2 June 2007
Dear Mr. Kreider.
Since my sarcasm tells me that you obviously are lacking in strangeness in your life, I thought I will add a bit to it by letting you know that last week I dreamed an alternative past for you and your comic. Instead of always having drawn hilarious cartoons and only semi recently focusing them on politics, in my dream you have always drawn political cartoons but only since a few years ago they started to become funny. To add to the confusion your older cartoons were for some reason concerned with the city council politics of Munich. (To note, despite living in Austria I have never been in Munich either) So, you may now add Overseas Dream Stalker to your list of lifeís amenities.
All that aside let me also use the opportunity to thank you for providing your no punches pulled cartoon in todayís bland and tame editorial cartoon world. I can readily appreciate the stress it puts on your life to keep seeing the fun in what is going on, and just want to let you know that at least I would never blame you if you one day decided that itís too much to go on. You have done your share of the possibly futile but nonetheless necessary fight against The Ape (since calling the current administration The Man would be flattery). Nevertheless, as long as you do find the strength to continue, please do so! Even people outside the US are by default affected by Mr. Cheneyís decisions. Luckily less in middle Europe than e.g. the middle east or domestic, but global warming and...
Okay, I realize that Iím starting to ramble here, which isnít really polite unless you know someone closer and are intoxicated... so I close here.
Summary to make Ms. Hautpäntz. job easier:
Tim has a fan in Austria that loves his work and dreams fictional pasts for him.
This is curious. I have been to Germany but as far as I can recall I have never been to Munich either. In high school German class I did learn the song, "In München steht ein hofbraühaus/ Ein, zwei, g'suffa!" but that's about the closest connection I can come up with. Perhaps this dream foretells the story of my life in reverse: my political cartoons get less and less funny until at last I am reduced to commenting on city council politics in a foreign country.
I'm writing back to you personally because 1.) I always like to answer letters from abroad and, more importantly, 2.) although many readers have written in letting me know how much my work means to them and urging me not to quit, nobody else has acknowledged what a strain it must be to produce them each week and told me they'd understand if I had to give it up. So thanks sincerely for that. Whether I'll be able to last until the end of the Bush administration (assuming that's in 2008), which is my current goal, remains to be seen. But it's good to know that if I don't, someone out there will understand, and pause to salute their fallen comrade before going on with the mission.
Perhaps one day we will be intoxicated together, and free to ramble at will.
4 June 2007
I saw the nanobots and instantly thought of the X-files. (6th season, Mulder and Scully's boss had nanobots that would kill him if he pissed off the bad guys by being a good guy.)
Just wanted to say that.
I'm glad you're feeling well enough to put out a new comic - the May 31st one.
Mr. Kreider's knowledge of the nanobots comes mainly of hold Star Voyage: The Next Generation and not of The Files-X. Moreover from his reading on the possibilities of cryogenics, of his corpse having frozen for the future resusciation, a doubtful company with which he unhealthy is interested.
He thanks you for your compliments on his work and your wishes on his sound re-establishment. Alas, he is again in the state unhappy but this time there is not any cause physical. Always it is something hard with him.
4 June 2007
Dear Ms. Hautpantz,
Please let Mr. Kreider know (possibly for use in his next compilation, which I eagerly await) that the Brow, whose fate he so ardently drew one Mr. Attorney General sharing, was not, in fact, killed by the infamous spike machine. He escaped, and after several escapes more, was captured by the police, and subsequently thrown through a tenth-storey window, from which he fell upon, and was impaled by, a flagpole at the base of the building, co-incidentally part of a monument to American war casualties. This is nitpicking, and although I know Mr. Kreider burns with hatred towards the government with the white-hot rage of a thousand suns, I think even he would probably stop short of impaling someone in so gruesome a fashion.
In any case, let him know that even though I think some of his politics (which he wears on his sleeve) are kind of kooky, he never ceases to make me laugh at the inanities of the modern U.S. of A. I hope he can take some solace in the fact that while he may not be able to change everyone's mind, he can certainly make us all laugh at ourselves better than anyone else out there, and that's nothing to sneeze at.
