Overthinking it

I’ve been feeling like a small child this past month. It began with the giddy anticipation of the new SimCity launch on Tuesday, which quickly turned into a fiasco and has all the makings of a high speed train wreck. I’ve officially now spent more time waiting to play the game (between downloading, processing, and waiting in line) than I have actually playing the game; between the server issues, the small city size, and the loss of the really awesome mass transit options I have to say I’m really disappointed. The adult in me says, “You pays your money and you takes your chances.” Then the child in me says, “But I want to play it nowwwwwww!” And the adult in me suddenly realizes that the child is right, that I paid $80 in what was supposed to be a rational business transaction, and got something that doesn’t work.

No wonder I’m pissed.

As a distraction, I’ve been revisiting Tintin. I got the complete series a couple of years ago for Christmas, finishing off a collection I’d been working on since I was a kid, and it’s fun to go back and re-read these books now with an understanding of the context that was missing when you were six. It’s easy to see the events of “King Ottokar’s Scepter” as Herge’s way of writing about German aggression and the rise of fascism in the runup to World War II. It’s also just as easy to see it as a story about palace intrigue and mystery, and my 5 year-old self certainly saw it in that light when I first encountered it at the library way back when. It’s hard to say exactly when I realized Tintin could be viewed as a parable about the wider world, about contemporary issues and problems for Herge, and I’m even less sure when I realized that some of the stories (“The Castafiore Emerald,” in particular) were really just exercises in narrative creation and storytelling. Unlike a lot of people I never really got into comic books beyond Tintin, but when I finally did start reading graphic novels as an adult I immediately recognized the legitimacy of their kind of storytelling — Sin City is nothing more than a Tintin story with a higher body count and a lot of nudity.

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