Yes, we know we've had quite the hiatus. That damn Fallen tract just beat the shit out of us, and frankly, we (read: wurwolf) haven't wanted to get back up on this particular horse that threw us. But we refuse to let ourselves be bested by the likes of Bob Williams, so here we are again, ready to perform our public duty to all three of our faithful readers. This time around we join Chick Publications as they exploit the memory of the World Trade Center attacks to serve their own agenda in Who Cares.
Also, I should again mention that neither one of us are very familiar with Islam. What rebuttals we were able to offer were only found by a quick Google search. So if we're speaking out of turn or offending anyone, we sincerely apologize.
One more thing: big ups and mad props to our buddy, Rimmi, for contributing some killer lines! (Not that I'm going to tell you which ones.)
wurwolf: Shall we discuss the tastefully-drawn cover, with the plane just getting ready to fly into the first tower?
Lita: Oh, sweet weeping Jesus on the cross.
Lita girds her loins
wurwolf: This oughta be good.
Lita: Oh, no. It's going to be bad. It's going to be very, very bad.
Lita: I thought our last tract was the worst thing ever, but although I haven't read it yet, I think this tract may turn out to be the worst thing ever.
wurwolf: I have every expectation that this tract will treat Muslims fairly and with an open mind.
wurwolf waits to see how Lita reacts.
Lita: I have every expectation that before the end of this tract Bob will try to open a Muslim's mind with a claw hammer.
wurwolf: This tract has a publish date of 2002, so I guess this is Chick Publications' knee-jerk reaction to the terrorist attack.
Lita: Did you know that this is our 20th Bible Series tract?
wurwolf: Are you kidding? We've managed to keep at it this long without going completely insane?
Lita: That's not counting the holiday tracts.
Lita: I wonder if Chick Publications waited to make this one 20 on purpose. A big anniversary number for a big assy tract.
wurwolf: I'm sure they wanted this one to stand out.
wurwolf: Is anyone else seeing faces in the smoke?
Lita: I see an angry guy with a beard and mustache in the smoke coming off the right tower on the tv mama's watching down there. He looks kind of Middle-Eastish.
wurwolf: I see the Cowardly Lion looking down over lower Manhattan.
wurwolf: Again, I have very little knowledge of Muslim culture, but do women really wear burkas in the United States? I work in New York City, where you see lots of people in Muslim attire. I've yet to see a woman in a full black burka.
wurwolf: Head coverings, yes, but not the full burka.
Lita: I live in a small town in Northern California and we don't get many Muslims around here. So I wouldn't really know.
Lita: I guess we can be thankful that these two aren't being shown rejoicing in this attack upon the Great Satan.
wurwolf: Chick Publications is showing unusual restraint here.
Lita: But who will protect you, mama? I'll tell you who. Jesus Christ, that's who!
Lita: But first you need to be shown why your religion is irreparably evil and bloodthirsty. At least, that's where I think this is gonna go.
wurwolf: It certainly seems likely.
Lita: Random people in the tower are yelling about the death toll and their life there? I'll bet your life will never be the same. You're standing in a collapsing tower.
wurwolf: I know Chick Publications loves the gore, but this is a bit much. It's one thing to draw Jesus suffering on the cross (where He suffered voluntarily), it's another thing to draw people jumping out of the towers. Especially since this was published in 2002 and the attacks were still so fresh in our hearts.
wurwolf: On the plus side, it affords us another opportunity to look for things in the smoke. I see a bunny!
Lita: I see a still-beating human heart!
Lita: And a horsey!
wurwolf: There's an eagle!
Lita: Is that... Fang?
wurwolf: I knew Fang was a terrorist!
Lita: I would have expected it from Badcat... but Fang?
wurwolf: I love the way the artist draws people pointing. It's never clear to me whose finger it is.
Lita: Especially since the hand is always hidden behind dialogue balloons.
Lita: Omar really should capitalize "Mama." He's using it as her name, not as a description of what she is.
Lita: As I recall, lots of people took that day off regardless of whether they were Muslim or not.
wurwolf: The city was shut down for days. Particularly in lower Manhattan. Obviously.
Lita: We were in California. It was a school day, but the University sent everybody home.
wurwolf: Wait... why is an obvious Islamic guy giving the news report about the terror attacks?
Lita: I think it's supposed to be a picture of Osama Bin Ladin. Or maybe Moses.
wurwolf: I was thinking he was a dead ringer for Abraham.
