I have a rich and nuanced update that will have to wait one more day due to my trademark business. So enjoy this week's cartoon and await my signal to unleash hell!
My whirlwind publicity junket has twirled me back safe and sound to Rochester to report of the coolness of my weekend.
The book signing at MoCCA went swimmingly. There I was: me, the little boy who doctors swore would never draw another cartoon after cruel fate saddled him with a lazy eye patch, sitting at a table flanked by Dan "Tom Tomorrow" Perkins and Ted "if you've got a war casualty, I've got a national scandal" Rall, signing my little heart out and proving the curmudgeons wrong. WHO'S LAUGHING NOW, DOCTOR JUDELSOHN??
Yes, my ascension to alternative cartooning's upper pavilion is indeed Rudy-like (Rudy Sean Astin, not Rudy Giulliani). I broke wine and cheese with numerous betters such as Stephen Notley (Bob the Angry Flower), Neil Swabb (Rehabilitating Mr. Wiggles) and Jen Sorenson (Slowpoke), then went out for drinks and hob noberry with the whole gang. Such a nondescript crowd we are, too. I'm sure the patrons at the watering hole we wound up at never guessed that they were sitting amongst the sharpened edge of democracy's sword, nor supposed that democracy's sword would have such insights into the shortcomings of the movie A.I. (leave it to Notley to have an entire symposium on cyber sentience in his head, ready to go.)
From there it was on to Pittsburgh for the company of more of my talented peers and a weekend's worth of hedonistic pleasure. My panel, "Blood Sweat, Piss and Vinegar" was a smashing success, uniting as it did numerous indy comic creators for the purpose of showing the mortals what it takes to bring life to our comic Frankensteins. Joe Linsner and Eva Hopkins, Stuart Sayger, Pete Stathis and myself entertained the crowd with goofball antics and anecdotes and shed a little light on the dirty face of comix as well. My ego runneth over!
Last weekend was Beltane, which is a pagan fertility holiday, and I spent much of my time at the con in the company of fine witches. I, in my groovin' secret identity of Chong Wizard, was naturally quite at home. I even tested my magic mettle against the mighty Asparagus in a Soul Calibur competition, and was trounced, but not roundly trounced. Next year, ye damn veggie! And I'll be bringing my Game Cube adapter for your PlayStation so my thumb can find the block button this time. Voldo thirsts for your blood!
The costumes! How I love the costumes! This years winner: A truly authentic Spider Jerusalem, who edged out numerous Ghost Busters and an adorable Dark Magician for the all valuable Special Place In My Heart award.
(What?Pictures? SHUT UP!! I FORGOT MY CAMERA!! SHUT! UP!!)
I sold many a comic and reconnected with numerous die hard Friedians. It killed me to only have my EXCELLENT minicomic to offer these guys as way of new material, but next year will truly be the Renaissance of Deep Fried. Let society shudder in trepidation until then.
Speaking of Ted Rall, I am really going to have to become that guys peripatetic shadow. He knows how to get the spotlight shining on him better than any cartoonist I know.
This week he has created a flap over a cartoon in which he labeled ex-living football warrior Pat Tillman a sap and an idiot for enlisiting to fight in Afghanistan, a bit of incendiary comicking that follows a previous hot potato strip where he insulted a group of 9/11 widows.
I have different opinions about Afghanistan than Rall does, but it is always worthwhile to have someone pry open the public's eyes about just what Tillman's pre AND post mortem contribution to the war machine has been. In life I would have said Tillman was a patriot, the kind who puts his money where his mouth is. In death, I find him to be just another product, a no neck toy soldier for the Administration to hang a posthumous medal around and slip into a campaign ad.
Naturally the Right Wing was out in force to protest Rall's cartoon. Jingoistic fucknut Mike Gallagher announced he was terminating his friendship with Rall over the incident (oil and water, separated at last), and Hole'Reilly went on a jag to denounce both Rall and Gary Trudeau, and put Ted on his television program last night with the intent of eating the cartoonist's lunch. I did not see yesterday's Hole'Reilly Factor, but ten bucks says it is Bill's lunch that is floating in Ted's toilet this morning.
Yes, it's a dangerous time to draw one's opinions these days (check out this story of an art teacher narcing on her student to the Secret Service), but someone has to do it. It's gratifying to actually feel like there is a cause to get behind, and in that I feel a kinship with the late Pat Tillman. I'm sure he felt a genuine a duty to serve his people, and it is one I share.
I am also equally certain that there are calculating minds in the government who would lick their chops to hear these sentiments coming from an artist. "Mission accomplished! Even the Left gets moist-eyed at the thought of Captain America cut down in his prime! Launch more Predator droids!"
A sap though? Yes, I'd have to concur. Not because the cause he served is specifically unjust, as Rall has defined it, but because it is nonexistent. How can one die heroically in Afghanistan when there is no war there? How can one fight Al Qaeda terrorists when the enemy, as we all know from our daily news saturation, are the Sunnis to the north and the Shia to the south?
It is neither Afghanistan nor Iraq nor terrorism that is our enemy now. It is this war itself, which is taking us down a familiar road of paranoia, sycophancy and herd think. The War on Terror is the Cold War under new management. Not a cause that will galvanize a nation or result in triumph, but the new face of a recycled conflict, the chance for generations of undefined, redefined and freshly exhumed nationalist impulses to take us nowhere as the usual suspects squabble for dominion of the same anthill.
Why is Pat Tillman dead? Because he was a soldier. Why do WE know he died? Because he'll look great on a box of Wheaties.
No time for a proper update! I'm off to New York for the MoCCA signing! Too busy for cutting edge cultural introspection!
Okay. just a little: remember when everything was "to the max?" Weren't those great days?
Sure they were! God how we all miss them. Okay, quickly: if my plane goes down it WAS an assasination. Don't let the news feed you any "engine failure" crap. Bush is the Antichrist. I was told as much in a dream by a singing bratwurst.
If I end up Wellstoned remember me to the max on election day!
Again, again with the blogging! When will it end?
Hey everyone: eyes right! See the featured link? It's not too late to participate in this year's annual slave emancipation. Just go over to your ad box, press the power button, and bingo! Liberation from your government prescribed Recommended Daily Allowance of sex pill adverts, 24-hour sideshow news and pick-up truck commercials (with action program tie-ins).
And while you are enjoying the peace and quiet that comes from not having Pepsi jingles dancing in your ears once every 4.5 minutes, I would urge you to ask yourself this question seriously:
Doesn't TV mostly suck?
While you consider this utterly fantastical notion, don't forget to buy my products! I've got stickers and a spankin' new mini comic for you! Forget what I said earlier! CONSUME!
Everyone is ordered to make the Hadj to New York on Thursday, April 29 and see me and many other talented, anarchistic and otherwise Ashcroft-hostile cartoonists at the Attitude 2 book signing at the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art.
I am a busy little troublemaker this month! I will be bouncing from New York to the Pittsburgh Comicon that same weekend where, besides selling my heart out, I will also be moderating a panel forum, my first ever!
I put this thing together to pimp myself and a bunch of other bright lights in the comic industry, and with a title like "Blood, Sweat, Piss and Vinegar", you just know that....that I couldn't come up with a better title. No! You know it's going to be kick ass! Me and my dawgs know what time it is and we're gonna spill every last bean on the hard drinkin', hard lovin' lives of indy comic creators. Be there or be nowhere. Plus, there's cookies!
Politics, politics...what's in my politics bag this week? To tell you the truth, His Brilliance, the Right Remedial George the W, is so on the ropes that I am encouraged to let the man take a breather. Naturally this is a dangerous sentiment, as politics never sleeps. Witness AG Ashcroft before the 9/11 committee last week, talking about "The Wall".
Now, while it would be awesome to have an Attorney General who was into Floyd, the wall in question is the imaginary buffer that apparently stopped the CIA from telling the FBI that terrorists were taking flying lessons and shouting "We won't need no steenking landing gear on 9/11!" at their instructor. Interestingly, this information was included (typed in all caps and highlighted) in the President's famously underappreciated pre-9/11 Presidential Daily Brief entitled "Osama Will Strike Any Second Now".
And while the "Law of the Insurmountable Wall" was probably misinterpreted through a series of bureaucratic fumbles, it has at least opened the door for discussion of a Federal domestic spy squad to do what the CIA can't and the FBI hasn't been able to do since J Edgar.Hoover: investigate the innocent. The red meat of the hearings, however, was Ashcroft turning the tables on those commissioners still licking the Condy Rice from their lips by impeaching the impartiality of Commissioner Jamie Gorelick, a former deputy attorney general under Janet Reno.
During her Clinton tenure Gorelick had written a memo (handily declassified by Ashcroft) that reinforced existing Justice policy of keeping criminal and intelligence investigations separate for Constitutional reasons, which we are led to believe thwarted the counter-terrorist intentions of this administration. Game, set and match! The President is not a banjo-picking tard after all.
This bit of brinkmanship, so nakedly retaliatory that it befits Nixon or Grand Moff Tarkin, has given Republicans a sugar rush as they clamor to see Gorelick removed from the commission, an obvious ploy to distract the nation from the far more compelling bombshells detonated by Richard Clarke, Thomas Pickard and others. This tactic is doomed from the start however, as Ashcroft made the mistake of...whoops! Signing off on the very same policy he decried in a memo of his own!
Meanwhile, the greater bulk of last week's testimony by Ashcroft's subordinates continued to put the lie to the Bush Administration's odd insistence that Osama and NOT Saddam was the Chosen One of their pre-9/11 foreign policy. At this rate expect a blue dress to appear in this debacle by early September.
How bout that press conference?
Tough questions at last. Thanks, press corp! It's nice to see that your nuts finally dropped. A little late for a lot of dead soldiers, but we always forgive your testicles their tardiness.
My pencil was smoking as I recorded the down home brilliance of our president, that Will Rogers cum John Wayne, and I jotted down moment after priceless moments of political boobery that I know- know in my soul- will one day mark this man as the dumbest fucking president ever.
You could tell he had crammed all week for this. He was nervous out of the gate, and began the press conference with the confidence-inspiring line "This has been tough weeks for America." In chess a deliberate flub in your opening move is known as the "Let's fool him into thinking I'm not the idiot I am" gambit. I hear it's what Big Blue used against Kasparov.
Bush immediately followed up by mispronouncing "instigated", then went to his "A" material, blaming the Iraqi uprising as being instikated by foreign terrorists and NOT, I guess, by the residents of the cities we are purging.
Then there were the obligatory non-answers to direct questions, such as the following exchange:
Don Gonyea: "Mister President, would you just come clean with us and admit that you are only a department store mannequin brought to life by an ancient Egyptian medallion?"
The President: "Um hm. What you have to remember is that before 9-11 I was told that oceans might no longer protect us, which could have meant that oceans were no longer big and made of water. So the U.S.S. Cole might not technically have been a ship when Osama flew his boat into it."
The President used his "multiple choice answer" technique for absolutely every question, based on notes cribbed carefully from Condaleeza Rice's testimony last week. I haven't seen this much outright duplication since the summer of Armageddon/Deep Impact. No answer was so lame or so off the point that it could not be used twice during the Q & A. "We were kinda stovepiped", "They can be right once, we have to be right a hundred times", and the all time excuse to end all excuses "They were at war with us, we just weren't at war with them".
But my favorite line, which summed up all of the President's cherished faith in his own intelligence and leadership, a faith that was obsolete exactly one minute after the press conference began, was his earnestly delivered "Empty words would embolden those who were willing to kill indiscriminately", spoken of our failure to convince Iraq that it did have weapons of mass destruction and the justice of killing and maiming tens of thousands of them for our peace of mind.
Empty words from a man already emboldened to kill thousands.
But then, Oh! Such smug knife twisting of the press! "Dick Clarke apologized for fucking up. Why can't you?" came the question again and again in it's myriad forms.
Well, even I could not have respected the man if he had caved. Even an incompetant Commmander and Chief knows not to dab his eyes while the blood is still flowing. We're at war, and guess who helped put our boys there, NBC, CNN and all you "liberal" media outfits that rarely have the stomach for disagreeing with your transnational check signers?
