Adventures in Cultural Consumption:

Logicomix: Three tangentially related observations:

1. Bertrand Russell comes off as a jerk. Based on my otherwise-gathered impressions of him, this is because he was, in fact, a jerk. However, I don't believe this is the impression the authors wanted to give.

2. The metafictional conceit was annoying, though I guess is now a central feature of the graphic novel. The link between Russell's change of opinion on World War I and World War II would have been handled sufficiently well without reference to the Oresteia. Metafiction has a point when it adds something concrete to the story; when it doesn't, it's a way of papering over trouble advancing the plot or a sneaky way to give exposition. The best example of metafiction well-used in a graphic novel is (unsurprisingly) Maus, where the author interjects himself into the story he's telling because it's his father's story, and the impetus for telling it comes out of the author's complicated relationship with his father. There metafiction earns its placement, and gives something to the story it would have lacked otherwise.

3. Looking at Bertrand Russell gave me an idea of how non-believers must look at religious believers: his combination of atheism and romanticism resulted in many, many eye rolls: "I will be perfectly logical at all times, except when I engage in bathetic quasi-pantheistic worship of nature and the mystery of life and maybe all human emotions and behaviors are beyond logic too! But religion is irrational!"

4. In spite of these problems, the turn at the end was really effectively done.

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