Tuesday

New Cottonelle Advertisement?

Cottonelle has been running ads challenging people to "go commando" because of their great toilet paper.

Now as someone who has gone commando and honestly is not a huge fan of it - I mean I understand for the purposes of the commercial why that's a great approach to take and great evidence of it working well, but I'll be perfectly blunt, not a fan. Let's be honest, pants are designed to be worn with underwear or boxer shorts and are much more comfortable that way – at least for those of us with hair down there and with external genitals.

Two words: zipper fly.

So while I find the commercials both amusing and clever, I'd like to suggest a slightly different approach for their next round of commercials promoting a clean bum.

(I am, by the way, all for entertaining British personalities asking about people's "bums")

Scene 1:

Our intrepid interviewer appears naked except for a smile. Naked but pixelated, that is. Get your mind out of the gutter. This is television, after all. Not HBO.

"I'm here at the Beautiful Bare Buns Naturist Park to talk with people who really care about a clean bum."

A young woman, pixelated below the neck. "The first time I came here I was worried that people who stare at me. Then I was worried that I wouldn't be able to stop staring at other people. The truth is that everyone is really nice and after a while you almost forget that everyone is naked."

"Why almost?" our host asks

"I'm still a little self-conscious...it's my bum."

"You need some Clean Confidence," our host tells her. "Try Cottonelle's flushable cleansing cloths."

She leaves and then returns.

"Oh my god. It's totally different. With the texture you can really feel it working."

"Are you worried people will be staring at your bum?" our host asks.

"Not anymore. I feel extra clean."

Scene 2:

A couple with their two children are sitting lake front on the beach, all pixelated.

"Have you tried Cottonelle cleansing cloths?"

Both adults try them and then send their kids to the bathroom with them.

"I love the the clean ripple texture," mom says.

"It definitely leaves you feeling extra clean," dad says.

"And believe me, it's bad enough when your kids have dirty bums normally. But it's especially embarrassing here!" mom says

"I don't think we'll be able to use anything else again," dad says.

Scene 3:

"Do you mind?" she asks the yoga instructor, who steps to the side so that our intrepid host can address the nude yoga class, which is meeting in a meadow in the early morning. "Have you tried Cottonelle? Do you have clean confidence? Because if I'm doing this class, I'm definitely going to want clean confidence. Does anyone want to try?" She holds out a box with flushable cleansing cloths.

About half of the men and women in the room walk over and take a package before briefly exiting the room, including the instructor. She turns to the people who are still in the room.

"Show of hands. Who used Cottonelle today?"

Everyone's hands shoots up.

"I already use them," one man says.

"I may not be wearing clothes but I always keep a package of those in my bag," one woman says.

"I never go anywhere without Cottonelle," one man says.

"I wouldn't be in the front row if I didn't feel extra clean," one woman sayes laughing.

People filter back into the room including the instructor. Our intrepid heroine asks the instructor, "do you feel extra clean?"

"I do now!" she says.

Our host takes her place among the other class members and the instructor tells them, "Okay I want you to stretch and show your clean confidence, everyone."

Cottonelle.
CleanRipple Texture for an Extra Clean Bum.
No Matter What You're Wearing
(Or Not Wearing!)

Sunday

Articles Published the Week of November 27th

Aimee de Jongh Prepares The Return of the Honey Buzzard

The Dutch cartoonist and Animator Aimee de Jongh makes her North America debut with the translation of her first full-length graphic novel The Return of the Honey Buzzard. The book is beautifully drawn, thoughtfully written and really just a stunning book in every way. In the two years since it was released in Holland, de Jongh (who also has a daily comic strip) has animated an hour long project and made another graphic novel. Also this book was turned into a movie for Dutch TV.

http://www.cbr.com/aimee-de-jongh-return-of-the-honey-buzzard/

An Interview with Kerascoet

I've been amazed by Kerascoet for years. The married couple are the artists behind Miss Don't Touch Me and Beauty and Beautiful Darkness and the just-released picture book Paul and Antoinette. They're also drawing the upcoming picture book written by Malala Yousafzai. We had the chance to sit down while they were in New York recently and we spoke about their many projects

http://www.tcj.com/kerascoet-interview-by-alex-dueben/

Tuesday

From the Locker Room: A Poem

Here's what locker room talk is really like among guys.

