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Tagging posts, posts by category, next/previous post indicators, and other post-2003 design innovations are incrementally being tweaked/kludged/melting.
Above email address currently deprecated! Use gary underscore farber at yahoodotcom, pliz! Sanely free of McCarthyite calling anyone a traitor since 2001!
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I've a long record in editorial work in book and magazine publishing, starting 1974, a variety of other work experience, but have been, since 2001, recurringly housebound with insanely painful sporadic and unpredictably variable gout and edema, and in the past, other ailments; the future? The Great Unknown: isn't it for all of us?
I'm currently house/cat-sitting, not on any government aid yet (or mostly ever), often in major chronic pain from gout and edema, which variably can leave me unable to walk, including just standing, but sometimes is better, and is freaking unpredictable at present; I also have major chronic depression and anxiety disorders; I'm currently supported mostly by your blog donations/subscriptions; you can help me. I prefer to spread out the load, and lessen it from the few who have been doing more than their fair share for too long.
Thanks for any understanding and support. I know it's difficult to understand. And things will change. They always change.
I'm sometimes available to some degree as a paid writer, editor, researcher, or proofreader. I'm sometimes available as a fill-in Guest Blogger at mid-to-high-traffic blogs that fit my knowledge set.
If you like my blog, and would like to help me continue to afford food and prescriptions, or simply enjoy my blogging and writing, and would like to support it --
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"The brain is wider than the sky, For, put them side by side,
The one the other will include With ease, and you beside"
-- Emily Dickinson
"We will pursue peace as if there is no terrorism and fight terrorism as if there is no peace."
-- Yitzhak Rabin
"I have thought it my duty to exhibit things as they are, not as they ought to be."
-- Alexander Hamilton
"The stakes are too high for government to be a spectator sport."
-- Barbara Jordan
"Under democracy, one party always devotes its chief energies to
trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule --
and both commonly succeed, and are right."
-- H. L. Mencken
"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom.
It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves."
-- William Pitt
"The only completely consistent people are the dead."
-- Aldous Huxley
"I have had my solutions for a long time; but I do not yet know how I am to arrive at them."
-- Karl F. Gauss
"Whatever evils either reason or declamation have imputed to extensive empire,
the power of Rome was attended with some beneficial consequences to mankind;
and the same freedom of intercourse which extended the vices, diffused likewise
the improvements of social life."
-- Edward Gibbon
"Augustus was sensible that mankind is governed by names; nor was he deceived in his
expectation, that the senate and people would submit to slavery, provided they were
respectfully assured that they still enjoyed their ancient freedom."
-- Edward Gibbon
"There exists in human nature a strong propensity to depreciate the advantages, and to magnify
the evils, of the present times."
-- Edward Gibbon
"Our youth now loves luxuries. They have bad manners, contempt for authority.
They show disrespect for elders and they
love to chatter instead of exercise.
Children are now tyrants, not the servants, of their households. They
no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents,
chatter before company, gobble up their food, and tyrannize
"Before impugning an opponent's motives, even when they legitimately may be impugned, answer his arguments."
-- Sidney Hook
"Idealism, alas, does not protect one from ignorance, dogmatism, and foolishness."
-- Sidney Hook
"Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson
"We take, and must continue to take, morally hazardous actions to preserve our civilization.
We must exercise our power. But we ought neither to believe that a nation is capable of perfect
disinterestedness in its exercise, nor become complacent about particular degrees of interest
and passion which corrupt the justice by which the exercise of power is legitimized."
-- Reinhold Niebuhr
"Faced with the choice of all the land without a Jewish state or a Jewish state without all the
land, we chose a Jewish state without all the land."
-- David Ben-Gurion
"...the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence by laying upon him
an incapacity of being called to offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or renounce this
or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages
to which, in common with his fellow citizens, he has a natural right; that it tends also
to corrupt the principles of that very religion it is meant to encourage, by bribing,
with a monopoly of worldly honours and emoluments, those who will externally profess
and conform to it;[...] that the opinions of men are not the object of civil government, nor under its jurisdiction; that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion
and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency is a dangerous fallacy, which at once destroys all religious liberty....
-- Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, Thomas Jefferson
"We don't live just by ideas. Ideas are part of the mixture of customs and practices,
intuitions and instincts that make human life a conscious activity susceptible to
improvement or debasement. A radical idea may be healthy as a provocation;
a temperate idea may be stultifying. It depends on the circumstances. One of the most
tiresome arguments against ideas is that their 'tendency' is to some dire condition --
to totalitarianism, or to moral relativism, or to a war of all against all."
-- Louis Menand
"The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis."
-- Dante Alighieri
"He too serves a certain purpose who only stands and cheers."
-- Henry B. Adams
"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the
poor to beg in the streets, steal bread, or sleep under a bridge."
-- Anatole France
"When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle."
-- Edmund Burke
"Education does not mean that we have become certified experts in business or mining or botany or journalism or epistemology;
it means that through the absorption of the moral, intellectual, and esthetic inheritance of the race we have come to
understand and control ourselves as well as the external world; that we have chosen the best as our associates both in spirit
and the flesh; that we have learned to add courtesy to culture, wisdom to knowledge, and forgiveness to understanding."
-- Will Durant
"Glimpses do ye seem to see of that mortally intolerable truth; that all deep, earnest thinking is
but the intrepid effort of the soul to keep the open independence of her sea; while the wildest
winds of heaven and earth conspire to cast her on the treacherous, slavish shore?"
-- Herman Melville
"The most important political office is that of the private citizen."
-- Louis D. Brandeis
"If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable."
-- Louis D. Brandeis
"We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both."
-- Louis D. Brandeis
"It is an error to suppose that books have no influence; it is a slow influence, like flowing water carving out a canyon,
but it tells more and more with every year; and no one can pass an hour a day in the society of sages and heroes without
being lifted up a notch or two by the company he has kept."
-- Will Durant
"When you write, you’re trying to transpose what you’re thinking into something that is less like an annoying drone and more like a piece of music."
-- Louis Menand
"Sex is a continuum."
-- Gore Vidal
"I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should
make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state."
-- Thomas Jefferson, letter to the Baptists of Danbury, Connecticut, 1802.
"The sum of our religion is peace and unanimity, but these can scarcely stand unless we define as little as possible,
and in many things leave one free to follow his own judgment, because there is great obscurity in many matters, and
man suffers from this almost congenital disease that he will not give in when once a controversy is started, and
after he is heated he regards as absolutely true that which he began to sponsor quite casually...."
-- Desiderius Erasmus
"Are we to have a censor whose imprimatur shall say what books may be sold, and what we may buy? And who is thus to dogmatize religious opinions for our citizens? Whose foot is to be the measure to which ours are all to be cut or stretched? Is a priest to be our inquisitor, or shall a layman, simple as ourselves, set up his reason as the rule of what we are to read, and what we must disbelieve?"
-- Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to N. G. Dufief, Philadelphia bookseller, 1814
"We are told that it is only people's objective actions that matter, and their subjective feelings are of no importance. Thus pacifists, by obstructing the war effort,
are 'objectively' aiding the Nazis; and therefore the fact that they may be personally hostile to Fascism is irrelevant. I have been guilty of saying this myself more than once. The same argument is applied to Trotskyism. Trotskyists are often credited, at any rate by Communists, with being active and conscious agents of Hitler; but when you point out the many and obvious reasons why this is unlikely to be true,
the 'objectively' line of talk is brought forward again. To criticize the Soviet Union helps Hitler: therefore 'Trotskyism is Fascism'. And when this has been established, the accusation of conscious treachery is usually repeated.
This is not only dishonest; it also carries a severe penalty with it. If you disregard people's motives, it becomes much harder to foresee their actions."
-- George Orwell, "As I Please," Tribune, 8 December 1944
"Wouldn't this be a great world if insecurity and desperation made us more attractive? If 'needy' were a turn-on?"
-- "Aaron Altman," Broadcast News
"The great thing about human language is that it prevents us from sticking to the matter at hand."
-- Lewis Thomas
"To be ignorant of what happened before you were born is to be ever a child. For what is man's lifetime unless the memory of past events is woven with those of earlier times?"
"Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it."
-- Samuel Johnson, Life Of Johnson
"Very well, what did my critics say in attacking my character? I must read out their affidavit, so to speak, as though they were my legal accusers: Socrates is guilty of criminal meddling, in that he inquires into things below the earth and in the sky, and makes the weaker argument defeat the stronger, and teaches others to follow his example."
