just wanted to convey my sympathies to Mr.
Krieder and let him know that when I read this
week's statement my tears welled up...and I
was at work. Thankfully it was 4:30 a.m.
and no one was in my office, so I was able
to avoid having to explain that I was crying
because a cartoonist I've never met wrote about
the passing of another man I've never met. I
just want to let him know this.
sorry it's taken me this long to reply to
your touching message. It's nice to know
you were so moved by my words. John was a
good friend, and a man I think you would've
liked. But I'm sure you were really thinking
of the people you love, the ones you'd miss
if you lost them. I hope that if nothing
else I reminded you to spend more time with
them while you can.
do have one question
for you, though: what are doing at work
at 4:30 A.M.? Unless you
are embezzling funds
or downloading porn there is no excuse
for this. Get your ass
home and into bed with
someone you love. Or at least an excellent
nice to hear from you again.
write this to Ms. Hautpanz's email, though
I am not sure that she screens Mr. Kreider's
email anymore. I will however, address
this email to Tim. I don't expect much
in the way of a response either.)
must admit, in all honesty, that I had dismissed AI as a "bad movie" for lack of an ability to interpret
it, a long time ago. However your review
really was depressing yet interesting at the
same time. It certainly makes a lot of
sense out of those books I was required to
read like Glengarry Glen Ross and Death of Salesman. And I suspect that one could draw connections
with Catcher in the Rye , a book that only served to further my sense of adolescent
confusion and lack of a "place."
that said, your review certainly has lead me
to contemplate disturbing things that I've
only been vaguely aware of. Am I anything
like David in the movie? I have, as any human seems to have,
a host of doubts that I've been pushing down
in order to go through the motions of living. I
also wonder, does having a love for knowledge
or truth (however you're supposed to define
them) constitute a similar mechanical drive
as hollow as seeking to fulfill a hunger for
suppose I would like a "magical romance," but
a part of me was always instinctually cynical
about girls or relationships. Girls are
only people after all, not mystical creatures. Many
students my age, and younger, don't seem to
realize this consciously. They'll chase
a girl on Facebook or MySpace that meets some
sort of fictional ideal, chasing after an image
in their heads, only to meet with crushing
disappointment and stumble over to me as friendly
drunks. Ironically, I suspect said girls-only
suffer these types of guys because they stroke
their ego. (I suppose much the same could
be said about me having a "cause," I
generally don't believe in them.)
me wonder how many embittered misogynists are
created from this type of obsession with symbolic
also noted your advice that anger, while intoxicating,
is quite a destructive force in a person's
spiritual life. Sadly, I think I've already
stepped down that path to the point of no-return. I
have a temper and I know it. I rail against
things even when words and reasoning won't
change them. Sometimes I feel markedly
different from other people because of this? I
am at a loss to describe what this malaise
any case, I follow your comic The Pain,
with interest. Even if you feel like
a hack with a few of your drawings, I can't
help but derive some empathy with your anger.
of all, let me apologize
for the delay in my reply. As you know if
you've been reading
the cartoon, life has been complicated lately.
am flattered that you found
my essay on A.I. worthy of such serious thought. But let me backpedal
a little and clarify that
the rather bleak, deterministic, Freudian
worldview I was articulating
in that essay is only the
one I believe is expressed by that particular
work of art.
But no work of art, except
maybe The Big Lebowski, can ever encompass
the whole truth about the
human condition. It's really not clear how
much is inalterably "hardwired"
into human beings. We do
have extremely resilient,
redundant, and versatile
brains with the
capacity to rewire themselves.
In other words, we can
change. Not that we do,
can (and do) spend their
whole lives attracted to
the same types, looking
parents, making the same
mistakes and reenacting
the same old traumas and
contriving to bring the
same disasters upon themselves
over (me included). But
we are more or less conscious
beings, and some of us
and truthful enough to
see these patterns in our
own lives and try to get
out of them
(me not necessarily included).
