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4/17/07
I had never genuinely considered Fox News to be pure shit, distilled from a demon's ass and run through a charcoal filter to extract any atoms of love and decency, until I saw James Rosen's Kurt Vonnegut obituary. A one-fingered salute to a departed American icon, it was laden with slams against Vonnegut's "despondent leftism", which, along with being "quirky" (a word certain to be applied by illiterates to anyone suspected of doubting conventional wisdom) made him unworthy of "induction into the great pantheon of American writers."

Where, in the history of journalism, has there ever been a cadre of vampires like Fox News, an organization whose every member is utterly dedicated to the destruction of Americans small and large based purely on their politics? Rosen--I am imagining a hunchback whose face and body is covered in octopus suckers--shows numerous clips from Vonnegut interviews in his obituary, but barely waits for a single utterance to leave the man's mouth before swooping in like a carrion bird to crap on Vonnegut's contribution to the world of letters. His great sin, apparently, was besmirching Reagan, and the only commentary Rosen allows Vonnegut to make is when the aged author states that the talent of male American writers is spent after age 55. Rosen snidely notes that despite this, "Vonnegut kept at it."

If James Rosen had bothered to look past his pissyness he might have noted that Vonnegut once wrote a short story called Harrison Bergeron, a penetrating indictment of political correctness before the idea even had a name, and which would have had Fox calling for a state funeral for Vonnegut had it been penned by one of the literary tea candles that the network happily felates, like Michael Crichton, Tim LaHaye or their own coterie of hairsprayed hacks.

The piece ended on this insulting note: "...he hoped his children wouldn't say of him when he was gone, 'He made wonderful jokes, but he was such an unhappy man.' So I'll say it for them."

If James Rosen has any children that weren't so lumpen as to be accidentally discarded with their afterbirth, they may someday say of their father "He was a peevish featherweight in the world of journalism, but at least he could expel botulinum toxin from sacks beneath his tongue." It is unlikely that even that bit of trivia will make anyone notice Rosen's passing.
...

The Pittsburgh Comicon looms, and though I know that all of you would gladly make the hadj to the Iron City and bow down in worship of me, many of my fans cannot make it, their knees having given out after long years spent kneeling before my gold and marble effigies. My advice? Start crawling! God gave you two working elbows didn't he?

But in case you have also given your elbows in service to the many wars fought in my name, I will show you the new items you will be denied a chance to purchase. And despite your wretchedness I will even allow you to buy them from this site ahead of time.

I am debuting a new series of digital prints featuring some of the luscious women of comicdom aswim in sexy naughtiness. See them below! I command i
t!

































That's Blondie, Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn, and Catwoman (old and new), gloriously rendered in pen and ink, marker, watercolor and Photoshop, then transformed into high-quality 9" x 12" prints that each come signed by talented artisteā€² Jason "Me" Yungbluth, and shipped in their own sturdy plastic sleeve.

Now, you are almost certainly asking yourself "how can a person like me, who is not dripping with golden piercings like Xerxes of Persia, afford such high-quality collectible artwork?" I will have you know that these are being offered at the scandalously low introductory price of $8.00 a print (plus shipping), or all four for $30.00! Am I insane? Yes! Insane with great bargains!! Like a fabulous washer/dryer/ice maker from Whirlpool for only....

Oh God. I went "Crazy Eddie" there for a second. Look, no pressure. Just buy one set to start, okay? If you like them, buy twelve more sets and get a FREE VIDAL SASSOON RECHARGEABLE EYELASH CRIMPER FOR JUST $95.95!!!

Oh God...I'm sorry ....



My other new offering is Suicide Note 2, a sparkling mini that collects the "Death of Beepo" storyline that ran through the Deep Fried strip last year, as well as a fully inked and lettered six-page preview of Weapon Brown: Blockhead's War. I am working on brand new Deep Fried material for the near future, but in the meantime why not buy this charming 28-page mini and give it to your full sized editions of Deep Fried to cuddle? Just $3.00! Less than a gallon of unleaded!





















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4/12/07
Winning Hearts and Minds

Here is a photgraph of the crowd that gathered in downtown Najaf on the day the American soldiers brought down the now infamous statue of Saddam, whose golem-like ability to animate under the light of the full moon and roam the city's streets drinking the blood of young lovers held the city in a grip of terror for decades:



And here is Najaf yesterday, at Muqtada al Sadr's "Yankee Go Home" barbecue:



Now, I'm not trying to suggest we're (snicker) less popular than Saddam. Maybe Dave Chapelle is down there shooting Block Party II...

(courtesy of This Modern World)
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4/11/07
I woke up this morning thinking of Fight Club. I don't know why. I didn't dream of it. I think it is because of the cloud of frustration fogging my head as I try to generate new material for Mad magazine. I spent all of yesterday trying to force into existence a series of cartoons lampooning the latest celebrity foot-in-mouth scandals through hilarious caricatures of the offenders hacking phlegm from their throat, to no avail. Now I feel like Edward Norton, my life reduced to the banality of glorifying the luxury class through their own embarrassments. I am Jack's phlegmy throat.

This Imus thing. Jiminy fuck fuckaloo, does the nation not remember that we're losing a war in the desert? Is Imus' use of the term "nappy-headed hos" really worth three days above the fold on CNN.com? We've got a radio douchebag here in Rochester named Bob Lonsberry, a typical right wing twerp whose voice sounds like Ned Flanders after being pushed a millimeter too far, who says worse things about blacks than Imus did every day of the week. He just couches it in head-shaking commentaries about the chickens coming home to roost whenever a young black child is murdered in the bad part of town. How come Jesse Jackson isn't protesting that dickhead? At least Imus wasn't trying to be racist. He just wanted to be relevant, and the only sure fire way to be relevant in this country is to do whatever the blacks are doing. If that means denigrating a basketball team over their gender and race. hey, he was just trying to beat Corporate Thugz to the punch.

Meanwhile, straight-haired ho Ann Coulter can get away with saying this about Darfur and narry a single feather ruffles:

"These people can't even wrap up genocide. We've been hearing about this slaughter in Darfur forever — and they still haven't finished. The aggressors are moving like termites across that country. It's like genocide by committee. Who's running this holocaust in Darfur, FEMA?"

