Friday, September 23, 2011

(today's zomby) AND THE CHILLING WORDS OF A MADMAN

With today's Zomby, I wanted to try an experiment: what if this cartoon were written by notorious would-be assassin Arthur Bremer?


Bremer's diary
A little history for those not in the know: In 1972, the emotionally-troubled Arthur Bremer (b. 1950) made an attempt on the life of controversial segregationist politician George Wallace. The former Alabama governor was not killed by Bremer's four shots at close range, but he was confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life before dying in 1998 at the age of 79. Bremer spent the next few decades in prison but was ultimately released in 2007. Besides the assassination attempt, Bremer is most famous for his bizarre, error-filled journals which were published under the title An Assassin's Diary in 1973. (Note: The dialogue in the cartoon above comes directly from that book.) So what's the connection to this feature? Well, to me, Arthur Bremer is very much the Ziggy of assassins -- not just because he failed but also because of his almost touchingly pathetic motives. Bremer was not a political extremist but instead was a nonentity, a nobody who thought that the assassination of a famous politician like George Wallace or Richard Nixon would give his life meaning or purpose. The poor schmuck even kind of looked like Ziggy, with his bland, rounded, nonthreatening features.

Harmless-looking Arthur Bremer

Personally, I think Ziggy is a very dangerous little man. The world treats him terribly, and yet he just stands there passively absorbing it all. But each mishap, each insult, each slight pushes him closer to being the next Arthur Bremer. May god have mercy on the snotty waiters, pushy salesman, and grouchy cashiers of the Ziggyverse when that happens. Incidentally, Bremer's diary was the partial inspiration for Martin Scorsese's film Taxi Driver and for Peter Gabriel's song "Family Snapshot."



Perhaps someday, I will do a long-form mashup of Ziggy and An Assassin's Diary. For now, this cartoon will have to serve as the pilot. I wish it were Ziggy himself speaking the punchline and not that goddamned parrot of his, but I have to work with the cartoons I'm given.

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