Abstract Realisation ft Wisecrack

Happy Thursday!

work 4 brains

Would you rather work for brains or do you harvest brains directly?

After watching a recent episode of Wisecrack(1) about the zombie apocalypse and talking with a friend about virtual reality I got to thinking about the abstract of a realistic mass social survival situation.  This Thursday Night at the Cinema, I invite you to consider this question and whilst watching: What makes life beautiful, the ability to survive against abject realistic conditions or the ability to create complex things granted digital abstract resources?

 

 

 

The Walking Dead: Why Do We Love the Zombie Apocalypse? – Wisecrack Edition”

 

I will leave this, admittedly abrupt, piece on another question (which I may also revisit in a future post when I have more time and when I’m not moving countries): What makes the colour of the flower beautiful, is it the colour itself or our ability to perceive the colour of the flower that makes it beautiful?

Working to have a comic ready this week, next week is still looking shifty with regard to regular posting with flying and the holiday but the week after is looking more solid now that I have my living situation worked out.  I am rewriting my resume and composing a portfolio and will be looking for work.  If you like my writing or think I’d like writing for a publication you like, please feel free to contact me.

Footnotes:

  1. I love wisecrack. No judgment.  Admittedly I don’t watch all their content but their “The Philosophy of [insert pop media]” and “The Hidden Meaning behind [insert pop media]” video essays are consistently on point.   

 

American Mythology and the Search for Identity featuring Tale Foundry

Happy Thursday!

Quick announcements: first of all soz for the late posting, see point three, second I went skydiving Wednesday (SPOILER ALERT I survived) and third, related to the first, the posting steam might get a bit tenuous over the next few weeks because next Sunday 2nd July I fly back to the states.  This week and next, I’m trying to sort out my summer and see people before we go to the four winds.  Then the next day I’m back it’s 4th July besides which, that first week might be a bit of an adjustment period all whilst seeing friends and family.  All this whilst sorting out my living and working situations.  I will post about skydiving with pictures (got a super sweet black t-shirt AND a sticker to boot) at some point.  

Feel free to follow my Instagram or Twitter for (some) extra content:
Instagram: fin.louie

Twitter: @offbeatonpoint

And if you really like us, give us a like at our facebook page: Offbeat On-point

I will keep updates coming.  I’m getting some new equipment when I get back to the states including a new laptop.  I’m hoping to start a monthly podcast by September and a fin and louie animated cartoon by December all depending on how long it takes for the dust to settle.  

//END ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

I watch a lot of cartoons.  I like adult cartoons like Rick and Morty and Bojack Horseman and I like youtube channels like Psych2Go and Grickle (if you haven’t seen any grickle stuff, you are in for a seriously strange treat).  However the majority of cartoons I watch, I’ve noticed, are less comedies and more educational which is a trend that I am personally very pleased with.  Tonight I’m sharing with you one of those educational cartoon channels:

Tale Foundry
Image result for tale foundry

 

Welcome to the foundry. Hope you like fiction-obsessed robots, pretentious literary discussion, and passably decent short fiction.

Facebook ➤ http://tinyurl.com/haskm6e
Twitter ➤ https://twitter.com/TheTaleFoundry
Tumblr ➤ http://talefoundry.tumblr.com/


Source: about page, youtube

With ‘MERCUA DAY (4th July) around the corner I figured it might be interesting to look at the playlist “American Folk Heroes – 2016”

American Folk Heroes – 2016 (playlist created by Tale Foundry)

  1. The Mythology of America 7m23s
    “The USA is pretty unique in its youth. It lacks the deep mythological background many other countries have developed, but that doesn’t mean the early Americans didn’t tell stories. In fact, their fiction is some of the most self-aware we’ve ever seen. So let’s talk about the “mythology” of America and what it means to the country today.” (source: description)
  2. 5 Heroes of American Legend 10m12s
    “Some of our favorite American folk heroes, a few of them lesser-known, a few of them on adverts across the country, and all of them reflective in some way of the unique zeitgeist of a newly-developed country.” (source: description)
  3. “A Good Laugh” — Original Short Story 21m01s
    “In this story we create our own modern American folk hero!
    But heroes aren’t always everything they promise, and ideas can always be killed…” (source: description)

Thoughts:

First thing I noticed when writing this piece was that Tale Foundry uses “Roboto” font which is a nice touch.  

