is a veteran American cartoonist best known for his delightful comic-book guides to science and history, many of which have previews online. Chief among them is his long-running Cartoon History of the Universe
(later The Cartoon History of the Modern World
), a sprawling multi-volume opus documenting everything from the Big Bang to the Bush administration. Published over the course of three decades, it takes a truly global view -- its time-traveling Professor thoroughly explores not only familiar topics like Rome and World War II but the oft-neglected stories of Asia and Africa, blending caricature and myth with careful scholarship (cited by fun illustrated bibliographies
) and tackling even the most obscure events with intelligence and wit
. This savvy satire carried over to Gonick's Zinn
chronicle The Cartoon History of the United States
, along with a bevy of Cartoon Guides
to other topics, including Genetics, Computer Science, Chemistry, Physics, Statistics, The Environment
, and (yes!) Sex
. Gonick has also maintained a few sideprojects, such as a webcomic look at Chinese invention
, assorted math comics
), the Muse magazine
mainstay Kokopelli & Co.
(featuring the shenanigans of his "New Muses"
), and more
. See also these lengthy interview snippets
, linked previously
. Want more? Amazon links to the complete oeuvre inside! [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Jun 6, 2011 -
For millions of addicts around the world, Alcoholics Anonymous's basic text - informally known as the Big Book - is the Bible. And as they're about to find out, the Bible was edited. After being hidden away for nearly 70 years and then auctioned twice, the original manuscript by AA co-founder Bill Wilson is about to become public for the first time next week, complete with edits by Wilson-picked commenters that reveal a profound debate in 1939 about how overtly to talk about God.
posted by Joe Beese
on Sep 22, 2010 -
The His Dark Materials
movie is taking shape. The award-winning
children's series, considered the "anti-Narnia",
is due on the screen in 2007, starring a actress found in open casting, along with Nicole Kidman
(as Mrs. Coulter, for those who know the books). Unfortunately, the screenplay by Tom Stoppard
has been dumped, though the new one appears to be to the author's liking
. There is no official trailer yet, but there are several more
painful fan-made ones. The series has also been made into a successful play
, and a radio program
. For those who haven't read it, an excerpt is here
; and for those that have, try the interactive alethiometer
or find out your daemon's name
. Previous discussion on the debate with the Archbishop of Canterbury was here
posted by blahblahblah
on Jul 31, 2006 -
Rat Scabies and the Holy Grail.
Best known as the drummer for 1970s punk band The Damned, Rat Scabies grew up with a father interested in the mysteries of the French town of Rennes-le-Château
, which may or may not contain the Holy Grail and in the enigmatic priest Berenger Sauniere
. Conspiracy theories surrounding the town first popped up in the 1970s book Holy Blood, Holy Grail
and gained a certain amount of infamy in recent years from The DaVinci Code
Upon striking up a friendship with his neighbor, journalist Christopher Dawes, Scabies discovered common interests in conspiracy theories and all things paranormal and a shared hatred of the DaVinci Code
. Now the pair wrote a book about their alcohol-sodden quest for the Holy Grail that asks the question: What happens when an ex-punk rocker goes looking for the Holy Grail?
posted by huskerdont
on Sep 16, 2005 -
Rebecca Protten, born a slave in 1718, gained her freedom and joined a group of proselytizers from the Moravian Church
. She embarked on an itinerant mission, preaching to hundreds of the enslaved Africans of St. Thomas, West Indies. Weathering persecution from hostile planters, Protten and other black preachers created the earliest African Protestant congregation in the Americas. University of Florida historian Jon Sensbach
has written a book
about Protten's life -- the interracial marriage, the trial on charges of blasphemy and inciting of slaves, the travels to Germany and West Africa. Later in her life, after she moved to Germany, Rebecca was ordained as a deaconess: "a former slave now administered Communion and practiced other claims to spiritual authority over white women, including European aristocrats." More inside.
posted by matteo
on May 15, 2005 -
The Man Who Unwrote the Bible.