But who knows? Maybe this
is just another illusion
to convince ourselves of
in order to get through
the days and proceed as
had free will. Even if
so, I am all for it. It
is, after all, the only
game in town.
think that regarding women as real people
rather than ideals disqualifies
having romantic relationships; on the contrary,
I think itŐs a prerequisite for
having any kind of real relationship. Don't
worry about the magic; it eventually afflicts
everyone whether they want it to or not,
and then later the piteous weeping. YouŐre
subject. I'm not exactly
about things you can't control seems to
me less like some
rare pathology than
common lot of human beings. If you have
a temper, well, you have
it, and you're probably
with it (though it's likely to mellow with
a terrible drug, like being on PCP for
you can control is how you react to it.
isn't easy, and not nearly as much fun
in the face. I struggle with this still.
stay out of jail. This is one
my modest goals in life and I would suggest
a good one for you to strive for
well. In any case I think it's too
imagine that you are too old to back off
path and find your way back to civilization.
for the will to truth,
my old dance instructor used to say: "Here
the ways of men part:
if you wish to strive for
the peace of soul and pleasure, then believe;
if you wish to
be a devotee of the truth,
then inquire." For
him, I think, the relentless
badgering after truth arose, paradoxically,
out of the moral
impulse, the same drive
that produces both the spooky and kindly
lies of religion. He
collapsed after throwing
his arms around a horse that was being flogged
up a catatonic husk but,
again, I'm not sure this discredits his advice.
I hope that dementia
is not the inevitable consequence of inquiry.
like a smart and thoughtful and troubled
Chris--and I don't mean "troubled" in
instructor: "Thoughts are
the shadows of our feelings; always darker,
of which, please politely
overlook the Mr. Smartypants tone of this
note and see if
you can't find something
useful in it. I hope you will. Let me make
clear, if it isn't
clear enough already, that
I'm not writing
you as a Wise Mentor but
as just another confused screwed-up person
on the planet
who's trying to figure
out even one thing before
I die. I won't promise
be all right, because,
truly, no one can promise
that to anyone else. I
can tell you
that art helps a little.
Meditation is supposed
to help, though I'm lazy
about it. Drugs
and alcohol don't actually
help as much as they seem
to at first, but if you're
than I am you won't need
to be told this. Other
people help most of all.
wish you well. Write any time.
in your latest artist's statement struck me,
when you were talking about your discussions
late Christian friend that you dedicated
your last cartoon to:
it a minor victory to get me to admit that
we don't know why the universe is
point is, we do know that the Universe cannot
be there for any reason if we simply define
it as everything there is. The logic
behind it is quite simple:
does everything there is exist? Answer:
Because. Everything there is cannot be caused
by anything outside itself since it is everything
there is, so logically there is nothing left
that could have caused it. Everything
there is cannot have a reason. It
be a reason
might be. We
DO KNOW that there CAN BE NO REASON for everything
if we don't
define the Universe as everything there is
then all bets are off, as we could
about just what we'd consider
to be part of the Universe and what we do notÉ
apparently none of the two of you have ever
thought this through to its final conclusion. No
condolences about your loss. Maybe
beyond his control.
I transmitted by relay your explanation to
Mr. Kreider but then he furrowed his face and
regards it as a luxuriant sophism that abjectly
requests the question. Is the cause and the effect only one
illusion of human interpretation, or a phenomenon
which breaks up and does not exist at the beginning
of the universe, like electromagnetism? He
is not buying it. It is not very clear why
the whole something should exist rather than
not, and this reasoning is not to solve the
central mystery of the existence for him. Nor
do your arguments concerning death make him
wish for the acceleration of his own.
let us thank you for the writing with your
thoughts and sympathy.
P.S. Mr. Kreider affixes
the following play of spirit: "Notification
is no 'P' in it. Please to help us to keep
this way!" It
is apparently an hilarity
common in America, opaque
before I launch into the obligatory anti-anti-gun
tirade, I must say that I absolutely adore
Mr. Kreider's cartoons. He's given me many
a cynical laugh.
now, on with the tirade.
the Gun Industry as an entity is an asshole.
Yes, some foaming-at-the-mouth, second-amendment
nutjobs are *complete* assholes, and should
probably be tranq'ed for everyone's mutual
safety. *HOWEVER*, there are a small number
of people - sane, sensible, and usually extremely
cautious - who both own guns and are not assholes.
like to count myself as one of that number.
do own a gun [replica blackpowder squirrel
rifle, in case you're interested] and tend
to view the discipline in much the same way
as one would view learning to handle a longbow.
