Below is the latest The Pain -- When Will It End?
Updated 08/05/08


Note: July letters are posted.


Artist's Statement

Because I often draw unpleasant things, many people mistakenly imagine that I also wish to learn and view unpleasant things, and so they are constantly emailing, forwarding, or, sometimes, physically sending me new unpleasant things to contemplate. (Once, years ago, a reader mailed me a Xerox of what I hoped was a drawing but may well have been a low-resolution photograph of some decapitated heads with genitals stuffed in their mouths. They looked unhappy.) This week my friend Rob, whom I have finally begged to cease barraging me with the unrelentingly pessimistic reports, projections, and told-you-sos of the Peak Oil movement, forwarded me an essay on the loss of any audience for authentic art in America, and also recommended the HBO series Generation Kill, set during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Meanwhile my friend Jim (who has sparred with Rob in the artist’s statements of the Pain before) forwarded me a news item, whose sole apparent aim was to horrify, about a man decapitated by a stranger on a Greyhound bus. (This, I told Jim, is why it’s worth paying more for Amtrak.) He also sent me a link to a video about a monster that recently washed up on the beach at Montauk. This monster appears to me to be a sea turtle, sans shell, with withered flippers and a beak. [Update: I was wrong about this. Read here for a convincing case for the carcass being that of a raccoon.] Although I am generally cheered by all breaking cryptozoological news, this video left me kind of sad. The creature, whatever it was, looked pitiably denuded, like a big hideous dead infant lying in the sand. Also, for some reason no marine biologists or scientists of any other kind were contacted, and instead we just saw a couple of stoned lifeguards waving the poor thing’s rotten skeleton around on the end of a stick.

As a result of all this unpleasant input, I ended up drawing this cartoon. One of my friends calls it “loose,” a throwback to the Golden Age Tim Kreider cartoons of yesteryear. I think this is an awfully charitable description. It mostly just doesn’t make any sense. Here is why that is: I just didn’t care. This week, when the time came round to draw the cartoon, I was, like, Fuck it, man. Instead I went to a flea market and had sex and lazed around and did the Saturday NYT crossword and made mojitos for friends and danced to “The Best of My Love” by The Emotions and ate ice cream sandwiches and saw The Dark Knight for a second time. Plus, you know what? Last week I drew one of the better cartoons I’ve ever done and I got not one response to it. There seems to be no correlation between the work I put into a cartoon its effect. Throw you guys some Waminals once in a while and you’re happy. Not that I do this for the adulation, mind you. Like Marcus Aurelius says, one ought not to stake one’s happiness on the souls of other men. No, we at The Pain are all about keeping it real. It’s all about the Jacksons for me--one fat Andrew Jackson each and every week.

The universe’s expansion really is accelerating, just so you know. This is attributed to “dark energy,” which makes up 74% of the universe, and is basically another way of saying we have no idea what’s going on. Evil things are afoot, my friends. As Lovecraft wrote:

…some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new Dark Age.


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