-- Socrates, via Plato, The Republic
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, represents, in the final analysis, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children."
-- Dwight D. Eisenhower
"The term, then, is obviously a relative one; my pedantry is your scholarship, his reasonable accuracy, her irreducible minimum of education, & someone else's ignorance."
-- H. W. Fowler
"Rules exist for good reasons, and in any art form the beginner must learn them and understand what they are for, then follow them for quite a while. A visual artist, pianist, dancer, fiction writer, all beginning artists are in the same boat here: learn the rules, understand them, follow them. It's called an apprenticeship. A mediocre artist never stops following the rules, slavishly follows guidelines, and seldom rises above mediocrity. An accomplished artist internalizes the rules to the point where they don't have to be consciously considered. After you've put in the time it takes to learn to swim, you never stop to think: now I move my arm, kick, raise my head, breathe. You just do it. The accomplished artist knows what the rules mean, how to use them, dodge them, ignore them altogether, or break them. This may be a wholly unconscious process of assimilation, one never articulated, but it has taken place."
-- Kate Wilhelm
"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed."
-- Albert Einstein
"The decisive moment in human evolution is perpetual."
-- Franz Kafka, Aphorisms
"All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better."
-- Samuel Beckett, Worstward Ho
"First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you."
-- Nicholas Klein, May, 1919, to the Third Biennial Convention of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (misattributed to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, 1914 & variants).
"Our credulity is a part of the imperfection of our natures. It is inherent in us to desire to generalize, when we ought, on the contrary, to guard ourselves very carefully from this tendency."
-- Napoleon I of France.
"The truth is, men are very hard to know, and yet, not to be deceived, we must judge them by their present actions, but for the present only."
-- Napoleon I of France.
"The barbarous custom of having men beaten who are suspected of having important secrets to reveal must be abolished. It has always been recognized that this way of interrogating men, by putting them to torture, produces nothing worthwhile. The poor wretches say anything that comes into their mind and what they think the interrogator wishes to know."
-- On the subject of torture, in a letter to Louis Alexandre Berthier (11 November 1798), published in Correspondance Napoleon edited by Henri Plon (1861), Vol. V, No. 3606, p. 128
"All living souls welcome whatever they are ready to cope with; all else they ignore, or pronounce to be monstrous and wrong, or deny to be possible."
-- George Santayana, Dialogues in Limbo (1926)
"If you should put even a little on a little, and should do this often, soon this too would become big."
-- Hesiod, Work And Days
"Your Honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free."
-- Eugene V. Debs
"Reputation is what other people know about you. Honor is what you know about yourself."
-- Lois McMaster Bujold, A Civil Campaign
"All that we have to do is to send two mujahidin to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written "al-Qaida," in order to make the generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic, and political losses without their achieving for it anything of note other than some benefits for their private companies."
-- Osama bin Laden
"Remember, Robin: evil is a pretty bad thing."
Gary Farber is now a licensed Quintuple Super-Sekrit Multi-dimensional Master Pundit.
He does not always refer to himself in the third person.
He is presently single.
The gefilte fish is dead. Donate via the donation button on the top left or I'll shoot this cutepanda. Don't you lovepandas?
Current Total # of Donations Since 2002: 1181
Subscribers to date at $5/month: 100 sign-ups; 91 cancellations; Total= 9
Supporter subscribers to date at $25/month: 16 sign-ups; 10 cancellation; Total= 6
Patron subscribers to date at $50/month: 20 sign-ups; 13 cancellations; Total= 7
...writer[s] I find myself checking out repeatedly when I'm in the mood to play follow-the-links. They're not all people I agree with all the time, or even most of the time, but I've found them all to be thoughtful writers, and that's the important thing, or should be.
-- Tom Tomorrow
I bow before the shrillitudinousness of Gary Farber, who has been blogging like a fiend.
-- Ted Barlow, Crooked Timber
Favorite.... [...] ...all great stuff. [...] Gary Farber should never be without readers.
I usually read you and Patrick several times a day, and I always get something from them. You've got great links, intellectually honest commentary, and a sense of humor. What's not to like?
-- Ted Barlow
One of my issues with many poli-blogs is the dickhead tone so many bloggers affect to express their sense of righteous indignation. Gary Farber's thoughtful leftie takes on the world stand in sharp contrast with the usual rhetorical bullying. Plus, he likes "Pogo," which clearly attests to his unassaultable good taste.