"These people"? If Ann hadn't already shot what's left of her scandal-worthiness by calling John Edwards a faggot you can bet at least somebody--not too relevant, maybe Paul Winfield--would have raised a stink about that one. It's a sad day when Ann Coulter can throw out race bait like this and still be upstaged by a guy like Imus who, afterall, only wants to be one of the brothers.
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4/8/07
He Is Finished

Johnny Hart, creator of B.C. and co-creator of The Wizard of Id died from a stroke on Saturday.

I enjoyed B.C. a lot back when I still enjoyed the newspaper funnies, and I got a secondary pleasure later on from his Christian piety, which always emerged on Easter, sometimes at the expense of Jews, and which was always worthy of an eye roll. Here is his final Easter strip.



I regret that Johnny will not be around to see what I planned to do to his cavemen in Weapon Brown. He leaves behind him as his legacy the word "Zot!" and the zen riddle of how neanderthals living before Christ could have been such dutiful Christians.
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3/28/07
I was resolved not to pay full price to see 300, a movie which, to judge by its trailer, would be two hours of a bearded man screaming heroic invectives custom designed for mockery in a Jimmy Kimmel skit. Instead, I would wait a month for it to arrive in the buck-fifty theater and put the money I saved towards renting the last movie I waited to see in the buck-fifty theater but missed. This would complete my karmic circle of always spending more dough than I want sitting in some room staring at a screen for two hours when I could be in another room staring at a different screen for free.

Naturally, my good friend had to see 300 and praise it like the risen Christ, to the point where I felt a little bit stupid clinging to the $67.39 it would cost me to attend 300 while it was still ripe on the vine (that's admission, popcorn, Coke, Butterfinger, labor hours lost and gas, which I must now factor into any outing budget). Was it possible that 300 would be the one action movie this year that deserved my pound of flesh such that I would not be bitch-blogging on it later that day?

(Bitching commences below. You can save yourself some time now and just jump to the ant heads.)

Like Sin City before it, this adaptation of Frank Miller's mantastic action comic about 300 Spartan soldiers holding the Persian Empire at bay is flawfully faithful to its source material, by which I mean that directly adapting Miller's storytelling makes for artsy but silly cinema. The problem with doing a movie concerned with style alone is that, like with a movie set where you have built only as much of a house as is needed to convince the viewer that the rest is also there, you can't ever deviate from what you are able to show the audience. In the same way, 300 is locked into the ruled comic panels that it first occupied in print. It does not waver, satisfied that wonderfully stylish imagery, such as silhouetted soldiers being herded off a cliff or a spear's shadow ascending a flight of stairs will make up for the constraints of not going beyond the source material's parameters.

So, instead of adding drama or suspense or using acting to build mood, eye candy is assigned all those chores. This makes sense in a comic book, where the art must do double duty providing emotional nuance as well as environment, things handled by the written word in a book or by the actors themselves in film. But in 300 there is no room for acting unless it is in dramatic flairs. Design is the star, and the actors may as well just stick word balloons over their heads.

You will not be surprised to learn that director Zack Snyder has helmed more television commercials than movies. 300, even at its best moments, seems like a commercial for itself. You feel that at any second the hyperkinetic slow motion (wait...is that possible?) of swords plunging and bodies tumbling will cut to the crimson 300 logo, or perhaps a Jeep Liberty, and you will realize that you have actually been watching a 45 minute-long trailer.

300 does not fail to deliver on the rock 'em sock' em, however. Heads are hewn, biceps are stabbed, ghost-faced assassins are swallowed in corpse avalanches. 300 is not short of things to look at. It is an orgy of fantastical costumes, bejeweled elephants, impossible vanishing points and oh, those Spartan abs! Curiosity alone may be enough to justify the price of admission. Absolutely every stomach is identical. I'm certain ILM was involved.

One effect in this effects-riddled movie was meticulously overused, however: the video game blood splatters that erupt from every one of the film's countless sword and spear thrusts. Everything bleeds in 300. Cloth bleeds. Yet there is scarcely a teaspoon of red caro syrup in the entire film. The blood, worshipped in endless slow-mo, is nearly all digital, cheating even the squeamish from enjoying the carnage of battle as it is so laughably artificial. Despite this, the director is clearly quite proud of the tankers of pixels he spilled, since blood is celebrated all over again in the closing credits.

And that should show you where the filmmakers' hearts really were. As with other special effects romps, such as Sky Captain or the Star Wars prequels, the audience winds up as disengaged from the story as I imagine the actors were, working against the blank green walls of the sound stage, waiting to find out later where they were fighting and whom.

But wait a minute... a detached public watching a fantasy conflict where all the maneuvers were played out by faux-warriors in the isolation of a green zone? Could 300 be the best metaphor for Iraq ever filmed?? Well if not, it's surely a metaphor for a war with Iran, or for the anti-gay agenda, or any of a hundred other conspiracies that 300 allegedly fulfills.
This is because 300 is unabashedly pro-war and anti-sissy (even pro-Surge, if you want to count the scene where King Leonidas' wife petitions Congress for more soldiers to fight Persia with). These complaints are canards from the always vocal whiny wing of the Left. The fault lies not with the film's aping of the kind of flag-fucking rhetoric we've been shot full of for years, but with politicians' spouting movie slogan crap as policy. As for the anti-gay vibes, come on! How 'phobic can a movie be that features 300 men with airbrushed abs tussling in leather diapers? Shit, Leonidas even accepts a shoulder rub from a seven-foot tall Ru Paul without flinching, and he's so manly that his sweat could double as habanero sauce.

300
is the kind of movie that, if crumbled into 30 portions would be perfect to watch in between plays during the Super Bowl. If you are the kind of person who enjoys that annual event for the commercials and not the sport, see 300 and prepare for two of the biggest, dumbest hours of your life.

300



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3/16/07
The first day of Spring breezed through town the other day. 60 degrees of cozy warmth heralding the arrival of good days ahead... as long as a ritual lamb's throat is cut and its blood offered to Oestre before April's new moon reaches it's apex. In my family that task has been appointed to me this year. God it's weird being Catholic.

The coming of Spring appears also to have brought with it the full-on disintegration of the Bush regime. The cracks in this administration's clay feet have finally reached the top, and it seems nothing can prevent it's ultimate collapse. From now on I am referring to Bush and Cheney as Tower One and Tower Two.

