Below is the latest The Pain -- When Will It End?
Updated 5/11/05

Artist's Statement

Lately I have turned, for solace, to the collected letters of H.L. Mencken, who, like me, devoted himself to chronicling the stupidity and prejudices of his fellow men, but, unlike me, did not take it to heart and allow it to outrage and depress him, but rather regarded it all as a grand pageant mounted for the personal delectation of connoisseurs of human folly such as himself. "It needs good humor in the telling, not indignation," he wrote of the xenophobic hysteria and jingoism that surrounded America's entry into World War I. I wish I could emulate his joi de vivre, but I'm afraid it was probably constitutional, and I am doomed to be appalled and disillusioned afresh daily. In 1945, after just about everything he had ever believed in or advocated for had been publicly discredited, he was approached to write a political column and declined, saying, "it is much easier to turn to other subjects and let the country be damned." In this spirit I give you this cartoon, a sort of throwback to my pre-2000 work, something you'd more likely have found in my first book, The Pain--When Will It End?, than in the forthcoming Why Do They Kill Me?. Also it was another opportunity to show off the Gothic calligraphy I so pianstakingly lettered in last week's "Jesus vs. Jeezus."

Although we are all warned throughout adolescence about the dangers of Peer Pressure and braced to defend our virtue against it rigorously, I cannot remember ever once having been subjected to it in either high school or college--never, in fact, until I met my friend Steve. (In fact one of the things that irks me most in life is that I am never, ever peer-pressured into having group sex or attending orgies. Just so everyone knows, I am notoriously weak-willed and easily seduced.) None of us needs the Devil to tempt us when there are so many beers and drugs and pretty girls out there, ingeniously luring us into sin by existing. This cartoon is dedicated to Chris, who first identified what he calls my trademark Crumbling maneuver. As he explains it to anyone trying to convince me to stay for one more beer, or try some alarming new drug, or forrego my responsible plans and hang out having fun all day, you can't change my mind or break my resistance through persuasion; you just have to make the suggestion and then stand back and wait for me, inevitably, to crumble.


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