Below is the latest The Pain -- When Will It End?
I will be appearing along with colleagues Eric Drooker, Tom Hart and Peter Kuper on a panel on political cartooning moderated by Bill Kartolopoulos at the New York Center for Independent Publishing at 6:30 on Tuesday, November 3rd. This NYCIP is housed at The General Society of the Mechanics and Tradesmen of the City of New York (20 West 44th Street, between 5th and 6th Aves.) There is a ticket price of $15.00.
I spent my summmer editing my next collection of political cartoons and essays, Twilight of the Assholes, and writing for the New York Times' "Proof" and "Happy Days" blogs. Links to my essays for the Times can be found on the writings page of the site.
Cartoonist/critic Tom Spurgeon has named "The Pain--When Will It End?" as one of the best newspaper comic strips of the 21st century at The Comics Reporter. It is an honor to be included, however arbitrarily, on the same list as the likes of Lynda Barry, Tony Millionaire, and Steve Bell.
Also, Renee French has drawn a portrait of me based on Tom Hart's caricatures. It is, as is typical of her work, faintly disturbing. It can be viewed on Renee's website.
First of all, let's not get all excited. Just because there's a new cartoon up does not mean I am returning to weekly posting. As I have said on more occasions than I care to consider, This doesn't necessarily mean anything. I'd like to return to regular cartooning, but I'm still looking for a little more incentive than twenty bucks a week to do it.
As to the cartoon itself: Not really! Just kidding. Ha, ha! Because that would be wrong, obviously. We would have become the very thing we despised. The terrorists would have won! Except that we would be the terrorists, so actually we would be the ones winning, right? We'd win the war on terror! We'd win! Hooray! Death to The United Arab Emirates! Death to the Great Satan! Allahu akbar! U!S!A! U!S!A! No, no, wait, it is wrong to kill people, I keep forgetting, never mind, only joking. Though just to play devil's advocate for a second, consider how much more cost-effective this would be, and how many fewer casualties it'd cause, than what we actually did. It wouldn't make any less sense to attack the UAE in reprisal for 9/11 than it did to invade Iraq.
This cartoon idea came to me while I was looking through a new edition of a book on the world's skyscrapers, an older version of which I already own. This expanded edition includes all the more recent supertall buildings currently being erected in nations where the tallest structures were formerly constructed of materials such as hides, but which are now flush with cash and eager to show off their wealth and world status. It occurred to me that this cartoon would make a lovely epilogue to my book, forming a sort of matching endpaper along with "Well, Well, Well" (September 11th, 2002). As Jim's comment suggests, it provides some much-needed closure to the decade-long fiasco of 9/11, the War on Terror, and the entire Era of Darkness. It's also the first cartoon idea to crack me up in the shower in months.*
Regular readers will also know that I am a longtime aficionado of very tall buildings and an unabashed chauvinist in this arena.I just wish the Freedom Tower wasn't so unambitious and uninspired, so underwhelming. I secretly long for the oil wealth of the East to dry up, for these fly-by-night feudal empires to decline, for the Burj Dubai to crumble like Babel. But as my colleague Tom pointed out over coffee, "I think we'll crumble first."
* I did almost draw a cartoon about the death panels back when the Shithead Voters were on the march against the threat of free health care, but decided that Monty Python had already done the best choose-your-own-death gag back in Meaning of Life.