"I'll apologize if we don't win. Until then, shove 'Vietnam' up your pussy and leave room for 'quagmire!'"
That would have been the response of the fighter ace president that W dreams of being. But naturally, tough talk comes as reluctantly to the President's lips as smart talk does when he's flying solo. Safer to use that "stovepiping" line again.
And furthermore (at this point please imagine me mimicking the voice of a queer Latino boutique owner), who's doing that man's hair? That "just rolled off the couch" look is not the thing to inspire confidence in a nation getting it's first taste of an asshole stretching since 9-11. Somebody book this guy on a makeover show!
The question goes, who will the terrorists fear more as president: Kerry, or this pampered son of privilege, this truck stop Matre' d?
Judging by tonight's performance, the President is going to need anti-perspirant for his upper lip soon.
Pot does weird things to your head. One of the weird things it does is make you forget it's illegal. I bumped up against this fact, which one would think I should know by now, while perusing the glass pipe selection at a local porn emporium.
And no, I do NOT usually frequent such establishments. I was merely helping a friend pick out a vibrator. And what an eye opener to see that of the three--THREE-- tools that she ended up purchasing, none deviated from that boring torpedo configuration-- you know, the kind we all found in our parents' closet while playing hide and seek when we were six. I mean, there were studded purple Ron Jeremy thunder wands with optional coal miner pleasure knobs to choose from, and she opted for cigar tubes that even I could have lived up to! Women! But I digress...
So as my friend is cashing out, I notice the pipes. And when she asks why I haven't gone to this shop before to buy smoking accessories, I mention that I haven't owned any weed in a while.
The rebuke from the clerk was immediate. "Tobacco. These are for tobacco only."
I almost gave him some shit along the lines of "Excuse me for thinking that these hand blown, psychedelic sidecar bubblers might be used by some for launching themselves to Tralfamadore, not strolling through Marlboro country". I wisely shut up, however, realizing in one of my rare moments of clarity that if those pipes were acknowledged as devices for smoking drugs, then that would make them drug paraphenalia, and thus make the nice porn shop with it's authentic rubber vaginas and glass sherlocks a legitimate target for any DA with a boner for civic virtue.
Not bad, huh? Tommy Chong should have me for a lawyer. Anyway, the event reminded me how in order for our society to have its cake and eat it too, to make marijuana illegal and its accessories not, we have to do a little mental tap dance. It's kind of the one we are doing now in Iraq, where we are trying to pretend that we have actually won that war, and are contending with a few malcontents, instead of realizing that the war only beginning in earnest now.
Fallujah. How 'bout them dead civies huh? Roasted and trussed like a Thanksgiving turkey. Well, at least we've finally got the Iraqis are dancing in the street. I mean, that's what we launched this war for in the first place. right?
One thing I want to make clear, especially to anti-war liberals who may be of a mind (as I am regrettably of a mind) to actually gloat over these events, seeing as how they provide a near daily validation of our steadfast resolve against the war, is that these events provide a near daily repudiation of our steadfast resolve against the war.
Because if we really were stoic people of principle, we would have halted this war when it was still ours to prevent. I don't know how else to put this: this war is mostly the fault of the Left. It was up to the Left to prevent it, and they didn't.
As I type these words I am reading from John Kerry's website. His policy statement on Iraq is dubbed "Winning the Peace." So, the opposition candidate thinks we're at peace too, huh? Well, why should that surprise anyone? After all, he voted for the war and voted for the Patriot Act (which, by the way, stands for "Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism." Wanna bet Richard Marcinko is on Cheney's AOL Buddy list?).
Kerry has been a flake when it comes to defending his anti-war activity after Vietnam, but that is what his party wants. A trusty fucking anchorman. The Democrats barely put up a fight when it came time to lay the legislative rails for this train wreck we find ourselves in, and their choice for presidential contender is an unimaginative, middle class-fellating hair-do. Look at the photo of him on his homepage. He's using the talking points wallpaper pioneered by Prince Dum Dum! Kerry doesn't even trust himself to appear smarter than Bush!
So now we know where the Democrats were when it came time to stand up against an Imperial presidency: In lock-step behind Nero with their fingers in the wind. And where were you?
Some of you were where I was, participating in a couple lackluster protests with no hope of them succeeding. We resisted a twitch cuz it was kinda cool to see a whiff of that 60's smoke on the horizon, but really we wanted to believe the President. The war looked like a done deal, and anyway the leaders on "our side" weren't sounding any alarm bells. Fuck, half of them voted for Iraq! How bad could an idea could it be?
And now the politicians pass the buck back and forth between themselves, taking credit and assigning blame, but leaving no one in doubt that what happens next is a matter for them, and only them, to decide.
I'm not having it. In the spirit of Richard Clarke, I would like to take some of the blame for the situation in Iraq. This war is America's war. It is not a war of politicos and Marines. They are our agents, the instruments of the popular will, and it is important that we realize how REAL that is. When blood is shed in our name, it is shed in YOUR name. When soldiers die or kill, YOU sent them to that fate. So you disagree with the war. Did you try and stop it? REALLY try?
I know I didn't. I didn't because I gave up beforehand, even as I protested, and a call to war which should have been answered with a forceful "NO!" was met with a stern finger wagging instead. And John Kerry is the spirit of that flaccid resistance.
As I said, I take a share of the blame. But I am also a voter. And as a voter I take ALL the responsibility.
Where has March gone? Ahhh, I don't give a rat's ass. Time just keeps dribbling down, down, down the drain of life. Anyway, if this were my last March on earth I would give it a 5, so I shall scarcely miss it.
I wandered the mean streets of Rochester this evening in my wizard's hat. Yes, I do indeed have a wizard's hat (and yes, I am indeed a wizard), and not even the spikey-chainey-leathery punks of my student housing neighborhood can match the stares and flattery that my simple velveteen hat generates whenever I strut it. Combined with my weathered Beepo jacket I must look like the Hogwart's pupil Dumbledore just couldn't reach.
I was strolling about to generate an idea for next week's strip (no mental earthquakes yet), and decided I needed to place myself amongst humans to get the brain sauce simmering. I found myself in the vicinity of the Bug Jar, an overpriced live music bar with an insect theme, and thought I could stand one of their $4.00 beers if it would help me write the strip.
Naturally, since they are the Bug Jar, the unpleasant lard ass at the door wanted a six dollar cover. So just as naturally I said "fuck that." I have been in that place twice and it has never been worth the money. But walking away I felt that I was missing an opportunity for some spontaneous character building adventure, and using an occurrence of my magic wizard's number as a...what's that word I'm looking for? Not "excuse". Starts with a "P" I think...well anyway, I went back and paid the cover.
Where could I possibly be going with this? Nothing happened. I enjoyed myself moderately listening to the bands, Darediablo and the four-guitars-no-bass stylings of The Preacher's Kid. A cute gal who was with a guy complimented me on my hat and gave me a sticker that says "Yer Mom". I drank a $4.00 Corona and did not come up with a strip. I thought I had an idea at one point, about a guy going to a bar and hearing Darediablo play, but it kind of fizzled.
The moral of the story? You should not be afraid to spend your loot on a roll of the dice when you have nothing else to do, but BYOB.
Saw Hellboy the other day. Spoiler alert: good triumphs over evil. Oops, gave it away.
The nutshell: nice prosthetic job on Ron Perelman, who also had the best lines in an otherwise blah script. Fair to good CGI, but poor, slapdash treatment of the material.
Hellboy is based on a a comic book about a demon with a heart of gold who snuffs vampires , homonculi and assorted nether creatures for a living. His adventures, expertly drawn and crisply written by Mike Mignola, are a satisfying melding of Indiana Jones and H.P. Lovecraft. Gothic horror and superhero fun which in the hands of Guillermo del Toro becomes a campy muddle. Granted, he juices up the normally stoic Hellboy with a lot of humor and warmth, but sacrifices any real suspense or creepiness in favor of a predictable overload of special effects. Half developed supporting characters and a story about punching holes into outer space that barely makes a jot of sense and barely cares rounds out this movie's sins. Think League of Extraordinary Gentlemen with a more appealing lead.
The quality of the source material and the fact that this movie had the potential to beat Van Helsing at its own game but won't forces me to reproach Hellboy with three ants.
I have been mainlining on 9-11 testimony for the past two days while diligently Photoshopping changes to a children's jigsaw puzzle that I was hired to design (and in which I have devilishly hidden homages to Vaughn Bode and Grant Morrison).
Oh man, am I ever digging this commission! Thanks to them the Administration is leaking credibility like crap from the Gipper's diapers.
The latest torpedo comes courtesy of former White House terror czar Dick Clarke, who resigned from the Bush White House last year either out of bitterness over being demoted from National Coordinator for Counter-terrorism to chief cyber cop (the administration's explanation) or out of frustration from having his policy memos regarding the Ides of March routinely poo-pooed (Clarke's take). Personally, I am leaning towards the White House's interpretation. I mean, how would you like to lose the position of "terror czar"? That has got to be the coolest job title ever!
Anyway, Clarke has written a book confirming what the world already knows, that this White House had a woody for Iraq from the moment Bush's ass hit the saddle, and that they didn't waste a heartbeat concocting a scheme to put American boots onto the streets of Baghdad when 9-11 opened the door.
Today Clarke played the golden boy as he testified before the 9-11 commission and earned applause after apologizing for failing to do enough to prevent 9-11, the first person involved in this government to take any of that long overdue heat.
He went on to deliver icy cool testimony that ought to put a capper in any claim that the man's critique of the Reich is motivated by partisanship or sour grapes. Succinctly, he spelled out that the Clinton administration was much more engaged in tackling Al Qaeda than the conservative propagandists have given them credit for, while at the same time deflating the idea that Team Dubya was any more on the ball than Clinton was before 9-11.
A number of witnesses appeared today, but my favorite bit of testimony came from Richard "Slingblade" Armitage ("Some people call it a Predator drone; I call it a kaiser drone. Mm hmm.") who was fielding questions meant for Condaleeza Rice, the incredible shrinking National Security Advisor, who the White House is keeping on a short leash lately, and with good reason. Clarke's most damning allegations portray a pre-9-11 Rice who is bit more aloof about terrorism than the Administration would like known, especially since she may have publicly fibbed about the White House's level of engagement on the subject. Add to that the Rumsfeld/Wolfowitz drool factor over doing anything to tie Iraq to Osama and you get a portrait of a White House with it's head planted halfway up it's ass both before and after September 11.
Slowly but surely a November win for Prince Dum Dum seems to be slipping through Karl Rove's fingers. Betcha he wishes he'd held on to all that killer "Hanoi John" material until the summer!
Okay, I am now prepared to begin leaking my upcoming plans for this up and coming website and the world of humor in general. Yes, the next stage of comedy evolution is about to mutate all over the place, and you will be able to tell your grandkids that this website is officially where the gene went haywire.
First, I'm sure many of you would like to know when the hell there will be another issue of Deep Fried. Me too!
I am right now putting together packages to submit to the major indy publishers to see if I can't get one of them to take me on. Frankly, I just don't think I can go it alone anymore, the comics biz being what it is. There is just too much effort required to pimp this shit than one man who types ten words a minute can accomplish.
The upshot is that I am confidant as never before that I will find a taker (I've even had a few nibbles, though I am not at liberty to discuss anything yet). I am sure that soon enough Deep Fried will be relaunched bigger and better than ever, so I need you faithful to hang on! In the meantime, while I am waiting for that gravy train to sail in, let me tell you what else I have been up to.
For the longest time I have observed with my cunning little eyes this "Internet" thing. It seems to be all the rage these days, and a man would have to be a fool not to take advantage of it. If you are reading these words, then you are already familiar with Phase One of my plan for Web conquest. This summer, Phase Two will commence.
You have all watched, I'm sure, my slate of animated featurettes, and possibly lamented their rather sporatic nature. "Why? Why can't he give us more????" you have undoubtedly cried before sadly dragging your mouse to your bookmarks and leaving my site for the lesser comedy of Homefish Bummer and Webelo Bob. This summer, that will all change.