How long ago was it that seemed that nothing could stop the buggering of reality that will be George Bush's enduring legacy to American politics? Now the administration's +30 cloak of distortion is so moth-chewn that the next time Karl Rove so much as spills coffee on his lap the White House may fall into a hell mouth.

Talk about a dog pile: the Walter Reed scandal had barely finished cooling on the window sill, and now the U.S. Attorney scandal has Tony Snow telling reporters that Dum Dum has "confidence in his Attorney General", as clear a signal as one needs from the House of Bizarro that 'Berto will soon be disemboweling himself with a short sword. (Who will be his kaishaku, I wonder? Rumors are that the real reason Kyle Sampson got the boot was his performance mangling a ham with an electric carving knife last Christmas.)

Still, that never give up, never surrender attitude persists in the crusty black heart of Dick Cheney, God bless him. Watch his recent appearance at the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee conference last week. It's worth it just to hear the Hollywood battle score that he is introduced with, but please stick around for his litany of liberal "myths" that he contends the American people must wage war against. The unspoken myth, that you can sneeze in your hand then wipe it on a nation, ours or theirs, and expect to be admitted into the VIP room of Western civilization's greatest heroes, is not discussed.
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3/13/07
Rall on Coulter: "Leave the scuzzy cunt alone!"

Alright, that's not what Ted Rall actually said in a letter to Media Matters and The Human Rights Campaign, but it was certainly implied.

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3/9/07
There is a cajun-spiced interview with me over at Sequential Tart. Learn everything you need to know about me that the evil little cartoon above doesn't completely reveal.

GOOD CAUSE ALERT!

Help a stormtrooper raise some money for MS. I forked over a few measly bucks and felt far richer than I did with the money in my account! What an investment!
Who needs Wall Street? The love bubble never bursts!


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3/5/07
The N-bomb
We all remember the brouhaha over Eminem's abundant use of the word "faggot" in his music, but it only occurred to me last Thursday, at 11:21 AM, with a Cadbury Cream Egg dissolving in my coffee, why he did it. Of course! It was his way of saying "nigger"!

You yourself have known this for going on four years and 37 days, but I was simply too enraptured by the dopeness of the man's hooks to calculate why he used the word so frequently. It goes back to the reason Eminem became the best rap musician in America in the first place: he is white.

Eminem took the embryonic musical form that, we can all agree, was pioneered by negroes, then added the critical, milky white "crossover factor" that made it marketable to mainstream America. But for the first time in history this alone was not enough to attract white audiences. There still remained one race-specific element that that stood between Eminem and absolute rap dominance. No, not the fact that he couldn't barbecue. It was the word "nigger".

The radioactive N-word was discovered in 1903 by scientists attempting to synthesize powdered mayonnaise. Marketed widely in the South, the patent on nigger was finally sold to blacks in 1968 in exchange for the Olympic track teams that would ultimately win the Cold War for America. Though beneficial in the long run, this exchange is nonetheless regarded by a great many white Americans as tantamount to the Indians' sale of Manhattan island to the Dutch for $24.00.

"Nigger" as it appears in the periodic table.

Nigger became a mainstay of rap music when it first emerged in 1985 with 2LiveCube's debut album Here Comes Rap! The tantalizing use of nigger by the many rap artists that followed in the late 80's, early 90's, middle 90's and late 90's made the music form irresistible to white ears. However, whites themselves were locked out of rap success, as even the most courteous use of nigger by whites led to severe outbreaks of heads being gone upside of. A "nigger Nutrasweet" was needed to allow white America to steal the flame of true rap without suffering having their livers torn out for all eternity by black America.

Enter "faggot."

Although it had been around since at least 1704, the word "faggot" (originally a derogatory term for Welsh mimes) had never gained traction in popular parlance. But flying off the skilled tongue of Eminem, faggot rolled over the country like a heterosexual tsunami, sweeping America's open-mindedness aside while instilling a generation of white suburbanites with long-denied straight pride. Although Eminem has rightly been called the white man's Malcolm X, it could not have happened had faggot not become the placeholder for the Caucasian's need to reclaim the word nigger.

I offer this history lesson because the attempt to once again recapture nigger for the white man has begun anew, and the results could well be disastrous.

Michael Richards pioneered this new Manhattan Project a few month's ago. His experiment-- to release a single utterance of nigger during a stand-up performance, sanctioned only after months of negotiations with UN monitors-- resulted in a veritable nigger Chernobyl. Following this the American white establishment realized they need to operate through celebrities who will not require a cross-country apology tour after mishandling this dicey bit of vocabulary. Thus the mission of expropriating nigger has been turned over to Ann Coulter, whose career is safely fireproof, having already turned to charcoal following the November elections.

Coulter's strategy is based on first recuperating faggot for use in politics. She began tentatively a few months ago by using the diminutive "fag" in reference to Al Gore. With the cat safely out of the bag, Coulter debuted the second syllable this past weekend by describing John Edwards as a "faggot" at the American Conservative Union's convention in Washington.

Unfortunately, Coulter is still handling the word as though it were a Water Wiggle. Instead of calling Edwards a faggot directly she instead implied that she would require reeducation if she did refer to him as a faggot:

“I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, but it turns out you have to go into rehab if you use the word ‘faggot,’ so I -- so kind of an impasse, can’t really talk about Edwards.”

Coulter is mired in the same tar pit as Michael Richards, but while it ultimately took three thorazine-filled darts to end Richards' tirade, Coulter's sin is in not fully embracing her slur. She instead dangles it at arm's length as if it were a hellbender she had just discovered under a log. "Eww! Lookit this thing! It's so grossly cool!" Meanwhile, the stakes could not be higher. With Barrack Obama still wildly popular the need for whites to rehabilitate nigger for primetime audiences is critical.

Rumor is that Ann is working her way up to "Jewboy", which she will premier in two week's on her home turf, Bill Mahrer's program, possibly working it into a seemingly innocuous joke about John Stewart's circumcision scar. Next she has planned slams against chinks, wetbacks, beeftwiggers (a New Zealand smear against Maori goat herders, obsolete since 1829), all culminating in the release of her new book in September:






























That is, of course, if Ann doesn't pussy out, instead calling Obama a "coon" on Hannity and Colmes before choking and trying to append "-skin cap" onto the end of it, then rushing out of the studio and shaving her head. Michael Richards trained for three months with a Navy SEAL before his effort, and he broke too.

