March 2008

12 March 2008

The plural of the Latin word 'casus' is not 'casi', but 'casus'.

Philip Roberts,

You sure? I did look it up, but online, which is not a source to be trusted. If you know whereof you speak I will amend it.


Yup, I'm sure. It's a fourth declension noun, so it doesn't go to -i in the (nominative) plural like most nouns in -us English speakers are familiar with (things like 'Marcus' are second declension). If you found 'casi belli' online it's because you're by no means the first person to make that mistake.

Interestingly, the Italian plural may be 'casi belli'. My Italian is too many millennia out of date to be sure.

If you want to be really pedantic, the 'u' of the plural is long.


12 March 2008

Subject heading: “3-12 comic”

This reminds me of a psychological study that I tried in vain to track down,
mostly because I am at work, and actually do need to devote some time to this
whole job thing.

The study found that when people are on the receiving end of pain, they
perceive their pain to be quite intense, regardless of what the electrical
stimulus actually was, and when they get a chance for revenge, they tend to
apply a stimulus that is on average 40% more intense than that which was
applied to themselves.

Basically, our perception of our own pain and the pain of others do not balance
out, and the further away and the more different a people are, the less we are
even able to understand or perceive their pain. It is interesting to note that
in the original experiment, the two participants were often people who knew
each other, and were still capable of upping the ante so rapidly and so

Anyway, enjoyed/continue to enjoy your work.


Lindsay, Detroit, MI


I wanted to look up this study you cite before writing back to you so that I could at least point you toward the actual paper, but a cursory google search for "psychological study," "pain," and "revenge," opened up such a can of worms that I could tell I'd spend hours poking around in this stuff online and end up forgetting entirely that I was supposed to write you back. This is a fascinating insight, though it appears we've exceeded the average 40% exaggeration by a wide margin.

It's an indication of how unempathetic and tribal we still are as a society that it feels vaguely traitorous and lily-livered of me even to acknowledge, much less count up and make a big deal of, the casualties among our "enemies." Most Americans can probably tell you how many U.S. servicemen we've lost in Iraq (I myself lost count after 2000), but far fewer have any idea of the magnitude of the losses and suffering we've unleashed on the Iraqis.

Thanks for your insights, and for reading.



I think I tracked something down that might help you further on your searches.
As a quasi-academic, it bothers me that I haven't catalogued and meticulously
bibliographied this information. Lots of blah blah read it stuff on altruism,
but eventually gets to the point.



12 March 2008

Hello, please read the following comments regarding your comics titled "The Pain". Now since I could find no date on your website, I cannot tell if this was recent, or if this website has been abandoned or updated.

Anyway, my comment is directed at this comic -

In here is says that Iraqi civilian casualties are in a much greater number than the casualties at 9/11. This is true.

Allow me to STRESS that I share your dislike with the Iraq War. I was against it from the start. So please read this email with the consideration that we agree on the same thing. (This email is quite long, but PLEASE read it)

Also allow me to STRESS that I have not read the entire text below the picture. I am writing this email under the belief that you are against the war now, from the start, and are against the Bush Administration. If any of the above is inaccurate, then please read this email anyway because it took me a long time to type it. :D

The main difference between the two scales in your comic is that the casualties in 9/11 were direct and intentional. While the civilian casualties in Iraq are NOT intentional from us, and are ALSO at the result of the can not possibly put all the blame on the US Soldiers. Wait...was I supposed to say the Bush Administration? Nope...I meant the US Soldiers. What you actually said was that the US Soldiers are responsible for all the deaths of Iraqi civilians. How do I know this? Well we both know that America isn't out to kill Iraqi innocent civilians. And President Bush cannot possibly be responsible for each and every solider. That is impossible. Good job at insulting the US Troops by calling them a bunch of blood-thirsty terrorists out to get Iraqi civilian blood.

Secondly, you cannot deny that the terrorists are a true threat to this world. Therefore, perhaps one could see that seeing on how Iraq was a large base for terrorist operations (Saddam being a terrorist)...that perhaps it was actually a good thing that we invaded. However, once again I will say that I was (and still is) against the war FROM THE START. (As it is I would support the war, saying that it wouldn't be as bad as a pull out)
Now let me talk about the two sides of a pull out. First, if we stay in the war, we continue fighting the terrorists. Secondly, if we pull out, that means the terrorists win and quite possibly, they will attack Israel. Or they will take over Iraq and build up there. Then what? We go BACK to war? Obama already stated that he would go back to war if the terrorists started to build in Iraq after a pull out.

I'd like to add something else though. This is an email I received a while ago.