August will see the dawn of a new, regularly updating animated feature to supplement my weekly strip. It will be based on the characters you already know and love from Deep Fried, and will be, I promise, friggin' hilarious.
I have only recently broken ground on the project, but this cartoon will be very fresh and clever, with a unique style all its own and all sorts of other things you'd expect to read in some shitty press release. But believe me, it will deliver.
I consider this an adjunct to the comic book, so you literati needn't despair that I am going all digital. Personally I would rather use the cartoon as a hook to get people to read the comic and not the other way around, but whatever works.
Anyway, get excited, because it's going to be very cool.
Now if you will excuse me, I have to go find a graceful way to exit this blog entry. Wait here.
I woke up today to find a spot of water had fallen upon my drawing table and onto a drawing I had done. A lone spot, and seemingly from nowhere. My table is not beneath any leaky pipes, nor is there any tell tale stain on the ceiling. A single drop.
Sherlock style I observed several rust spots on top of the filing cabinet beside my art table. I have noticed them growing there before, but never diagnosed their origin. Looking closer I spied that one of them was wet. Not wet with water, mind you. Wet with something else. Something mildly thick and sticky.
At this point I looked around nervously, remembering what happened to poor old Spunkmeyer when he ignored the warning signs. But my culprit is far more insidious than any space bug.
I think my cat is drooling on my artwork.
My head is a fog of war lately. Psychic battles, artistic battles. I downed four, count 'em, FOUR magic brownies the other night and communicated directly with the Godhead. Oh, there were a lot of pissed off nuns and clerics when I cut the line, but I don't play by the rules, especially in the throes of messianic delusion.
Anyway, it's two days later and I am still feeling it. My sleep schedule is way off and I keep attempting to jettison my astral form out of my body like Toby McGuire trying to work his web shooters. "Fly, Soul! Up up and away, Soul!" Hasn't worked yet, but once I get the technique down it won't be long before you'll see me riding a sand worm down Pennsylvania Avenue with a LoTR novelty sword in my hand.
This week's strip certainly reflects some of the events of the other night, and has even proven to be controversial (orgasm!) amongst some people because of the way I portrayed the genie. Ah controversy! Nothing validates an ego like that word.
That said, I recently realized that while it is all well and good to piss off the masses, it is far better to be loved (fuck you, Machiavelli. I lay the Holocaust at your feet). I know that I've recently acquired some new Whatisdeepfried.com fans thanks to my appearances in the Rochester Insider, and I'd like to say welcome and well met! Thanks for diggin' me!
As I said last week, a couple old biddies have carped about my strip to the editor, but I know that my fans far outweigh my critics. And that is something I'm sure the publishers of this new paper would love to hear!
I am slowly appealing to my paymasters to run strips where I really shake the fruit from the tree. This will be lot easier to accomplish if they get some encouragement. So if you are from the beautiful Rachacha area and are enjoying Deep Fried you are urged to contact the Insider and let them know that you are reading their words and, most importantly, trippin' on their toons!
My goal is to single-handedly whup the President's ass so bad that by November he will be sitting on a hemorrhoid donut. Help a brother out!
Speaking of helping out, why not help yourself out to some of my comic books! It's a proven fact that anyone who doesn't own at least one copy of Deep Fried is far more likely to blow up a hotel in Baghdad than one who does.
Next week: I will begin divulging my plans for the next stage of Deep Fried's devolution, so return to me! And look for worm sign!
Can I call 'em or what? Sure enough, my second appearance in the Insider sparked a number of calls to the editor from the very Judeo Christians I zinged in last week's cartoon. Yes! Thank you! Your fear feeds me! Feeeeeds me!!
Thankfully my editor, who is super cool and sounds like Simon Cowell, has vowed that my disruption of the status quo will continue in their pages. Still, a call from one's editor is not something one wants after only two appearances in a new paper. I would much prefer to stay under their radar until such time as I announce through my strip that my readers should rise up and chop their neighbors into Gainesburger with machetes.
So this week's strip, which was going to show Jesus getting a lap dance from Laura Bush, has been replaced with something tamer. But keep those slingblades handy.
Apparently the bone of contention had to do with my placing Mel Gibson's head atop the body of el Savior. As is typical of the religious Right, the symbol of sacrilege is more fearful to them than the act. None of them seem to mind that Gibson has been likened to Christ himself by the radio fascisti he enlisted to promote his movie. Mel's ultimate sacrifice? He put up millions of his own dollars to get "The Passion of the Christ" made. Fit the man for a crown of thorns!
I recently enjoyed the company of a few of God's stormtroopers at a dinner party. One set (a married pair of recent converts) were perfectly nice, but I was informed later by a friend that they were aching to burst in on a conversation I was having with another guest, a fellow JC, most likely because I declared that Jesus could not walk on water.
That other guest was a real piece of work. A stockbroker who had apparently been waiting years prior to 9-11 to find a worthy target of his obsolete nationalism. His politics bore all the earmarks of a bigoted fag basher waiting for Fox News to give him the "go" signal.
Of particular interest was his opinion that Mel's movie was "energizing" the voting public. Had I been able to gather my wits (the topics changed quickly and pretty soon I was mired in Haiti) I might have told him that while Passion had proven to be a box office hit, it was not likely to energize more than a handful of tambourine shakers and pamphleteering radicals who never need much provocation to vote Republican.
But inbetween my opponent's specious pronouncements, such as that marriage was an invention of Judeo Christianity (anyone who is rankled by my constant use of that term should know that those were his exact words), something else was revealed to me, and maybe it only affects me now that I have seen it in person instead of hearing it on the radio. It is this: rank and file conservatives are a bit more zealous about our friend the Apocalypse than you might think.
As the Republican grunts swallow their propaganda diet these days, fewer and fewer are stopping to pick out the bones. The country may not be invigorated by the recent barrage of evangelical politics and entertainment, but the hordes of the Christian Right are. Frankly, I think they are starting to stink up the joint.
Helped by the effort to make gay marriage this season's hot button issue, and by the conservative media's insistence of a culture war that must be won, the Right has started to score real hits. The smiting of Howard Stern (and the rumor of an upcoming FCC blitzkrieg on his show) is one of them, and the more I think about it, the more I think it is the beginning of a fresh wave of attack on dissent.
Why is it important to recognize this? Because before Clear Channel took this action Stern had publicly reversed his opinion on Bush, encouraging listeners to vote against him in November. And Stern reaches a lot of people. And Clear Channel is in bed with the Bush family.
It is no longer acceptable for the Left to sit on their hands while these events unfold. The conservatives want Bush reelected. BAD. They want the issue of WMDs buried. They want to see if the country will accept another war, and if Bush is renewed, I am positive that that is what will happen.
Reading blogs and cartoons isn't enough. If you are a liberal, start sharing it. See a political cartoon you like? Print it out and hang it up for your friends to see. Live in a city with a Clear Channel radio station or six? Call them and tell them you will not listen to them. Get a friend, or several friends, to do the same. Tell a college kid you know that they should get interested in these issues. Speak up.
Speak up NOW.
Deep Fried is now the official politically obnoxious comic strip of the Insider, a new weekly paper owned by Gannett that just debuted in Rochester. Today the second issue comes out, and if it is anything like last week's edition, my strip will supply all the controversy (okay, they run Boondocks too, but I think we all know who eats who's lunch in that competition).
Unlike my other regular customers, the Reader Weekly in Duluth and the Beast in Buffalo, this paper is actually paying for my strip! The downside is that they seem keen to avoid expressing any strong opinions on touchy subject matter, which means I may be Howard Sterned from their pages with the first letter of complaint sent by some granny with a collection of toddlers-on-the-potty hummels.
Describing this predicament to my father, MISTER Yungbluth, he suggested that I not go out of my way to be controversial. Whoa! Incoming square! Let me tell you something daddy-o: not making waves may be how they do things down at the pencil pushery, but here at the headquarters of the Revolution we have a saying: if the boat ain't a rockin', don't come a knockin'!"
Like that? It beat out "If you've got the draft card, I've got the Zippo" in our office poll. Anyway, I'm just funnin'. My dad is pretty hip. That's his bong in Rogue Neighbor to the North.
Haiti is for Lovers (again)
Looks like Jean-Bertrand Aristide finally flew the coup, with a little friendly encouragement from our Marines.
Have you heard the half-hearted denials from the administration on the whole kidnapping story? Guys, just get out in front of this one. No one believes a fucking word you say anyway, so have fun with it! When the next reporter asks if US troops helped a rebel army oust a democratically elected leader of a sovereign nation, why not come back with "Does Saddam's beard have fleas?" Or how about "Jesus, are you still going on about Venezuela?"
It's rough times lately for the administration. If they don't sound convincing on Haiti it might be because their ability to spin bullshit into gold has been crippled yet again by those pesky WMDs. Apparently Saddam was out of the doomsday racket by as late as 1994! The good news is they discovered what was behind the "intelligence failure" that landed us in Slaughter Gulch in the first place. Turns out all our spies were busy bugging the UN! I guess before we could look for smallpox in Baghdad we had to make sure Hans Blix wasn't hiding any in his telephone receiver.
Janet's nipple continues to wreck havoc on the gossamer fabric of our democracy. Now Howard Stern has been axed from six Clear Channel owned radio stations in the drive to do to the communications industry what Rudy Giulliani did to Times Square: turn it into the Happiest Place on Earth!
Please check out last week's Congressional subcommittee hearings on decency and tell me if the CEO for Clear Channel doesn't look every bit like the kind of scheevy-eyed cocksucker who would dump his top talent at the first snap of the regulator's whip.
But of course, Clear Channel is now the driving force behind radio homogenization, verily the Wal-Mart of the airwaves. The fact that they have moved so quickly to fulfill a crank's worst fears of what centralized corporate groupthink would do to local radio (an issue highlighted during last year's FCC deregulation fracass) should have everyone wondering where they will cave next, and how soon.
Gooba gooba! I just got my free copies of Attitude 2, the new book pimping myself and some lesser cartoonists who are on the cutting edge of indy comics. It's quite bitching, and features lots of my work in gigantic form, plus an interview (conducted by political madman Ted Rall) and the most intimate photograph of me you are ever going to see (this year). Buy one! I think I get royalties if it sells ten million copies before August 1st.
So, George W. Rove hates gays huh? Well I'd be hate them too-compassionately hate them- if it would help energize my preferred southern white demographic before they caught on that most of their wholesome straight sons won't be home from Improvised Explosive Land in time for Christmas.
Republicans-not the Judeo Christians mind you, but the actual "keep your hand off my wallet and your Ashcroft out of my bedroom" bedrock of the party- must be curious about what happened to the Dubya they thought the Supreme Court was giving them. Really, with his record deficit spending, huge new entitlements, expanded government, interventionist foreign policy, an open door program for millions of Mexican coolies and now an amendment to restrict state's rights, will somebody PLEASE TELL ME WHAT MAKES THIS GUY A CONSERVATIVE??
Oh right! Tax cuts for former Halleburton CEOs. And here I thought the man had forgotten his base.
Well, the Gospel According to Mel opened Wednesday. Apparently it's making some dough. Eh. I care. The movie's subject matter and purported anti-Semetism doesn't bother me a drop. I'm sorry, but there are a lot of thin-skinned Jews out there. The unprecedented fellating of Gibson by the radio God Squad does nettle me, however. Hole'Reilly will probably require knee surgery after this.
The upshot is that it will be harder for these quacks to pretend that they are not as starstruck by celebrities as the major media when they hear exactly what they want to hear. And lest we forget that Gibson is these days largely more concerned with rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem than making high art, here's a nugget that I have not heard discussed on the air by his fawning apostles.
If anyone in Mel's entourage would like to call me, I have 30 pieces of silver burning a hole in my pocket.
Ralph! Buddy! Glad to see you back in the race! And boy, aren't the Democrats pissing themselves now.
If conservatives are warning Bush not to take them for granted, the same applies double to the Dems, and I am happy to raise high the liberal banner. I have no great affection for the coiffed blood hound that has taken the lead in the presidential race, and I definitely think that a party whose members run screaming into the night when their most populist candidate...well, screams into the night...needs to be reacquainted with what real controversy is. Change ain't pretty, folks. Do you want a race with teeth or do you want to keep gumming the issues?
