Constitution Overhaul, Health Care Reform, and Hieronymus Bosch…

Originally published in the Grand Rapids Business Journal, January 18, 2010

My earliest cartoons revolved around two characters: an angel and a devil. (Someday I’ll get all scanny and post some of these for you.) I suppose it was not extraordinary that as a young Catholic boy I would muse beyond our mortal world and consider how these heaven and hell things might function. It is a little disturbing that I tended to focus more on the hell….

One comic that pops to mind:

  • Panel 1: A man is tied to a post and a devil is snapping his bare back with a whip. The man is laughing uproariously, and the devil is angry.
  • Panel 2: Devil: “What are you so happy about? You sold your soul, and you’re being tortured?” Man: “Yes, but in I sold my soul for eternal bliss!”
  • Panel 3: Man throwing his head back and laughing. Devil: “%@#$* loopholes…”

 A more current thought is this: What if there is no actual “Hell” as a destination point but rather an infinitely long line you must wait in throughout eternity with peppy, muzak versions of your favorite songs playing in the background?

Or, for something more old school — with fiery brimstone and gnashing of teeth — I considered in this week’s comic an eternity of the health care reform debate. Ooo, nasty! And frankly, nobody depicts old school hell like the 15th/16th century Dutch painter, Hieronymus Bosch (the darkness! the eyes! the creepy birds!). Now, why in the, um, hell would I have the imagery of a pre-Renaissance painter floating around in my head, at the ready to use in an editorial cartoon? I dunno. That early (and apparently continuing) fascination with these topics and, more likely, something my parents did wrong. Yeah, let’s go with that one. 🙂

Whatever the reason, the comic germinated when former Grand Rapids mayor John Logie publically suggested that Michigan should consider revamping its constitution (which hasn’t had a good whisking since the early 1960s). I happen to think it would be a good idea. With Michigan at its (hopefully) lowest point, it’d be an excellent time to get ourselves aligned for moving forward. Or it could be a torturous political painfest. Heaven or hell. Fascinating…


  1. Tyler said,

    January 29, 2010 @ 3:00 pm

    Ever hear that bit by Emo Phillips (sp?) about what Eternity is like? Hilarious and most likely what hell would be like…he forgot the muzac though.

    Ah Catholic upbringings. Because of it I have a strong desire to see that new “Legion” movie due to the Biblical references…even though it looks a little silly. 🙂

  2. John Auchter said,

    January 31, 2010 @ 12:01 pm

    I had an economics professor in college who sounded like Emo Phillips and her lectures were kind of like hell….

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