Conspiracy Theories

Friday Fun Links: Geek Culture Edition

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1. The Batman version of Crime and Punishment. Weird and hilarious. It originally appeared in the art-comics anthology Drawn and Quarterly 3, which also includes some lovely reprints of Frank King's Gasoline Alley Sunday strips of the '20s and '30s.

2. Prisoner-era Doctor Who. Or, strictly speaking, some Doctor Who that came out a year before The Prisoner but obviously was part of the same acid trip cultural gestalt. It's pretty awful, and I say that as a Prisoner fan with a high tolerance for '60s sci-fi camp. But if you enjoy pop surrealism you should check it out anyway.

3. New England and the Bavarian Illuminati. You'll find no sunken cities, talking gorillas, or anarchist submarines here. Just the classic account of the Illuminati panic of the late eighteenth century, when prominent Federalists accused the Jeffersonians of being pawns of the secret order. Originally published in 1918, the book is now in the public domain and can be downloaded for free from the Internet Archive.

NEXT: Friday Funnies

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  1. I could never get into The Prisoner, and I tried. It should have been something I loved, considering my tastes, but I just couldn’t get past certain aspects of it.

    But I really liked Space: 1999. Strange.

  2. I find that The Prisoner works better in theory than in practice. As a self contained piece of dark surrealist art it is second to none, especially compared to other TV at the time. It’s also full of the gimmicks and catch-phrases that feed the geek hordes.
    However as a dramatic narrative it just collapses.

    When will the Nehru Jacket make a comeback?

  3. cool, Jesse! thanks!

    Jeff P.’s commentary fits for Napoleon Dynamite, too.
    [ducks. runs off]

    [keed keed]

  4. Episiarch: Space: 1999 posited a universe populated by women in red cat suits.

    http://www.space1999.net/catacombs/main/images/space/dp/spdpz0021.jpg

    What’s not to like?

  5. I love 60’s surrealism. Dr. Who, and The Prisoner are great. Space 1999 was the 70’s, but it still captured the style, and of course there’s Star Trek. But for my money the top of the list was The Avengers. Great camp, super surreal and chuck full of acid trippy goodness.

  6. Space: 1999 posited a universe populated by women in red cat suits.

    WITH WHIPS Jeff, don’t forget about the whips. Rrrrreeeeooorrrrr

  7. What’s not to like?

    What a great time for cheesy sci-fi. Buck Rogers, Space: 1999, original Battlestar, the Flash Gordon movie, and so on.

    The Avengers was pretty fucking great. Like most good British shows, though, it see-sawed between awesome and dull.

  8. VM: Napoleon Dynamite hardly works as theory.

    I can imagine the pitch to the studio:

    Producer: “A cast of truly annoying people experience a pointless series of episodic events that are both unfunny and non-entertaining. It’ll be like Seinfeld, only really bad.”

    Studio Exec: “And the hip kids will like this?”

    Producer: “Like meth and blowjobs.”

  9. Jeff – that is most likely the pitch and the actual conversation!! Well played!!

    🙂

  10. “And the hip kids will like this?”

    Any movie which has a character that reminds the hipsters of themselves and does it in a painfully ironic–yet strangely complimentary–way gets them worked up “like meth and blowjobs”.

  11. One of my favorite 60’s moments
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1pW7T7MbZQ

    The only good thing that I can say about the current ironic hipster culture of unfunny comedy, horrible music, and non-nourishing food is that it will probably lead to adulthoods of unfulfilling careers and dismal sex lives.
    And I will watch them from my rocking chair and laugh, filling my autumn years with mirth.

  12. more 60s, the photoshoot scene from the classic Blow Up

  13. That original Dr. Who opening sequence is without doubt one of the creepiest fucking things ever shown on television.

  14. [quote]It’ll be like Seinfeld, only really bad.”
    [/quote]

    thats all sorts of redundant.

  15. Jeff P explained my view of Napoleon Dynamite better than I ever could. Could one of the hip kids explain its appeal to me (I get the appeal of meth and blow jobs)?

  16. Could one of the hip kids explain its appeal to me (I get the appeal of meth and blow jobs)?

    Its appeal to them is that you don’t “get it”. Not that they do, but they can pretend they do, you don’t, and therefore (hipster logic) they are cooler than you.

    Sorry, dude. Unattractive, mod-glasses-wearing, trying-way-too-hard t-shirt wearing, unshowered, arrogant-yet-insecure dorks percieve themselves to be cooler than you. Don’t commit suicide using any of my guns, please.