Ralph, spoil away!
The conservatives took a break this week from blowing the likes of Oliver North to blow Mel Gibson, the new hero of conservative Christianity.
By now you have all heard the flak surrounding Gibson's new movie "The Passion of the Christ" (which he produced and directed). The controversy (Ooo! Ahhh!) was, of course, engineered by Gibson himself. He began defending the movie on buddy Bill O'Reilly's TV show a year ago, pre-empting anyone actually leveling the hype-inducing charges of anti-Semetism that have filled the talk shows for the last few weeks.
In the interim, Gibson has held advance screenings of the movie for Christian groups (and excluded some villainous Hollywood press and Jewish groups who requested the same honor) while racking up beau coup advance ticket sales in guess which part of the country?
Of late, Mel has been fending off the Jewish Anti-defamation League and The New York Times against unnecessary suggestions of Holocaust denial by Gibson's kooky Paw, prompting Mel to suggest he would like to kill Times art critic Frank Rich's dog and decorate with the man's intestines. Can you believe Mel didn't cast himself as Christ?
It is truly sad-making to watch an entire media campaign based on an over-inflated controversy. It's just so Karl Rove of Gibson, and smacks of Janet's tit.
It is gratifying, however, to watch the vanguard of the Christian Right show their true stripes so fully through their fawning adoration of Gibson and his unflinching Catholicism. The feting of Gibson by Catholic bloviators Bill O'Reilly, Mike Gallagher and Laura Ingraham is so out of proportion to what this movie could possibly deliver spiritually (a lot seems to be riding on a gory scourging sequence) that this could well turn into the Silent Majority's Phantom Menace.
Of course, seeing Christian Republicans lap up the depiction of Jews as Messiah whackers might turn a number of God's chosen away from their allegiance to Israel's man in Texas, the Dubya. And if they return to the Democrats in time for the election, they might just short circuit the Apocalypse scheduled by Paul Wolfowitz for June 8th, 2005 (bring a dish to pass).
Check out this installment of the Family Circus from Tuesday's paper:
Daddy's hiding photos of the kids on his hard drive? Sounds to me like poor Dolly may have a bit of Clarissa's problem. Keane you cocksucker! Stop stealing my work!
Mike Gallagher, an 87 year old woman who trumpets the doctrine of the Christian Right on his AM talk show with as much hot air as his corroded lungs can bellow, is featuring on his website a video of an Apache helicopter annihilating some Afghan saboteurs.
It isn't that I object to war footage--indeed, the revoltingness of war should always be shown for what it is. It is the fact that he celebrates the slaughter. " America's finest troops blowing some Taliban terrorists to kingdom come."
I did not listen to the program where he announced this feature attraction, but it's not hard to imagine him spending an hour or two describing his slack-jawed pride at seeing a top of the line gunship burst mere human beings like they were sacks of flour.
I am put in mind of a fragment of 1984 (yes, I know. I promise to reread Brave New World and expand my dystopian vocabulary) Where Winston describes seeing a newsreel of war footage at a cinema, and the crowd's reaction.
"Audience much amused by shots of a great huge fat man trying to swim away with a helicopter after him. First you saw him wallowing along in the water like a porpoise, then you saw him through the the helicopter's gunsights, then he was full of holes and the water around him turned pink and he sank as suddenly as though the holes had let in the water."
That audience. Gallagher's Army.
Watch the newsreel, and then please let this asswipe know what you think about people who are enjoying their war with a tub of buttered popcorn.
This week's strip just took wayyy to long to do. First it was going to be a spoof of the Pillsbury dough boy (I know I know, when will they end, right?), and then I zeroed in on the president's Sunday interview on Meet the Press. So I spent a whole day trying to work out a joke involving Dubya's brain working like a Boggle shaker, and then finally settled on the concept of Tim Russert as a robot.
I seem to be doing a lot of robot humor lately (see my strip of 1/22 with Ace Hole'Reilly turning into Yul Brenner from Westworld). I just like the gag. So much of what we see on TV reminds me of robots. Robots imitating leaders, imitating educators, imitating human scandal by exposing their factory made boobs at sporting events (what? You thought she was human? Her microwave transceiver is penetrating her nipple's latex polydermis for God's sake).
How robotic are they? I heard a reporter ask a White House spokesman yesterday if Bush had a "band of brothers" who could verify he hadn't played hookey from the Texas Air National Cop-out Guard. I mean, are you shitting me? Maybe the reporter would like to know how the US is handling the growing tension between Saboga and Mogo Mogo while he's at it. There is no longer even a hint of a line between reality and enertainment anymore.
I also just watched "My Dinner with Andre" which featured, among it's scintillating explorations of human despair and renewal, just such an observation about our increasingly programmed way of behavior. I'd like to goof on the movie's pretensions but it's actually quite good, especially if you are an existentialist. And it's got Wallace "Inconceivable!" Shawn! Like Christopher Walkin, he is one of the few B+ list actors I like in just about any film, good or dreck.
So, okay, this week's strip. It's a bit esoteric. Sometimes the humor has to be forced from the tube. If you saw Dubya on Meet the Press, you will probably recognize a lot of the jokes as lifted right from the mouth of POTUS (which translates into Piece Of Turd Under Suspicion in my Secret Service codebook). And if you didn't see it, the transcript is worth a few minutes of your time.
Look, I'm gonna say it again for those of you who haven't picked up on my appraisal of president Sloth: this guy is a fucking retard, and I'm not talking in the Adam Sandler sense either. Somebody needs to get a blood sample from Dubya because I'm certain he's missing chromosomes.
That interview. What the holy shit? I've seen gorillas who manage American Sign Language better than this purported homo sapien does plain ol' English. He has three answers that he uses for every question: Saddam was dangerous, Saddam was a madman, and War on Terror, and he shuffles them with the dexterity of a one-armed man wearing an oven mitt. He is to the spoken word what Gerald Ford was to staircases.
And I'm only half-kidding about the retard thing. There is no way, NO GODDAMN WAY that Bush is running our country. Can you conceive of this fucknut actually discussing something as complex as the economy with his advisors, much less grasping it? He knows one thing about how money works: tax breaks make his donors happy. If you were to pin him down and make him explain Keynesian theory you'd see the man throw an Ookla the Mok tantrum in about eight seconds.
My vitriol has greatly increased this week since Henry Rollins made an appearance at RIT several nights ago, delivering a rant/stand up routine for several hundred student agitators, crazy-coifed punks and yours truly. Great show.
Rollins (best known for his thrash rock and occasional movie roles) is a bitchin' act, equal parts dork and metal head. A uniter, not a divider. He's got nothing but contempt for Dubya but has equal disdain for the carping of pussies and gladly volunteers for the USO. A real crowd pleaser. The man, interestingly enough, looks like a younger, beefier clone of our president (more so now that he is graying), but his crude, incendiary monologue was full of piss and seltzer, and you find yourself wishing he would lead a rally outside the White House.
An extended joke about his unrequited love for Sheryl Crow had the crowd in stitches, but my favorite bit had to be his impression of William Shatner, which is the best I have seen yet. Simply hilarious. See him if he comes to your town.
For the rest of this week I will endeavor not to follow the news at all. No TV, radio or Internet (fuck the papers). That way when I pick my topic for next week's strip the subjects will all be like fresh cut flowers with no polluting opinions from the wonks to blunt my reaction. Of course if something major involving Martha Stewart breaks you'll all e-mail me, right?
Why do nips suddenly appear
Every time Janet's near?
You and me
Can't wait to see
Oh Janet Janet Janet (Miss Jackson if you're nasty). You just couldn't stand Michael hogging the spotlight again could you?
I really don't buy the public tizzy created by the television debut of Janet Jackson's bejeweled areola at the Super Bowl. I mean, she was only doing her breast to make sure this year's game was worth watching.
Given the Bowl's of the recent past, Janet was well within her rights to assume that Super Bowl XXXVI#$ would be another snoozer of a shut out, and with not much else scheduled to redeem the event besides that farting horse. Janet was merely doing her civic duty, and anyone who suggests that this was a sadly desperate publicity stunt by a past her prime pop sensation has been frenching too many lesbians.
You don't need a time looker-forward tube to see what comes next: Janet on Leno, on Good Morning America, on Stern; feigning incredulity at the stir she has carefully engineered. Perhaps she will mock the prudish heartland, but more likely her play will be the "little girl lost" routine, or what passes for it among pop divas. Consider the official word from JJ herself:
"The decision to have a costume reveal at the end of my halftime show performance was made after final rehearsals[...]MTV was completely unaware of it. It was not my intention that it go as far as it did. I apologize to anyone offended -- including the audience, MTV, CBS and the NFL."
Justin Timberlake's mea culpa is even more insulting by virtue of his NASA style description of the incident:
"I am sorry if anyone was offended by the wardrobe malfunction during the halftime performance at the Super Bowl[...]It was not intentional and is regrettable."
Well how far was this staged "oops" supposed to go, kids? Was Justin only supposed to tease the edges of the detachable hooter holster on the front of Janet's costume? Ah, but then the impetuous lad simply could not resist hearing that velcro rip, is that it? Boys will be boys, and what's a gal gonna due with the cameras already rolling?
I don't mind the exhibition, but can't Janet just admit that all she wanted was a little of the free media juice that only comes from a contrived celebrity scandal?
I also think Janet owes the other streaker who took the field at half time an apology. That guy probably planned his stunt months ago (not at the last minute), gave the crowd the Full Monty and likely spent the night in jail instead of in a limo with his press agent planning what to say in his Daily Show interview.
Yes, We Have No Botulinum Toxin
Conservatives think liberals are clueless about the fact that it's a tough world out there. This perception, that if the Right wing wasn't there to wipe the noses of all those Berkely intellectuals the world would be up to it's ankles in snot and fascists, pretty much accounts for the size of the blinders the Republicans have put on since WMD's went out of fashion as our motive for the war in Iraq.
Let me assure any free market capitalist that may be reading this that, detonated children and obscure, shifting agendas aside, it is hard to argue with the success of Dubya's initial response to 9-11.
You can nit pick the finer points of American imperialism all you want. The fact is that the best and only way to assure cooperation from hostile governments that may be tempted to cozy up to groups like Al Qaeda, the only anti-American movement to actually put a ball through the uprights on Uncle Sam's home turf in over 50 years, is to demonstrate effectively that we are the red button you do not fucking push.
So, smashing the hell out of Afghanistan and putting Pakistan, Syria, Iran and the rest on notice that they too will eat Freedom if they decide jumbo jets make great ICBMs? Hafta admit, it's got a lot of assholes playing ball with us, and it's left Al Qaeda wanting for real estate. It was the right call.
See dickheads? Liberals get it.
What conservatives don't get is that at this point, Dubya has totally screwed the pooch and rendered his own agenda moot.
Remember, the reaction to 9-11 was also the debut of a hitherto unheard of military doctrine: pre-emption, aka, "shoot first and ask questions later." Afghanistan was dubbed the first official failure of not having such a policy. But as we have seen, that aspect of the War on Terror was shoved aside as quickly as possible to make way for the administration's first test of the new doctrine in Iraq.
However, the evidence of Saddam's villainy is no more compelling now than it was in the years preceding Iraq's invasion of Kuwait when Saddam was still on America's AOL buddy list. And it is interesting to note that at no time during those happy years were his considerable stockpiles of WMDs or his willingness to employ them considered a threat to America. In fact, they only emerge as a concern after the Gulf War when, according to US weapons inspector David Kay, they and their respective programs were almost entirely eliminated.
Despite this, the President layered on the charges of Doomsday weaponry like a preschooler fixing a peanut butter sandwich, and it is the sheer enormity of the threat that he painted which, however much he tries to hide it behind the figleaf of "intelligence failures", could never be substantiated.
Bush gambled his entire foreign policy on Iraq and has come up snake eyes. All he needed was for a smidge of Iraqi poison to turn up which he could portray as bound for a Colorado reservoir and he would have a fait accompli. On to Iran! Instead, by swallowing his own exaggerations he has effectively defanged the preemption doctrine.
