Charles Schulz Draws Charlie Brown in 45 Seconds and Exorcises His Demons

Would that we had a dime for every cartoonist whose course was charted happily copying Charles Schulz’s seminal strip, Peanuts, while other, more athletic children played together in the fresh air and sunshine.

Such admissions proliferate in interviews and blog posts. They’re nearly as numerous as the online tutorials on drawing such beloved Peanuts characters as Woodstock, Linus Van Pelt, and Schulz’ sad sack stand-in Charlie Brown.

The short video above melds the educational ease of a YouTube how-to with the self-directed, perhaps more artistically pure aspects of the pre-digital experience, as Charles Schulz himself pencils Charlie Brown seated at Schroeder’s toy piano in well under a minute.

You’ll have to watch closely if you want to pick up Sparky’s step-by-step technique. There are no geometric pointers, only a spiritual disclosure that “poor old Charlie Brown” was a scapegoat whose suffering was commensurate with that of his creator.

His voiceover downgrades the psychic pain to the level of lost golf and bridge games, but as cartoonist and former Peanuts copyist Bill Watterson, creator of Calvin and Hobbes, pointed out in a 2007 review of David Michaelis’ Schulz biography, Schulz’s unhappiness was deep seated:

Schulz always held his parents in high regard, but they were emotionally remote and strangely inattentive to their only child. Schulz was shy and alienated during his school years, retreating from nearly every opportunity to reveal himself or his gifts. Teachers and students consequently ignored him, and Schulz nursed a lifelong grudge that so few attempted to draw him out or recognized his talent…

Once he finally achieved his childhood dream of drawing a comic strip, however, he was able to expose and confront his inner torments through his creative work, making insecurity, failure and rejection the central themes of his humor. Knowing that his miseries fueled his work, he resisted help or change, apparently preferring professional success over personal happiness. Desperately lonely and sad throughout his life, he saw himself as “a nothing,” yet he was also convinced that his artistic ability made him special.

Good grief. I have a hunch none of this found its way into the lifelong workaholic’s own guide to drawing Peanuts characters. It’s not a secret, however, that a dark side often comes with the territory as a slew of recent autobiographical graphic novels from those drawn to the profession will attest.

Via Kottke

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Ayun Halliday is an author, homeschooler, and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine. Follow her @AyunHalliday

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A Photographic Tour of Haruki Murakami’s Tokyo, Where Dream, Memory, and Reality Meet


Last week saw me in line at one of Los Angeles’ most beloved bookstores, waiting for a signed copy of Haruki Murakami’s new novel Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage upon its midnight release. The considerable hubbub around the book’s entry into English — to say nothing of its original appearance last year in Japanese, when it sold a much-discussed million copies in a single month — demonstrates, 35 years into the author’s career, the world’s unflagging appetite for Murakamiana. Just recently, we featured the artifacts of Murakami’s passion for jazz and a collection of his free short stories online, just as many others have got into the spirit by seeking out various illuminating inspirations of, locations in, and quotations from his work. The author of the blog Randomwire, known only as David, has done all three, and taken photographs to boot, in his grand three-part project of documenting Murakami’s Tokyo: the Tokyo of his beginnings, the Tokyo where he ran the jazz bars in which he began writing, and the Tokyo which has given his stories their otherworldly touch.


Murakami’s “depictions of the loneliness and isolation of modern Japanese life ingratiated him with the country’s youth who often struggle to assert their individuality in the face of societal notions of conformity,” David writes, noting also that “such comparisons fail to do justice to his unique brand of surreal fantasy and urban realism which seamlessly blends together dream, memory and reality against the backdrop of everyday life in Japan.” Knowing the city of Tokyo as well as he knows the Murakami canon, David works his way from the Denny’s where “Mari, while minding her own business, is interrupted by an old acquaintance Takahashi in After Dark“; to Waseda University, alma mater of both Murakami himself and Norwegian Wood‘s protagonist Toru Watanabe; to both locations of Peter Cat, the jazz café and bar Murakami ran with his wife in the 1970s and early 80s; to Meiji Jingu stadium, where Murakami witnessed the home run that somehow convinced him he could write his first novel, Hear the Wind Sing; to DUG, another underground jazz bar visited by students like Toru Watanabe in the 1960s and still open today; to Metropolitan Expressway No. 3, from which 1Q84′s protagonist Aomame climbs down into a parallel reality.


