Below is a post from our good friend Lauren Larkin. Enjoy!

(click here to see the bigger cartoon.)
I simply love this cartoon. It wasn’t until late last year (2007) that I happened to read “Pearls Before Swine” and fell in love with it instantly. How could you not? Stephan Pastis is brilliant.
Here, in the above cartoon, Pastis has perfectly captured the limitless baseness of the human soul. Truly. Cherubic Little Jeffy, from the saccharine sweet Family Circus, has his darkest secrets revealed: he’s “battling a few demons”. I laugh out loud! My twisted and dark inside cheers at Jeffy’s fall from grace, or should I say from glory. Family Circus has consistently been that Comic that I cannot relate to and wonder why it’s been in syndication for so long. Does anyone ever put down the comics after reading the strip and think, “Man, that was right on.” Usually, my reaction to reading the comic is closer to nausea as if I had eaten too much candy-corn. Pastis knows that we have wanted Jeffy somehow, somewhere to be bad like us; Pastis has his finger on the pulse of human depravity.
Interestingly, Jeffy doesn’t confess his “sins” but rather lies to both Rat and Pig about where he’s been, exposing something askew in it’s own right. We, the reader, look ahead to the “dotted trail” that betrays his confidence, revealing Jeffy’s true fallen character and know that Jeffy has just boldly lied to Rat and Pig (and to us, for that matter). However, as above, we are not truly surprised but rather somewhat pleased (maybe even vindicated?) by Jeffy’s illuminated inhibitions. Sardonic Rat, too, is seemingly unsurprised by the revelation (note the lack of change in his facial expression). Rat has nothing to say; he’s silent on the matter, which reveals a “sort-of” knowledge of humanity that expected the sweet and innocent and obedient facade of Jeffy to be just that: a facade. It is only naive Pig who seems at all shocked or disappointed with Jeffy’s actions; this exposes Pig’s true moralistic, Theology of Glory tendencies and assumptions that humanity could, if they tried hard enough, be “good”.
Folks, if the icon of willful obedience and pure moralistic tendencies, Jeffy, can’t actually be good, what hope is there for us?
Thank God for the Cross.