Below is the latest The Pain -- When Will It End?
Medieval art buffs: the baby Jesus in this cartoon is based on the one in
Child Enthroned, painted by Giotto in the early fourteenth century.
Every year I unveil my annual Christmas cartoon, which traditionally revolves
around my own personal loathing of Christmas and everything it stands for.
Previous years' efforts have included "A Visit From St. Nicholas (Santa Claus
accidentally drops in on poor children), "The Mall Presents the Real Jesus"
(which you can probably picture for yourself), and "The Revilement by Unbelievers"
(Santa on the cross). God, do I despise Christmas. I hate Christmas like Scrooge
hates it, like the Grinch and the Abominable Snowman and Heat Miser hate it.
It's a month-long celebration of three things I've had enough of in my life:
Christianity, consumerism, and winter. And this year the ceaseless harangues
to buy crap are also appealing to our nationalism--yet another of my
least favorite things. As if shopping was patriotic; as if putting money in
the pockets of Target and Wal-Mart was the same as volunteering at Ground
Zero; as if the hideous consumer culture that's fouling everything beautiful
and good in this country was equivalent to America itself.
Okay, my objections aren't entirely ideological;
I just hate shopping. Going to a mall always makes me yearn for apocalypse,
or at least global ecomonic collapse. And it's always seemed to me that obligatory
gift-buying negates the whole concept of a "gift," turning what ought
to be a gesture of generosity and affection into a chore to be dreaded. So
I'm cheered by the downturn in shopping this year. Apparently, after watching
five thousand people die horribly on September 11th, a lot of people just
don't feel like blowing next January's salary at the mall anymore. Economists
call this "consumer doubt," and are said to be deeply concerned about it.
Me, I call it "waking up and smelling the goddamn coffee," and I find it sort
of heartening. Maybe some small good will have come out of the tragedy. I'm
not talking about a Return to Spiritual Values or any such pious twaddle--I'm
just saying, what would happen if, for once, nobody bought anything this Christmas?
What would be the big disaster? Don't we all have enough stuff by now? The
Whos down in Whoville kept singing without all the Boob-Bobblers, Bum-Ticklers,
and Jizz-Spritzers the Grinch made off with. And America will go on being
America without Pathfinders, Palm Pilots, Pokemon, and all the rest of the
ridiculous junk we think we need. After all, this country wasn't built on
credit card debt or 0% down or the fucking NASDAQ; it was built on refusing
to pay taxes, not wanting to go to church, and exterminating aboriginal peoples.
And it'd be a better country if, instead of wasting our money on a lot of
useless shit that nobody could possibly want, we'd all just hunker down with
the people we care about and be grateful for what we have and enjoy our
fucking lives. Pardon me for getting all sentimental, but it's that time
of year. God bess us, every one.
By the way: Issue #8 of the Pain is now available
for three dollars a copy. The perfect Christmas gift!