Financial pressures, world tension, crime… only Jesus can give you peace.
Howdy again, cats and kittens, it’s your pal Ascendance, aka Nephelim.
Nepphie’s got a fun one for you this week, lemme tell ya. Our ol pal Jack put together a real doozy of a Tract for us to work with, holee flying frack!
Jack seems to be taking a big ol’ shot at the idea of therapy with this one, which admittedly is ripe for mockery as an industry, but as ever our good buddy takes us on a trip into the surreal.
J: Well, at least it’s not as batty as Scientology’s approach to psychology. But it’s close… it’s close. (Like always, my (Jabberwock’s) comments will be prefaced with a J:.)
And thus, I give you Mad Machine.
LOOK OUT, Radioactive Man! The goggles do nothing… against uh, is that an electric chair? Is Jack finally coming out against the death penalty? Actually, the idea of Jack coming out makes me think of the more common contemporary meaning of the term, which terrifies me.
J: But doesn’t really surprise, in a “methinks he doth protest too much” kind of way. Regarding the machine itself, judging by the look on the guy’s face, I think it’s a device designed specifically to piss people off. Thus, “The Mad Machine”.
Never before in our modern times!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Usually I’m making fun of Jack’s art (I tend to leave the wordy stuff to Jabberwock when we collaborate), but this one’s a gem. Jack’s reclusive nature betrays him here, because his word choice is so awkward and crappy. People just don’t talk like this.
J: Unless they’re on an infomercial. I feel like I’m being sold a pair of Electric Scissors or something. “Never before in our modern times has it been so darnably difficult to cut a coupon out of a newspaper! But now… there’s Electric Scissors!”
Crazy Middle Aged Drug Addict will be played by the decaying corpse of Joan Rivers, whose head is exploding as she speaks (well, bellows).
Seriously, with all the stigma attached to taking medications, who the hell would announce that they’re about to down “another” tranquilizer?
J: I love that she’s apparently taking it with alcohol, too. Basically just announcing “the fuck with doctor’s orders — I’m doubling my dosage and washing it down with a mixed drink!”
J: “ARE YOU KIDDING?” Ah, yes, the resounding message of Christian hope, right here.
Jack, that’s not the spirit of dread and uncertainty that’s spreading, it’s the blinding pain of his bowels backing up after Crazy Wife’s terrible cooking. She obviously has to be a militant feminist and therefore a bad cook, because she has a suit on.
J: Not only that, I’ll bet she’s wearing — *gasp* — pants.
I like to imagine that crazy wife’s suit is alligator skin, and that she’s bleeding to death beneath it.
J: Whatever it’s made of, it’s kinda tacky. The guy’s look of sheer disgust seems to be directed at her fashion sense.
Also, what psychiatrist in the world would tell a patient that they’re seeing another psychiatrist professionally? Wasn’t there a Sopranos (c) episode about that? I think that was one of my favorites.
J: Heaven forbid psychiatrists have problems themselves that they feel a need to talk with another professional about. I dunno, I guess Jack thinks that somehow a degree in psychology makes you a Vulcan or something.
J: “And his shrink is seeing HIS shrink… and his shrink’s shrink’s shrink is seeing HER shrink’s shrink… and HER shrink is seeing…”
J: “Average thinking man”. As opposed to… what, some kind of brain-dead superhuman?
Actually, I find his portrayal of tax cutter here a pretty accurate look at your average Republican. Seriously, they’re hideous looking people, the RNC is like a gathering of Hair Club for Men patients. And of course the liberal tax-raiser is dishevelled and apparently drunk. LIBERALS ARE BAD, KIDS.
J: Yeah, I like that — you’ve got a clean-cut, Poindexterish, drowsy, rational type representing the Republicans, and Boxcar Pete, the drunken, belligerent hobo representing the Democrats. “I ever TELL YA… about the TIME… Ohio Shenanigans Willy and I… performed an APPENDECTOMY… on Red-Gums Martha Higby… with only a TUNA CAN LID… and a SHOELACE?”
