Below is the latest The Pain -- When Will It End?
Updated 2/14/07

Artist's Statement

Announcement: I will be doing one of my slideshow/talks for R. Sikoryakís "Carousel" at Dixon Place, 258 Bowery, 2nd floor, at 8:00 P.M. on February 22nd. Call 212-219-0736 for tickets. Any New York City fans of The Pain are encouraged to attend, and to ask me out for drinks afterward.

So: my cartoons are killing people. The dates cited in this cartoon have been double-checked. I drew Gerald Ford for the first time on December 20th. He died six days later. Okay, funny coincidence, but not exactly uncannyóFord was ninety-three years old, after all, which is old even for an ex-President, and in frail health. But then, on January 31st, I drew a generic blond bimbo sitting on Saddam Husseinís lap, toyed with the idea of making her Pamela Anderson, but then I remembered that no, Pam Andersonís already been a joke in Borat, and instead decided to make her Anna Nicole Smith. And then Pow!--eight days later she drops dead at age thirty-nine. Close call for Pam Anderson! It was only on a whim that I made that character Ana Nicole Smith, mostly because I sort of secretly liked her Trimspa ads on the New York subways. (Except that I always preferred the BEFORE pictures of her to the AFTERs; she always looked pathetically insecure and anxious to please in the AFTER photos, like, "Do you like me now? Am I thin enough?" whereas in the BEFOREs she looked like a big, lusty good-time gal, like: "Come Ďní get it, boys! Thereís plenty for everyone!" She was happier when she was fat and I wish sheíd stayed that way.) I have a very hard time telling most celebrities apart from one another, so my arbitrary naming of the character in this cartoon, unaware of my terrible power, was like firing a shotgun blindfolded at the Golden Globe awards. Itís suddenly occurred to me that I donít know the difference between Anna Nicole Smith and Jessica Simpson. My mental images of them are identical. Who is Jessica Simpson?

So but anyway: what the fuck? Itís like that Twilight Zone episode where Burgess Meredith plays the Satanic cheroot-chewing typesetter with the printing press that makes calamitous headlines come true. Obviously the next step is to test this theory to see if it is real cartoon voodoo or just a crazy fluke. Which brings us to this cartoonís titular question: who shall I kill next? (I know it should technically be Whom Shall I Kill Next, but sorry, in a cartoon title you just donít say anything as prissy as Whom.)

Several of the candidates suggested themselves by foolishly appearing in the news over the weekend. Vladimir Putin reproached the U.S. for destabilizing the world with unilateral violence, and Joe Lieberman chastised antiwar critics for demoralizing our troops.

Vladimir Putinís one to talk. Heís been killing rivals and critics like a fucking Borgia--with radiation, no less. It seemed fitting that his only hope of survival should lie in being consigned to the iron mask of Dr. Doom. (The stylized radiation, as the dorkwad cognoscenti will not need to be told, is an homage to Jack Kirby.)

Dinesh DíSouza, for those blissfully ignorant of such things, is a dickless little twit whoís paid by conservative think tanks to be a minority and an immigrant who argues that racism no longer exists in America, and that affirmative action hurts African-Americans. He is the equivalent of the happy cartoon pig in the chefís hat who invites drivers to pull over and fill up on bar-B-Q pork. Most recently, he blamed the American cultural left for 9/11. Also, he was mean to a pretty girl I know. The tome on his deathbedside table is Ayn Randís Atlas Shrugged, infallible red flag of assholism.

William Wegman is the worst artist in America. He is my standard for artistic cowardice and failure. Any time I take any kind of artistic risk--drawing a cartoon I worry might be too weird or offensive, beginning an essay without any idea what my thesis will turn out to be, or contracting to write a screenplay, which I donít know how to do--I remind myself that the alternative is to be William Wegman. There is no uncertainty in William Wegmanís life. William Wegman does not indulge in doubts. Every day when he wakes up, William Wegman knows exactly what heís going to do: take another photo of his cocksucking dog. The fact that he has not yet put a bullet through his own brain and keeps breathing air and eating food and taking photos of his cocksucking dog is some sort of testament to William Wegmanís mineral insensitivity, invincible shamelessness, or just a pure mulish will to live despite the lack of any reason to do so.

Joe Liebermanís soul rotted out years ago. You can still smell it when he gets too close--a faint, acrid odor that pierces straight to the sinuses, like burnt plastic. Only donations from corporate lobbyists keep him propped up and walking the halls of power, twitching and giving the thumbs up and smiling, galvanized like a dead frogís leg into a grotesque and unnatural travesty of life.

If any of these people dies in the next week or so, it can mean only one thing: that I now wield the power of life and death. And then men shall fear me. Let us wait and see.

Parts of this cartoon were drawn under the influence of Robitussin Cold & Cough, hence their somewhat gruesome and phantasmagoric aspect.


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