Regaining nigger for white America will either turn into this generation's moon shot or this generation's Iraq War. Either way the results are bound to be history-making. One thing is for sure, however: In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, Harry himself is going to turn out to be Voldemort's sixth horcrux!

(Sorry, but after not recognizing the Eminem nigger/faggot connection for so long I wanted to make sure that you know that I'm not behind the curve on everything.)
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3/2/07

At this point the incompetence of G.W. Bush has been encapsulated in so many nutshells you'd need a squirrel to sort through them all. The latest example of what it means to be Bush is that six years after 9/11, with the tom toms beating anew for a third Middle Eastern war, the Taliban is still intact enough in a country we have occupied for years to bring death right to the vice president's red carpet.

And still we let this man play with the aircraft carriers.

...
Pick A Number

I vowed after Revenge of the Sith that I would never again see a movie out of a sense of obligation, a pledge I violated soon thereafter when I saw Clerks II. They know you will do this, these sequelizers. They prey on fans who, though burned by the creators' lesser accomplishments, still walk around with hooks buried in their lips, ready to be reeled in simply because, against their better judgment, they have to know what Anakin's last words to Obi Wan were.

Lucas and Smith are amateurs compared to Joel Schumacher, however. Getting someone to shell out money for a half-baked sequel is one thing. It takes a special genius to exploit a person's metaphysical existentialism and still deliver a crapburger designed only to put an ass in a seat long enough to forestall a refund on the ticket price. Such is the brilliance of The Number 23.

Jim Carrey reads over the screenplay for The Number 23.

The Number 23 has as its gimmick the phenomenon of...well, the number 23. Those (such as myself) who are "into" 23 have acquired this itch, meme-like, from a notion long held in esoteric circles that the number 23 occurs more frequently in nature, media, daily life. etc., than any other number, granting it a sort of magic significance. By way of example, a quick browsing of today's CNN headlines finds that a 23-year old teacher has been arrested for having sex with her students, while 23 people died in the attack on the compound Cheney was visiting in Afghanistan the other day. COINCIDENCE??

This has led to the number 23 managing to replicate itself deliberately in entertainment that specifically deals with paranoid or paranormal phenomenon. Movies like The Matrix Revolutions and Serendipity, the TV show Lost and especially comic books like The Invisibles and X-23 have all referenced this in one way or another. You would think then that a movie which tears away the subterfuge and goes right to the meat of the most superstitious integer to emerge since "13" set the world on fire would have something interesting to say about it.

Instead, The Number 23 is a largely hacky thriller suffering from clunky dialogue, improbable plot twists and a total lack of gotcha. Except for deliberately plugging into the quirky and little known cult of 23, The Number 23 suffers from an almost total lack of 23-ness.

Jim Carrey plays Walter Sparrow, a dog catcher living in quite a nice house for a dog catcher along with his wife Agatha (Virginia Madsen, quite a nice wife for a dog catcher too). As a birthday gift, wifey gives Walter a battered copy of a novel she's found in a used book store called "The Number 23". When Walter notices several similarities between himself and the book's noirish hero, he begins down a spiraling path of obsession where he succumbs to the protagonist's preoccupation with the number 23.

It's a promising start, as most thrillers have. Unfortunately it immediately blows a tire when, apropos of nothing, Carrey's Sparrow becomes instantly bedeviled by 23, scribbling fluke occurrences of 23 from his life on walls and his body. Meanwhile his adolescent son joins him in the deep end with no encouragement at all and Agatha brushes off her family's mania as though it were March Madness.

This all leads to a hunt for the book's author (a man named Topsy Kretts, which we are led to believe would not jump out at anyone with half a functioning brain hemisphere) and the connection he has with Walter and a 15 year old murder, a connection which presents itself in a series of coincidences completely unrelated to the number 23. In fact, there is no reason that this movie couldn't have been called The Color Red or The Spooky Dog, since these threads are at least as important to the plot as 23 is. Meanwhile, the haunted number itself proves to be a fairly unchilling supernatural device. The movie sometimes presents 23 as the manifestation of a deranged mind and at other times as a demonic scourge that the sane can catch like a cold, but why it ultimately matters is anyone's guess.

Despite some gruesomeness and a bit of well-placed panache, The Number 23 wallows in cheesiness and unnatural acting. It becomes clear early on that this movie has a tell-tale heart beating at its core, but the twists are too unlikely and unthrilling to make the journey of discovery worth it. In the end, a long expository flashback is required to fill in the craterous plot holes.

As an active participant in disseminating 23, I feel I am qualified to pass judgment on the right and wrong way to handle the subject, and this movie is in all ways wrong. Like any quasi-religious totem, the number 23 has a mystery to it, a mystery which has its own real world expressions, which The Number 23 is entirely ignorant of. Instead, the movie uses it as a gimmick where anything-- black cats, tarot cards, sidewalk cracks--would have served equally well.

Rent The Machinist instead for a far better "did I do it?" guilty conscience nail-chewer. As for spooky numbers, I really hope someone finally makes a movie about the number 12:00. I see it everywhere, blinking...blinking...blinking....

The Number 23


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2/26/07
It's getting all "ooo la la" up in this joint. I'm talking about this delicious new Cat Woman painting that I am auctioning off on E-Bay. This 11x14 marker-on-bristol artwork is brimming with detail and is without doubt the finest auction piece I have drawn yet. If you are a Batman fan, or know one, or have ever seen them (they are about 3 feet tall and congregate around toadstool patches in meadows where baby deer sing the magic song that makes the sun rise each morning), this snazzy art will surely please you/them. If you feel like sharing your wealth instead of only taking advantage of my wondertastical comic giveaway, I urge you to bid as though an asteroid were heading towards your city in 2036.
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2/23/07
For reasons that would befuddle even a string theorist, Oprah seems intent on helping Bill Hole'Reilly recupeate his image after the latter accused abducted teenage sodomy recipient Shaw Hornbeck of collusion with his abuser. This cost O'Reilly a coveted speaking engagement at an abused children's benefit.