J: And holy shits wow yes, Jack, what insight! Could it be that experts are actually other people who have feelings and problems of their own? Wow, man… that’s… that’s deep. I think Jack needs to write a self-help book.
Wow, what a collection of humanity we have here! Hideous! This woman’s nose is longer than a CNN news ticker at the bottom of the screen. I hate those things, smugly conveying “breaking” news that the reporters refuse to talk about but going by too fast for me to get all the info and leaving me wondering “Wait, what’s going on?”
What was I talking about?
Oh yeah. Anyway, dude #2 is some guy who’s strangling a carrot while he peddles some snake oil. This man needs a shave and some serious hair repair.
J: Perhaps the carrot is his problem, and he’s going to demonstrate how to solve it using molasses. You know, I think I’m going to walk around doing this bit on the subway — take a glass of molasses and a carrot, and talk about how the only solution to our problems [shake carrot] is black strap molasses [dunk carrot in glass].
I think the guy in panel 3 is one of the truck drivers from “Guilty!” The world’s angriest truck finally grew tired of his uselessness at harmonica-swallowing and beat him up. The fact that he’s talking about being robbed is merely a coincidence.
J: Looks more like the harmonica exploded through his right cheek, actually.
J: I like how the implication seems to be: Some doctors make mistakes; therefore, all doctors are never to be trusted. It’s sort of like fundamentalists’ arguments against carbon dating — it can sometimes be inaccurate, therefore it is entirely untrustworthy.
J: Is there really only one answer? I mean, lots of people find happiness or solace or comfort in quite a number of different things. What’s wrong with that?
“New” marriage problems? Divorce and common law marriages have been around for centuries, Jack. The rampant divorce rate is cited as one of the reasons that the Roman empire destabilized and fell, FFS.
J: You know, does it really fucking matter, the formalities of it all, as long as people are happy, comfortable, and give a shit about each other? Why is a formal unhealthy relationship preferable to an informal healthy one? And hey, uh, maybe you wouldn’t have so many people rushing into shitty, unfulfilling, ill-suited marriages if you allowed the country to take a more progressive and rational attitude toward sexuality, so that people wouldn’t pull the “save myself for marriage”, Let’s-Make-A-Deal, Mystery-Date, Russian-Roulette bullshit that makes fucking the focal point of relationships.
J: Actually, I just thought of something: I wonder if there are fundamentalists out there who oppose universal healthcare because they feel it’d remove some incentive for people to get married.
I want someone to Photoshop the first image so that the woman’s word bubble is coming from the screaming baby’s mouth. I will not pay you, but I will write you a poem.
Hey, black haired lady? Bruce Campbell wants his CHIN BACK.
J: HAW HAW QUEERS! ‘Cause, see, the problem isn’t so much that her husband doesn’t love her anymore and has found someone else who he feels he can have a closer, stronger, more loving and fulfilling relationship with, it’s that there’s gayness involved.
Here’s a fun exercise, pretend “It” in her statements is “cousin it” from the Addams Family. Because then it makes perfect sense.
J: Or even Stephen King’s killer clown.
J: Actually, von Koffenheimer is more “ambiguous German” than anything. I’m sure Jack wanted to do something like Peter von Jewjewenjewbergstein, but then he decided to pull back with it so people wouldn’t call him on his “Love the Jews” garbage.
That has to be the fattest evilest Jew Jack has yet put on paper. I think he’s a Germew (another free poem to the first person to peg what that means).
J: I think there comes a point where he exaggerates the stereotypical “Jew” characteristics to such an extent that it’s not even a caricature of a Jew anymore but some other creature entirely. It’s like a race of people from those allergy commercials where people had noses for heads.
J: The economy will be just fine, by the way. As long as we can indefinitely borrow absolutely massive quantities of money from China, that is.
Sanitarium? A rehab facility that doubles as an insanity hospital. Well, anything in the name of efficiency, I guess.
