Emdashes. Modern Times Between the Lines.

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A Web Comic: The Wavy Rule
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Emily Gordon writes:

Lately, when I’m not at work, cooking up a blog redesign, or buffaloing cartoonist and critic Pollux into coming up with a comic (drawn and debuting soon!) to herald the site’s new focus on images and symbols, I’ve been noting sentences that strike me in this Tumblr, The Beautiful Sentence. If you submit a sentence you like (from anywhere you like—a novel, a blog, an article, a cereal box) and I like it too, I’ll post it. A beautiful sentence can be funny, wise, intricately constructed, or just cool. (continued)

saint-exupery-snake.jpegBill Haast, 100, Florida Snake Handler, Is Dead
Snake Handler Bitten by One of World’s Most Poisonous Vipers
Snake Handler Hospitalized After Suffering 102d Bite
Snake Handler Dies of Bite, As His Father-in-Law Did
Snake Handler Recuperating
Jolo Journal; When the Faithful Tempt the Serpent
Kentucky Man Killed by Rattler In Rite of Snake-Handling Cult
Defiant Snake Handler Dies
Drought means booming business for Southern California snake handlers
Handling Hogs
SNAKE BITES A SHOWMAN; “Rattlesnake Pete” Gruber Thought to be Dying at Rochester
Zoo Burglar Tries to Steal Deadly Cobras; Mystery in Raid on the Bronx Reptile House
One African Takes Fangs Over Fido As a Sentry (continued)

Maud Newton puts the noble in Barnes & Noble in this terrific interview with Alison Bechdel. Here’s an intriguing pair of passages about Bechdel’s use of a digital font (made with Fontographer, as I recall from a recent event with the cartoonist at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago) instead of hand-lettering for her graphic novels:
BNR: …Apart from all your second-guessing of your writing itself, I’ve noticed that you’re really hard on yourself for using a font based on your handwriting to letter your frames.

AB: I do feel guilty about it, like it’s somehow cheating to use a digital font, and to not actually hand-letter my work. But at the same time, I have these lengthy passages of quotations from [Donald] Winnicott or from Virginia Woolf that I have obsessively hand-lettered.


A rewatch of the original Ghostbusters prompted an urgent Google search, with these satisfying Metafilter results. The asker’s question (also my question):
Print is dead? I was watching Ghostbusters (1984) this weekend, and at one point the character Egon Spengler is asked a question, to which he responds: ‘Print is dead.” What is the earliest recorded use of this phrase?
Among the satisfying replies:
I found a reference in the Antioch Review (1967) that uses “print is dead” as the characterization for Marshall McLuhan’s scholarship, which make a lot of sense to me in this context. This previously is also pertinent.
Someone else in that group also mentions that the “print is dead” line actually gained some popularity in the early 80s in tech circles as the personal computer gained prominence. It likely wasn’t the earliest recorded use, but Egon’s quote may have just been a result of the growing sentiment of the time.
Meanwhile, a recent post on Movies.com answers the question I somehow didn’t think to ask, which is what the various Ghostbusters would look like if they were cartoon ghosts. Now you know. (continued)

It’s turning fifty this month. It’s much younger than the interroverti, which gives the tender interrobang a materteral pat on the points. By the way, the HTML is & #8253 ; (without the spaces).

—Emily Gordon (continued)

Harold Ramis says ten. (The screenwriter, Danny Rubin, invites you to pony up to find out what he thinks.) These folks say eight years, eight months, and sixteen days. My favorite estimate comes from this brilliant breakdown, which gives it as 12,403 days of Sonny and Cher and sweet vermouth on the rocks with a twist, or almost 34 years. Poor Phil. He really earned that happy ending.

—Emily Gordon (continued)

We haven’t been posting much, you say? We know it. We’ve all been busy doing other things, including Martin Schneider’s stylish new project, Box Office Boffo. In his words, he’s “blogging every #1 movie in America from 1970 to the present day.” Even better: “Every week there’s a #1 movie at the box office, and I’m going to watch them all.” Not only do you get close inspections of movies like The Owl and the Pussycat and Beneath the Planet of the Apes, and whole years in review, you get the original posters, which will make you nostalgic in all kinds of ways.

Meanwhile, Pollux, our favorite painter/cartoonist/New Yorker cover critic/Renaissance man, just had a show at Artlife South Bay. Jonathan Taylor went back to grad school, proving once again that he’s both a gentleman and a scholar, and I’ve been working on a relaunch of The Washington Spectator’s website and writing theater reviews for Time Out Chicago.

So our collective focus has been elsewhere. But speaking for myself, I’m feeling emdashy again. There’s work to be done and punctuation marks to be shepherded, shorn, and protected from the elements.

—Emily Gordon (continued)

96241_Seminar_Image505x250_FINAL[1] (1).jpg

Lee Alexander writes:

It’s hard not to think of Alan Rickman as Severus Snape, curl-lipped and leering behind a smoking cauldron as Harry Potter’s ambiguously evil Defense Against the Dark Arts instructor. In Thersea Rebeck’s new comedy, Seminar (which opened on Sunday at the Golden Theatre), Rickman is once again in command of the classroom, abandoning his robe and wand for a somewhat more mundane task: instructing four twentysomethings on the craft of writing a novel.

Though Rickman’s character, the famous writer Leonard, snidely remarks (continued)

At Flavorpill, vintage covers of The Phantom Tollbooth from all over the world. The 2006 German edition is particularly gorgeous, as is the ethereal 2007 Chinese cover. But who in their right mind would junk Jules Feiffer’s illustrations?

—Emily Gordon (continued)

From a recent A.V. Club interview about Kate Beaton’s essential new book, Hark! A Vagrant. The as-close-to-universally-beloved-as-it’s-possible-to-get-without-being-a-baby-panda Beaton and cartoonist Sam Means had a cartoon in the June 28 issue of the magazine (as “Beans,” which is a great combi-name). Are more forthcoming? Only Bob Mankoff knows for sure.
AVC: How did you get involved with The New Yorker? Did they come to you, or did you go to them?

KB: No, you have to submit to them. You give them packages. The New Yorker doesn’t come to anybody, not even the people who’ve been published there for 20 years. You have to submit, and you just keep doing it until they buy one.

AVC: What’s it like doing comics for them? (continued)

2008 Webby Awards Official Honoree