We talk about women and their looks.
The curves of the bodies
How we like them slender or thick
big boobs or small, tight butt or bouncy,
dark skinned or light skinned,
blonde or brunette, red or black,
straight or curly, kinky or relaxed,
thick lips or thin, tall or short.

We talk about who we're sleeping with
Who we want to sleep with
We talk about what we do
What we want to do
Which may or may not
have any basis in reality

And yes we use language like
a-, b-, c-, d-, f-, j-, k-, l-, m-, o-, p-, s-, t-

We can because we know we're catnip to women
One part James Bond, one part Hugh Hefner
and one part Idris Elba
And if we say it the right way, in the right outfit
they'll giggle at the words
where lesser men would get slapped

We're good looking, well dressed,
wealthy, put-together and you can't see
because we're growers not showers
(except for that one guy)
but it's a monster

We're like wolves
except the sheep come to us
We don't have to do anything
the ladies want it as much as we do
they have their needs
just can't show it
but we make them
put in a little effort
we can smell the need on them

That's what real men do
Not only do we not put in any effort
We don't need to

You see Brock Turner didn't brag
that he got a girl drunk
and raped her when she passed out
He did
Guys do
Rapists and sociopaths do
Small, insecure men do
But they don't brag about it

That would be admitting
that women don't come on to them
That they're not so hot
not so sexy
not slick or good looking
not well dressed and sophisticated
Not a smooth talker
With a great head of hair
He'd be saying the ladies don't like me
I have no redeeming qualities
I'm just some pathetic loser
who can't get laid

No, because that's our superpower
in that locker room we're the kings
and everybody wants us
because we're rich and good looking
with great hair and a great build
Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac
Henry Kissinger said
or was it Napoleon?

Because we don't have to try
Trying is for poor people and fat people
for slobs and losers

To admit that they don't come onto you
That you have to work hard to get some
You have to grab and take
Because that's the only way
You can get any
Means you're a failure

Anyone can grope a woman
We're don't because we don't need to
In that locker room, we're not
just anyone

Your wife is pregnant so you're not
getting any
is a universal complaint
Saying she set you up with some model friends
to handle your needs
or you have some models on the side
that she doesn't need to know about
foreign outsourcing of her wifely duties
That's a brag

Saying your wife is knocked up
and you're not getting any
so you grope strangers
like some trenchcoat perv in the park
getting off on flashing kids
or lick your lips at 10 year olds
is disgusting and disturbing, sick and creepy

To admit that, to other men
would be saying
I'm fat I'm ugly
with fake hair
and a bad personality
so bad
even my money doesn't outweigh
my toxic personality.
Or else it means I'm sick
that the only thing that gets me off
is to rape women
to assault them
to hurt them

Because you see, the locker room
is not a safe space for men
We are afraid to be ourselves
and so we act our best selves
our aspirational selves
pretending to be more
than we really are
and sometimes, that's just not
very impressive at all
But we don't brag about being
a creep, a criminal or a loser

They say the way a man does one thing
is the way he does everything
If he thinks bragging about assault
and being a rapist is impressive
that must mean that's how he is.

Unless he's worse.

Monday

Articles Published the Week of November 20th

Daniel Alarcon discusses his fascination with the City of Clowns 

Alarcon is one of the most acclaimed writers of his generation, he's the host and executive producer of the radio show Radio Ambulante, which is back with a new relationship with NPR, which I think should be a great boost for NPR. I spoke with him recently about the graphic novel City of Clowns, which he scripted, based on his short story of the same name. It was originally published in Peru in 2010 in a Spanish language edition and I spoke with about the English language edition of the book and his work.

http://www.comicsbeat.com/interview-daniel-alarcon-discusses-his-fascination-with-the-city-of-clowns/

Sunday

Articles Published the Week of November 13th

The Rumpus Mini-Interview with Jesse Ball

I'm a great admirer of Jesse Ball's novels and poetry and we spoke recently about his novel How To Set a Fire and Why, which is perhaps my favorite of all his novels to date and we spoke about how he works, the odd kind of fiction he writes and loves, and the minimalist approach which readers either love or loathe.

