Posts Tagged ‘South Park’

The Influence of Metal Hurlant on Science Fiction Cinema

April 25, 2017

Yesterday I put up a piece I found on YouTube about the influence French Science Fiction comics had on Star Wars. This short video by the same poster, Abstract Looper, explores the profound influence the artists of the French adult SF comic, Metal Hurlant, known to the Anglophone world as Heavy Metal, has had on modern Science Fiction cinema. Metal Hurlant was founded in 1974 by Les Humanoides Associees Jean ‘Moebius’ Giraud, Dionnet and Philippe Druillet. The video shows the striking visual similarities between scenes and designs in the comic’s various strips, and the films Mad Max, Alien, Blade Runner, Nausicaa – Valley of the Wind, Avatar, the original 70s Battlestar Galactica TV series, Hellboy, Prometheus and the Matrix. There’s a clip of Ridley Scott saying that when he made Alien, he was influenced by the visual material produced by Moebius and the French magazine. Guillermo del Toro also confessed that he was influenced by Richard Corben, another of the magazine’s artists. Terry Gilliam also states that the magazine was an influence on him. As does James Cameron. Rutgar Hauer, who played Roy Batty in Blade Runner also appears, telling how the producers visualised the future as already old. In fact, the producers of Blade Runner based their vision of Los Angeles on the towering cityscapes of Philippe Druillet. As well as Druillet, Dionnet, Corben and Moebius, another of the comic’s creators, the Franco-Yugoslavian artist Enki Bilal, was also influential. Also making the point are the similarities between the comics’ art and the concept drawings produced for the Alien and Matrix movies.

You could also add the Judge Dredd movies to this list as well. 2000 AD’s creator, Pat Mills, hates superhero comics. When he launched the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic way back in the 1970s, he was influenced by the French SF comics. Which naturally includes Metal Hurlant. Judge Dredd’s look was created by Carlos Ezquerra, a Spanish artist living in London, who has an artistic style very similar to Moebius.

As an aside, I was also pleased that the interview with Ridley Scott also had Russian subtitles. This shows how much the world has changed since I was at school. This was the years of the new Cold War, created by Thatcher and Reagan, when there were real fears of nuclear Armageddon. I felt profoundly optimistic when the Berlin Wall fell, along with Communism. There seemed at last a real possibility of a genuine, lasting peace between eastern and western Europe. I believe very strongly that it has been a massive improvement in world affairs that the peoples of the former eastern bloc can come to Britain to live, work and raise families.

And I am appalled and angry that Trump and the Democrats are pushing a new Cold War with Putin, and thus endangering the world all over again.

Warning: Heavy Metal was an ‘adult’ comic, which means that there’s some cartoon nudity. This was the magazine that was filmed as The Heavy Metal Movie, and which became notorious for the female nudity of the ‘Taarna’ sequence, which in turn inspired the episode ‘Major B***age’ in South Park. This may have changed, however. In an interview in the comics press a few years ago, its British editor stated that the magazine was dropping the nudity, because it was irrelevant given the amount of real nudity on the Web. He promised that the magazine would still be sexy, however.

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Kevin Logan on Alex Jones Ranting about Race War in America

November 30, 2016

A little while ago I put up a few videos lampooning Alex Jones, the main man behind the conspiracy internet news programme, Infowars. Jones seems to believe that there is a massive conspiracy by the American government and the global elite to wreck and destroy the world’s peoples, including Americans, and turn them into their slaves under a one-world government. He is convinced non-human forces are behind this, though he admits he doesn’t know if they are literally satanic or extraterrestrial. As you might expect, he’s massively right-wing, and gave his very vocal support to Donald Trump. He also did his bit to spread some ludicrous claims about Hillary Clinton, Obama and the Democrats. Among other bizarre allegations, Infowars claimed that Clinton was a demonically possessed Satanist.

Jones himself also has an unusual style of presentation in front of the camera. He can start off normal and rational enough, but quite often he starts ranting and pounding the table like, to use his own words, ‘a fluoride maddened chimpanzee’.

