Below is the latest The Pain -- When Will It End?
Updated 10/05/05

Artist's Statement

In a week when a cagey nonentity was confirmed as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Tom "The Hammer" Delay was torn screaming from his position as Speaker of the House an indicted in Texas, and Bill Bennet made an ill-considered reducto ad absurdim argument about aborting all black babies born in the U.S., clearly the biggest news was the first-ever footage captured of the elusive giant squid in the wild. And it even happened on the same day that Tom Delay was indicted. Those are the news cycles worth living for. For the record, I am delighted to see top Republicans being hounded and disgraced and dragged from power. Yes, it's a witch hunt; of course it's character assassination. And it's beautiful! Trumped-up charges, rumor and innuendo, ad hominem atttacks, quotes taken out of context and distorted, outright lies--I am totally at ease with these tactics so long as they're being used to cripple and thwart Republicans. God knows they've been using them shamelessly against Democrats for long enough. This is what it feels like to be on the receiving end, you big crybabies. If the Democrats can crush the preposterous Mier nomination by insinuating that she's a Sapphist or a tea-head, excellent, say I, just as long as she's driven back to rightful obscurity in Texas.

But on to what's really important. For years my friends and I--especially webmaster Dave--have harbored dark suspicions about the giant squid. Why had no living specimen ever been photographed? Surely the U.S. Navy was keeping some squid-related secrets. After one particularly productive meeting with my inner circle of humor consultants at McSorely's Ale House, I woke up the next day to find the urgent scrawl in my little notepad: "GIANT SQUID--CONSPIRACY??" Dave has actually taken the precaution of purchasing a T-shirt bearing the slogan "WELCOME SQUID OVERLORDS."

It was during one of my desperate Thursday-night consultations with my colleague Emily Flake that we fixed on the giant squid as the only appropriate subject for a topical cartoon this week. I will say in my own defense, and to her credit, that it was Emily who came up wiith the "porn star in Japan" scenario. The line, "He say he want WHITE rady--he say Japanese girr too RITTRE!" reduced us both to a piteous state, splayed on our respective floors pounding the carpets and weeping with lauughter. Any failure in the execution is, of course, my own. (I changed it to "BRACK rady" just because "BRACK" sounds funnier.) Thanks to Chris for his inspired suggestion about steroid hearings. And apologies to Boyd for not using his unhinged idea of the giant squid teaming up with the sperm whale onstage in tuxedoes, doing the "Who's on first?" routine. My personal favorite panel is the one about Iraq, which seems as apt an illustration as any of the disconnect between the Bush administration's Wile E. Coyote blueprint for the war and the ugly reality on the ground. Readers whose short-term memories are not totally shot may remember my own suggestion that we deploy the giant squid as a surprise weapon in the Iraq desert a few years ago. That'd show those darn insurgents.

I love the giant squid.


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