Scott Eric Kaufman: He helped us see and understand things. Rest in Power.
The brilliant Scott Eric Kaufman died on Monday and fandoms are in mourning for him.
Scott was a regular guest on Graphic Policy Radio with good reason: he was incredibly insightful about things others missed. Scott was a Professor of Visual Rhetoric. That means he analyzed how images communicate ideas. He also was a journalist and editor at Salon. He was a humorist– the human medium/autobiographer of two hilariously grouchy old-man cats. He was a lot of other things that made him entirely singular in our world.
Scott wasn’t just a friend of the show. He was also a friend. Our last conversation was me talking about some of the challenges I was facing and our discussion was remarkably frank and honest and dare I say it, healing for me.
We’d never met in person. But he was my friend. Other than going on each other’s podcasts the bulk of our communication was on Facebook. And on Facebook Scott was an entire human being. He was fearlessly emotional and honest. I’d like to think that means I knew him. And in a world where expressing pain, frustration or any negative feelings is seen as a sign of weakness, Scott challenged us to be more human and vulnerable online. It’s why our friendship felt real. I think we need to challenge ourselves to be as REAL as Scott always was.
I’m too sad to make his signature “So Jump Off that Building, Your the Goddamn Batman” memes but damnit, someone should.
Here is a quintessential SEK essay at Salon: Anatomy of An Iconic Image: How this photograph of a protester in Baton Rouge could come to symbolize a movement
Listen to his Graphic Policy Radio podcast appearances (you can find these all on iTunes too)
And of course his own podcast: The best Game of Thrones podcast: The Lawyers Guns and Money Game of Thrones podcast.
But now for his writing…
One of my major frustrations with so much comics criticism is that so called critics don’t ever analyze the art. They talk about characters, story arcs — everything but how the panels are used. Scott always talked about the panels because he was an expert at visual medium.
Watching Watchmen: How unfilmable novels become unwatchable films. (seriously, this is the Watchmen take you have not read anywhere else and need to)
But always, always on the Zack Snyder and how awful Randian fanboys are ruining superhero movies.
You can find most of his writing at http://acephalous.typepad.com/ and a compendium of his work on visual rhetoric through 2013
A person is not just their writing. But I’m sure you will find something in this that speaks to you. After you read his writing about it you will enjoy the comic or show you love with new eyes.
You can help his family pay for his final medical expenses here (in other countries we don’t do this. Scott would probably want me to point that out).
Rest in Power, Scott.