The Sorrows of Young Werewolf (eyeteeth) wrote,
The Sorrows of Young Werewolf

Ain't I a stinker?

This is another joke that was funnier in my mind than it seems to be in the cold light of day, or on paper as the case may be. Probably it would work better if I drew my pants rather than just implying them, but I tried that at the very beginning, eight years ago now to my astonishment, and it looked like ass. You just can't draw pants on a stick figure. I know it, Don Hertzfeldt knows it, what's-his-name who draws xkcd knows it. As far as I know we're the three stick-figure cartoonists who matter, so there you have it.

In retrospect I probably persuaded myself to draw this comic not because I found it funny (though I do) but because I can't shut up about the conflict I feel between Being Jewish on one hand and, on the other, You're Not Fooling Anyone. In fact, that's probably one of the reasons I'm so obsessed with Jonah overall, because it's about Jew-and-Not-Jew and I'm both. The Book of Jonah is a story and stories belong to everyone, but there's also a sense in which it is specifically a Jewish story that specifically makes the most sense when considered in a Jewish context. Is it my story in that sense too? Jonah himself would probably say no. I can't explain why this matters to me.

Enlightenment scholars like that big huge antisemite Martin Luther read the Book of Jonah as an accusation against the arrogant and bigoted Jewish people from within their own half of the Bible -- a kind of biblical sleeper cell representing the interests of Christianity before Christianity even existed, which is a good trick. In this interpretation Jonah is a buffoon, a bitter Daffy Duck type who thinks the world owes him even though he is a terrible person, and we are invited to laugh along with the author, and God, as they team up to humiliate him. He doesn't even merit a serious torment. Swallowed by a fish? What is this, a Terry Gilliam animation? Now I bet those guys would accept me as a Jew -- meaning they'd accept me as being the butt of the joke along with Jonah, because they read it as a condemnation of all Jews. But I don't think Jonah would. To him I'd be a Ninevite, as I am to the nice Jewish men who stand around with the branches on Sukkot.

Maybe this project has become so important to me because drawing the Book of Jonah lets me be more like the third player in this story -- neither Jew nor gentile, but God. What do you think of that, Jonah and Martin Luther and real both-parents Jewish guys waving branches on Sukkot? How do you like them apples?
Tags: jews, judaism, martin luther, stix, the book of jonah, tinyfists
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