Below is the latest The Pain -- When Will It
"That Tim Kreider homunculus is a tinfoil-wearing moon-bat of the highest order, to borrow the expression, but some of his cartoons are marginally funny."
Big Jim forwarded me that quote from some conservative blog yesterday. Itís "marginally funny" that really hurts, of course, although admittedly "homunculus" is not the kind of thing you want to hear yourself called first thing on a Monday.
I received a very long and intelligent email this week taking me to task for my rather reductive and reactionary screed last week. It was a letter so well-informed and intricately reasoned that I frankly had a hard time following it and was inclined just to respond, "Hm, yeah, sounds like youíve got a point there." I truth, I think I did succumb to exactly the kind of ill-informed outrage that seems to be the intended effect of most of the articles in the New York Post, which made the maligned bear Mohammed a cause célébre for the better part of a week. I just this week saw another squib in the Post about Muslims stoning women for the crime of getting raped or cutting off their clitorises or somethingóI donít even remember, yet another Islamofascist atrocity to rile up a little more self-righteous, red-blooded loathing of the swarthy mustachioed Other and sell a few more papers. The likelihood that it is well-deserved loathing doesnít mean one ought to lower oneís guard against manipulation by the Yellow Press.
(Look itís not like I even read the New York Post. When you live in New York it is ubiquitous and unavoidable, it seeps into your pores like the grime on the subway, you absorb its content against your will the same way you involuntarily know more than any sane person should want to about Brad and Jennifer just because you have to buy groceries.)
All my readerís irrefutable points notwithstanding, Iím still going to maintain that in a world that offers very few alternatives a person can really get excited about, there is a qualitative difference between ignorant faith and secular rationalism, between totalitarian theocracies and nations with institutionalized separation of church and state. And despite our imperialistic shitheadedness and heedless greedy wreck of the planet I would much rather live in the latter than the former, if only for the porn.
I would also point out, to paraphrase Dr. Leonard McCoy, that Iím a cartoonist, not a political analyst. I may be smarter and a better writer than a lot of the plodding, conventional-minded hacks like Thomas Friedman or Maureen Dowd who get weekly access to the megaphone of the New York Times op-ed page, but then odds are so are you. Itís not like I actually know what Iím talking about. I am just some guy. And much as we strive for truth and justice in all things here at Pain, Inc., broad, unfair generalizations are a time-honored tool of the humoristís trade and I intend to continue to wield it at my surly whim.
That said, Iím afraid, this weekís cartoon is more of the same puerile, xenophobic silliness, a sequel to last weekís cartoon drawn more out of lack of inspiration than any ongoing rancor about Islam. So far, no fatwa has actually been decreed, although I havenít been paying close attention to the news lately. Still, I figure being issued a fatwa is like winning the Nobel Prize; someone probably gives you a call. At the very least some reporter probably calls first thing in the morning to hit you with the news and ask how it feels. In any event, I already have a number of safe houses lined up to flee to (Hi, Carin and Adam!).
The Kirbyseque Waldoes in the last panel were inspired by a news video someone sent me a link to last week: http://www.cnn.com/video/?/video/tech/2007/11/27/yeates.ut.robo.soldier.ksl
This news happened to coincide with a press release announcing that a private company has finally developed a jetpack that enables the flyer to stay aloft longer than thirty seconds. We appear to be about a decade away from Iron Man.
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: DO NOT KILL THE CLERIC MOQTADA AL-SADR, OR BRING ME THE HEAD OF WILLIAM WEGMAN. THIS IS A JOKE ONLY. YOU WILL NOT RECEIVE THE THOUSAND DOLLARS.
Iíd like to take this opportunity to post a picture I drew for a cartoon titled "Unsavory Types, #1," back in the prehistory of The Pain. This unflattering portrait is based on a thirty-some-year-old photo of the late Karlheinz Stockhausen, who died this week, aged 79. Stockhausen was one of the most innovative and influential figures in 20th century music, the composer of such monumental works as Hymnen, Gruppen, Kontakte, Momente, and Licht. For those readers who value euphony over theory, his strange and beautiful breakthrough work Gesang der Jünglinge and the hypnotic Trans are recommended. A perusal of his obituary, combined with some google image searching, reveals that he habitually made mistresses of artists and musicians from his own ensemble who had the coincidental virtue of being total babes. Sounds like a good life.
I was sobered, in reading Stockhausenís obituary, to see prominent mention given to some comments he made soon after September 11th which were construed to express some kind of flaky admiration of the terrorists. These remarks were admittedly made in the context of a worldview so weirdly idiosyncratic that they could be expected to make sense to just about no one, but they were taken out of context nonetheless, and no one in the worldís media made any particular effort to clarify their innocent intention or exonerate their author of the wrongly inferred thoughtcrime. Stockhausen was clearly something of a moonbat in later years, but he was also an artist and a humane man who could have had no conceivable sympathy for destroyers of art and life such as al Qaeda or the Taliban. Anyway, it occasioned the glum reflection that in the unlikely event that I rate any obituary at all, it will inevitably mention my minor role in the failed defense of Pluto in 2006, a bizarre and fleeting bout with fame that had about as much to do with me as 9/11 did with Stockhausenís lifeís work. Oh well. You donít get to choose what youíre remembered for.