Lita: Firefox's spellcheck wants to know why I'm talking about Osama Bin Ladin, by the way. It would much rather I talk about Osaka Bin Latin.
wurwolf: Omar has to go to work today because he's out of money. Does he get paid every day?
Lita: Great. Now that Omar has Allah's blessing upon him we know he's about to get mauled. And we know Bob loves it when bad things happen to good people.
wurwolf: Omar's reaction to his mother's wish that Allah protect him tells you what's going to happen.
Lita: I think mama's choking, though.
Lita: Fang hates Muslims.
wurwolf: He's spitting all over Omar.
Lita: Also, "Shame on you"? If you're going to boycott somebody's shop because of their ethnicity, is that what you say to them as you walk by? Shame on you for being of Arabic descent? Like Omar woke up one day and decided to be brown?
wurwolf: Really, that "Shame on you" can only be taken one way. Omar didn't fly the planes into the buildings.
wurwolf: What kind of shop does Omar have? He's selling pictures of sunglasses.
Lita: Payback probably bought those shades from Omar. He should be ashamed of himself.
Lita: Also, what a totally cool dude, wearing his sunglasses inside.
wurwolf: He's in disguise.
wurwolf: Santa and his posse came in to totally bitchslap Omar.
Lita: Ok, I'm about to reveal my total U2nerdosity here, but...
Lita: Payback looks like the bastard child of Bono and Larry Mullen Jr. The dude on the left with no lines looks like the monstrous mutant manchild of Adam Clayton and The Edge.
Lita: Whoever drew this must have been reading lots of naughty U2 fanfics online to get the idea for those two.
wurwolf: Oh yeah, that's what happened, Lita. The artists at Chick Publications are huge U2 fans.
Lita: As much as I hate to admit it, U2 is pretty much the goto band for Christians who normally only listen to Christian music but want to go slumming in mainstream rock for a while. Though I believe there's an anti-Christian Rock tract somewhere on the Chick Tracts site.
wurwolf: Can't wait for that one.
wurwolf: "My cousin died in the tower because of you people! Oh, by the way, can I get some Tylenol and Wacky Packs?"
Lita: Bob needs to buy some more batteries for his electric Bible thumping device.
wurwolf: Is Bob in New York City? Or is Omar's located in Gaydonia?
Lita: Bob must need some really special fantastic batteries that are only sold in New York. Or maybe that dude's cousin lives in New York, but he's actually in Gaydonia.
wurwolf: That's a small truck for three fat guys to try and fit into.
Lita: We know those guys at least have some tiny flicker of intelligence buried somewhere in all the fat in their heads because when Bob asks them what's up they wisely ignore him.
wurwolf: Santa's twirling his fist in the air. Whoo!
Lita: "What's this?" It's a Muslim guy crawling around on the floor in a pool of his own blood. I thought you'd have been able to identify that, Bob. Now will you call freakin' 911? Or is Omar, like Shirley Shepard, not worth it?
wurwolf: Poor Omar is so beat up he forgot the #1 rule when Bob enters your life: Do Not Engage.
Lita: I guess poor Helen forgot that one too.
wurwolf: Bob must be the richest person alive. He can afford to pay for Omar's medical bills?
Lita: Hey! A black man who isn't a pimp, a drug dealer, or a baptist minister! Who knew those existed?!
wurwolf: Shocking! But as progressive as that is, we can't have a man of Arab descent thinking that Americans are anything other than infidels. Even if he does live here and own a shop.
Lita: I guess when people would come into his shop before the attacks and buy stuff he'd make nice but secretly be thinking "infidels".
wurwolf: Maybe Fang's owner had a point.
Lita: I wonder if he'd ever slip and when that lady would show up to buy her toothpaste he'd be all, "Thank you Mrs. Infidel! Come again, and please bring your filthy American swine-child too!"
Lita: It really doesn't fit with the picture of this guy that we've gotten before now. I suppose the point the tract is trying to make is that all Muslims hate all non-Muslims, even if they act nice to you. So you probably shouldn't trust them.
wurwolf: Exactly. That's the subtle racism of this particular viewpoint. On the surface it looks like they're portraying Muslims in a sympathetic way, but they undercut it with their assertion that all Muslims secretly think Americans are infidels.
wurwolf: And I think the black doctor is a plant, to show that Muslims think all Americans are infidels, not just white people.
wurwolf: Because when it comes to every day life, white people and black people are separate. But when it comes to someone thinking the worst about other people, it's suddenly a shared experience.