Jaysus. I saw him do something like this before, on a thread about Israel. It was pretty brutal. It's like watching one of those old WWF wrestlers grab an opponent's
face and grind away until the guy starts crying. I mean that in a nice & admiring way, you know.
-- Fontana Labs, Unfogged
We read you Gary Farber! We read you all the time! Its just that we are lazy with our blogroll. We are so very very lazy. We are always the last ones to the party but we always have snazzy bow ties.
-- Fafnir, Fafblog!
Gary Farber you are a genius of mad scientist proportions. I will bet there are like huge brains growin in jars all over your house.
-- Fafnir, Fafblog!
Gary Farber is the hardest working man in show blog business. He's like a young Gene Hackman blogging with his hair on fire, or something.
-- Belle Waring, John & Belle Have A Blog
Gary Farber only has two blogging modes: not at all, and 20 billion interesting posts a day [...] someone on the interweb whose opinions I can trust....
-- Belle Waring, John & Belle Have A Blog
Isn't Gary a cracking blogger, apropos of nothing in particular?
-- Alison Scott
Gary Farber takes me to task, in a way befitting the gentleman he is.
-- Stephen Green, Vodkapundit
My friend Gary Farber at Amygdala is the sort of liberal for whom I happily give three cheers. [...] Damned incisive blogging....
-- Midwest Conservative Journal
If I ever start a paper, Clueless writes the foreign affairs column, Layne handles the city beat, Welch has the roving-reporter job, Tom Tomorrow runs the comic section (which carries Treacher, of course). MediaMinded runs the slots - that's the type of editor I want as the last line of defense. InstantMan runs the edit page - and you can forget about your Ivins and Wills and Friedmans and Teepens on the edit page - it's all Blair, VodkaP, C. Johnson, Aspara, Farber, Galt, and a dozen other worthies, with Justin 'I am smoking in such a provocative fashion' Raimondo tossed in for balance and comic relief.
Who wouldn't buy that paper? Who wouldn't want to read it? Who wouldn't climb over their mother to be in it?
-- James Lileks
I do appreciate your role and the role of Amygdala as a pioneering effort in the integration of fanwriters with social conscience into the larger blogosphere of social conscience.
-- Lenny Bailes
Every single post in that part of Amygdala visible on my screen is either funny or bracing or important. Is it always like this? -- Natalie Solent
People I've known and still miss include Isaac Asimov, rich brown, Charles Burbee, F. M. "Buzz" Busby, Terry Carr, A. Vincent Clarke, Bob Doyle, George Alec Effinger, Abi Frost,
Bill & Sherry Fesselmeyer, George Flynn, John Milo "Mike" Ford. John Foyster, Mike Glicksohn, Jay Haldeman, Neith Hammond (Asenath Katrina Hammond)/DominEditrix , Chuch Harris, Mike Hinge, Lee Hoffman, Terry Hughes, Damon Knight, Ross Pavlac, Bruce Pelz, Elmer Perdue, Tom Perry,
Larry Propp, Bill Rotsler, Art Saha, Bob Shaw, Martin Smith, Harry Stubbs, Bob Tucker, Harry Warner, Jr., Jack Williamson, Walter A. Willis, Susan Wood, Kate Worley, and Roger Zelazny.
It's just a start, it only gets longer, many are unintentionally left out.
And She of whom I must write someday.
NEVER TRUST EYE-WITNESSES. People who don't give a damn about comics should likely skip this post: you've been warned -- scroll on down.
So I'm watching this little direct-to-DVD disk entitled Stan Lee's Mutants, Monsters & Marvels, which pretty much consists of Stan Lee and Kevin Smith sitting in chairs, while Smith asks Lee about his history, and how he created his characters, interspersed with various clips of the comics, and an occasional other clip.
And it turns out that what I had suspected before the movie arrived from Netflix would be the case turns out to be true, but about 1000% more than I expected.
That is: Stan Lee knows nothing about his own career.
Okay, I keed faintly, but only to the extent that we should replace the word "knows" there with "remembers."
I figured, based on having read innumerable interviews with Mr. Lieber over the years, that this would largely be the case. But it turns out to be almost entirely the case: pretty much everything he states as a fact, about his own career and characters, is wrong.
