Below is the latest The Pain -- When Will It End?
Updated 05/10/06

Artist's Statement

Thanks to Ben Walker for informing me that for weeks now several websites, among them Ken Silversteinís blog on the Harperís site, have been reporting on a sex scandal already being called "Hookergate," involving poker parties attended by the politically powerful that degenerated into "frat party scenes" with prostitutes. Photographic documentation was mentioned. A number of bloggers were speculating last week that a person "in a powerful intelligence post" generally assumed to be Porter Goss, was involved in, if not organizing, these parties, and would soon resign. Then, a few days ago, Porter Goss abruptly resigned without explanation. Ben and I came up with the rest of this cartoon effortlessly over martinis and cigars at a sidewalk table in Soho, This is how The Process works, my friends. Just another night at the office.

The Process

This is hardly the first time Iíve experienced the unsettling disconnect between "professional journalism" and "citizen journalism,"óthat is, between whatís on TV and reality. I first felt it personally a few years ago, when I attended massive antiwar marches, which surrounded the White House and shut down the streets of Midtown Manhattan, that might as well not have occurred in newspapers or on TV. But itís never been as noticeable and as pervasive as itís been in the last week. First, the mainstream media seemed to have come to a tacit consensus that Stephen Colbertís scalding speech at the Washington Press Corps dinner Would Not Be News, even though by the night after he delivered it the video had already been downloaded from the web 80,000 times. Finally the New York Times deigned to take note of the controversy in "the blogosphere," and even now all discussion of the speech is confined to whether it was funny, or appropriateóand not on the fact that someone stood up and called the President a fool and a failure, and the Washington Press Corps cowards and lickspittles, to their faces. And now, after weeks of online predictions that Goss would resign, the mainstream media (as virtuosic in their diction as they are diligent in their commitment to investigative reporting) are calling Gossís departure "completely unexpected," "a complete surprise," and "a complete shock." It reminds me of nothing so much as President Bushís defensive rhetorical reflex of saying that "nobody could have predicted" some avoidable catastrophe that had been repeatedly and publicly predicted. Yesterday I was sitting at brunch drinking my bloody mary, alternating between drawing this cartoon and watching, bemusedly, as CNN reporters went through the pointless motions of doing in-depth, behind-the-scenes analyses of Gossís departure without ever going anywhere near the real reason. "According to insiders, Gossís departure was far from unexpected," they informed us. "He has a history of differences with the man he reports to, John Negroponte." It brought to mind the insight that an Allied codebreaker has in Neal Stephensonís novel Cryptonomicon, when he realizes that all the news he reads in the papers or hears on the radio, the whole official history of the war, is all theater; Yamamotoís death, for example, is a fortuitous freak coincidence instead of a straightforward political assassination. I remember once hearing Christopher Hitchens say that the reason a lot of reporters got into journalism was because they couldnít imagine getting their news from the media.

Well, the A.P. wire has finally picked up Hookergate, so who knows? Maybe in another month or two weíll be treated to the sight of Katie Couric stonefacedly introducing heavily censored video footage of Condiís facial.




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