One that's fun for historical recreations,
or just for the discipline of it... but not
for waving around in random places or using
to hurt people because they called you names.
the 50's [God, how many times has a gun nut
used this one?] there was a firearm in every
home. Kids used to get BB guns for Christmas.
The key thing, for that era, was that the kids
were taught not to point them at people. Elementary safety was drilled into them
from the moment they could understand it. Alas,
those days have gone, and we have a culture
that is both terrified of, and glorifies, the
become the ultimate solution to problems. Shitty
working environment? "Shoot them all and
let God sort them out!" ...gah... Personally,
I'm more amenable to *thinking* first, but
that's not a philosophy that America, as an
entity, is all that fond of. [America, taken
as a whole, likes sheeple that go along with
everything the government says and don't think
for themselves. This doesn't mean individual
*Americans* do that themselves... but I digress...]
is, however, one question that absolutely nobody
in the Media - or, for that matter, a large
body of the viewing populace - ever asks. That
question is, "Did they legally obtain
and/or own that gun?"
far as I can recall, there has been exactly
one incident in my lifetime [34 years] that
that answer has been 'yes'. Once, in howeverthehellmany
shootings that have been in the news in my
lifetime. Pretty amazing statistic, that one.
yet, every time someone goes crazy with an
illegal firearm, the people want more 'control',
more laws for the law-abiding, whilst they
forget completely about the already-lawless.
hey - Mr. Kreider probably lives for this kind
of stuff. Maybe there's a cartoon or three
in there. Just thought I'd try to make my voice
for your time,
We firstly thank you
for your compliments on Mr. Kreider's work. Always
it means much to have news of the readers.
Mr. Kreider certainly
does not fear the enthusiast of history with
the blasting powder to shoot squirrels. Only
the squirrel needs to fear it. But it must to
admit that the guns are not exactly an activity
of history like manufacture of soiled glass or
drawing the cartoon-strips, yes? Moreover, few
Americans seem to clean them for history reasons.
They have them for contemporary reasons such
as hatred of the federal government and the fear
of the negro.
is to be certain that the majority of the
crimes are with the illegal guns. However,
it would not be more difficult to obtain
the illegal guns if all such weapons were
illegal? But I learned that it is useless
to engage in discussion on this subject.
The Americans are a nation of barbarians,
they always had guns to exterminate buffalo
and the pigeon of passenger and the Indian,
they will always have the guns, it is their
response to all, just as you say, their hearts
are seized by fear.
thank you for your pensive words and regret
my comments ungracious on this country which
was my host centre. But it is hateful to
see the American children killed and the
paid lawyers of the businesses of guns insist
on the fact that all is well, all is well,
all is well.
heading: [Great rant!]
was one of the funniest things I have ever
read. America has taken it's
toll on you. Gravy....melted animal byproduct.
your painful journey has born sweet fruit.....sweet
luck in your quest for civilization.
welcome back Mr. K, even under bad circumstances.
thank you for your complimetns on my efforts
with filling the place of Mr. Kreider with
my maladroit prose. It is good that you are
amused by my account of American sauce-with-the-juice.
O that there had been more real, nonfigurative,
fruit on my travel. At least the goodwill
came from it.
I would irregularly write directly to Tim. Today,
it occurred to me that amongst other things
to be grateful for outside of his immense talent,
is his collection of friends and associates. Your
writing brings me great joy.
for your efforts.
invitation to Tim to visit Kansas goes unanswered,
but it is as expected!
Ragatz of the Parrot Totem:
tardily thank you for your commending of
my efforts in the name of Mr. Kreider.
believe that you write with Mr. Kreider
at an address extinct, the hated AOL.
matter what arrives it is little
probable with him to visit Kansas, which
I regret saying.
short (and I hope not wildly weird and insulting)
note to say that I was very touched by your
last cartoon on your friend's death.
condolences on this occasion.
seems really weird to be writing to a total
stranger (even if I've been following "The
Pain" for years now) on another continent,
on such a personal subject, and I hope you
don't think I'm a maniac (really I'm not !)
for doing so.
my condolences et mes meilleurs voeux de courage
pour les temps venir.
: I do have a sort of real question : why have
you chosen to have to call the "Artist's
statement" rather than have it appear
directly on the same page ? I enjoy them both
equally, and feel the one doesn't go without
best wishes from a fan in France.
kind message was not inappropriate at all;
on the contrary, it's gratifying to know
that my very personal, in-joky testament
to my late friend touched someone on the
other side of the world.
