Below is the latest The Pain -- When Will It End?
Updated 1/09/02

Artist's Statement

I was halfway through a cartoon cruelly caricaturing our current "leadership" in this country, when I unexpectedly came up with this one. For a while I worked on them both at the same time to see which one would turn out to be funnier, and this is the one that cracked me up first. (Yes, I laugh at my own cartoons. I guess I should be embarassed to admit it. But if I don't think they're funny, nobody else will.) I think the thing that finally gave it the edge over the other one was the football helmet with the cardboard lightning bolts attached. So once again silliness wins out over political satire. I don't know why, but it's very tricky to be both political and funny. Most political cartoons are either obvious and pedantic or--this is especially symptomatic of liberal cartoons--self-rigteous and smug. I'll keep working on the other one until it's funny enough; I may yet run it next week. But a guy hooking his tongue up to a car battery is comedy in its purest form.

Although I only started it last week, I honestly can't remember where this cartoon came from. The title "Adventures in Poor Judegement" recently popped into my head in the shower. And for years I've had this odd, troubling little doodle in my files that just shows a car battery with the note, "
IDEA: HOOK TONGUE UP TO CAR BATTERY." But as soon as I hooked the jumpers up to my friend Boyd's tongue (in the drawing, I mean) I realized what his motives must be. Boyd's constantly talking about how much better both his life in particular and the world in general would be if he had superpowers, what he'd do with them if he had them (kill evil people, spy on women, fly naked over large cities and pee on everybody), and asking me whether I think God might grant them to him if he were to undergo enough suffering (getting divorced, driving his car into a KFC, or drinking more than two Samiclaus belgian ales).

I hope it won't be presumptuous or intrusive if I just discreetly direct your attention to the various characters in the background who've gathered to witness Boyd's amazing transformation. It's details like this that raise what is basically a pretty stupid idea into the realm of Art.

I have no idea what it looks like under a car hood and as I am presently in New York without my car I wasn't able to open it up and look, so I just faked it, made stuff up and put it wherever I wanted it, and I'm sure I got everything embarassingly wrong. I know the battery's in more or less the right place, and so is the engine block, because they're the things I most often ruin and have to replace in my own car.

Just last night while finishing this drawing I had an unpleasantly vivid fantasy of some suburban parents finding their dumb burnout fourteen-year-old kid dead in the garage with his black exploded tongue hooked up to the battery of the family Windstar in a tragic copycat incident and suing the bejesus out of the City Paper or me personally or both and the case dragging on for years, me weeping with remorse on the stand, being financially ruined and denounced in editorials as an example of irresponsible artists leading our youth to destruction, etc. A nightmare. So in case any impressionable [i.e. stupid] young people are reading this, I will say now for the record: Do Not Try It. You Will Be Killed.