 

roboto font

New faourite font

 

  1. The Mythology of America: I like the idea of presenting a subject “American Mythology”, which this video does, then sharing some examples (the next video), then submitting an original story with in the genre of the subject presented (the final video).  I like the animation style, reminds me of Hellenistic pottery and terracotta

    .  I like that this video challenges “The Frontier Thesis” about American Mythology and how it’s not reflective of modern american cultural psychology and speculates that hacktivist groups like Anonymous have become modern day folk legends.  What’s also interesting is that they postulate about conspiracy theories being folk legend and that social media allows us to create an

    Image result for anon

    One of Anonymous’ logos

    online persona of who we want, as in we can become the folk hero we want to be.  I’m personally not convinced that conspiracy theories count towards folklore (I will come back to this in my closing thoughts) but examining the role social media plays in crafting the modern folk legend is a theme that we will revisit in the third video.  

  2. 5 Folk Heroes of American Legend: I like that this video presents a spectrum of folk legends.  The are presented in the following order: #5 Johnny Appleseed, #4 Pecos Bill, #3 Paul Bunyan, #2 High John the Conqueror, and #1 John Henry.  The way I read the legends between the video and my own research is like this:

    Johnny Appleseed – A scrappy young man who exploited a frontier law to claim a bunch of land and sell it back for extra money, that law having to do with planting 50 apple trees on a plot of land.  After making his money he retires and becomes increasingly religious and in a need of catharsis to atone for how he made his riches he became a sort of traveling priest who gave sermons and planted trees,

    went vegetarian, and became a vocal animal rights activist.  The last few years of his life are what he’s remembered for which can be interpreted as spin especially if the apple orchards he was planting, which grew bitter cider apples used for brewing hard cider by the way, were being used to produce and sell hard cider.  In the case of marketing it makes perfect sense to “clean up ol’ Johnny Appleseed’s reputation by ignoring his early life and emphasizing the later life stuff”. Otherwise maybe it was a family and community which wanted to remember his later more charitable years. 
    Pecos Bill – A character invented by a soldier of fortune turned writer Tex O’Reilly in 1917.  The inspiration for Pecos Bill, understanding O’Reilly’s background, is quite clear being “the ultimate cowboy who chased all the Mexican bandits out of Image result for pecos bill wikiTexas and then went to Mexico to go find more” (and chase them where?!).  Tex O’Reilly fought in many wars himself including the Spanish–American War, the Philippine–American War, the Boxer Rebellion, he fought with Pancho Villa in Mexico, and served as an international policeman in Shanghai which gives insight into where O’Reilly’s “ultimate frontier justice warrior” came from but the authenticity of Pecos Bill being a “folk legend” is called into question by Tale Foundry.  For my own reasons which  I will expand on in the closing thoughts, I agree that Pecos Bill is not strictly a Folk Legend.
    Paul Bunyan – This is a logging hero that lumberjacks created via the oral tradition.  Paul Bunyan has become a cultural icon devoid of his previous identity traits sans his extremely large stature and equally large appetite frequently being showcased as a icon for pancake houses.  This hollow legacy is sad as Tale Foundry notes but it seems fitting in that Paul Bunyan seems to be a legend created as someone who is just big to be powerful rather than having a true purpose which I argue doesn’t entirely qualify Bunyan as a Folk Legend.
    Image result for paul bunyan
    High John the Conqueror – The idea of this story is a Prince from Africa was enslaved and brought to America where he would eventually outsmart his masters and escape helping other slaves along the way.  He eventually fell in love with the Devil’s daughter and they went back to Africa.  
    John Henry
    – A railroad/terraforming hero who was said to be the best and fastest railway tunnel digger around until steam engine technology came around.  However in a battle against obsolescence he challenged a steam engine to a race to bore a tunnel through a mountain.  John Henry won but immediately died and with him died the age of unassisted labor.  