Incidentally, his infamous comic "Oh, Mr. Tehn!" has been on constant display in my workplace for close to a year. When asked to explain myself for having pinned it up, I simply say "Mr. Tehn is just an Eldritch Horror trying to make it in a white man's world."
They usually don't get it.
Roger your message RE The Brow. In fact my friend Boyd described the flagpole-impalement to me years ago, but, because the version of the story reprinted in my "Celebrated Cases of Dick Tracy" anthology ends with him slumped senseless against a crackling electric fence, I never really retained the image. I'm sure that if I'd seen it with my own eyes it would be permanently seared into my mental retinas. Anyway, it seemed appropriate that Gonzales should be crushed in a torture device, but it does seem a shame to have missed the opportunity to impale some high-ranking member of the Bush administration on an American flag. Heavy-handed, perhaps, but that's cartoon justice.
Kooky? I'm not even sure what you can be referring to. But I suppose it's a higher compliment to get a laugh out of someone who doesn't agree with you.
Your summation of the plight of Mr. Tehn is sad and apt. He's a non-Euclidean dude in a world of cubicles.
No, speaking from experience, and about pretty much everything, they don't usually get it.
6 June 2007
Glad tim has returned home full of (bitter) beans. My father is also just now returning from China (no joke).
I will one up Mr Grieve's pessimism. Although I don't think bush/cheney will still be in power come december '08....i DO think we will be blessed with the cool headed leadership of "Rudy", the "mayor of 9/11"....soon to be "the president of...." who knows what horrendous disaster.
Although not as bible obsessed/homophobic as our current leaders he IS their authoritarian equal. By all indications our fellow countrymen LOVE this stuff and eat it up like cotton candy. Tim will have more than enough to write cartoons about in the next administration.
Keep up the good work....
It is difficult to determine what represents greater pessimism: a future where the administration of Bush reigns above, or one to which Mr. Giuliani succeeded. No matter what arrives, Mr. Kreider-- or Mr. Grief, as you call him--wishes he will not produce the political drawings after 2008. He projects to turn his attention in its place to space, pornography, and the chatterings of celebrity.
7 June 2007
I read with immense pleasure Mr Kreiderís comments on Reaganís legacy.
I hope you will pass on this rather old news that at least one American had the guts to give the gipper the tribute he deserved.
Mr. Kreider is well informed this dancing man profaning the tomb of the scorned former President Gipper; indeed, he dedicated a cartoon to him, and the dancing blasphemer himself wrote to thank him. (You can see this exchange of the page of letters of August 2005 of the Web site.)
We are happy you appreciate the work of Mr. Kreider.
13 June 20007
The link is a mighty cool Ray Bradbury article for TK. Straight from the mouth of the old horse himself, all that bullshit you were forced to regurgitate in highschool is wrong. It's not about censorship or free will or even communism; Fahrenheit 451 is a cautionary tale about television.
All of which will do nothing to quell anger directed at Kinko's over the loss of Ray's autograph on your dandelion wine label...
I hope this electronic-m finds both of you well.
MIKE "airquotes" WOOD
Although Fahrenheit 451 is shockingly prescient about TV and other aspects of life in the 21st Century (walkmans/iPods, giant screen TVs, interactive storylines, soap operas that are more real to people than their own lives, live police chases, political correctness, the increasing pace of life, shortening attention spans, and the inanity, sadism, and violence of pop culture) I have a hard time believing that a story in which the authorities bust down your door, burn your library, arrest you, and set fire to your house isn't on some level about censorship and authoritarianism. As my friend Boyd pointed out when I forwarded this interview to him, Ray Bradbury wrote this story half a century ago, and no one can be entirely trusted on the subject of their younger selves' intentions.
Uncle Ray is something of a reactionary. I know he became a supporter of Reagan in the Eighties, and it's distressing to hear that he has a big TV tuned to Fox news. I tend to regard him as a beloved eccentric uncle whose occasionally dingbat political views you tolerate or ignore because he tells such wonderful stories.
13 June 2007
Dear Ms. C-H:
I just wanted to say re: Tim's latest comic ("We Forgot About the Russians")...I love the fact that the only guy running from the oncoming missiles, the sobbing Bush voter, is wearing a "These Colors Don't Run" T-shirt.
That's about the long and short of it, huh?
