Sunday, September 23, 2012

Daily Thoughts 09/23/2012

Yumeji Takehisa Postcard Showa Era

Daily Thoughts 09/23/2012

On Saturday, I watched a DVD on learning Spanish.

  I have been reading more of The End of Money Counterfeiters, Preachers, Techies, Dreamers-- And the Coming Cashless Society.  The book is quite interesting, but far fetched in some ways.

It reminded me of another book I've read, Boggs: A Comedy of Values by Lawrence Weschler.  Boggs is famous for making artistic depictions of money with his face on the bills as well as other peoples.  He questions how we value money.  Boggs is famous for offering either to pay his bills with the art he draws or real money.  He often does this in restaurants. The odd thing about this is that his artwork is worth far more than real money.

The End of Money has a similar feel to it.  The ideas being expressed are very valuable.  For example, it costs more to produce a United States penny than its face value, the same is currently true of nickels as well. They are being subsidized by United States citizens.  The value in metal is questionable in coinage because of the usefulness of the material involved.

The sections on counterfeiting are amazing.  Large bills like $100 bills subsidize and make certain kinds of crime more likely to happen.  There are many arguments in The End of Money much like this which are fundamental in how we interact with financial transactions.   Counterfeiting is political also, North Korea counterfeits United States bills.  Physical money like bills and coins is in essence dirty in the author, David Wolman's eyes.

On Friday night, I finished reading  The Comic Book History of Comics.  The authors, Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey's depiction of the eccentricities of Alan Moore are very funny.  I liked the background given on the graphic novel Watchmen.  There is also the story of artists rights in the comic book industry.  The original creators of Batman and Superman never got much money for their creations.

 The authors also do an excellent job of parodying Robert Crumb who is credited for making underground comix possible.  They correctly point out that late in his career, Robert Crumb moved to an isolated farm in the country so he could avoid his fans.   Now, Robert Crumb lives in the French countryside.  The authors also do a very interesting section on Osama Tezuka who is quite literally venerated as the god of all comics in Japan.  This is an enjoyable read with lots of tongue in cheek humor.

There is some adult content in The Comic Book History of Comics because they are also covering the history of underground comix, titles like Metal Hurlant the French version of Heavy Metal, and some very eccentric comics artists.  The story of Sheldon Meyer, the creator of Wonder Woman is a bit different.

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