David also drops into spots that, if they don’t count as fully Murakamian, at least count as Murakamiesque, such as an “antique shop-cum-café” opposite the first site of Peter Cat: “Like a surreal plot twist in one of Murakami’s books the scene of me sitting there amongst the mounds of antique junk drinking tea from a porcelain cup was verging on the absurd. More than once I glanced outside the window just to check that the real world hadn’t left me behind.” If you find he missed any patch of Murakami’s Tokyo along the way, let him know; he has, he notes at the end of part three, almost enough for a part four — just as much of Colorless Tsukuru‘s follow-up has no doubt already cohered in Murakami’s imagination, that fruitful meeting place of the real and the absurd. Here are the links to the existing sections: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.


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Colin Marshall hosts and produces Notebook on Cities and Culture and writes essays on cities, language, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

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Moebius’ Storyboards & Concept Art for Jodorowsky’s Dune

A decade before David Lynch’s flawed but visually brilliant adaptation of Dune hit the silver screen (see our post on that from Monday), another cinematic visionary tried to turn Frank Herbert’s cult book into a movie. And it would have been a mind-bogglingly grand epic.

By 1974, Chilean-French filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky had already directed two masterpieces of cult cinema – El Topo and The Holy Mountain. Both films are hallucinatory fever dreams filled with nudity, violence, Eastern mysticism and pungently surreal images. Jodorowsky himself is what they call in Los Angeles a spiritual wanderer. He threw himself into every variety of religious experience that he could – from shamanism to the Kabbalah to hallucinogens. In preparation for shooting Holy Mountain, the director and his wife reportedly went without sleep for a week while under the care of a Zen master. Not surprisingly, leading figures of the counterculture were big fans. John Lennon personally kicked in a million dollars to finance his movies. When French producers asked Jodorowsky to adapt Dune, he was at the peak of his prestige.


As the 2013 documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune shows, the director managed to assemble a jaw-dropping group of talent for the film. This version of Dune was set to star David Carradine, Orson Welles, Salvador Dali and Mick Jagger. It was going to have Pink Floyd do the soundtrack. And it was going to have the then unknown artist H. R. Giger along with French comic book artist Jean Giraud, otherwise known as Moebius, design the sets. Sadly, Jodorowsky’s grand vision proved to be too grand for the film’s financiers and they pulled the plug. The movie clearly belongs in the pantheon – along with Stanley Kubrick’s Napoleon and Welles’s Heart of Darkness – of the greatest movies never made. Compared to those other films, though, Jodorowsky’s movie sounds way groovier.


Of all the talent lined up for the project, Moebius proved to be central to helping Jodorowsky realize his grandiose vision during pre-production. Below Jodorowsky describes how the famed, and blindly fast, illustrator proved indispensable to him. Above is a clip from Jodorowsky’s Dune, where the director and Moebius describe more or less the same story.

I needed a precise script… I wanted to carry out film on paper before filming it… These days all films with special effects are done as that, but at the time this technique was not used. I wanted a draughtsman of comic strips who has the genius and the speed, who can be used as a camera and who gives at the same time a visual style… I was by chance with my second warrior: Jean Giraud alias Moebius. I say to him: “If you accept this work, you must all give up and leave tomorrow with me to Los Angeles to speak with Douglas Trumbull (2001: A Space Odyssey)”. Moebius asked for a few hours to think about it. The following day, we left for the United States. It would take too a long time to tell… Our collaboration, our meetings in America with the strange ones illuminated and our conversations at seven o’clock in the morning in the small coffee which was in bottom of our workshops and which by “chance” was called Café the Universe. Giraud made 3000 drawings, all marvelous… The script of Dune, thanks to his talent, is a masterpiece. One can see living the characters; one follows the movements of camera. One visualizes cutting, the decorations, the costumes…

In this post, you can see some of the storyboards and concept art that Moebius produced. (More can be found at Looking at them, you can’t help but wonder how cinema history would be different if this film ever hit the theaters.



Via Coudal

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Jonathan Crow is a Los Angeles-based writer and filmmaker whose work has appeared in Yahoo!, The Hollywood Reporter, and other publications. You can follow him at @jonccrowAnd check out his blog Veeptopus, featuring one new drawing of a vice president with an octopus on his head daily. 

