Not unexpectedly, I received a number of complaints
about last week's cartoon, "Babies Are Assholes."
To those parents who were offended or took issue with this cartoon, I can
only say: I apologize. I was wrong; you are right. Children are in fact adorable
and fascinating. I can't imagine why you all seem so starved for even a few
precious minutes away from them. I now realize that parenting brings with
it intangible joys purer, keener, and more transcendent than any I can understand.
I am sure it is a mercy to me that I will never know what I am missing. Sadly,
I am stuck with such meager, lustreless, tangible joys as doing anything I
want at any time, sleeping 'til nine every day, going to boring arty films
and concerts and readings and lectures and parties and the track, eating icky
grownup foods like Belon oysters and snapper soup and five different kinds
of Wurst, drinking blucky grownup drinks like Sancerre and Lagavulin and Guinness,
having boring erudite grownup conversations about art and politics and life,
and fucking. I would ask that you regard me not with rancor but with pity.
This week's cartoon, by contrast, is sure to be loved by all, since it steers clear of potentially touchy subjects like children and instead lightly pokes fun at the decline and fall of America. Another idea we came up with on the road trip. It began with me imagining America, after the collapse of its empire, as the bitter broken-down drunk at the end of the bar boring everyone by going on and one about his former exploits back in the glory days. I have to say I sort of look forward to the day when, inevitably, our hubristic ambitions fall apart on us and we lose our empire and can then, hopefully, concentrate on becoming the greatest country on Earth again, instead of just the strongest. Former empires are generally nice places to live, with charm and grace, fine cuisine, and world-class museums. It was Tom Hart's suggestion that it should be England who would take America under its wing. That's John Bull, symbol of Britain, as Uncle Sam's drinking buddy, trying gamely to teach us us how to take post-imperial life easy and age gracefully, kick back with an ale and not fret so much. The French embodiment of Liberty, loosely adapted from Delacroix, is looking a little frowsy but I think is holding herself together with a certain Gallic hauteur. Our bartender, of course, stands in for all the people of the third world who've always been oppressed imperial subjects and never had a shot at the top. And that's the Russian bear up on the wall. Poor guy. If I'd had enough space, or better compositional acumen, I would've found some way to include Germania, an aged and bloated Valkyrie quaffing pilsner from a stein in a desperate effort to forget, forget, forget.
The Chinese astronaut is saying, "Eat shit, foreign devils." At least I think he is. Chinese characters would have been preferable but the translation I consulted offered only phonetic spellings.