J: Maybe he means it’s just really, really clean.
The kid is rather articulate to be so drunk. I’m having a laugh thinking he got that drunk BETWEEN arriving at the place with dad, and getting to the desk.
J: “Welp, might as well get one last one in before it’s off to the lock-up.”
“The” nine through twelve year olds. I just like how he said that, there’s no reason the phrasing there should be so funny, but I cannot stop snickering.
J: Heh. And “it’s been reported”, huh? Where? “Well, my brother Ralph said that his friend’s cousin’s son has a friend who’s ten years old and an alcoholic!” Surely it’s an epidemic, if it occurs at all, however rarely.
Apparently Jack is presenting an alternative reality sci fi story on this page, wherein Richard Nixon was actually an admiral, hung out with a buncha Saudis, and had horrible horrible body odour. JACK CHICK PRESENTS, BATTLEFIELD EARTH 2, THIS TIME IT’S PERSPIRATIONAL.
J: I like the wording here, too. “MASSIVE ARMS RACE CONTINUES” Not “A” or “THE”. I’m picturing a bunch of huge arms galloping across a field.
It’s the return of Down Syndrome cop from Guilty! Oh the horror, look at how far his condition has progressed in the months since then ;-; And it seems the criminal caught it too. I wonder if it’s Judge Rawlings. That’d be awesome.
J: I’m not sure if the cop is retarded — I think he might actually be dead. He reminds me a little of The Flaming Carrot’s zombie sidekick.
J: From the look of things, the criminal is about 40. I’m pretty sure they’re not going to get much “hard labor” out of him after the first fifteen or twenty years.
J: Usually violent crimes carry a lot hasher and less lenient a punishment than other crimes. I mean, right, this guy’s getting out after six months for a “horrible crime” while there are people in prison for years for dealing small quantities of pot to their friends. The criminal justices system is fucked up, Jack, but not really in the way you probably think.
…uh, have we never heard of the Witness Protection Program? Speaking of which, anytime I think of the WPP, I think of Eraser, and thus I imagine the WPP program has Arnold waiting in the wings to kick villain’s asses.
Don’t judge me!
What’s really funny is, everything in this page makes sense. Science really is optimistic that it will devise at least interim solutions to many worldwide problems in the next few centuries, and despite the fact that there are MANY types of scientists (why would this reporter be talking to an apparent chemist -technician- about -sociological- problems like population booms or physics problems like energy is beyond me), I can see this conversation taking place on some level.
J: *sigh* Not the “scientists think science is God” thing again. Science is a tool for developing a greater understanding of the world around us, through repeated testing of observable evidence. And, most importantly, it changes when new information is discovered. What religion would defy its god if evidence came along to the contrary of earlier conclusions? And tell me, Jack: How much technology, medicine, biological understanding, etc has come from the Bible? Boy, it sure is great that Jonas Salk read the Bible so he could discover the vaccine for polio in Acts 3:22. And it sure was prescient of John to include plans for the semiconductor. It’s amazing it took scientists so long to just look it up and make the damn thing. Jackass.
What makes it so absurd is Jack’s idiot question about “do we have that much time left?” Well genius, if the scientist didn’t think we had that much time left, he would probably not be too content that he could solve the problems, I’d think! Just more creationist, young earth bullshit.
J: Well, if Jack thinks the world’s age is simply a tiny fraction of what scientists claim (e.g. billions of years versus six thousand years), if scientists believe there’s some catastrophe coming in maybe a couple million years, that means we’ve only got a few decades left!
J: Also, it’s not young earth, it sounds more like premillennial dispensationalism. Which, erm, is something they’ve been spouting for at LEAST a few hundred years, claiming the end of the world is “right around the corner”. Thus, we don’t have twenty to three hundred more years, because Jesus is going to be coming, like, seriously guys, about noon tomorrow, we really mean it this time, like, super super seriously, promise.
J: His head is SO BIG and his arms are SO TINY. He’s like a little baby owl or something.
Bad Grammar. I’ll let this image here speak for itself.
J: I dunno, I’m willing to let the “that” slide. And I’d put a colon or a period instead of the first ellipsis, personally. It just generally sounds like really, really shitty beat poetry to me. “Rat… rat race… can’t stand… fast pace… too much… famine… can’t we… examine? … skyrocketing prices… man’s cruel devices… rat race… can’t stand… fast pace. Peace.”
J: She’s a small mother, apparently.
Oh hey, it’s Fang. I hope he eats the stupid kids.
J: I hope he eats the stupid Tract.
Or is it the parents who’re stupid? There is nothing in the world so pressing that would cause a fit parent to miss the fact that her kid is CHEWING ON ELECTRICAL CORDS. Obviously another attempt to confuse pre-existing failures and flaws with those “caused by SHATAN!”
J: And while one beats the fuck out of the other’s probably still not entirely hard head with a small club, no less. ‘Course, if they manage to kill each other, at least those are two of her problems solved. : P
“YAAAA!” is the most believable part of her dialogue. I’ve seen people break down and start randomly screaming. Never actually heard someone yell I’m going Bananas though, that’s a new one on me.
J: In the second panel, I almost feel like she’s about to break out into a hair metal rock anthem about being a burdened mother in the lower middle class with an unsupportive husband and idiot children.
J: Wait a minute, she has insurance? Hey, lady, quit your fuckin’ bellyaching and get in line behind the millions of people who don’t have the means to take care of their medical, psychological and physiological problems when they arise. Come back when your idiot baby electrocutes himself, and you have to pay entirely out of pocket.
…yes, the most -extreme- cases of mental illness are -occasionally- given electroshock therapy.
J: I think he’s basing his mental image of psychiatric hospitals entirely on One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
No, patients are not “always” given medication, because hospitals in the US (where you LIVE, remember, you reason-forsaken puddle of ignorant superstitious pus?) are run as BUSINESSES, and medication is more expensive than sit down therapy.
J: Hah! Dr. Hyde! Hilarious!
Where the fuck did Jack go to get info on a therapy session? I was in group therapy once, I wasn’t allowed to talk after the third session because I had a habit of telling people exactly what I thought, which was “you’re rationalizing your problems so that nothing’s your fault, which is bullshit you tiny-minded tool.” Or similar things. Common rules are “no negative words” and other touchy feely crap.
That guy doesn’t look black to me. He looks kind of Asian, really. I guess they’re in “shout random unrelated stuff” therapy as much as anything else.
J: Hah, yeah. Guy looks more like Odd Job without his hat. And what possible constructive progress could be made from shouting “I hate you ‘cuz you’re black” at someone, anyway? Just… this is… just retarded.
Insert overused cliché misinformation about psychiatrists here. The blame it on your mother thing is beyond not true, it’s just played the fuck out as a joke.
J: Indeed. It’s an oversimplification of Freudian philosophy (which itself is, erm, pretty simplistic) that’s about as credible a psychological science as “I discovered through hypnosis that I was abused by Satanists”.
The second panel of this page is really just a re-take on the joke way back up in page 2, the idea of “physician heal thyself.”
J: Like it’s any fucking secret that psychiatrists are pretty notorious for generally being in need of psychiatric treatment themselves. Of course, all psychiatrists are mentally unstable, and eventually kill themselves.
I like to think this is just some random guy showing up and abusing this old lady with a sudden diatribe on everything that’s gone wrong with her life.
J: He just travels around doing this to people one at a time, like a more localized version of Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged.
And now the windows of the house are talking to us!
J: TALKING HOUSES! IT’S THE END TIMES, RUUUUUNNNN!
J: By the way, the ONLY way to find peace, or to come to terms with the stressful events in your life, is through Jesus.
J: “…at least, I hope he can’t tell a lie. If he can, I’m fucked. Oh shit, hold on… he tricked that one guy into almost killing his son, didn’t he?”
