Wow. just Wow.
I tells ya, It’s a gen-yooo-ine Kultural Phenomenon….two more references to Guitar Hero in the Sunday funnies today, both in Berkeley Breathed’s Opus (“Guitar Hero Claims Another Victim”) and Bill Amend’s Foxtrot:
Now, I don’t know Bill Amend from Adam, but he seems to be a pretty culturally-engaged guy – his strip seems to be a little more “tuned in” in a way that isn’t embarrassingly, entertainingly, or tragically unhip (see “Circus, Family,” “Menace, Dennis the,” or the all-time champion “Trail, Mark”). Amend has shown up in this space before, and by reading his interesting and refreshingly transaprent blog you discover that he’s a bit of a Mac-loving techno-geek…even appearing on Tech TV. More on THAT in a later post, but for now, Amend’s Sunday strip makes me more determined than ever to get the Guitar Hero controller in front of my academic colleagues at UT-Austin. Seeing the spike in guitar sales that’s happened since the electronic game was introduced, I don’t think the concept of a “Chamber Music Hero” – type teaching game is all that far-fetched.
Okay, let’s resume our normal breathing. What I intended to write about today (okay, two days ago, actually…the RoeDeo travel schedule has put me behind on the blogs again) was a lot more mundane, but not unrelated to the previous post. I’m an inveterate reader of comic strips. Even the most boring, tired ones. Thanks to newspaper consolidation over the years, my local rag, the Washington Post, has three pages full of ’em. So why am I telling you this? Well, with a few notable exceptions (Doonesbury, Zits, anything Berkeley Breathed does, the comics page rarely has its pulse on the zeitgeist. In fact, part of its charm is how surpisingly tin the ears of comics creators can be. Thus i was astonished to see in last Sunday’s funnies the first appearances in comic ink of the words “YouTube” and “BiTtorrent.” The first was courtesy of Doonesbury author Garry Trudeau – depicting feckless Uncle Duke “uploading his old campaign videos on YouTube,” to the horror of his K-street lobbyist son. Even better – the Videos are actually on the site! Trudeau explains how they got there on his site. Even more surprising was where “BiTtorrent” appeared – in Bill Amend’s invariably-mild Foxtrot strip – a surprisingly political strip where young technonerd Jason is teaching his iguana how to download to escape the wrath of the “RIA.” Hmmmm. Forget this temporary victory represented by the copyright ruling; if the Sunday funnies are discussing Bittorrent, has the larger war been lost?? (And now that Foxtrot is a Sunday-only strip, are Amend’s creative juices flowing a little more?) PS – discovered a few years ago an entire subculture that delights in the howlers that come from the Mark Trail strip — triumphs, or tragedies, depending on your viewpoint, of art, style, culture, and fact…