Below is the latest The Pain -- When Will It End?
Updated 08/13/08


Artist's Statement

No real need for an artist’s statement on this subject, as the cartoon itself pretty much suffices. As of this posting still no developments in the turtle story. It is not looking good for the turtle. Myla assures me the turtle is dead within neck’s reach of a wilted lettuce leaf in a shoebox in some kid’s closet, a shameful secret from the world. One poster to the New York Times website claims to have seen a man who "looked like an older Cedric the Entertainer” in the streets of the East Village carrying a two-headed turtle in a plexiglass case. If by some wild chance I ever find out who abducted this turtle I will, to quote Humbert Humbert, “come at him, like black smoke, like a demented giant, and pull him apart nerve by nerve.”

What can be said about the rest of the world’s news, which I’m pointedly ignoring this week? As with the turtle story, it’s not looking good. I am trying to bear in mind the words of Marcus Aurelius, who reminded us that, by the time we’re forty, we’ve pretty much seen everything that’s ever happened or is ever going to happen, so a.) please stop pretending to be shocked or outraged by anything when the world produces its usual happenings and b.) quit imagining that there would be any advantage to living another thousand years instead of one more day. Of course, if he had lived another two thousand years he would have seen some unprecedented and qualitative changes in human technology and society… but I have my doubts as to whether anything he would've seen of human behavior in all those centuries would have given him occasion for surprise, or cause to reconsider his philosophy. Now that the Russians are invading adjacent nations and the rest of the world community is dithering in helpless indignation, I’m starting to get that feeling you get when you’ve arrived at the movie late so you stay to see the beginning of the next showing and you’re coming back round to the part that starts to look familiar: like, okay, well, this is where I came in.

I just learned this morning, while driving to the general store to get some coffee, that this was already Day 2 of the Democratic National Convention. I can’t tell you how pleased I was to learn I’d been totally oblivious of Day 1. Tonight, while I’m watching Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser, I’ll be missing Hilary Clinton’s speech. Or maybe it’s Bill’s. The important thing is, I don’t know. This Presidential election seems like it’s in its hundred and fifty-fifth month, and with the United States mired in two wars we’re not winning and our economy in collapse, a nation in decline, the dominant issues in the race are the usual schoolyard gossip and tattling—meaningless “gaffes,” microscandals over how many houses John McCain’s wife owns or where Obama vacations (as if any Presidential candidate in the last two centuries has been anything other than rich) and, of course, voters’ ill-defined but apparently ineradicable “doubts” about Obama (i.e., he’s black). My friend Boyd, who also likes to tell me important plot points of movies I haven’t yet seen, informs me that, incredibly, the skull-faced warmongering John McCain is pulling ahead of Obama in the polls. I’m trying to be calm about this, remember my Aurelius, remind myself that people are idiots, they’ve always been easily gulled by demagoguery and appeals to bigotry, no breaking news there, so don’t let’s get all bent out of shape over it. Still, it's upsetting, since I have to live in this country, too, and I do not want to hear or know anything more about this race until Election Day, when I will go to my local elementary school to cast my vote for Barack Obama. Then I’ll stay up late enough to learn whether or not I must, the next morning, start making my plans to flee this falling empire for good.

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