Get Your Dark
Some argue that the go-go '90s were fallow years for dark humor.
If that's the case, September 11 and the ensuing War on Terrorism
were a monsoon and a huge bag of fertilizer.
In the freewheeling world of Internet entertainment, nobody has done
dark humor as well as David Rees, the author of the profane and hilarious
online comic strip "Get Your War On." The unemployed 29-year-old
Brooklyn resident has created an ongoing chronicle of the tension, fear
and confusion felt by Americans recovering from the shock of terrorism
and waiting for the next attack.
Using a few pieces of clip art of 1980s-era office workers in white
shirts and ties, the protagonists of "Get Your War On" jabber
on the phone with each other, every sentence rife with the vulgarities
that express their fear and disbelief. Example: "Ha! A fucking
white kid joined the Taliban! What the fuck is that? He must have listened
to a lot of Marilyn Manson." In another strip, the same character
speaks into his phone, "You know who I've come to like in
all this? John Ashcroft. That guy just gives me a good feeling!"
After his phone-buddy reacts with stunned silence, he responds, "Good
God, these are some powerful antidepressants I'm taking!"
Rees first made his name among Internet addicts with his comic series
titled "My New Fighting Technique is Unstoppable," which he
later published as a book. Like "Get Your War On," his other
series are also comprised of crudely-manipulated clip art, with absurd,
profanity-ridden dialogue. But the success of "Get Your War On"
has generated more than $2,000 in donations from appreciative readers,
which is probably less than they'd be spending on Prozac.
evokes ire of 9/11 widows
with permission of UNIVERSAL PRESS SYNDICATE.
Four weeks after September 11, Aaron McGruder, author of the widely
published daily cartoon The Boondocks, began running a series of strips
in which the main character Huey Freeman accuses Ronald Reagan and both
Presidents Bush of creating Osama bin Laden and funding the Taliban.
In those hypersensitive days of fear, several newspapers - including
all those in the New York metropolitan area - chose not to run
the overtly political strips.
But the controversy surrounding The Boondocks was barely a blip compared
to the tussle surrounding Ted Rall's March 27 offering. In a strip
titled "Terror Widows," the leftie political cartoonist mocked
the survivors of the attacks who he believed had been exploiting their
new found prominence in pursuit of their own personal fame and fortune.
Rall - a 1996 Pulitzer Prize finalist whose cartoons appear in
more than 100 newspapers nationwide - harped on the media ubiquity
of the terror widows, plus the piles of money many made since the attacks.
He also mocked broadcast news for milking the grief of terror survivors
for stories during the Winter Olympics and other events.
Numerous newspapers and websites, including those of New York Times,
pulled the comic after an ensuing criticism, especially from the widows
Rall defiantly defended his work, noting how the widow of Flight 93
hero Todd Beamer tried to trademark the words "Let's roll,"
the last words her late husband spoke to her as he and his fellow passengers
decided to overpower their hijackers.
Quadrennial presidential poser Alan Keyes, host of the MSNBC talk show
Alan Keyes is Making Sense, blasted Rall and noted that "governmental
action may be necessary."
Rall responded by superimposing Keyes' comments over pictures
of Nazi Germany in a strip. You can take the cartoonist out of the paper,
but you can't take the paper from the cartoonist.
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