Getting graphic

Woodstock’s Kleinert hosts presentation on new book Understanding the Crash

by Paul Smart
December 16, 2010 11:23 AM | 0 0 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Been wondering where all the money went? Did it just disappear? Or go somewhere where the sun never shines? Is it in Switzerland, or someplace far, far away? Did Ebenezer Scrooge somehow renege on his conversion to Better Deeds and Doing Good?

This Saturday, December 18, independent bookstore the Golden Notebook will sponsor a very special “multimedia mélange” by authors Seth Tobocman and Eric Laursen presenting their new graphic book Understanding the Crash at the Kleinert/James Arts Center in Woodstock. Tobocman, a noted comic-book artist, and Laursen, as good a writer and thinker about complex monetary matters as I’ve met in person or print, will screen visuals from their book with live musical accompaniment and even a bit of puppetry to give everyone a chance to see just what happened with the economic downturn of recent years.

“When the housing bubble popped and Wall Street did a swan dive, they created an economic whirlpool that the rest of us are still struggling to escape,” Laursen wrote of the new work in the Huffington Post upon its release by Soft Skull Press last summer. “Our new book uses a graphic nonfiction format to cut through the confusion and explain how mortgage lenders and investment banks managed to crash the economy. In the book, we show how low- and middle-income homeowners became a gold mine for lenders and speculators – until it all came crashing down – and what’s needed to build a financial system that instead rewards community and sustainability.”

Tobocman (Disaster and Resistance: Comics and Landscapes for the 21st Century, Portraits of Israelis and Palestinians for My Parents, World War 3 Illustrated) is a radical comic-book artist who teaches cartooning and illustration at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Laursen, an independent journalist and activist with an extensive background in financial reporting and credits in the Village Voice and Institutional Investor, among other publications, has spent much of the last decade finishing up what many are considering to be the ultimate analysis of what’s really happening with Social Security solvency and the many calls for undoing the nation’s linchpin social service.

They will be joined on Saturday by award-winning comics artist Rebecca Migdal (World War 3 Illustrated), amongst others, who will also show short film pieces.

“The economic crisis has created an opportunity for government to redouble its attack on social welfare, removing one more excuse for anyone to delude themselves that the state can be a vehicle for positive social change,” Laursen has written since this book’s publication, on all that has happened over the ensuing half-year in that strange swamp where politics meet economics. “Corporate control of the state, particularly by the financial sector, is becoming more overt in the wake of the financial bailouts two years ago, and so predictably, public cynicism toward ‘democratic’ politics is growing. The middle class that was nurtured by the institutions of the welfare state is now under pressure in the US and elsewhere. Much of the middle class is likely to be proletarianized in the years and decades ahead, whatever delusions Tea Party enthusiasts may hold.” Ahh – some real holiday fun to sink one’s teeth into!

This Saturday’s multimedia mélange of Understanding the Crash will take place from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Kleinert/James Arts Center at 34 Tinker Street in Woodstock. The event is free. For further information, call (845) 679-8000 or visit

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