And Kevin Smith, the famous comics fan, owner of comics shops, writer of comics, writer and director of films about comics writers-artists, doesn't know enough about Stan Lee to catch any of even the simplest, most basic, errors of fact.
For instance: Smith asks Stan about the creation of The Fantastic Four; in describing the origins of Johnny Storm, the Human Torch, Stan of course mentions Carl Burgos' originalHuman Torch, who was a Timely Comics hero back in 1939, and when 17-year-old Stan was first hired by his uncle, Martin Goodman, in 1940-41.
Stan says "... and he hadn't been used for 20, 30, 40 years!"
Except that he was used right up through 1954; Stan created the "new" Human Torch who first appeared in 1961. Six and a half years is "20, 30, 40 years!" in Stan's telling; Kevin Smith blinks not an eye.
This isn't exactly a niggling error; Stan wasn't confused when this film was made (it came out in 2002) that he had co-created Fantastic Four in 1961 -- but for the character to have not been used since 1921 -- when American comic books hadn't been invented until 1933 -- would have been quite a trick. Even taking Lee's most conservative figure, 1941, would have pushed the "last time" the Torch had been used back before America entered WWII, which if Lee had thought about for half a second, he'd have realized made no sense whatever.
Smith actually doesn't really seem to be aware that Stan Lee started at Timely Comics in 1940-41, and was editor after a while, until he was drafted (Stan and Wikipedia say he enlisted, but I'm as apt to believe Fago's version, if not moreso), and Vince Fago replaced him as editor until Stan got out of the Army. Some of Smith's questions give the impression that he thinks Stan Lee first started at Marvel not long before he created the famous Marvel characters starting in 1961.
Incidentally, from the Fago interview, something I've never seen mentioned in any article about Elizabeth Hardwick:
[...] You ever hear of Elizabeth Hardwick? She started the New York Review of Books and was a pulp editor for Martin Goodman at the time. She came in on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
One day, she told me about a friend of hers from Kentucky. I met her friend and married her on April 1, 1943, of all days. Elizabeth Hardwick writes for The New Yorker magazine and we still see her.
Back to Stan Lee's Mutants, Monsters & Marvels: Stan next discusses Thor. Setting aside that Stan tells, with a deadpan face, an anecdote about his devotion to scientific accuracy because of how, rather than flying without any visible means, like Superman, Thor "flies" by whirling his hammer and then holding on after he throws it. Stan is obviously completely kidding about this as an "example" of "scientific accuracy," and breaks out into a laugh when he finishes, but Smith nods with as eager and accepting a face as he nods to everything else Stan says, with no sign whatever of recognition of Stan Lee's joke.
Setting that aside: Stan says of his comics character's Thor's hammer, Mjolnir, that "my brother Larry made that up, and it's just a made-up word, so feel free to pronounce it any way you like."
Ya'd like to think that no kids have listened to this, or to Stan talking about his characters, or that there's no difference between kids maybe taking the Marvel version of Norse legends as a bit more accurate than it is (which is: not so much), and Stan actually making claims about what's true and what isn't, but what the hell.
Anyway, back in reality, Larry Lieber made up calling Thor's hammer "the uru hammer," which was a completely made-up word. Years later, well, let's let Larry Lieber tell it to Roy Thomas:
[...] RT: Your first super-hero work seems to be Thor in Journey into Mystery #83. That came out in the summer of '62, so you'd have done the script in the Spring, if not before.
Lieber: One incident I remember with you and me was: I was in the office, and you came in. You'd been poring over Bulfinch's Mythology or something, and you said, "Larry, where did you find this 'uru hammer' in mythology?" And I said, "Roy, I didn't find it; I made it up." And you looked at me like, "Why the hell did you make it up?" You went and found the hammer's original name, Mjolnir.
RT: But I kept your name for it, too, because I thought "uru" could be the metal it was made of.
Lieber: I kind of liked it; it was short. It's easy on the letterer; they're going to be using it all the time. I don't know where the hell I came up with it.
RT: Stan said he always thought you got it from a mythology book. I'd been trying to track it down before I talked to you.
Lieber: I used to get names out of the back of the dictionary, from the biographical section where you have foreign names, Russian, this and that. I used to go to it and gets parts of names to put together.
