Friday, April 13, 2007

Dave Sim's blogandmail #214 (April 13th, 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.


Okay! Hands up everyone who

Thought I was just going to re-run yesterday's

Blog & Mail for an entire week!

Just as I thought. You not only all believe I'm

An evil misogynist, you think I'm a sadist as

well. No, we're on to question 2 (but thanks, as always,

for that vote of confidence)

2. In "The Girl Next Door," did Cherie represent the first echo of Jaka? Were you thinking in those terms even then, and just never followed up on the obvious fact that even Jaka was a "Girl Next Door" substitute? Or, perhaps, did Michelle play this role? Was she Cerebus' first true relationship with a woman, creating the template for his future ones?

For those of you keeping score at home, that's four questions masquerading as question 2.

Well, it depends on whether or not you subscribe to that view which is terrifically unromantic—the idea that we "imprint" a member of the opposite gender and that's the template we're stuck with. If you believe in Love in the traditional sense then there is no template, there's just The One Individual Intended For You. That's certainly how Cerebus looked at it and he cast Jaka in the role. Charming thought on the surface of it but also the foundational thinking of a thousand psychopathic obsessive stalkers. On the male side of the ledger, I think we got and get backed into acting as if "The One Individual Intended For You" is the way we think because we're aware that that's how women think (even as women are starting to realize that they don't actually think that way—mostly they look for someone who resembles a famous heart-throb and get by on the fact that the guy has Jude Law's eyes or something, make it last as long as you can and when it's over, switch to a guy who has Johnny Depp's mouth). Men are very direct in their thinking. Here's point A and there's point B. The more obsessive you can portray yourself as being about The One Individual Intended For Me the better it's going to work, is the theory. When she sees how crazy I am about her she'll have to give in. Men tend to really exert themselves along those lines all the way up to the ___ level and before they know it, they've sold themselves on the exact bill of goods that the objet of their amour just ain't buying. In chick flicks, obsession is just the coolest, but in the real world "Obsessive" of any kind wears thin in a hurry and then you're just a psychopathic stalker.

It also depends on whether you think that the "imprinting" of females is the same pre-puberty and post-puberty. I think they're two different experiences, the former being the closest that a male is going to experience Love (because sex doesn't enter into it) and the latter a charade best expressed by "I think you're an absolute bimbo but my dick seems to like you." That was why I used the name Cherie for the Girl Next Door because she had been my only love interest from like grade four until puberty hit around grade seven. I'm pretty sure her older sisters' names were Lynn and Bonnie which is why I used them on page 130 of Going Home, although the box of chocolates incident was entirely made up. And she lived a number of blocks away, not next door. That was love. If you never did anything more than kiss a couple of times and forty years later—having never met them— you still remember her sister's names, that's love. After that it was just trying to get laid but portraying it as a love or at least passion. There's no going back from post-puberty to pre-puberty, though. Not in a feminist age. Not in my opinion. Once a thing is seen it can't be unseen. If you're visiting Kitchener, you might want to swing by 115 Sweetbriar Drive out in the Forest Hill subdivision. That poor house probably hasn't been stared at in forty years the way I stared at it. Cherie's bedroom was the one over the garage.

3. In "Squinteye The Sailor" the Popeye parody is obviously intended to be Squinteye, yet in the Guys Party Pack your illustrations in the notes section indicate you switched things around and now the Bluto parody is referred to as Squinteye. Why did you decide to do that? Does this reversal represent some new type of two-in-one-echo where roles are reversed?

I had no idea what you were talking about and had to go and look it up.

Yes, if you look closely at the dialogue of the Popeye character, he refers to himself as Pluto. What I was toying with was the idea that Cerebus' misspent life, culminating in his little sojourn on Pluto (which he keeps misidentifying as Juno) changed any number of things in the context of the world he left as compared to the world he came back to: one of them would be that his boyhood idol, Squinteye (the good guy), is no longer Squinteye, now Bluto (the bad guy) is Squinteye and Squinteye is Pluto which sounds like Bluto. It seemed to express a lot of what I was trying to get across about cumulative effects and the way that the lives of others can metaphorically seem to reflect our own and tell us valuable lessons. And also the fact that I think reality changes in minor ways that can leave you with the inescapable impression that you have been transported to another world entirely. Reading "Cerebus's" in Jo Duffy's introduction to "His First Fifth" in Epic magazine and thinking "Well, that's functionally illiterate. It's supposed to be `Cerebus'' no ifs ands or buts" and then realizing that I was the only one on the planet who still remembered when it was that way. So I wanted Cerebus to experience that but even more dramatically, with Squinteye (remember Cerebus' eye surgery on the way out?) having suddenly become Pluto and Pluto having suddenly become Squinteye. But in the cold literal-minded light of day all I saw that all I was letting myself in for was another lifetime full of "Is the Oscar of Jaka's Story the same Oscar as the Oscar of Melmoth?" style questions. So, I put them off-panel and no one needed to know that it was Bluto doing the Squinteye dialogue and Squinteye doing the Bluto dialogue. If I'm the only one who would get it (and I assumed I was the only one who would get it) then no one else needed to know.

4. Given your evolved views on women in society, what do you think of the feminist content of "The Applicant" and would you have still published it if you had teamed up with Colleen on it today?

WHOAH! I know a great cliff-hanger question when I read it. Y'all come back tomorrow and I'll try and answer that one.

There's MORE for you



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