Below is the latest The Pain -- When Will It End?
Updated 06/18/08

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Artist's Statement

Fuckin’ W______s, man. What can I say? It was a busy week. I had a deadline for a 2-page cartoon story, and underestimated the sheer number of drawing-hours involved in doing a story as opposed to 1- or 4-panel cartoon, and then my computer chose the day before the deadline to go on the fritz, shutting down once every minute or so, so by Friday I just didn’t have the energy to draw anything else and I remembered an idea for another W______s cartoon in my little notebook. Thanks to my friend Ellen, who suggested the punchline to the cartoon, without which it would have been even stupider. But what do I know? I always feel like a shameful failure whenever I must resort to the W______s but then always somebody writes in to say they’re hilarious and they’re their favorite cartoons. You people—you love the fuckin’ W______s.

And why not W_______s? There’s not much news to speak of right now anyway. The media will have to try to make this election seem like a thrilling neck-and-neck race for the next five months just to sell papers and ad slots, but I remember they tried to do the same thing with Carter/Reagan, Reagan/Mondale, Bush/Dukakis, all of which were lamely presented as Anybody’s Guess until the in-retrospect-inevitable landslide. My feeling is that it is, as of last week, over. A young, handsome, charismatic, eloquent black man, an embodiment of hope and optimism and an opportunity to symbolically redeem our nation in the eyes of the world, vs. the same warmongering old white man who’s been botching up the world for the last five thousand years. And in the end every election comes down to the economy: if it's doing all right, the incumbent stays in; if it's in the crapper, he's out. Obama would have to get caught in bed with Hannah Montana on TV to lose this election (although given some of the porn that’s popular online, I’m not sure that wouldn’t bring a few swing voters around to his side). It’s (kind of) a shame; McCain’s a heroic figure, an independent thinker and an amusing gadfly, and anyone who’s mistrusted by evangelicals can’t be all bad. (Although on the subject of Iraq he is like one of those Japanese snipers still holed up in a palm tree awaiting the American invaders in 1963, and recently he has shamefully reneged on his previously sane stance on torture.) He should’ve been the Republican nominee in 2000, but once Karl Rove spread the word in South Carolina that he’d fucked a black lady it was the end of him. But then, McCain was running for the nomination of the Racist Party, and he even feebly defended the Stars and Bars in South Carolina in an embarrassing effort to suck up to the Klan vote, so he deserved what he got.

Obama really has insinuated himself into the national consciousness; there’s a website called "Idreamofbarack” where people submit their dreams about Barack Obama. These are endlessly fun and touching to read. I remember my colleague Megan talking about the national mania for Spider-Man back when the first of those movies came out, how it seemed to be something more than the usual multimedia hype--people really loved Spider-Man. It was something everybody could feel good about post-9/11. Barack Obama is the new, real-life Spider-Man. It's only (or mostly) symbolic, I know, but having this inspiring young black man become our President gives me a sense of possibility about our emerging from the awful Bush years of dumb, stubborn, belligerent denial, of actually facing our problems and figuring them out and changing: Iraq, the economy, global warming, peak oil, etc. It's the kind of superficial change that portends a deeper one, like how they say women who want to change themselves first change their hair. Anyway, it's a relief to know that I still have some reservoir of political passion left, and didn't blow my whole wad on that useless stuffed shirt John Kerry.

But hm, now comes Matt Taibbi’s latest piece, an ominous reminder that we still live in a nation full of unimaginably stupid racist shitheads, and that hate and fear are time-tested, sure-fire electoral techniques. It’s easy to forget that we live in a cultural bubble here on the East Coast (what Taibbi, with hilariously and embarrasing accuracy, dismisses as “a bunch of ineffectual bourgeois New Yorkers sitting around watching Stanley Kubrick movies and eating whole foods while conservatives took over the world.”) We have, after all, gotten our hopes up before, only to have them obliterated by the immense forgotten mass of Jesus cultists and fag-bashers back in that “vast obscurity beyond the city.” Perhaps my sense of things has been skewed toward the unrealistically optimistic by listening to so much Stevie Wonder.


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