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Did Joe Strummer, Frontman of The Clash, Run the Paris and London Marathons?

As a kid who wore Doc Martins to high school gym class and refused participation on principle, it was my firm belief that “sports aren’t punk.” But had I known then what I know now about the athletic prowess of one of my heroes, Joe Strummer, I might have been a little more motivated to try and compete with the great man’s ability. A champion runner during his lonely years at boarding school, Strummer never lost the runner’s bug, supposedly finishing two marathons, and possibly a third, while with The Clash. Let’s begin with that “possibly,” shall we? First, watch the clip above from the documentary Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten.

For context, know that before the release of 1982’s Combat Rock, the band’s manager Bernie Rhodes suggested that Strummer disappear to Austin for a while to stir up some controversy and increase ticket sales. Strummer instead went to Paris without telling anyone—turning a hoax A.W.O.L. story into a real one. He tells it above, casually tossing out, “and I ran the Paris Marathon, too,” a burying of the lede Grantland’s Michael Bertin compares to Buzz Aldrin mentioning his moonwalk between a bass fishing story and his wife’s casserole. People train for months, years, for marathons; Strummer, it seems strolled onto the course with his girlfriend of the time, Gaby Salter, and “allegedly”—alleges this Wikipedia entry—finished in an astonishing 3 hours, 20 minutes. Later, asked by a reporter to describe his regimen before the race, he said, “Drink 10 pints of beer the night before the race. Ya got that? And don’t run a single step at least four weeks before the race.”


Everything about this story seems suspect, including the fact that in the supposed photograph of Strummer and Salter post-race (above)—both in running gear but looking as fresh as if they’d just strolled out of the hotel patisserieneither one wears a bib number … “something,” Bertin points out, “that a race participant should have.” What’s more, Strummer was “capable of rewriting history to make himself look better,” which may explain his cagey reluctance to elaborate. Bertin offers many more reasons to think the story a fabrication, yet there is at least one highly credible fact to support it: The London Marathon, which Strummer most decidedly did run (see him below, race bib and all), finishing with a most respectable time of 4:13 without any prior training at all. Chris Salewicz’s Redemption Song: The Ballad of Joe Strummer quotes Gaby Salter saying “He hadn’t trained. He just bought some shorts and said, ‘Let’s run a marathon.’” Salter petered out halfway through. Later in the book, Antony Genn, Strummer’s collaborator in the Mescaleros, recounts the hard-drinking Strummer saying of his marathon experience, “I didn’t fuckin’ train. Not once. Just turned up and did it.’”


While this seems patently impossible, perhaps it’s true after all that the frontman of the The Clash, who weathered the rise and fall of punk better than any of his contemporaries, had such natural physical endurance he could casually toss off a marathon in-between drunks and packs of smokes. Real runners will surely scoff, but if Joe Strummer ever did train, no one ever saw him do it. If he were alive now, he’d be 62 years old and probably still making records and knocking ‘em back. Maybe he’d even breeze through the New York Marathon on his way to the studio. And if we asked him for his secret, he’d probably tell us something like he told that reporter who asked about Paris: “’Do not try this at home.’ I mean, it works for me and Hunter Thompson, but it might not work for others.” Yeah, ya think?

via DangerousMinds and Reddit

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

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Dennis Hopper’s Photography, Now On Display in London, Documents a World “On Fire With Change”

Early in his long career, Dennis Hopper found time to “do history a favor,” using his camera to document a world “on fire with change.”

Good timing. The period from 1961 to 1967 was a less than fertile period for him as an actor after some less than professional behavior landed him on the Hollywood naughty list. His interest in photography may not have kept him out of trouble, but it did help him maintain a sense of artistic purpose whilst picking up a healthy number of guest appearances on TV.

Busy busy busy. (Something tells me James Franco and Ethan Hawke would approve.)

Having redeemed his reputation with The Trip and Cool Hand Luke, Hopper was back on track for movie stardom, but not before he chose the most stirring of thousands of images for a solo exhibition at the Fort Worth Art Center, held in 1969-70.

In the estimation of curator Petra Giloy-Hirtz, who recreated this show for the London Royal Academy of Art’s “Dennis Hopper: The Lost Album,” the work that captured the average Joe’s experience during this period of upheaval places him among the best photographers of the period.

