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Get Your War On: The Definitive Account of the War on Terror, 2001-2008 Paperback – November 5, 2008
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"[Get Your War On] conveys a hilariously deadpan fatalism while managing to provide a surprisingly articulate expression of our anxieties."
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You don't need to read far to figure out that David Rees is not thrilled with the U.S. "war on terror" and all the accompanying propaganda. His characters speak with a variety of tones, from excessive exuberance that looks suspiciously like sarcasm (e.g. "Oh my God, this War on Terrorism is going to RULE! I can't wait until the war is over and there's no more terrorism!") to fatalism ("If you want me to hand over that planning report, you're more than welcome to bomb my cubicle. Who gives a [expletive] anymore?"). The cartoons cover many subjects, such as the bombing of Afghanistan, domestic anti-terrorism programs, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Exxon Mobil's links to murders in Indonesia, the collapse of Enron, and the constant fear that another major terrorist attack could be just around the corner. The cartoon character Voltron also randomly makes an appearance.
GYWO isn't for everyone, of course. Supporters of recent U.S. policy might be irritated by Rees' harsh sarcasm and deep skepticism about American motives. Also, you need a dark sense of humor and a tolerance of gratuitous profanity to appreciate the book. Take the following line as an example--while discussing the food packages that the U.S. dropped in Afghanistan, one character says "it turns the relief effort into a fun game for the Afghan people--a game called 'See if you have any [expletive] arms left to eat the food we dropped after you step on a landmine trying to retrieve it.'" If you're offended, you may want to think twice before buying this book. For a person with the right sense of humor and outlook on politics, however, the book is hilarious.
Some people might be thinking that the book isn't worth the money, because the cartoons are available for free online. This isn't quite true, however. The book includes a few cartoons that don't seem to be online (it also leaves a few of the online cartoons out). Furthermore, the author's royalties from the book go directly to landmine relief, so by purchasing the book you're donating to a worthy cause.
Now published by Soft Skull Press, this book collects Rees's clips from October 8, 2001 to August of this year. Rolling Stone magazine even included a small write-up in its August "Hot" Issue (reproduced in that issue is the final page in the book (excluding the epilogue).
Colson Whitehead, former NY journalist and author of the sublimely brilliant THE INTUITIONIST and JOHN HENRY DAYS (in this book he reveals an affinity with comics), usefully focuses on the appropriateness of clip art as THE genre by which to respond to the emotions and events of the past year. In the hands of Rees's generic office drones, file clerks, claims adjusters, and Dilberts-in-waiting, a fierce, sensitive and ultimately humanitarian response emerges. Combining the inanity of the office water cooler conversation with the intellectual paranoia and insight of Chomsky and Herman's MANUFACTURING CONSENT, Rees has given us a kind of new vocabulary by which to gauge our responses not only to the tragedy of 9-11 itself but also and perhaps more crucially the ever developing terror of the current administration's ongoing war fever and assault on basic domestic human rights and freedoms.
Rees's profane burlesque is a hysterically parodic assault on the corporate controlled "news" toadies who provide us with much of the biased worldview and conservative jingoism that passes for information and is disturbingly parrotted throughout the workplaces (and homeplaces) of the U.S. Thus, Rees is a kind of Lenny Bruce of sequential art. He asks all the right questions (in the process giving some of the right answers), and presents it all in a manner entirely and gloriously inappropriate to the watered-down censored palaver of the evening news.
A satirist on the order of Rabelais, a social critic on the order of Chomsky, and a patriot in the truest sense not unlike Thoreau at his very very best.
Buy this book, weep with it, laugh your ... head off, and then roll up your sleeves and get to work; learn about the Adopt-a-Minefield Campaign and the related grass roots community groups the book benefits and donate more money and time beyond those you spent buying and reading the book. ...