Short Story Month: The “War on Terror”

Garfield (Short Story Month #8)

Garfield: as trenchant an examination of the mindset of the American suburban landscape as ever was. Where, oh where is Jim Davis’ Pulitzer Prize? Why should the critic-pleasing Garry Trudeau get all the acclaim? No comic strip has better exposed and denounced the festering wound that the events of September 11, 2001 left on the American psyche than Garfield.

In a devastating parody of the unceasing fear mongering of the “other” in which we find ourselves today, the eponymous feline and his live-in male companion are terrified by the discovery of a strange package in their household. Rather than pick up the object to determine its contents, their immediate reaction is one of distrust, suspicion, and a fear for their safety and wellbeing. After all, does anyone really know this “Liz”? What’s her ethnicity? Which God does she pray to? Better Jon and his cat should succumb to the basest of fears rather than listen to the voice of reason. Because reason has no place in the Coalition of the Willing.

A fourth panel would no doubt show the pair cowering outside while a bomb disposal team enters their house, while a followup strip would reveal Liz’s ultimate fate: a one-way ticket to Gitmo.

The overt failure of the U.S. Government’s “War on Terror” has left the Arbuckle household a quaking mess of unfocused neuroses, forever vigilant against anything that doesn’t conform to a nebulous paranoid mindset FOX News has dubbed “the norm.” After all, if the purse isn’t a bomb, then all those soldiers have died for naught!