Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Lovely Horrible Stuff

Money can be a necessary evil. I say that because I'm a bit broke right now and can't buy all of the books I want to buy. Yes, I know, I can always go to the library and check them out. But, nothing beats highlighting the shit out of a book with a yellow off-brand highlighter from the dollar store. Funny, that the book I ended up reading is about money, though.

The following publisher's blurb for The Lovely Horrible Stuff sparked a curiosity and promise of greatness.

Money makes the world go round, as they say. And around. And around.

Eddie Campbell is an award-winning graphic novelist (Alec, From Hell) whose work defies categorization. His latest book is a dizzying autobiographical investigation into MONEY. It's a voyage that takes him all the way from the imaginary wealth of Ponzi schemes to the real hard stuff on an obscure South Sea tropical island where he investigates the history of the stone money. This is no dry and dusty treatise on finance; any complexities are pleasingly reduced to the level of bubblegum trading cards. In here you will hear about the corporation that Campbell keeps under his bed; you will meet colorful historical characters and be taken on dangerous shark-infested sea adventures; and after that, we will all plunge to the depths to retrieve our loose change.

Campbell's wry eye and vivid full-color artwork imbue the proceedings with real humanity, making The Lovely Horrible Stuff an investment that's worth every penny. --A 96-page deluxe full-color hardcover (co-published with Knockabout).

Naturally, I got something to say about this hybrid book. The first part was wonderful. It was just so nice to read, even more so because I'm a starving artist. Focusing on the artist, part.

One of my favorite scenes is when Eddie has a conversation with William Shakespeare. He asks: "Don't you think it's absurd that the creative life is so taken up with writing letters just to get the money that's already been earned?"

To which Shakespeare replies: "Eddie, 'tis truth indeed that you speak. So many of my finest phrases have been recommissioned into the service of debt collection. For example, ahem! Thrice you have promised me that said monies will arrive... tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow."

Shakespeare goes onto give another example and just about loses it: "However, such niggling discomposes us; we lose patience. Until we cannot but unleash our fury extempore... Oh be thou damned, inexorable dog! Thy currish spirit governed a wolf, hanged for human slaughter. Even from the gallows did his fell soul flee and infused itself in thee! For thy meanness is wolfish, bloody, starved, and ravenous. But wait! There's more. Perchance monies have been sent before your receipt of this letter... what do you think of the soliloquy from my new play?"

The second part of the book... well it was very practical. I find from the Yap Wikipedia article that Yap is an economist's mirror. Mirror, because economists wish to see what they cannot see with our current economic values. They pick and pull at Yap's stone system. They value the stones through their history; and even try to convert them to our monetary system.

The more I read through Eddie's explanation of the crafting of the Rais, the more I couldn't help but think that we got it all wrong. That, Rais weren't really a currency tool, but a display of power. The real currency is the power of one man over the other. And so, in a very metaphorical way, the exchanging of ownership of these Rais disturbed the balance of power and created a decent homeostasis for the island. I'll just stop at that conjecture because it sounds too idealistic.

Visit Eddie's blog at http://eddiecampbell.blogspot.com and/or check out some sweet previews  here.

Also, do you like reading books; watching movies? Have you ever come across a book or movie that inspired you to write about it? I'm looking for guest bloggers.

1 comment:

  1. This review was fantastic. Your writing and description and "conjecture," as you eloquently put it, were a delight to read.