  3. “A Good Laugh” original story by Ben this story seems to pose itself in the tradition of the American Folk Legend by presenting to us a narrator, Brandon, who is a journalist investigating a mysterious “legendary” viral media figure, “The Harlequin”.  Brandon’s role as detective in this noir style story reflects a curious generation, us millennials; Brandon’s “straight man”, all work and very serious about it, persona is silhouetted against the eccentric and, literally, colourful Harlequin who represents anonymous viral media commentators who manifest in pranks and modern pieces of social art, from replacing the ammo in a gun with jelly beans to making signs reading “Quack Lives Matter”.  She represents the troll, the edgelord, the chaotic counterpart to the Social Justice Warrior.  

    As the story progresses and comes to a climax, the narrator is changed by involuntarily participating and then witnessing the effects of The Harlequin’s newest gag and realising the absurdity of people who take life so very seriously whilst at the same time realising he himself is one of those who takes life very seriously.  The Harlequin betrays her humanity for a brief moment towards the end in a way of exposing “the lady behind the mask”, however given that the masque is tattooed on separation of the persona and the person seems near impossible, she reveals to the narrator that she is human just like him and permits Brandon to write the story about The Harlequin.  The implications of the Harlequin mask being permanently tattooed to her face as a representation of character does have disturbing implications with the ending when she mentions that the publishing of the story will martyr her character but she’s okay with that because everyone will move on anyway.  

    Both the ideas of the masque and the jester/entertainer providing the self-reflective role for society reminds me of the Blank on Blank interview with Robin Williams which  I wrote about last week and could be a possible inspiration for the character.  

Closing Thoughts:

From watching these videos and conducting a bit of extra research, I’ve come to a conclusion about what constitutes an American Folk Hero and how that differs from an American Legend.  I believe a folktale requires the following three characteristics:

  1. Authenticity – story is a reflection of the storyteller(s) but also a reflection of their cross section of society  
  2. Moral – has a message that manifests as a collective cultural concern
  3. Empathy – no matter how big the characters get, they have to be human and accessable

Taking these 3 criteria and checking them against the 5 American Folk Legends presented in video two, I created the “Mythology Spectrum”

mythology Spectum (1)

1 – John Henry; 2 – High John; 5 – Johnny Appleseed; 4 – Pecos Bill; 3 – Paul Bunyan

I would argue that High John and John Henry are the only two “true folk heroes” on this list because both are from authentic sources (slaves from Africa creating an African slave-escapee Hero; Railroad workers creating a Machine like Man who represents the collective anxieties of obsolescence in the face of developing steam technology), both have morals (High John was a criticism of slavery and American Society; John Henry does win the race against the Machine but dies afterwards representing a possible acceptance of the inevitability of change and the repercussions of said change), and both have empathetic characters (High John was a mere man and fellow slave; John Henry was a man who despite his incredible endurance and strength is still capable of dying).  

Image result for high john the conqueror

Image result for john henry
Whilst the other 3 stories fail one or more of these categories: Johnny Appleseed is Empathic in that it was based on a real man and it’s somewhat moral with Johnny’s animal rights activism but it’s more of a cover up story (lacks authenticity) of his younger life.  Pecos Bill was written by a guy who was a soldier rather than an actual ranch hand cowboy which comprises authenticity, the moral is lacking if at all present and likely left out in favour sheer of entertainment value, and just like Superman from the early comics he’s not an emphatic character: he’s an overpowered super-being who is incapable of defeat.  Then Paul Bunyan is similar to Pecos Bill in that it seems to lack a moral and empathy because the desire seems to be more for a character which can make a good (deus ex) machina for fun stories but Paul Bunyan’s origin is authentic though, stemming from lumberjack culture.

I believe that “A Good Laugh” qualifies as a folk tale and the two characters both represent the duality of the modern day folk hero.  Both Brandon and The Harlequin come from a place of authenticity in that both are artistic commentators, one a comedic activist whilst the other a journalistic writer, which I can guess is something that the author can relate to being a writer himself.  Both Brandon and The Harlequin represent a moral in that Brandon plays the skeptic and serious about it character who interrogates which he doesn’t understand, The Harlequin, to find out that The Harlequin views her role in society to play the troll or the edgelord but not for no reason but to shake people up with comedy as a reminder not to take everything so seriously.  These two characters compliment each other in that society needs both: the outside commentator who can be martyred and the inside shaper who can interpret and analyse the flood of information that comes at us via the internet and it’s prosthetics appendages (phones, computers, tablets, all the screens).  Finally both characters are empathetic.  From the beginning we can relate with Brandon because he, like the audience, doesn’t really know much about his mysterious interview subject and so we learn along with him about this figure.  

