Monday, May 21, 2007

Dave Sim's blogandmail #250 (May 19th, 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.







Mike Moore (as, by now, you have probably assumed that he would) continues:

So, when you're raised the way I was, you can choose one of a couple [of] options for your future life, should you choose to make a change from how you were raised. Typical choices were to simply pretend that you were raised in mainstream society, which amounts to going out and badly aping "their" worst behaviour, doing every fun thing any of "them" do that you've never done, systematically. Conversely, you can go through life fairly cautiously, slowly opening your mind and heart to new things a bit, not doing things until you feel comfortable that they aren't harmful or bad, though they are "wrong" by the standards of your upbringing (mind you, the people who raised you do all of them now too). I went the second route. Most people I know ended up living these crazy lives where they're trying to leave behind them the religious fanaticism of their upbringing, so they "go native" and try to be "more normal than the norms" which results in freakish excesses of all kinds (chain-smoking harsher cigarettes, drinking straight whisky, doing more drugs, taking a delight in associating with criminal or violent people e.g. "When I was buying pot, I accidentally ended up in a crack den! Cool, huh?") Male or female, no matter WHAT their father (the effects of feminism were certainly not seen in my home or church) raised them to believe and feel, as to things like sex (mainly, a huge deal of awkwardness and shame about the idea that anyone might conceivably, improbably, find them attractive, despite their best efforts) they too often became two-dimensional caricatures of depravity. Some of them ended up dead. ("I shot myself through the head while playing around with a handgun. Cool, huh?")

See, if it was up to me and I wasn't under indictment from you for being evasive, I would have left this whole paragraph out because I don't think it goes anywhere. What you appear to be doing is citing extreme behaviour and then using that to establish that your own behaviour is moderate by contrast. That's called relativism and in my view it's a major source of a lot of the troubles we're experiencing in our society.

My belief as to how to excel, how to do well (good) in life involves the idea of being able to stand up for yourself when something makes no sense, make your own choices, go out from the pack and do what occurs to you, before God, is the very best thing to do at this point. I believe that limiting your creativity or options for someone else's sake is something that should be done only for very specific reasons. I am no libertine, but you're raised to feel that it is scary and horribly wrong and bound to cause disaster if you even take a long, hard look at whether the things you've been taught stand up on their own two feet in any way, then you grow up scared to think. Scared to live, in many ways. You're no longer "writing your own exam," though your name is on it, and the mark will be yours in the end. A small group of guys in the back have asked you to slip them your exam so that can write "the right" answers on it for you. Thing is, life is more about good answers than right ones. Less like math, more like literary criticism. Excellence, depth of comprehension and insight are kind of the point.

That's certainly an opinion. I think one of the problems that you're facing in rebelling against your upbringing (and I see this is a pretty common trait in our society) is that you mistake the human beings who purported to represent God in your youth for God Himself. "Limiting your creativity or options for someone else's sake" is something that I do quite willingly when that someone is God (as I conceive of Him). I certainly wouldn't limit my creativity or options for the sake of a human being. But I definitely think it is the core of wisdom to err on the side of caution when what is at issue is your relationship with God.

It's quite possible that choices in life are more like literary criticism than they are like math, but I think that thinking that way is apt to lead in bad directions since you can make literary criticism say just about anything you want it to say. That's called rationalization, in my view. If you are clever with words and you see life as being like literary criticism you'll be apt to find a clever rhetorical means of justifying behaviours that you know or suspect to be wrong. You can have "great depth of comprehension and insight" into wrong behaviour but, in my view, that doesn't amount to much if you choose to indulge in what you know or suspect to be wrong behaviour.

What does God do in The Day? He knows who wrote what, and your (generic "your" not "you, Dave Sim's") allowing other people to do your thinking and choosing and living for you is evidence right there that you have screwed up in a big way and done something very mixed up and bad (alright, "wrong" if you prefer). God will never take "Well, it was actually those guys who chose to merely circle `d)' for me instead of writing a five-page essay on the topic given in `d)', as per the instructions" as a sensible excuse for a screwed up exam. No one ever taught me that sometimes, doing nothing can be a really bad thing (or just generally doing a whole lot of pointless things and nothing throughout one's life). I'm learning about that. Your comment about only doing the first few questions on "my exam" was well put. My upbringing merely provided me with "when in doubt, do nothing. If you can't do something the church folk would understand, do nothing." There was no fear of achieving nothing. Ever. There was a terror of achieving something different.

Well, yes, as it tells us in the Koran no one can vouch for anyone else come Judgement Day. Your choices and your decisions are your choices and your decisions. If you let someone else make your choices and decisions for you, you are still culpable. On Judgement Day the buck always stops here.

I'm not sure that you're right about the "terror of achieving something different." I would suspect, from the church-goer's vantage point, the terror is in being terrified of doing something wrong and the consequences of doing something wrong. And in their view, doing something wrong is doing something that their fellow Congregationalists would deplore or disagree with or look down upon. I use the term God-fearing a lot but, at essence, the fear of God is really the fear of self and the fear of consequence where the individual is uncertain as to what level of latitude God allows us as His creations and how strict His rules are. To reiterate, I don't KNOW if I've been metaphorically "thrown out of every mainstream Ontario high school" and neither do you. For all I KNOW I'm wasting my time in religious observance because I've already been made into a pariah in the larger faith-based context as I have been in the context of Canada and the comic-book field. A lot of people hold the view that the instructions of an entrenched priesthood are infallible. If you do what the minister tells you, you are guaranteed to get into heaven. It's a view I don't share, but I can understand how someone raised in a given faith could hold that view.

You know what I think is missed by the "right/wrong" paradigm (besides its focus on congruence and conformity rather than on excellence and worth)?

No, what?

Tomorrow: It's a Judgement Call on my part, but I'm going to hazard a wild guess that whatever Mike Moore thinks is missed by the "right/wrong" paradigm is probably going to pass muster as a suitable Sunday Edition topic. Tune in tomorrow and see if I guessed right!


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

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