Below is the latest The Pain -- When Will It End?
Updated 10/31/07

Artist's Statement

Note to New York readers: Tim Kreider will be signing copies of his books at Jim Hanley's Universe, at 4 West 33rd Street, just west of 5th Avenue (across the street from the Empire State Building), on Friday, November 2, 2007 from 8-10 p.m. He appears at the gracious invitation of his friend and colleague Alex Robinson, who will be debuting his hot-barbarian-chick comic, Lower Regions. Also signing will be Mike Dawson (Freddie and Me and Gabbagool). They will retire to Foley's NY, 18 West 33rd Street, down the street from Hanley's, immediately afterward to drink beers and grumble about the low turnout.

This, alas, is the cartoon idea I discarded last week. Sometimes you just have to turn in a placeholder and vow to yourself to come up with something better by next week. Like those days when your most ambitious goal is to eat three meals and then go back to bed at the end of it and hope tomorrow’s better.

For the record, my facial expression here is meant to look less gloaty than clueless, as though I haven't been keeping up with Iraq and had halfway forgotten all about it and was just checking in. Needless to say I have said no such thing to anyone in real life because I am a spindly man, easily smashed. Still, it is worth saying told you so and fuck you once more to every single shithead who hopped on board the let’s-all-invade-Iraq bandwagon four years ago. It's unsportsmanlike of me, but I'm afraid I am just disinclined to let this one go. I will refer readers, once again, to the peerless Matt Taibbi, who pointed out in his column a year ago that it’s too easy to blame the Republicans for the war in Iraq; the real responsibility lies with “the malleable middle of the American political establishment who three years ago made a conscious moral choice to support a military action that even a three year-old could have seen made no fucking sense at all.” I almost have to respect those few delusional fools—now almost exclusively limited to members of the Bush administration--who still adamantly support the war more than the millions who were enthusiastic about it until they realized it wasn’t going so well. (As Taibbi says, at least Bush and his administration sacrificed American lives for something they wrongly believed in—the rest of the political establishment was willing to forfeit those lives for the sake of expediency.) Almost. But no, not quite—at least those people are able to accept reality, albeit belatedly, about four years after it was obvious to their historically literate compatriots—just as they’re finally coming around to accept the reality of global warming about twenty years after the even smaller scientifically literate community.

The Iraq situation’s gotten a little weird, hasn’t it? I mean, in the sense that it now feels almost normal. The day before yesterday there was a photo of a line of smiling Iraqi police trainees lined up for lunch; the next day’s headline was: “28 Iraqi Police Killed in Suicide Blast.” (One imagines it being the exact same guys.) This stuff still makes headlines, but you wouldn’t exactly call it news anymore. I remember how, after the government went ahead and invaded Iraq over the protests of half the population, most of the people I know mentally washed their hands of the whole mess and quietly seceded from the rest of the nation. Our policy was: Good luck with that, guys. Let us know how it turns out. Then we finally elected a Democratic congress, but I already can’t remember what they pretended to do about it—talked about cutting off funding except then didn’t, maybe issued one of their dreaded non-binding resolutions. In other words, nothing. Since we tried that and nothing changed, we’ve apparently decided to ignore it. Babies who are abandoned at first scream their lungs out for a while, but then, after that doesn’t work, they lapse into terrible silence and passivity. It’s almost as if, since it now seems like the war’s never going to end no matter what we do, we’ve all just decided to end it in our heads, pretend it’s not happening and get on with life as usual: the ‘08 Presidential campaign, the World Series, the Britney fiasco. It’s not just the gung-ho fuckwits who supported it who are trying to forget about it now; so are those of us who passionately opposed it. It’s just too big a bummer to acknowledge anymore—except, of course, for the guys coming home mutilated and maimed, who pretty much have no choice.

Yeah, I know it’s a bigass tragedy, and we’re not supposed to dwell on how we got there or point fingers or play the Blame Game now because we’re all in it together and we have to figure out where to go from here—but actually, no, fuck that: we’re not all in it together. Those neocon pinheads from the Project for a New American Century thought up this war, the Republican party followed the administration in docile goosestep, and the shithead voters supported it with bumper stickers and magnetic ribbons and their children’s lives, like they always do, every single time, and of course it’s a fucking disaster, exactly like us wussy liberal peaceniks said it would be. Things did not go unexpectedly, inexplicably wrong in Iraq; they went predictably, inevitably wrong. Conservatives have had absolute control over America’s destiny for the last eight years, and they finally got everything they ever wanted. It’s a big grisly Monkey’s Paw wish come true for Red America. And unfortunately, unlike the horrified parents in “The Monkey’s Paw,” who can hear their mangled son’s corpse shambling toward the door, coming home, they’re out of wishes.



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