Below is the latest The Pain -- When Will It End?
Updated 11/27/02

Artist's Statement

Last week's artist's statement ended with the ominous line: "Or maybe it'll take al Qaeda mustard-gassing the fucking Superbowl before anyone in the national press corps politely raises a hand and asks hey whatever happened to that Osama guy anyway." This week's cartoon was obliquely inspired by an incident at one of Donald Rumsfeld's press conferences in which one member of the Washington Press Corps  managed to swallow his professional deference to authority to ask just that: did he, Rumsfeld, have any idea whether Osama bin Laden was dead or alive? "Yes," quipped Rumsfeld, in his gruff, airline-pilot way, "he is dead or alive." Everyone enjoyed a big Beltway cocktail-party laugh, and then, incredibly, the question was dropped.

Does a more spineless bunch of suckups and whores than the Washington Press Corp exist anywhere on Earth today? It would be one thing if they were a captive corps of "journalists" in some tinpot dictatorship like Iraq, who had to transcribe and recite the official state propaganda and disinformation or risk getting cattle prods up their asses, but the only thing the Washington Press Corps would risk by occasioanlly asking a real question or insisting on getting a real answer is losing their precious "access"--meaning access to state propaganda and disinformation. I don't even understand why they still bother going to official press briefings; does anyone actually believe that information is being dispensed there? To paraphrase the old antiwar slogan, What if they gave a press briefing and nobody came? What if they just refused to participate in the whole charade and all those reporters were instead--I don't know--maybe out doing a little old-fashioned Woodward-and-Bernstein-style investigative journalism, trying to find out like what exactly did the government know about terrorist threats before 9/11, and how come we let bin Laden get away in Afghanistan, and what's with this weird obsession with invading Iraq, anyway? Or, at the very least, whatever happened to those Halburton documents Dick Cheney was supposed to have turned over months ago?

It just seems to me like Rumsfeld's evasive crack would've seemed funnier if he hadn't been talking about the same guy who ordered the murder of three thousand American cvililians last year, and that it'll seem even less funny after the next attack kills a few thousand more. (And to think they fire political cartoonists for making offensive jokes.) If that does happen, hopefully someone will ask the same question again, and Rumsfeld won't be able to slither out from under it with a lame quip. I'd like to hope that another attack would cause people to ask, hey, why were you paying somuch attention to Iraq, which has nothing to do with al Qaeda, that you allowed this to happen? But instead I expect the administration will just use it as an excuse to topple some more governments and revoke amendements 1 through 4 and discreetly pass some more tax cuts for the rich.

I only wish terrorist attacks actually affected the people who really deserve them. But I guess that's what makes it "terrorism."