Sometimes I even scare myself

In last week’s cartoon, I suggest, in my usual over-the-top satirical way, that conservatives will soon be using the tsunami to push their Social Security agenda (“Speaking of tsunami relief — this tragedy clearly highlights the need to reform the Social Security system — before IT is wiped out — by a FINANCIAL TSUNAMI!”)

The typical reader, upon encountering this panel, undoubtedly set the newspaper down, took a sip of coffee, and mused, “Amusing, yes, but in an overstated kind of way. No actual conservative would really be so blatant and thoughtless!”

And I would have agreed, until I received the following email:

On the ABC News program “This Week,” Dr. Frist said that a “huge demographic tidal wave” would hit the program in 2008, when the first baby boomers reach the age of 62 and can obtain benefits, reduced for early retirement.

Nice job, but please try to improve your performance – I’d like two know what the right-wing nutjobs are saying TWO weeks in advance.

I’ve said this many times, but it’s really hard to stay ahead as a satirist these days. I did a cartoon awhile back for the American Prospect in which a psychotic right winger is shouting at a timid liberal (I know, hard concept to visualize, but just go with it). I was looking back through my TAP files to see if there were any evergreens I could resize and keep in my backup folder, to use for my weekly strip in case I’m ever laid up some week — and I noticed that in this wacky satire, written a couple of years back, I have my outrageous conservative saying, “I suppose YOU want to CODDLE the terrorists, DON’T YOU? Well, I think we should STRAP THEM DOWN and TORTURE THEM!” (Or something close to that — I’m paraphrasing from memory.) This was written before the Abu Ghraib revelations. It was meant as over-the-top satire, a ludicrous exaggeration. Once again, reality outpaced satire. What once seemed unthinkable is now commonplace.