We did it. We fucking did it. Barack Obama is going to be the President of the United States.

For the first time in a long time I can honestly say that I am looking forward to the future. There’s no irony, no double meaning, no seedy underbelly. This is just good. Good things really happen. There’s a lot I could say, but something like this leaves me at a loss for words. So I’ll let Maya Angelou say it for me.

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise

Listening to: “Everyday is Like Sunday” – Morrissey

It’s election day, yes, and you need to go vote. GO VOTE GO VOTE GO VOTE.

——-

In other news (wait, there’s other news?), Berkeley Breathed, the legendary cartoonist who brought us Bloom County, Outland, and Opus, all starring an earnest-eyed penguin and his fellows, has officially ended his run. After Calvin & Hobbes, this was my favorite comic strip. As a kid, it was my first introduction to political issues and lying naked in the periwinkle alike.

In this interview from Salon, Breathed talks about why he thinks his brand of gentler satire can’t survive intact in our increasingly sharp-toothed, snark-saturated cultural landscape:

It’s not so much dark times now, as profane and loud. Satire you’ll have, oh dear me, indeedy yes. “Vomitous” and “awash” are two words that come to mind. It used to be that everyone would be famous for 15 minutes. How antediluvian. Rather, everyone will now want a satirical YouTube film with 15 megabytes.

Satire we’ll have. Rather, the real dearth in our world will be sweetness, comfort, thoughtfulness and civility…

There’ll always be great, classic cartooning. There’ll also be radio. Concept rock albums. Theatrical movie dramas for intelligent adults. Little kids riding bicycles down a neighborhood street without a grown-up. Family dinner hours. Eleven-year-old girls who dress like children. Instant coffee. Buggy whips.

They’ll just be much harder to find.

The very, absolute last comic strip characters destined to become true household words across America were invented 23 years ago: Calvin & Hobbes. There are and will be no more new ones.

That’s a technology and cultural issue. Not a talent issue…

For the old “Bloom County” fans who take me as a cold-heart cynic about my cartoon, know that I made the mistake of playing Puccini’s “Madam Butterfly” at midnight while I was drawing Opus for the very, final, last time last week and I got rather stupid. I’ll just leave it said that way. It’s an odd business.

Here’s to ya, ol’ penguin ol’ buddy.

——

Righto. Off to volunteer at an Obama phone bank! I’m crossing all my appendages and knocking on piles and piles of wood.

Listening to: “Freddie Freeloader” – Miles Davis

I never thought the day would come when I’d say this, but: I’ve become a political junkie. But I’ve always hated politics. What is wrong with me? I’ve been asking myself this question in between sessions of checking the polls, watching clips from the Rachel Maddow Show, witnessing Sarah Palin fuck up again and again and again, and looking at photos of Obama being gosh dern cute. (I know, I’m a filthy, filthy liberal aren’t I? Oh yeah, baby, you liiike it.)

But why is this my new form of online procrastination? What happened to photos of narwhales, minimalist webcomics, obscure music blogs and anonymous people’s impotent rage? Why do I care so goddamn much about this goddamn fucking election?

There’s probably a longer answer, but the short answer is that Barack Obama is the first politician in years that hasn’t struck me as a total dickbag. ((It helps, of course, that the competition is sooo dickbaggy.)) In fact, I really think I like him. He’s actually an inspiring, intelligent-seeming guy who actually makes me feel kind of good about America–not what it is now, lord knows–but what it could be. Like when he says stuff like this. He really does work as if he lived in the early days of a better nation (That’s an Alasdair Gray quote, by the way, swiped off the side of the Scottish Parliament building in Edinburgh).

All this keeping up with the news has even made me try to, well, keep up with the news. I started puttering around some major news sources’ homepages to see who thought what was important. A snapshot of some pages’ headlines, around midnight EST:

The NY Times is all about how a circus ringmaster is retiring. The BBC wants us to know that Communism is trendy again. The Guardian’s on about a PM embezzling from the Russian government. The Washington Post talks about some botched federal contracts. The Boston Globe’s top coverage is the Secretary General of the UN’s speech at Harvard. The LA Times highlights a piece about the President of France’s crisis-handling capabilities. The Times of India has what should arguably be everyone’s headline — the launch of India’s first moon mission. Al Jazeera, oddly enough, centerpieces Obama leaving the campaign trail. The Wall Street Journal highlights his edge in the polls over McCain. USA Today offers a dreaded trend piece about US travelers abroad getting grilled on politics. Le Monde in France spotlights a doctor shortage. The China Daily’s top story is Bush’s talks with President Hu. The Chicago Tribune talks about sadistic local cops. South Africa’s News 24 covers a fatal plane crash.

