Below is the latest The Pain -- When Will It End?
Updated 11/16/05

Artist's Statement

A reminder to New York readers: I will be giving a slideshow/reading of some of my cartoons at an event called “Carousel,” this Wednesday, November 16th at 8 P.M., at Dixon Place, 258 Bowery. Reservations can be made at (212) 219-0736, X106. There is a $15 “suggested donation,” a phrase I have found to have invaluable elasticity of interpretation. Also, you should be swarming St. Mark’s to buy my book. Swarm, my minions! Swarm upon them like locusts!

I’ve been feeling a little hung over--or maybe it’s more like a post-coital stupor--after last week’s giddy delirium over the Miers withdrawal and Libby indictment. Also my personal life currently resembles a heap of burning truck tires, the thick black noxious roiling smoke of which must surely be visible for miles. And so I finally drew this cartoon, which Boyd and I came up with in one of our late-night phone consultations a month or two ago. “Meow meow meow meow, asshole” was the line that cracked us up, as I recall. “Off to the spice mines” is obviously a reference, for those in the know, to the dreaded spice mines of Kessel spoken of by that worry-wart Threepio (which conceit was in turn lifted from Dune). A couple of disclaimers: the girl in the first panel is a caricature of no actual woman I have ever dated or known. She’s just a generic type, and so, in what is perhaps an even more damning self-revelation, emerged directly from my unconscious, an archetype of the Bitchy Girlfriend. Also, it has been a very long time since I dated a girl who harbored any delusions that I could ever be convinced to get a job or have children. These specific complaints are not the ones currently being leveled against me by womankind. My actual personal life is strictly off-limits in the cartoon, except in the most oblique and metaphorical glimpses. Also I needed the references to a job and kids in order to set up the nice symmetrical resonance with the last panel.

My boyfriend in panel 2 is Boyd’s colleague Galen, who is first in line to date me when I finally give up on women and decide to go gay. If only I can overcome my insatiable lust for women I am certain I will enjoy life as a homosexual far more than I ever did my failed and embarrassing existence as a heterosexual. I’ll be belle of the ball.

Other news: last week George Bush said something genuinely funny. He was meeting with the President of the European Union. The President of the E.U. complimented the President’s suit. Bush replied, “Thank you. God told me to wear it.” There was an awful frozen pause, and then he added, “That was a joke, by the way.” This is not only hilarious and disarming but indicates rather more self-awareness than I had attributed to Bush. Also it’s funny to imagine God dressing George each day (“No, George—not the striped tie—it will strobe on TV. Also, it looks kind of gay. Wear the blue one. It is patriotic and brings out the color of your eyes.”). Of course it only pretends to be self-deprecating humor; really it’s at the expense of those haughty, godless Europeans who think Bush is some kind of Jesus freak. But it makes me a little sad that George had to explain that he was only joking. I think it must have disappointed him to realize that someone was so ready to believe he was that crazy. My colleague Megan kindly suggested this week that I’m such a good artist because of my human compassion. I would say that I am something of a saphead.

Anyway, in the middle of my Friday deadline crunch I took time out to write and send the following letter to the White House:


President Bush:

I am a political cartoonist for a number of alternative weekly papers, including the Baltimore City Paper and the Philadelphia Weekly. Since I know you to be a man of direct and simple words, I’ll say plainly that I hate everything you’ve done to my country. Nevertheless, when I read about your straight-faced reply to the President of the E.U. today after he complimented your suit (“God told me to wear it”), I had to admit that it was hilarious. It’s been cracking me up all day. My compliments. Sounds like you really had him going for a second there. It would’ve had me going, too.

I have a proposal for you, one that I make without any irony or hidden agenda, and I hope you will give it due consideration: I will draw any cartoon idea you come up with. It seems only fair to give you this opportunity, having viciously mocked and pilloried not only your policies but you personally, as well as your advisors, friends, and family, for the last five years. The cartoon can be about anything you wish; it need not be about politics. If you’ve just had a good cartoon idea in the back of your head for years, now is the time to use it. It can be either a single-panel gag, like New Yorker cartoons, or a multi-panel strip, like newspaper comics. You can just give me the general idea and I’ll elaborate on it, or go ahead and write dialogue or captions, and I’ll faithfully illustrate them. I will not only draw this cartoon and publish it in all the left-leaning newspapers in which I appear (giving you authorial credit, of course), but will gladly present you with the original artwork, framed, as a gift.

I realize you’re a busy, but, should you accept this offer, I look forward to our collaboration.

I had been contemplating doing this anyway after having a dream in which I agreed to illustrate any cartoon idea George Bush came up with. In the dream his idea was typically lame, something based on a pun or homonym, possibly with anthropomorphic vegetables in it (?). I suspect that my fans and any future biographers will pinpoint the sending of this letter as the moment at which I went irrevocably around the bend. Webmaster Dave regrets only that this letter comes at a time when our friend Chris is seeking a higher security clearance for his government job. Rest assured I will keep my readers informed of any developments in this project.

Finally, it is that time of year when I turn my thoughts to my winter migration. Readers who know of sublet opportunities in exotic locales should let me know. I am particularly interested in going abroad this year—Paris, perhaps, or Buenos Aires.


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