Below is the latest The Pain -- When Will It End?
The papers and tabloids made much out of juxtaposing the images of these two girls, killer and victim, both eighteen years old, their whole lives ahead of them, etc., and I was like, what? it's supposed to be extra-tragic because they were photogenic? The intifada has finally gone too far because attractive people are dying? The idea for this cartoon came to mind right away, but it wouldn't have been half as funny if not for my friend Carolyn, who sketched the the cunningly placed dynamite and alarm clock on a scrap of paper at a cheap bar on 75th street Sunday afternoon. I'm also indebted to Jesse, whose apartment I'm currently sub-letting, and whose secret stash of Playboys I ransacked to refer to the categories in the Playmate Profile, the only other funny thing in this cartoon.
As is becoming tiresomely routine, let us address issues of taste and political sensitivity. I am sure that readers having strong sympathies with either the Israeli or Palestinian sides of this conflict will insist that this cartoon is vulgar and offensive and makes light of a serious situation that I obviously don't understand in the slightest. To which I would say no shit. Basically the only political statement this cartoon makes is its refusal to take the situation seriously. It's not often that ignorance and apathy get to be a radical stance, but they certainly seem to provoke outrage among people who are passionately involved in this issue. But then what doesn't.
Not that it'll appease anyone, but just for the record let me state my official position reagarding the Israeli/Palestinian conflict: I don't give a shit about it. I know I'm supposed to care about it but I don't. I don't quite understand why it's on the front page every day and on TV every night and seems to require our urgent attention when just as many people are dying in equally dumb conflicts, also armed and funded by the U.S., in places we never even hear about. I was born in 1967, the year of the Six-Day War, and as far as I can tell the place has been on the brink of Armageddon every goddamn day since then. After thirty-five years the sense of crisis gets a little old. I have this vague impression that maybe the Israelis are a bunch of assholes, and that their presence there is kind of like the Lenape Indians trying to take back the island of Manhattan (which they at least have a more recent claim to), or, for that matter, all six billion people in the world descending on Kenya and explaining hey, we've returned to settle in our ancestral homeland. Really I think
we should just hand the whole worthless, parched stretch of sand over to the Buddhists, who seem to be the only one of the world's religions who can resolve a property dispute with anything other than a slaughter.
This isn't some anti-Semitic screed about pro-Israeli bias in the Jewish-controlled media; if I lived in Europe, where the propaganda is mostly pro-Palestinian, I'd be sick of hearing about that, too. I have no doubt that most people in Israel and Palestine are just like most people here; they want to go to work and come home to the people they love without getting killed, but, as here, they're held hostage by fanatics and bigots and the greedy old assholes who run the country. All the Jews I know are just like me except they had to do different boring things when they were growing up--Hebrew School instead of Sunday School, Manischevitz instead of grape juice. It's people who are passionately proud of their heritage, their ethnicity or religion, whatever it is, who creep me out. I believe that everybody in the world would be better off if they'd just forget about their fucking heritage--their rich cultural treasures and sacred traditions, the faiths that've sustained them through so many trials, their however-many thousand years of history. It's all done more harm than good. It's true that believing in nothing and not feeling attached to anything larger than yourself leaves you a little cold and detatched. But you also don't tend to kill folks so much. It's a fair trade-off. I just watched the Scottish Parade in New York this weekend, and that's about as much pride as I think people need to take in their heritage--marching down Fifth Avenue in skirts playing the theme from the Old Spice commercial on bagpipes. Dressing up in costumes, playing old songs, eating your favorite foods, drinking your traditional poison, that's all harmless and fun. It's when hot chicks start blowing each other up that the fun's gotten out of hand.