Author Archives: haljohnsonbooks

xxcarter

The Meaning of the Cannonball Blues

Here’s a 1936 recording of the Carter Family singing “Cannonball Blues.” I’m not a folk music historian, and I’m not here to unriddle the origin of this song, but it’s clearly a variation of the “Buffalo to Washington” model. There are a lot of songs with a similar tune and chorus, and the subject matter […]

xxsneetch2

If There’s One Thing I Hate, It’s a Star-Bellied Sneetch

The morals of most Dr. Seuss books—those that have morals—are usually pretty basic and uncontroversial and there’s not a lot to talk about there. I don’t mean this as a criticism—these morals are for five-year-olds. I just mean that I’m not going to write an essay about Yertle any more than I’m going to write […]

xxpenny

Best Comics of 2016

You know, 2015 was a pretty grim year for comics. There have probably been worse years—and I’m looking at you, Heroes Reborn—but generating a top ten graphic novels of 2015 involved dragging in a lot of “pretty good” padding. Fortunately, this is 2016, and although many things went poorly in 2016, we got some solid comics […]

xxpepe

More on Nazi Punching

(A lot of the same ideas as found here, but with the specific Warren Ellis parts removed, and no use of the word “boner” so you can show it to your mom.) Let me first say that I hate Nazism and everything it stands for. Now let me say that unpopular, even hateful speech is, […]

xxpunch

Punching Nazis Is the First Refuge of the Incompetent

…and then a Nazi gets punched in the face, and everyone pops a boner. Let’s choose one voice from the chorus of hosannahs. Let’s see what soi-disant free-speech crusader Warren Ellis has to say:  These are terrible things to say. This is all terrible. I understand that Warren Ellis is not an American and may […]

xxchamfort

The Aphorisms of Nicholas Chamfort

Chamfort was killed, of course, by the French Revolution—not for being a nobleman, (which he was) but because even as a devoted Jacobin (which he also was) he could not stop dropping witty zings. “Be my brother or I’ll kill you,” was how he summed up the revolutionary philosophy. Chamfort was their brother, and they killed […]

xxne

The Truth Is Out There

The National Enquirer did fake news before it was cool. It’s also a fascinating glimpse into a parallel universe where people have opinions I disagree with. Look at this cover. What’s amazing about it—not the top parts, the bottom part—is that it makes a bunch of claims that are not very controversial. I mean, who doesn’t want […]