Thursday, July 31, 2008

The roof of all evil

I'll be working with Amanda Palmer on the WHO KILLED AMANDA PALMER Book for the next couple of days. It's a book of photos of her with occasional words by me, which are currently being written. Some photos were taken over a decade ago, most are more recent and most of them are by photographer Kyle Cassidy, who in between taking proper important shots of Amanda doing book things on the roof this evening, took this photo of Amanda and me. I am wearing socks because I have incredibly painful blisters on my feet because I can be an idiot sometimes. Possibly more information than you wanted to know, but there you go.

(A much fuller description of the late evening and more photos from Kyle at

Went to CBLDF booth. Got T-shirt. It smells like your basement. Can I wash this thing without your signature coming off?

Also, my Fiance got the New wave hookers shirt. Seriously Neil? A porno? There's gotta be a good story there.

You rule,

You should certainly be able to wash it -- the thick fabric paint I used to sign it says it's washable, anyway. If it's any consolation, that smell is attic, not basement. And more than half of the tee shirts were originally gifts, and many of them were mysteries swallowed by time or never explained even to me: where I got the "New Wave Hookers" tee shirt is anybody's guess. But I wore it happily anyway.

I hope this reaches neil himself. Never have i ever known of anyone as full of himself as well as shit, than you. Now another milestone in your over-hyped career, Writing Batman. Not only are you under the impression you can write, but write batman? Fuck You. You Tried before and it sucked. It was just gaiman... With Batman in it. Fuck You.

If I'd known that Secret Origins of Batman Villains #1 had made that much of an impression on people, I would have... actually, probably not done anything different, really. I was rather fond of it.

If you think you won't like the Batman comic I'll write, probably you'd be best off not reading it. It'll just be a two part Batman comic, you can save your money. Although if you'd bother to write me a letter like that you might buy it just to prove to yourself that you hate it as much as you know you're going to...

Dear Neil,

I just wanted to drop a line to pass on this article on the relevance of comics in academia, which you might find of some interest, despite the fact that the author places a line break between every sentence. Some of the facts are old news, but there are some interesting tidbits to be gleaned. Here's the link:


That took me back. I thought that newspapers had finally given up on variants of WHAM SMASH POW! COMICS HAVE GROWN UP! in headlines...

Hi Neil.

When you talk about "places where you can be arrested for drawing cartoons", surely you don't mean to imply that in the USA you can't be arrested for drawing a cartoon? You can, just as you can for any other art form.

The First Amendment doesn't provide protection for (among other things) incitement to commit a crime, threats, or so-called "fighting words" intended to provoke violence. Any of these things is possible in a cartoon, and could constitute a criminal offence depending on the details and applicable State law.

I'd suggest that cartoons which are indiscriminately hostile to members of a particular race or religion could, depending again on the exact content, constitute any of those three things, and that the police were probably right to at least investigate once a complaint was made.

Whether Nekschot actually did any of them, whether his cartoons would be criminal in the US, and whether they are in the Netherlands, I'm not equipped to say.

Obviously I'm not suggesting that you can't be arrested in the USA for drawing a cartoon, and not for the reasons you suggest: Mike Diana was convicted of obscenity, for example. Take a look at this blog post where I talk about the Mike Diana case and the time I came close to sending a publisher in Sweden down for a long jail term for depicting acts of violence against women by retelling a bible story. That's why I'm a member of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund -- because there are always worms nibbling away at the First Amendment, and because comics are particularly vulnerable.

Here's a summary of the "fighting words" history: I don't believe you could create a cartoon that would, however robust, actually fall into the category of "fighting words" unless it was "addressed to a particular individual" and presented "an actual threat of immediate violence, not merely offensive content".

Argh. Up too late. To bed, to bed.

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