Below is the latest The Pain -- When Will It End?
Sorry this cartoon is a couple of days late, everyone. What’s more, I’m afraid this one is going to have to last you until Wednesday the 21st. The deal is, my online cartoon has gotten out of synch with the one running in the papers, and I need to hold one of them up in order to match them up again. I apologize. My schedule’s all out of whack what with the move from Winter H.Q. in Manhattan back to our undisclosed location on the Chesapeake Bay, plus Ms. Hautpanz needs more time to work on her own project and Webmaster Dave is in Rome. Things are all balled up at the head office.
It’s true, Pain readers: my friend Ben and I, under the influence of painkillers, made a pact to abstain from alcohol for the entire month of June. Possibly this pact was too hastily-considered, but we are sticking to it. In the last few days I have received several high-strung and vengeful phone messages from Ben suggesting that he may now have some regrets about this plan. So far I have not been afflicted with any craving for drink, but I am put in mind of the old joke: What did the Deadhead say when he ran out of weed? “Hey man, this music sucks.” Not certain yet whether this is a problem with me or with reality. Comments, advice, and criticism about this project are unwelcome.
I only turned to this subject out of desperation. The news this last week or so has been so unremittingly grim and infuriating that I’ve been unable to find anything funny in it. American soldiers massacring women and children in Iraq, raping and torturing, generally behaving indistinguishably from Nazis. The Republicans shamelessly trotted out their usual fag-bashing platform in a desperate attempt to suck up to the bigots who constitute their base. Even some Republicans, who are normally as sensitive to the pangs of conscience as a pack of hyenas hungrily digging their snouts into the anus of a bloated antelope corpse, seem embarrassed by the transparency of this tired old pandering strategem. Not even the sorts of people who usually start frothing at the mouth as reliably as Pavlov’s dogs at the mention of homos seem to be buying it this time around. It really would have been an ideal week to be drunk.
I of course do not credit the officially sanctioned myth of George Bush’s giving up alcohol on his fortieth birthday. The story is something about a bad hangover, an ultimatum from the wife, and a long walk on the beach with Jesus. My guess is that his parents made a deal with him not unlike the offer depicted here: if you give up the booze, we’ll let you be President. Whether he’s really quit or not is a matter of some national interest. I know it’d be hard for me to face poll numbers in the low thirties without a stiff one. An interesting, if wholly speculative, analysis about George Bush and “dry drunk syndrome”—the behaviors characteristic of alcoholics who give up drinking without going into a program of recovery and true sobriety—is available at http://www.counterpunch.org/wormer1011.html .
Drawing George fucking Laura Bush was neither easy nor pleasant. Most of the drawings of George’s henchwomen that appear in his fantasy balloon are culled from earlier cartoons of mine, except for the cowtown Machiavelli and Counsel to the President Karen Hughes, whom I depicted here for the first time. She really is pretty much the Mannerist nightmare seen here, with stenciled-on whiplash eyebrows and a wattled saurian throat. Drawing these horrible women has brought home to me that George really does have a clear and consistent “type”: bony, desiccated, hard-faced women with brittle hair, glassy eyes, and thickly applied black eyeliner. (What’s with that eyeliner, anyway? Is it just that most of them are from Texas, where women don’t know any better than to keep slathering on the tacky middle-school slut makeup well into late middle age?) They also tend to have an unwholesome nunnish quality to them, as though they’d renounced all other men to devote themselves singly to the cultivation and advancement of this ungifted but well-born manchild. Certainly it’s difficult---not to say distasteful—to imagine any of them having any sexuality at all. The only one of them I can actually picture having sex is Laura, who I’ll confess I suspect of secretly being a wildcat in the sack. What would you really like to do to a Godless America-hating liberal like me, Laura? Oh! Oh my. Oh hoo.
My favorite line in this cartoon: “Bad news, George. Box of heads turned up in Fallujah.” It’s funny because it’s true. It’s funny: a bunch of disembodied heads is just gruesome and appalling, but a box of heads--that’s comedy. Since drawing this cartoon events have overtaken me: the U.S. forces have “eliminated” al Qaeda’s leader in Iraq, al Zarqawi (at least he’s been al Qaeda’s leader in Iraq ever since Colin Powell inadvertently appointed him to the position that in his infamous U.N. speech). You know what this means--the insurgency is over! I guess this shows me and all my defeatist liberal pals. At last democracy will be restored to these freedom-loving people. Victory in Iraq! U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!