Below is the latest The Pain -- When Will It End?
Updated 10/08/03

Artist's Statement

Major thanks this week go out to Big Jim, who helped me come up with this cartoon on the phone Friday morning when I had no ideas (deadline is 5 P.M. Friday). He really wanted the last panel to be about some baby panda opening its eyes but that sounds more like something for Ziggy or Family Circus. He also made me run over to pick him and his goddamn dogs up, stop by the bank, and drop off some videos, and then drink beer with him, all while I was frantically drawing on deadline, but in the end I got the cartoon finished and e-mailed in by 5:08, so all's forgiven.

A rare mood of optimism for the Kid this week. Things do seem to be looking up, in a way--by which I mean going utterly to pieces. But change always only comes from catastrophe. The title is taken from a line in The Two Towers (the film), when Gandalf the Grey, back from the dead, says, "I am Gandalf the White, and I come to you at the turn of the tide." And then he and Aragorn and Legolas and Gimli all go charging across the plains on their horses to save the world! Yeah! That's the best thing in life. Second-best, anyway. It does finally feel like this might be the start of it--that people might be waking up, returning to their senses and realizing that the country's being run into ruin by liars and thieves who operate like the mafia and have ransacked the national treasury like a bunch of crack addicts. The entire city of Chicago--not, traditionally, a hotbed of liberalism--just called for the repeal of the Patriiot Act! This is what I ultimately love about Republicans: whenever they gain power they immediately get drunk on it and cannot seem to refrain from peeling off their human masks to reveal the hideous reptillian features beneath and eating live kittens whole on national TV. As soon as Newt Gingrich won control of the legislature he started talking like a villain in a Dickens novel about throwing kids in poorhouses, and now the Bush cabal have given this three-hundred-thirty billion-dollar tax cut to their already obscenely wealthy campaign donors while asking for eighty billion dollars to rebuild a country they themselves destroyed for no real reason. What the hell'd they think was going to happen? Of course it's a fucking disaster. They're like little kids who threw their cat out a tenth-story window and now stand dumbstruck with horror and confusion, unable to believe that it's not going to wake up again.

Wesley Clark's question about 1972 is a reference to the mysterious period where George W., then in the Texas Air National Guard, to which his daddy had pulled political strings to get him assigned to keep him out of harm's way in Vietman, just plain didn't show up for duty for several months. Technically what they call A.W.O.L. Nobody seems to have gone looking for him and no one seems really worried about it now that he's our Commander-in-Chief and playing Army Guy on aircraft carriers.

The scene in panel 2 is an allusion to Arnold's Schwarzenegger's professed admiration for Hitler and to his alleged harassment of women. It seems remotely possible that if candidate Schwarzenegger were actually to see this cartoon he would personally come and beat me up. I will say for the record that this is all just political satire and I do not for one minute suppose that Arnold Scwarzenegger ever literaly beat a woman's ass with a truncheon while wearing only the top half of an SS uniform and no pants and laughing. Also that I live in a remote and hard-to-find location, and am heavily armed.

Initially I felt only unkind satisfaction when I heard that not only had Rush Limbaugh finally said something so offensive even his dittohead fans didn't want to get behind it but was under investigation for illegal pill-popping. My schadenfreude was lessened, however, when I learned that it was perscription painkillers to which he was addicted, for which I also have kind of a soft spot. The difference is that when I run out, I just shrug regretfully and say oh well--I don't send my fucking maid to get another case of family-size bottles. Idiot.

I haven't quite figured out how to do a cartoon about this exciting CIA scandal yet, so this is more generally about the Bush administration's being besiged on all fronts--Iraq a quagmire, no weapons of mass destruction found, calls for an independent counsel at home, the approval ratings plummeting. There's nothing like the scent of blood in the water! I love seeing those arrogant, condescending bastards on the defensive, everything they touch turning to shit. I'm hoping I'll be able to send George W. and his father matching T-shirts next year that say, "One-Termer."


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