What? This? Oh, yeah… this. I can explain this. I guess I came up with the idea for this cartoon a few years ago, around the time that I read, nearly back-to-back, Walter Mosley’s thoughtful and erudite Workin’ on a Chain Gang: Shaking Off the Dead Hand of History and Jim Goad’s crude and hilarious The Redneck Manifesto, each of which made, in different ways, the same point: that race is an issue used by the powerful to divide people of the same class against one another. And it occurred to me that the Angry White Men of America were squandering their talk-radio rancor on phantoms--apocryphal welfare mothers and Willie Horton and the invented black guy who supposedly shot Charles Stuart‘s wife--when who they really ought to hate was me. I am a fucking parasite on society, man. I have not done an honest day’s work since 1992, if you even want to call what I was doing then work. And then I realized that in fact I had somehow become the very embodiment of the old racist stereotype of the lazy, shiftless, no-‘count Negro, loafing and drinking all day and dreaming about sodomizing pretty white ladies. I mean I’m not claiming to be Down with the Black Man or anything; I am just about the very whitest, candy-assed, jive-turkiest honky who ever lived. I can’t dance, I can’t stand rap or hip-hop, I can’t even follow funky complicated handshakes, and obviously O.J. killed his fucking wife. However, I really do feel like there are ways in which my and my friends’ knee-jerk mistrust and paranoia regarding anything the government says or does has more in common with most African Americans’ perception of the world than it does with mainstream, shopping-mall white America’s dumb fatassed bovine flag-decal patriotism. A few days ago at the train station I overheard a couple of black women talking about how one of the local TV stations had preempted Ray Charles’s funeral for a 118th hour of coverage of Ronald Reagan’s continuing death, and you know they wouldn’t have done that bullshit for Bill Clinton if he died, and then they went off about the ridiculous blowjob scandal They tried to take him down over, and how there ain’t never been a man in the White House who hasn’t gotten a little action on the side, with every word of which I completely agreed. It pained me to hear them say that “white folk” seemed to think that Reagan was some sort of hero, and I really wanted to let them know that there was one white boy who hated his fucking guts, but I didn’t, because it just would’ve been weird.
This cartoon is not particularly germane to anything currently in the news; I ran it because last Friday I needed to 1.) deposit a check 2.) take a carload of garbage to the dump 3.) mail a check and a book 4.) think up and draw a cartoon 5.) buy a new wheel rim for my car and 6.) go on a blind date, and in between items 2.) and 3.) on this list my car completely conked out. (I am on the 22nd year of an unbroken streak of poor vehicular maintenance and chronic car trouble.) Since I do not own a cell phone this involved a long walk in the hot sun and by the time I got home I no longer had enough time for item 4.), a.k.a my job. I solved the problem by running this illustration, which I’d already done for Lip magazine to accompany an article on critiques of African-American culture by conservative African-Americans. I still made it to Baltimore for my date, though. I had to make half a dozen phone calls before I found a cab that would pick me up in the middle of nowhere, which is where I live, and take me to the nearest train station. And I am glad I did. Hoo, boy.
Tim Kreider will be signing copies of his book, The Pain--When Will It End?, at Fantagraphics Books's table at the MoCCA (Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art) Art Festival, from noon to one P.M. this Saturday, June 26th. MoCCA is held in the Puck Building, at 295 Lafayette Street in lower Manhattan. Admission is $7 for a day and there is nothing to be done about that. Tim will be wearing a suit.