 

Then towards the end when The Harlequin reveals her humanity and reminds us that it’s good to laugh sometimes but there are also times to take things seriously and that too much of either results in a system which cannot be sustained.  Then on another layer they’re both relatable because we get a sense from both that regardless of their respective ages (he comments on her youth, he doesn’t mention his age but from his conservative attitude it would not be a huge stretch to believe he represents an older and slightly out of touch character) they’re both trying to forge an identity and make a difference in an age of unprecedented potential for visibility just like so many of us millenials trying to make sense of the world in any little way we can.       

Blank on Blank: Animated Interviews

Happy Thursday!

identity__cristian_topan

Google Imaged “Identity Cartoon” (source: Christian Topan)

A few weeks ago I did a write up for a cartoonist I found on instagram, Talon’s Treehouse, and I got in touch with Talon and told him how funny I thought his stuff was and we got to talking and which lead to me asking if he wouldn’t mind doing an official interview with me for OBOP and not only did he agree, but he proposed a totally tublar idea: he was gonna animate reading off and answering the questions I sent him.  No commitment but we might be ready next Thursday.  Here’s the teaser trailer:


This idea was really cool and reminded me of another channel on youtube called “blank on blank”.  Their youtube description reads,

Vintage interview tapes. New animations. We transform journalists’ unheard interviews with cultural icons. The future of journalism is remixing the past.”  (source: “blank on blank” about page, youtube)

 

I really like the last sentence “The future of journalism is remixing the past.” I think that’s really inspiring, in the way that there were always be an audience for good content even if it is old or lost or once rejected.  Then remixing re-introduces cultural icons to a young generation and probably reaching new audiences by turning interviews into animations unique to each personality.   

Blank on blank is a PBS Digital Center productions and celebrated their 6th year on youtube and have almost 100 videos of stars from all over the spectrum with playlists organizing their videos into writers, actors, musicians, plus a bunch of other categories.

Continue reading

Animation and Mathematics (ft Simpsons and Numberphile)

Happy Thursday!

This week at the cinema I want to present a few videos on the relationship between animation and mathematics.  

Here is a link to the three Video Essays we’re presenting tonight:

Math and Animation (youtube playlist):

Homer vs Pierre de Fermont – Numberphile

Pi and Four Fingers – Numberphile

 

I think one thing  that harmonises with me the most is this idea that theoretical mathematics gives us suggestions to our reality but on paper there’s a certain finality which can get lost in application. Animation allows us to create a reality where we can provide all the answers we please and because of the nature of animation, living on paper, it has a similar finality as theoretical mathematics.  This exploration of our space via mathematical logic we gain a way we can enrichen the worlds we animate.

Animation also allows for a precision of realisation or a control in how the final product will work from the environment to the characters which leaves nothing to chance.  This is the closest some of us have to shaping reality, animation and creation.  I think this is one reason why I like numbers.    

Here’s a link to the story mentioned in the first video “The Devil and Simon Flagg” by Arthur Porges.  

Kantian Ethics (Thursday Night at the Cinema)

Happy Thursday!

Kant is one of those names that never quite leaves you.  I remember my first encounter with the phonetically funny name was when I took an ethics class at mizzou, then again when I discovered existential comics and their “kant pun free since” counter (link), and most recently being here in the UK where a common phrase is “I just can’t be asked” or “cba” for short.

So this week’s at the cinema I want to present the 8-bit philosophy video essay:

Do Humans Operate like Computers?

 

This video essay lightly outlines Kant’s ethics which can be defined by what he called the Categorical Imperative (or The Good Will) which had three formulations:

  1. The Formula of Universality – “act only according to that maxim (rule or principle of action ie intention/justification) by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law (something done in similar situations) without contradiction.”
  2. The Formula of Humanity – “Act so as to treat people always as ends in themselves, never as mere means.”
  3. The Formula of Autonomy – “Thus the third practical principle follows [from the first two] as the ultimate condition of their harmony with practical reason: the idea of the will of every rational being as a universally legislating will.”

