Monday, July 16, 2007

Dave Sim's blogandmail #308 (July 16th, 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.


Fax from Brian Coppola dated April 19 which means I am making some slow and steady progress here getting back to a little under three months behind. Here we go, folks, with a three-day (or so) frank exchange of viewpoints:

"On February 21 at CEREBUS THE AARTVARK, I wrote, "And, three for three: I simply don't like them terribly much." Do you really think that constitutes dumping all over your solo commissions?

"My reply, from the entry I made at my site, which you might not see for a while:

"DVS, from today's Bloggin' male (re: the most recent commission):

"Anyway, James phoned and absolutely raved on the answering machine about the picture and the tracing paper sketches (which I threw in for free, having forgotten to put the thought balloon in that he had wanted: "That was easier than Cerebus thought it would be") saying that I had made his framer very happy since he was getting the whole works framed and that I'm pretty much going to have a room to myself. So that helped offset Brian C. dumping all over my solo commissions on his website. I don't know if it's just my bad luck but on the rare occasions when I do check the Yahoo discussion group or Brian's websites…"

"Well, it's never been my way to be a sycophant. I don't like these solo color pieces – simple as that. Which does not at all for a moment take away from the b&w sketches and drawings (including the requested commission for a pair of 50th birthday pieces, one for me and one for Will, that I absolutely still want).

"You come across a word like sycophant and just have to wonder where it came from. Here goes…from Online Etymology Dictionary copyright 2001 Douglas Harper


"1537 (in L. form sycophanta), "informer, talebearer, slanderer" from L. sycophanta, from Gk. Sykophantes, originally "one who shows the fig," from sykon "fig" + phanein "to show". "Showing the fig" was a vulgar gesture made by sticking the thumb between the two fingers, a display which vaguely resembles a fig, itself symbolic of a [vulgar c-word edited from definition by alchemist57, aka one of the favourite words spoken by normalroach] (sykon also means "vulva"). The story goes that prominent politicians in ancient Greece held aloof from such inflammatory gestures, but privately urged their followers to taunt their opponents. The sense of "mean, servile flatterer" is first recorded in Eng. 1575.

"Now, rest assured, if this had been an actual dumping, you would be able to smell it. I would be using words like sophomoric, fetid, vacuous…you know, words that skewer. Or I might even say `Well, the old man's trolley has truly jumped the track, now,' or something. But I did not. What I wrote was what I would say to you over lunch.

"So what you think about my new colour pieces?"

"I don't like them."

"And I would still like to be in the queue for those two 50th birthday requests. The draft that you sketched and faxed for me to give to Will is awesome. ("I like that.")

Well, with all due respect, I always find it disorienting whenever anyone who is a Cerebus reader brings up the issue of sycophancy since my own experience has been that nothing good is said about CEREBUS or Dave Sim unless it is prefaced by at least three caveats to make sure that the listener is aware that the speaker is absolutely and unequivocally establishing from the outset that they couldn't be further apart from Dave Sim and his ideas if they had been shot out of a cannon in the other direction


and this is followed by some concession in my direction. i.e. he's nutty as a fruitcake BUT he's a great letterer. He's profoundly evil BUT he did give $100K to the CBLDF. He's a worthless piece of human scum BUT he did write and draw a 6,000 page story. He's obviously deeply mentally disturbed BUT he has helped a lot of young cartoonists.

Which is why I've come to think of my readers as readers and not as fans. The fact that no one seems able to discuss me in any meritorious sense without simultaneously kicking me in the nuts is something I have just had to get used to. But, at least from my perspective, this puts all attitudes towards me very much at the opposite end of the spectrum from sycophancy. A sycophant doesn't feel compelled to dump on the object of his sycophancy at the outset and then balance that with faint praise in another direction (in this case: dismissing works that took two or three days to accomplish while praising a sketch that was knocked out in a little over a minute and a half).

What was of concern back in April (and less so now) was that the commissioned pieces were pretty much my sole source of income at the time and consequently a big element in the equation of whether or not I was going to be able to make ends meet. Because most of my income goes to day-to-day expenses and to Gerhard and will do so for the next five years or so, there was a kind of double-whammy effect. The commissions, which had been coming in steadily at one or two a month, instantly dried up which meant that not only was I officially well below the poverty level, personally, it was now looking as if I was on a collision course with having to liquidate assets just to keep the wolf from the door.

[And let me hasten to add that given my experience with the ___s lurking behind all human endeavour I was not unmindful that this was just another scam – another way of poking Dave metaphorically through the bars of his cage with a sharp stick. "See, here's what we'll do. We'll give him two or three high-paying commissions and then we'll have Brian Coppola say on his website that he doesn't like them and then PFFT! No more commissions for, oh, a good two months or three months. While we also dry up all of his trade paperback sales and right around the time he's having to do the first couple of big payouts to Gerhard. And we'll see if we can make him go ballistic over that." Once you get used to it – as I have – these sorts of things tend to arrive with screaming sirens attached whereas they are supposed to be (or I think they're supposed to be) incredibly subtle and insidious and intended to drive me to the brink of insanity. Sad, really given that they're at least theoretically coming from what I suppose to be higher life forms]

If your website was called BRIAN'S ART PAGE, to me, that would be one thing, but you are definitely using the CEREBUS name and as you well know, on the Internet if you use a name people are naturally going to assume that there is some sort of official sanction attached either real or implied (actually just inferred but "welcome to the jungle"). The fact that you are listed (and, let me add, proudly so!) along with the Blog & Mail, the Yahoo Newsgroup, cerebusfangirl, Jeff Tundis' site and others on an official masthead of links certainly helps that effect. I'm not on the Internet and I certainly don't like the Internet (and I think I'm safe in saying that the feeling is more than mutual), but I think I've been pretty broad-minded in accommodating those who do like the Internet and who want Cerebus to have a presence there.

Here's a good example: Gerhard had definitely gotten the impression from your website that the Cerebus art market was, if not dead, then barely breathing. As a Cerebus art buyer it certainly plays in your favour to have that impression out there. "Whatever you're selling, buddy, alchemist57 is going to get it because alchemist57 gets whatever he goes after because except for a few people with shallow pockets, the only deep pockets are right here."

[That plays in two directions at the same time. Someone told me that you had commented on the auction of "The Frost Giant's Wedgie" original to benefit the Joe Shuster Awards that you thought it would go for about $2,000. His impression was that what you were saying was "I'm going to bid $2,000 for it, so back off." And then the piece went for $1,600. I have no idea if you affected the price and if you affected the price if you pushed it up or down – there's no "control group": no reality where alchemist57 didn't say anything. Is it JUST this guy's impression that when alchemist57 says "I think this is going to go for $2,000" that that means that's what you intend to bid for it or is that the impression of just about everyone who is aware of you as the highest profile and most visible Cerebus art collector?]

[And that gets into related grey areas, i.e. what are your own levels of responsibility in BEING the highest profile and most visible Cerebus art collector? Or are there any? Is it disingenuous on your part to hold the view that you aren't actually affecting the market? I mean, in a sense, you are for good or ill – at least until someone tries to start a competing website -- the Alan Greenspan of Cerebus art. It's one thing if a banker says to another banker over lunch "The housing market looks a little overheated to me. I think something needs to be done about it." And another thing if Alan Greenspan has a website and suddenly announces "The housing market looks a little overheated to me. I think something needs to be done about it." As a Cerebus art collector you can afford to be philosophical about the question. "There's no way of knowing so I'll just call `em like I see `em". And, in a way, I can afford to be philosophical about the question and Gerhard less so]

Tomorrow: Why I can afford to be philosophical about the question and Gerhard less so]


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.