The next end-of-the-world will be in 2012


Cartoonists actually are capable of thinking this way on deadline, although the true deadline-fudger would have thought, “If there’s a chance the world will end Jan. 1, I’m not drawing any cartoons until I know for sure.” (The good folks at United Media will be amused to learn I don’t consider myself a “true deadline-fudger.”)

This kind of cartoon sometimes is referred to as “metaphysical,” although I’m not sure why, since the dictionary defines “metaphysics” as “the branch of philosophy that treats of first principles, includes ontology and cosmology, and is intimately connected with epistemology.” oh-KAY! I think it has something to do with “breaking the fourth wall,” an expression which originally referred to stage actors who break character and address the audience, through the invisible “fourth wall” of the stage set, the one between the actors and the audience. In other words, the actors acknowledge they’re acting. I like to do this occasionally.