Thanks for the comics and the sanity,
Mr. Kreider, apparently quoting the unhappy stuffed ass known as Eyore, says, "Thanks to notice me."
13 June 2007
Since he already made the observation that Vladimir Putin is reminiscent of a James Bond villain, here's something to further the similarity. Our dear Putin has at his command a personal army of bizarre, techno-loving Russian ninjas with an apparent love for kittens.
If he should suspect it's made up, there's actually a video of it at the bottom.
This video was indeed strange and to disturb. It is difficult to understand what must be made of this, other that the conclusion, agreed-upoin already well around the world, that the Russians are insane and alarming people better avoided. Of particular interest is the music.
15 June 2007
My brother told me of something I at first had trouble believing - US forces in Iraq are now arming some of the insurgents. WTF? But these websites ( http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/11/world/middleeast/11iraq.html?_r=1&oref=slogin and http://tammybruce.com/2007/06/dealing_with_the_devil.php ) make it look as if its for real. As real, that is, as the idea of giving weapons to people who have been shooting at you and have no compelling reason not to continue to do so can ever be... This is probably another of these ideas that sounds great at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue but has problems when you get to the streets of Baghdad. I'm sure Mr Kreider has heard of this already, but if not would you please pass it on to him? By the way, I was pleased to see Prince Pickles made it into print, and equally pleased that Mr Kreider made it back from Tibet safely. I've been missing his cartooning and artists statements.
Mr. Kreider wonders aloud if there were not an episode of Star Voyage: The Next Generation about this situation even, and if those in the power did not learn anything from the lessons of Star Voyage. He thanks you as to always carry the surrealist one and make indignant to his knowledge.
He is happy that you know of Prince Pickles, gangster of the rape of Nan- King. He ensures you that the people of Thibet are not the type to be stabbing.
21 June 2007
Hail Citizen Kreider -
Great comic this week. I was shocked how well you captured Hu Jintao - not sure if he just imminently "caricature-able" or what, but you nailed it. Also I expect the Dalai Lama would indeed go to his hanging with that same self-assured grin and cheerfulness with which he does everything.
It's funny what you say about the spitting - I traveled to Beijing with my family as a small child (~1986) and one of the striking images that has stuck with me over the years was a gargantuan sign tacked to the side of the Great Wall that said, in a myriad of languages, "Please donít spit off the Great Wall". It seems they've been struggling with their image ever since it became apparent that the communist economy was an ersatz and bankrupt ethos, and that market reforms were inevitable. As it so happens, the other major memory I have of the trip was the constant, raging diarrhea.
I wonder if that sign is still there.
Hope everything is swell.
Mr. Kreider is happy that the similarity is recognizable. He did not know who would even know whom this character represented.
Mr. Kreider brings back that many of the signs translated full with humour in China-- the "Chinglish" it is called-- were removed for Olympics, in order to preempt the scorn of the world. (Sad of to say, the celebrated "hospital of the anus" is no more.) Because of the venality and the bad driving of the Chinese Mr. Kreider could not to reach the large wall and cannot confirm if the sign you recall remains.
27 June 2007
I think "Scum Belt" should have riffed on the notion of a geographical "taint" (ie, that piece of skin between the scrotum and the anus that ain't either).
Mr. Kreider regrets this missed the comic occasion (among others).
I, who am always learning from American idioms, regret the acquisition of this knowledge.
27 June 2007
Dear Ms. Hautpanz,
Though I do not make it a habit to write "fan-mail," Mr. Kreider has, twice in three weeks, moved me to total, incomprehensible epiphany by, shall we say "Hitting the Nail on the Head." This week's comic was so perfectly evocative I was literally left speechless. Having made frequent, long, tiring drives along the entirety of the Eastern Seaboard, I have been through, laterally and fortunately never along its length, the "Scum Belt," to the extent that when once I made an ill-advised late night crossing into central Pennsylvania along what I dimly recall to be Interstate 83, I not was bid farewell with any of the sickly cheerful jackasseries of an obligatory deep-Sa'th-ish "Y'all come back now, y'hear?" sign. It was, rather, a simple, green road sign which matter-of-factly, inexplicably, and, I fancied, somewhat resentfully, stated "MASON-DIXON LINE."
