Nite Owl II: But the country’s disintegrating. What’s happened to America? What’s happened to the American dream?
The Comedian: It came true. You’re lookin’ at it.
If you wear black, then kindly, irritating strangers will touch your arm consolingly and inform you that the world keeps on turning.
They’re right. It does.
However much you beg it to stop.
It turns and lets grenadine spill over the horizon, sends hard bars of gold through my window and I wake up and feel happy for three seconds and then I remember.
It turns and tips people out of their beds and into their cars, their offices, an avalanche of tiny men and women tumbling through life…
All trying not to think about what’s waiting at the bottom.
Sometimes it turns and sends us reeling into each other’s arms. We cling tight, excited and laughing, strangers thrown together on a moving funhouse floor.
Intoxicated by the motion we forget all the risks.
And then the world turns…
And somebody falls off…
And oh God it’s such a long way down.
Numb with shock, we can only stand and watch as they fall away from us, gradually getting smaller…
Receding in our memories until they’re no longer visible.
We gather in cemeteries, tense and silent as if for listening for the impact; the splash of a pebble dropped into a dark well, trying to measure its depth.
Trying to measure how far we have to fall.
No impact comes; no splash. The moment passes. The world turns and we turn away, getting on with our lives…
Wrapping ourselves in comforting banalities to keep us warm against the cold.
Time’s a great healer.
At least it was quick.
The world keeps turning.
To me, all creativity is magic. Ideas start out in the empty void of your head – and they end up as a material thing, like a book you can hold in your hand. That is the magical process. It’s an alchemical thing. Yes, we do get the gold out of it but that’s not the most important thing. It’s the work itself.
There seems to be an audience that demands everything be explained to them that everything be easy. And I don t think that s doing us any good as a culture. The ease with which we can accomplish or conjure any possible imaginable scenario through CGI is almost directly proportionate to how uninterested we re becoming in all of this. I can remember Ray Harryhausen s animated skeletons in Jason and the Argonauts. I can remember Willis O Brien s King Kong. I can remember being awed at the artistry that had made those things possible. Yes I knew how it was done. But it looked so wonderful. These days I can see half a million Orcs coming over a hill and I am bored. I am not impressed at all. Because frankly I could have gotten someone a passerby on the street who could have gotten the same effect if you d given them half a million dollars to do it. It removes artistry and imagination and places money in the driver s seat and I think it s a pretty straight equation—that there is an inverse relationship between money and imagination.
Roschach’s Journal: October 12th, 1985Dog carcass in alley this morning, tire tread on burst stomach. This city is afraid of me. I have seen its true face.The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown.The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout “Save us!”… and I’ll look down and whisper “No.
When the gap between the world of the city and the world my grandfather had presented to me as right and good became too wide and depressing to tolerate, I’d turn to my other great love, which was pulp adventure fiction. Despite the fact that [he] would have had nothing but scorn and loathing for all of those violent and garish magazines, there was a sort of prevailing morality in them that I’m sure he would have responded to. The world of Doc Savage and The Shadow was one of absolute values, where what was good was never in the slightest doubt and where what was evil inevitably suffered some fitting punishment. The notion of good and justice espoused by Lamont Cranston with his slouch hat and blazing automatics seemed a long way from that of the fierce and taciturn old man I remembered sitting up alone into the Montana night with no company save his bible, but I can’t help feeling that if the two had ever met they’d have found something to talk about. For my part, all those brilliant and resourceful sleuths and heroes offered a glimpse of a perfect world where morality worked the way it was meant to. Nobody in Doc Savage’s world ever killed themselves except thwarted kamikaze assassins or enemy spies with cyanide capsules. Which world would you rather live in, if you had the choice?
It’s funny, but certain faces seem to go in and out of style. You look at old photographs and everybody has a certain look to them, almost as if they’re related. Look at pictures from ten years later and you can see that there’s a new kind of face starting to predominate, and that the old faces are fading away and vanishing, never to be seen again.
Heard joke once: Man goes to doctor. Says he’s depressed. Says life seems harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in a threatening world where what lies ahead is vague and uncertain. Doctor says, “Treatment is simple. Great clown Pagliacci is in town tonight. Go and see him. That should pick you up.” Man bursts into tears. Says, “But doctor…I am Pagliacci.
The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown. The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout ‘SAVE US!’…and I’ll look down and whisper ‘No.