Tuesday, August 15, 2017

an extremely funny chris ware video

I have three words for you: horny Chris Ware.

Political correctness sucks, man. Just imagine a reality in which Ware had been allowed to draw a woman comfortable in her body, who didn’t stand around palpably hating herself before having soft albino misery sex with Chip.

Question: do Chris Ware’s women strike you as characters who have escaped the male gaze?

I find myself thinking about guys like Chester Brown and Robert Crumb, whose female characters are repositories for their desires instead of people in the world. Lust isn’t Ware’s thing, but his women are repositories too—for his anxieties, his milky politics, and his complaints about modernity. I don’t know if there’s a meaningful distinction between these two modes. Not to overstate the case—I don’t think Chris Ware is some huge misogynist—but does he truly imagine these images are, like, respectful representations of women? 

Does it count as “colonizing them with your eyes” if you just sort of squint until you see your giant Dilbert head imposed on their bodies?

In all seriousness I think that artists who worry that reading their critics will somehow compromise their vision or their integrity should make a close study of the sad spectacle that is Ware imagining himself to be brave for Doing Diversity. Here’s the thing: Ware’s fundamentally incapable of imagining a convincing character or even another actual human who isn’t, on some level, Chris Ware. That isn’t because he’s white, or because he’s a man, but because he mistakes all human experience as interchangeable in a way that would only ever occur to white men. In his hands, exploring difference is the project of locating other people’s inner Chris Ware.

The clip is everything. This is Christopher Guest-level mockumentary, but 100% his real life. Just masterfully edited. That first shot, with the helmet. Ware fretting as he eats a perfectly composed salad. Ware riding his tandem bicycle alone through the streets of Oak Park—that one's almost too perfect as a symbol for the central flaw of his often excellent work. How is an artist supposed to grow when he refuses to engage with the world beyond his own idyllic tree-lined streets? Is it appropriate to draw political cartoons when your preferred mode of communication is the postcard?

OTOH: I definitely have an inner Ware. Chris Ware is the only person in the state of Illinois who's more nervous than I am, so I really shouldn't be so mean about his Dilbert head. I honestly wouldn't make fun of it if I didn't know that his fear of the computer means he will never find this site. I bet I grimace at my neighbors all the time. Serving slices from the middle of the pizza, though? His wife is clearly a fucking lunatic. Thanks for serving dinner anyway, Mrs. W. Here at the shallow brigade we have nothing but the greatest respect for your domestic labor. 

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