Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Tour of My Posters (plus Robert Novak and Rose Friedman, RIP)

While looking for wrapping paper last week, I ended up unfurling the posters in my closet — as a lot of ex-hippies were probably doing over the past few days to commemorate Woodstock — and realized that I am all too predictable (a Gen Xer nerd, that is, not an ex-hippie).

I’m fairly cautious in some ways, and since my heart has never been in decorating (as anyone who’s seen any of my dorm rooms or apartments over the years can attest), this list of ten posters reflects my aversion to getting anything too far off the beaten path, I suppose. It may be an exhaustive list of all the posters I’ve ever owned, actually (aside from great poster/calendars the Phillips Foundation has sent me, mainly of old, realist paintings; one framed painting; one awesome framed animation cell of Popeye; and a few small political or DC Comics freebies I’m not counting for current psychoanalytical purposes, at the risk of looking like an ingrate — and speaking of the Phillips Foundation, we’ll toast its recently-deceased trustee Robert Novak tonight at the event described in the P.S. below):

One (1) Robby the Robot Forbidden Planet poster

One (1) Annie Leibovitz photo of David Byrne

Two (2) Superman posters (there’s a third at the office, actually, along with a Commerce Bank print of a 1905 photo of Times Square, a picture of Milton Friedman, and another of the Washington Monument called “Pinnacle of Freedom,” not that I’m necessarily endorsing publicly-funded monuments)

One (1) blown-up copy of a panel from the first Justice League comic book story I had published (thanks to Ali Kokmen, Scott Nybakken, and Michael Malice, I also own pages of original art from another one of my stories and from an issue of the series Action Philosophers)

One (1) Tarantino Reservoir Dogs poster

One (1) complex chart from a classical music station showing the chronological progress of all Western music over the past 600 years

One (1) “Nolan Diamond” grid marked by Brown students to show their political allegiances (mostly left-liberal), a relic from the “Liberty Awareness Week” Jacob Levy and I did as undergrads (there was no “liberaltarian” category for Jacob back then, and I don’t think I’d ever heard of paleolibertarians at the time, either — nor did anyone really care about the neo/paleo distinction on the right, all the rage with the young kids and/or the elderly these days, and the greens were really just getting revved up, if they don’t mind me using that metaphor)

One (1) collage of virtually every cartoon character there is, by Rico Fonseca

One (1) line drawing of an injured police officer (a decent man beset by criminals — or an authoritarian felled by anarchists, perhaps?)

And I once had a giant poster from Pink Floyd: The Wall with those giant marching animated hammers, but that seems to be gone, which may be just as well, since it was immense and fascist-looking (I bought it while at Brown mainly to fill as much wall space as possible with a single purchase, which is sort of meta).

Once more, we find sci-fi, music, and politics. That about covers it, so to speak, doesn’t it?

P.S. And if you’d like me to explain that “Nolan Diamond” political grid, a much-needed alternative to the left-right axis, in greater detail, just look for me at tonight’s Manhattan Project political/social gathering, second floor of Merchants NY East bar/restaurant, southwest corner of 62nd and First, from 6:30 on. One embodiment of the fusionist possibilities the chart suggests for political cross-pollination was Rose Friedman, who also passed away yesterday, I’m told, and was, like her husband Milton Friedman, revered by a broad libertarian-conservative coalition — and was, luckily, not quite as vilified by the Naomi-Klein-inspired anti-Friedman hate machine of the past couple years as Milton. We’ll drink a toast to her, too. Prince of Darkness Novak and the wife of so-called “Father of Global Misery” Friedman deserve to be fondly remembered by us all.


Ali Kokmen said...

Hey…which piece from Action Philosophers do you have? (I mean, I can guess, but still…)

I have a piece from AP, too–from their St. Augustine story ( )–and a poster of their take on Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey hanging in my office. Great comics.

Todd Seavey said...

Thomas Jefferson, dude! Collect ’em all!

I will have much to say in my blog entries the month after next, by the way, about the American Revolutionaries and the very different albeit bundled-together radical — and utopian — strains that have fought since the get-go to be the dominant narrative in our national philosophy. _You haven’t heard the last of Jefferson!_

Jacob T. Levy said...

Oh, man! My office door is covered with cheap printouts of the AP “You’re a good man, John Stuart Mill” strips and yet it never occurred to me to go looking for the original artwork. MUST HAVE.

Todd Seavey said...

And indeed, John Stuart Mill _was_ a quintessential good man, was he not? He literally wanted to make everyone happier, and in some sense any moral deviant who strays from the path he mapped out is a sadist to the degree they stray — and thus by definition a vicious, harm-seeking, damaging vandal opposed to the cause of decent human life. We are utilitarians or we are nasty, rotten scum unworthy to be spoken of as members of moral communities. Choose wisely.

Todd Seavey said...

Clickable/readable “You’re a Good Man, John Stuart Mill” strips — and they are indeed brilliant:

Ali T. Kokmen said...

“My office door is covered with cheap printouts of the AP “You’re a good man, John Stuart Mill” strips and yet it never occurred to me to go looking for the original artwork. MUST HAVE. ”

The artist, Ryan Dunlavey, has a website at with contact information. Zap him an e-mail and see if he’s selling any original art from that story. And tell him I sent ya!


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