January 3rd, 2006

Mark!

The weight of the stone

Drags you down, into the deep deeper deepest depths, where you choke to death.

It's a reflection that passes through the mind, as the ocean goes from blue to green to murky to nothing. They'll never find the body because, really, it never existed. That is so zen it's a wonder the man at the top isn't writing koans. Maybe she is and you just never noticed - that's how good they were.

Yesterday you hit it big at the racetrack, and today you're crushed like a sparrow against a window. Didn't you think they'd protect themselves, somehow? The prize at the end of your tunnel of vision was so good, you never stopped to watch for the tricks. That's like fending off an advancing army, only to get stabbed in the back.

Oh well. No use thinking about it now. Pretty soon you'll be at that depth where the pressure finally breaches your skull. Maybe. You're not entirely sure about the physics of the oceans.
Mark!

Forwarding The Medium

I'm gonna drop the bitter, foaming teenage angst for a second here so I can talk seriously on an important subject. There are no robot dinosaurs or baby eaters in this post. I know, I just lost two-thirds of my audience. Doesn't matter. This has to be said.

Yesterday, not two days into the new year, PVP's Scott Kurtz teamed up with Checkerboard Nightmare and Starslip Crisis creator Kristofer Straub to bring us the Next Big Thing, which they dubbed "Blamimation." They debuted this medium with a little project called PVP Alive. Let's toss in another hyperlink here for good measure. Yeah, that's a nice-lookin' paragraph.

A few people took Blamimation at face value, panning it harder than a Neil Young movie, citing its poor production values and "inside jokes" (ie. Scott and Kris laughing while laying down the voices - apparently if your head is full of raisins, you make the logical connection that they were laughing at something humourous that was happening offscreen, perhaps some kind of rude hand gesture.) It's such a wild explanation, it's already cracked the top ten list of bizarre reasons given as to why PVP is doomed to ultimately fail in horrific fashion. Perennial favourite "Kurtz hates furries" is still holding strong at number one, while "why does Francis have a jagged chin and tiny mouth" stays at number two purely on the strength of people who only read the first year out of the archives.

But I saw something different. The word 'scathing' is thrown around carelessly these days, and I find myself embarrassed for propagating its overuse, because it would've been perfect for describing the things I saw. I saw Blamimation's unforgiving jabs and slices at the world's attempts to create "new media." I saw Scott Kurtz smash through the walls of the supposed "future" with a cannonball of ruthless sarcasm. And I saw Kristopher Straub doing what he does best: making fun of stuff that doesn't belong to him. It seems like it'd be easy to create satire like that, but not everyone can pull it off. I mean, I don't see you doing it.

So this morning, I'm drinking my second cup of coffee and struggling through Ryan North's latest etymology-heavy clipart layout. The linguistic twists are getting a little heavy for me, so I take command of my browser and point it in a PVP-ish direction. Under the latest joke stolen from Night Court, there's a new newspost.

The basic gist is that the initial use of Blamimation was an incredible personal success despite its lack of critical acclaim, so Scott and Kris are teaming up once again to produce another amazing animation technique: "Huetrifaction." Oh good, I think as I read it. The more they pretend to advance the medium, the closer they get to finally producing a video of the two of them just wailing on Tim Buckley with baseball bats for ten minutes while Scott McCloud laughs maniacally in the background.

Then I scroll down and look at the picture.

Saved to my webspace to avoid hotlinking and to preserve the history.  Please don't sue me.

Look closely. Those aren't just simple pattern fills. Carefully-selected gradients, completed shadow effects, a striking contrast between the two characters and the environment around them: these are signs of a more thoughtful style, not at all suited to the fast-paced world of satirical comedy. No, I've extrapolated the meanings of this preview, and my powers of perception tell me that this will be a legitimate attempt at "classic humour." They're not just going to pretend to advance; they're actually going to bring it forward.

I don't blame Scott Kurtz for wanting to step up to this level. He may take himself and the world around him with a grain of salt, but he's always tried to take PVP seriously. He set us up with a parody, and now he's gonna knock us down with a unexpectedly brilliant visual series that really will change the world.

But as for you, Kristopher Straub? You sold out. To even contemplate doing something remotely serious after creating so much laughter at the expense of others - I'd use the more efficient term 'Schadenfreude,' but you're not worthy of it any more - is to turn your back on everything you've ever done. You've forsaken yourself, Straub, and in doing so you've forsaken me. Your fan. Which probably means you've forsaken all your other fans. Maybe a couple of them will forgive you someday. But not me.

You're dead to me, Straub.

At least until you bring Mr. Jinx back to life.