The Bush years are finally coming to an end. This, most people agree, is a very good thing. And although the majority of Americans have an abysmally low opinion of the outgoing commander-in-chief for the things he's done (or failed to do) recently, it's worth being reminded about all the reasons his administration has been so miserable. Enter local cartoonist Kirk Anderson's Banana Republic (Molotov Comix), a collection of his weekly cartoon that's set in a distant dystopia ruled by a dictator with a puppet parliament that eerily resembles our own nation. The comic ran in the Star Tribune in the middle of Bush's second term—the all-time best era for barbed political comedy and social critique, which made Anderson's job easy. These were the years of an administration steeped in activities thought by many to be illegal or unethical, from wiretaps to Cheney filling his friend's face with lead, and a lamebrain Democratic majority that rose to power only to let Bush have his way on almost everything. Anderson documented it all with Banana Republic, which, sadly, is a book that would be funnier if it weren't so accurate.
Sat., Dec. 20, 6 p.m., 2008