Below is the latest The Pain -- When Will It End?
Updated 02/08/06

Artist's Statement

Announcement to New York readers: Tim Kreider has relocated to his winter headquarters in The City, where he suffers the kind of loneliness that makes you sob more often than he ever does in his isolated cabin on the Chesapeake Bay. New York fans of his work are hereby urged to invite him out for beers. Please do not be insane people.

This may look like a pretty average effort, but believe it or not it was one of the hardest cartoons I’ve ever drawn. I’ve just moved back to my winter H.Q., and my weekend was devoted to various moving-in pains-in-the-ass. It wasn’t until Sunday morning that I finally sat down to draw my cartoon, and found myself paralyzed by indecision and despair. For one thing, I was consumed with envy and sef-doubt over this Danish cartoon that’s provoked riots, kidnappings, and stone-throwing throughout the Arab world. Not that it’s any trick to provoke rioting in the Arab world, where I believe they celebrate children’s birthdays with angry chanting and American flag-burning and the celebratory beheading of foreigners. But I have to ask myself, if I’m not causing any worldwide furors, why exactly am I in this business? I do my very best to cause furors every week, and every week nothing. American Christians are a bunch of pussies. All they ever do is call for boycotts; they never demand anyone’s severed heads as reparation. I should have mocked the Muslims a long time ago. In fact I intended to draw a cartoon about Islam years ago, not long after 9/11, but my colleague Megan talked me out of it, warning me (not incorrectly) that I’d be jumping on a bandwagon on which I would find myself in the company of some very unsavory wagonmates indeed. Nonetheless I now regret showing the Muslims any special consideration. Their religion is at least as stupid as Christianity, plus they still take it seriously enough to kill people over it. Religious people need to get used to being offended. I’m offended daily, by almost everything I read and hear. That’s what it means to live in a pluralistic society; being constantly offended by other people’s stupid and wrong opinions. That does it; I’m doing a cartoon about Islam next week. Bring on the fatwa, motherfuckers!

So anyway I sat miserably clutching my head in my hands all morning, trying to think up a cartoon that would trigger angry chanting and beheadings in Wichita. Exacerbating this bout of cartoonist’s block was the fact that I had no telephone, and the promised wireless internet in my apartment wasn’t working, so I was cut off from my critical lifeline of humor consultants. Further proof, if any was needed, that my own funniness is an illusion sustained by the stolen ideas of my authentically funny friends. (Of course when I finally checked my e-mail at a café on Monday morning I found several excellent cartoon ideas waiting for me, too late.) I am indebted to my colleague Emily Flake for telling me about the President’s bizarre non sequitur about human/animal hybrids in the State of the Union speech. Thanks also to my friend Isabelle for helping me work out some of the panel gags over a bloody-mary-with-beer-back brunch. In the end the only way I was able to get any drawing done was by going over to my friend Ben’s apartment and working while he edited his radio show. Like me, Ben has exactly one thing to do every week, and, also like me, puts it off until the last second and always bemoans the unsatisfactory quality of the result. We learned that my favorite afternoon Irish bar in New York is only two blocks from his apartment. A productive winter awaits us.

I’m still a little disappointed in myself to have gone with something so silly and trivial while that lucky Dane has the entire Islamic world calling for his hands to be lopped off. (The only panels that truly makes me happy are #s 2, featuring the guileless Goofy, for whom I rediscovered a certain affection in Disneyworld, and #4, only because of the cheering image of Spider-Man zapping Dick Cheney in the kisser with web fluid. It turns out to be very fun to write the different dialects of cornball dialogue distinctive to Goofy and Spider-Man—you find that words like “Gawrsh!” and “Chuckles” pop naturally and unbidden up from your long-term subconscious memory.) What exactly the President was referring to in his speech remains a disquieting mystery. I worry, though, that if we renounce research into this area the Koreans are sure to outpace us and will eventually attack us with an unstoppable subhuman army of hybrids. The skies over Washington will be black with an armada of Korean Man-Bats. We will rue the day.


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