The brilliant work of art on the left, a cartoon featuring the symbols of the two political parties now ruining America, is another satirical masterpiece by the celebrated satirist, journalist, and fine artist, the one and only, Mr. Fish. The occasion for displaying the picture here is also an opportunity to pay homage to the great stand-up comedian Mort Sahl, who died recently at age 94. Mr. Fish published
a beautiful memoir about his relationship with Sahl Every Other Tuesday With Mort Sahl
As Mr. Fish's book Nobody Left makes clear, humor is the root of all satire and his piece on Scheerpost, did another root canal on my obsessed perception of the "disease of modern politics" that the two men joyously diagnosed back in 2007/2008 in a Bel Air, California restaurant where they hung out and exchanged ideas. A lingering reverence for Sahl's genius from Fish's portrait of the legendary comedian in Nobody Left informed my reading of Every Other Tuesday with a lubricating dose of laughter mixed with tears, an experience that greatly enhanced my appreciation of Sahl's humor.
In short, Fish's piece is a beautiful tribute that sharpened my understanding of the overarching question Fish and Mort so brilliantly asked and answered in their talks, "What's wrong with America?" Fish's description of "the joyful confidence with which Sahl juggled his absurdist buoyancy into the existential dread surrounding him," serves
as an elixir of sanity, driving home the significance of Sahl's quip that "the Democrats have to start doing something other than just to repeat
over and over that they're not Republicans."
As Fish points out, Sahl was "right about so many things so much of the time and usually decades before anyone else." In addition to noting Sahl's warning in 1960 that "Israel was becoming something of a nationalistic bully in the Middle East," Fish cited Sahl's comment to Paul Krassner that it was "suddenly possible to be a Democrat and Republican at the same time," identifying the reality that set the stage for the Swamp of today and enhancing the relevance of Fish's great cartoon SHIT HEADS, a signed print of which now hangs on my studio wall. Every time I look at this picture I think of Mort Sahl.