Header image from Buddy Does Jersey by Peter Bagge
(Warning: This entry contains descriptions of extreme sexual content. Reader discretion is advised.)
It’s a late Sunday night, and my life feels like a Dick & Jane book: Rose is screaming. Dave is screaming. We are all screaming. Dave is now coughing. We are watching animated pornography and screaming.
I suddenly become aware Dave, my token American friend and brother-in-arms, has begun to cough harder. It has turned into a retch, one that grows more gutteral by the second. I hear the sound of a chair slamming into a wall and the loud pat of human feet on hardwood flooring.
I shout out, “Dave?”
The sound of Dave vomiting in his bathroom carries through echoes in his New York City apartment, landing somewhere near his computer microphone. I sit back, stunned, while the anime stream moves on. It’s not worth pausing. Nothing happening on screen is what Dave miss seeing right now, either.
(Note: I originally wrote this essay and submitted it on March 23, 2017 for a class at the University of Saskatchewan. This version has been revised according to the professor’s suggestions, and is being shared here for portfolio purposes.)
History and Potential of the Literary Illustration
Over the course of the 20th century, the format and printed style of the novel have developed into a solid industry standard. These are novels that are entirely composed of text, with the most decoration aside from the cover being either interstitial symbols, decorative numeric symbols, or a map if relevant to the story within. Aside from these, today’s novel relies very little on art and illustration within. This is a moderately recent publishing trend; illustration and decoration have been a part of books and manuscripts for centuries. It almost seems odd that the modern novel has stopped using illustration and decorative features when these were so prevalent in publishing history. With today’s technology and artistic styles, illustrated novels have great potential, and can easily make a comeback.
Two weeks have passed since my last report on what was known in Milwaukee as “The 40th & Lloyd Incident”. Somehow, almost nothing has happened during this two week period. For such a chaotic event that was described in the press as a “riot“, it’s bizarre how little information has been released through mainstream outlets. You’d think the bloodthirsty major networks would jump at a chance to keep screaming about the so-called angry mob.
There are some murmurs on independent corners of the internet, but many are not to be trusted right away. Last Podcast on the Left, a longtime favourite podcast of mine, discussed the house in a recent episode. It was a basic rundown of the course of events, but both episode hosts expressed the same doubt and confusion as I did. One of the biggest podcasts online has exposed the Incident to their hundreds of thousands of listeners, and I am genuinely thrilled.
In preparation for this report, I took another glance at the subreddit dedicated to investigating the incident…but found people complaining about moderator power abuse and something about a Minnesotan urologist. Amid this discouse there have fortunately been eight noteworthy updates, which I’ll record here today.
First, there was the whole “mysterious, body-warping plague” thing that started percolating late last year, and finally gushed over and stained the whole world. Then there were the capitalists simpering over not being able to open their steakhouse chains and pedicure boutiques during a pandemic. Then, the police in Canada and America alike took to hunting Black people again, and that was the collective breaking point. No matter where you go, people are furious. The wanton murders of Black people have long been in the public eye, and that eye is ready to blink. No good person wants to live under a police system like this. And no matter where people are speaking out and gathering, almost always, George Floyd’s name is spoken. It’s his name and story that ignited all of these demonstrations. Hell, this is the first thing to unite all 50 states in protesting around the same stance.
I think about that one picture of George Floyd. He’s awkwardly looking down the camera, like any other middle-aged father taking a selfie. He was just some guy. Someone’s dad was slowly and painfully murdered in broad daylight, in front of a big box retailer, and this same slow death can be watched on most consumer electronic devices. He was just some guy. Now he’s a household name, an energy running through people, an exploited video file, a bolded heading in a future textbook. This is maybe 6000 times the amount of fame that should ever be inflicted upon a random everyman like Floyd.
