I’ll be honest, I had a lot of trouble drawing this page, as I have with many others that depict serious violence in this comic. I often worry that I’m trading a fine line without knowing really which side people will think I’m on. But in a sense, this page expresses a deep-seated feeling I have about the broader direction a lot of things in the world seem to be taking right now. I won’t presume to lecture everyone about the ins and outs of my thoughts and feelings on violence – anyone who’s read this comic ought to know that I feel very strongly that force and violence of any kind is morally corrupt. Nor do I want to get into itemizing all the ways in which I feel like that belief is under assault, or get into the excruciating sophistry that we’ve all been taught to use to convince ourselves that everything’s just fine and that we should just not think too hard about it.
But as a writer, I find myself having to explore very disturbing things in order to write a convincing story, and the essence of western drama is, after all, tension and conflict. I’ve had to do some pretty scary research to write this story, and it frightens me to see how much of it is playing out in reality, even now.
At any rate, I’ll admit I feel kind of down at the moment as regards the prospects of human civilization and the direction it’s going. And it’s one of those things that only happens, as they say, in real life and great fiction, that I am simultaneously at a point in the story that takes this dim a view of human nature – as evidenced in this very page, I suppose. But you don’t have to be shooting someone in the head to be using violence against them, really. Force is even more profoundly corrupt when it’s used to pervert good intentions whether it means invading or partitioning another country as a supposed measure of defense, or staking an unjust claim to someone else’s hard-earned property to force them to do something that you think is good for them, or teaching children that the great virtue is in submitting to the people in our world exerting force over others to bending them to their will.
These are impulses encouraged by the kind of social order we’ve allowed to develop around ourselves, where we respect people who wield power and aspire to “change the world” by ruining other people’s lives and saying it’s for their own good. And people wonder why this generation is so obsessed with violent self-assertion, to the point of wars, terrorism, hijackings and domestic massacres in the heart of the so-called civilized world. It disgusts me, because it’s a medieval, might-makes-right mentality elevated to the status of a supposedly forward-thinking society. It’s so pervasive and accepted that I wonder if, in a thousand years, the civilizations on Earth then will view our time as a Golden Age or a Dark Age. All we can do is try to lay the groundwork for a better society after this one, and hope that some fragment of the truth survives to the future.
Anyhow, I’m in a strange place. All’s well, though, for me. I guess I’m just in an oddly contemplative mood. All one can do is have faith and keep moving forward.
Until next week – be well, everyone.