Origin Story (1): In 1988, the A&E Network broke into regular programming on November 22 at 1:40 PM EST and, over the course of the next four days, comemorated the 25th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination by showing, uninterrupted, the identical 96 hours that CBS showed in 1963.
We were visiting my grandmother in Ohio; I watched as much as I could, staying up as long as I could, taking it all in the best I could. I think it was Thanksgiving.
Imagine enduring a 96-hour shaggy dog story where you already knew the punchline.
When you were 12.
I’d get obsessed over news coverage of skyjackings, too. I was a weird kid. It worried my grandmother sick.
Over that trip, during one of the times I let myself get drug away from the television, I bought a copy of THE COMICS JOURNAL #125; it had a massive Berke Breathed interview inside and I thought, and think, BLOOM COUNTY pretty much hung the moon. Also in there, however, was a pretty-typical savaging of Howard Chaykin’s BLACK KISS by Kenneth Smith. The piece manages to either exemplify or condemn the JOURNAL for those that wish it either exemplified or condemned —
As Kierkegaard perceived, the erotic—once potentiated by abstractive spirit, made into a subjective project—acquires a kind of dynamism, an escalatory imperative it would not have in the world of immediate nature. The erotic contaminated by reflective consciousness must meet the subject requirements of being interesting, which are that it should become variable, capable of always presenting a novel aspect, utterly subject to the unilateral and arbitrary whim of the eroticist.
— which is kind of great.
(From now on, I am calling Howard an “eroticist” as often as I can.)
They punctuated the review with extraordinarily explicit art excerpts from the project.
That long, languid, cold and mean weekend: sex, death, shame, compulsion, and live television on and endless loop. Insomnia boy lying on an ancient, shitty, cot, staring at the ceiling in my grandmother’s living room, unable to process it all and not letting my eyes shut until I’d tried.
Sex, death, shame, compulsion, live television.
SATELLITE SAM was born Tuesday, November 22nd, 1988, at 1:40 PM EST.
In a way I have been working on it for 25 years.