He also did pop culture a favor, by turning his lens on certain glittery subjects from the art and film worlds, including Andy Warhol, the Rolling Stones’ Brian Jones, and actress Jane Fonda and director Roger Vadim on their wedding day.

If you can’t make it to the exhibit at the London Royal Academy of Art, you can view some of Hopper’s 400 photographs in this online gallery hosted by the BBC.

via Laughing Squid

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Ayun Halliday is an author, and the Chief Primatologist of the award-winning East Village Inky zine. Follow her @AyunHalliday

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George Orwell Reviews a Book by That “Bag of Wind,” Jean-Paul Sartre (1948)

Yesterday we featured George Orwell’s review of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf — not just an isolated newspaper piece, or one of a scattered few, in a life otherwise spent churning out important novels like Animal Farm and 1984, but a particularly perceptive book review among the many in his prolific journalistic career. (He even wrote “Confessions of a Book Reviewer,” the definitive article on that practice.) Today we have another of Orwell’s pieces taking on a well-known 20th-century Continental figure: this time, the French existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre and his book Portrait of the Antisemite.

orwell letter

But as a prelude to the review, have a look at the October 1948 letter above, posted originally at Letters of Note. In it, Orwell writes to his publisher Frederic Warburg, keeping him posted on the state of the manuscript of 1984. Then, at the very end, he adds that “I have just had Sartre’s book on antisemitism, which you published, to review. I think Sartre is a bag of wind and I am going to give him a good boot.” That “good boot,” which ran in The Observer the next month, goes like this:

Antisemitism is obviously a subject that needs serious study, but it seems unlikely that it will get it in the near future. The trouble is that so long as antisemitism is regarded simply as a disgraceful aberration, almost a crime, anyone literate enough to have heard the word will naturally claim to be immune from it; with the result that books on antisemitism tend to be mere exercises in casting motes out of other people’s eyes. M. Sartre’s book is no exception, and it is probably no better for having been written in 1944, in the uneasy, self-justifying, quisling-hunting period that followed on the Liberation.

At the beginning, M. Sartre informs us that antisemitism has no rational basis: at the end, that it will not exist in a classless society, and that in the meantime it can perhaps be combated to some extent by education and propaganda. These conclusions would hardly be worth stating for their own sake, and in between them there is, in spite of much cerebration, little real discussion of the subject, and no factual evidence worth mentioning.

We are solemnly informed that antisemitism is almost unknown among the working class. It is a malady of the bourgeoisie, and, above all, of that goat upon whom all our sins are laid, the “petty bourgeois.” Within the bourgeoisie it is seldom found among scientists and engineers. It is a peculiarity of people who think of nationality in terms of inherited culture and property in terms of land.

Why these people should pick on Jews rather than some other victim M. Sartre does not discuss, except, in one place, by putting forward the ancient and very dubious theory that the Jews are hated because they are supposed to have been responsible for the Crucifixion. He makes no attempt to relate antisemitism to such obviously allied phenomena as for instance, colour prejudice.

Part of what is wrong with M. Sartre’s approach is indicated by his title. “The” anti-Semite, he seems to imply all through the book, is always the same kind of person, recognizable at a glance and, so to speak, in action the whole time. Actually one has only to use a little observation to see that antisemitism is extremely widespread, is not confined to any one class, and, above all, in any but the worst cases, is intermittent.

But these facts would not square with M. Sartre’s atomised vision of society. There is, he comes near to saying, no such thing as a human being, there are only different categories of men, such as “the” worker and “the” bourgeois, all classifiable in much the same way as insects. Another of these insect-like creatures is “the” Jew, who, it seems, can usually be distinguished by his physical appearance. It is true that there are two kinds of Jew, the “Authentic Jew,” who wants to remain Jewish, and the “Inauthentic Jew,” who would like to be assimilated; but a Jew, of whichever variety, is not just another human being. He is wrong, at this stage of history, if he tries to assimilate himself, and we are wrong if we try to ignore his racial origin. He should be accepted into the national community, not as an ordinary Englishman, Frenchman, or whatever it may be, but as a Jew.

It will be seen that this position is itself dangerously close to anti-semitism. Race prejudice of any kind is a neurosis, and it is doubtful whether argument can either increase or diminish it, but the net effect of books of this kind, if they have an effect, is probably to make antisemitism slightly more prevalent than it was before. The first step towards serious study of antisemitism is to stop regarding it as a crime. Meanwhile, the less talk there is about “the” Jew or “the” antisemite, as a species of animal different from ourselves, the better.