In a February 21st interview with Oprah, Bill attempted to toss his embarassing remarks down the memory hole and reinvent the fiasco by attacking those who attacked him, as if they and not he were the apologists for child abuse. Said he:

"OK. Right. OK. This Child Sexual Abuse Accommodation Syndrome is basically a torture where these pedophiles -- and they learn this technique -- torture young girls and boys, little girls and boys, where they get them to a state where they are so confused they don't know what they're doing. OK. It's like -- and -- it's like if you were in a torture chamber in, you know -- some kind of horror movie (...) Now, America doesn't want to confront this. It's not Stockholm Syndrome. Remember, in the Devlin case, all these idiot media people run up, "Oh, Stockholm Syndrome, like Patty Hearst." What a bunch of crap. I'm sorry I had to use that word, but it is just garbage, all right. This is way beyond that. This is torture -- systematic torture."

This is as rich as rich gets, since it was O'Reilly who, on his show, first soft-peddled the idea that the kid had fallen under his abductor's sway, and instead suggested that Hornbeck fully enjoyed getting the time off from school to engage in extra-curicular ass rape. Now it turns out that the contrarians are the idiots....for not realizing it was in fact a new super strain of Stockholm Syndrome that the child was subjected to! You are the asshole, America, for misunderstanding Bill's intent (as usual)!

Media Matters has a more thorough parsing.

On the other hand, I awoke this morning to the news that Chuck Schumer wants to increase the already drift-net sized network of paranoid sex predator laws to include a Federal registry where convicted offenders would have to place their e-mail addresses, probably so that NBC's "To Catch a Predator" can have a more reliable pool of targets to draw from. I'm sure that Hole'Reilly, despite detesting Chuck Schumer the way a vampire hates a cross dipped in garlic butter, will leap at the opportunity to tout this latest initiative if only to reaffirm his demon-hunting cred. Not that he needs an excuse, since Bill is a tireless advocate for any Cutsey's Law, Wootsie Alert or any other surveillance program that comes down the pike. Refresh yourself with my commentary on this matter to see where I think this is heading.

Conservatives used to be against government intrusion into privacy. After 9/11, they'd shoot cameras into their veins if they could.
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2/22/07
William Odom, NSA director under Reagan, takes apart Hugh Hewitt over Iraq and hastens the disintegration of the Neo-Con world view in the process. The downside? Well, his opinion tends to underscores the fact that stay or leave, conservative or liberal, every citizen of our nation has blood-stained hands, and will have forever. Hey, I say bring on the next Iraqi dictator already! I'm getting tired of keeping track of the changing cast of characters.

...

If you haven't already done so, consider: the Surge is probably more about having extra action boots "in theater" to repel an Iranian counterstrike should we chose to bomb them than it is about securing Baghdad. England certainly appears to be rushing to get its own troops out of harms way, with Denmark and Lithuania hot on her trail (okay, Denmark and Lithuania aren't actually in Iraq. They've just been logging into the 82nd Airborne's Friday night Warcraft campaign's for so long it feels like they're there). Still don't believe me? Maybe the extra aircraft carrier battle group steaming towards the Sea of Oman will change your mind.

Two things we know about Dum Dum: he is firmly committed to the rightness of his ideology, and the only peace he has ever made is his peace with the fact that any glowing reviews for his performance as President will be history's prerogative, because even an idiot can tell when he's being booed off the stage. I think he's going to go for broke with Iran.

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2/19/07

My MySpace page and FAQ are done at last, and my 2007 tour schedule is up (eyes right). To celebrate all this wonderfulness I am offering lurkers my greatest incentive yet to delve into Deep Fried: a FREE copy of The Great Taste of Deep Fried, my 128 page trade paperback! If you don't already own this tome of abhorrent humor, here is the perfect opportunity for you to get hooked.

Along with Weapon Brown I am working on a new Deep Fried trade, and it will certainly help to have a bunch of new fans ready to enjoy it. Don't hesitate to take advantage of me! And please link me left and right to your own MySpace places. Pimping begins with you!

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2/17/07
"Money trumps peace."
I can't wait for the T-shirt.
...

MEME ALERT!
A type-4 Rovian supermeme has escaped isolation and has begun to infect the infosphere. Code named "Slow Bleed", this meme expresses as a Republican talking point wherein Democrats are accused of desiring a "slow bleed" strategy of diminishing budgetary support for the war. Infected hosts are wont to suggest that it is the Democrats who came up with the terminology, when in fact it was first coined by John Bresnahan, Capitol bureau chief for The Politico.

An inoculant to Slow Bleed is now available. Liberals are advised to spread the "Severed Artery" countermeme, wherein the Republican strategy of bleeding our nation to death while refusing all efforts to apply a tourniquet is elucidated.

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2/16/07

Who's laughing now?

Fox News, tired of enduring the surfeit of new ones The Daily Show has ripped them over the years, has apparently decided to return a little of its own. Their antidote to Comedy Central's fake news program? A fake comedy program.


Clips of Fox's wretched 1/2Hour News Hour have been introduced into the Net apparently as a courtesy, the way cowpox innoculates you against smallpox. This is meant to protect you from a full blown outbreak of colon-cramping anti-laughter should you happen to stumble across this tureen of vomit while channel surfing.

From what I can tell from the clip, the humor level is somewhere between Jersey Girl and Schindler's List. A second clip shows Rush Limbaugh, his identity as Joe Don Baker's bastard son no longer in any question, giving a presidential address. If there is any particle of humor present it is neutralized by the doom ticker crawling along the bottom of the screen so that the canned laughter accompanies terror bombing death tolls. Once again the old addage is confirmed: "You can lead a conservative to humor, but they would still rather eat a plate of their own shit covered in walrus semen."

As I myself have thoroughly documented, conservatives simply cannot grasp humor. Perhaps someday IBM will build a conservative supercomputer and force it to tell knock-knock jokes to itself at light speed until it twigs to the flaw in its logic, after which it will explain humor to the rest of them. Until then they will be in the dark about what the rest of us already understand: it is impossible to be funny when your mission is humping the status quo. And if you can't laugh at yourself, just fucking forget it.

The fact that the show is produced by Joel Surnow, the golden hack behind 24, should fill in any remaining blanks. The 1/2 Hour News Hour is scheduled to debut Sunday, and scheduled for cancellation Tuesday.

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2/06/07
News it or lose it


It's over! News Fast 2007 is in the can! One month of media abstinence complete! Thirty days with no Fox this, Daily that or Little Green anythings! I feel refreshed--somehow higher and mightier. While all you goobs were out there worrying about aircraft carriers off the coast of Uzbekisnoop and whether or not the mark above Britney's cooz was from a C-section or razor burn, I was breezing through life as oblivious as a pillow angel, wasting not one bead of sweat on the cares of others. And during this Herculean demonstration of self restraint, I learned something important about myself:

I NEED NEWS EVERY FUCKING DAY!!! Groffle groffle car bombings groffle groffle Blackhawks groffle mountain lions gruffle grorff Lite Brites!!!!