RT: "Uru" sounds like a little town in Pakistan. There's probably an "Uru" somewhere. Even after all these years Mjolnir's been around, anyone who's ever read the old issues still knows "the uru hammer." By that stage, of course, Stan was doing the plots and Jack was breaking down the stories. Did you realize your career was entering a new phase with all these super-heroes, or was the Thor origin just another story to you?
Lieber: Thor was just another story. I didn't think about it at all. Stan said, "I'm trying to make up a character," and he gave me the plot, and he said, "Why don't you write the story?"
Anyway, Stan just goes on and on talking about his career and characters, and getting it all wrong. Kids, feel free to see this movie -- though you're really far better off Netflixing the hilarious An Evening With Kevin Smith, because Smith is a great story-teller -- but don't anyone believe a word in it.
Eyewitnesses, particularly decades after the fact, aren't worth so much. Even when talking about themselves.
Read The Rest Scale: excelsior!
ADDENDUM: 6:17 p.m.: After watching a bit more of the film, I've sufficiently confirmed to my own satisfaction my earlier impression: Kevin Smith, in fact, does not know the answers to any of the questions he asks Stan Lee. (For instance, if Lee was an editor when Martin Goodman was still around: !!!)
Needless to say, it's not generally considered a good idea, when filming an interview (just as in putting a witness on the stand in court), to have no idea what the answers to your questions are before you ask them. What an absolutely shitty interview technique. And I'm a big Kevin Smith fan. He couldn't have actually, like, looked into a few basic facts, before totally wasting the opportunity of asking Stan Lee anything he wants, for hours, on film?
ADDENDUM, 6:31 p.m.: Now Kevin says, talking about the "Silver Age" of comics (1961-8) that "this was the period before tv kinda takes over as much as it later does." To which I have to kinda gape. But, then, I actually lived through those years as a kid, going from 2-11, watching tv, whereas Kevin Smith wasn't yet alive (born 2 August 1970), so I'm kinda more inclined to go with my version, in which kids in America largely stared at tv for hours on end, while grown-ups wrote magazine articles about how horrible this was, in that time period, over Kevin's version, where tv wasn't watched so much by kids, thus explaining why comics sold profusely.
But, then, I forgot to mention Smith's earlier explained theory about how Marvel Comics were from "characters born in the atomic age, following the first atom bomb," and from "an age of science and wonder" and that what made them different from DC Comics is that whereas DC had, for instance, Batman, or Wonder Woman ("a Greek goddess" -- except she never was: she was an Amazonian princess -- Amazons aren't in the least "gods" -- they worship the Greek gods; Princess Diana, however, was molded out of the clay of Themyscira, and given to her mother, Minerva of the Amazons), Marvel characters, such as the Fantastic Four, or the Hulk, were "science-based."
Needless to say, if the first claim were true, that would explain the great successes Timely (Marvel/Magazine Management) had "following the first atom bomb," with new characters, in 1946. And in 1947. And 1948. And 1949. And 1950. And 1951. And 1952. And 1953. And 1954. And 1955. And 1956. And 1957. And 1958. And 1959. And 1960.
Oh, yeah, except that didn't happen. Kevin Smith's time sense doesn't appear to be too good, when he conflates 1945 and 1961 as basically the same era ("before I was born"). (It's as if one claimed that the success of something this year is due to the spirit of freedom inspired by the Berlin Wall having just fallen: wait, what?; each is only 16-18 years off -- no biggie.)
Then there's that great science-based character Thor, the Norse god. Or Dr. Strange. Or Sub-Mariner.
And the fact that the Silver Age DC characters were all re-invented in exactly the same time period. And were, in fact, not the slightest bit less "science-based" than the Marvel characters (Barry Allen, a police scientist, becomes the Flash after an explosion in the lab when lightning struck chemicals that spilled on him; Green Lantern is enlisted in a galaxy-wide corps of 1600, and is often off in other solar systems; Batman, with his personal lab in the Batcave, wouldn't seem to be the best example of not being science-based; etc.)
In other words, this theory of Kevin Smith's about how Marvel characters are different from the DC characters in being more "science-based" is simply wrong.
But aside from that, it's a good theory.
