Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Dave Sim's blogandmail #211 (April 10th, 2007)


Fifteen Impossible Things to Believe Before Breakfast That Make You a Good Feminist

1. A mother who works a full-time job and delegates to strangers the raising of her children eight hours a day, five days a week does just as good a job as a mother who hand-rears her children full time.

2. It makes great sense for the government to pay 10 to 15,000 dollars a year to fund a daycare space for a child so its mother - who pays perhaps 2,000 dollars in taxes - can be a contributing member of society.

3. A woman's doctor has more of a valid claim to participate in the decision to abort a fetus than does the father of that fetus.

4. So long as a woman makes a decision after consulting with her doctor, she is incapable of making an unethical choice.

5. A car with two steering wheels, two gas pedals and two brakes drives more efficiently than a car with one steering wheel, one gas pedal and one brake which is why marriage should always be an equal partnership.

6. It is absolutely necessary for women to be allowed to join or participate fully in any gathering place for men, just as it is absolutely necessary that there be women only environments from which men are excluded.

7. Because it involves taking jobs away from men and giving them to women, affirmative action makes for a fairer and more just society.

8. It is important to have lower physical standards for women firepersons and women policepersons so that, one day, half of all firepersons and policepersons will be women, thus more effectively protecting the safety of the public.

9. Affirmative action at colleges and universities needs to be maintained now that more women than men are being enrolled, in order to keep from giving men an unfair advantage academically.

10. Having ensured that there is no environment for men where women don't belong (see no.6) it is important to have zero tolerance of any expression or action which any woman might regard as sexist to ensure greater freedom for everyone.

11. Only in a society which maintains a level of 95% of alimony and child support being paid by men to women can men and women be considered as equals.

12. An airline stewardess who earned $20,000 a year at the time that she married a baseball player earning $6 million a year is entitled, in the event of a divorce, to $3 million for each year of the marriage and probably more.

13. A man's opinions on how to rear and/or raise a child are invalid because he is not the child's mother. However, his financial obligation is greater because no woman gets pregnant by herself.

14. Disagreeing with any of these statements makes you anti-woman and/or a misogynist.

15. Legislature Seats must be allocated to women and women must be allowed to bypass the democratic winnowing process in order to guarantee female representation and, thereby, make democracy fairer.


Hey, Boys and Girls! It's



We're actually going to discuss




1. In "Magiking," we learn that Aardvarks are magnifiers and concentrators of magic. You have discussed how the effect of the magnifier quality also affects non-magical aspects of a situation, infusing them with magical traits. Please discuss the evolution of the magnifier concept and its application within the novel. What inspirations did you draw upon in its development?

I don't think that there's really very much to say on the subject but I am aware of your recurring collective curiosity about it. Obviously when you're starting with a premise of "sword and sorcery" you have to cover the "sword" aspect which is relatively easy—you just have to stick to pre-gun powder and decide where you are relative to armour. I decided to cover it humorously with "The First Invention of Armour" that Ger and I did with comics legend Murphy Anderson in Cerebus Jam. Armour got invented but one slip out on the bridge and that was all she wrote for the next however many years until the next time a guy invented armour.

On the "sorcery" side of things it's not quite as easy because you have to first decide if sorcery actually exists in the context of your story and then how efficacious it is. I opted for the idea that in the Aardvarkian Age, sorcery is on the wane, gradually turning into alchemy/science with pockets of residue here and there but I decided to goose that up by having Cerebus be a magik magnifier which meant that the reader—since we pretty exclusively follow Cerebus—is getting a distorted view of Estarcion. It's actually a very conventional Middle Ages environment with a far greater emphasis on "sword" than "sorcery" except wherever Cerebus happens to be where the emphasis goes back the other way: more "sorcery" than "sword". In a lot of ways I came up with the concept because the idea of magic just seemed wildly implausible to me so I needed to come up with something that allowed the mystical to exist in proximity to the real without putting everything into thematic proximity to "tiny ladies with butterfly wings".