 

Kantian ethics is dependent on free will or the freedom to act in accordance to The Good Will (“just following orders” is not ethical, nor is being deceived into doing the wrong thing with the intention to do the right thing) and human reason.  Kant was not trying to prove the existence of ethics as a thing in-itself but rather sought to build a system in which ethics were separate from religion and based on reason rather than divine because he thought that the cohesion of society depended on the presence of an system of ethics.

The “ought implies can” phrase being the difference between humans and machines that operate on closed link algorithms such as mechanical machines because they can be designed to operate in specific was where as it doesn’t seem to take into account a system that updates it’s input values for behavior algorithms based on reinforcing of desirable behavior…though the efforts so far have not been entirely successful.

However I believe what we can learn from the failure of Microsoft’s try at artificial intelligence is that rather than exposing the AI to the internet from day one, maybe we should treat it like a human and “raise it” before exposing it to the internet.  I believe, as wonky as it sounds, if we raised the AI in an environment where it learns by talking with a small family of people learning what’s funny, what’s taboo, and even if it doesn’t understand why it will pick up on a trend of similar reactions and explanations (depending on how talkative the humans who interact with them are).

I don’t think the advent of an independently intelligent will manifest in a way we fear, fantasize, or usually imagine but rather I believe they will adapt to be like human 2.0 in the way of hardware, to continue a biological-technological metaphor, but as far as “software” updates,  the only way we can really imagine a second sentient race is not in the way of “us and them” but “we are them” such that architecture of organic learning is that the foundations will be built from the environment it develops which accounts for the humans it will interact with.  The Ethics they have and raise the robot with, the way the robot may learn to think.  This is intriguing and scary and in it self opens up ethical questions such as:

Should there be kill switches for these things? Should they be programmed with a “life span”?

How should they be programmed to develop in the most ethical manour? Such that human development goes in waves with a strong start in the first 20 some odd years and slow down with age(1) or to be able to develop in intentional waves or constant?

Speaking of development and behavior acquisition, what would be the ethics on “rebooting” or “wiping the drive”?  To what extent will the bots be held to ethics as we understand it?

Again, like last Thursday I have no answers.  Tune in tomorrow to see a Kantian inspired comic.

-fin

For more information about Kant, despite some overlap in information, I recommend the following videos in the playlist Kantian Ethics:

Three Minute Philosophy

Philosophy Tube

The School of Life

Crash Course

 

Footnotes:

  1. Though with effort I believe it can be continued life long and believe we have an obligation to do so.

 

Zeno’s Paradoxes

Happy Thursday!
Sometimes I like to watch philosophy videos on youtube before I got to bed and paradoxes really interest me.  One of which is Zeno and his paradoxes, his most famous ones being Achilles and the tortoise and the Dichotomy Paradox as explained in this Numberphile video:

 

Achilles and the Tortoise

File:Zeno Achilles Paradox.png

In a race, the quickest runner can never overtake the slowest, since the pursuer must first reach the point whence the pursued started, so that the slower must always hold a lead. – as recounted by Aristotle, Physics VI:9, 239b15 Source: wiki

Achilles and the tortoise have a race and Achilles lets the tortoise get a 100 meter start. Then Achilles catches up with where the turtle was.  In the time Achilles caught up to where the tortoise was, the tortoise advanced 50 meters ect ect ad infinitum.

 

The Dichotomy Paradox

File:Zeno Dichotomy Paradox alt.png

That which is in locomotion must arrive at the half-way stage before it arrives at the goal.– as recounted by Aristotle, Physics VI:9, 239b10 Source: wiki

The Dichotomy paradox can be thought of as a moving of the hands to clap except one hand stays still, while the other halves the distance and halves the distance and halves the distance until there’s contact however according to the paradox, this should be impossible.

Another paradox of movement is Zeno’s Arrow as explained in this video by carneades.org

 

File:Zeno Arrow Paradox.png

If everything when it occupies an equal space is at rest, and if that which is in locomotion is always occupying such a space at any moment, the flying arrow is therefore motionless.[12]
– as recounted by Aristotle, Physics VI:9, 239b5 Source: wiki

This is a strange one where it argues that if an arrow is in motion, every moment it holds a single space in time and to be in motion it would be moving through spaces in time but every single moment it is not any other space in time but a the single space it occupies at that second therefore movement is impossible.  I like to use this one as an excuse to not get out of bed in the morning.  