But worse, he has broken the bank in the process, endangered Americans rather than protected them (unless soldiers no longer count as Americans), scrapped our international credibility and signed away the chance of timely, legitimate preemptive action against a genuine threat if one should ever arise (keeping in mind that the President never defined a sane standard for such action).
So why would the prez commit to such a gamble? The Republican's like that "moral clarity" line. Lies or no lies, it was done to safeguard America.
But safety in this case is a prickly pear. Are we safer now that we don't have to lift sanctions on a known tyrant? Maybe. But Moammar Ghadaffi recently caved in to us on his own over WMD/terror issues in return for sanctions being lifted on Libya. Before you say that this would never have worked in Iraq, I can only point to Saddam's absent stockpiles as evidence to the contrary. As for his intentions? Well, did we ever intend to let him survive?
Of course with Public Enemy #1 out of the way, we are free to plant a military base right there, in the back yard of PE#2 (handy, since we are pulling out of Saudi Arabia and need another place to crash). And we will certainly be safer economically with Iraq's nationalized oil industry safely back in the hands of private British and American enterprise.
And what about our revised message to the world--that no matter how well sanctions and containment can be proven to work, no matter how little danger a "rogue nation" actually poses, we're still going to break down your door the moment we can dummy up a charge? Has that made us safer? Or will it make those unfriendly nations work harder and faster to acquire deterrents more effective than cooperation?
Ask North Korea.
1/29/4 2:10 AM
Here is my last communique' before pulling the plug on this blogasm and heading off to my stack of mattresses. Sorry to all you guys that got my entire mailing list mixed in with your e-mail alert. Gotta learn to hit "Bcc" when I'm addressing those things.
Anyway, John Monaghan writes:
In the name of GOD, most compassionate, ever merciful!
As a author of distictive comics on the internet, do you have a personal mission statement, philosophy, or guiding principle that shapes the diabolical message born out in your comics?
I do indeed, and no, it is not "One bowl good, two bowls better," (that's more of a creed than a philosophy).
My mission statement is this: I can't tell any better than the average Joe which politician, pundit or professional has got the right answer for any given situation. The more I listen, the more they all sound the same, and the more I can detect the pure manipulation that is what has come to substitute for dialogue in the electronic media.
Knowing THAT much, at least, has given me my direction. I believe that our society is dangerously over-entertained (ironic that I am in that business myself, when you get right down to it). I believe TV is a far more successful control mechanism than most would at first suspect. It decides our spending habits, conversations, prejudices, the way in which we choose our leaders and the quality of those leaders in ways which are extremely pernicious. I feel, in fact, that television is about as apt a metaphor for the Matrix as one could hope to get.
Consider seriously this idea: We are told on our food labels how much of any substance X (fat, sugar, sodium) is in the prodcut and how much that meets our daily needs.
By that token, How much TV, movies, video games....how much do we really need to maintain ourselves as a sophisticated, modern society that is still in touch with reality. An hour a day? Two max? How much do our entertainment habits really amount to substance abuse? Can we have an index for that? Has the Surgeon General ever considered that the solution to the blubber glut in this country might be fewer fucking commercials for food?
Preachy? Don't mean it that way. I try to let my humor filter out as much of the soap box as possible. But just try turning off that machine which you've been staring at your whole life and see how difficult it is. The thing is right in your living room, waiting for you to point yourself at it. And it's filled with such wonderful crap that we compare ourselves to relentlessly! Impossible dating situations, smug family mediocrity, outlandish portrayals of our government and courts, celebrity politicians criticizing celebrity politics, and whitey fully in charge of everything.
So what is my philosophy? Question. Question what you thought you knew, especially if you are convinced that your side is the open minded one. Don't trust the pictures, the poll numbers, the graphics, the anecdotal evidence disguised as ubiquitous social decay. Don't trust the right OR the left. Trust that your attitudes are being bought and sold daily. Where are the rightwingers now who thought that a president who so obviously lied should be impeached? Where were the leftwingers then who complain daily about Dubya now?
Next week: The Men in Black teach me the error of my ways.
1/28/4 10:58 PM
Ohio Democratic pimp VJ Jetley offers these links to Screamin' Mad Howard Dean audio remixes, here and here. Me personally, I like a candidate who isn't afraid to pump a little cum when he gets excited! Think how badly he'll want to win the War on Terror!
1/28/4 10:46 PM
The fun keeps rolling! Another question has poured in to the Deep Fried answer center! Burton, Keith writes:
What made you decide on an alcoholic clown and heroin shooting cat as the main characters for your Deep Fried Comic?
As opposed to "characters people want to read" you mean? Well, it's real simple. The cat/owner principle is a well established formula for pop notoriety. Witness Garfield, Heathcliff...um, well, witness Garfield. So Phase One of my formula for success was obvious.
As for making Beepo a drunk and Roadkill a junkie, the answer is simple: my characters are real, and real people feel pain, and pain requires painkillers. Just ask Rush!
1/28/4 8:15 PM
What the hell? It was just 7:22. Is it really 53 minutes later? Kee-Riyst.I think I'm in a wormhole or something
1/28/4 7:22 PM
The adventure continues! Another e-mail has emerged (damn, I feel like Strongbad. How come that guy doesn't get a an assfull of spam whenever he chesks HIS e-mail?). JG writes:
*smacks self with large flat cooking tool.*
JG, does this look like fucking MIRC? Your next obvious question is if I have a webcam and do I like hanging around gas station bathrooms.
The blog. Use it, don't abuse it!
1/28/4 6:03 PM
Day progressing slowly. Must complete animated ad for Rich Henn's creepernatural thriller Timespell, but was distracted by snow shovelling duties and getting a little high with my friends. Now my day is nearly gone. Come back, little day!
First interactive e-mail has arrived, from Eva of Dawn coloring fame. She writes:
"So, what-up w/ yer blog entry? Are you just gonna wait for some random fan to e-mail you an appropraite topic to riff on?"
I sure am, and it comes courtesy of you! Apparently some Tim Vigil fans were threatening open flame war against (Dawn creator) Joseph Michael Linsner's message board for a mild crticism issued by Joe about Vigil. Sources in the know say Linsner mentioned in a message thread that "I just do not think [Vigil] can bake a good cranberry muffin."
Fans of the splatter-cartoonist's famous muffins, a staple feature of six Chicago Comicons, were outraged and let Linsner know. However, the situation has cooled down like muffins on a window sill, and both artists have agreed to exchange banana breads as peace offerings.
More on this as it develops.
1/28/4 12:13 PM
Mmm boy! Feeling rested and ready to take on the...12:13?? Jesus CHRIST! I wanted to be up by 9! Fucking hell! If I wouldn't stay up all night working on my fucking blog...!
Well this is turning out to be a swell goddamn day!
Just deleted a dozen pieces of spam from my inbox. Seriously, I am writing my congressman in support of legislation to have all spammers hung by their pubes off the Space Needle. How the hell did these fuckers even get my edress? I haven't posted it on any websites save this one, where I cleverly only used flash buttons to avoid spam engines that troll html for virgin e-mail addys to rape.
You want a winning campaign issue for the Dems? There it is, fellas! Pube dangling for spamorists! Are you listening Kerry? Or Dean? Or whoever the annointed one is this hour?
1/28/4 1:20 AM
I'm gonna go full blog-style for today's update. I normally don't think of my rant here as part of a proper blog, because it is not daily, as most blogs seem to be, and is certainly not updated more frequently than that, as many are, and absolutely does not include entries by people not myself, because if you think I'm letting you people get your greasy fingerprints all over my nice clean website you've got another thing coming.
But what the hell? Welcome to a day in the life of my genius. Feel free to pepper me with e-mails throughtout the day and maybe see them answered here LIVE!
Let the pointlessness begin!
Don't go away! New stuff is here! New stuff!
Ah, it's good to be back! Operation Jigsaw went off without a hitch, and with luck this will turn out to be the widest exposure my artwork has ever seen. This puzzle (which is really nifty, a spherical puzzle that assembles into a soccer ball) will likely make it's way to Europe and South America, where sales of my comic have been noticeably thin. Thus it will open up a welcome venue for my humor to the third grade Brazilian crowd which is, after all, my target audience.
I'm a little late getting back to the website, but you can already tell I've been busy preparing. New comic strip, new News Beat (watch that first, by the way. It cleverly ties in with this week's strip), and a super new deal on the comic book. Buy one get one free! I know that there are about a thousand visitors to my site who have NOT bought my comic (I know this because I am so GOD DAMN POOR!), so I am now removing any excuse you might have had not to indulge in the funniest comic since Milk and Cheese If you haven't read Milk and Cheese don't bother. I am the funniest comic since them and that is all you need.
To purchase is Divine. Buy today.
I've got a lot of new fans this week thanks to the delicious Eva Hopkins (I know, I know, that's the kind of talk that got me in trouble with you, but you are great), colorist extraordinaire on Joseph Michael Linsner's gothy/lovey dovey/sword slashy comic book Dawn. Eva has been pimpin' me like a Times Square pro and even got her boss in on the act at Linsner.com. So thanks Eva, Joe and all the Dawn fans who have popped up on my site in the last week.
Haven't kept up with too much in the news during the last week, though I believe there was some sort of hoo-ha in Iowa where the guy with the most money didn't win for a change, and I seem to recall the president implying publicly that a Constitutional amendment to KEEP PEOPLE FROM MARRYING would be a welcome distraction from all those dead soldiers. Besides that, I am way out of the loop.
Oh, about the State of the U: could those fucking Republicans be a little more sycophantic? There was a time, people, that a president did not recieve a standing ovation every time he opened his gob during his State of the Union address. His party was probably cheering the fact that his speech was nearly flub free, and he even avoided muffing his opening sentence like he did last year. Toss the man a Liva Snap!
The Dems naturally sat on their hands throughout, though there was a spark of defiance from the delegation from Alderaan when a smattering of applause broke out after the president mentioned that the PATRIOT Act was due to sunset next year. Nice effort guys, but having the entire Left half of the audience rise and cheer the death of that stinking windfall for Christian authoritarians would have left me with more hope for a Democratic miracle in November.
But hey, if you can't paw through a record of massive overspending, increased government intrusion, blow jobs to the ultra wealthy and conspiracy to deceive Congress to find something to ignite your campaign, then who the fuck' needs ya? Vote Green.
New stuff on time next week, kids!
Happy New Year ten days late! I know I've not updated in a couple weeks, so I decided to spritz the site with a little Pledge to remind you all that Whatisdeepfried.com still lives.
I assure you my dismal output of laugh-provoking cartoons is not intentional. I have been very busy doing the artwork for, of all things, a children's jigsaw puzzle...
(Mwuh ha! Mwuh hahahahaha!)
...and I had to give that assignment top priority, since I am about six minutes away from becoming a sob story in a Howard Dean campaign ad.
And no wisecracks about me going soft! I am trying to throw as much subversive crap as I can get away with into the puzzle, which at this point amounts to one tiny drawing of Cheech Wizard. As for the strip, it will be back next week, honest Injun. I hate leaving you guys hangin', but since I get paying work about once every four months, this is how things must be.
Please don't hate me. I try to be as faithful to the artist's ideal of extreme poverty and frustrated socialism as I can be, but one cannot eat one's politics, though one can eat one's politicians
See you next week with new funniness!
There is no new strip this week. Don't bother calling your congressman, it won't help. I am taking a couple weeks off to tackle a project that demands my full attention: Starcraft!
I mean, a job!
Okay, while it's true that I did just buy a used copy of Starcraft, a PC game that years ago ran my life with Ike Turner brutality, there is no reason to believe that the short vacation I am undertaking so I may accomplish some illustration work will be filled with endless hours spent waging pointless space battles aginst online insects.
No reason, that is, except that I am jonesin' for it right now and CAN'T GET ENOUGH EVER!!!!
Well, I'll add a tour of duty at the local detox center to my list of New Year's resolutions. Anyways, I will keep the blog stoked until the next cartoon, and will have lots of new plans to discuss when I get back. In the meantime....