It was actually living with Deni that first pushed me over the edge into thinking that there was a real-life quality to magic. For her, when I drew a picture, that was magic. When George Harrison wrote a song and played it and sang it, that was magic. It was a very difficult theory to refute and the more I examined it the more difficult it became to refute. "Where do you get your ideas from?" There still isn't any sensible answer to that in real-world terms. I don't have an idea for a story and then I think about it for a while and I do have an idea for a story. To Deni, that was magic in no small part because when she sat down to come up with an idea for a story she didn't come up with anything, or, at least, nothing that she would have deemed magical or "magical" or Magical. Of course in my present context it has more to do with what you choose to participate in. If you're a God-fearing individual who prays regularly then you "get your ideas" from one place. If you hate God and religion and anything related to them (as I pretty much did up until 1996) then you "get your ideas" from another place.

Does it tie in with a larger YHWHist spell?

(for the half dozen or so of you who are not full-fledged card-carrying YAHOOS and therefore have never experienced The Five Questions, They do this all the time, folks—ask "five" questions but manage to ask several questions inside each question)

Well, right away when you use the term "spell" you're prejudicing my answer in favor of something that I have no interest in participating in at this point in my life. I'm not sure though if that wasn't God's intention: to stack the deck in favor of the opposing viewpoint with my life (completely atheistic family as far as the eye can see, wife who believes in magic, complete ignorance of scripture, complete materialist) and letting that play itself out for a couple of decades before exposing me to the Bible as a means (my best guess) of indicating that no one is ever completely hopeless no matter how degraded the time period (1977 to 1996) and how degraded the individual (me). You can be a massive reclamation job, but when you're ready to turn and amend, God is right there waiting for you.

But, arguably, yes a 6,000-page comic book story could be seen as a "spell" particularly in that it draws you in and if it gets a hold of you then it can be a real tar baby. Relative to "working that side of the street" (YHWH's) it seems to me, in retrospect, that the content isn't particularly relevant as long as it's in the ABG (Anything But God) category. I'm not sure that that wasn't YHWH's contention: give me my own 6,000 page "spell" to play around with, no grounding in belief in God, no religious background and I'll use my "spell" to try to control people.

However addressing your question directly, arguably, everything that isn't scripture or prayer is, at least technically, a potential "spell". Deni wasn't alone in her generation of females in believing that The Beatles represented a doorway to a New and Greater Reality than the Catholic Church—which, much to her mother's chagrin, she had turned her back on in favour of The Beatles—had on offer.

Way back in the days when the church was being seduced with the advent of hymns and choirs there was obviously a great deal of debate about whether this was a good idea (David's Psalms and psaltery being a good cudgel for the musically inclined). The Church ultimately capitulated, which of course led directly to music being made use of outside the context of worship and was soon actively "working the other side of the street" as it does almost exclusively today. Essentially the Church had, inadvertently, endorsed the casting of musical spells. People who otherwise would never have picked up a musical instrument could now do so as a mean of worship and assisting worship. But, as we have seen, there is no way to keep that sequestered within the confines of faith because essentially music is anti-faith. Those opposed to the idea of music as a general concept (a view I now hold and which is shared in our day-and-age only by extremist Muslims) had they been able to see far enough ahead to jazz and to Elvis and The Beatles (which arguably is exactly what they were seeing in opposing music on principle) would have swayed the argument in favor of music being entirely dispensed with. As the Koran says about alcohol and gambling: they have their advantages and their drawbacks but their drawbacks outweigh their advantages. Like alcohol, music is a bad idea that makes itself seem like a good idea the more you participate in it. Any time you get concerned about the state of your soul or your ultimate fate as a disbeliever, you can just slip the headphones on and listen to "Dark Side of the Moon" two or three times and…poof…all concern with your soul or with God vanishes like a morning fog. David Gilmour is God, as my former brother-in-law used to contend with only a slight nuance of irony attached. The Bible is just fairy tales but Floyd (FLOYD! FLOYD! FLOYD!) will show us the way. PRAISE Floyd.

Tomorrow: Had enough? Join the CEREBUS YAHOO CHALLENGE and try to come up with a question that won't lead Dave directly to his religious beliefs!

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If you wish to contact Dave Sim, you can mail a letter (he does NOT receive emails) to:

Aardvark Vanaheim, Inc
P.O. Box 1674
Station C
Kitchener, Ontario, Canada N2G 4R2

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