Mmmm, yeah! That's the stuff! Events! Situations! Precious, precious punditry! News dirt, how I've missed you!

Actually, I'm a bit disappointed in the pickings after a whole month of targeted ignorance. Nothing that would raise my temperature a tic has actually happened. Where's the Surge? I thought we'd be all Surgin' by now! Bring it on already, Dum Dum! What are you waiting for? An approval rating higher than your shoe size? Those days are far, far behind you. Now dump every last reservist, park ranger and lifeguard in America into Baghdad and show me some goddamn entertainment already! Just give me four minutes and 25 seconds exactly to pop some microcorn and...

Ooo! That reminds me! Have you seen that Fangoria-worthy Orville Deadenbacher commercial? If your child is wetting his bed again after two years without rubber sheets you know that he has. What the hell are we looking at exactly? Is this CGI , or was Orville accidentally buried in a pet cemetery? The latter would describe why they can't get the lip synching right. I mean, it's hardly rocket science at this point. Only an unmanageable zombie really explains the revolting mockery of life that this ad subjects us to.

And the producers of the ad appear fully conscious of the freak show they've wrought. The commercial seems crafted as a kind of induction into a brave new world of horror-advertising. Look at the actors reactions to the homunculus in their midst. They are as aghast as the audience! See how tentatively they approach the creature and eat his popcorn? Who wouldn't rather be scarfing earthworms on Fear Factor than eating food prepared by the dead?

The makers of the ad want you to understand that they know how you will feel about their monstrous deed, even forcing the creature to do an unsettling jig to underscore its inhumanity. It's as if they are telling us "Yes, Orville has much to relearn after his journey through Sheol, but give him a chance, won't you?"

This philosophy of marketing through grotesquery must have influenced that vomitous Snickers ad that ran during the Super Bowl as well. Alright, so it's pretty clear that all they wanted was to get people talking about their fucking nougat logs while spending the least amount of money doing so, and to hell with how unappealing they make the product look. Nevertheless, seeing two people eat a candy bar like a horse is sickening enough without the complete Lady and the Tramp. They could have left off the ending and still won the prize for most unpleasant standout in this year's lackluster ad potpourri. I think I'll be sticking to Milky Ways for a while, unless there's a commercial on the way with someone eating one off a toilet seat.

...

So, it's official...again. Global Warming is deadly real (so real it gets capitals). Meanwhile we are in the desert fighting for control of the the very stuff that makes our doom possible. Sound like the plot of a movie about a nation ruled by retards? Mike Judge is two steps ahead of you.

Idiocracy is Judge's follow up to his first live action film, 1999's cult hit Office Space. It sat on the shelf for two years at Fox, then contract obligations forced them to release it in theaters before booting it right to DVD. Thus, Idiocracy was given limited release in a handful of cities with no promotion whatsoever before arriving in video stores now.

Why torpedo a low budget movie that was sure to be gobbled up by a small but loyal fanbase? I don't want to imply conspiracy--so I'll just say it straight: the three richest Jewish families in Turkey ordered it. But there is also the matter of what the film has to say about consumerism and corporate crassness to consider, so point your nose in that direction if it pleases you. Regardless, many Bothans died to bring you this DVD.

Luke Wilson awakens from a drug induced stupor to find himself covered in garbage in A, My Name Is Paris Hilton. No, wait! It's Idiocracy!

Luke Wilson plays Joe Bauer, an unassuming Army librarian schlepping his way to his pension when he is drafted into a military hibernation experiment. To test the same experiment's effects on women, but unable to find a suitable candidate within the Army, a hooker named Rita (SNL's Maya Rudolph) is sold by her pimp to take up residence in the second pod. Both are meant to sleep for a year, but a scandal causes the project to be shut down and Joe and Rita are forgotten, their pods ultimately winding up in a mountain range-sized landfill 500 years in the future.

When the two awaken they find that evolution has long since stopped favoring intelligence over fecundity. The future is entirely populated with the semi-simian spawn of a million Jerry Springer guests, people for whom Judge's own Beavis and Butthead would seem like the McNeil-Lehrer NewsHour. The preferred food stuff is a sugary goo you lick from your fingers, water fountains dispense sports drinks and the number one movie in the country is a bare ass farting for 90 minutes (number two is, I'm certain, two guys french kissing while eating a Snickers bar). People mill about the streets like zombies in clothes patterned with corporate logos and barely know how to operate the automatic machines that are all that stand between humanity's impending extinction.

No longer an average drip, Joe finds himself as the smartest man on earth. But as is always the case with those who wear the smartypants, the people either want you too much or not at all. Both fates befall Joe as he tries to avoid the brutal consequences of adoration and derision (both involve a date with a monster truck called the Dilldozer) and find his way to a time machine which can take Rita and him back home, or so he thinks.

Though the characters are not as thoughtfully developed as in Office Space, this is still an artful, if lowbrow, satire. Some of the most ingenious mockery is the most subtle, such as the way police officers speak as though they were on Cops. On another level, however, it is still a movie premised on the notion that transforming Fuddruckers into Buttfuckers is a top drawer gag.

The art design of this cretinous dystopia may evoke Blade Runner or one of the other contemporary "Big Business is Watching You" sci-fi flicks like Minority Report. Actually, the run down aesthetic of Idiocracy, with it's malfunctioning pleased-to-meetcha computers and barcode worship, owes more to the TV series Max Headroom: 20 Minutes Into the Future than anything else. In the same way it is just as effective and timely a commentary on America's couch-bound masturbation culture, though much more over the top.

Luke Wilson is a straight man in a world of buffoons, so the supporting cast winds up with the best lines (an exchange between Joe and the Uhh-merican president's cabinet about the benefits of electrolytes on farm crops had me in stitches). Maya Rudolph injects her role as "hootchie with attitude" with occasional sweetness, but is otherwise delegated to a downgraded girlfriend role. Dax Shephard as Frito, Joe's lawyer and tour guide through the future, is a lot more fun. All in all, it's the most subversive bathroom humor you'll rent this year.


