Dave Sim's blogandmail #282 (June 20th, 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, we're making some kind of progress on the Mail Front, now.
Next up is 2006 Howard E. Day Memorial Prize Winner, Steve Peters' SPARKY IN LOVE.
Again, a lot of it is jam pieces with other cartoonists with an Indy Comics Who's Who list of contributors (Alex Robinson, Batton Lash, Carla Speed McNeil, Matt Feazell, Sean Bieri, Jeff Nicholson, Justin Madson, etc.) on the front cover all done in pseudo-1960s Love Generation lettering inside hearts of various sizes. I'll bet it's a computer font. It's either impressively rendered by Steve by hand or…it's a computer font. If it's a computer font it's a multi-layered joke for someone who was actually alive in the 1960s. I'd love to be able to go back 40 years to the Summer of Love and say, "Oh, right. You know – forty years from now that kind of lettering will be done by machines." Bitter Flower Child Janovian Primal Scream Trailing Off Into Hippie Death Rattle.
Looking on the bright side for the earthy-crunchy generation, We will Never Get Rid of Open Contour Lettering Inside Hearts because it speaks to something inside of women that makes it a near universal. Sparky is surrounded by female comics characters, his face covered in lipstick prints. It's quite literally Too Cute For *****.
He's got an excerpt here from a longer work called "I'm Not Sorry". I must say Steverino does take me back to the days when I would have a critical conversation with the Latest Crush. Having expressed his interest, he gets a response:
"Why didn't you ever tell me?"
As Steve documents at excruciating length you take these things away with you and act as if they are the ancillary of E=McSquared. And as he says, there are layers and layers and layers of interpretation to be had if you're willing to devote the time and energy to them. All of them less than meaningless if what you're looking for is an affirmative. As Avril Lavigne entitled a recent album "Let Go". Someone as terminally cute as Avril Lavigne must feel like an electromagnet of some kind in a world of guys made up of iron filings. LET! GO!
My own best assessment (now) (returning to "Why didn't you ever tell me?") is that it isn't her, it's her ___ talking: usually giving you a balm for your ego. If you're smart you'll take your nice little bit of balm away with you and find a nice quiet spot to rub it on your ego and NEVER MENTION IT OR THINK OF IT AGAIN (i.e. LET! GO!)
It would be interesting to read some female reactions to these stories. In fact, that was one of the things I told myself to be sure and ask Steve when we had the Day Prize dinner together in Columbus (with Max Ink and Bob Corby): Have you ever showed one of these to the female in question? I mean, it wouldn't do any good in the Sandra Dee only- in-the-Tammy-tell-me-true-movies sense of making her realize that she had actually loved you all along, but actually having one of these I Meant It as Friendship and You Took It As Romantic Interest and Now I Feel So Bad and to have it…immortalized in comic-book form and then to have her actually sit and read it. And to realize that other people had read it, were reading it, would read it. And (here's the perverse part) to actually WATCH HER read it. Has Steve ever had the chance to sit there and watch the reaction close up? I feel practically voyeuristic even suggesting it and virtually ghoulish envisioning it.
At the Outside Lunatic Fringe of that Putting Her Down on Paper thing, you have Ginevra King (I just spent the last ten minutes flipping through F. Scott Fitzgerald A to Z looking for her name. Remind me to excerpt James Thurber's night on the town with Scott Fitzgerald). As Scott said (LIFE IN LETTERS pg. 338) in a letter to, of all people, his daughter Scottie: "She was the first girl I ever loved and I have faithfully avoided seeing her up to this moment to keep that illusion perfect, because she ended up by throwing me over with the most supreme boredom and indifference. I don't know whether I should go or not," after she had divorced her first husband in 1936 and contacted him on a visit to Santa Barbara in 1937
"He did go to see Ginevra and drank too much during their meeting: he telephoned her for several days but they did not meet again."
At the same time, she knew, right? F. Scott Fitzgerald having become F. Scott Fitzgerald in the interim she knew that there were all these Fitzgerald characters based on her. Her listing in A to Z doesn't have her Birth/Death dates attached (believe me, if they could be found, Matthew J. Bruccoli would have found them) (Remind me someday to tell you about Roy Thomas's wife Dann telling me about their friend Matt from North Carolina who is a big F. Scott Fitzgerald fan while Roy and Will Eisner and Michael T. Gilbert were talking comics at the other end of the dinner table) but I wonder how far into the Fitzgerald revival she lived. Depending on how Huge a Fitzgerald Fan you are, her having thrown away his half of the correspondence constitutes an unparalleled literary crime against humanity.
I mean, apart from being someone's Great-Great Aunt Ginevra, remembered for a pearl necklace you handed down or something, her non-relationship with Scott is the only interesting thing about her and certainly the only thing she will ever be remembered for.
I think it would be worth making Steve Peters indescribably famous just to have all these girls lined up around the block claiming that the various characters were based on THEM.
"Maybe" the next full-pager is called. Melanie does social work with teenagers. Steve says, "Y'know I teach a cartooning class for teens sometimes – I could come and talk to your kids if you want…" "Oh, that's sweet of you to offer!" says Melanie. I had to laugh. When a chick uses the word "sweet" it's as a pejorative as in "You making an offer like that makes me feel as if you're force-feeding me a whole chocolate cake." She knows what you're up to and the answer is no.
Then "Kali" about a girl whose parents are from India. "…thus the title of the song that I wrote for her: `Kali'. In Hindu mythology, Kali is a destroyer. She is also a mother goddess. I came to see Catherine as a goddess. She was also way too young for me, and she had a boyfriend, so my interest was very foolish. But she stole my heart." Fortunately Steve is much better since shock therapy (I kid, I kid – actually he's much better without shock therapy).
And then a strip that starts "My CHEMISTRY comic" the CHEMISTRY comic is the one that he got the Day Prize for. I think this strip features the chick that I drew by accident (according to Steve) in our "Musical Origin of Sparky" strip. Oops. I really do try to avoid this stuff but that gives you a good example of how the tar babyette is never far away at the best of times.
You can order SPARKY IN LOVE and all of Steve's other comics from his www.awakeningcomic.com website. Or you can watch us discuss "God Versus Spirituality" on YouTube.
Tomorrow: The long-awaited Al Gore style TRUTH behind Act II Microwave Carmel Popcorn
IN STORES NOW!!!!
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