Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Ed Piskor (1982-2024)

This week, cartoonist Ed Piskor committed suicide in the wake of the relentless online pillorying and overnight destruction of his career that followed upon allegations of sexual misconduct, of which he insisted he was innocent. Piskor’s work was not really to my taste, but I often enjoyed the Cartoonist Kayfabe YouTube channel he co-hosted. I was always impressed by the manifest love, respect, and appreciation he showed for the great comic book artists of the past. These are attractive and admirable attitudes to take toward those from whom one has learned.

Piskor’s suicide note is heartbreaking, and includes this passage:

I have no friends in this life any longer. I’m a disappointment to everybody who liked me. I’m a pariah. News organizations at my door and hassling my elderly parents. It’s too much. Putting our addresses on tv and the internet. How could I ever go back to my small town where everyone knows me? Some good people reached out and tried to help me through this whole thing but I’m just not strong enough. The instinctual part of my brain knows that I’m no longer part of the tribe. I’m exiled and banished. I’m giving into my instincts and fighting them at the same time. Self preservation has lost out.

This episode vividly illustrates how diabolical is the moment through which we are currently living, when the lust to defame others and stir up a mob against them – always a temptation to which human beings are prone – has been massively exacerbated by social media. I don’t know if Piskor was indeed innocent, but neither do those who hounded him to the point where he lost hope. May God have mercy on his soul and on his family.


  1. Thank you for this beautiful post. May God have mercy on his soul. May perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace.

  2. Oh my Jesus, save us from the fires of Hell. Lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy.

  3. For more info about the allegations:

    1. Seems like the controversy in relation to the teenager is about 30% what he actually said and 70% how she interpreted it ("grooming," "creepy"). That said, surely it's basic common sense not to have private online conversations with 17-year-old girls if you're an adult man. I can't help but wonder if maybe her reading of his intentions hit home and he was afraid even more would come out.

    2. Common sense sometimes - nay, often - abandons us.

  4. The Catechism offers words of great hope: “We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to Him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives” (#2283).

  5. Requiem aeternam dona ei Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei.

  6. I know nothing about comics or "graphic novels"; and have absolutely no interest in super heroes, fantasy, or soft scifi whether written, graphic or on film.

    111Nor do I know anything whatsoever about this guy or his career.

    However, I took some time to review YouTube material related to this matter. And if it was accurate and comprehensive the whole situation is stupefyingly awful for a couple-three reasons.

    First because he killed himself. Second, because it was over what appears to be an almost unbelievably trivial matter if the YouTube reporting is accurate and comprenensive. I mean, so far - and these may be early days - there is nothing actually sexual to this matter so far as revealed.

    And third, the guy just seemed to have no sense of his own right to fight back, and a great emotional dependency on a sense of belonging and acceptance.

    One can add to that what appears to be not only an insane general culture at work, but according to the link I will leave, a morally warped comic artist subcultute which seems to have become a nesting place for some freakishly bad personalities.

    Again, I don't know this guy or whether he may turn out to be some kind of molester. But at this point, his crime" seems to be having used what might be construed as flirtatious, though in the text I read, it read as merely jocular and completely non sexual teasing.

    Maybe he was a creep. But if he was not a molester, other young men are simply going to have to get a clue from this and learn to toughen up and to hit back rather than mope and self-destruct.


  7. I have personally known quite a number of people who have committed suicide, including a 35 year old priest in my parish church.
    I myself have had suicide ideation for many years. I am surprised I am still alive today

    1. I am grateful you didn't give in to that temptation and that you are here commenting. May God grant us each grace in our struggles that we might fight and with His help overcome.

    2. Thanks for your prayers. I pray for posters on this blog too. I also pray for people I read about on the Internet who have taken their lives. Jesus said that Satan was a "liar and a murderer from the beginning." He delights in human tragedy. I remember a while back Dr Feser commented on a well-known comic book writer who suffered from a debilitating illness and took his life. Human tragedy indeed abounds.

    3. " ... 2, 2024 at 10:15 PM
      I have personally known quite a number of people who have committed suicide, including a 35 year old priest in my parish church.
      I myself have had suicide ideation for many years. ... "

      Only since you volunteered: But, why?

    4. Try super high strength EPA liquid Omega 3 oil and the works of René Girard. Best of luck, friend.

    5. Thanks. I know about Girard from doing my M.A. thesis on Albert Camus years ago. I have tried supplements, medications and therapy. I just try to carry on. I am 72.
      "Death closes all, but something ere the end. Some work of noble note may yet be done." Ulysses," Tennyson

  8. I don't like to legitimize suicide as a way of making a point, but nonetheless (even assuming Piskor was a creep), he has made one: the kind of social and professional ostracism that online mob justice aims to achieve is really a kind of social death sentence. And if drawing comics is all you love, there really is no point in continuing to live if your art has "exiled" along with you.

    That said, I think it's unquestionable (if Piskor was really the victim here) that he could've just accepted responsibility for having poor judgement and being a pervy old man, laid low for a few years, and eventually rehabilitated himself. It seems like he was in solid financial circumstances, and once the initial furor had passed, those friends he mentioned could have started gently reminding the public that Piskor was only a pervert, not a rapist or a racist. Obviously, in our always-online reality where only the present matters, it's hard to see five or ten years in the future. But mob justice gets a lot of its power from our mindset, even if it can do real harm.

