Below is the latest The Pain -- When Will It End?
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.