http://therumpus.net/2016/11/the-rumpus-mini-interview-project-57-jesse-ball/

Edward Sorel on Mary Astor, Hollywood and Operatic Gestures

I've loved Edward Sorel's work for years. The man is a master cartoonist, illustrator and muralist. Like him I also love old Hollywood and so his new book, Mary Astor's Purple Diary, is right up my alley. It's a heavily illustrated book that is a great look at the actor Mary Astor, who started her career in the silent era and remains perhaps known for The Maltese Falcon. We spoke about her, old films, and Sorel's awe-inspiring career along with his next book project.

http://www.tcj.com/edward-sorel-on-mary-astor-hollywood-and-operatic-gestures/

Articles Published the Week of November 6th

Ben Katchor Reflects on 25 Years of Cheap Novelties

Katchor is one of our great cartoonist. His work isn't quite like anyone else's.I've had the opportunity to talk with him a few times over the years to discuss his work and his career. This fall is the 25th anniversary of the publication of his first book Cheap Novelties. Drawn and Quarterly has published a hardcover  reprint of the book to mark the occasion.

I'm still tired and angry and raw from this election. I do believe that despite everything that separates us, one of the things we long for is a different kind of community than that which we have throughout much of this country. We want things built and designed and organized on a more human scale.We have this annoyance and disdain and exhaustion for the monoculture which is taking over everywhere. That idea is at the heart of Kacthor's work. More than 25 years ago he was writing about an earlier time when things were not better or easier, but they were different and more colorful and more unique and stranger. And, most of us believe, a little better. It's not nostalgic, but it does try to imagine an alternative to the way we live now. That's something I believe that we need more of. Now more than ever.

http://www.cbr.com/ben-katchor-reflects-on-25-years-of-cheap-novelties/

Saturday

Some Stories for Veteran's Day

I know why we call this holiday Veteran's Day, but the truth is that I've always preferred "Remembrance Day." I wanted to remember a few books and people that others might find interesting.

The late Nick Cardy was a superstar in comics in the 1960s, but before he was a cartoonist he was an aspiring artist who fought in WWII. He was the kind of guy who brought a couple sketchbooks, pencils and a watercolor package in his pack when he shipped off to Europe. A few years ago a collection of his sketchbooks from the war was published. I had the great privilege of talking to him about his work, which was later published as the introduction to the book.

www.cbr.com/cardy-is-the-artist-at-war/

The late Joe Kubert is an icon for people in comics. He's the man behind Sgt Rock and a lot of other comics. I spoke with him about his many projects and his work before he died. I can only hope that if I end up in my 80s, I'm as creative and active and skilled as he was right up until the time he died.

http://www.cbr.com/memorial-day-spotlight-on-joe-kubert/


Sam Glanzman is fortunately still with us and his book the U.S.S. Stevens, which collects his series of short comics about life aboard ship during WWII, some of which were autobiographical and some of which were fictionalized, but the result is something really amazing. I talked to him a couple years back on the release of another of his book about life in the navy.

http://www.cbr.com/sam-glanzman-tells-a-sailors-story/

One reason why I like the term Remembrance Day is that I think how we remember events and what we take away from them is ultimately as important (if not more so) than the actual events in our lives. Carol Tyler has been making some amazing comics in recent years looking at her father, his time in WWII and the live of their family and the way that events and trauma can effect us and influence people across generations. I spoke with her twice about the project in recent years.

https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/carol-tyler-soldiers-heart/

http://www.cbr.com/youll-never-know-carol-tyler/

Sunday

Articles Published the Week of October 30th

Paul Reiser Wants to Take You Back to the Glory Days of The Tonight Show

I'm a big fan of Reiser and was thrilled when his people reached out on his new press tour. We spoke about Red Oaks, the second season of which premieres this month on amazon, and There's Johnny, which premieres next year on Seeso.

http://splitsider.com/2016/11/paul-reiser-wants-to-take-you-back-to-the-glory-days-of-the-tonight-show/

Hieronymous and Bosch Cartoonist Paul Kirchner on Leaving Comics for Advertising and Coming Home Again

Paul Kirchner has had a fascinating career as an artist, from High Times to advertising, Heavy Metal to the Go-Bots, Murder by Remote Control to Adult Swim, he knows almost everyone has done almost everything. His book Murder by Remote Control is an amazing graphic novel, which I hope will receive some of the attention it never got in the 1980's, and his new comic will be appearing on the adultswim website this month.