But, I’m not here to sum up something we’ve all been thinking about. Something happened in Milwaukee, Wisconsin that got buried in the news, which is a shame, because it brought my blood to a boil. I’m here to write about the Milwaukee child trafficking house, AKA The 40th and Lloyd Incident. I’m writing today to corroborate a point in time that should never be lost, because I think it falls at the foot of something big. Worse yet, the official press reports don’t match the firsthand live footage at all…something’s keeping this story from being ironed out.
So, things really got this bad. I never really thought I’d live through multiple major historical events, nor did I ever want to.
Things around me started to catch up once I found myself in a car containing my entire immediate family, en route to a temporary provincial medical centre. My mother had booked us a group COVID-19 testing, and she excitedly talked about getting “the swab” for hours before, as if we were all going to see a movie together. The last movie my entire family saw together was Cats & Dogs 2: The Revenge of Kitty Galore. Today’s experience was about the same, but mercifully shorter.
In 1979, an animated film named Lupin III: Castle of Cagliostro was released to Japanese theatres. It was an immediate smash hit and a notably unique take on the character of Arsene Lupin III, a travelling master thief and anti-hero. Countless big names were attached to Castle of Cagliostro, including but not limited to Hayao Miyazaki, who made his directing and screenwriting debut. Along with Miyazaki’s debut came his now-iconic “Miyazaki heroines”, a type of female lead character who embodies the usual pluckiness and sense of adventure of a young male protagonist, but with added elements of cuteness and innocence. This first cinematic Miyazaki heroine was Clarisse De Cagliostro, and through a series of strange timing and coincidence, this character ignited what is now known as the “lolicon boom”. No English writer has yet tried to summarize this discomforting – and sometimes horrific – cartoon phenomenon, and I hope to create a piece of reference with this article.
Lost media has become a rather hot topic over the last few years. For those of you new to the subject, lost media is any content – be it a piece of entertainment, information, or data – that has ceased to exist for one reason or another. Sometimes media goes missing through negligence, decay, or just pure bad luck.
Lost media can get complicated. It isn’t something that’s just slightly hard to find, yet still available in some form. An old movie that’s not on Youtube, but is available on DVD from a distributor, isn’t lost. However, if there’s footage from that movie that’s missing, as in, even the distributor doesn’t have it. That footage and the potential “director’s cut” would then be lost media. Lost media is anything that can’t be obtained in any way, shape, or form. And, it can be rather frustrating at times.
“The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.” –Exodus 12:13
Not even a week has passed since my last check-in, and already, I must open our emergency stash of humble pie. Initially, I thought this pandemic would be nothing more than a terrible illness bass-boosted with public hysteria. It turned out, rather, to be one of the most ominous things I’ve ever witnessed firsthand.
It has really not been a week for people with paranoia. I turn on the TV, and Donald Trump probably has COVID-19. I change the channel, and the creepy weirdo who sniffs girls’ hair and yells in peoples’ faces is being toted as an acceptable leader of the United States. I turn the TV off, go to the computer, and see people arguing about Star Wars pairings. I turn the computer off, and go get the bus to the mall.
“I stopped believing in Saki during the last thread, but hot damn, this has turned into such a unique shitshow,” I typed. “I can’t wait to see how Whang tries to describe this part of the saga.”
“Saki” had become our shorthand for “Saki Sanobashi”, a strain of vaguely Japanese-sounding syllables were the alleged title of a direct-to-video short anime, otherwise known as an “OVA” or “original video animation”. It was also known by a chunk of English text, “go for a punch”, allegedly a part of the anime’s file name. Only days before, a Youtuber named Whang! had made a short featurette about Saki’s alleged plot and production quality. The whole story was irresistible to the masses…here was an alleged piece of media nobody had seen since 2011. There were numerous semi-reliable witness accounts. It was also a piece of animation that was rough in quality and equally rough on its characters, subjecting them to sudden bloody deaths. Over the course of four days, and over four online hubs, people went mad trying to hunt Saki down. I was one of them.