In Philosophy Now, Martin Tyrrell writes on Orwell’s relationship to the subject, which he saw “as a kind of gratuitous cleverness and he had no appetite for that. In Orwell’s writings, fiction or non-fiction, there are few good intellectuals. Where they appear, then it is usually only to spin words without meaning. At best, they are inadvertently confusing; at worst, deliberately so: Marxists, for example, or nationalists or Anglo or Roman Catholics. Or Jean-Paul Sartre. [ … ] Bewildered by existentialism, what most irked Orwell about Sartre was his seeming denial of individuality.” Tyrrell describes Orwell as “an individualist so much so that, when he came to list his reasons for becoming a writer, he put ‘sheer egoism’ at the top. In addition, and much more controversially, his review of Mein Kampf sees in Hitler more than a little of the tragic Orwellian hero, the small man embarked upon a doomed revolt.” Not everyone, of course, will agree with Orwell’s aggressively plainspoken takes on Hitler and Nazism, or Sartre and existentialism, but try substituting a variety of other controversial “-isms” for “antisemitism” in the review above, and you’ll see how we’d still think more clearly if we bore his observations in mind today.

via Letters of Note 

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Colin Marshall hosts and produces Notebook on Cities and Culture and writes essays on cities, language, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

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Folger Shakespeare Library Puts 80,000 Images of Literary Art Online, and They’re All Free to Use


Has a writer ever inspired as many adaptations and references as William Shakespeare? In the four hundred years since his death, his work has patterned much of the fabric of world literature and seen countless permutations on stage and screen. Less discussed are the visual representations of Shakespeare in fine art and illustration, but they are multitude. In one small sampling, Richard Altick notes in his extensive study Paintings from Books, that “pictures from Shakespeare accounted for about one fifth—some 2,300—of the total number of literary paintings recorded between 1760 and 1900” among British artists.


In the period Altick documents, a rapidly rising middle class drove a market for literary artworks, which were, “in effect, extensions of the books themselves: they were detached forms of book illustration, in which were constantly assimilated the literary and artistic tastes of the time.” These works took the form of humorous illustrations—such as the As You Like It-inspired satirical piece at the top from 1824—and much more serious representations, like the undated Currier & Ives Midsummer-Night’s Dream lithograph above. Now, thanks to the Folger Shakespeare Library, these images, and tens of thousands more from their Digital Image Collection, are available online. And they’re free to use under a CC BY-SA Creative Commons license.


As Head of Collection Information Services Erin Blake explains, “basically this means you can do whatever you want with Folger digital images as long as you say that they’re from the Folger, and as long a you keep the cycle of sharing going by freely sharing whatever you’re making.” The Folger’s impressive repository has been called “the world’s finest collection of Shakesperean art.” As well as traditional paintings and illustrations, it includes “dozens of costumes and props used in nineteenth-century Shakespeare productions,” such as the embroidered velvet costume above, worn by Edwin Booth as Richard III, circa 1870. You’ll also find photographs and scans of “’extra-illustrated’ books filled with inserted engravings, manuscript letters, and playbills associated with particular actors or productions; and a great variety of souvenirs, comic books, and other ephemera associated with Shakespeare and his works.”


In addition to illustrations and memorabilia, the Folger contains “some 200 paintings” and drawings by fine artists like “Henry Fuseli, Benjamin West, George Romney, and Thomas Nast, as well as such Elizabethan artists as George Gower and Nicholas Hilliard.” (The striking print above by Fuseli shows Macbeth’s three witches hovering over their cauldron.) Great and varied as the Folger’s collection of Shakespearean art may be, it represents only a part of their extensive holdings. You’ll also find in the Digital Images Collection images of antique bookbindings, like the 1532 volume of a work by Agrippa von Nettescheim (Heinrich Cornelius), below.


