Monday, June 04, 2007

Dave Sim's blogandmail #266 (June 4th, 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.



"Read any good books, lately? I've sure been enjoying Norman Mailer's new novel about young Hitler. I've appreciated his commitment to exploring what Evil is and how Satan goes about planting heinous ideas in those whom he thinks can ultimately help his goal. It's a very interesting book. As an intelligence agent myself, I really appreciated the set-up of Dieter's role as an SS man who actually works for Satan. It reminded me of an old comment of Mailer's which has long stood out for me: `…a man from Mars who's looking at us through a telescope might think that Communist bureaucrats and FBI men look exactly the same.' That was from 1962, and it's amazing he's maintained this same perception of how little we might possibly comprehend of reality. I don't AGREE with his perception, but I remain utterly impressed."

I had a chance to buy the new book at the K-W Bookstore where a used copy was on their Primo Buy shelf (discounts don't apply, but check out these hot titles selling for cover price everywhere else). I was looking for research photographs for the secret project so my mind wasn't anywhere near to being on that wavelength (and I was also, mentally, in extreme poverty mode where even half price on a new hardcover is measured in how many cans of tuna-fish that will buy). As I've said elsewhere, I really parted company with Mr. Mailer in seeing that he never made the leap to believing that the onus was on him to behave in a completely moral fashion if he really believes that each of our actions either assists or detracts from God. I would tend to see the latest book as his reaction to the reaction to THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO THE SON. "You don't want Jesus? Here, have some Hitler." Not dissimilar to Leonard Cohen's "Give me Christ/Or give me Hiroshima". Since my illness in January I've felt a perhaps disproportionate involvement in these sorts of things, a perhaps disproportionate sense of everything depending on me and my choices to the extent where even choosing to read a book by Mailer on Hitler could constitute a bad faith choice. Isn't Hitler bad enough on his own without applying a prodigious intellect like Mailer's to a fictionalized treatment of him? And what would my own curiosity about what Mailer's full-bore imagination applying itself to Hitler say about my own deepest-level interests? What can prodigious imagination applied to evil produce but more evil? I might change my mind later on but right now I really seem to be on the on-going cusp of believing everything is too weighty for casual choices like that. I never really "came down" from my Ramadan sharpness before the illness hit which seemed to come from the same kind of source. I'm not sure if I'm supposed to maintain this Heightened Intensity Awareness as my new reality or if it's just something I'm supposed to maintain through a dangerous stretch. I'm more wondering if I should read the second volume of DICK TRACY strips that Ted Adams of IDW sent me (thanks, Ted!) when I'm done with James Thurber's THE THURBER LETTERS than I am thinking anywhere near Norman Mailer's category. There are not a lot of people who would consider Thurber to be ethically suspect in any way but that's the strange place where I seem to find myself these days.

"You know what else I've been wondering about?"

[Uh-oh]. No. What have you been wondering about, David?

"Elijah the Prophet. He's something of a curiosity. It's like he covers all the greatest hits of the other Prophets. Have you ever written about him?"

Not extensively. My most recent run-in with Elijah was in my commentaries on Luke's gospel. Let me run downstairs and dig out the reference. Wait right here. I'll be right back.

Right, it's Luke 9:54. It might not make a whole lot of sense out of context, but here it is for what it's worth:

QUOTING THE KINGDOM INTERLINEAR TRANSLATION: Having seen, ____ (however James and John) said "Lord, are you willing we should tell fire to come down from the heaven and to annihilate them?" UNQUOTE

MY COMMENTARY: The reference is to Elijah/Elias in II Kings 1:10 "And Elijah answered, and said to the captain of fiftie, If I a man of God, then let fire come down from heauen and consume thee and thy fiftie." [which it did].

That is, Elijah was "of God" but was a follower of YHWH and is in II Kings 1:10 making use of YHWH's analogue medium which is fire. Obviously this great a miracle could only be enacted by God which, presumably, God did in order to reinforce Elijah's stature (even though Elijah was, metaphorically, "of YHWH" at least as much as he was "of God"). So I would guess that the ____ speaking through James and John (an elder brother/younger brother combination in the disciples therefore metaphorically "of God" – the elder – and "of YHWH" -- the younger) is God and asking YHWH (who is the ____ fully in command of the Synoptic Jesus at this point) "YHWH, are you willing we should tell fire to come down from the heaven and to annihilate them?" What God appears to be addressing in an ironical sense is YHWH's self-evident intention to direct the Synoptic Jesus toward Jerusalem, there to metaphorically usurp the place of God at YHWH's behest and on YHWH's behalf. If (as YHWH maintains) YHWH is God and the Synoptic Jesus is just a front for YHWH, that would make the Synoptic Jesus' disciples co-equivalent with God's messengers and, in that context, James OR John might just as well BE Elijah. The scary part for YHWH in addressing that is that it is God who is asking he/she/it the question through James and John. All YHWH has to do is say the word and God will call down fire out of heaven to annihilate the Samaritans for being inhospitable.

