Monday, October 8, 2012

#49 - The upside of Hell

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Hell really exists.

And those of you who come here have a
really awful time.

But, it's still better than life...

...and better than in Heaven.

I'm not entirely certain what the joke is here. I'm guessing Racz is illustrating the fact that people lie, and people who mean you harm will lie about what's in store for you, even to the point of saying that what's good is worse than what's bad.

I put it up though because a Polish girl once said something similar to me. Her name was Alina and we were talking at the end of a small party in a friend's apartment in Upper Silesia. I was planning to spend the night in the largest room of the apartment, which was unheated. Alina said that it was too cold, that I'd freeze. I said "That’s okay, if I die I’ll be in Heaven and I won’t have any problems." Alina replied, totally deadpan, without skipping a beat:

"But you don’t know what kind of problems there are in Heaven. It could be worse."

That impressed me deeply. It could be worse in Heaven. I have sometimes thought of myself as pretty pessimistic but Alina's words demonstrate a degree of bleakness and hopelessness I can only regard with awe.

This comic reminds me of the Polish blackness Alina introduced me to, a level of despair that Americans have barely tasted but that Poles have marinated in for generations. "Hell could actually be the better deal - have you considered that?" And what if it is. What if it is.


  1. First of all, you are doing an amazing job with the translations.

    I have a take with this one. Polish people do complain a lot and are usually pessimistic. This cartoon taps into this tendency.

    We also have a pretty medieval view on heaven, and an accompanying opinion that hell is a party.

    There's anothe cartoon with the devil that alludes to the fact that Polish people have serious difficulties with knowing what's good for them. Well, I guess it's universal. Check this out:,114548,13259812.html?i=21

    1. Thanks for the comment! I'll use that devil cartoon next. And yes, not knowing what's in your best interest is a big part of the difficulty of being human.

  2. For me it's about something else: expecting a bad person to become honest out of a sudden. The first two boxes make you think devil can be finally sincere sometimes (like some politicians). Then while you read the bottom part you saddly realise you've been tricked again. We're all naive sometimes...

    1. I like your take. Interesting perspective. Certainly the figure of Satan has many implications and meanings.

      Coincidentally right after you posted your comment I read this post about preferring hell to heaven: