Back in 2003, after I had been drawing the business-card cartoons for around half a decade, I had reached a point where I was thoroughly fed up with them (not to mention, equally fed up with life in general).
So I decided I would stop drawing them. Forever. I would move on. Immediately.
I would just draw one last one, this one above, and that would be it. Finito. Basta.
Like a person swearing of the Internet, alcohol or overeating, my resolve lasted all of about five minutes. Not only that, I’ve drawn thousands more since then.
I’m glad my resolve didn’t stick. I think my work has gotten a lot better since then. That wouldn’t have happened had I been made of sterner stuff.
Make of that what you will.
This cartoon represents the great #firstworldproblem of our age. We’re all just trying to do too much, and it’s wearing us out.
In a this *brave* new world of stimulus oversupply, we’re starting to see potential antidotes popping up everywhere, that besides providing gainful employment to our friends the hipsters, is becoming an increasingly important coping mechanism and necessary part of the overall economy.
I call it “The Antidote Economy”. Bed & breakfast weekends in Vermont, Zen meditation retreats in New Mexico, farmer’s markets, specialist coffee and tea shops, Shaker furniture, yoga classed, art galleries in Laguna Beach, artisanal pickles, hand made scented candles, and of course, Brooklyn. It’s an increasingly huge cultural phenomenon, simply because we need more and more antidotes to balance out our increasingly expensive yet frazzled quality of life.
Is embracing The Antidote Economy full-time a cure for all our ills? No, sadly, it’s just for some of us. To make a living in The Antidote Economy, you also need a fairly large, affluent chunk of the population to still remain on the outside looking in. You need enough stressed out, overprogrammed yuppy-scumbag types in boring, 80-hour-week office jobs that they hate, to ensure that there’s enough disposable income swishing around to fund your alternative, post-capitalist lifestyle experiment.
i.e. Brooklyn is only possible because Manhattan is never very far away. Authentic living needs lots of fake people in order to pay for it.
[This is one of my favorite cartoons from last year. I ended up trading it with my friend, John T. Unger for one of his lovely sculptures.]
We always like to think we can make far more bargains than we actually can. Not only do we want to have our cake and eat it, we like nothing better than deluding ourselves that we can get away with it.
We like to think our beloved San Francisco Bay Area can be both a hotbed of West Coast hippy counterculture, affordable housing and all that good ol’ community activist stuff, while also becoming one of the hottest crucibles of capitalism the world has ever seen, without either directly affecting the environment ot the glorious quality of life we knew in past decades.
We like to think our beloved, God-fearin’ Red States can maintain their relatively high standards of living while still closing themselves off culturally to the rest of the world.
We like to think we deserve to make a good living as musicians off the Internet, even though nobody we actually know personally has paid a dime for recorded music in over a decade.
We don’t want the NSA snooping around our Internets, but we don’t like people flying airplanes into tall buildings, either.
We like everything to be sustainable, but we prize convenience over most things.
And so on, and so on. It’s just us, trying to make sense of the world, imperfectly.
We all try to make bargains. In fact that”s all we ever do.
We’re just wired that way, imperfectly.