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Red Meanies, Blue Meanies: The Cold War roots of the Beatles’ ‘Yellow Submarine’
07.13.2016
08:32 am

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Animation
Movies
Music
Politics

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Yellow Submarine is such a brilliantly fun movie experience and so perfectly in the Beatles’ mass culture, mind-evolving spirit that it takes an effort to recall that the Beatles themselves didn’t really have very much to do with it. It says a lot, perhaps, about the strength of the Beatles brand at that time that Yellow Submarine could work so splendidly, even with most of the artists involved being forced to intuit what jokes and artworks constituted an acceptably “Beatles” and “fun” sort of thing. Not much doubt that they succeeded, eh?

The man in charge of the operation was a Czechoslovak-born German named Heinz Edelmann, an artist with a wide portfolio who seems to have become somewhat chagrined at always being thought of as the “Yellow Submarine guy”—that is, unless Peter Max (who was never involved with the movie in any way) was being called the “Yellow Submarine guy” in his stead!
 

Heinz Edelmann
 
In 1993 Edelmann consented to appear on Baltimore’s Best 21st Century Radio hosted by Bob Hieronimus, a fervent admirer of the movie.

Edelmann explained that he was contacted for the Yellow Submarine project by Charlie Jenkins, the art director in charge of the special effects who was responsible for the glorious “Eleanor Rigby” section of the movie, among other sequences. He also pointed out that Yellow Submarine did not represent the first attempt to “do” the Beatles in animation. Starting in 1965 there were also the series of short cartoons that made up the Beatles TV series. and in fact the producer and director of Yellow Submarine, Al Brodax and George Dunning, had also worked on the more rudimentary television shorts.

Things were moving so fast, Edelmann pointed out, that when the TV series was being made, the Beatles were primarily thought of as a Liverpool phenomenon, with the plots staying more or less true to that, but by 1968, when Yellow Submarine was released, that was no longer the case, they belonged to the world, and the tone had to be more universal.

That may explain one of the more intriguing false pathways the movie might have gone down—but didn’t. According to Edelmann, as hard as it seems for such a thing to be possible, the original conception of Yellow Submarine hewed to a Cold War framework. And it actually might have stayed a Cold War allegory—but someone ran out of red paint. Here’s Edelmann:
 

The point, I think was, what I thought the one meaningful thing about it all was, in ‘68 this was more or less the end of the Cold War. Even in the Bond movies they gave up the KGB as the enemy and turned to self-employed villains. So, one had in ‘67, one had the feeling that (a.) the Cold War’s over, that Russia is changing. But also our world is changing with new values to which, with a new vision of the world in which the Beatles played an important part. So, the Meanies, in a way to me, represented a symbolic version of the cold war. And originally they were the Red Meanies.

...

And only because the assistant who came in to do the coloring, she either did not quite understand my instructions, or deliberately did not understand them, but it also could be we didn’t have enough red paint in the place. So they became the Blue Meanies.

 
Certainly Edelmann’s status as a German, coming from a country that was split in two by the Cold War, half of which was experiencing repression from Moscow, would have had something to do with this—because it’s really rather difficult to derive any Cold War meanings out of the Beatles’ own lyrics, which tended to focus on a specific story or else espoused an adherence to universal values. Obviously a message like “All You Need Is Lovewas in some sense about the Cold War, but—well, suffice it to say that the choice to make the movie more about intolerant conservatives and power-hungry buzzkills of all stripes was surely a wise one.

More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Donald Trump meets ‘Calvin and Hobbes’
07.12.2016
09:45 am

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Amusing
Art
Politics

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I really didn’t want to like this. I’m 100% in line with the consensus that the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes is a transcendent and perfect work of art that will resonate for as long as there are imaginative children and adults who wish to reactivate that magic. Detourning, parodying, or otherwise fucking with it is done at one’s peril. So that being said, it’s pretty astonishing that this worked: An imgur user and obvious MST3K fan going by the name DrForester has shared a baker’s dozen Calvin and Hobbes strips wherein Calvin’s face is replaced with Donald Trump’s.

