It seems every news story about the AIG bonuses now makes reference to anonymous death threats that are pouring into the company.
I started making left-wing political cartoons one month after 9/11. At that time, most people weren't exactly pumped to hear someone making fun of the whole idea of a "War on Terror" and calling President Bush an idiot. I got my share of nasty emails.
I also received death threats. (I soon learned this comes with the territory.) I set up a special folder in my email program where I dumped all the creepy junk: the missives from the guy who fantasized about sodomizing me with a grenade launcher; the guy who said he was gonna personally beat the shit out of me; the guy who asked inappropriate questions about my wife, etc. etc.
Anyway, my point is: Did I go around crying about all these threats? NO. Did I punk out like a little baby and stop making cartoons? NO. Did I go whine to Congress about "Boo-hoo, I can't tell you who got the bonuses, they might receive a nasty email"? NO. I took a deep breath and rolled up my sleeves and -- after a strange phone call in the middle of the night -- got my number de-listed and went about my business like a champ.
And mind you, when I received these threats, I wasn't working in some high-security office building and living in a fancy gated community with no sidewalks where you need a passcode just to go to the golf course. Hardly. I was a schlub in a bathrobe living in a third-story Brooklyn walk-up. The only way I could've been a softer target would be if I was made out of Yoplait.
And I wasn't exactly getting paid millions of dollars for my troubles, either. I was temping part-time for $20/hour and GIVING ALL MY GODDAMN MONEY AWAY, because it was post-9/11 America and we were all supposed to pull together and chip in for the common good. Remember when?
My God, though -- if I had been making that sweet AIG money, not only would I have happily endured a few more death threats, I WOULD HAVE ACTIVELY LET PEOPLE TRY TO KILL ME.
Pay me $700,000 a year, or however much the AIG guy whining in today's New York Times made, and you can threaten me with death all goddamn day. Because do you have any idea how much money that is??? Hell, I'll let you throw rocks at me. I'll let you poison my soup. You can slash my tires and spray-paint my driveway. AND ONCE I GET ALL THAT MONEY, I'M TOTALLY PAYING OFF SOME STUDENT LOANS AND FIXING THE GARAGE ROOF AND BUYING SOME NEW PANTS. Because that's an insane amount of money.
These AIG losers bring the country's financial system to its knees, get paid millions of dollars for their troubles, walk away unscathed, and then turn around and complain because some idiot using a computer at the public library decides to hit "send" before catching his breath?
Meanwhile American teenagers are getting shot at in Iraq because maybe the Army will help pay their college tuition?
"Death threats?" Seriously?
Here's my proposal to the AIG bigwigs:
You give me all the money you made at AIG and I'll shoulder the impossible burden you're living with.
UPDATE (3/26/09): For the record, I am NOT condoning death threats! ALL credible threats should be investigated and prosecuted. I should think this would go without saying, but some commenters have implied that I am pro-death-threat. I am not pro-death-threat. I am ANTI-DEATH THREAT. Death threats suck. They are creepy and depressing. Thanks.