July 29, 2010

A Rude Silence Follows

It's official.  John Callahan, possible the world's most offensive cartoonist, has died.

If you'd seen Callahan's cartoons, they probably offended the hell out of you.  He didn't "test boundaries," he didn't merely cross the line,  he left the line waaay back there somewhere.  He expressed ideas we didn't even have the guts to imagine.  He made Gary Larson look mainstream and normal.

Typical is the drawing the Grim Reaper, walking down the street with two Grim Reaper Children.  Across the street is someone with a box full of puppies they're trying to give away.  One of the Reaper children is tugging on the parent Reaper's arm, saying "Mommy! Mommy! Can we kill the puppies?"

A quadraplegic, he titled his autobiography "He Won't Get Far On Foot."  The
cover featured a sheriff's posse surrounding an empty wheel chair in the
middle of the desert.  A later work was titled "Will the real John Callahan Please Stand Up."  He found humor in exposing our own ridiculous tendency to go to any extreme to avoid offense, as well as the folly of trying to ignore your own limitations instead of learning to cope with them

I can imagine what he'd draw to commemorate his death: a mob of straight-laced, conservative people dancing on his grave.  It would be captioned "Callahan throws a party."

The world just became a duller place.

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