ADDENDUM, 7:56 p.m.: Incidentally, Wikipedia says, FWIW, that "Uru" may, among other things, refer to:
# Lake Uru Uru south of the Bolivian town of Oruro
# A collection of small villages on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
I fear I never noticed the existence of Uroc before now. I always love these sorts of standarized entries, because they result in lines like this: "Occupation: Enemy of Asgard" and "Affiliations: Glump, Kai-Ra, Karnilla, Rime Giants, Skoll, Ulik."
But, hey, any friend of Glump's is a friend of mine.
Glump should not be confused with:
* Glub, of the Mannites, @ Uncanny X-Men#372
Good to know!
ADDENDUM, 8:33 p.m.: Oh, dear, Stan's account of Jack Kirby's problems with Marvel in his late years is, ah, not particularly accurate.
This is, to be sure, like the rest of the errors made by Stan, indicative of nothing worse than Stan's simply apparently never having spoken directly, at least at length, with Kirby, about it, and knowing nothing more about it than what Marvel executives of the time told him; plus the usual memory problems [which Stan has long emphasized] and general vagueness; I'm simply noting, to emphasize, that no one should take the version Lee gives here as... I'll stick with "particularly accurate."
This is a version directly from Kirby, and friends.
I should also clarify that I'm not saying this DVD is worthless: I exaggerate when I say Stan gets everything wrong, of course; he retells his standard anecdotes well, and various of them give accurate flavor, and of course the general outline is true; if you think you'd enjoy that sort of thing, you'll likely enjoy the interview. It's also possible, I theorize, that, unlike me, there are people out there who haven't read and seen dozens and dozens of interviews with Stan Lee over the years, so his familiar anecdotes will be new to them -- and Stan, after all, has never been anything, if not personable and charming.
I'm simply noting that the DVD is not a terribly accurate source of information about Marvel or Stan Lee history, in anything resembling detail.
And god knows I'm getting relatively useless in accurately remembering stuff that happened in science fiction land, and that I personally lived through, or that happened to me, thirty years ago. Only thirty years ago.
Not to mention what I did in a particular instance last month, or maybe two hours ago, at times.
ADDENDUM, 10:26 p.m.: Just as an example of how bad Stan's memory really is, he's talking about the creation of J. Jonah Jameson, and he says:
I wanted to make the guy he [Peter Parker] works for -- in Superman, there was... Perry White, or something? SMITH: Perry White, yeah. STAN LEE:...who was probably a nice enough guy -- I didn't want this guy [J. Jonah Jameson] to be a nice guy.
And goes on to then accurately discuss how he wanted JJJ to hate Spider-Man, so as to set up the conflict, etc.
But, y'know, more than a few people have seen the George Reeves Superman tv show, and while there's no similarity between how Perry White in it feels about Superman with how J. Jonah Jameson feels about Spider-Man, no one in their right mind, who'd ever seen the show, and Perry White, could claim that he was portrayed as "a nice enough guy": Great Caesar's Ghost, his character pretty much yelled every line. (For that matter, George Reeves' Superman, and his Clark Kent, were both pretty cranky, but I digress.)
Just using this as an easy example of Stan's, ah, looseness about his accounts.
However, the little tour of Stan's house and memorablia, towards the end of the Spider-Man discussion, is kinda neat.
Final comment, having finished even the quite miniscule "extras": Stan Lee reciting his "original poem" (the very best kind, I hear), "God Woke" -- I fear this is used in Guantanamo.
One of Kevin Smith's other lines, that I neglected to quote, was to ask Stan: "it's called the Silver Age, but it really was a Golden Age, wasn't it?"
Which also struck me as a silly thing to say, but I'd hit him enough, so I didn't include it until now.
Anyway, I'd say that that "Silver Age" of comics refers to the period from the creation of Fantastic Four, and the other major Marvel heros of the Sixties, and the recreation of the DC heros, starting with "Flash of Two Worlds," and the rest, Green Lantern, the Justice League, etc.
There's certainly room for argument as to when precisely it closed, but really, I don't care vary much about that, myself.
My own personal such era closed with one of those classics: when I came home from summer camp and found that my father had thrown out my comics collection, which was almost as tall as I was. Comics cost $.12 apiece. I had already been collecting paperback books for a while, and I didn't have the heart to try to find all the early Sixties comics that my father had destroyed, so I thereafter put all my Vast Sums Of Cash into paperbacks.