I do not know whether there are any equivalent populations in your native land, Ms. Hautpanz, though in my native part of France we had what my Father used to call "les Passagers du Vent," loosely meaning "drifters on the wind," and though I never really understood what he meant by that, he had nothing but contempt for these people and I attribute to this my current deep and abiding disgust for all things "Suthron," particularly a string of ill-advised romances I should probably not have mentioned. Nevertheless, I hope you will convey to Mr. Kreider that I am deeply gratified to see another artist represting in my adored "bande-dessinee" form his kindred disgust for this most despised one of all the limbos through which we all must pass when going from one form of bizzarre jingoism to another.
Incidentally, I was shocked to see Mr. Kreider's addition of the "Motorized Wheelchair on the Highway" element, in that I was once cut off in traffic by a souped-up gas-powered wheelchair. This was at the border between North Carolina and Virginia, unfortunately, not in the eponymous "Scum Belt," but the very idea... I was so shocked, in fact, that I pushed my car to close to 95 miles per hour (a dodgy proposition in a foreign subcompact) and passed close by this insane contraption to make certain that it was, in fact, a gas-powered wheelchair, piloted by a bearded man with no legs, and zipping down Interstate 95 at 80 miles an hour or more.
That's the American Dream in action.
The Mason/Dixon line is, of course, fraught with historical and cultural baggage here, worthy of note on a highway sign. Please note that although my home state of Mryland is south of that line it stayed with the Union in the Civil War (it had little choice, since the capitol was located there; in Baltimore, cannons atop Federal Hill were aimed at the downtown to keep the city from revolting.)
As to your story about the gas-powered wheelchair piloted by the legless man, I am speechless. Although I am an American living south of the Mason/Dixon line I was unaware that such a thing existed. I suppose, as usual when I learn about some shocking and outrageous new thing, that I really ought not to be surprised. This is, after all, America.
29 June 2007
29 June 2007
Wonderful cartoon this week. I live in an area of England very similiar to the area of America you describe. Tell me, do you get that particular breed of scum that wear button up black shirts with awful pictures of flames and chinese dragons printed of them, wear far too much product in their greasy hair and often sport a faint, wispy but undeniably hilarious moustache? Or is that only us? I think, actually, they often grow into the corpulent leather waistcoated types you standardly depict.
Anyway, the point of my writing was to inform you of an interesting point I have noticed. Unless I am very much mistaken, the man on you you modelled one of your likenesses of the natives is wearing a t-shirt bearing the logo of the Norwegian black metal band Burzum. In case you don't keep up with the fun, carefree world of extreme Scandinavian metal (but who doesn't?), Burzum is a one man band, and that one man is Varg Quisling Vikernes, a vociferous neo-nazi, serial (!) church arsonist and murderer. The extent to which this man is a reprehensible little fascist shit can be summed up by two things: one, he named himself after Vikund Quisling. Two, he murdered a former friend over a few hundred dollars in royalty payments, and then, when making his excuses, pointed out that he didn't even look Norwegian. Now, though, despite his unarguably disgusting beliefs and actions, his musical work is highly regarded in some circles, I do happen to know that distribution of Burzum records and merchandise in America is handled by Resistance Records, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the National Alliance whose other products include the charming computer game Ethnic Cleansing. Adding to this interesting tidbit the mans shaved head, and the fact that he is wearing a fucking confederate flag as a cape, I can only conclude that he is probably a neo nazi. Is this common in Cecil County?
Your information about Burzum is not only fascinating--as always, reality exceeds the most imaginative efforts of the parodist--but timely. I'm going to be showing some of my recent cartoons and speaking to a cartooning class in New York this week, and this trivium will certainly flesh out the backstory of the Scum Belt. It certainly provides some insight into the guy in the photo, as if any were needed beyond the evidence of his face.
The cult of the Confederacy flourishes among the
uneducated and assholic throughout America, as far
north, I am told, as Maine. It's just as ignorant
and obnoxious as the fetishistic display of swastikas
and pentagrams--they're largely meaningless symbols
associated with villains and losers that might piss
someone off. Still, there's something weird about
seeing white trash kids in Pennsylvania proudly wearing
the flag of the armies that shot their own ancestors.