Idiocracy


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1/26/07
Arrggghh! Can't take much more news starvation! I'm nothing but news skin and news bones! Plus, little droplets of intel keep dribbling in from the periphery to tease me. For instance, thanks to Doonsebury I know that Rosie and The Donald are having a squabble, but beyond that I am oblivious (Rosie said Donald's hair looked fat or something). I also have reason to suspect that there is a conflict raging in the Middle East, but as to it's nature and participants I can only speculate (my guess: Yemen vs. Oman. They are the same size and shape, and their names even sound similar. You know they've got to have a "There can be only one!" complex, with Oman all waggling its tongue at nuns, all "Bleh-leh-leh-leh-leh! Happy Halloween, ladies!" Can't wait to see if this guess pans out.)

News free as I am, I have once again taken the time I should be wasting hanging out down at the blogs and turned it into art. Behold this week's E-Bay auction trophy!

"So, anything else you want to bite besides that apple?"

That is Batman villainess Posion Ivy tweaking the nipple of her pillow fight buddy Harley Quinn. This juicy painting is 11" x 14" and rendered in marker and watercolor on sturdy white bristol board. If you are any sort of collector then here is one of those "items" your kind is so covetous of. Bid now!
...

When I saw the teaser trailer for the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles CG movie, called TMNT (pronounced "Tumnut"), I was filled with hope that this new generation of Turtles would jettison the corn of the previous incarnation. I'm not actually a fan of those reptiles, mind you. I didn't even read the indy comic book that the franchise is built off of when it was still fresh in the 80's. Nonetheless, the teaser suggested a slightly menacing "Turtles Begin" approach, more mature than the Saturday morning toy commercial that we are all familiar with.

But this was a fantasy, one that has been crushed to jelly like Koko the gorilla's kitten. Behold the new trailer! Skateboarding! Pizza slurping! Belching! They even end with the greatest homage to lameness they could think of: "Not!" Is it hip to be this square again?

Alright, so it's a kids movie. What do I expect? I guess I don't understand why cheesiness never goes out of style. Is it so hard to come up with a concept that doesn't involve a plot by a malevolent industrialist to take over the world using primordial monsters? And anyway, why do these guys always want to take over the whole world? Wouldn't it be a lot more fun to conquer half the world and make the other nations parlay with you?

Think of it: If you were a supervillain, how much more sinister would it be to force the United States to sign a trade deal dropping tariffs against your country's monster-crocheted throw rugs? And wouldn't it be a laugh to see the Iron Empire of Deepest Shadows holding a seat on the U.N. Security Council? And just imagine the Olympics! The whole world losing event after event to your sulfurous pus monsters but too afraid not to compete. Your 20-ft gargoyle finishing the 100 meter dash in three seconds, then waiting at the finish line with its cavernous maw open, the other sprinters having been given orders in advance to run down the creatures throat willingly or risk humanity's destruction. What a riot! Maybe you let Botswana silver in the equestrian events, just to show that you're a sport.

I'm still available to script Stuart Little 4, Hollywood!
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Get pre-qualified
As in inoperable
You madam in ernst


1/21/07

E-Bay madness continues! This week's offering is this snazzy Cat Woman watercolor!

This piece is 9 1/2" tall x 11 1/2" wide, and (in case you are looking at the picture on the right and seeing an orange zucchini in a cowboy hat) depicts Batman's feline foil in a sexy crouch on top of one of Gotham City's many fine tenament's with a luscious come hither look in her green cat's eyes. The auction page has a larger picture for you to appreciate, but don't delay! The bidding ends January 27th.
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1/16/07

I am having an E-Bay auction right now for a sexy little watercolor I have just completed of Peter Parker's red-headed honey Mary Jane. Behold!



This carefully rendered 8 3/4" tall by 6 3/4" high original would be right at home on the wall of even the mildest Spider-Man fanatic, and is the first of several full color pieces I will be E-Baying over the next few weeks to raise some scratch for my trip to the San Diego Comic Con this summer, the biggest comic convention in the country and a great opportunity for me to gladhand my way to a brighter future in comics. Won't you help? {run: sad puppy eyes.exe}

(Of course, you all know I do commissions, don't you?)

And what will I be promoting in San Diego, as well as many other comic conventions this year? For starters, the New Weapon Brown series I have been teasing you about for so long. And lest you think I am just full of hot air, take a sneak peak at how things are progressing with Weapon Brown: Blockhead's War.

The FAQ is still under construction, but you shall have it soon, my pets.
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1/15/07

I'm crawling up the walls here, waiting for the watercolor I'm painting to dry so I can move to the next stage, yet unable to indulge in my favorite wastetime while I do, that being sinking my brain teeth into a dozen or so three minute video clips from Crooks and Liars, Media Matters or any other other political smorgasbord website. Yes, I'm once again engaged in one of my periodic news fasts, this time for the whole month of January.

My month of media Lent is a 30-day reprieve from giving a rat's ass about the world and its woes. A month away from being wound up by the Right, bummed out by the Left and pretending I could have made a difference anywhere in the first place. Because I can't. No one can! You try making a difference and see what happens. Know what happens? Microbes, motherfucker! You didn't think of them, did you? There you are waving your "US Out Of Iraq" placards at the intersection or attending a community forum on the new hockey arena bond act, and all the while the microbes are laughing at your best efforts and laying their eggs in your nose! So who's really in charge of the world, huh?

So if you came here today hoping I had some penetrating insight into whatever it is that has you biting your thumb this week, well... stop when you taste blood. I am out of the loop. I don't know a single fucking thing about what is happening outside my bubble and haven't for weeks.

Okay, that is not fully true. My enviro-seal is not airtight. I know George Bush has announced some sort of "surge", which I suppose is some doomed-from-the-start endgame in Iraq and not a highly caffeinated grapefruit soda. Also, a friend let slip that Japan may have just sunk beneath the ocean the other day. Big loss. But other than that I am flying naked and blind through the universe like some kind of winged mole rat. And I gotta tell you, it's the life!

Actually it's more like a zombie-ish half-life. Browsing blogs and shooting up Daily Show clips is so much a part of my routine that today I'm as twitchy as a methadone addict on "Free Methadone For Inner City Toddler's So Junkies Can't Have Any" Day. And since I don't give a fart about celebrity fuckups and can't use some B-lister's vomit-spewing ketamine overdose as a substitute for my political Jones, I am left with no entertainment alternative except my most hated of all lingering vices: network television.