[long tedious email omitted]

So based off of what I wrote, and what you read in that email, perhaps you could reconsider our current situation.

Let me finally note that out of the three presidential candidates, McCain is the only one with foreign policy experience. Clinton and Obama have none, and this experience is a MUST HAVE because of our current situation with the terrorists, regardless if we invaded Iraq.
The terrorists will continue to attack. Do you want a Liberal President who will attempt to negotiate with those who want our heads because we are not Islamic? Or do you want a President who will take REAL action against this threat?

Disclaimer- If you wish to mock this email, you do not have permission. If you want to post this large comment on your site in a mature fashion by either agreeing with me or disagreeing with me and countering what I have said (once again in a mature fashion), you do have permission.

Thank you very much for your time,

-An anonymous Stumbler.


For future reference, I believe that all letters, including emails, become the legal property of their recipients, so permission doesn't really enter into it. Nonetheless I don't generally mock thoughtful messages from readers who disagree with me on matters of either politics or taste. I may not reprint your entire missive since it is kind of long. (Since you didn't bother to read my whole artist's statement I'm not going to feel too much editorial remorse about abridging your rebuttal.)

You will find the date of the cartoon, 12 March 2008, printed directly above the image.

I probably don't have to point out that you're putting words in my mouth by accusing me of calling US troops "a bunch of blood-thirsty terrorists out to get Iraqi civilian blood." (You are familiar with the term "straw man argument"?) Obviously I agree that planning the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians is more morally and viscerally repulsive than inadvertently causing deaths through stray missiles. But there's also something subtly monstrous about the psychology of killing thousands of people while feeling blameless because you don't admit to yourself that you're doing it. I know the U.S. military doesn't target civilians, but we also know very well that civilians are going to get killed in any war, so it's disingenuous to pretend that all those deaths are truly accidental. I guess intentions matter to some extent, but if someone I loved were to be killed by a bomb, I don't think I'd care whether they'd been killed on purpose by terrorists or were only the collateral damage of a foreign air force. I don't know, CS, I only took one moral philosophy course in college and all I remember is the professor's Smoky Robinson imitation, so you tell me which is worse: killing 3,000 people on purpose, or killing 150,000 by accident?

I respect a lot of things about John McCain, but I can't think of a single issue I agree with him on. (We used to agree that torture was wrong, but recently he voted again a ban on waterboarding, so now we're back to zero.) And at this point I'd vote for an avowed pedophile or a member of Hamas or a fucking vampire before I'd vote for a Republican.

I know you've explicitly forbidden me to make fun of you, but your scenario of a liberal president who's going to negotiate with terrorists is just a batshit right-wing paranoid fantasy, the equivalent of lefties imagining that the jackbooted thugs are actually going to bust down their door because of their blog. Get a hold of yourself.



You acknowledge the fact that the Bush administration and the soldiers do not directly target the civilians, but your comic implies otherwise. Your comic shows VP Cheney suggesting that the U.S should give them "five for flinching" (meaning the civilians, right?) Obviously, that implies a direct intention of targeting civilians...unless of course you are talking about the terrorists.

Secondly, if you agree that the Bush Administration and the soldiers do not target the innocent, doesn't this mean you are against the war and NOT the Bush Administration? (Unless there are other issues that I am not aware about)

Third, you ask which would be better. 3,000 intentional deaths, or 150,000 accidental deaths? I do see your point but you have to understand that war is war and people are going to die. It is tough to understand but while facing a threat and going to war, people will die.
Finally, who would be the best President against the war on terror (once again the same issues still apply regardless if the U.S went to war in Iraq or not.)

You claim that a Liberal President negotiating with the terrorists is a right-wing fantasy. However, can you tell me of any direct accomplishments of liberal senators, presidents, etc, against the threat of terrorism? I mean not too long ago, Nancy Pelosi traveled the Middle East area to talk to all the leaders. Now is that the job of the Speaker of the House?
I would like to point out the flip side. What would have happened if we did not invade Iraq? What would happen with all of the toxic nerve gas (yes, WMDs) that the U.S gave Saddam during the Iraq-Iran war? How easy do you think it would have been for someone to smuggle a tiny capsule of nerve gas into the U.S?




The man depicted with President Bush is, in fact, John McCain, whom I am still in the early stages of learning to draw. McCain has announced his intention to continue the war in Iraq indefinitely, which certainly means a few more of those little WTC rubber stamps.