We Don't Need Another Hero
I've got a "George Bush Naval Aviator" doll standing on top of my dresser, a birthday gift from a friend who, I'm pretty sure, serves the forces of darkness.
It's a real piece of work, a tribute to 1/6 scalism. Twelve inches of Our President, made of the same plastic the real president is composed of, and wearing his immortal aviator costume complete to the last detail (although I must inform you that the doll is not, shall we say, "politically correct").
With its helmet on lil' Dubya is a menacing sight indeed. He looks like he should be zipping through a Death Star trench targeting rebel scum, and he has in fact won every battle he's waged with my gift giver's 12" Boba Fett.
It is this image of the president as warrior-king which has unsettled many who have seen it. In days of old our leaders were actual generals and horse-mounted monarchs, their faces wet with spittle and blood as they trampled the wet, red earth of the battle field, charging to victory and from there to conquest of a greater sort--the bed chamber!--where their queens' lay on beds of goose down, their milky-white thighs spread apart wantonly, eager for the ravenous thrusts of...
Ahem. I think that image is really more suited for our last president.
Yes, George would be our Viking lord, if only fate had not cast him as such a goof. I have seen his press conferences and am convinced he would be happier hosting the Late Show.
I guess Karl Rove thought the country needed a Public Hero #1 that they could hang their cowboy hats on. The subliminal message is that the flight suit is the president's real work clothes. He is Captain America, and the presidency is just his secret identity!
It is shameful imagineering, but it must have been thought necessary by his handlers. They needed to have at least one globally distributed picture of earth's boss looking like he's ready to bring the noise, since it is not in vogue for our chieftains to be seen in photos posing with rifles like the black hats do.
But all this is better than the administration's other attempt at cracking the super soldier formula, that being Jessica Lynch. Of all the disgraceful things this president has accomplished, putting that woman in the spotlight has got to be the worst.
Setting aside the rescue/photo-op which brought Lynch into the public eye, the resultant media campaign--movie of the week, book of the moment, topless photos in Larry Flynt's clutches--turned an American soldier into a painted whore, and all so that Operation What Are We Doing Here could have a spokesmodel. It's as if the government couldn't wait to splatter a pearl necklace on the first war hero that didn't come home in a box.
Super Prez and Wonder Victim. Do we really need celebrity heroes so badly? Have we completely forgotten what the genuine article is like? What about Todd Beamer? How 'bout those firefighters?
Well, I'm sure they'll be back on display for the campaign.
And speaking of superheroes, the real Captain America sure sounds an awful lot like our president lately. No, I do not mean confusing the words "commiserate" and "commensurate" twice in the same speech. I am talking about antifrancoism.
Below is a page from an issue of The Ultimates. I have enlarged the word bubble so you can see Cap's line, which he is delivering to an alien nazi. The nazi has just demanded that the star spangled Avenger surrender to his superior might
I really thought the line (penned by writer Mark Millar, who ironically, is on the right wing's shit list for this quote from an interview that ran in the Abercrombie and Fitch catalog) was beneath the good captain, reflecting as it does a very real trend in contemporary jingoism. I, of course, expressed the same sentiments about France in "Rogue Neighbor to the North," but at least that was satire. The hostility that was stoked against France by this government should be of concern to everyone, not merely for the hollowness of the motive, but also for the ease with which it was accomplished, and the fact that nationalist sentiment does not settle nearly as swiftly as it is dredged up.
Patriotism is one thing, but what happens when it is not permitted to return to safe levels? I refer to the flags flags FLAGS that are so omnipresent I have stars and stripes burnt onto my friggin'corneas. America's shop windows and display floors are so nauseatingly and inescapably patriotic that I feel like I'm in some never released sequel to Groundhog Day where it is eternally July 4th.
And the phenomenon is moving menacingly close to pre-facism. Recently while I was at a Home Depot and gagging at a flag banner over their entrance, I noticed this sticker on the all the ledges beside the credit-card readers.
Now, I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that there is a general sense of consumer well-being that comes from not seeing the federal government and the army being celebrated as a linked unit by our national chain stores. When commerce announces it is proud to serve not just the guys with the guns, but the party bureaucrats as well, it might be time to stop simply rolling our eyes at the overdose of poll-driven pride and start doing our part to actively reel it in. No good comes from the green getting too mixed up with the red, white and blue.
A FALTERING HOBBIT
Just back from LotR:TRotK. Great. Exactly what you would hope. No Revolutions this. Anyone who enjoyed the last two Ring's masterpieces will be suitably awed.
The film moved a bit swiftly for my taste; even at three hours and twenty minutes Peter Jackson had to do considerable cramming. But I'm sure the extended edition DVD will have 17 years of additional footage, including the damned Mouth of Sauron scene, which was edited out but was the part I most wanted to see on the big screen.
Alright, enough about the movie. What I want to know is: what the am I supposed to make of all these fantasy hero epics filling the 'plexes these days? What the fuck good are they doing me?
I mean, I love 'em. God knows there's nothing more inspiring than ultimate good winning out over ultimate evil, with humble comic book dorks like myself (represented by your Frodos and your Neos) standing shoulder to shoulder with the quarterbacks of the world to stop the forces of Ugly from grinding innocence to dust.
But once the credits role, I leave the theater feeling not ennobled at all. The world still runs on money, not valor; and were I thrown into a genuine battle between good and evil I doubt I'd amount to more than the cannon fodder being scraped off the foot pads of the cave trolls. There is no sword-swinging Vigo Mortenson in me, nor do I picture myself a sturdy, triumphant Frodo vanquishing the forces of darkness by the sweat of my brow.
And then there's the real war going on between my beloved Gondor and hellish Mordor, where I am compelled to argue MORDOR'S side because 90% of my kinsman want to forget that we were the ones who taught Sauron how to turn elves into orks! It's enough to drive a guy schizophrenic, which is exactly what trying to choose sides in this war has been doing to me lately. However, as providence would have it, I am now able to lay to rest at least one portion of my conflict and toss a burdensome Ring of Doubt into the fire that forged it.
THERE AND BACK AGAIN
Today I found myself enjoying dinner (a platter of roast beef and mashed spuds beneath a pond of gravy) at a Monroe Avenue diner while reading the local daily, the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle. On the cover was a human interest piece about an Iraqi immigrant who had suffered under Saddam. Beneath the D&C was the City Paper, the local alternative weekly, with a cover warning of Big Brother's lidless eye. I opted for human interest.
The story was not unusual as far as these pieces go. A humble Iraqi, Ramadan Al-Saedy, had been forced to witness his father being executed for refusing conscription into Iraq's army, had seen his brother disappeared, and had himself been conscripted and then left to rot in a Saudi Arabian refugee camp for seven years after he deserted. Eventually he was allowed to emigrate to the US, settling in Rochester.
I normally don't take much of an interest in these types of stories. I do not doubt their veracity so much as I scorn their well-timed propaganda benefit to the government. Nothing takes the edge off a suicide bombing like an Up With Bush story about a grateful immigrant.
But I also happen to have a bit of faith in karma. And as Karma happened to be the name of Ramadan's hometown, and as the superette where he works happens to be a block from my house, I sensed providence offering an opportunity to put to rest what has most troubled me about the Iraq war, that being its reek of pure hypocrisy. After all, were it not for Iraq invading Kuwait, Saddam would still be our ally, and Ramadan would still be a gnat under Saddam's thumb, with the blessing of the nation he now calls home.
Here then was my chance to stare a true victim of the failings of both East and West in the eye, and find out once and for all what the real face of the war of ideals looks like.
I walked from the diner straight to Ramadan's store. The newspaper had a picture of him, so I knew that the person who was behind the counter when I entered was not my quarry. Dejected, I purchased a $.25 chocolate lard cake and was preparing to depart when I noticed the man I sought behind the deli counter.
I asked for a moment of his time, which he granted, and then laid out my dilemma. In my usual semi-articulate fashion (my spoken words do not come with a grammar editor) I told him that I had read his story, and asked what it meant to him that the country he was now so grateful to was also the one that had sponsored the tyrant who had murdered his father, imprisoned his brother and scattered his peaceful life to the four winds.
Ramadan was soft spoken, and his English was a bit hard to understand, but enough came through for me to get the message. What Saddam wanted, Saddam got . Anyone who wanted otherwise was SOL. The police could not be trusted, Iraq's Arab neighbors were aloof, and Iraqi life generally sucked the way we have heard many times that it sucked.
Owing to the man's English (and the fact that I really had no business walking in off the street and pumping the man about his politics) I could not press home the point I most wanted addressed, which was that his misery was our fault too. My goal, however, was not to hear him curse his benefactor in the same breath with which he praised him, but to at least make my armchair distress about his prior existence known to him. I was asking him how he felt about Donald Rumsfeld going over to Iraq and shaking hands with the Butcher of Baghdad, but really I wanted him to tell me how I should feel.
His response did not, and could not, explain the duplicity of international politics to me, but that was alright. His final words on the subject made it quite clear what his official call on the whole situation is: "George Bush, he is the man."
I thanked him and shook his hand, a far better handshake than that shared between the architects of destruction which had prompted my visit. I left grateful for the discussion, not because it confirmed or denied my opinions--I did not think anything Ramadan said would deviate greatly from what he had told the paper--but because at last I had heard the story straight from the camel's mouth. America's wheelings and dealings may violate all laws of civility, logic and human rights, but in the end, Saddam was the guy who killed Ramadan's father, and George W. Bush is the guy who sent Saddam scuttling, like Shelob, into a spider hole.
Next Week: ...but that doesn't mean we should re-elect the guy!
What the...? Didn't I just do an update? God, I need to get back on drugs. I think time moves slower when I'm blazed.
My sexual frustration is about to boil over. If I don't get some boppity bop pretty soon I'm going to have to...GRRR! I need sex so bad I can't even come up with humor! That's pretty bad when you consider that most of my humor comes from my unfulfilled need for sex.
The problem, of course, is that my despicable appetites were formed early before I realized they would prove to be simply beyond fulfillment, and now garden variety poon simply will not do. Dammit! Why can't the Tooth Fairy be real??
Well, that's not your concern. But hey, speaking of fantasy, did you realize that some people actually consider Christmas to be a time of sharing and togetherness? If that's you, GET THE FUCK OFF MY SITE! Deep Fried is for people with MONEY TO BURN!
And there's no better place to burn it than at my store! Comic books make great gifts, and The Great Taste of Deep Fried (my 128 page trade paperback) looks good under any tree! It will look even better when its sitting on top of your loved one's toilet tank three months from now!
I've got a couple cartoons on display at NewGrounds.com that could benefit from your votes (high ranked cartoons are featured prominently on that site and generate more traffic for good ol' Whatisdeepfried RFD.) If you would like to help a brutha out, go here to vote for "Molester" and hither to vote for The Family Circus Sense". Of course, both are featured in my Megoplex.
I've really made a concerted effort not to listen to those radio assholes while I work, which is an challenge because I need to hear the radio in the background while I'm at my drawing table, and there's only so many times I can listen to The I Am Sam soundtrack. I've recently reacquainted myself with college radio, however, after abandoning nearly the whole of the FM band long ago (I don't want to paint myself as an old fart so early into my adulthood, but I notice that much of today's "pop" music is preferred by those damn kids who won't stay off my lawn!)
College radio kicks ass, though. Album after album of talented artists whose work will never be turned into a car commercial, and who will wander in the gray murk of obscurity forever...like me! Well, unless I come up with a catchy cartoon about dancing badgers that is.
NEXT WEEK: Um...I'm gonna see some movies. Maybe I'll tell you about them. Until then..
No, wait! I saw a movie this week! It was...um, wait...it's got that midget in the silly costume--you know the one I'm talking about, doncha? It'll come to me..
Oh yeah! "The Last Samurai." What can I say about it? Imagine "Dances with Wolves" or any other fairly well done, high budget star vehicle about a white man (Tom Cruise) learning to love a culture (pre-modern Japan) he has been trained to scorn, throw in a great Japanese actor who really looks a lot like the Rock but whose name you don't know so why should I try to remember it, and voila! A movie exactly as good as its trailer lets on. No more, no less.
