Am I Weird, Or Merely Strange?

I’ll get around to telling you how Alaska was. Suffice to say, we saw lots of majestic wildlife, fully half of which had been gunned down with a high-powered rifle by governor Palin, who left a traceable blood trail all the way back to Washington.

But I’m not here to blog about the American election shitstorm. There are more pressing issues. Namely, the Canadian election shitstorm.

With the shadow of the 2008 Presidential race looming over everything, you may not have noticed our little upcoming federal vote. Probably because the whole campaign plays itself out in about four weeks, rather than four years. The pending results of this election were considered important enough for the Writers Guild to put the word out to members. The Conservative party, as conservative parties are apt to do, wants to kill funding for the arts. And if they get a majority government next session, they’re likely to fuck up the film and television industry in all sorts of ways that will leave us all hungry and desperate for work — even more so than usual.

The Guild decided to invite its Montreal members for a political chat and free drinks, knowing we’d come for the drinks and stay for some incidental politics. Being a union, they can’t come right out and tell us how to vote, but they could coach us on the probing questions we should ask door-to-door party peddlers who come sniffing around for handshakes and ballots. The Guild probably had other politically poignant things to say about the whole democratic process, but I’d already used up all my drink tickets and was blacked out for most of the rest.

Knowing my vote in this democracy is just a drop in the ocean, I’ve taken other measures to prepare for the next federal term. I just finished applying for Telefilm and Canada Council for the Arts grant money while those programs still exist. I thought I should get the forms in before Harper wins his majority government and puts an end to all arts subsidies, turning Canada into the cultural desert of his dreams. Something resembling Alberta, I expect.

If no one in Canada can afford to pay me another dime to write throughout this cultural siege, I can always rest on my laurels. Laurels than pay about three bucks annually in royalties. So don’t cry for me, I’m set up for life. Or at least for the price of a cup of coffee. Provided I only drink two a year.

One of those laurels I continue to rest my weary head on is Longshot Comics, which is discussed in a new book by Paul Gravett and Peter Stanbury. There are two editions of it, with two different titles for two different markets. The Leather Nun and Other Incredibly Strange Comics is one name for the book, Holy Sh*t! The World’s Weirdest Comic Books is the other. The difference in titles illustrates, quite vividly I’d say, the chasm of between United States and United Kingdom sensibilities. You can guess which title goes with which territory. Hint: Brits have a soft spot for the kinky, Yanks like naughty words.

The book can be purchased online through all those international versions of Amazon. You can also read reviews here, some of which single my work out for special point-and-laugh treatment. Incredibly Strange/World’s Weirdest will be promoted at the Comica festival at London’s Institute of Contemporary Art, November 13-26. Drop by on my behalf if you happen to be in the neighbourhood.

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