Friday, May 13, 2022

Crazy Carl Robinson Reviews Fast Guy Slows Down!

Crazy Carl Robinson was nice enough to read Fast Guy Slows Down and send me a review.  Thanks, Carl!  The review is below: 

full disclosures: 1) i used to be smart, but then i started working at a community college in west texas…..i haven’t read a book in five years, and i haven’t written anything….2) wred fright has been my friend for 30 years, and i certainly love him----i want to write this review as a psychoanalysis of wred (not the narrator), but i know that would be wrong…..3) i grew up as a fat kid in the blue ridge mountains of Virginia…..when i went to the drug fair to buy pro wrestling illustrated, there was a small comic rack with batman, spiderman, and archie comix----that was the entire selection……and i’m sure some comic book aficionado will correct me, but i don’t remember bruce wayne or peter parker ever saving a fat kid…..occasionally there was a fat supervillain like king tut, but i never remember batman driving off with a fat chick in the back of the batmobile…..reggie mantle may have hit a fat girl in the face with a pie, but i don’t remember jughead jones ever asking one to the prom…..i’ve never really believed in superheroes either----just professional wrestlers from 1979 and rockstars (and jim morrison was real and left a beautiful corpse when he overdosed in that paris bathroom in 1971)……wred fright says in the afterword to Fast Guy Slows Down that he “loved superheroes, but they're a 20th Century thing, and it's the 21st Century” and i think that’s a good way to approach his novel as well as life in 2022……superheroes were pretty scarce (at least for fat kids) in 1982, and they’re seemingly obsolete in 2022….i like it that way, and the concept of an aging superhero questioning his mortality seems a shitload more real to me

i’m supposed to be an academic, but i don’t even remember the big words that i’m supposed to use….i think i’m going to try to review the novel through bits and pieces of pop culture….and the first idea that keeps coming back to me = johnny depp’s the lone ranger (2013)…..i didn’t even see the entire film, but i remember the critics hated it… 86-year-old dad used to listen to the lone ranger on the radio, and i remember thinking that a 1940s white cop with a native american sidekick aint gonna sell to postmodern social media…..that concept is certainly a part of harry fox’s (the hero of fast guy slows down) mindset, and i would have to agree that our world doesn’t need white cops as heroes anymore…..the 2022 justice league = whoopi goldberg, joy behar, sunny hostin, and sara haines----you know, the old hens from the view…..and i’m certainly not the comic master that wred fright is, but i think it would crush me that that part of americana was now dead… dad asked me why no one went to see depp’s lone ranger, and i didn’t have the heart to tell him…..i think he knew though as does wred fright----and that sadness/melancholy is one of the key components to fast guy slows down……the second part of pop culture that i want to use in my review is a portlandia skit commonly referred to as “early onset grumpiness”……the character (fred armisen) goes to the doctor to see what is wrong with him, and the doctor’s diagnosis is that he has e.o.g. (early onset grumpiness)……the character is supposed to be in his late 40s, but constantly says shit like “who are these people” while telling the neighborhood kids to “get off his lawn” like he was in his early 60s----and lest you think i’m free-riffing, there is a section in the novel that deals with lawn care…..the point is, i’d argue that both harry fox and wred fright have a case of e.o.g…….and the last time i reviewed one of wred fright’s novels, i described him as a good-natured, comic strip character (think calvin from calvin and hobbes experiencing the mean streets of cleveland while retaining his boyish optimism)……well, that review was 10 years ago and the world is considerably more awful in 2022…..covid came, and i think calvin was obliged to spend more and more time inside with hobbes……the third pop culture reference that i want to mention in relation to fast guy slows down is a podcast that i listen to called “hold my order, terrible dresser: the wkrp in cincinnati podcast”….the moderators, mike grasso and rob macdougall, are canadian, business professors who essentially argue that everything we do in 2022 = 1982 in high definition---in other words, nothing (except the technology) is original or innovative anymore…..and if i didn’t need (practical/grounded) superheroes in 1982, i damn skippy don’t care about the social media award for best cgi in 2022…..i imagine this hurts wred fright a great deal, and this cynicism/pessimism is very much a part of narrator harry’s world…..wred fright still resembles calvin from calvin and hobbes, but the boy and his tiger remain trapped inside a covidian wasteland if they dare to go outside

YIPS (and yips are good things): 1) i like what wred fright argues about covid in the novel….i didn’t kiss any strange grandmas in 2021, and my school gave me the afternoon off and paid me $100 to get the shots, but i didn’t particularly give a shit about covid (and hillbillies take care of their own)… disappoints me that the punkrockers fell all over themselves agreeing with the government and/or chris cuomo----the same goes for 1960s counter culture hippies----it seems to me that all that’s left of our culture is lining up to get a cookie from human resources…..2) i was intrigued by the character of the witch in fast guy slows down, and it made me wonder about wred fright’s lost love life……was the witch the girl who gave me a pain pill every time she saw me or the one who wore so much goddamn makeup that i don’t even remember her name or what she looks like…..wred fright would want me to issue a disclaimer that “the witch was a fictional representation of several character types,” but i think you should ask him about the witch when you see him….3) if i’m telling the truth, my favorite part of the novel was the afterword…..wred fright has always had a big brain, and many times in my academic career i’ve taught from the cliff notes…..i don’t necessarily know anything about the workings of big comix (corporate comic books), but i 100% believe everything wred fright said in the novel (even if i didn’t understand what he was referencing)----the same goes for his shout outs to legendary comic book creators…..i would imagine there are dozens of references in every chapter that i completely missed----and if you’re a comic book aficionado, i dare you to keep up with wred fright’s encyclopedia brain…..i think the #1 theme of “fast guy slows down” is that the world doesn’t need superheroes anymore and that makes me sad as well (if only for my dad and wred fright)----if it makes a difference, professional wrestling in 2022 sux even more……wred fright is too nice to really shit on anyone’s head, but i appreciate it when his hero tells me whose heads deserve to be shat on……there really is no free speech or critical thinking anymore----there’s no doubt in my mind that the world was nicer before the internet, but perhaps it’s the only place you’ll find a modicum of truth in 2022, especially if you still need to believe in superheroes like harry fox

Agree with Crazy Carl?  Disagree?  Read the novel and write your own review!  And now it's time for some bonus Yeast?:

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