I tried tuning in to the Simpsons yesterday and got a big surprise. They'd moved it to 7:00 pm to make way for the season premier of 24. How the hell could it be the season premier? It's January! I suppose this must be part of the "new media" paradigm that allows for streaming episodes of Heroes and the like, but that still seems pretty cocked-up to me.

Also--and I know I am defying convention here--but 24 really licks sack. It would be bad enough if it were only a paranoid propaganda blowjob for the same brain surgeons that have rolled out the red carpet for ten generations of Osama bin Ladins in Iraq, but I also despise that it's an hour long exercise in cell phone humping. Just wait: I'm sure that one of this season's plot threads will be an evil House Speaker who wants to cut the Defense Department's budget for anytime minutes. Only Martin Scorsese's putrid The Departed has managed to fetishize cell phones more completely than 24 has.

But the cherry on top has to be the crap dialogue. How the hell can anyone whose house doesn't rest on cinder blocks stomach lines like "You know I'm not some idealistic flag burner, but once you start ethnic profiling it's a slippery slope!" I suppose in my ignorance I haven't noticed that flag burning is enjoying a second Renaissance, like 'fros. Sure hope they keep enough National Guardsmen stateside after "the Surge" to keep Kent State locked down.

Look, I know 24 is hugely popular with people who enjoy having there 9/11 ball hair tickled once a week, but fuck 'em all. I am over 9/11 like Evel Kneivel is over a row of school busses. All the way over. I'm not about shitting my pants in the subway looking for swarthy men with detonators in their pockets anymore than I'm worried about Russian agents with poison dart launchers in their umbrellas. Could there be another 9/11? Sure. There could also be another space shuttle explosion. Frankly, I think we've seen the last of both for a good long time.

In a couple days: new cartoon, a long overdue FAQ, and an art auction! Meanwhile, want to see how clever I really am, like when I have only two seconds to marshall my wit? Click here.
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Drum Gas Looms greatly
Dont want no short weenie man
But on repairmen


1/1/07

Y3K?
With the arrival of the new year I am reminded of that new year of nearly seven years ago that launched our current millennium. Y2K, our official Year Zero.

Remember when the year 2000 was the official moment that the future began? We knew that everything past that date would be frosted with awesomeness. It would be the Jetsons, Star Trek... even Blade Runner would be fine. Who needs sunlight when you've got a Toyota Hoverthrust parked in your con/app's 800-story garage?

And of course, there was Christ's homecoming to look forward to. Alright, it was a long shot, but so was the Bills' making it to the Super Bowl, but they did it! Four times in a row! You'd have to be nuts to think the Second Coming wasn't around the corner after that. (Winning? Hey, he's only God...)

In reality, the 2000th year of the Common Era was bound to be as understated as any other year. Men may feel compelled to wear lampshades on New Year's Eve, but not Father Time. Why should that particular evening have obliged us with anything more noteworthy than the standard Rockin' Eve ball drop and the requisite speculation on ageless Dick Clark's pact with Satan?

But then, as if responding to the unconscious klaxon of a species that had become the bored master of its own destiny, Fate confronted us with an honest to God doomsday! Y2K: Judgement Day!

It had everything you could ever want from the end of the world! Man overthrown by his own hubris! Our proudest creation unseating its maker! The prospect of plane crashes, China syndomes and entire hemispheres going dark as in one time zone after another the bell tolled for civilization! Y2K spoke to every holocaust scenario ever filmed, from the Terminator to Night of the Comet. Even Y2K's other identity as the Millennium Bug evoked some horrific plague from The Stand or the Andromeda Strain. And it was going to happen at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve 2000! You can't get more biblical than that!

Of course, the fact that Y2K turned into the world's most overhyped bringdown (until the Segway debuted a year later) was exactly what we calculated for. No one really wants the world to end, and it turned out those two missing placeholders in all that computer code didn't really amount to squat. On the verge of Armageddon God decided to give his kids a pass. Talk about a deus ex machina.

There were a few genuine lesson's for history in that momentous countdown. First, it was the official conclusion of America's rise to power. The end of the world, fizzle though it was, was predicated on the fact that the entire planet ran not only on American technology, but on America's clock. It was official: earth sets its watch by our god's birthday.

Next was the indisputable --and I think underappreciated-- fact of just what a collective unconsciousness is capable of. For hundreds of years Western civilization had dreamed and nightmared of an end of days scenario based on Christ's return. For reasons that are utterly nonsensical, the idea that this would be in the year 2000 nevertheless entered the popular imagination of generations of people so that, when the hour finally drew near, we had instinctively created an honest to God worldwide crisis to meet our need for something exceptional to mark the Millennium.

The third lesson, of course, is be careful what you wish for. If you summon the boogeyman all the engineers at MIT might not be able to decompile him. Twenty-one months later the horror show we secretly craved arrived on its schedule, not ours, bringing with it a new buzzword to eclipse all memories of the cutsey apocalypse we'd breezed through earlier.

If Y2K arose to fulfill the unquantifiable millennialism running through our species, then I think it is equally likely that 9/11 was also a response to that same urge. Does al Qaeda not represent the leading edge of the same nihilism that has lead millions of Christians to worship a devouring Lion that will overthrow His own image as the pussy Lamb?

You hear echoes of this in the Right Wing's cries that the War on Terror be recognized as World War III, which we all know means the biblical Apocalypse. Y2K certainly didn't satisfy those Christians holding out for crowned serpents and wormwood. And really, if you can't have a balls-out holy war when suicidal Mohammedans are bringing down your skylines, when can you have one?? (Interestingly, as our fortunes in Iraq have shifted, the idea of letting the Cold War stand in for WWIII's Tolkien-esque battle of good vs. evil, thus allowing the War on Terror to become the celestially ambiguous World War IV, has caught fire with many conservatives.)

Well, at least someone was listening to the plaintive doom-wishers when society kept rolling. And thank God that someone was sitting in the White House! As the official US death toll in Iraq finally hits 3000, our second narcissistic milestone in a week (on December 26 the toll passed the number of civilians killed on 9/11. Iraqi's die in those numbers monthly), we should all reflect on how we have gotten here: dancing to a fiddler's tune written thousands of years ago by lice-bearded "prophets" who only knew that humanity is dumb enough to fall for anything.
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