Zeno starts to loose me in the second round with The Paradox of Place:

if everything that exists has a place, place too will have a place, and so on ad infinitum.

Aristotle

As in all places have places until you get to the point of “Everything” as in “Life, The Universe, and Everything” which I feel like I can pretty much wrap my brain idea around the idea of “Everything” being a bubble in a sea of no-things, though I guess in a philosophical extent I can’t really construct a proof around a feeling.  Maybe someday.  

The Millet Paradox in it’s original phrasing is dated so I’ll attempt to update it so it’s more relevant.  

Original: The argument is that a single grain of millet makes no sound upon falling, but a thousand grains make a sound. Hence a thousand nothings become something, an absurd conclusion.

Updated: A single vote in an election will not make a difference.  However 1,000 can make a difference.  How can 1,000 non-difference making single votes make a difference? (I realise this kind of misses the point, but I have voting on the mind with all the political drama in the US and UK)  

All these paradoxes hint at this idea that Zeno had that nothing ever changes and maybe even that nothing is actually real.

This Wisecrack video sums it up in a pretty interesting way with their 8-bit Philosophy series.

As we learn in the video, Zeno’s teacher Parmenides argues that existence is timeless and that all things that ever were and are and will be exist at the same time, implying there can be no change because things exists at once, which sounds strangely like Nietzsche’s theory of Eternal Return or the “time is a flat circle” stuff (insert true detective picture).  

I have no answers today.  These paradoxes have stood the test of time themselves without changing which might be a reflection of their importance.  Or maybe this is just several accounts of  reductio ad absurdum, which itself would not be a new claim but a good one to make since it draws the connection between Zeno’s paradoxes of change and the practice of reducing arguments down to the absurd.   
Tune in tomorrow for my first philosophy comic: Zeno’s Pantry Paradox

-fin

Cyberpunk Music Videos (NSFW)

Happy Thursday!

Continuing this week’s Cyberpunk theme, I put together some cyberpunk themed music videos (no repeats from yesterday’s list, no worries).  One thing is should note, the NSFW tag is new here and mostly just a minor warning.  Most of the videos are pretty tame but Brut Carpenter’s remix of Tech Noir is pretty gore-tastic.  Nothing realistic-graphic, more cartoony-funny-graphic.

Cyberpunk Music Video Set list (link to playlist):

Tech Noir – Gunship

Shut em Down – Celldweller

Tomorrow People: A music video novel
This Means War – Volker X

Into the Night – Nero

Shock to the System – Billy Idol

Sentient – Perturbator [UNCENSORED]

Black Earth – Reminor

Tech Noir (Brut Carpenter Remix) – Gunship

 

I don’t have too much to say about these videos, I mostly just like the sounds and the feel of the videos.  I’ve mentioned before my love of animation, I really love claymation style, which is why Tech Noir (original) is the first in the list.  

Tomorrow People is a really interesting idea of making an interpretive graphic novel from found content and I really liked the song.  

This Means War has a really interesting 16-bit art-style I really really like.  The style reminds me of other modern games that use a similar style like Uncanney Valley and, what seem’s to be EVERYONE’S favourite right now, Undertale.  As Ross from Accursed

Farms says “I will take good pixel art to crappy 3D anyday”, and I agree with that statement because to me it speaks both to an artist’s vision and priorities when they choose to make an intentional “compromise” of not using the newest tools they can afford but may not be able to skillfully wield and preferring a more classic style that they can more fully ulitilise.  

When my friend posted the Tech Noir music video, I was impressed.  It had all the elements of the 80’s I like to remember including the synth and the robo-cop stylized character, the hero’s journey trope, and the “at the time cutting edge” claymation which today looks so enduringly beautiful and I was pretty skeptical about a remix music video from some Brut I’d never heard of.  I was so wrong and I’m so glad about it.  

