I wanted to make a cartoon about the CIA and the merry-go-round of controversy that was 2014. From continued targeted assassinations, to spying on members of Congress, to the recent report on torture, it’s been a banner year for the agency.
For this cartoon I gave brutal honesty a shot. It may be irrational, but directly criticizing the CIA or John Brennan made me a little nervous. There was a moment of genuine apprehension. I thought my personal hesitation to criticize a government official was far more interesting than any “clever point” I could conjure.
Orwellian is the term most often used to describe the ever-creeping expansion of executive power. However I don’t think it’s sufficient — this expansion of power can also be described as kafkaesque. Even in the absence of direct infringement upon one’s personal rights, those rights can still be infringed upon.
Take my apprehension about this cartoon as an example: the extent to which I was reluctant to criticize a powerful institution, is the extent to which I am less free. Of course I haven’t had my right to free speech directly impeded. But if you’re too nervous to exercise your rights, do you really have rights?
But let’s face facts, in the grand scheme of things, I am an individual of little consequence. I doubt this cartoon will be a blip on the radar. So take this cartoon for what it is: an act of catharsis. To me, John Brennan is sort of a scary guy. But I find I can’t be scared of something while simultaneously laughing at it. So in the case of Mr. Brennan, I choose laughter.