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I tried.  I really tried.  But I just don't know how I can do it any more.  Their reality has lapped our satire, and there is just nowhere else to go from here.

sat·ire    ( P )  Pronunciation Key  (str)

1.   A literary work in which human vice or folly is attacked through irony, derision, or wit. The branch of literature constituting such works. See Synonyms at caricature.

2.  Irony, sarcasm, or caustic wit used to attack or expose folly, vice, or stupidity.

car·i·ca·ture    ( P )  Pronunciation Key  (kr-k-chr, -chr)

1.   A representation, especially pictorial or literary, in which the subject's distinctive features or peculiarities are deliberately exaggerated to produce a comic or grotesque effect. The art of creating such representations.

2.  A grotesque imitation or misrepresentation: The trial was a caricature of justice.

What do you do when the people you want to caricature, the people so deserving of satire, have a reality more exaggerated and absurd than any cartoon? Cross-posted at My Left Wing.

I really did try.  At first, I had a theme based upon (a) the words of Jesus, and (b) the fact that Jesus was a Jew.  The theme bothered some people here, and was ultimately changed, so don't jump this Jew's ass about the title.  It was meant to be ironic.  But back to the theme- to place their own words and actions against those of Jesus.  Sure, it was easy to use Paris Hilton as a tool to satire the whole "Death Tax" lie:

and when the self-professed "Christian" jokes about his base being the richest of the rich, the words of Jesus cut sharply

but these people just can't be embarassed.  They genuinely believe that they can conflate religion and politics without any backlash, and it appears that they are correct.  How else do you explain one of their national leaders "explaining" that our Constitution is the work of the devil?  

Then I got the first hint that, no matter what I drew, or said, or did, my satire could not begin to touch their reality.  I wish I know who took this picture, for it deserves attribution.  But the point is not the irony captured by the photographer.  The point is the utter lack of appreciation for that irony by the people in the picture:

That should have told me where we were going.  That picture should have been on every front page in the country, and the whole "Ten Commandments" movement shamed into obscurity.  But it was just the tip of an iceberg bearing steadily down on our Constitutional state.  It gets a lot worse.

We now live in a nation where the White House leaks at will to destroy individuals,

but a Senator wants the New York Times tried for treason for writing an article about something already public, and published the same day in the Wall Street Journal

But then it gets worse.  How?  The Wall Street Journal, WHICH RAN THE SAME ARTICLE, published an editorial castigating the New York Times.  Seriously people, when the right is that far over the top, how can the left make fun?

But it gets worse, much worse.  I'm almost to the part where I surrender, but not yet.

The right hangs on every word of lying, plagiarizing pundits, whose very words are absurd on their face, but never challenged.  Is Rush Limbaugh still on the radio? How can even the most blindly conservative give any credence to him now?

And what about Ann Coulter. No, I'm not talking about her plagiarism, or her hatefulness toward widows.  I'm talking about statements so patently stupid, so obviously contrary to actual facts, that she should be the object of derision followed by shunning, or at least should be challenged, rather than treated as if she had anything of value to say.  

Okay, dhonig, so you say their reality has lapped our satire.  But it seems like you managed to put together cartoons here, to poke plenty of fun.  What are you bitching about?  You will see soon, I promise.  

Part of what makes me crazy is that nothing seems to stick.  Sure, I can draw cartoons, we can make fun, but nobody seems to notice.  Is it satire if, instead of laughing, or crying, people just nod their heads and say matter-of-factly, "yup, that's how it is."  No.  That is satire deflating, falling flat in the face of arrogance and cynicism.  Here is an example. For years now, we've all been saying "if only he got a blowjob," thinking we were being cynical.  But what happens when that is exactly what is happening, when the Republican leadership is not only getting blowjobs, but trading them for defense contracts?  I'll tell you what happens.  Not a damn thing.

But even that wasn't enough to make me surrender. What is making me want to give up is religion, or better stated, hatred posing as religion.

For years, Republicans gave lip service to the conservative religious movement, promising it the world and producing nothing.  That was enough to get votes. But then something funny happened.  After years of keeping the beast in a cage and feeding it, Karl Rove decided to unlock the cage and send it out to eat Democrats.  The old-line Republicans, the ones who want to keep their money to give to mistresses and children, suddenly find themselves on the wrong side of the religious wars, while that beast threatens everything that makes this nation unique, different from the Taliban.

It starts when a whack-job with a radio show can order the President of the United States around, demanding that he withdraw a Supreme Court appointment.  

But even that I can cartoon.  Even that level of arrogance suits itself to satire, though this kind should make you cry, not laugh.  Unfortunately, it just keeps getting worse.  

Two different stories yesterday really got to me.  The first, found in two different diaries (, told the story of a Jewish family run out of a Delaware town by harassment and actual death threats, all for the crime of being Jewish.  The author of the first, aka troutfishing, sent me an email, asking if I could come up with a cartoon.  You know something?  I couldn't.  I just couldn't.  The only pictures that came to my mind were cattle cars, ditches filled with bodies, gas chambers.  There were no cartoons there.  At least one Delaware town, and the people that supported it, are too far gone for cartoons, and their evil and hatred doesn't lend itself to satire.  I simply lack the capacity to exaggerate their evil sufficiently.

Then came the next one.  Now before I tell you about it, let me ask.  How could you cartoon the religious right's confidence that this is a Christian country, and that anybody else is here at their sufferance?  Let's diagram the issue, and see what comes from it.  First, what is the greatest symbol in America of welcome?  What is the most obvious national monument to open arms, the availability of the American dream to one and all?  You got it- the Statue of Liberty.  There is really no second choice.  Okay, good.  Now, how to use the Statue of Liberty to caricature the religious nuts?  Well, maybe we could replace the torch, the beacon lighting the way for one and all, into an exclusive symbol, marking the way for only Christians. Got it?  Right, replace the lamp with a cross. But wait, we need a little more. What to do with her other hand? She's holding a tablet, remember?  It has July 4, 1776, on it, the day we declared our independence.  But hey, it's a tablet.  You know what to do.  Replace that silly date with some commandments. But there's one more problem- that pesky poem welcoming non-Christians.  That has to go. Let's replace it with the commandments again.  After all, "shalt nots" are a lot more fitting with the whole theme that language of welcome.  Okay, we're ready to draw a cartoon, one that will really skewer the right, really cut to the heart of their hatred, their bigotry, their hypcrisy.  But before we do, let's do a quick check of the internet, just to make sure we're not doing something that's already been done.  What do we find?

This is real.  A church in Tennessee spent a quarter of a million dollars on this thing.  Jesus says feed the poor, the Commandments they worry so about say something pretty clearly about "graven images," and they build this?!  Seriously, their reality has truly lapped our satire. When a church spends a quarter of a million dollars building the very thing, and being serious about it, that you would draw as a cartoon, then pen is simply dry.  There is nothing left to do but crawl into a corner and whimper.

Their reality has lapped our satire.

Originally posted to Palate Press: The online wine magazine on Thu Jul 06, 2006 at 09:04 AM PDT.

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