Cartoon Violence's Slow Descent Into Madness

Each week, the Comics Curmudgeon helps explain Today's Cartoons.

What is it about the crazies that makes good theater? Oh, sure, you'll say, you've never glamorized the mentally ill; you don't think it's funny when a conversation with your schizophrenic cousin devolves into a list of numbers and colors, or when the filthy hobo who works the street near your office screams obscenities at terrified passers-by. But you (and here I'm using the collective "you" of collective guilt) elected Kitty Harris and Michelle Bachman and Cynthia McKinney, so we guess sometimes you think stone cold crazy is OK! More to the point, you patronize films and read books and, yes, chortled at cartoons full of characters that are clearly off their nut! Is it any wonder the crazy factor in this country gotten so high that people are giving money to Tom Tancredo and Mike Gravel to run for President? This week, we look into the face of madness, and contemplate the demented world that you made.

01oba.gifCrazy factor: The press has for too long tailored its views to match up with political expediency so as to maintain access to power; now it's very perception of such basic qualities as size and mass are at variance with physical reality itself!

Depth of crazy: Not only is the press's sensory apparatus skewed by some horrifying acid trip that smashes the normal relationship perceived between size and distance, but the flow of historical time has gone wonky as well: that old fedora with the "Press" tag has been dragged out of the closet once again.

But in a world gone mad, is this the one thing that makes sense? No. Note that the real Obama is wearing a button, but the one seen through the looking glass isn't. That's just a drawing of the candidate taped to the back of a magnifying lens! That's pretty nuts.

02hil.gifCrazy factor: In a move that nobody in politics, on the left or right, could have anticipated, Hillary Clinton brazenly ignores President Bush's call for a halt to human-animal hybrids and forces her husband to submit to an experimental enhorseing procedure.

Depth of crazy: In addition to transforming her spouse into a freakish yet beautiful beast-man, Hil's also wearing some kind of modified Nehru jacket marked by with a logo based on her first initial, which can only mean one thing: she's achieved megalomaniacal super-villain status.

But in a world gone mad, is this the one thing that makes sense? Sweet Jesus no. As a comics analyzing professional, I sometimes I have to research some distasteful things in an attempt to determine the meaning behind particularly baffling cartoons, but if you value your sanity, I urge you to not run any kind of Google search on "centaur sex."

03ear.gifCrazy factor: Tired of being pushed around by a group of animals who can't even reproduce themselves prolifically enough to ensure species survival, Man, Inc., is going to take care of them the only way he knows how: By killing them execution style against a crumbling brick wall.

Depth of crazy: Man, Inc., can't decide what kind of metaphor he is: a soldier (since he's wearing combat fatigues) or a on old-timey gangster (since he's taking his gun out of a violin case) or a corporation (since his last name is ", Inc.")? This kind of a identity-shifting is a common feature of crazies, and it's scared these beasties so badly that even the ones that can fly are just kind of floating there.

But in a world gone mad, is this the one thing that makes sense? Perhaps. Man, Inc., saved the animals two by two in the Great Flood; surely he can get rid of them the same way.

04two.gifCrazy factor: John Edwards is wearing money as a hat, tipping it at a rakish angle.

Depth of crazy: BUT JOHN YOUR HAIR IS SO PRETTY! By covering it up with Ben Franklin's pudgy, syphilitic face, you deny America its one great source of strength in these troubled times.

But in a world gone mad, is this the one thing that makes sense? Perhaps. Lord knows these presidential campaigns have enough cash on hand. They're probably also wearing it as vests and burning it for heat.

05oil.gifCrazy factor: Having long fetishized it, fought wars for it, and built an entire sprawling, car-dominated society based on its ready availability, Americans have just one thing left to do with oil: trade barbed witticisms with it. So terrible is our oil madness that we think we can reason with a dumb collection of liquid hydrocarbons.

Depth of crazy: And it's insulting us, taunting us. It doesn't take a shrink to plumb the depths of hate and need wrapped up in this insane little conversation.

But in a world gone mad, is this the one thing that makes sense? Maybe. If our subconscious starts berating us to get our fat asses out of our SUVs and onto bicycles, will it finally change our habits? Or will it just drive us to new heights of self-loathing? Only the talking oil drum knows for sure.

06pal.gifCrazy factor: George Tenet wants us to pay good money in order to fuck him.

Depth of crazy: George Tenet thinks a pretty blonde wig is somehow going to make up for this.

But in a world gone mad, is this the one thing that makes sense? George Tenet is hoping that there are enough people in DC with Medal of Freedom fetishes to keep him in business. George Tenet just might be right. --THE COMICS CURMUDGEON


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