QUOTING THE KINGDOM INTERLINEAR TRANSLATION: Having turned, ___ (however ____) he rebuked them. OR Having turned, ___ (however he) rebuked them.

Interestingly, this passage is supplemented in traditional translations with "And said, `Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the sonne of man is not come to destroy men's lives but to save them," which is quite a mouthful to add after the fact when what you are purportedly doing is conveying in word-perfect and unadulterated form what the purported Son of God specifically said. Presumably, the Church fathers -- at whatever point the addition was made -- thought that the reason behind the Synoptic Jesus' rebuke needed to be addressed and, I suspect, were inspired by YHWH to put it that way.

Personally, I would imagine the actual episode consisted more of a general rebuke ("let's everyone just settle down" or "knock it off" or "don't be ridiculous") having its point of origin in the YHWH trying to keep everything on track, imagining what a miraculous incineration of inhospitable Samaritans might do to his/her/its long-term planning on the way to Jerusalem and realizing that because of his/her/its pretensions as enunciated through the Synoptic Jesus, the disciples are also becoming pretentious, thinking of themselves as being in the same category as Elijah and being comfortable with expressing that aloud. Dealing with YHWH, a being of demonstrably consummate excess, I think it amused God to indicate that there were excesses where even YHWH feared to tread – one of them being the treatment of the Synoptic Jesus' disciples as if they were Prophets in the same league as Elijah.

I would suspect that the ___ behind the late revision of the text was YHWH his/her/itself to establish that the disciples were followers of YHWH and not God ("Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of") which would probably have been reasonably accurate – nice Jewish boys who believed YHWH and God were the same being and who wouldn't realize that they were trafficking in a distinctly YHWHist medium in talking about calling down fire. There would be an enormous problem, however on the level where YHWH would be addressing God directly behind James and John. I just don't think YHWH would have the chutzpah to tell God directly, speaking through the Synoptic Jesus "Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of" but might be willing to risk it long after the fact and as an after-the-fact attempt at saving face at what at least appears to be an unwillingness to condone behaviour that was as murderous, imperious and cold-hearted as Elijah's.

So, to answer your question, that's really how I picture Elijah: murderous, imperious and cold-hearted on a scale unmatched by God's other Prophets and messengers (with perhaps the notable exception of Muhammad who once had an entire Jewish tribe beheaded in Medina – an enterprise that reportedly took most of a day and a night to accomplish -- without so much as batting an eyelash: an action which, I assume, he chose of his own free will and which made the otherwise universally abhorrent act of beheading something of a commonplace occurrence in Islam from that day until this).

Sorry, probably should have held onto that one until a Sunday Edition. Let's see if I can't find something in a nice Secular Vintage with an aromatic bouquet in tomorrow's Sac a Postale du Jour.

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

Looking for a place to purchase Cerebus phonebooks? You can do so online through Win-Mill Productions -- producers of Following Cerebus. Convenient payment with PayPal:

Win-Mill Productions

Or, you can check out Mars Import:

Mars Import

Or ask your local retailer to order them for you through Diamond Comics distributors. Here are the Diamond Star System codes:

Cerebus #1-25 $30.00 STAR00070

High Society #26-50 $30.00 STAR00071

Church and State I #52-80 $35.00 STAR00271

Church and State II #81-111 $35.00 STAR00321

Jaka's Story #114-136 $30.00 STAR00359

Melmoth #139-150 $20.00 STAR00431

Flight #151-162 $20.00 STAR00543

Women #163-174 $20.00 STAR00849

Reads #175-186 $20.00 STAR01063

Minds #187-200 $20.00 STAR01916

Guys #201-219 $25.00 STAR06972

Rick's Story #220-231 $20.00 STAR08468

Going Home I #232-250 $30.00 STAR10981

Form and Void #251-265 $30.00 STAR13500

Latter Days #266 - 288 $35.00 AUG031920

The Last Day #289 - 300 $25.00 APR042189

Collected Letters - $30 FEB052434

Collected Letters 2 - $22 MAR073054