The effect is spot-on. Strips selected typically show Calvin at his most toxically self-centered, making them perfect fodder for the bottomlessly loudmouthed and narcissistic GOP presidential candidate, though the strips have a more sophisticated vocabulary than your typical Trump stump. I checked a few random selections from the detourned strips against the originals, and in the ones I was able to find readily for comparison, the original strips’ dialogue bubbles are entirely untouched. Compare the lead image at the top of this post to the original:
 

 
DrForester doesn’t seem to be the strips’ creator, but rather an aggregator—there’s a Reddit thread full of these that dates back to last winter, and the oldest I found—the one above—was uploaded by a user named eucalyptusfire. A lot of them are simply uncanny in their reflection of Trump’s ethos.
 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Comedian says THE MOST OBVIOUS THING ABOUT TRUMP that no one else has thought of!


 
Australian comedian Jim Jefferies went viral with his impassioned—and hilariously funny—rant about gun control “Guns Are Not Protection” from his 2014 Netflix standup special Bare. The clip’s been viewed millions of times and sadly racks up millions more with every new gun massacre in America.

Well, Jefferies is about to go viral again with this nailed-it-to-the-fucking-wall breakdown of how Donald Trump plans to fight terrorism by profiling Muslims.

The whole thing is fantastic, and you’ll want to watch it all, but the part that I’m talking about specifically starts at the 4:30 mark. After listening to what he says here, how in the world could anyone with even a spoonful of brains think Donald Trump could possibly keep Americans safe from terrorism? Jefferies demolishes that argument. Pulverizes it. Stomps on it. It’s finished. It’s done.

No one who hears this can possibly unhear what he’s saying here. I don’t care how pro-Trump—or stupid—they might be.

No wonder all the ISIL related websites evince such a decidedly pro-Trump slant! Trump’s doing Allah’s work for him, if you know what I mean (and you surely will after watching Jim Jefferies lay it out so cold here!) Jim Jefferies’ newest streaming Netflix standup special Freedumb is now available.

PASS IT ON.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Scotland greets Donald Trump
06.24.2016
09:17 am

Topics:
Animals
Current Events
Politics

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0143drumpbump.jpg
 
Today in Scotland a street campaign was launched warning the public of a highly toxic and dangerous man who is currently visiting the country. The public are advised not to approach this man under any circumstance or listen to any of the shite that spouts out of his mouth. The man is wanted for inciting racial hatred and very bad hair.

In other news, Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump has arrived in Scotland.
 
01posdrump.jpg
 
With thanks to Neil McDonald.
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Robert Crumb and friends flush Donald Trump down the toilet, 1989
06.20.2016
05:24 pm

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Art
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A few months ago we learned that Woody Guthrie once wrote a righteously angry protest song about Donald Trump’s slumlord dad, an occurrence that could only be topped by, say, a righteously angry comic strip penned by R. Crumb about his son, the ultra-wealthy asshole currently running for President of these United States of America.

Such a thing actually fucking exists!

In 1991 Crumb left America for France, but before he did so he put out “Point the Finger,” a comic about a certain over-publicized real estate mogul that appeared in his short run of Hup comics (Issue #3). In the five-page strip, “Crumb” (the character) has a run-in with Trump, whom he calls “one of the more visible big time predators who feed on society” and “one of the most evil men alive.” He also says, “Hey Don—Ugh! You’re so hateful I can’t even look at you!”
 

 
He enlists his chums Tracy and Marny to introduce Trump’s face to the inside of a toilet bowl. And then the three of them (not Trump—ew) have sex.

You can read the entire strip here, but be warned—it’s most definitely NSFW.

The well-known comix artist R. Sikoryak, likely best known for Masterpiece Comics, has posted a handful of non-NSFW images from “Point the Finger” on his blog, which we’ve reproduced here.

You can buy Hup 1-4 for just $30.
 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
If you like ‘Heavy Metal Parking Lot’ now there’s ‘Trump Parking Lot’ (no heshers, lots of racists)


 
Michael Galinsky has documented many moments of political tension, from Klan rallies to Occupy Wall Street. Tagging along with a friend who worked for Reuters, Galinsky showed up at the Donald Trump rally in Greensboro, NC on Tuesday. He applied for press credentials as they were driving to the venue, although his plans from the beginning were to shoot something more akin to Jeff Krulik and John Heyn’s “Heavy Metal Parking Lot,” the legendary underground film made in the parking lot of a 1986 Judas Priest concert.

