Sep 16, 2014

Charm School Psychopaths

The fine line between "authenticity" and "manipulation" -- and who decides where to draw it? 

Dave Asprey interviewed a guy who does charm "boot camps." His program walks people through their interpersonal blind spots and hang-ups, and coaches them on how to improve. Asprey brought up the sub-culture of "pick-up artists," but the guest assured him that's not what he does. Those people are "creepy" and "psychopaths," he told Asprey, and in fact he "screens out" anyone who is just taking the course for such shallow, immature reasons. If they're just there to learn how to manipulate people, rather than to become more authentic, and grow as a person, he doesn't want them. He described how the inner self really does have to change for the outer persona to be more charming:  one begins acting differently, which creates a different response from people, which sets up a positive feedback loop that encourages more confident, outgoing behavior. (Although there is a hitch in that logic --- initially at least, he's telling you people will be faked out -- "fake it till you make it" I guess. Then eventually you grow into your "fake self" and that becomes your real self. Or something.)

Another slight --- or perhaps major --- contradiction:  he hates "creepy psychopaths" as I said (interesting how that term "psychopath" has taken off), but then he went on to describe how, among his other graceless candidates for charm school, were Navy SEALS. That's right. Sometimes you don't just want to drive around in other countries looking tough, breaking things, and killing innocent bystanders who get in the way. You might want to cozy up to the enemy --- just long enough for him to get comfortable, at least. Then you sneak up behind him and slit his throat!! Or take him to a black site for a little (no doubt charm-filled) enhanced interrogation. That's no problem, apparently, but picking up chicks for casual sex is just too much for his tender sensibilities.

I mean sure, manipulating women for sex may not be ethical, but isn't there some hypocrisy there? He can't stand those creepy losers who just want sex without commitment, but meanwhile since everybody just loves the military, he has no problem with their psychopathic behavior. It's for a good cause after all-- serving the Empire and exploiting the world's resources for our own ends! Yeah, baby...

One rather wonders, what if he is just being a player by claiming to disdain any and all manipulation of women? Given his lack of concern at teaching people to use manipulation to actually kill people, I mean. Maybe he's just manipulating us. Like a psychopath would.

Actually I'm sure he's probably "genuine" about teaching people how to be "genuine," it just seems like an inherently contradictory proposition. Here is how to manipulate people, to get them to like you, by being more authentic... But somehow, first, you have to change your "authentic" self to be the person everyone loves, based on subconscious genetically ingrained social cues. Or something.

It's funny to me that he screens out these shallow, worthless psychopaths that occasionally come to his classes and ruin it for everyone else. I mean, what is he saying here? Perhaps he refers them to a therapist, otherwise it seems like he's decided there's an explicit red line between psychopaths and other people, and those people should maybe (in his world?) be wearing armbands or something. I mean help us out here, we want to know who they are too. Don't just keep it to yourself. They're so yucky and creepy, those psychopaths. Ugh.

Of course, there is that one problem again if he turns out to be a psychopath -- how would we know after all, he's the one that can spot them? Maybe he's just figured out all these tricks, and is using his "charm school" for his own creepy ends. After all what would a true creep do other than to manipulate his way into just such a position, as a self-proclaimed master of interpersonal communication... I'm joking of course, just saying is all. It's just odd to me how he has no use for some straight-up manipulators, but then can walk a fine line where he and his clients "get what they want" but while being "genuine." They still have manipulative ends, ultimately --- get laid, kill the enemy --- but somehow, on the way to getting there, I guess they're being authentic? When they do it, it's got class and integrity. Or something. They've worked on their inner selves, become genuinely confident alphas, and now they deserve to get laid and kill the enemy. That's not manipulation, it's justice.

Jul 15, 2014

Parking Garage Planet #1

One color cover and 18 b&w pages. Of "retro sci-fi Southern trash" comics, according to one reader.

That might about do it for me on this project, for a while at least. I had a few more pages planned for this issue, and notes for #2, but I'm thinking I will just see what "folks" think of the story so far.

Click here to read the story on the Creatavist platform!

Jun 8, 2014

The Day the Comics Died

("American Pie" lyrics by Don McLean, changed slightly by me)

A long, long time ago
I can still remember how those funnies used to make me smile
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those people laugh
And maybe they'd be happy for a while

But February made me shiver
With every paper I'd (not) deliver
Bad news on the TV station
I couldn't take one more cancellation

I can't remember if I cried
When I read there'd be no Far Side
But something touched me deep inside
The day the comics died

So bye-bye, Beetle Bailey
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
And those news-readin' geezers were drinkin' whiskey and rye
Singin' "This'll be the day that I die
This'll be the day that I die"

Jun 3, 2014

Stanley's Brain

Peak Fun Megacorp announces the galactic release of a new 8-page full B&W comic!

Times have been slow around the old megacorp, but now we have finally managed to trickle out a few more sweat-logged pages of comicy goodness! It's like squeezing blood from a turnip, I tell you, but nevertheless we think you'll agree the wait has been worth it! It's a rollicking good time in this short comic featuring Dr. Stanley, a brand new Invention from the fertile minds at PFM! He has a beard and Dennis the Menace style hair-do! Enjoy!

May 2, 2014

Caricature by Matthew Cox

I worked a gig recently drawing caricatures with Nashville artist Matthew Cox. We had a break where the guests were in some ceremony, and I asked him if he'd mind drawing me, which he kindly agreed to do.

It might be, just slightly, a little bit flattering. For instance, rather than nice, evenly spaced features and chiseled, movie star good looks, I'm more of a chinless hunchback with a lumpy potato nose and giant hairy ears. But a flattering style is good business, you know. People want "caricatures," but they also don't want to be reminded that they're pretty much genetic dead ends, whose lifestyle choices have mutated them into circus freaks.

Anyway I'm a fan of Matt's very mainstream caricature style, which he delivers consistently and with professionalism. I've been studying his approach and plan to ape it myself, so I can make millions (or whatever Matt makes, at least. I'm sure he lives in a big mansion like most caricature artists. I would myself but I blew it all on hookers and out-of-print art instruction books.)

Apr 26, 2014

some charicateratures

in the good old boring style of non-creativity (or something)

Apr 8, 2014

Idea for Brian Crane's "Pickles" strip

This idea seemed like something from Brian Crane's "Pickles" strip so I drew it as such (in rough thumbnail version anyway.) I was going to send it to him, but could not find contact info. Maybe I'll post a link to it on his blog comments and see what he makes of it, if anything.

(Right-click and "open in new tab" to enlarge.)