Monday, July 25, 2005

Bring Me The Head of Faithmouse article

Here's an article about Faithmouse which currently appears on Shawn Coyle's End The Christian Right web site. I present it without rebuttal and in it's entirety.

Shawn contacted me ahead of time and told me he very cordially that he was writing this, so please, no nasty emails to Mr. Coyle. I'm very happy to give his site a return link on my dissenters page for his efforts. Shawn also encourages the online distribution of this article, preferably with a return link to his site. I concur.

I believe the article is so over the top it actually works as an endorsement of the cartoon.

Your opinion may differ.

by Shawn Coyle

I tossed and turned all night. Sure I could see the irony dripping from using cutsie cartoon animals to give a flag-drapped thumbs-up to a rigged war. I could see that to validate Secretary War Pig Rumsfeld with plush toy illustration was surreal. Salvador Dali's got nothing at this level of weird. And the smug strip that liberals "manipulate" the bible is truly a comic coming from a member of the New American Taliban. Could the pot get any blacker? But all that was too easy.
There was something else in this. Something deeper, darker - something elusive. What was it? With the whole world asleep, and this question keeping me awake like an open-all-night marquee, I padded into the kitchen and made toast. I thought about what kind of person is making toast at three in the morning, burning up over the implications of a cartoon? That's when it hit me. The troublesome matter lay not in the what, but in the who. Who would do such a thing? Indeed. I had to find out more.
I wrote to the cartoonist himself, someone called Dan Lacey, and invited him to lunch. While he did not take me up on that, he seemed to be a very nice sort of man, polite and unflappable. Was I looking at just another example of the "banality of evil"? (Hannah Arendt discovered in Adolph Eichmann a dull, balding, bureaucrat, rather than the monster she had expected.)
Perhaps. But I felt there was more. Was he a kind of Charles Schultz with his car radio jammed on right-wing talk radio? On a testosterone patch? A clinical sociopath?
So I started to build a character profile to puzzle it out.
To pull off this level of ironic piety, I reasoned, it would have to be:
A) someone with a philosophy that perfection comes through suffering - especially if some else does the suffering.
B) someone who has been trained since childhood to turn a blind eye to injustice when actions are in their own tribal interest.
C) someone that sees no contradiction with killing civilians to prove that killing civilians is wrong and then throw a parade in your own honor calling it democracy-on-the-march. This someone as well would have to approve "extreme interrogation techniques" to demonstrate that torture is uncivilized, then call it "mission accomplished".
D) someone who believes in command and control and top-down authority with just enough morality to justify any dirty work that needs doing, but not too much that might inhibit doing it.
E) someone with just enough rationality to sustain organizational structures but maintaining just enough mysticism to avoid too close an examination.
F) someone able to partition their mind in such a way as to see bloodletting as spiritual service. For example, the ability to look upon the California Missions as a "monument to faith" (as well as a good school project for the kids) rather than the 18th century gulags they were to native Americans.
H) someone that has identified a method or place in which to have their sins declared "as white as snow". . .
. . .and just as I was warming up to the profile, the answer came in a voice from above: "You've Got Mail!"
It was Dan again: "Faithmouse is certainly 'The Cartoon of the Christian Right', but you may be interested to know that both myself and my wife (who the character of faithmouse is modeled after) are Catholic."
Ca-ching! All the pieces fell together. This guy was a true believer in empire! --Catholicism being the very model, the paragon, the blueprint. Bush & Co. may flatter themselves as "The New Romans", but Catholics learned empire building from the original guys.
We must (I must!) get clear on the fact that to an empire-believer, like Faithmouse DAN LACEY, wars are trivialities, human suffering a given. Deal with it - you have to break a few eggs - etc. Once I got that, all the rest made sense within that frame. And then there's the matter of scale: To the American empire, Iraq is little more than a speedbump, but to the Catholic empire, viewing the human parade from a 2,000-year-old grandstand, Iraqi war dead are just a little smear of bug squat on the windshield of the popemobile. (Papal Diary: "Another day in paradise - seems we're invading Muslim lands - again - yawn.")
I've seen disturbing cartoons before --with material not suitable for children and other growing things-- but for pure moral bankruptcy and intellectual corruption, Faithmouse makes Fritz the Cat look like Family Circus.

© 2005 Shawn Coyle is the Executive Director of and the author of "To Hell with Church: Seven Reasons to Quit for Good". Contact him at

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