Dave Sim's blogandmail #215 (April 14th, 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.
What Does Dave Think of the
Feminist content of "The Applicant",
The jam story he did with Colleen Doran
(SPECIAL LIMITED TIME OFFER!
copies of Cerebus No.91, autographed by Dave Sim and featuring
are available for $10 … mmm….no, make that $15 each
from the Aardvark-Vanaheim address. I have no idea
if Colleen would autograph it, but you could certainly ask her)
And would he still publish it today?
Oh, sure. I mean, I don't consider "The Applicant" to consist of "feminist content". Unwelcome sexual attentions are always going to be a very serious problem for attractive young women (and Colleen was a VERY attractive young woman) and in a perfect world all sexual attentions paid to them would only come from welcome individuals. I don't think there's any way of resolving what is, basically, a universally unhappy situation which has resulted from nearly 100% effective birth control and the wholesale abandonment of a) religion and b) the attendant belief that fornication is a serious offence. Had men been what women thought men were, that should have led to a Golden Age of Romance and has led instead to a Golden Age of Rut with every guy from teenager to dowager lined up waiting for someone to give them the high sign and a percentage of males who just cross the line and "get grabby" at every opportunity because, hey, why the hell not?
Women have essentially opted for extreme societal disapproval and legal intimidation to try to keep the worst offenders at bay: which works on roughly 90 to 95% of the male population—I suspect "too well" in a lot of cases as women desperately want sexual attentions from some men who are, alas, fully responsive to the general disapproval and intimidation and are afraid to breathe in the direction of a female for fear of being brought up on charges—while still leaving the creeps who consider themselves God's gift to women completely unscathed and largely immune and bestowing their unwelcome sexual attentions wherever they feel the urge (pretty much everywhere for those boys). I mean, the indignation on the part of women is real and legitimate. Someone answering an ad for a live-in housekeeper as in "The Applicant" shouldn't be subjected to a physical going over just as Colleen didn't deserve a physical going over because Julie Schwartz was holding out the promise of work. No one should have to sit there and wonder "How much of this should I put up with in the interests of my career?" Or the ancillary questions like: "If I kick this creepy old man in the nuts—which is definitely what he deserves—how much damage can he do to my career behind my back? This is, after all, the legendary and universally beloved Julius Schwartz. Who is going to believe my side of things?" Well, me for one since Julie was crazy enough to make his moves in front of Jo Duffy (whom Colleen had brought along to dinner for the precise reason of making it "all business"). It was a particularly tough situation because Julie had very high standards when it came to artists—as can be seen by the amazing roster of artists he edited and from whom he got the best work most of the time—so it was a definite compliment that he considered Colleen's work to be in that league, but it also meant that Colleen got what I see as the full brunt of "I've been waiting for a female cartoonist to come along who measured up to my standards." I assume Julie had been waiting for exactly that and couldn't wait to pounce when he found it.
Also the vast majority of comics' female population thought Julie Schwartz was the cat's pyjamas which certainly fed his self-perception that he was the consummate Lady's Man and made him even more…(I'll be diplomatic here) provocative…in his behavior…and made Colleen the "odd girl out" in objecting to that behavior. I did have other women tell me about being lured to his hotel room where he would show them pictures of his deceased wife in order to incite their compassion and then use that compassion to see how far he could get with them. That's just plain, flat-out, inexcusably sleazy in my books. But, then, I always saw Julie as a sleazy character (who edited great comic books) and I could never understand how any female could allow herself to get within a barge pole's distance from him let alone going to his hotel room with him and was constantly amazed at the number who practically (and in some cases actually) hurled themselves at him. "Foxy Gran'pa" this isn't. Of course, I could never understand why women would confide in me about him, either, since I was (quite justifiably) considered a notorious womanizer myself at the time. Maybe it was because I was very up-front about it. If I was hitting on you, you could never mistake it for something else and I never tried to pretend it was something else. And I always took "no" for an answer. As I did with Colleen.
I'm probably committing career suicide here by talking about all this as up-front and honestly as I can and, in the process, defying The Comic-Book Consensus (Thou Shalt Not Speak Ill of Julie Schwartz) but then, when don't I? I didn't think it appropriate to say anything when he died and I pleaded with The Comics Journal to leave it alone in the issue with his obituary, but three years have gone by, and it was YOU that brought it up, not ME.
Did YOU, personally (whoever you are—the questions are never attributed) bring it up in order to try to destroy me? No, I don't think any of the Yahoos would do that consciously. Do I think it was done consciously through you? Oh, yeah. Definitely.
5. Why did you delay the true epilogue to Jaka's Story until the end of issue 138? Its inclusion in the collection is somewhat confusing as it is unclear whether these are Oscar's words, or Jaka's. (Inclusion at the end of "Like-A-Looks" suggests the words are Jaka's, while omitting the comedic sequence and inserting only the epilogue (to the epilogue) in the collection suggests the words are Oscar's).
I've never heard that criticism voiced before. I don't think it makes a difference, to be honest, since that question hovers over the whole novel. Are these Jaka's words, Jaka's words as Rick heard them and conveyed them to Oscar or are they Oscar's best guess at what Jaka would say? Or are they Oscar's idea of what Jaka should have said it order to make for a better story? And how much are the two—what Jaka said and what Oscar wrote—at variance?
There's an enormous urge towards compassion for an attractive young woman just seeing her gazing mournfully out of a window but, in the real world, really all that does (on the masculine side of things) is to mask the urge to have sex with her which 99 times out of 100 would just make things worse. As we are finding out now, there were a lot of the Best and the Brightest in the Kennedy Administration who thought of themselves as at least potentially "next in line" with the beautiful young widow (starting with the brother-in-law), which I assume didn't make getting over the trauma of November 22 any easier and probably just compounded the nightmarish "This can't be happening" quality over the ensuing months and years. So, most of the time it's best (most judicious, kindest, most therapeutic) to just leave her to work through whatever it is she's going through on her own—and leave her innermost feelings to her.
So, given that that's the best approach in the real world, I suspect it's the best (most judicious, kindest, most therapeutic) approach to a fictional character. So, let's just leave the Jaka at the end of Jaka's Story to it, shall we?
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