It’s been a while since I did a longer, narrative-form cartoon, so I figured it was about time that I drew one. Apparently, I also figured it was about time that I do another piece that would never, ever get published in a traditional print outlet, even if any of them were running me!
The scene depicted in this cartoon is directly lifted from the film version of Bret Easton Ellis’s novel, American Psycho, which stars Christian Bale as a Wall Street businessman named Patrick Bateman who also happens to be a deranged serial killer. Early on in the movie, Bateman has a professional rivalry with an associate named Paul Allen (played by Jared Leto), which comes to a head when Allen manages to get a reservation at an exclusive restaurant where Bateman is snubbed. So, to settle the score, Bateman gets Allen drunk and then chops him to pieces with an axe while delivering a long-winded speech about how much he loves Huey Lewis & The News.
Those who follow my Twitter feed may have noticed me making a comparison between Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney and Patrick Bateman a few weeks ago. I got the idea after seeing this infamous photograph of Romney and his cohorts at Bain Capital, which has made the rounds on the news media for awhile as a graphic underscore for how out-of-touch Romney is with humans who aren’t absurdly rich. I thought it was funny and appropriate that Romney looked so similar to Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman during the era in which American Psycho is set—even down to the sadistic look in his eyes.
Bateman’s murderous rampage is a metaphor for (among other things) the self-serving, amoral greed systemic to the ’80s thanks to the efforts of Ronald Reagan and other contemporary Republicans who were the ideological progenitors of most free-market Conservatives and Neo-liberals infesting the US government today—the movie makes this criticism of Reaganomics clear by featuring a clip of the President speaking on a TV in the background during its final moments. This was the environment in which Mitt Romney’s corporate fortune first germinated, and then flourished; the economic equivalent of a slaughterhouse where money is Soylent Green, and Soylent Green is people.
While I’m surely not the first person to make the connection between Romney and Bateman—it’s just too obvious not to have been discovered already—I expect I’m the only editorial cartoonist to illustrate it. Few others seem to have either the stomach for the film’s graphic level of violence and gore, or the courage to skewer public figures like Romney with such pointed language. Of those that do, most would correctly realize such a cartoon’d be rejected by their employers and publishers, and therefore choose not to waste the time drawing it, but as already mentioned above, that’s not really an issue in my case, so the only practical concern for me is a question of whether or not the commentary has the depth to offset the gratuity of the violence, the obscurity of the reference, and the scale of the drawing effort.
Admittedly, it probably doesn’t, but I still went ahead because I thought it’d be funny, as well as an enjoyable, rewarding drawing exercise. It definitely fulfilled those expectations, even if it does have less intellectual value than I usually try to be certain about including.