But whereas “Heavy Metal Parking Lot” is bust-a-gut hilarious stuff, Galinsky’s quietly observational footage of the Trump rally will probably just make you sad. He writes:

I had applied too late which was fine, but I still tried to talk my way in because there wasn’t much happening outside. When that didn’t work I sat down in the shade to figure out a plan of action. After about a minute of watching people trickle towards the venue, I heard a man yelling, “White Power!” I grabbed my camera and approached. He was wearing a big cowboy hat and a Willie Nelson shirt with Willie giving us “the finger.” Still, I wasn’t sure if he was being ironic until a minute later when the cops approached. They explained that we as citizens do have “free speech,” but that his incendiary language was dangerous and therefore prohibited. It was kind of a surreal conversation (see the video), and as I listened, it dawned on me that I wasn’t going to be allowed there much longer either. I was right. After they gave him and his friend the heave-ho, I was told I had five minutes to leave. I tried once again to get in with credentials, then I headed for the parking lot.

I often enter these situations with a vague idea of what I plan to shoot but try to remain open to what comes. I ran into a guy selling shirts and talked to him for a bit. They were vulgar, anti-Hilary shirts and people heading into the event loved them. I started to think about the people who sold things at the event and followed this up with another guy selling shirts. A few moments later, I saw a group of people who were representing the Militia Movement. I talked to them for a bit, and then a roving protest showed up. It was a loud mass surrounded by police. Having spent time with the militia guys, I observed the protest from their perspective for a while.

This event was taking place just days after the horrific events in Orlando, and this was largely an LGBTQ-led protest. After having filmed at dozens of protests, I get a little spooked around cops. These guys were generally working with kid gloves, but I still felt a bit unsure about going to shoot with the protesters as they were surrounded by masses of cops. I’m a “non-credentialed” journalist, and as such, I’m more at risk in these situations, so I try to be very cautious. The protesters set up shop across the street, and I made my way across the street to shoot a couple of people being interviewed by a local news channel. I like to shoot media doing interviews because it gives a context to the situation and how that situation is being portrayed.

And now without future explanation, because of course, none is really necessary, witness the pathetic gene pool who support Biff Tannen sorry, er President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho whoops, I mean Donald Trump as they cavort and gather and hoot and holler in “Trump Parking Lot.”

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Make picking up poop great again with these Donald Trump doggie-waste bags
06.17.2016
09:43 am

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Amusing
Animals
Politics

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We already have the “Dump with Donald Trump” toilet paper. So naturally, the next inevitable crap-related Trump product is the the Poop Head Donald Trump Dog Bags. I can’t think of a more fitting tribute to the shitty Republican presidential nominee.

Now whether or not these bags are biodegradable remains unclear. I don’t see any information about that on the website. I hope they are.

Each roll comes with 15 bags featuring Donald Trump’s head with a steaming hot turd on top. The bag rolls are $4.99 each.


 
via Death and Taxes

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Hilarious ‘Japanese’ Donald Trump commercial is all kinds of batshit crazy
06.16.2016
09:34 am

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Amusing
Politics
Pop Culture

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I’m at loss for words here. You just have to click “play” and watch it to see what I mean. Clearly it’s a parody of a Japanese-style “commercial” having a laugh at the Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. What’s scary is, I’m 99% certain, if Donald Trump were to have actually made a Japanese campaign commercial, you know it would be something just like this. It’s not too far of a stretch.

Anyway, the “commercial” is by a musician named Mike Diva and it’s batshit. Just like Donald Trump.

 
via Mashable

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘I am a Sunflower’: Amazing Chinese children’s propaganda record
06.09.2016
07:58 am

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Amusing
Music
Politics

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On some level, a lot of the music we play for kids—and the music we teach them to sing—is propaganda. Not necessarily overtly so, but beyond learning the alphabet and numbers, the music we offer children is always going to serve as some manner of cultural value metric. And such music originating from a hypernationalist, militaristic culture is sure to seem utterly nuts to cultures that don’t go so completely all in for that kind of thing.