  17. Gerry Anderson’s UFO was possibly the best mod show ever. The strange future world of 1980. Lots of white turtlenecks. Chicks with purple wigs. White fishnet uniforms for both men and women. Shiny technology. Spaceship interiors with wood panelling. Slim-barreled guns.

    Awesome theme, too.

  18. Jesse-thanks for the batman link, that was great! Robin as Sonya takes the cake…It really makes one think about the supposed gay undertones of Batman and Robin. Jesse did you catch the discussion of that in Slate?: http://www.slate.com/id/2176432/
    Perhaps you’ve already commented on that, if so sorry. Thanks again, and keep the comics links coming!

  19. 1: Science has proven that only the truly unhip can achieve hipness.
    2: Any attempt at moving towards hipness results in Xeno’s Paradox.
    3: The answer to most philosophical questions is “The White Stripes.”

  20. And yes, I mispelled “Zeno” on purpose. It is irony, see. The fact that I cannot recognize let alone define “irony” is in itself ironic.

    Plebes. all of you!

  21. Its appeal to them is that you don’t “get it”. Not that they do, but they can pretend they do, you don’t,…

    Oh, so it’s like when some commie starts telling you how great Das Kapital is?

  22. Issac: Yes. The same principles applies to Grateful Dead fans, Buffy fans, people who blog about Dancing With the Stars, and anyone who has recently discovered Escher.

  23. Jeff P.,

    Don’t forget new Dali appreciators.

    I note that you properly excluded Firefly fans.

  24. Could one of the hip kids explain its appeal to me

    I liked it because I grew up in a small rural town, and the take on small town life and school life was dead on.

    Ditto for my wife.

    Plus, one of my good friends is so much like Uncle Rico that he now goes by Uncle Rico whenever we get together.

  25. Yes, Firefly fans are insular and vehement, a trait they learned from Farscape fans.
    But at least Firefly was watchable. Buffy wasn’t.

    Both Dali and Escher worshippers are fine when they’re simply fans. It’s when they think they’re art experts that the trouble starts.

    Which reminds me, Sister Wendy fans should be on that list.

  26. Red Bull drinkers.
    People who are WAY to into the Geico Gecko.
    Anyone on the Kevin Trudeau mailing list.

  27. Dali is gateway art. Ditto Escher. That’s why you see it used by high school and college students, until they move to the harder stuff.

  28. I thoroughly enjoyed Napoleon Dynamite. I am definitely NOT one of the hip set. Never have been, never will be. I think that’s what appealed to me. Napoleon and his friends never “become hip” (except for the dancing) he and his pals triumph while remaining dorks.

  29. Check my box for Grateful Dead and Sister Wendy too (also Escher and Dali, but have been for many years)

  30. Special to Jeff P. re: Buffy hate.

    You go to Hell! You go to Hell and you die!

  31. As much as I love “Doctor Who,” the original version, especially during the ’60s, is just embarrassingly cheap compared to the programs Lew Grade and ITC were producing at the same time: “The Prisoner,” “The Saint,” “UFO,” etc.

  32. The Persuaders!!!!!!!

  33. Im with de stijl on the Buffy thing. I made fun of it for years until I accidentally became hooked. I blame the BCS.

    The beer I make for New Years Eve every year is called Black Frost. I would say that about mid season 4 the show started down hill. I just didnt buy the Willow lesbian thing. Didnt make any sense to me. The last season was almost unwatchable – I kept hoping they would kill off Faith so that the “official” slayer pointer would jump to one of the potentials. Then I wanted an episode where about 3 slayers got whacked and the pointer kept jumping to new characters. Sigh, such a good idea, I dont know why they didnt do it.

  34. “Napoleon Dynamite” was an indy-movie-lite, a toned-down “Welcome to the Dollhouse” seemingly designed for people who don’t have the balls to venture all that far away from the mainstream.

  35. At lunch I asked a 20-something friend of mine to explain Napoleon Dynamite. He said that it is liked by the “hipsters” whose moms wouldnt let them see R rated movies.

  36. I’m not reading anything without an anarchist submarine!

  37. Salvius –

    it’s the U2, Offspring, Green Day, tv show ‘Friends’, etc. of movies.

  38. “Napoleon Dynamite” was an indy-movie-lite, a toned-down “Welcome to the Dollhouse” seemingly designed for people who don’t have the balls to venture all that far away from the mainstream.

    Ahh, nothing says “indy cred” like sneering contempt for any work that finds an audience bigger than will fit in your parent’s basement.

  39. New England and the Bavarian Illuminati looks to be quite interesting. Thanks, Jesse.

  40. Red bull drinkers are ok, as long as they don’t proclaim that they drink red bull. A nalgene bottle full of red bull and vodka is a nice kick in the ass.