http://www.comicsbeat.com/interview-hieronymous-and-bosch-cartoonist-paul-kirchner-on-leaving-comics-for-advertising-and-coming-home-again/

Annie Goetzinger Reveals the Haunting Truths (and Fables) of Marie Antoinette

Goetzinger is one of those cartoonists who in France is a huge deal, with a long career as a writer and artist, though it's only recently that she's been getting published here in the US. I had the opportunity to speak with her about her book Marie Antoinette, Phantom Queen.

http://www.comicsbeat.com/interview-annie-goetzinger-reveals-the-haunting-truths-and-fables-of-marie-antoinette/

Dash Shaw Celebrates his Cosplayers

Dash is one of the best cartoonists of our generation. I interviewed a few years back for his book New School and we've run into each other ever since an I was thrilled that we had the chance to talk about his new book, about his next book, about his debut feature film.

http://www.cbr.com/dash-shaw-celebrates-his-cosplayers/

Articles Published the Week of October 23rd

Big Nate's Lincoln Peirce Gives Advice to His Younger Self

The comic strip Big Nate celebrates 25 years in the comics pages. Andrews McMeel is marking the occasion by publishing The Epic Big Nate collection, and I marked the occasion by talking with Lincoln Peirce about the strip, his novels, being a luddite, and what he'd tell his younger self

http://www.comicsbeat.com/interview-looking-back-the-epic-big-nates-lincoln-peirce-gives-advice-to-his-younger-self/

Sarah Glidden Explores Rolling Blackouts

I liked Sarah Glidden's first book, but like just about everyone, her new book is something else. An account of a trip she took through the Middle East in 2010, a look at the nature of journalism, the book is also very interested in letting people speak, with page after page devoted to people retelling their experiences.

http://www.cbr.com/cartoonist-sarah-glidden-explores-rolling-blackouts/

Articles Published the Week of October 16th

Late Happiness: An Interview with W.S. Merwin

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/features/articles/detail/91088

Box Brown's Tetris Pieces Together the Story behind the Game

http://www.cbr.com/box-browns-tetris-pieces-together-the-story-behind-the-game/

Genndy Tartakovsky on Cage, Samurai Jack and Hand-drawn Artwork

http://www.cbr.com/genndy-tartakovsky-on-cage-samurai-jack-hand-drawn-artwork/

Matt Phelan Talks About the Challenges of Reimagining Snow White

http://www.comicsbeat.com/interview-matt-phelan-talks-about-the-challenges-of-reimagining-snow-white/

Gregg Taylor's Motion Comics Are Your New Saturday Morning Cartoons

http://www.comicsbeat.com/interview-red-panda-creator-gregg-taylors-motion-comics-are-your-new-saturday-morning-cartoons/

The Comics Journal Interview with Sophie Campbell

http://www.tcj.com/an-interview-with-sophie-campbell/

Late Happiness: An interview with W.S. Merwin

One of the great privileges of doing what I do is getting to talk with fascinating people. I've had the opportunity to talk with some of our great living poets and recently I spoke with W.S. Merwin just after his 89th birthday and the publication of his new book, Garden Time. Merwin was the son of a minister who grew up in New Jersey and he went to get to know T.S. Eliot and Robert Graves, he was mentored by W.H. Auden, friends with Sylvia Plath. He also represents something I think is important–and which we didn't even have a chance to talk about–which is the politics of his career. He was opposed to the Vietnam War, was part of the anti-nuclear movement, has been a part of the conservation movement for decades. It's not just talk. He bought 18 acres decades ago that has been ruined, nothing growing on it, and now hundreds of varieties of palm trees grow there on land that's now being preserved. He is also, as he tells it, happy. We spoke about his life and career and what that means.

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/features/articles/detail/91088

Thursday

The Discovery of a Lost Georges Melies film!

A lot of people aren't into silent film. I love it, though, and the discovery that a lost film of Georges Melies has been discovered is the kind of cultural event that should be shouted form the rooftops. (Admittedly that sounds like something that might happen in a silent film as opposed to reality here in the 21st century, but still...)

Another short film of Melies was discovered a few years ago. There was the lost Sherlock Holmes film of William Gillette a few years back. So many silent films have been lost and it's exciting to see that a few have been found.

I can't wait to see this.

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/oct/11/researchers-find-film-early-cinema-pioneer-georges-melies-match-de-prestigidation