J: More talking windows! What is this, doubling as a real estate brochure?
J: “HEH HEH”
She’s not actually talking here, she’s just standing next to a bullet-pointed, speech-bubble-shaped Powerpoint presentation screen.
J: Let’s see… “Jesus is God Almighty!” Well, that’s not something he’s done, really. Presumably that’s just the way he was made.
J: Bullet point one: Okay, Jesus created the universe and all things in it. Including evil, Satan, pain, misery, and Original Sin, for which he blames us. (Also, why would there need to be a Jesus without Original Sin?) So that’s not really entirely fantastic. Sure, he created the universe, but that doesn’t mean everyone should fucking owe him for it. Yeah, it’s wonderful to be alive and all that, but none of us asked him for it, and if he only did it for something in return, then he’s not really much of a God, is he? Fuck, Satan could do something really nice for someone. What good is it if he gets to control your soul?
J: Bullet point two: Hrmm, I need a reference other than the Bible on this one. I’m sorry, it’s just… going to be necessary.
J: Bullet point three: So, a book — the origins of which, despite claiming divine inspiration, all point to human creation — said that a guy once did something really magical. How does that apply to anything else IN THE ENTIRE FUCKING WORLD?
Another case of disappearing body parts. In this case, poor fucker vanishes from the shoulders down where
Happy Jesus Woman’s word bubble begins!
J: He’s probably just some random specter that plagues her constantly, floating around and pointing out how fucked up her life is, and how much more stressed she really ought to be. She has this same conversation six times a day.
Usual boring stuff, the only funny here is that this guy looks like George Jetson.
J: Again, it’s infomercial-speak. THERE’S GOT TO BE A BETTER WAY! Now, there is! Try the HotKnife, the self-warming butter knife! You just press the button on the side, and electrical coils inside the knife HEAT UP so that the knife can CUT RIGHT THROUGH HARD, COLD BUTTER! NEVER worry about forgetting to take the butter out of the fridge AGAIN! And coming soon, it’s JESUS IN A CAN! Feeling dirty with sin? Want to get rid of it? Soap and water not working? Forget all that “for God so loved the world” bullshit — THERE MUST BE SOME OTHER WAY! [boi-oi-oi-oing sound effect; cheesy, spinning graphics] Now all you have to do is press the lid, pull back the tab, and you’re FUCKING SET! Yeah! No more time-wasting prayer, humiliating groveling, and refraining from everyday activities that have been arbitrarily branded “evil”. Just pick up a Jesus-In-A-Can from your local Walgreens, K-Mart, or other fine stores.
J: At first glance, it looked like there was an umlaut over the space between “have” and “eternal”, and I thought, for a second, “how do you even pronounce that?”
The random pauses in her statements lead me to think she has a brain tumor.
J: Of course, there are other obvious indications as well.
J: The world’s going mad, all right…
Again, Jack does a good job of sticking to his usual theme, but that’s about all he does well. I think I’m noticing a trend, that the most entertaining tracts are those that are using a narrative as allegory approach. This one’s a bit more of an infomercial and therefore a touch less funny, but even so the utter absurdity of the art creates some pleasing entertainment to work with.
J: So, what did we learn, ultimately? Well, here’s what I took from this one: 1) No doctors are to EVER be trusted. 2) All psychiatrists are mentally unstable, and ultimately kill themselves. 3) Nobody EVER finds any kind of peace or stress relief, except through Jesus. 4) There is an epidemic of pre-teen alcoholism. 5) Jews control the world’s finances. 6) Science is bullshit, because God is coming, like, in five minutes, seriously, we’d better clean this place up. 7) If you take single instances or rare occurrences of events, and then extrapolate them to be representative of all things, you can convince a lot of really stupid people that you’re making a valid argument, or providing genuine information.
Well, that’s all for now. Join me next time when I take a shot at The Gunslinger (and as I try not to turn it into a huge Dark Tower reference… yeah, I’m gonna fail that one, I think).