Lita: Lovely how Bob openly admits to Omar that he's the enemy.
wurwolf: What did Omar ever do to Bob to make him think that?
Lita: He was born in another country and raised in a different religion. Therefore, Omar is Bob's enemy.
Lita: I'm gonna let you in on a little secret, Omar. Bob is everybody's enemy.
Lita: I'm amazed Bob was willing to buy batteries from Omar. The bible doesn't tell you to buy batteries from your enemy.
wurwolf: Omar must have been the only battery seller in town.
wurwolf: I love how nonchalantly Omar tosses off that Bob's an infidel. "You're an infidel! No offense."
Lita: I like Omar. Even if he does think I'm an infidel.
wurwolf: He seems like a nice enough guy. Even if he secretly thinks I'm the Great Satan.
Lita: I'd buy pictures of sunglasses from him.
Lita: I like that Omar is only listening to Bob because he's talking about Jesus. If Bob wanted to tell Omar about something his mom taught him, Omar would be all like, "Shut your stupid infidel face!"
wurwolf: Omar, that's something you should remember to say when dealing with Bob, no matter what he wants to tell you.
wurwolf: In fact, I'm remembering that line if Bob ever calls me up.
Lita: The hospital needs to prune their infidel bushes.
wurwolf: Someone in the trunk is asking Bob what Jesus taught him.
Lita: Omar keeps calling Bob "Mr. Williams" and "Bob Williams." I'm guessing it's because he's foreign. I suppose we should consider ourselves lucky he's not calling him "Williamsbobwilliams."
wurwolf: I'd have more respect for Omar if he called him "Blowhard Bob Williams".
Lita: Ok... This is a real question. Bob tells Omar that Jesus cannot lie, and then tells him that Jesus told a story about the good Samaritan. Is he trying to say that that story really happened? Because Jesus Himself didn't present it as a true story.
wurwolf: Hopefully Omar knows that Bob is talking about a story in the parable sense.
Lita: How would he? Bob didn't tell him that.
wurwolf: Then Bob's on the hook for implying that Jesus is a liar.
wurwolf: The dude who got beat up looks like a bearded Rosie O'Donnell after a bender.
wurwolf: And yet bearded Rosie O'Donnell managed to hang onto her bag of chips.
Lita: The story itself, though, is just the basic good Samaritan story. I don't have much of anything to say about it.
wurwolf: Neither do I, except that I think the part of the Samaritan is being played by Bob himself.
Lita: He looks hateful enough.
wurwolf: He would cast himself as the hero.
wurwolf: How come Omar is suddenly a foot shorter than Bob?
Lita: The bad guys broke his shins. Now his legs are telescoping into themselves.
Lita: Up close we can see the guys who beat up Omar gave him a nasty wet willy.
wurwolf: It also looks like they took a chunk out of his neck.
Lita: Again Bob goes back to harping on the lying thing. He knows he's talking to a foreigner who can't be expected to remember anything for more than three panels.
wurwolf: Maybe Islam doesn't mention Jesus specifically, but I'm sure it has something in there somewhere about it being the only true religion and all others are false.
Lita: I do know that Islam really does respect Jesus as a major prophet. It just doesn't regard Jesus as the son of God. Islam believes that Mohammad came after Jesus and he is the final prophet.
Lita: That's about the limit of what I know. I'm not a big Islam expert in any way.
wurwolf: I'm not sure if I follow Bob's logic here. He's asking if prophets tell lies, and then asks if Islam says that Jesus lied. Didn't Omar already agree that Jesus was at least a prophet and that Islam teaches that prophets don't lie? And then how does Omar make the leap that Jesus is more than a prophet?
wurwolf: Maybe it's Omar's logic I'm not following.
Lita: Well, Omar did just get kicked in the head a few times. And Bob used his hypno-eyes.
wurwolf: That must be it.
wurwolf: You can tell this is Gaydonia. Some dude with a bag of groceries is mincing around behind Omar.
Lita: I don't know about that, since Malcolm has made it illegal to be femmy in Gaydonia. This guy and his tranny wife are taking a big risk.
Lita: I do like how Bob just zooms right over Jesus healing the blind man like, "Big whoop. No big deal."
wurwolf: Jesus did that stuff every day.
