Plus c’est la même chose.

Since the Printculture archive isn’t easily searchable from the front page, I take the liberty of putting up a direct link to one of our oldies, about caricature and the sacred, contending that the prohibition of images and the freedom of expression are at root the same thing. Thou Shalt Not, Or Thou Hadst Better Not, from 2005. (Incidentally, many of the ideas there were sparked by conversations with O Solovieva.)

And I am sad to see that, no more than in 2005, are people (many of my friends among them) willing or able to make some essential distinctions. Not only do people take it for granted that any jerk with a gun who shouts “Allah akbar!” speaks for all Muslims, they also make the Sassen Error (named for the sociologist Saskia Sassen, who in 2001 opined that the attacks on lower Manhattan were the revenge of the poor world against the rich world, conveniently ignoring the fact that the vast majority of the victims of the Taliban et consortes are poor people in the poor world); they have even found it “ironic” that the policewoman shot by one of the self-styled jihadis was a black woman from the Caribbean, as if operating on the assumption that all people of color are on “the same side.” Come on, people. You would demand subtlety and fine distinctions if someone were analyzing your social world. Do the same unto others, at least a little bit.


Chris Ware’s _Building Stories_

If you loved Jimmy Corrigan, if you are the kind of person who reads the Printculture blog, if you are a human being with a soul, turn off that commentary on the election and put down that other book you’re reading right now and pick up Chris Ware’s Building Stories. It looks like this, it makes a better bedmate than most people do, (though it’s not as warm and there’s the issue of papercuts to consider,) and it will give you hope for the future of print media.


Hey, I just met you, and this is kooky, but here’s my number! Tongue Labouti!

Top Ten Scandalous-Sounding Names For Fictional Intimate Acts Generated By Putting Chinese Transliterations Of Terms From A Fourteenth Century Collection of Mongolian Documents Through Google Translate This Afternoon:

10. Martha and The Black Mahama
9. The Fire of the Original Clean
8. Wipe Tuo
7. Scattered Jill Police
6. Tongue Assassination
5. The Black Dingban of Ghana
4. The Wood Answer
3. Satisfied Door
2. Satisfied Speed Children
1. Kazakhstan Tongue Labouti


Reprint: a mission statement, of sorts

For PC 2.0 I thought it might be nice to repost a few things from the archive, a way of remembering where we came from. Today’s reprint is my first post for Printculture, dated Dec. 9, 2004:

I came across the following in a book of interviews with Michel Foucault this morning:

It is the task of philosophy to explain what today is and what we are today, but without breast-beating drama and theatricality and maintaining that this moment is the greatest damnation or daybreak of the rising sun. No, it is a day like every other, or much more, a day which is never like another.

What is today? What are we today, who live today as the central present of our lives, as that which makes our lives present to us? And how can we recognize–as a way of resisting a set of narratives that continue to tell us that this today is a day unlike any before, that we face a set of challenges that have changed “everything”–the ordinariness of today, including the ordinariness of its fear, its war, and its violence?

Whether it’s Sept. 11 or the recent presidential election [remember readers–this was December 2004!], I think the danger of imagining today as the one time (the greatest damnation, the new world world order) is that it gets in the way of thinking productively about an actionable relation to the future. The thing that changes “everything” always comes to us from an apparent outside (Al Qaida, red-state America) and because of that threatens to leave us feeling helpless.


Printculture reboot

Hi there, folks. Printculture is undergoing some major changes. Things should look better around here in the next few hours. Thanks for your patience. While you’re waiting, a broken version of the old site and its material is available.

If you had a previous Printculture login, you should be able to use it now to log in to the site.