The George W. Bush Coloring Book is the brainchild of G.K. Darby. Finding material on Dubya is the easy part. Sifting through the heap and narrowing it down to a small number of quotes that say it best, is the hard part. On the record quotes that Darby selected, like "I know the human being and the fish can coexist peacefully," offer an abundance of visual cues for an illustrator and lend themselves naturally to visual depiction. G.K. did a tremendous job weeding through the pile. The interview:
You must have done a lot of research on the man to get all those quotes and set them to music, so to speak. So what conclusion did you come to? Is he really that obtuse, or does he just play the part of a bumbling idiot on TV?
Yes. There was a great deal of research by all those involved. The quotes that Darby selected set the tempo for the music that followed. The project is a collaborative effort to paint a picture using a combination of on the record Bush quotes, my own illustrations and an information-packed, two-page footnote by Joley Wood, who has previously written essays for Penguin Classics. At first glance the quotes G.K. supplied me with struck me as encrypted, hallucinatory babble which needed deciphering, rather than words spoken by the leader of a powerful nation who had the capacity to effect and endanger billions of lives.
Dubya embarrasses the shit out of progressive native-born Texans like myself so I like to remind people that he isn't really a Texan. No one seems to care. They fall on the nurture side of the nature v. nurture debate.
Yes, I believe he is from New Haven, Connecticut. My guess is that he isn't even really sure where that is in relation to Texas. He seems to have a general idea and I've illustrated his grasp of geography in the book with several quotes which include, "I was raised in the West. The west of Texas. It's pretty close to California. In more ways than Washington DC, is close to California." To depict Bush's ludicrous and downright frightening approach to foreign policy along with his claim to being a Texan I decided on a gun-toting, Wild West rodeo, wanted poster theme. The part that astounds me the most is how people do nurture him.
How have people responded to the coloring book?
Aside from laughter, the classic response seems to be "Did he really say this?" The coloring book isn't an exercise in Bush-bashing, though I will admit we'd like to see him out of office in 2004. It simply illuminates Bush's imaginative words and curiously frightening world-view. I would hope that readers will draw their own conclusions from the coloring book. To put it politely, he is a terrible actor and I wish this were only a bad B movie.
I couldn't help but notice the link to the Presidential Prayer Team in tiny print at the bottom of the page. Is somebody at Garrett County Press a closet Republican?
There are no closet Republicans at Garrett County Press. The web site is hilarious which is why the link was added. With the exception of a few zealots, I'm not sure anyone would take this seriously. Prayers that Congress would amend our constitution in an effort to remove civil rights and to "codify marriage as being between one woman and one man", are nothing more than a carefully worded attempt to further the agenda of the far right under a veil of religion and prayer. This is about the will of the right, not the will of God. It's laughable and alarming at the same time and has no place in politics.
Well, this is for Hipmama so I feel obligated to ask. You got any kids?
No, I don't have any children yet. Once I've mastered feline potty training I think I will be better prepared for parenthood. That might take some time. The George W. Bush Coloring Book can be purchased from Garrett County Press.
Jennifer Williams is an editor of Hipmama.com. She has no plans to vote for Bush at this time, or any other time for that matter.