Lita: Usually that's the big focal point of that story. It's not, "Jesus healed a blind man and then..." it's "Jesus healed a BLIND man!! And then..."
wurwolf: It doesn't matter to Bob's story, so he glosses right over it.
wurwolf: Maybe I can buy Omar not knowing Jesus is the Son of God a little more than I could buy some dumb white guy who grew up in Gaydonia, but only just barely.
Lita: Check how Bob says, "God (not Allah) loves you..." So not only is he making the point that Allah isn't God, but also that Allah doesn't love Omar.
wurwolf: I'm surprised he restrained himself from calling Allah a douche bag.
wurwolf: Where is Bob getting his assertion that Allah doesn't love his people?
Lita: I'd think that would be a bit much for a real Muslim to put up with right then. I'd think it would be more reasonable to give out the main message that Jesus is the Son of God and then later on, after the guy accepts, explain that you don't think your God and Allah are the same deity.
wurwolf: But, because this is a Chick tract, we find out how really easy it is to push over the other person's religion.
Lita: I was going to gripe about the spelling of Mohammed, but it turns out there are lots of ways to spell it.
Lita: Is that the same woman and her kid from the beginning of the tract? If it is, it looks like they replaced Fang already.
wurwolf: Fang never lasts long with any one family. They're just coming back from taking him to the pound and replacing him with this new dog.
Lita: Dogs are disposable fashion accessories in Gaydonia.
Lita: Shame on them, then.
Lita suddenly wonders how Mohammed died
Lita: From Wikipedia:
Lita: After ignoring Muhammad's preaching, the elites in Mecca, commercially threatened by the growing popularity of his message, persecuted Muhammad and his followers. This continued, and intensified, over more than a decade. The hardships reached a new level for Muhammad after the deaths of his wife Khadija and his uncle Abu Talib, an important political protector of Muhammad. Eventually, in 622, he left Mecca in a journey known to Muslims as the Hijra (the Migration). He settled in the area of Yathrib (now known as Medina) with his followers, where he was the leader of the first Muslim community.
Lita: Eight years of war between Muhammad and Meccan forces followed, ending with the Muslim victory and conquest of Mecca. The Muslims subsequently removed everything they considered idolatrous from the Kaaba. Most of the townspeople accepted Islam. In March 632, Muhammad led the pilgrimage known as the Hajj. On returning to Medina he fell ill and died after a few days, on June 8.
Lita: So no. He wasn't martyred. But he didn't exactly live in the lap of luxury either. It would be easy to take from what Bob said that he didn't suffer for his religion, but he did.
wurwolf: As far as Bob is concerned, only Jesus ever suffered. And suffering = love.
Lita: In the immortal words of The Offspring, "The more you suffer the more it shows you really care."
Lita: Is Bob trying to imply that Allah doesn't offer his followers the hope of Heaven? Because even an ignorant infidel like me knows that's not true.
wurwolf: Where is Bob getting his information from? Where did he ever hear that Allah offers no forgiveness?
Lita: Basically this argument is starting to boil down to "My God's heaven is better than your god's heaven."
wurwolf: And of course, Omar's religion is so false and transparent that he is easily able to get rid of it and latch on to Bob's.
wurwolf: Omar gets saved and loses his bandages, all at once!
Lita: Well, Jesus does have healing powers.
wurwolf: And if we've learned anything from Chick tracts, we've learned that all of your problems go away once you get saved.
Lita: Omar's conversion is making me feel sad. I can't put my finger on why. Maybe just because he couldn't see through Bob's lies about his own religion.
wurwolf: I can understand that, because it represents fundamentalist Christianity's desire to steamroll anything that is different and make it all the same.
Lita: And now that Omar is saved he can take off his evil Muslim hat.
Lita: This final panel is reminding me of Bob's trip to the holy land, where he and Hunter S. Thompson got all their stuff stolen. Nobody's stealing Omar's hat, though.
wurwolf: It would make a nice bowl. I might steal it.
wurwolf: Omar's mama is gonna be pissed when Omar gets home.
Lita: "I told you not to get beat up by the infidels! I didn't tell you to become one of them!"
wurwolf: Omar: Hey mama, guess what I learned today?
Lita: Omar: Mama, here's some money. Get rid of that burka and go get yourself a big hairdo.
(All the comic panels are copyright Chick Publications 2002 and the images were used according to Fair Use laws in the US.)