Case in point: China. A friend of mine with the dually cool distinctions of being both a university librarian and a badass sludge/doom bass player turned me on to some Chinese children’s (and other) records, dating I think from the early ‘70s, which had recently arrived in her employer’s collection via a donation. They were all pretty amazing—just the song titles alone sound alien enough to underscore incredible cultural differences:

THE PEOPLE IN TAIWAN LONG FOR LIBERATION

PATROLLING ON THE GRASSLANDS

THE OIL WORKERS ARE FULL OF ENERGY

CHAIRMAN MAO IS THE RED SUN IN THE HEARTS OF ALL NATIONALITIES

The killer item, though, was an 11-song 7” children’s record called I am a Sunflower, with wonderful cover art of smiling children marching with shouldered rifles and songs expressing totally overt themes of youth para-militarism:

LITTLE RED GUARDS GROW STRONGER IN THE FIGHT

GROWING UP AT THE SIDE OF CHAIRMAN MAO

LITTLE RED GUARDS ATTEND A REPUDIATION MEETING

I’LL GO TO THE BORDER REGION, TOO, WHEN I GROW UP

Now, it’s maybe easy to be cast aspersions at all that, but we have our school kids sing “The Star Spangled Banner” which is forthrightly a war song, and the differences between the Young Pioneers/Little Red Guards and the Boy Scouts are surely more a matter of degree of fanaticism than of kind

CRITICIZE LIN PIAO AND DISCREDIT HIM COMPLETELY

OK, holy fuck, WHAT? That’s pretty disturbing: Lin Piao was an officer in the People’s Liberation Army, and was instrumental in the communist victory in China’s civil war. He died in 1971, in an iffy plane crash. After decades of enjoying high rank in the party—I mean HIGH rank, at the time of his death he was Communist Party vice-chair and Mao’s presumptive successor—he or his son led the Project 571 coup against Mao. The family was attempting to flee after the coup failed, and it’s been pretty widely speculated that the plane crash may have been an assassination. He was branded a traitor posthumously; his name was scrubbed from the Little Red Book, and there was a goddamn children’s song about how hard he sucked. Here it is. I will fully cop to having ripped this from the record and uploaded it myself. Ordinarily that’s a HUGE no-no, but I’m making an exception in this instance because I’d quite enjoy the comic irony of a DMCA copyright takedown coming from China.
 

 
That’d be really cute if you had no idea what it was about, right?

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Better Call Saul: The surreal, politically-charged Pop Art of Peter Saul
06.06.2016
09:20 am

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Amusing
Art
Politics

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‘Dali Advises the President’ by Peter Saul, 2004.
 
Often referred to as the one of the “fathers” of Pop Art, painter and illustrator Peter Saul has been creating his mayhemic, often politically charged masterpieces since the 1950s and at his current age of 82 (Saul will turn 83 in August), he shows no signs of slowing down.
 

‘Ronald Reagan (Abortion),’ 1984.
 
Saul’s vibrantly jarring style will likely remind you of the weirdness found on the pages and on the covers of vintage Zap Comix, and the artist himself has been quoted as saying that his aim with his art was to somehow mesh the art of Dutch American abstract expressionist Willem de Kooning together with the classic images found in MAD magazine. I’m pretty sure after looking at the images in this post of Saul’s face-melting paintings, you would agree that he has successfully mashed up both artistic concepts along with a large, LSD-laced dose of Surrealism.  In 2008 the New York Times described Peter Saul as “a classic artist’s artist, one of our few important practicing history painters and a serial offender in violation of good taste.”

With over 800 works under his belt to date, Saul’s paintings will be on display for the first time in Moscow (something the painter “never imagined” would happen) at the Gary Tatintsian Gallery under the amusingly title “You better call Saul!” And speaking of LSD, you can put yours away for now as the images that follow of GOP sweethearts like Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, and well as other despots and degenerates like Adolf Hitler and O.J. Simpson, will likely conjure up a bonafide, drug-free flashback just by looking at them. Some (such as Saul’s wonderfully bizarre depiction of a three-headed Andy Warhol that I had to include), might be considered NSFW.
 

‘Stalin and Mao,’ 2009.
 

‘Hitler’s Bunker,’ 2006.
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
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