Thursday, April 12, 2007

Dave Sim's blogandmail #213 (April 12th, 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.


Quoth the Yahoos: Why is Cerebus'

Magnifier nature only addressed directly

In what is basically a throwaway short story,


Well, because there's so little TO the occult in its literal sense, "the hidden". Usually whatever is "hidden" once it's revealed lets all the air out of anything purporting to be occult. It's why horror films can't sustain the horror once the actual nature of the horror has been revealed. Cerebus' magnifier nature helps to explain why all of these weird things kept happening around Cerebus without having to fall back on the real reason: it was a comic book and unless weird things happen in a comic book it isn't going to sell very well (hey, don't bust my chops: even Joe Matt made up a lot of his purported autobiographical stuff). If I was going to keep doing weird things in the book in a context which was supposed to be just a modified Middle Ages, there had to be a reason for it and I knew that early on—this environment is made up of continuity junkies so you better have an explanation for EVERYTHING—so early on I came up with something. That was the other part of the deal: you can't bring in a "god out of the machine" twenty years later—it was an interesting mystery but not interesting enough to warrant twenty years of speculation (like the ancient mysteries which, when you actually get into the secret chamber, amounts to "the wheat grows from the seed, then it dies, then it's reborn". The only sensible response—unless you have practically been killed getting there and consequently have to sell yourself on the fact that it was worth it) (see: "Make use of the rube's own urge toward the otherworldly…")(—is `I shaved my legs for this?") so the best bet was to do it in a short story that would only appear in a children's annual twenty-three years ahead of the end. Had the children's annual come out in 1981, there's a good chance it would have been overlooked until the 1990s: remember we're talking about a time period when Cerebus Yahoos Did Not Yet Walk the Earth. When the children's annual went bye-bye that meant it had to get put out as soon as possible, which meant putting it in chronological order in Swords of Cerebus and hoping everyone overlooked it, which everyone pretty much did ("When's Jaka coming back? When is he going to go back to being a barbarian?" Hide in plain sight).

The most honest response is "This was an attempt by an atheist to create a genuine Large albeit totally fictionalized Mystery, realizing the consequences of building something up for too long when you don't have the goods to deliver (see 2001: A Space Odyssey the movie) (but fast forward through the `spacey' ending )"

Finally, was the reference to aardvarks being the "most powerful of the ____" a

reference to magnifiers? Or something else?

I don't remember the reference, but I assume that it was in one of these "Five Questions" things and of recent vintage. In the course of doing my Gospel commentaries, there is a quirk of Common Greek whereby the definite article "the" appears by itself without a noun attached. It has a lot the same meaning as "this" or "these" (plural) in English which can also stand alone but it's more specific in…intonation. It's like a magnified definite article. More Definite Than Usually Definite. "The ____". You can see that I made use of it in my quote from John's Gospel. It strikes such a strange note in the syntax—you can try and leave it as is, but it makes passages read funny: in this case the passage would have read "The having been bathed not is having need if not the feet to get washed." The WHAT having been bathed? The more that I read of the word-for-word Koin Greek translation into English the more I thought "What's being implied is something inexplicable but still having a specific—in fact super-specific—definition." That is, otherworldly, something easily understood in the realm of spirit or in the fourth dimension but completely inexplicable in the physical world or three-dimensional space. The Gospels are a way of communicating with both realities. Which would only make sense. If God and YHWH are having an argument (which is, to me, mostly what the Gospels are) it is, presumably, going to consist at least in part of concepts beyond our direct understanding. I assume that in the realm of spirit, "The ____ having been bathed not is having need if not the feet to get washed" has a specific meaning. Only one noun (inexplicable in three-dimensional terms) after "the" would be appropriate. It's the spirit world—or the ____ world—equivalent of "a stitch in time saves nine." A shorthand way of understanding a larger concept. God through the Johannine Jesus expresses it to YHWH who is inhabiting Peter and YHWH immediately understands and compels Peter to capitulate. To us, it is very nearly if not completely inexplicable—using all of the words and not just some of them, explain what the Johannine Jesus said to Peter—which is why the Church fathers changed it to "he that has bathed does not need to have more than his feet washed". That's fine, but it certainly doesn't express the full idea in that it leaves out "if not" which, to me, is a no-no. "Thou shalt not edit scripture." But to incorporate the idea behind "if not" into the full idea makes the whole thing completely unwieldy for a three-dimensional brain.

So, that's why, instead of using heaven or Heaven or the Heavens or the realm of spirit or The Next Level Up or The Angels or Our Guardian Angels or Emanations of God, I just use ___ now, taking it as a given that that's more accurate than anything else I could attach to the concept.

You can see particularly in Minds, pages 186 to 188 that I understood the concept long before I read the Bible. We are observed and we are "participated with" by entities on the next level up. Certainly one of the opinions that holds sway in this area (particularly in the Orient and in North American Indian tribes) is that those entities are our ancestors and that's what I depicted here. That could be it or that could not be it or that could be part of it. It swerves dangerously close to the idea of deification of human beings which is "joining gods with God" and as a devout Muslim, that's a definite no-no. My best current thinking on the subject is that a lot depends on the number of strata between us and God. Conventional Oriental, Indian and Judeo-Christian thinking assumes either that there is no God or that, once we die, we are all pretty much in direct communion with Him or in communion with His Angels or we become Him or collectively, all glued together, we are Part of Him which is kind of Us-centric as far as I'm concerned. I've been at this ten years and I don't feel like I'm just this side of the Angels or a heartbeat away from hanging out with God or that I Am God's Pancreas. Whether it's the distance from the Big Bang (considerable) or the really gross nature of human existence (snot and feces alone), I suspect it's a very, very long climb from here to anywhere close to God or (to put it another way) a very, very long climb until you can be said to have actually left snot and feces permanently, ahem, behind you.

So the suggestion that aardvarks were the most powerful of the ____ is kind of a double-edged joke in that I don't think `powerful' would be considered complimentary on any but the bottommost rungs on the ladder. I don't think you have to go too high up before "powerful" becomes a definite pejorative. Which suggests that even though there are ___s on the next level up, that doesn't mean that they understand what's going on any better than we do. They probably wrestle with the idea of "are we gods or Gods?" just because they are superior to us or more aware than us when my own best guess is that there are ___s above them and ____s above them: many, many, many ____s above them before you get anywhere close to God. But I think Us-centricism is probably pretty ubiquitous and you will always have a substantial faction that believes itself to be the top of its context and Just This Side of Paradise.

Tomorrow: Oh, come ON! That's more than enough to chew on for one day, don't you think? I should just re-run this one for the next week.

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