Jared Kushner listens as President Trump speaks at the White House last November. (Evan Vucci/AP)

Dear Mr. President, and to whom it may concern,

Hello. Before I get to the killer graphics which I have promised (they will HAVE to be killer in order to possibly even hope to convey information in a PICTURE that was once the province of NUMEROUS pages typed in a rather small font! But it is fine. It’s fine. It’s fine. Really.) I just wanted to check: Is anyone reading this?

The news that Jared has lost his security clearance is depressing. First, in the sense that he had one at all. Without him, I just feel like I am briefing an enormous void.

I understand that it was bad that Jared was reading these in the first place. I get it, truly. But, you know, I work hard on this dang thing. It is the product of a lot of sweat and toil and figuring out how to convey things in the language of art, and if the only proof that someone was reading it was that suddenly a business deal was happening that maybe ought not to have happened, that was still better than . . . no proof anyone was reading it at all.

Look, others in the intelligence establishment were alarmed and upset when President Trump casually shared some intelligence from the briefing with Russian intelligence officials. But I was thrilled. It was nice to know, at least, that this was getting through, even if that was not quite the circumstance I pictured when I put the briefing together.

Before I return to my daily task of drawing a big dinosaur fighting a mammoth as a metaphor for the situation in Syria, or a big balloon for the Federal Reserve, I just wanted to see: Am I truly just pouring all my effort down a deep, deep hole, never to be retrieved?

I understand that the Trump philosophy has always been “the less information, the better,” since experts are weak, flabby men and the gut rules all. I understand that, compared to days-old broadcasts of “Fox and Friends,” I have almost no information of value. But I just want to know: Is my work all for nothing and for no one?

I would just like to enter into evidence what has happened in the past few days since Jared’s clearance got downgraded:

  • At the bottom of Monday’s briefing, I wrote “IF ANYONE IS READING THIS, TWEET SOMETHING POSITIVE ABOUT THE INTELLIGENCE ESTABLISHMENT TODAY!” Not the phrase “something positive about the intelligence establishment,” but actually something positive. And not “I’m positive the intelligence establishment is a Deep State conspiracy.” But, nothing.
  • On Tuesday, the entire text of the briefing the lyrics to “Lose Yourself” by Eminem.
  • On Wednesday, I used the same picture of a shark fighting Teddy Roosevelt that I used three weeks ago, and no one even ALLUDED to the repetition.
  • This morning, I just drew a big squid and I wrote “WHY BOTHER NO ONE READS THIS” and nobody said anything, not even John Kelly. This is the kind of thing that makes one despair.

I have been doing a lot of thinking about the meaning of art lately. People say that a true artist makes the art that is in them, regardless of whether the public is ready. They say you make the thing you have to make, and someday, someone will see it and understand, and even if it’s only one person, centuries from today, it will be worth it. But maybe I’m not a true artist, because I do not feel that way.

So: Is anyone reading this? Because I can stop making it. I just need to know if zero people are reading it, or more than zero, because if it is zero, I always wanted to be a novelist and I could be working on that. Is the calligrapher reading this? I know the calligrapher has a higher security clearance than Jared.

Is anyone reading this?

Here is a picture of a penguin:

(Alex Cowan/Courtesy of G Adventures)

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