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74. The Stranger by Albert Camus adapted into a graphic novel by Jacques Ferrandez - I don't know why this novel is so fascinating. How do you tell a story about a guy who is so cut off from the rest of the world that he doesn't care when his mother dies or that he is killing someone? He doesn't even care that he is going to die and his speech to the priest at the end serves as the theme. Sure, he's a response to Raskolnikov who denies his humanity but is overcome with guilt. Instead he is the modern man who doesn't care. And moving around that plot is the implication of the story where a white man is so cut off from society that he kills an Arab character who is known only the Arab and refuses to feel bad about it. Kind of like most white dudes who have a filter that doesn't allow them to see the Other as anything beyond danger or victim. I don't know if The Stranger is a critique of imperialism. I want to read it as a critique of imperialism, else I am just enjoying a book that is about a man who is just a killer without remorse. It feels deeper than my reading of it but am I reading too much into it. I like Camus but I'm not certain that this book is anything more than an idea book for smartass teenagers.

75.Beef with Tomato by Dean Haspiel - I was wondering why I hated this graphic novel when I seemed to like other Dean Haspiel books. I had to look him to realize that I liked the books that he illustrated but he didn't write them. So he's great when he is writing other people's stories and his style is reminiscent of Darwyn Cooke, but when he writes his own stories they are really fucking boring. In fact, they are Gentrifying Asshole manifestos. The character of Dean Haspiel depicted in the comic is a boring white guy who moves from Manhattan to Brooklyn and bitches about how everyone considers him to be a gentrifier when he's really poor. He rides his bike around. He likes restaurants and there's a naked woman in the next apartment. He name checks the blackout and 9/11 as bookends, but at heart is a boring white guy who thinks that every insight is fascinating and every story is the gift of the gods to mortals. Sure, there are minority characters in his neighborhood but they are merely props to this guy feeling a little nervous.
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Tim Lieder

July 2017

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