Below is the latest The Pain -- When Will It End?
This cartoon is actually based on
last week's artist's statement, when I wrote: "Does anybody else have
this same feeling we do that the End must be near, what with an hubristic
idiot pretender on the throne, war imminent, and terrible portents in the
sky?" I had hoped I would have come up with a better idea by Sunday night,
when I was going out for drinks and dinner with my transsexual friend Jenny,
but the only idea she had to offer was "The Party Where They Serves Beets,"
which made her weep and snort with laughter while our waitress was waiting
to take her order but didn't seem like it would translate well to the page.
As I drew this yesterday I was despairing that this was going to be one of
those weeks when I had to hand in a B effort, and trying to console myself
with thoughts of last week's hilarious post-apocalyptic bunker cartoon. I
just hated to do something so serious and surly and sad, unredeemed by any
real hope or humor. Well, hope's not my job, strictly speaking, but humor
is, and I had yet to think up a fourth panel, which I was very much hoping
would be funny.
In the end, the punchline turned out to be the fact that the cartoon wasn't
very funny--that it's harder and harder to find the funny side in these times.
As I wrote in my essay on political cartooning, "Kierkegaard has a good
one about a clown onstage in a theater who keeps screaming 'Fire!' at the
audience, but they just laugh harder and harder until they all burn to death.
That's sort of the plight of the political humorist today; things are so urgent
and terrible that you just want to drop the funnyman act, tear off your joke
wig, and scream, "HEY! I'M NOT FUCKING KIDDING!" I am reassured
by friends' reactions that the drawings in this cartoon are at least funny.
Next week I vow to put back on the cap and bells, pick up my lute, and play
you all a merry tune. As another great writer once said: "When the going
gets weird, the weird turn pro."