The collection’s enormous archive of 19th century prints is an especial treat. Just below, see a print of that tower of 18th century learning, Samuel Johnson, who, in his famous preface to an edition of the Bard’s works declared, “Shakespeare is above all writers.” All in all, the immense digital collection represents, writes The Public Domain Review, “a huge injection of some wonderful material into the open digital commons.” Already, the Folger has begun adding images to Wikimedia Commons for use free and open use in Wikipedia and elsewhere on the web. And should you somehow manage, through some voracious feat of digital consumption, to exhaust this treasure hold of images, you need not fear—they’ll be adding more and more as time goes on.


via The Public Domain Review

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

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Dr. Seuss Draws Anti-Japanese Cartoons During WWII, Then Atones with Horton Hears a Who!

seuss japan 1

Before Theodor Seuss Geisel AKA Dr. Seuss convinced generations of children that a wocket might just be in their pocket, he was the chief editorial cartoonist for the New York newspaper PM from 1940 to 1948. During his tenure he cranked out some 400 cartoons that, among other things, praised FDR’s policies, chided isolationists like Charles Lindbergh and supported civil rights for blacks and Jews. He also staunchly supported America’s war effort.

To that end, Dr. Seuss drew many cartoons that, to today’s eyes, are breathtakingly racist. Check out the cartoon above. It shows an arrogant-looking Hitler next to a pig-nosed, slanted-eye caricature of a Japanese guy. The picture isn’t really a likeness of either of the men responsible for the Japanese war effort – Emperor Hirohito and General Tojo. Instead, it’s just an ugly representation of a people.

In the battle for homeland morale, American propaganda makers depicted Germany in a very different light than Japan. Germany was seen as a great nation gone mad. The Nazis might have been evil but there was still room for the “Good German.” Japan, on the other hand, was depicted entirely as a brutal monolith; Hirohito and the guy on the street were uniformly evil. Such thinking paved the way for the U.S. Air Force firebombing of Tokyo, where over 100,000 civilians died, and for its nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And it definitely laid the groundwork for one of the sorriest chapters of American 20th century history, the unconstitutional incarceration of Japanese-Americans.

waiting for signals

Geisel himself was vocally anti-Japanese during the war and had no trouble with rounding up an entire population of U.S. citizens and putting them in camps.

But right now, when the Japs are planting their hatchets in our skulls, it seems like a hell of a time for us to smile and warble: “Brothers!” It is a rather flabby battle cry. If we want to win, we’ve got to kill Japs, whether it depresses John Haynes Holmes or not. We can get palsy-walsy afterward with those that are left.

Geisel was hardly alone in such beliefs but it’s still disconcerting to see ugly cartoons like these drawn in the same hand that did The Cat in the Hat.

jap alley

In 1953, Geisel visited Japan where he met and talked with its people and witnessed the horrific aftermath of the bombing of Hiroshima. He soon started to rethink his anti-Japanese vehemence. So he issued an apology in the only way that Dr. Seuss could.

He wrote a children’s book.

Horton Hears a Who!, published in 1954, is about an elephant that has to protect a speck of dust populated by little tiny people. The book’s hopeful, inclusive refrain – “A person is a person no matter how small” — is about as far away as you can get from his ignoble words about the Japanese a decade earlier. He even dedicated the book to “My Great Friend, Mitsugi Nakamura of Kyoto, Japan.”

You can view an assortment of Dr. Seuss’s wartime drawings in general, and his cartoons of the Japanese in particular, at the Dr. Went to War Archive hosted by UCSD.

via Dartmouth

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Jonathan Crow is a Los Angeles-based writer and filmmaker whose work has appeared in Yahoo!, The Hollywood Reporter, and other publications. You can follow him at @jonccrowAnd check out his blog Veeptopus, featuring one new drawing of a vice president with an octopus on his head daily. 

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Willie Nelson Shows You a Delightful Card Trick

Sit back and let Willie Nelson, accompanied by his sister Bobbie, show you a great card trick. It’s a variation on a trick called “Sam the Bellhop,” which sleight of hand expert Bill Malone popularized, it not invented. If you want to figure out how the wizardy is done, you’ll need to look elsewhere. We’re not going to spoil this bit of fun.

via Mental Floss

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Dave Grohl Raises the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to an Art Form

Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl raised an internet meme to an art form when he took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge while parodying the epic prom scene from Carrie. John Travolta appeared in the 1976 horror film, and Stephen King wrote the book behind it. So Grohl name checks them both. Where Jack Black fits into the picture, I’m not exactly sure.

Donations to help find a cure for the horrific disease can be made over at the ALS Association. For a truly sobering account of what it’s like to live with ALS, read Tony Judt’s essay, “Night,”  in The New York Review of Books. It was published in February 2010, shortly before the disease took his life.

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