Below is the latest The Pain -- When Will It End?
Updated 10/22/08


SUBJECT: “the sickness of tim kreider”

the comic that was featured in the oct 8th issue about bill clinton
and sarah palin getting shock and awe was absolutely out of line. i
am shocked that this was printed. do you people have any morals or
values about what you print. do you realize that children look at the
paper. oh by the way i think its pretty sick what tim kreider says
about drawing this cartoon with a 4 yr old girl on one side and a 6yr
old girl on the other at a local bar. it should have occured to tim
that he should have confronted the parents of these girls to have them
remove from around him.

your paper is disgusting and repulsive.

-Allison Myers in a letter to the City Paper


This may sound disingenuous of me, but I truly never have any idea what people are going to object to, or why. Like, you draw Sarah Palin in a Klan robe, John McCain in blackface, and Obama lynched in effigy and: nothing. But you draw a couple of people fucking and suddenly The Reverend Mrs. Lovejoy’s wailing, Won't Someone Think of the Children? Not that I'd change what I drew if I could accurately anticipate what would offend people--it's just strange that my imagination invariably fails me in this respect. The things people get outraged by are always much stupider and more misguided and utterly out of left field than the things I think ought to offend them.

I am somewhat comforted by the fact that the sorts of people who are shocked by my work are also generally unfamiliar with things like question marks.


Artist's Statement

Still resting on my laurels from last week’s triumph. I had to draw two of the panels of this cartoon (can you guess which ones?) the morning it was due because sheer friendly hospitality had obliged me to spend the previous evening drinking Belgian Ale and eating chicken vindaloo and smoking big Robustos with noted transsexual Jenny Boylan, who was in town to do an interview with Barbara Walters.

A friend of mine who wishes to remain anonymous confessed to me that she is secretly looking forward to the new depression. Mostly this is because she was raised on an artistic diet of depression-era kitsch— her grandmother's stories, the Little House books, Loretta Lynn and Woody Guthrie songs about the dustbowl days. She admits that not actually being poor helped her to form a romantic notion of the time period.

I’m mostly relieved to see everybody else’s supposedly responsible fiscal lives revealed to have been every bit as much a house of cards as was my own. My failure to buy a house or have an IRA or a 401K or ever save any money at all now looks like shrewd, farsighted financial sense. And it’s of course pleasant to see Wall Street types being universally reviled as thieving scum. I would’ve drawn my friends and I looking on with mild spectatorial interest as brokers hurled themselves from their office ledges, Black Monday-style, but people leaping from skyscrapers has regrettably taken on less cartoonish associations since 9/11.

(Hey by the way: as one of my readers reminded me this week, does anyone remember when the Republicans tried to privatize social security and George went on a national tour trying to convince everyone to invest their retirement accounts in the stock market? “The ownership society,” was the propaganda term they came up with for this scheme. Can we just publicly take note of the fact that this, like pretty much all of the Republicans’ ideas, would have been a disaster?)

My friend Rob forwarded me an interesting blog entry on what the author, Sharon Astyk, calls “ordinary human poverty.” Ordinary poverty is the kind described by recollections like “We were poor, but there was always food on the table,” or “We were poor, but we didn’t know it,” as opposed to “pathological poverty,” or starvation and squalor. In other words, just getting by. It's the condition in which the human race has almost always lived, and most of it still does, and to which we Americans, after a crazed and aberrant interval of living like space-age pharaohs off cheap gas and imaginary money, may soon return.

I have to admit, I also have this probably wrongheaded utopian hope that a post-oil, post-stupendous-wealth America might ultimately be a saner, pleasanter place than the one I’ve lived in my whole life. I myself have lived a pretty ridiculously privileged life so far, but my needs are also pretty frugal. I never wanted much of the consumer crap that was constantly being foisted on us just to keep the economy churning. I never understood what anybody was doing at work if they weren’t physically making something. I’ve never liked driving and I’ve always despised the dickhead culture of 4x4s, stretch hummers, and jetskis. I feel like American society used to be more conducive to human life and community than it is now: people knew their neighbors instead of living in gated condos; there were main streets instead of shopping malls five miles outside of town. But maybe, as with my friend and her depression kitsch, I've just picked up this idyllic picture from reading Ray Bradbury stories and watching Alfred Hitchcock movies.

Anyway, even if life was like that once, I worry that it’s been so long since we lived in civilized communities, that we’ve spent so many years screaming at our radios and calling each other faggots and commies on message boards, that we’ll have forgotten how to act like human beings in a crisis, and instead of this happy vision it’ll be Jim holding a machine shotgun on me as I back slowly down his porch steps, hands raised.


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