    1. And if drawing comics is all you love, there really is no point in continuing to live if your art has "exiled" along with you.

      Nobody only loves drawing comics: they love somebody, or themselves, or their reputation, or conversation about the comics, etc. And nobody can only live by living in one incredibly small community that is mostly connected through media forms (i.e. not present in person). Anybody can - if necessary - come to live in some other community, especially if the former one ostracizes you over some minor issue. They don't want you? Then go elsewhere, find people who can tolerate you with some degree of sharing.

      laid low for a few years, and eventually rehabilitated himself...But mob justice gets a lot of its power from our mindset,

      Ah, I see you pointed in the same direction.

  9. The great Dutch painter, Vincent Van Gogh, took his life after struggling with mental illness. Don McLean's poignant song about Van Gogh, "Starry, Starry Night," is illustrated with his paintings. The song elicited thousands of comments from viewers, many of whom wrote about the suicide of others they knew.

  10. "Some arguments are dismissed out of hand because they are obviously wrong, but others because they are obviously right. The target of the argument can’t believe that his position could be refuted so easily and thus suspects there must be some sort of sophistry."

    Dr. Feser
    You should elaborate on that in your blog sometime.

  11. WCB

    Some women, tired of sexual harassment started TIMES UP in 2018 to draw a line in the sand over that.
    While it is sad this guy killed himself, the days of "Boys will be boys" is over. We hear a lot of bellowing about those bad feminists, and poor, persecuted men, but incessant sexual harassment of women is a big problem, and has been for years. Hopefully, young men will think carefully about how they behave going forward. Maybe even older men also.


    1. I know Dr. Feser is a strong believer in punishment as a deterrent, but I feel like you're probably not, WCB. So, is periodically casting a male celebrity into the outer darkness (the same punishment for everyone, whether they're vaguely creepy like Piskor or an actual serial rapist like Bill Cosby) really about justice, or just deterrence? Is it wise to outsource a critical form of justice (not subjecting women to sexual harassment) to the social media mob? Is there any evidence that making a few high profile examples is really going to mean "time's up" for sexism in general, or is it just about getting emotional satisfaction?

      I think these questions all answer themselves.

  12. WCB

    Oooooo! "The Mob!" Are you saying that dealing with a sexual harasser is not acceptable? Realistically, "Time's Up!" exists and may be a problem for those who have bad judgement in such matters.It is a different world now than 10 years ago. Sorry 'bout that, but it is how the world can work these days.


  13. There is on the broader view, there is a tragicomic aspect to this event seen as a social situation, rather than a horrific individual outcome.

    It is generated where the proud modern slut culture, the historical wreckage left behind by unapologetic whorehouds, and the socially maladroit fumblings of arrested development geeks intersect on a field of social neurosis. It is a scenario where no real functioning rules exist, but rather just skills, emotions, appetites, and jockeying for position. It is in fact a faint preview of the chaos captured in certain visions of Hell.

    The laws and the rules are never clearly promulgated, they are capriciously applied when revealed,, and displaced hostility, malicious intent, drama, and fake victimhood are the order of the day.

    Some time ago we were treated to the local emo-man's dismal attempt to persuasively ground moral precepts in emotion rather than reason. It did not, and cannot be made to, work for a respectable set of rules.

    And our's is the kind of, or one kind of, social atmosphere one gets as a result. Society as version of moral bumper cars - driven by morally infantilized biological adults.

    Now, a thoroughgoing secularist, disgusted by what he sees, might hope that eventually technology, advances in genetic medicine, and assortative social selection and mating will eventually allow the establishment of purely voluntary associations of psychologically and morally healthier more attractive and more resiliant members.

    Unfortunately for some, any such arrangements will by their very nature be somewhat exclusionary: your choice alone whether you wish to affiliate, but not only your choice if allowed to. An actuarially based society, rather than insurance, one might say by way of analogy.

    The freaks and faeries will of course just continue on as they always have: flailing and tearing at each other. That they realize that this would be the case, has resulted in several dystopian sci-fi treatments on film wherein the supposed "injustice" suffered by those morally and physically squalid left-behinders is treated from a current-day progressive point of view. Those, who have shaken the dust of their more neurotic "brethren" being presented in rather unsympathetic terms.

    Whether such a scenario as some might hope for is actually possible is a speculative question.

    Two types of person might might see leaving the dysfunctional to their own devices and vices as an immoral abandonment.

    First and as alluded to: Modern day progressives are hyper alert to the threat that someone somewhere might successfuly escape their clutches and begin anew, totally free of them.

    And of course Christians have for the most part, seen it as their duty to treat the uncongenial as if they have souls and can be saved and transformed.

    Since we are assured on their own say-so that anti-thiestic progressives have no souls and that emotional preferences are the sufficient basis of moral evaluation for any party, it is difficult to see what coherent objection they could have to being marginalized by the secularist; unless they are desirous of appropriating and fear being excluded from, better genetic material. [ progressives are known to suffer from any number of heritable mental disorders in greater percentages than conservatives]

    Their resentment towrd Christians however is more easily explainable.