian Cremins’s rumination on his relationship with Walt Kelly at Hooded Utilitarian, Jeet Heer says some fascinating things:
[…F]unny animals are the default way of talking about race without talking about race.
Jules Feiffer once made a passing remark to me that was interesting — that while Dogpatch in L’il Abner could be seen as a disguised Jewish village, a shtetl, an even stronger argument could be [made] for the swamp in Pogo (despite Kelly, of course, not being Jewish).
[A]s Kelly and other cartoonists became more sensitive to racial stereotypes, they stopped using black characters all together (or had black characters in funny animal form). There was a kind of ethnic cleansing of the comics in the 1940s (and comics have never returned to the strong sense of America as an ethnically diverse country that they had, in however problematic a form, in the early 20th century).
[…]The impact of Krazy Kat on Kelly is worth thinking about — in some ways Herriman was the pioneer and master of creating anthropomorphic imaginary homes (Coconino county — a real place of course, but reimagined by Herriman) to allegorize race.
And upon meeting rapists, murderers, thieves, and other horrors every damn morning, God exclaims, “Oh, how beautiful you are!”
Who wants to be loved like that?
[ … ] And what would happen if we followed such an example of senseless love?
I don’t think a human gets to see all of this before dying. But I want to see as much of it as I can. And here is the key thing—it thrills me to see it. I love seeing it. I love knowing. The knowing is its own reward. The ability to frame the question is it’s own gift—even if you can’t quite name the answer.
I don’t know if you spend much time on clothing forums, but on the classic men’s style side, things usually go like this: an argument erupts, a bunch of random strangers weigh in, some vociferous poster throws down a 1930s illustration from Apparel Arts or a photo of the Duke of Windsor, and everyone simmers down. Those images are basically what pass for reason and authority on such forums. If you had enough of them, you could be some kind of final arbiter for these people – like a Biblical judge, but hopefully in a judicial robe once worn by Edward VIII.
A piece on the side of a train feels like art.
A throwup on a billboard feels like a reclamation of public space.
A tiny picture in a hidden spot feels like a glimpse of a secret world.
A sticker with a name slapped up all over the city feels like advertising.
A tag on evry available surface feels like litter.
Spray paint on a suburban garage door feels like a teenage prank.
Curvy scrawl on a brick apartment house wall feels like violence.
Here’s a Frank King strip from almost exactly 100 years ago, just for the conservation of it.
I hate shaving but I hate having hair on my face more. I don’t mind having a little hair on my face but more than about a week’s worth gets uncomfortable and looks mad untidy. Even so, I let it go longer than I’d like way more often than I’d like.
I once grew a full beard. Pusht thru that itchy faze and I kind of liked it. Never trimmd or anything, just let it grow wild. Just to see what my true capacity for beard-growing was. Evry man should test it once in his lifetime, and may I tell you: given time, my capacity for beard-growing is prodigious. One of my coworkers took to calling me Tevye. I started it early in the fall and shaved it, all at once, in the dead of winter. I couldnt stand the way on the coldest days my breath would make the hair around my mouth wet. And I thought it would be warm in the winter. My beard was actually making me colder. I felt ripped off. Before I got rid of it I took a picture, which I can’t find now. Sad. I have no proof for my brag about my beard-growing capacity.
I said something to my dad once about how I hate shaving. He said, “me too.” When I was little, my dad’s “whiskers” were one of his defining physical characteristics for me. He would shave, and dress decently, on teaching days because he had to. The rest of the time he let it go.
But he told me that his father shaved evry single day, even when he was in the hospital. We Hieberts all have our compulsions. They staged an intervention once for my dad’s younger sister, an alcoholic and Rx addict (that’s what you do with interventions, you stage them); and the intervention guy went around the room and made evryone tell him what their addiction was. (I wasnt there by the way—this is hearsay.) My dad’s other sister said “food,” but I bet a more honest answer would have been “God.” That’s what a lot of our family is addicted to: God. Including my aforementioned grandfather, a teetotaler by the way.
For years I shaved the way my older brother taught me: with a Bic razor and bar soap I lathered with my hands. Sometimes I used my dad’s electric razor, and after I moved out I bought a crappy electric of my own but I never used it long. I used actual shaving cream for a little while but did not find it superior to just soap, which was cheaper. Eventually I upgraded from disposables and bought a cartridge razor. One with just two blades. At the time, three was becoming the norm and four had just been introduced. I don’t know how many they’re up to now. Does it track Fast & Furious movies these days? The two-blade model was cheaper than others and I used it for a two-digit number of years—gritting my teeth evry time I shelled out for the expensive cartridges, which wasnt often anyway ’cause I don’t shave more than once a week and I get a lot of shaves out of each blade—until just this week.
Thinking it would save money in the long run, and maybe result in a superior shave (tho to be honest the shaves I gave myself with my cartridge razor were more than satisfactory once I got my technique down), I finally pulld the trigger on something I’d been thinking about for gawd knows how long. I bought a round cake of Van Der Hagen shaving soap from Walgreens and I put it in the bottom of a coffee mug from the kitchen cabinet. I also bought some Nivea lotion. I got a cheapo shaving brush and some witch hazel off the internet and a Chinese safety razor from ebay. I put a blade in it out of a box of em I had bought at the supermarket one time I got glass in my foot (they workt great for getting that out).
After one trial I can say it is a much more pleasurable experience to shave this way. A lot of that is down to the smell of the soap. A lot of it’s the lotion too. That lotion is something I shldve started using a looong time ago. Days when I shave, my shirt collars can cut into my neck like the leaves of a corn stalk. Lotion all around my neck and a little starch on the inside of the collar and I got no irritation. I wore my collar open that day tho. I’ll see what happens when I fasten that top button and thro on a tie.
I see a couple red marks on the bottom of my neck, not too bad and I like to think they’ll be no more once I re-learn my technique. I need to learn to use a gentler touch and resist the urge to go over and over the same spot, at least not without painting on some more lather.
It felt good. Maybe it’ll even lead me to shave more often. I recommend it.