Moral of the story(s)? No two agendas are alike. Obviously, papers are more localcentric. But even take a look at the American papers alone, and you see a very different set of priorities.

—–DRAMATIC BREAK——

OK, I just watched the Palin-Drew Griffin interview on CNN, and I’m too mad to write anything more that’s even remotely coherent. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more useless journalist than Griffin. They might as well’ve let a Teletubbie interview her. She twisted Joe Biden’s words so viciously, and dodged questions, and Griffin nodded and smiled, and she lied and lied and–OH GOD I HATE HER. I have to go stick my head in a tub of ice cubes now.

At the ol’ neighborhood coffee joint, drinking black ginger tea and trying to get some work done before the VP debates. But of course, I’m not getting work done. I’m writing in my infernal blog.

Hate Cowboy (who I really should come up with a new nickname for–he long ago traded his cowboy hat for a leather porkpie one) is at his perch in the corner, muttering not-quite-under-his-breath as usual about The Blacks And The Jews And The Rotten World. A snippet, transcribed as I’m hearing it: “What else is wrong with you? Why don’t you ask your fucking friend what’s wrong with you? I’ll tell you what’s wrong with you. Bein’ a stinkin’ asshole is what’s wrong with you. Don’t ask what’s wrong with you. Just fix it.”

I’m pretty sure he was the one who started bleating chaos underneath my window this afternoon when I was trying to conduct a phone interview all professional-like. Thanks, Hate Cowboy. Thanks a stinkin’ lot.

Anyway, who’s as stoked as I am to watch Biden rip Palin a new one tonight? He’d better not screw it up. Judging from stuff like this, he’s more than capable of unleashing all the fury of the Heathen Liberal Gods. (Love those gods.)

It seems like it’s gotten to be autumn in earnest. My favorite time of year, hands down. The light, the temperature, the events, the rewinding of things, the fashion, the apple picking, the beerfests, the blowy, blowy leaves… and of course, Halloween. It’s also when I’m most prolific. In a twisted way, I’m sort of glad I’m sans day job right now–more chances to get outside and breath it all in. (of course, that would involve me going outside much more than I have been… details.) I might try to head out to the White Mountains one more time before it gets too cold. Maybe tackle one of the ol’ Presidentials.

I started working on “World’s End” again–a project I’d put aside for too long. I’m trying to make Alex deal with his imminent zombieism a little bit more; it’s no small thing, after all. And I still want to integrate the bit about the CCTV operator who hasn’t left her post since before the big collapse. Watching the whole world die on 20 TV screens while she subsists on instant coffee and Weetabix…

I finished West With the Night and started reading Death in Venice. So far, Mann’s as pretentious as hell, but it’s a good read nonetheless. I’m interested in his philosophy that “a story must tell itself.” So far as I can tell, his authorial voice is no small peppers.

Well whaddya know… T minus 10 minutes till the debate, and I haven’t done a speck of work. Time to grab some beer and head over to the boys’.

I have spent the past 24ish hours forcing myself to pay attention to the Republican National Convention, and being subsequently enraged, nauseated, and depressed by what I see. The speeches themselves (Giuliani should be excommunicated from New York City for that shit he tossed), the coverage, and worst of all, that sublimely ignorant grin on the face of America. But this article in the Herald really, really, takes the fucking cake:

SARAH PALIN MIGHT INSPIRE GALS TO TRESS FOR SUCCESS

Will the “Sarah Barracuda” beehive be the updo of the season?

The Republican vice presidential nominee wowed the crowd with her speech – and her hairstyle – Wednesday night, prompting fashion pundits to predict that the deconstructed coif will be the most requested look for fall.

“The half-up, half-down look is pretty current,” said stylist Mitch DeRosa, owner of Mitchell John Salon in Boston. “And I like the bangs to the side. I think yes, a lot of women are going to want the Palin look.”

Better yet, ladies can show their political preference by sweeping their bangs to the right or the left, DeRosa added.

Yes. Because that is what we should be concerned about. Sarah Palin’s up ‘do. Her violently pro-life stance? Her flat denial of the human role in global warming? Her lack of non-Alaskan experience? The fact that she wants to de-classify polar bears as an endangered species? The fact that the GOP brass aren’t letting the media talk to her cause then they’ll find out she doesn’t know shit? No no no, silly woolly-headed lefty. The hair is the real issue. Funny, I haven’t heard anything about Joe Biden’s fab tresses.

And women of America? Screw voting. Let’s leave that to the menfolk. We can broadcast our political views proudly with some well-placed bangs.

I suddenly wish I didn’t even have bangs.