In a nutshell: Tom Cruise is a 19th century cavalry hero hired to train the modernizing Japanese army how to use their new American flintlocks. He gets captured by a troupe of rebel samurai, learns the ways of the Force and by the end of the film he is riding horseback in samurai armor to a final showdown between the old world and the new.
The dialogue runs the gamut from so-so to pretty good, and that Japanese guy really saves the story from being a conventional "white man has some growin' up to do" costume piece. A blood-drenched climax that nearly shames Kill Bill also delivers. On the down side, Tom Cruise's arc as a drunken army captain cleaning up his act and going native was about as formulaic as they come.
By my rating system, which measures how many giant, radioactive ants would need to have come stampeding over the horizon to have made the film exceptional, I give "The Last Samurai" two ants.
(For future reference: fewer ants=better movie.)
NEXT WEEK: Other stuff!
Many responses to my request last week for interpretation of my bizarro Disney dream. The general consensus seems to be that the details of my life (as revealed through my nocturnal emission) are as woeful as a Lemmony Snicket adventure. Writes one budding Freud:
The duck is... success. The double-edged sword of success in the world of cartooning and animation... sure, there's the possibility that you could turn your work into a Donald Duck, a cultural icon, you've got the talent for it... but ultimately, that's what happens to Donald Duck: sooner or later, even the best ideas get their edge marketed out of them, that's the price of success, the total castration of whatever it is that made the work successful and unique... and the slow transition to a marketing icon that just takes in sugar and puts out crap.
Sure makes me look forward to my inevitable movie deal! Another reader opines:
Face it, your public demands something from you on a regular basis,
represented by the crap Donald churns out like clockwork the crap itself is
brown, simply because we have been conditioned to expect it to be so. If you
don't perform, people will whine and bitch regardless of their right to or
not, which is in turn represented by the seat of nails
A good theory, although my public's most frequent request is to have their names removed from my mailing list. Lastly, there is this encouraging outlook:
Your life consists of nothing more than eating and shitting in an existence that is
for the most part painful and becomes more painful as time goes.
Ah Dad! You never wanted me to become an artist, did you?
These interpretations all seem accurate in one category or another. I'll admit to frequent ponderings of my value to society and handwringing self-torture sessions about maintaining artistic integrity in a world which does not pay a person for the value of their soul. However, on reflection I wonder if this odd cartoon that I read in the NewYorker just before going to bed that night may have influenced my dreams somehow.
In any event, I've had much more pleasant dreams lately involving the Hilton girls, who seem to be just about everywhere these days except naked and on my lap. Seriously, I'd never heard of them before a week ago, and now I have encountered some 327 references to them since! Did they just emerge from a meteorite or something? God I hope they turn out like Anna Nicole Smith. Nothing I like better than seeing vacuous celebrities turn into pill-popping bulimics before my eyes and slowly move from the cover of Us magazine to the pages of the Weekly World News.
Speaking of falling stars, don't forget to dig on the new animated cartoon I have just posted to the Megoplex, "Molestor." which will be my final word on Jacko, honest (okay, barring some extraordinary testimony from Bubbles the chimp, that is.)
What a frikkin' joke is the phenomenon of the "celebrity implosion." It's just as much a part of their marketing spin as their talent is. Just rape (or don't) a child or a member of a hotel's cleaning staff and get ready for the cherry on top of an already over-exposed career: infamy! Press conference confessions, bail hearings, illicit bugging and the rest of the circus. It's a whole new tier of celebrity, the one that no star can afford to be without nowadays. The emotion-packed plummet from grace that will--if your agent is shrewd enough and your lawyer Jewish enough--set the stage for your phoenix-like rebirth into the pantheon of the Redeemed.
In the Hollyverse, if you haven't been caught with a hooker or done a tour of duty in the Betty Ford clinic by the time you're 40, you may as well just call it a career and toss the keys to your beach house to someone younger who will have the good sense to freebase more coke in the Florida room.
Celebrities. I'd kill them all with a 2x4...if it wouldn't turn me into one of them.
Michael Michael Michael. What are we going to do with you?
Do I even need to make a joke here? Has the man himself not become the living embodiment of a Jay Leno monologue? Will anyone benefit from one more piece of satire meant to hasten the fall of this plummeting pop culture Icarus?
I hope so, since I'm working on a Flash cartoon about him! Tune in next week!
As for this 7-day work cycle, I've got a Jim Dandy of a new strip for you. "Mwuh Ha Ha!" is the first part of a multi episode storyline, the likes of which I have been hoping to do for a while, and I'm looking forward to some interesting responses to what I'll be putting forward here. If I'm successful, you will be treated to a little extra cayenne pepper in the Deep Fried strip in the coming weeks. And if I am not successful, this will just be a little ego masturbation for yours truly. Either way, I've been looking for something new to say about politics lately, or at least a new way to say it, and I think you'll be getting some of my best work.
You will also notice, if you look out the window to your right, that I have continued the tradition of posting my own little Turkey Day "holiday special": Clarissa Ruins Thanksgiving. This strip is from the dusty pages of Deep Fried #1, and has been judged to be the most fried of all my Deep Fried work by virtually everyone. Enjoy! Although you may want to read it AFTER Thanksgiving so as not to ruin your own family gathering.
Clarissa will also be appearing soon in a short comic story that will be posted to my Comix section. So if you like her there will soon be extra helpings for you to stuff yourself with.
As you can see, I am applying renewed vigor to my humor cavalcade, and in the weeks and months ahead I hope you will find this website to be zestier than ever.
This would also be a good time to mention that I am always looking for new outlets for my work. My strips and animations appear on several websites already (For instance, here and here ), but there is still the whole rest of the Internet to conquer. Do you realize that if you Google my name I only rate about 12 googs?? I've been at this game for going on four years! Obviously I need a little promotional help here, and if your time were so valuable you wouldn't be squandering it on the Internet, would you?
Right! so start pulling your weight! If you have or know of any website that hosts cartoons of my ilk (either strips or animations), do not hesitate to drop me a line pointing them out to me. If you feel like recommending me to THEM, so much the better. Same goes for any print or E zines too.
By the way, I need some pro-bono dream interpretation. Would any interested party please explain the following:
I am in some sort of mansion, and I enter a room that I know I have been warned to stay out of. Inside is Donald Duck, who has been expanded to Fat Bastard proportions and is chained to a wall. He does not look happy, and for good reason: a conveyor belt is dumping desserts into his mouth one after the other, which he subsequently shits out into a funnel (the duck poo is brown, incidentally, not white, which I know defies logic.) There is also a small bed of nails under Donald's ass which he keeps trying to sit down upon, only to leap back up and emit another turd.
This, honest to God, is what I dreamt last night, and though it sounds funny, it was actually quite horrifying. The sound of Donald's torture was pretty upsetting. Swallow, squat, shit; swallow, squat, shit. Goomp, frappp. Goomp, frappp.
There was also a dressed skeleton on the floor, possibly that of Mickey Mouse, but certainly the last person to stumble upon this scene. How I made it out I do not know. The person who I thought was me in the dream suddenly became somebody else, who was seized by cartoon thugs and decapitated, his body forced down Donald's throat. The last thing I remember were voices singing as I ran down the hallway, certain I was about to become Donald's next entree:
You're a big boy now
Don't you ever come back
For this you must live in Iraq
I'll say it first: O-kayyyyyy. So, Any budding Sigmund Freuds out there?
Did you know that you can were a penis hat to your local convenience store and no one will say a thing? Not one word?
I just came back from my local corner store where I went shopping dressed in the heighth of fashion, O my brothers. That is to say, sporting a purple rubber dome meant to simulate the tip of a penis which was recently a part of my Halloween costume. It seemed a shame to leave it moldering in my closet with my dress shirts and porn until next year when, lazy shit that I am, I would most likely wear it again rather than cobble together a new costume.
So, did I get a few stares? Undoubtedly, though I cannot be sure. Part of freaking out the squares is pretending that what you are doing is perfectly commonplace, which means ignoring people the way you normally would. Oh sure, I could greet their perplexed faces with a challenging stare--Yeah, it's a dick helmet alright. Where's yours?--but only a crank addict could be conned into thinking that they had left theirs at home.
I'll admit, it helps that the hat can barely be recognized as anything venereal. Still, if you saw someone wearing a purple rubber helmet with painted semen dripping from it, you'd say something right? In this post 9-11 world, how could you not? I could very well have been the Anthrax Mailer! How do you think a guy like that dresses?
Maybe I am overreacting. Maybe if society is still sane then right now the police are dispatching patrol cars to round me up at the request of concerned citizens . If not? Well then, WELCOME TO MY JIHAD, BABY!
Speaking of Anthrax Mailer, do ya think they'll ever catch that guy? So many of our villains just seem to have fallen though the cracks lately.
Has anybody here
Seen my old friend Anthrax?
Can you tell me where he's gone?
I think I saw him driving a rented Ryder truck
With Osama, the 20th hijacker, and Saddam
. . .
My roomie Kevin (you know him as "Dark Chad" from Shock and Awe) just bought the second season of Coupling on DVD. "What's that?" you say? "The SECOND season? Didn't NBC toss that clunker in the blue bin after just four episodes?"
Oh! I know why you are confused! You see, this is--let me just read right from the clamshell here--"The original UK version of the smash NBC hit!"
Are we clear now? Coupling was originally a popular program in England, and the American version was, incidentally, a SMASH HIT!
Do any of you remember when a TV show, movie or book had to back up its claims of popularity with actual prominence in its field? (Actually, if I am reaching my preferred demographic, you DON'T remember.) Well let me assure you that the time was when mid-season replacement sitcoms and holiday comedies starring Adam Sandler could not just blithely declare themselves sensations without severe penalties from the FCC.
Obviously this was before Ronald Reagan fired all the airwave traffic controllers over the now famous Hello Larry dust up, wherein that show incurred a crippling fine after promising "a night to remember" 18 weeks in a row. No one at the FCC realized then that Mclean Stevenson was also president Reagan's AA sponsor.
Speaking of which: how about that broo-ha-ha at CBS over their canceling the Reagan miniseries?
Yeah, I don't give a fuck either.
. . .
By now anyone who cares has seen The Matrix: Disillusions. I guess we can all be glad we didn't have to wait 20 years for a new trilogy to destroy our memories of the first one.
Someone needs to apply rubber hose beatings to the Wackoffski Bros pronto. These guys lost their focus like the victims of a back alley Lasik job. Apparently they were unaware that with The Matrix they had pioneered the slickest, spiciest sci-fi adventure in a generation and proceeded to craft the sequels from Cool Whip, never knowing from whence they had struck that first golden nugget.
I happily admit to creaming myself most spoogily during the "Battle for the Dock" sequence in episode 3, but that is all I took away from the final chapter of this epic which, nevertheless, towers over the second installment's snore-infused monologues and self-glorifying fight sequences.
The story goes no deeper than the trailer reveals. Neo makes a deal with the machines to defeat the spreading influence of Agent Smith while the mech warriors of Zion go toe-to-tentacle with a million robot octopi. It's as if having resolved in their heads the answer to the existential question "What is the Matrix?", the Watchoutskis felt no need to share the news with the rest of the class. Abandoned is any of the head trip that made the original movie such a stand out. Even the psychedelic "bullet time" effects of that film have been all but eliminated, resulting in fight choreography that is at times intense, but rarely mind-blowing.
But that is not nearly as aggravating as the removal of the focus on the Matrix itself as the battleground for humanity's soul. All attention is shifted to the rusty concrete of Zion, and the cyber world where an entire civilization remains enslaved is relegated to the role of sanctuary and playground for the very entities that are responsible for that plight: the machines (or rather, their software identities).
Do not look for any subtle plot maneuvers that might have nested one Matrix within another as an explanation for how Neo can control the squiddies in the "real" world. And if you were wondering where the millions of freed humans would find a home upon the bleak metalscape of future earth, keep wondering. By film's end, everyone remains nestled snuggly in their pods.