As for the artist's
statements, I was at first, and still am,
about including them at all. I call them "artist's
statements" as a kind of nervous, tongue-in-cheek
reference to the Artist's Statements printed
on pamphlets or plaques that accompany shows
in galleries or museums. Reading these little
fantasias of bulllshit invariably reminds you
why the author is a painter or sculptor and not
a writer. I believe strongly that artists ought
to do their work and then shut up and get out
of the way. My colleague Megan recently received
a letter from a reader who'd very much enjoyed
the story she recently concluded in the New York
Times Magazine ("Watergate Sue" http://www.nytimes.com/ref/magazine/funnypagesWatergate.html)
but wanted to know "what the aprupt, enigmatic
last panel meant." Megan declined to explain
her ending, not out of artsy cussedness but because
any explanation would only diminish the reader's
appreciation of the story, solve it like a puzzle
instead of letting it linger troublingly in her
mind. As Stanley Kubrick, who got a lot of this
sort of thing, always put it, imagine if Leonardo
had told us that the Mona Lisa is smiling because
she's hiding a secret from her lover. An enigma
that's beguiled the centuries would be definiteively
answered, finished and dead, like a butterfly
pinned to an index card. Like the artist Robert
Smithson said, "Establish enigmas, not explanations." Which
is what I strive to do with provocative and challenging
works such as "Cuckold!' and "Graveyard
Shift at the Pussy Juice
I am by temperament a long-winded ranter,
raconteur, and wackjob theorist--which is
to say, a frustrated writer--and regrettably
I cannot resist the opportunity to use my
website as a soapbox every week. I do try
to avoid ever explicated my cartoons and
confine myself instead to tangential rants
about politics or, on occasion, personal
reflections. Anyway, to answer, at unnecessary
length, your question, I keep the artist's
statements at a click's remove out of consideration
for to those readers who would rather not
have their art expplained, clarified, or
expanded upon in any way. Which is not to
say I don't appreciate your compliments of
for writing, and may you, too, keep courage
in the times to come--or, as we say in
let the bastards get
only seen Waminals strips in black and white.
considering making some bootleg Waminals for
personal use (throw pillows, etc). What
color are they?
have consulted Mr. K about this provocative
question. He mushes the face of thought
and then made the following declaration:
are purple with the spots pink. Others,
pink with the spots purple. However, W_______s
themselves are unmindful of this distinction
and there is no discrimination
tails are coloured tail. Perhaps to use the
real tails of the squirrel?
We ask with respect of the photographs of
finished Cushions of W_______s.
It is rare that Mr.
K. must be found with a loss for words. And still
Mr. K. and I both are returned without voice
by this thing. What must be made of the ageing
bald person in the foreground who feels his hand,
unconscious with nudity writhing behind? But
they would be only the Germans who would conceive
of a so repulsive project.
thank you for bringing this to our attention,
although it is untrue to say that we are
26 September 2007
inform Mr. Kreeder that his comic this week
was excellent. However, regarding his
Artist's Statement: the large, mehcanized vehicles
depicted in panel 2 ("We're Never Leaving
Iraq") in fact resemble the AT-ST walker more
then the AT-AT.
AT-AT walker was the huge, plodding, 4-legged
vehicle employed by the Empire at the beginning
of The Empire Strikes Back, while the AT-ST was the medium-sized, 2-legged, slightly-more-agile
vehicle used to attack the Ewoks in Return
of the Jedi. The American forces in panel 2
seem a lot more like the latter.
Mr. Kreider tries to
obtain exactitude in such details. Although he
fears to hear of the errors from the experts
in all fields, more than all he fears is to receive
the complaints of the experts of the imaginary.
Mr. K requests to
know what the "S" represents.
I myself tire of such things.
You may inform Mr. Kreider that AT-ST stands for "All-Terrain Scout
Also, if I ever become rich, I'm going to commission him to do my stained-glass
windows. But he shouldn't hold his breath.
30 September 2007
I was going through the archive and came across
cartoon "My Slogan"] and
FROM MS. C.-H.: Although
Mr. Kreider voluntarily transmitted the
of the "Ball of Power" to the reader
do not have to be divided with the readership
general. But it is debatable since alas,
they proved vague.