You seem to projecting a whole constellation of opinions and positions onto this cartoon that it does not necessarily imply. I'm not saying our soldiers are no different from terrorists; I'm saying our dead are no different from Iraqi dead. Excerpt that they have a lot more of them. All I wanted was to convey, in stark visual terms, the rude mute fact of the disparity in casualties. We've killed fifty times more people in Iraq than terrorists have killed here. And it bothers me that about 1/500th as many people are aware of this as are currently experts on the opinions of Barack Obama's pastor or Hilary Clinton's precise whereabouts in Bosnia, ca. 1996.

My enthusiasm for extended back-and-forth debates with people I do not know is not inexhaustible. Let me suggest we let the matter drop for now and resume exactly this same argument five years and a few tens of thousands more casualties from now.


19 March 20008

Dear C-H,

I am beginning to miss the presence of Tim in his most recent comics. . .is this a bad thing? It seems his presence is a thing I find most entertaining.




I think you'll find your yearning rewarded in this week's cartoon.



27 March 2008

Subject heading: “Thank you…”

...for steering me to the Rolling Stones link and thus putting the final nail in your coffin. Adios My Pain.

The newly minted word "squeeb" does indeed describe Mr. Kreider himself. The gutless liberal NY-wannabe who hides in Cecil has the knee-jerk reaction to all things "conspiratorial" that I've come to expect from the Left. I don't blame the neocons for the sins of 9-11 and its aftermath, for they are merely being themselves. However, I find the reaction of the Left to be cowardly and I hope that one day they have the courage with what's left of their ever-shrinking patriotic little testicles to at least take a teensy-weeny little peek behind the curtain.

It takes someone like myself -- a reformed Republican turned liberal, to have the guts to view the facts, face the questions and come to the painfully obvious conclusions of 9-11. The squeebs of the world, like Kreider and Taibbi, obviously can't "go there" so I
won't push them to do so.

The Bush administration has lied about everything of remote importance but for some unknown reason their official story of what took place on 9-11 must never, ever be questioned and routine investigation procedures must be tossed aside in the holy name of the War on Terror, i.e. The Long War of the 21st Century while the Left just swallows it all in.

I'll take my leave of you with this bit of thanks from Burroughs:

" Thanks for the last and greatest betrayal of the last and greatest of human dreams."


James T. Cardwell

James Cardwell,

I regret that we must part ways, but please alert me when you uncover the final, conclusive evidence that'll crack the 9/11 conspiracy. The Media, which is complicit in the cover-up, certainly won't be reporting it, and I would hate to miss out.

Yeah, probably too much to hope that you'd go for that, huh? You're too savvy for that kind of obvious ruse. You know that as soon as you told me you'd found the Smoking Gun I'd be on the horn to my superiors at New World Order H.Q. and next thing you knew you'd be an Unperson and the evidence would be deleted from human history. In fact, how do you know I haven't forwarded your email to the appropriate agencies already, James? For one man to try to ferret out The Truth himself is merely a waste of time--but to openly antagonize a member of the organization, no matter how seemingly low-level, is foolhardy. Perhaps you'd best lie low a while.

I know there's no point in arguing with the delusional, but it seems sad to me that with so many urgently serious problems pressing upon us so many people have fixated their attention and energies on figments with no more substance than the prophecies of Nostradamus or the current season of "Lost." But, then again, it's not like you guys would actually be any help solving any real-life problems anyway, so perhaps this 9/11 business is as good a way as any of keeping you harmlessly occupied. You may ostensibly have switched from "republican" to "liberal" but it's clear that your true party affiliation--Wackjob--remains unchanged.

Trust No One,

Tim Kreider

87 genus 38 wary 99 tyrol 03 morgan 47 phylum 31 timid 37 merlin 75 humus 27 richmond 59


27 March 2008

Dear Mr. Kreider,

Given your proclivities, I thought you might find this recent essay of mine amusing. In it, I delineate my theory that Hillary Clinton accepting the vice-presidential nomination would turn the Obama administration into the Justice League. 2008/03/justice-league-administration.html

Oh, and in case you haven't seen it already, my ironclad proof that Princess Leia fucked both Luke and Han after the battle of Yavin.

Hope you're recovering well from your virus.


Noah Brand

Noah Brand,

I forwarded your blog entry to my friend Boyd, foremost authority on the Justice League. He particularly likes your conception of Edwards as Batman. But how exactly is Bill Clinton the Martian Manhunter?

Again, Kucinich is clearly Plasticman.

I am aware of your theories concerning the private life of Sen. Organa.



Bill Clinton is the Martian Manhunter in this metaphor because he's the guy in the background, as powerful as Superman but not getting top billing. Subtler and less flashy than the Man of Steel, he's the one you send to deal with the shit no one else can handle. Useful guy to have in the White House, in other words.