Finally, here’s some dirty laundry-shaking from the fantastic Jon Stewart on the “Gender Card”:

Listening to: “All I Want is You” – Barry Louis Polisar

I hate politics. I don’t like having to pay attention to them, because it’s 95% sleight-of-hand and bullshit. It’s a bad, boring variety show put on by a bunch of egomaniacs mad for power.

Or, in the words of the ireppressable Douglas Adams: “Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.”

But with dear, aw-shucks Edwards out of the race, I’m not really sure who to vote for. Last primary around I was for Dean all the way. That guy is the tits. This time… I don’t know. I can’t seem to find a brief, unbiased account of where Hil and Barack each stand on the issues. This is the closest I could find. I mean, how can you compare and contrast properly when it’s all spin and rhetoric?

But who knows. What kind of universe is it anyway where the Pats can lose the Super Bowl? *Sigh*

Oh well, Tom Brady’s ass is still hotter than all the Giants’ asses put together.

I submitted my one-act play “Thanksgiving” to that playwriting conference in Alaska. I spent two days tweaking the hell out of it, since I wrote it two years ago. I’ll find out in March whether I get accepted. Fingers crossed, kids.

Last night I dreamt that they published “Thanksgiving” in this snazzy hardcover version without telling me. I didn’t know till I came to get it signed by the author and realized that I was supposed to be doing the signing. They had retooled it to be about Jesse James. I think they even called it “Jesse James,” even though it has nothing to do with Jesse James. I tried to tell them, but they said they made the changes for my own good and that I should be happy they took the time to fix it for me. Then they put on a production of it in the basement of a community center, with the entire cast in wheelchairs. It had nothing to do with the original story.

Gotta dig those anxiety dreams.

This post was really the opposite of cohesive.

Oooh, ooh. One more thing. Go see Juno. It is the best ever.

Hey y’all. Welcome to the other side of yesterday. Also known as: today.

So how about those New Hampshire debates? Saturday night found me huddled around my friend’s TV with at least 20 other people and at least 5 times as many beers, jeering at Huckabee and groaning at Hillary. Let me first say that I HATE politics. Violently so. I only pay attention when I absolutely have to, and a presidential election counts as having to. Dammit.

We made a little drinking game out of the Democrats’ debate. One swig for every time anyone said the word “change,” two swigs for “hope.” It was beyond absurd how many times they said “change.” Here’s the debate, in summation:

OBAMA: I would just like to say that I like change. Change change change.

HILLARY: Yeah, but you don’t like change half as much as I do.

EDWARDS: Bitch, please. I am for hardcore the changiest!

HILLARY: Oh yeah? Where does it say changiest on your record? Cause my record says it at least 4 jillion, if not 5 jillion, times.

HILLARY Unfolds a long ream of paper. Cut to CHELSEA in the audience, smiling angelically. Cut to RICHARDSON, on the verge of tears.

RICHARDSON: Can you guys shut up?

OBAMA: Hush, fat man in the corner. I need to further tell you how changey I am. Once, I changed this one thing SO HARD, it cried.

HILLARY: Oh really, Barack? Cause I could have sworn you changed your opinion on change. How can someone who keeps changing his mind be truly committed to change?

EDWARDS: That’s wicked petty, Hil. Petty, and anti-changey.

HILLARY: Oh, so now you’re taking his side?

EDWARDS: Hey, I’m just standing up for middle-class America.

OBAMA: (singing) Screw the middle classes! I will never accept them! My father’s other family were middle class, and we were kept out of sight, hidden from view, at his funeral…

HILLARY: This display of Lloyd-Webberizing is utterly uncalled for, Barack.

OBAMA: Only people who, like me, believe in change, can really understand Evita on a deeper level. Eva Paron? Changey! Barack Obama? Changey! (Bangs fists on podium) I think I’ve made my point.

RICHARDSON: Could we maybe, um, talk about the economy or something?

EDWARDS: Did anyone just hear a whisper on the wind?

HILLARY: Don’t be foolish, John. We’re indoors. Besides, we’re deviating from the subject at hand—that I, Hillary Clinton, am the changiest. For example—

She begins reading from the ream of paper, but is cut off by OBAMA and EDWARDS singing and dancing to David Bowie’s “Changes.” HILLARY joins in, but repeatedly and purposely stomps on OBAMA’s feet. RICHARDSON sighs heavily and buries his head in his hands.

BLACKOUT.

For a much more relevant take on the debates, check out Chris Faraone’s awesome coverage on the Weekly Dig‘s blog.

Oh, and one more thing: is it just me, or does Ron Paul look like Ian McKellen’s soulless evil twin? Check it out. Here’s Sir Ian:

And here’s Ron:

Those eyes. So black. *Shudders*