In this video from Kevin Logan, who has posted a long series of vlog pieces taking apart the misogynist claims of the men’s rights activists, he shows Jones screaming about how there is now a race war going on in America, which he seems to think is stirred up by the elites to divide and conquer. Logan has cut this with scenes from South Park, with Cartman also running about like Chicken Little shouting that race war has broken out. And then there’s another scene where Jones rips off his shirt, and runs screaming out of the studio. There’s also another piece, where he’s going on about somebody being in bed with a goblin, which has been edited so it becomes almost a rap. It ends with Jones ranting about chemicals in the water turning frogs gay.

It’s hilarious, but there is a serious point in all this. Jones is something of a force on the internet, and he does spout crazy, dangerous nonsense. And he does have some influence, even if it’s paltry compared to the power of the mainstream networks, as Trump was several times a guest on his show. Jones and his bonkers conspiracy theories now have a connection to the White House and the new president-elect. These are very scary times.

Vox Political on IDS Replacement, Stephen Crabb

March 19, 2016

Mike over at Vox Political has put up a piece giving a few choice facts about the man now filling IDS’ seat in Cabinet, Stephen Crabb. He points out that Crabb has enthusiastically supported all of the benefit cuts, including the 30 per cent reduction in ESA. However, he begins by talking about Crabb’s enthusiasm for curing gay people.

No, he isn’t a mutant crab. That was a bad joke.

Not a joke is his apparent belief that people who are gay can be cured of it. He is on record as having taken interns from a charity called Christian Action Research and Education (CARE), and sponsored a ‘gay cure’ event run by the same organisation in 2012.

Perhaps he thinks serious illnesses and disabilities like cancer, Parkinson’s disease and amputated limbs can also be cured. Let’s face it, everyone carrying out Work Capability Assessments seems to have that belief, so he wouldn’t be alone.

While times have changed and there is far greater acceptance of gays and homosexuality than there was when I was growing up, it’s fair to say that many people still believe that it’s wrong and unnatural, even though it is found amongst other animals, not just humans. What I believe is incontestable is that the alleged cures do more harm than good. There have been a series of scandals amongst the various religious charities and groups in America, which claim to be able to cure gay men and women. A number of the leaders of these groups, who claim to be ‘ex-gay’, have been exposed as hypocrites, actively carrying on a gay lifestyle while claiming to have successfully left it behind. Some have also engaged in intimate bodily contact with the people they claim they are trying to cure, under the pretext that they are just trying to check to make sure that such same-sex contact doesn’t arouse them. I believe the head of one of these organizations, Exodus, even resigned and admitted that the cure didn’t work and he was still gay.

What is equally worrying is the immense psychological harm that can be done by these organisation to vulnerable young people. There’s a South Park episode in which one of the characters is mistakenly diagnosed as being bisexual, and packed off to a special treatment centre run by one of these organisations. One of the jokes in the episode is about the young people incarcerated in this institution keeping on committing suicide. South Park is known for its grotesque humour, which is often in flagrantly poor taste, but like much of the show’s contents it does make a perfectly valid point: there is indeed a danger of the young men and women sent to them trying to commit suicide. Private Eye in one of its columns a few years ago reported the case of a teenage girl, who was suffering from depression. This young woman was packed off to one of these institutions, which had been given permission to open over here by one of the local authorities. The girl had a history of suicide attempts, and there was considerable fear for her safety. The cornerstone of the old Hippocratic Oath that doctors had to swear was ‘First, do no harm’. If the supposed treatment entails making a vulnerable person feel so depressed that they are in danger of taking their own life, then it’s clear that the treatment violates that cornerstone of medical morality and should be discontinued. And you don’t necessarily have to believe that homosexuality is right to consider that inflicting people with needless pain and suffering is at all moral.

Crabb’s attitude to curing people of homosexuality is only one of his qualities that make him manifestly unfit for government. As a supporter of the government’s austerity programme he will no doubt carrying with their work of murdering and culling the disabled through their chequebook euthanasia. IDS was a disgrace, and it’s disgraceful – but expected – that he’s been succeeded by this man.

Trump Ramps the Stupid Up To 11: Snowstorm Caused by Muslims

January 24, 2016

This apparently was announced on the Andrew Marr show here in Britain. A massive snowstorm has hit the eastern US, and Donald Trump has blamed it on the Muslims.

Yes, it’s Muslim snow.

