Below is the latest The Pain -- When Will It End?
Updated 03/08/06

Artist's Statement

Note: those interested may wish to refer back to the artist’s statement for “Silver Linings of the Holocaust” in the archives, 02/22/06, to read the final draft of the letter I submitted to the newspaper Hamshahri along with my entry to their Holocaust cartoon contest. No word as yet from the Iranians. Ominous.

Ah, the parallel universe. I tend to think about parallel universes a lot—too often, probably, since it keeps me from grappling with the grim realities of the cruddy and lusterless one in which we’re all trapped. I’m tormented by the suspicion that the Tim Kreiders in all those other parallel universes are winning, that they’re doing better than me, that ours is the worst of all possible universes. It would certainly be appalling if it were the best. Well I guess there’s all those shithole universes where the Axis won the second world war, or the Russians won the cold war, or Ronald Reagan was cast as Rick in Casablanca. So there’s that to be thankful for, at least.

It was during my weekly Thursday night Belgian ale at Burp Castle with my colleague Tom Hart that we got to thinking, with wistfulness and rue, about the parallel universe where All Gore won the 2000 election (or, rather, where was awarded the Presidency by the Supreme Court). I don’t really imagine that the Gore administration would’ve been any more successful at preventing the 9/11 attacks than the Bush administration… but, then again, who knows? The Clinton administration tried to warn the incoming Bush administration about al Qaeda, and told them that this would be their number one foreign policy problem. As has been well documented, the Bush administration ignored this and all other warnings about Osama bin Laden and instead devoted their attention to gutting environmental regulation and giving out tax cuts to their campaign donors. Subsequent events have demonstrated, again and again, the Bush administration’s incapacity to foresee or cope with any crisis at all. How many times have you heard President Shitboy bleat, “I don’t think anyone anticipated…” or “No one could have predicted…” about something (flying commercial jets into skyscrapers, the levees of New Orleans breached by a flood) that had been repeatedly and publicly predicted? As if this would be an acceptable excuse? Seems like the obvious retort would be, Why didn’t you? I’m still not sure I understand why Bush isn’t more generally held accountable for his failure to prevent the terrorist attacks. I absolutely believe that if it had happened on a democratic President’s watch right-wing pundits would’ve been demanding his impeachment, if not his execution.

Thanks to my colleague Tom Hart, not only for providing the inspiration for this premise but ideas for several panels as well. I hadn’t known that Bush wanted to be Baseball Commissioner. It’s funny—not funny ha-ha, but funny collapse-of-democracy—how much better informed and more passionately engaged most people are with sports than with politics. Imagine how much more fiercely critical of Bush the average Fox-watcher would be if he brought his signature lack of experience and poor judgment to professional baseball instead of the governance of the nation.

Yes I am once again tempting fate by daring to depict the proscribed W_________s. In certain quarters this is a foolhardy affront tantamount to drawing caricatures of Mohammed. I await the subpoena of the feared W_______s legal team.

Thanks, too, to colleague Jason Little for helping me resolve the problem of the illustration for the last panel. All I could envision was something unacceptably clichéd and Rockwellian--a dad barbecuing with his family or some such horseshit. I like the image of these guys doing something stupid and loutish but basically harmless. It keeps the drawing from being sentimental even though it’s essentially an unironic celebration of life--any life, no matter how sordid or witlessly squandered. These are the real heroes—not the poor saps shooting people and getting shot in Iraq, but the brave men and women who patronize our nation’s strip clubs, who are downing shooters and folding dollar bills in half lengthwise to slip through garters and G-strings and hooting and jeering over “Wild, Wild West” and “Welcome to the Jungle.” O shake the titties of freedom, ladies! Shake it for us all! Shake it for America.


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