Below is the latest The Pain -- When Will It End?
Updated 12/25/02

Artist's Statement

Two years ago I was asked to deliver a speech to the Forum for Outer Planetary Exploration 2000-2020 at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston,Texas. (Don't ask; long story; suffice it to say they'd already asked everyone you might expect them to have asked, like Arthur C. Clarke and Kim Stanley Robinson,and I knew someone who knew someone.) Myfriend Boyd dared me, once I was actually standing up there at the podium in my suit with the assembled scientists and engineers giving me their polite attention, to say: "Gentlemen, I'm going to put aside my prepared text to address the issue that I know is at the forefront of all our minds--the Negro Problem." And then turn to unveil my demented plan to repatriate all African Americans in colonies on the Moon, depicted in an an enormous artist's conception. "I call it--[vast rippling fwumph of me dramatically whipping aside the sheet] NEGROPOLIS!" And then see how long it took for me to be forcibly dragged from the room. Of course I did not do this silly thing and gave a very uplifting speech about space instead.

The big dumb flap about Trent Lott this week seemed like the best opportunity I was ever going to get to deploy this idea. I call it "dumb" only because I don't get why it's suddenly some big fucking news flash that top Republican leaders are ignorant, bigoted good ole boys. These guys are segregationists from way back, and one reason they keep getting elected is that lots of their constituents are basically still pro-segregation. In spite of the party's efforts to change their image, everyone knows that if you want to keep the coloreds in their place you vote Republican. You don't have to go back to integration, just look at their history over the last few decades: Reagan's ficitious welfare mothers, Bush's Willie Horton ad, the War on Drugs, "tough on crime," "no racial quotas," the Confederate Flag, kicking blacks off the voter registration rolls in Florida... if slavery were still an issue today it's not hard to figure out which party would be on the side of Property and States' Rights. (Not that the Democrats would be taking a hard-line Abolitionist stance; they'd propose some half-assed compromise. Only leftie fringe groups like Naderites would be calling for anything as extreme and hopelessly impractical as Emancipation.) Shit, didn't Strom Thurmond actually own slaves? What's news here?

I'd like to think this would go without saying but I'm afraid where race is concerned nothing goes without saying, preferably saying very clearly and unambiguously: I hope it's plain enough that this drawing is meant as a parody of an insane segregationist fantasy, a 'Fifties caricature of happy, docile negroes going about their business in an idyllic environment far, far away. The black characters drawn here bear the same resemblance to actual African-Americans that the sleek Flash Gordon rocketships and clear bubble-dome colonies do to the Saturn Vs, Eagle lander, and Tranquility base. The last thing I want is to offend any black readers, who have enough to worry about already with these mean rednecks running the country.