In the mid-1720s, Alexander Cruden
took on a self-imposed task of Herculean proportions: he decided to compile the most thorough concordance of the King James Version
of the Bible
(777,746 words). The first edition of Cruden's Concordance
was published in 1737. Every similar undertaking before or since has been the work of a vast team of people. Cruden worked alone in his lodgings, writing the whole thing out by hand. Cruden's day job was as a "Corrector of the Press" (proofreader). He would give hawk-eyed attention to prose all day long. Then he would come home at night to read the Bible—stopping at every single word to secure the right sheet from the tens of thousands of pieces of paper all around him and to record accurately the reference in its appropriate place. He had no patron, no publisher, no financial backers: his only commission was a divine one.
has never been out of print. A new book
tells the tale of Alexander the Corrector's bizarre, sad life (scroll down to about half page)
posted by matteo
on Apr 3, 2005 -
"... Giordano Bruno might have been a pantheist.
A pantheist believes that God is everywhere, even in that speck of a fly you see there. You can imagine how satisfying that is—being everywhere is like being nowhere. Well, for Hegel it wasn’t God but the State that had to be everywhere; therefore, he was a Fascist.”
“But didn’t he live more than a hundred years ago?”
“So? Joan of Arc, also a Fascist of the highest order. Fascists have always existed. Since the age of . . . since the age of God. Take God—a Fascist.”
in the New Yorker
posted by matteo
on Feb 28, 2005 -
Born-again liberal Christians.
Do you think that mainline denominations are hemorraging members? Wrong. Fundamentalist Christianity is the way of the future and all US Evangelicals worship the same political party? Not so fast
, buddy. Many scholars
think that it's time for liberals to take Christianity back. Oregon State
's Marcus J Borg
, for example, argues that Christianity "still makes sense and is the most viable religious option for millions". He contends the earlier paradigm, based upon a punitive God
, simply doesn't work anymore for too many people.
It is an argument for an alternative to the literalist and exclusivist tradition
that has dominated Western Christianity in the modern era. According to Borg, "So different are these two views of Christianity that they almost produce two different religions, both using the same Bible and language
. A time of two paradigms is virtually a tale of two Christianities
There is, for example, an alternative view to the Resurrection Narrative not as report of an actual, physical event
but as means for Jesus' early followers to express the miracle of his continuing spiritual presence
among them, after his execution
. It is in short an 'emerging paradigm which has been developing for over a hundred years and has recently become a major grass-roots movement within mainline denominations'.
Just don't be afraid
to ask questions
. Not even about the dogs beneath the Cross
. More inside.
posted by matteo
on Nov 19, 2004 -
Devil Worship: The Sacred Books and Traditions of the Yezidiz
, by Isya Joseph, 1919. 'This is one of the only public domain sources of information on the religious beliefs of the Yezidi, a small group originally from the northern region of Iraq. Although they speak Kurdish, they are a distinct population from the Kurds. The Yezidi are notable because they have been described as devil-worshippers, which has naturally led to constant persecution by the dominant Islamic culture of the region ... They have many unique beliefs, such as that the first Yezidi were created by Adam by parthenogenesis separately from Eve ... ' New on sacred-texts.com.
posted by plep
on Sep 17, 2004 -
, the new novel by Brooklyn-based Contemporary Press
, just got denied
a reprinting by St. Louis-based Plus Communications
. Although they printed the first edition less than one month ago, the publisher says that their religious clients would be upset by the book's 'language' and have refused to reprint it.
I guess that is in the same spirit as Rev. Breedlove's attempt to rekindle
the tradition of book burning earlier this month.
posted by Miyagi
on Jul 28, 2004 -
was spared by the mob in lieu of Jesus on Good Friday. Pär Lagerkvist
, a Swedish novelist, explored this incredible character in his 1950 novel:
The novel BARABBAS (1950) was immediately hailed as a masterwork...Barabbas, the criminal in the New Testament, is pardoned instead of Christ, and is sentenced to the silver mines. His is incapable of loving, but becomes gradually aware of greater forces guiding his life.
Now I am myself atheist/agnostic, but I think this is cool. It reminds me of Vonnegut's description of Kilgore Trout as a badly aging Christ, whose sentence of crucifixion had been commuted to life imprisonment.
posted by crunchburger
on Mar 29, 2002 -
Jesse's Mistress Writing A Tell-All.
The mother of Jesse Jackson's love child is penning a tell-all book alleging she received a secret payoff of $450,000 from the civil-rights leader, that to prove Jackson was the father of her 22-month-old daughter, she froze a condom containing his sperm, that before giving birth to their child, Karin was pregnant by Jesse a previous time, but had an abortion at his request, and that after learning of the affair, Jackson's wife, Jackie, was so angry that she pointed a gun at him in their Chicago home and had to be restrained by a guest.
posted by frednorman
on Mar 29, 2001 -