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July 17th, 2007

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From Alisa Krasnostein (girliejones)

(Look, I haven't seen the book, okay? All I got is the photos of people who bought the book. Also, I think this is the first shot of it as a whole and not being held by a person. Though, lets face it, at the moment, I'll link any image. In fact, if you have the book, and you want to get a little creative with it, please do. Let me know.

You know, you all should be pleased I have no kids.)

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The Grim Reaper Loves You (and Bowling)



You remember this?

It was on Boing Boing today, which I figure most people have seen, but if not, there you go. I was about ten or eleven when this came out, and AIDS was kicking into mainstream culture. Every sex ed course that was run throughout High School included the words, "If it's not on, it's not on," and STDS were reduced to AIDS. In fact, I'm fairly sure if you had asked me fifteen years ago what an STD was, I would have said AIDS. Anything else? Isn't AIDS enough? I would have said. Are you telling me that I can get more? You fucking bastards! You've ruined it for us all! Now we'll all have sex and fucking die! FUCKING CUNTS!

...Yeah, look, I was an angry kid. I hadn't yet got a blog. I hadn't found authors. I needed outlets.

More realistically, I vaguely remember seeing Monty Python's The Meaning of Life around the same time of this commercial and so, perhaps unfortunately for the makers of this, I always found the ad funny. The Grim Reaper bowling. The Grim Reaper telling people they ate the salmon moose. In what will continue my fad of embedding what I'm talking about, I tracked down the Monty Python skit for you to compare the two and, which, in the true British way, has men dressed up as women. The British have always been very good at that. Anyhow, so while the commercial above was busy trying to alert everyone to the fact that AIDS was no longer for gay people--I love that line--my friends and I were always laughing at the fact that the Grim Reaper was bowling for people.

Outside my little bubble of existence, there was some complaint about the commercial, and how it traumatised kids. Maybe adults, too. I don't remember the commercial being on TV for very long, but I may be wrong about that.

It's funny, however, when you look at the AIDS campaign here and compare it to the Anti-Smoking Campaign going around these days. Me, I don't smoke, but I've got not thing either way about it. Smoke, don't smoke, smoke around me, don't, it's really not something I can get worked up about. But those commercials, filled with decaying teeth, tar filled lungs, gangrene feet, and so on and so forth, are designed along the same lines of the AIDS commercial, which is to shock and horrify you into a position where you want to take better care of yourself, possibly by getting a different and yet unexplained cancer. Which is not, incidentally, me saying that there is no harm in smoking. I've watched people die from smoking related cancer. I've seen the problems that come up when someone wants to kick the habit. I'm just saying the two ads remind me of each other.

And, y'know, the Monty Python clip below.

26Lies and Comparisons with Harlan Ellison

Today is the day of a thousand and one blog posts, it seems. Or at least, three.

Rjurik Davidson, who is the author of the very fine 'Domine' in the most recent Aurealis, read 26lies, and wrote this:

Recently I read Ben Peek's Twenty Six Lies/ One Truth. Yes it's full of bluff and bluster, Peek coming across as a hard-ass, and yes, it's very fucking good. There are moments, in fact, of brilliance, even if the whole sometimes is too single-toned, or perhaps just a little long or perhaps its sheer intensity is tiring. But if you want to understand voice, you can do worse than starting with Peek. He does have a quiet voice that means business, but his voice when writing is not at all quiet. No, at times its something like a controlled Harlan Ellison. A controlled Harlan Ellison! - now that's something to achieve.

Of course, plenty have already written about the book's themes - those of truth and representation, most obviously in writing. It's something I've recently come to realise with this blog of mine, which collects jotted down thoughts and scenes. Sometimes people email me or text me and ask me the oddest things. And I realise that they've been reading my blog, and that it is not a direct representation of my state of mind, nor indeed are the stories all direct representations of the occurences. I select,I compress, I tell stories. Peek does too.


Rju's been comparing me to Ellison for a while now. It never fails to make me laugh, though in a good way. Whatever you've got to say about Ellison the person, he's written some fine fucking fiction.

But mostly, I just find it funny to be compared to other authors.

Anyhow, you know you want to buy the book, so you can get it from Wheatland Press, Agog! Press, and Amazon, where you can buy it with Black Sheep in one of those discount deals that aren't really a discount.