Sunday, January 08, 2006

I read It's a Good Life if You Don't Weaken. I think this will end up being one of those books that I reread at certain intervals. I love Seth's cartoony draftmanship. I also like how the main character's(also named Seth, I get the feeling that this is autobiographical)favorite mood is melancholy. He grieves for all the little things, and especially for the past. Of course, he can grieve for the past since he's a white guy. In the comic, Ruthie, a woman who Seth is dating, questions why the biggest positive change Seth can find is his mother's makeup drawer, when civil rights and the woman's movement have been so beneficial. Of course, I don't know about the guy's real life, but in the comic, I feel like Seth feels detached from these greater social movements.

His style wouldn't really be cramped much by sexism or racism, so he doesn't really pay attention to them. He is free to imagine that the past was a better time- full of more beauty and grace than the present, because the disconnect isn't so large. The book's story is simple- guy is searching for an old New Yorker cartoonist- but it's the atmosphere that makes the story so potent, I think. Sometimes I felt it was an odd quest, heck, the character Seth even mentions this himself, but is this really much different than people who look at the celebrity news every day, and pride themselves on knowing which stars are going out or who had a boob job or an overdose?

I really like the extra material about the cartoonists mentioned and a real picture of Kalo. A weird thing that bothered me though- is how can a collector be a smoker? I don't see how the desire to see the past preserved goes with having smoke all over everything, although in the past, they did smoke all the time. So maybe the Seth character smokes to have a greater connection to that time?

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