    I was drinking that stuff in Ireland back in ’99…

  41. !Friday Fun Link New Wave Links!

    Tying in geek and New Wave, may I offer…

    A Flock Of Seagulls – “Telecommunication”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOFTO5XQn9w

    A Flock Of Seagulls – “Space Age Love Song”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okbO3TAr3TU

    OMD – “Genetic Engineering”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YkEBtFbOGg

    I dig all 3 of em. Any other suggestions….?

  42. Warren

    “Napoleon and his friends never “become hip” (except for the dancing) he and his pals triumph while remaining dorks.”

    But don’t you see? That is why they are so hip. It is because they don’t try to be hip, that they are so hip and worthy of adulation by hipsters.

    Additionally, the surest sign of a hipster is vehement denial that they are a hipster.

    I should know, I’m not one either.

  43. Red bull drinkers are ok, as long as they don’t proclaim that they drink red bull.

    I drink Rockstar so that I don’t look like a poser. OH SHIT

  44. The Persuaders!!!!!!!

    Not from the ’60s (it started in 1971), but another fine example of Lew Grade’s ability to put together a great looking TV show while the BBC was still shooting video of wobbly sets.

    The Persuaders opening:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgLEdvRKAYI

  45. Additionally, the surest sign of a hipster is vehement denial that they are a hipster.

    RC Dean:
    My last post was not about “indy cred” – I’ll happily defend Titanic as being a good movie. That was my honest attempt to answer the question asked up-thread about what made Napoleon Dynamite so well-liked. As far as I can tell, being an “indy-movie-lite” is the very source of its appeal.

    Yes, I do have sneering contempt for it, because my opinion is that it’s a not-very-good movie that has been wildly overrated (and, yes, if it were less wildly overrated, my contempt would probably be less sneering). But I’ll admit it serves a purpose – anything that gets people to move out of their comfort zone, however slightly, is a Good Thing. There are people who aren’t ready (i.e., “don’t have the balls”) to make the leap straight to something more daring, but who might be willing to get out there eventually after being prepared by something like Napoleon Dynamite first. And it’s handy as a conversation-starter, for opinionated, pretentious film snobs like me to say, “If you thought that was a good movie, you ought to see…” and thereby encourage people to see other (read: better) movies that they would otherwise have never even considered.

    In other words, I may think the movie is lousy, but I think it’s usefully lousy, if that makes any sense.

  46. Additionally, the surest sign of a hipster is vehement denial that they are a hipster.

    And the surest sign of a non-hipster is that he claims to be a hipster, unless of course he actually is a hipster using reverse psychology, in which case he is still a non-hipster for trying to fool you into thinking he is a hipster. Ipso facto, there are no actual hipsters.

  47. true – but the Persuaders is a classic (we own it on dvd…), and in good spirit!

    🙂

    also, the 80s Bergerac is another goodie. As is “‘allo ‘allo” (listen very carefully. I shall say this only once)

  48. Speaking of hipsters, Napolean Dynamite and blowjobs…

    One evening I was hanging out at my local and struck up a convo with a pyt hipsterette. Turns out I hadn’t seen ND, she had the DVD in her car, and I had a DVD player at my joint up the block. Wackiness ensued, but alas no meth was involved.

    I don’t whether I’m a hipster or not.

  49. Everybody hated Buffy season 7. I’m going back and watching them all again with the Mrs. and season 6 isn’t as good as I remembered, either.

    I’m an engineer (which should, almost by definition, exclude me from any potential hipster groupification) but I kinda liked Napoleon. Of course, I grew up in a small town and thought it hit that mark pretty well.

  50. Turns out I hadn’t seen ND, she had the DVD in her car, and I had a DVD player at my joint up the block. Wackiness ensued, but alas no meth was involved.

    I don’t whether I’m a hipster or not.

    Probably not. But you ARE a slut 😉

  51. No fair linking to that episode – it’s a particularly lousy example of 60s Doctor Who that even hardcore fans think is lame. If you want to see excellent 60s Who, try An Unearthly Child, The Aztecs, The Invasion, or The Mind Robber.

    Or, just check out this 1967 title sequence, which is more contemporary with The Prisoner and MUCH cooler and tripper than the original in my opinion!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3pGxhHOY0U

  52. Or, just check out this 1967 title sequence, which is more contemporary with The Prisoner and MUCH cooler and tripper than the original in my opinion!

    To say nothing of the 1975 title sequence:
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=a2CBGeTlOFo

  53. Surprise! Hi to you Ricky Barton and all your Reasonoid libertarian cyber friends. 🙂

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