This has to be one of the most stupid things a presidential candidate has ever said. The rants against immigrants and blocking Muslim immigration just follow the usual right-wing logic of xenophobia and the fear of being overrun by the Other. But this is paranoia taken to a new height. Or depth. What makes him think it’s caused by Muslims. Did someone analyse its crystalline structure, and find ‘Allah’ written inside, like there was a spate of people allegedly finding the word written in Arabic letters in fruit not so long ago? Or did someone in the State Department or CIA tell him, ‘Watch yourself, Donald. The Muslims are all going to be praying for snow this weekend, so we’ve got a major meteorological crisis coming’. And if the Muslims have got such exquisite control over the weather, how is it that most of the Middle East is still parched desert, and we’ve still got global warming.

There was a sociological survey done a little while ago, which found that people were inclined to blame the government or authorities even for things over which they generally had absolutely no control, like the weather. I don’t know about the general population and its attitudes, though I’m inclined to believe it. But it certainly seems true of Trump. I’m surprised he hasn’t blamed it on Obama. Obama gets blamed for everything by Conservatives, even when its something they themselves are responsible. Track Palin, Sarah Palin’s son, was arrested for punching his girlfriend in the face. So his mother actually stood up and gave a speech, claiming that his violence was all the fault of Obama, because army veterans like Track weren’t getting the respect they deserved.

But more on that story later.

Trump’s splutterings on the weather remind me of the pronouncement by the Iranian government a few years ago claiming that topless women cause earthquakes. Allah was so angered by godless, immodest females prancing about unclad that He was hitting the world with powerful earthquakes. This provoked a mixture of rage and incredulous hilarity around the world. Women across the globe staged topless demonstrations against the bizarre pronouncement. And as it transpired, there was indeed another earthquakes. But this was probably coincidence, or aftershocks or something, rather than God’s rage.

The Iranian’s pronouncement at least had a certain logic behind it, according to the norms of their society. Their religion requires that women be covered up from head to foot when they appear in public. Violation of these norms anger God, and so when women transgress the enforced standards of modest clothing, God takes revenge. But this is just sheer paranoia, based on the idea that Muslims are some terrible, malign force. There is, according to Trump’s pronouncement, no reason why they should send a snowstorm on America. They just hate America. And, unfortunately, this is basically how many Americans do see Muslims and the problems of the Middle East. They don’t connect it to the US – and indeed, the West in general – interfering in their internal politics, and their invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq. They just see it as a simple case of evil Muslims hating righteous America. There’s no reason for it. Muslims are simply like that. And Trump, unfortunately, reflects that naïve, stupid and dangerous view.

Apart from the sheer bigotry and absolute lack of any kind of sophisticated understanding of the Middle East and Islamic world on display here, it also shows how close modern American politics is becoming to the weird, twisted world of South Park. I wonder how long it’ll be before Trump takes his place up there with the other maniacs, nutters, and bonkers, out of control celebs the show has ruthlessly pilloried over the years. After all, he’s as racist as Mel Gibson, although it’s directed against Muslims rather than the Jews.

ISIS Training Methods: Kick Your Recruits in the Nads

December 11, 2015

Last weekend or so, I reblogged a video I found on A Site Best Not Mentioned, which showed ISIS and al-Qaeda blowing each other up in full, computer-generated colour and mayhem. This is another news report which makes you wonder about the weird, weird world the Islamists inhabit. In this video, TomoNews report on an ISIS training video from Pakistan, which shows the crazed ghazis kicking each other in the crown jewels. I supposed it’s to toughen them up, but, why? I mean, Why? The more I see of them, the less like true religious warriors for truth they seem. More like South Park’s take on the Three Stooges, when they replaced them with three serial killers, one of whom was Jeffrey Dahmer.

All I can think of is that ISIS bases its training manual on the 1990s Japanese game show, Endurance. That show had their contestants going all they way round the world, and being tortured in bizarrely different ways in each country. In Spain they were dangled off a fortress wall why stone balls were catapulted upwards to hit them on their rears.

Here’s a reminder of just how weird and sadistic the show was, from Tarrant on TV.

Endurance has since gone the way of all TV shows that have gone as far as they can. But its legacy lives on with ISIS training videos.