Brut Carpenter’s remix is a live action reimagining of the story of “boy-saves-girl” story

Image result for full moon puppet master

Easily my favourite in the “toys come to life” movie genre.

told in the original.  The cartoon violence and the goofy costumes are completely on point striking that same tone that b-movies, such as the original.  The cartoon violence and the goofy costumes are completely on point striking that same tone that b-movies, such as Full Moon Features(1), managed to have where it’s just serious enough to make you feel but so over the top that it becomes a borderline comedy at times.  This is why I choose to end the list with this remix (and how i could justify a repeat on the same list).   

 

 

 

 

Tune in tomorrow because 12th May is  Offbeat On-point’s first birthday!  Tomorrow I will be posting the 2017-2018 Manifesto and posting a special comic featuring our newest contributor: Brad Evans.  

 

Footnotes:

 

  1. This reference probably dates me but I have many many fond memories growing up watching Full Moon movies including the Puppet Master series (think Toy Story, but more violent and sexual), Dollman, Demonic toys (I’m starting to see a pattern here that I didn’t see before, maybe there’s a reason why I still like toys/cartoons…).  I had no idea Full Moon continued to be a thing until as reciently as 2013, I honestly just assumed they died in the early 2000’s but if I was to catch up on their releases I have a feeling that’s probably where things went down hill anyway.  Another Thursday, someday, I’ll have a Full Moon Features post.  

 

Talon’s Treehouse (youtube, animation)

 

Happy Thursday!

I’ve mentioned before my love for adult cartoons, specifically lately Rick and Morty, and I’m looking forward to catching up on Bojack Horseman season 3 hopefully this summer, and last night I was looking at a cartoonist I’m following on instagram called Talon’s Treehouse and learned he has a youtube channel.

a son

This might be one of my top favourite comics by Talon.

Talon’s humour in his youtube shorts range from the hyper obscure, to the strangely brilliant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

However, what I found most interesting on his channel was his “Digital Chapbook,”

The first chapbooks appeared in 16th century Europe and were notable for 2 main reasons: they were cheap to produce, thus they were cheap to buy. Originally, chapbooks were constructed out of low-grade paper and often illustrated with wood-cuts that had nothing at all to do with the text. They were marketed by traveling chapmen (merchants of trinkets & odds ‘n ends), sold to the working class and spread little ballads and short tales of comedy, tragedy, romance and adventure far and wide. They were, quite literally, the first pulp fictions.

Chapbooks mostly faded away once newspapers arrived and only retain a sparkle of life thanks to poets, who sometimes test their work in small amounts before reproducing them for wider audiences. Occasionally those who explore bookmaking as a hobby create their own chapbooks. Overall, however, chapbooks are by and large a relic of the past. Maybe…

My name is Talon and I write and illustrate the little stories that fall out of my head. As a kid, I fell in love with old radio shows, comics and Read-Along Books. This Dapper Rook Digital Chapbook is my way of blending all those elements together and creating something that really has just one purpose–the same purpose the original chapbooks had way back when–nothing, but to amuse.

So sit for a minute. I’ve drawn you some pictures to look at as I tell you a story that you’ve never heard before…

-In description for “A Dapper Rook Chapbook” series (link to playlist here)

The stories Talon tells in his chapbook are all very short (1 or less minute each) and so very strange.  Sometimes they’re violent, like Old Lady Head, some are nostalgic, like Smolders of the Masquerade, but they’re all surprising and strange leaving one satisfied, despite his style borrowing the convention of unsettling endings from dirty realism more often than not.  The effect that is left on me is a certain wanting for more, not just more because it’s strange (nor because you can easily binge watch all his videos in under half

I think the Old Lady Head kinda looks like Carrie Nation.  It would be suiting, I think.

hour) but also because I’m particularly interested to see the evolution of Talon as an animator. His growth in skill and scope is apparent but I’m also interested to see where the Digital Chapbook idea goes and how it will effect the future of digital story telling.

 

 

This idea of the Digital Chapbook reminds me of an app I have been looking into called “Hooked” which is an experimental medium for fictional storytelling in the form of text messages.  I downloaded the app and will be writing about it on an upcoming Mystery Monday.

Anyway I love experimental fiction in all its different forms.  If you have an experimental fiction story to recommend, feel free to leave a comment below.