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