Monday, October 23, 2006

Hockey hair, or a mullet, is always present in the NHL, but not so much in the last decade. Jagr had a terrific mullet in the early 90’s but few have attempted to take that crown these days. My Chicago Blackhawks have one Michal Handzus that easily wears the crown these days. And just in case you are not so informed, the hair is not a fashion statement, it merely exists to protect the player’s neck from errant pucks and stick slashes. A purely utilitarian choice. I had hoped to find my way to Chicago in the near future for a game to experience the beast in all its glory, but it is not to be. A knee injury has him out for the year. I may still see a game this year, but it just won’t be the same.

I read “Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron” by Clowes last week, which is easily one of the strangest comics, much less stories, I’ve ever read. I found myself trying to put it together with that awful high school question that would always come up in English class: “What does it mean?” It’s a useless question by the time you get to college and have to ability to talk about aspects of a text without generating an overly general concluding sentence for your paper. Yes Huckleberry Finn is about how slavery is bad, but that is not really an adequate comment. Nonetheless, I tried to find a place to start on Clowes and was drawn back to that silly question.

I wonder if it works as a threat to not try to hard to get what you want, because you might get it – or rather, don’t fixate too much on what goes on behind the scenes. If you ever uncovered all the layers you’d simply find a base level of filth, corruption, violence, and ugliness.

I also considered that the only characters in the book that looked physically normal (the cops, etc) were the most evil and vicious. So, maybe the main character was too normal and only after descending into his own strangeness and becoming an amputee was he able to find his comfortable place in the world. Our true selves are ugly and strange, but they are our true selves after all so we might as well embrace them. I suspect this idea might be closer to what Clowes had in mind.

So I’ll say that it tells us that being ourselves, however strange, is good, like Robin Williams told us all in Dead Poets Society. That is a very mean sentence to put into the world but Clowes’ images are a little unnerving at times, so we’ll call it even.

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