Though I find the entire arc of The Matrix to be one of wasted potential, I still think one can find a useful parable in it. If you will bear with me, and endure what I promise will be my last ever piece of Matrix parsing, consider the following: having seen the parody that the Star Wars phenomenon became, the Wingnutskis, fearing the enslavement of their fellow geeks to endless idolatry and referencing of their characters, decided to martyr their own trilogy!
First, by making each successive movie less interesting to attend yet on the surface more exciting, the Bros teach a lesson to the audience of the futility of spending money for a better conclusion than the one that wrapped up their first movie. It is an arrow to the heart of fandom, hoping to wake the viewer up from the true Matrix that is passive acceptance of hack cinema and sequelitis.
With each new chapter the story becomes more pedantic, the special effects more colossal. Yet the fan base swells and multiplies, represented by the duplicating Agent Smiths. Smith, of course, represents Kevin Smith, whose empowering of the Star Wars generation legitimized the phenomenon of fandom which William Shatner had bravely tried to neutralize with his "get a life" comment on Saturday Night Live many years ago (what was played up then as being a mere sketch was, in fact, a genuine thunderstroke thrown against the enslaved dorks that he "pretended" to mock).
So, what seems like a rapid disintegration of the Matrix franchise, exaggerated by the quick release of chapters 2 and 3, is in actuality an earnest effort to prevent "There is no spoon" from becoming the new "May the Force be with you." The story becomes so much yakkity yak wrapped in more eye candy than a human can consume. In the end, Neo (the Bros themselves) is sacrificed in a climax so unsatisfying that not only The Matrix, but ALL trilogies are rendered moot in its wake.
Unlikely you say? Perhaps. Perhaps the Whizzbangy Brothers just got too full of themselves. I see wheels turning within wheels, though. I see a red pill waiting to be swallowed so as to reveal the co-opted genre that science fiction has become. And if there is a lesson to be learned from the rise and fall of The Matrix, it is this:
RETURN OF THE KING LOOKS LIKE IT'S GONNA BE SO FUKKIN' AWESOME!!!
Good Gawd!! I just finished off A FAT ASS, up-all-night-for-three-straight-days illustration project, and do I ever feel alive! But it was It was hell, I tells ya! Hell!
How much hell? Consider this: when your grandfather died on the beaches of Normandy, his abdomen spilling forth its payload of steaming guts because Ratzi gunfire had just unzipped his belly, his last thought was probably "well, this is still better than being Jason Yungbluth, tearing his hair out at four in the morning trying to complete marker comps of George Pataki going boutique shopping in lower Manhattan!"
Still, the work was a nice change from my usual gig of sleeping until 11, getting up and polishing off umpteen Mint Creme Oreos for brunch, chastising myself for eating so many frikkin' cookies all the time, watching a library-borrowed copy of season three of Sex in the City, followed by a dinner bag of Mint Creme Oreos and then bed.
Yes, this week I feel like some sort of...working man! And since the job paid mad ducats it is time to celebrate! And that means:
Mushrooms! Ain't never tried them before, and at forty bucks an eighth, I'm not likely to be dogging them like Oreos. Still, I do not think my retro adolescence will be complete without one trip down the yellow brick rabbit hole.
On the other hand, it's not likely to top my first, best high ever: that time I got nitrous at the dentist's office when I was 11. I definitely think that man was cutting his laughing gas with mesc or something, because I was beamed in to Tex Avery's id on that occasion. First I was shooting down a sort of Doctor Who time tunnel, a soundtrack of flipped out organ music playing in the background, and then there was that split screen thing when the dentist's face appeared in my hallucination and then blinked out again ...and what was the deal with the Angry Flute Man? Any of you stoners out there ever experienced the Angry Flute Man? He's about yay big, and he's got this pissed off look on his face, and...?
Anyway, I'll deliver full details when I'm back from Tralfamadore. In the meantime, was I right or was I right? The confederacy of assholes were out in force last week defending Rush Limbaugh in a collective display of sycophancy worthy of any Alabama-based Rush listener. Some, like, Mike Gallagher (in my opinion, the most gleaming lump of golden shit on the radio today) invited dissent from their audience, only to guillotine their heads the moment any note of chastisement creeped into their voices.
Yes, eat your own! You only make ME stronger! And of course we have uberfrau Ann Coulter defending Rush in the only terms that make sense to her: money. She says in her recent screed:
"The New York Times didn't take notice of Rush's $300 million radio contract, but a few weeks later, put Bill Clinton's comparatively measly $10 million book contract on its front page. Meanwhile, in the past week alone, LexisNexis has accumulated more than 50 documents with the words "Rush Limbaugh and hypocrisy." That should make up for the 12 documents on his $300 million radio contract."
Really Ann, substituting love of gold for pure Aryan morality? The Argentine Nazi's who cloned you must be checking their notes right about now, wondering where they went wrong.
The apologist's line goes like this: Rush has a bad back, courtesy of a botched surgery. Back pain is excruciating and omnipresent. Give the guy a break.
To which I say: Hey, you've got it piggy! It's no surprise to find that the problem is with your spine. Of course, the idea occurs that maybe you have all your friends reading from the same sob script so as to blunt the likely future disclosure that yer just a garden variety pill head, but I'll let that slide too. I've got no gripe against addicts either. Shit, I'm trying to become one!
No, it is not any sense of ethical superiority provided by Rush's disgrace that has put wind in the sails of liberals lately. By now it should be clear that there will be no victory ever for either side in America's moral marathon.
The left is only happy, and should be, because a pompous fuck has just had his come-uppance, and that always makes one feel just plain good.
Like a fistful of Vicodin.
Irony is a grand, grand thing. It encapsulates the very paradox of existence, a comically refreshing reminder as to the very lunacy of the Universe. Rush Limbaugh is this week's ambassador of irony, sent to us by the cosmos as a reminder that none shall be spared their spin on the great Wheel of Fortune.
It seems you wait a lifetime for a moment like this to arrive, but when it does it is like finding nothing but clothes under the Christmas tree. This is only so much peeling paint off the house that Limbaugh built. The horned beast of Christian conservatism before whom Rush prostrates himself has spawned a fearsome brood since the dark mage came to power, and this week's embarrassments are a small victory against that horde of orcs.
So while I happily dine on the strips that are being taken from Rush's hide and sizzled up like Lady Justice's own bacon, I must also remind myself that the conservative's ability to deny reality is more finely honed than any liberal's, and any attempt to draw a comparison between Rush's fall from grace and that of, say, his arch-nemesis Bill Clinton, will likely be as difficult to sell them on as the bald-faced lie that is Weapons of Mass Destruction was easy.
And the similarities are so crystalline, too! Sleazy criminal doings undertaken to satisfy corrupt appetites, and involving a naïve women held in the Svengali-like grip of a political narcissist? I can't help wondering now where Rush was the night of Vince Foster's "suicide."
Rush's sacking at ESPN does not interest me as much as the other story, lacking as it does that critical nugget of pure hypocrisy. Rush's endorsement deal as cheerleader for White America is, of course, crucial to his character. I suspect that watching unqualified black quarterbacks take jobs away from wholesome Nebraska farmboys day in and day out caused him to grind his teeth down to the nerve, and is probably what drove him to those painkillers in the first place.
Therefor, I do not find his remarks at all surprising or particularly offensive. And in his (barf) defense, I should point out that having many times seen the media draw politically correct and completely inappropriate attention to one person or another's skin color for the sake of a patronizing compliment, I do not find Rush's assertion of media favoritism towards Donovan McNabb to be far-fetched. Of course, that this observation should come from a man who has never been color blind a day in his life brings us full circle again.
Still, on the whole this is a triumph to celebrate, and a well-placed blow to a political juggernaut that will need many more if it is to be stopped before another war in the Middle East is begun.
Soon Rush himself will take to the airwaves and explain why what has befallen him is not substantive, not at all an indictment of his law and order/heartland of America blather; and his compatriots will fall in line behind him, urging the discouraged to keep the faith. But you know what Rush? You can preach about God and responsibility and go on thinly veiled tirades about how the spics are destroying this country all you want, and it still won't change the fact that drugs have always been the most "liberal" of the liberal sins.
And when Sean Hannity, Gordon Liddy and the rest of the horde go on the offensive to soft pedal your addiction? Well, that's just the conservative media covering up for their favorite underperforming quarterback.
Looky here! It's the cover to the upcoming Attitude2: The New Subversive Social Commentary Cartoonists, a slammin' book arriving nationwide in February that I will be featured in, along with some other pals of mine like Stephen Notley (Bob the Angry Flower), Keith Knight (The K Chronicles) and scads more. Of course, I am the highlight of the book, which is why my artwork (down in the lower right hand corner) is the TINIEST. So they won't get jealous.
My strip this week zaps far-right darling (excuse me, "independent" darling) Bill O'Reilly, but there is another radio mesmerist pissing me off this of late. Laura Ingraham.
I have decided to swear off listening to all these corporate shills starting this instant, as their venom has just become so much addictive white noise. I work out of my home you see, and I have become used to having the constant drone of political circus blare from my radio as I produce my own indispensable cartoon screeds against the ills of the world. But now it seems that all these barking, self-satisfied voices have melded into an omnipresent buzz in my brain, a reproachful Right Wing meme requiring constant resistance lest I suddenly enlist in one of their political "armies" (talk show armies being the kind that issue you coffee mugs and bumper stickers instead of rifles). But like it or not, Ingraham has really put a burr up my pucker.
Maybe it's the way my local station promotes her show, the whole "breaking the glass ceiling" attitude of her spots. "Move over, Sean Hannity, Mike Gallagher and assorted other Westwood One dickheads! There's a new sheriff in town...and she's a dame! Laura Ingraham is here to pimp for the Neo Conservatives (and sell a little snake oil on the side) but she's got a SLOT, and that makes it a whole new ball of game wax!"
Please. If any of the these Christian conservatives ever expressed an original thought I'd probably begin wearing an armband from shear admiration that one of them had started goose-stepping to their own beat. Believe you me, Laura's ovaries have not brought a new dimension to the Fox brand of vitriol that dominates talk radio these days.
Gender aside, there is nothing particularly unique about her show or her personality that aggravates me more than the rest of the Usual Gang of Idiots, except perhaps for an extra level of peevish smugness. Laura, more so than even the substantial assortment of egos that occupy her cacophonous AM arena, really thinks she has the world by the tail. In particular, she has become so enamored of the word "elite" lately--believing she has pioneered a new genus of political prey that encompasses just about everybody--that she uses the word about five times a sentence, like a toddler who has just discovered the word "shit."
All things are elite to her, There's the media elite, political elite, Hollywood elite, musical elite (the last category having inspired the title of her new book, "Shut Up and Sing") and so on. Yet her obsession with all things deviating from the perceived American norm (that elusive Mayberry RFD of America's golden past) reveals her true nature as one of fawning parasitism. She battens like a tick upon the enemies of conformity, suckling them for the bloodmeal that feeds her churlish hatred. Yet listening to her show, one is left with the impression that she dearly covets her access to the circles of celebrity she spurns, and would happily dwell there permanently if she could.
For example, Laura has lately taken pains to point out how she recently schmoozed George Clooney at some Hollywood function, only long enough to alert him to the fact that he is the subject of an insulting chapter in her new book. She then mind-reads Clooney's reaction for her audience, and shock of shocks! Laura's psychic power confirms that this archliberal has been stunned--yet intrigued--by the cheek of this witty feminist conservative! (Her disdain for Clooney does not stop her from shoving a copy of her book in his hand, however, nor does it prevent her from getting him to pose with her for a photograph now prominently featured on her website.)
Let me presume to peer into Clooney's mind for a moment, as Laura did. My own clairvoyance reveals a somewhat different take on the encounter.
First he wonders "Who is this obnoxious, lantern-jawed twat and why should I give a rat's ass whether or not I'm in her book?" Then my mind's eye reveals that Clooney is struck by the curious paradox of a former Supreme Court law clerk with a syndicated radio program and a book deal-- who also enjoys hobnobbing at restricted Hollywood mixers--masquerading as the voice of the common soil. Then he wonders if he's got a shot at J-Lo now that she and Ben are splitsville.
Respect for Sheriff Laura's pluck does not factor into his thoughts at this time.
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