Below is the latest The Pain -- When Will It End?
Updated 08/30/06

Some of you may know that I briefly became a media go-to guy in the subject of Pluto’s deplanetization this week. For forty-eight hours, I was the Lorax of Pluto. My old cartoon “The Sorrows of Pluto” was posted on NPR’s website, I wrote an op-ed for the New York Times, delivered a commentary for ABC World News Online and even appeared on Nightline (which I persisted in mistakenly referring to as “Loveline” to the show’s producer and camera crew). To get an idea of how weird and stressful appearing on television is, meditate on the oxymoron “act natural” for a few seconds. Later, you torture yourself over the things you meant to say and forgot vs. the stupid things you actually did say. I did not see myself on Nightline; during my appearance my friend Boyd and I were holed up eating cheese and watching Le Samourai and The Black Cat. Several female friends of mine have told me I looked hot, which is, as we all know, the only thing that really matters.

Well, my friends, they can tell us Pluto isn’t a planet, but they can’t say it never was one. It had a good ride, seventy-six years, more than many of us will get. And it was beautiful while it lasted. I know you will all join me in raising a toast to our late, beloved ninth planet


1930 - 2006

Artist's Statement

I had been looking forward to scraping whatever was left of Joe Lieberman off our heels after Election Day and not looking back at it. But now, to our horror, the loathesome thing clings to our feet, like expectorated gum or some spilled viscous liquid, following us desperately down the street, bleating at us, failing to die. Still the putrescent Senator lurches on, in an unnatural travesty of life, even as the blackening necrotic flesh peels from his face, relentless--unstoppable--while increasingly hysterical voters fire bullet after bullet into his soft ripe head. It’s like a nightmare! We Kill and Kill but it Does Not Die.

As a Senator, Joe Lieberman was merely contemptible rather than hateful; it’s his refusal to go away that’s made him infuriating. In reality he’s less like a zombie than a gnat that you absent-mindedly try to smush but it keeps evading you and flies around your head in erratic squiggles as if in deliberate, gleeful defiance and finally gets into your ear canal where you can hear the maddening high-pitched whine of its wings filling your brain and you leap up screaming with murderous rage. But anyway zombies make for better cartoons than gnats, and I’ve been on this whole monster kick lately anyway.

Lieberman is reportedly dismayed by the level of vitriol being directed against him on the web. Gosh, that must be a real bringdown, Joe. It’s too bad, but you picked the wrong side of history to be on, loser, and you had to be destroyed. Sorry. Under the Bush administration, in this current dark age of illegal war and imprisonment and torture and spying, Democrats who work with the Other Side aren’t “bipartisan;” they’re collaborators. And all Vichy Democrats go up against the wall in this election. If it offers any perspective on the situation, Joe, you might want to stop and reflect that your political career has not been the only, or even the most important, casualty of this war.

For reasons that I’m struggling to resist assigning any conspiratorial agenda to, national pundits seem unable to accept that the ousting of Lieberman was not a coup by a few far-left bloggers and activists but the legitimate, mainstream rejection of a pro-war, Bush-friendly Democrat. I don’t understand why the Far Right, which believes that dinosaurs are fake and that very shortly Jesus will return and Christians will be lifted bodily into Heaven, has to be taken seriously as a major political constituency whereas the Far Left, which believes that invading Iraq was a mistake and maybe we should have national health care, is dismissed as a bunch of crackpots. What kind of sense does it make for Democrats to treat their core constituency of progressives, African-Americans, labor, and the poor with contemptuous indifference—yeah, whatever, who the hell else are you gonna vote for, Nader?--and feebly try to sell themselves to the NASCAR dads while the Republicans pander shamelessly to their base of rabid fag-bashing Creationist dingbats in every single election? How about the Democrats sucking up to their own goddamn base for once? I, for one, after being taken for granted and marginalized and ignored by the party I’ve voted for my entire adult life, would not, at this point, say no to a little pandering.

I had what seemed like an insight into the American media this week that may actually be kind of stupid and obvious. It occurred to me that when journalists strive for what they call “objectivity,” this consists not in accurate, balanced, unbiased reportage, let alone “the Truth”: what it means is not having any consumers complain. (This is only the most serious among many objections to information, like education and health, being regarded as a commodity.) So that as the political zeitgeist in America has skewed farther and farther to the right, so has what’s considered “objectivity.” You quote one scientist who supports anthropogenic global warming and an oil industry hack who challenges it, leaving viewers with the impression of a 50/50 debate, anyone’s guess, folks, even though 99% of the climatologists on Earth accept global warming. You get one pundit to call antiwar activists and bloggers “radicals” or a “leftist jihad” who offer comfort to The Enemy, and another who merely attributes Lieberman’s loss to a mysterious “wave of anti-incumbency” having to do with everything from Katrina to Jack Abramoff, while no one comments on the fact that opposition to the war in Iraq is now the majority position in America.

Rather than rant on about this further, I will instead refer you to Matt Taibbi’s excellent analysis of why Lieberman Must Be Destroyed in Rolling Stone.




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