Sunday, August 19, 2007

Dave Sim's blogandmail #340 (August 17th, 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.


Dale Thompson of Greeneville, TN makes his way back to CEREBUS after a nearly twenty year absence, catching up via the internet, an – unfortunately – unnamed comic store an hour away from where he lives and a substantial order for the last five books that he was missing to complete the storyline.

Dear Dale Thompson:

Well, thanks for a very enthusiastic letter and substantial order. I called Julie at the warehouse to ask if she thought it was possible to get the books to you in time for your vacation in mid-June and she seemed to think it was, so I hope she was right!

I have no idea of what you're going to make of the storyline as it turned out given that you haven't read any of it since the mid-80s. The fact that you picked up on the "mixed reviews" three years after the last issue came out seems to me a good sign.

[I have to break ranks with you on the "sheesh" comment about STRAY TOASTERS. Am I the only person who loved this book? It was a little hard to follow in spots but I think Bill did a heck of a job on the lunatic interior landscape(s) he was shooting for. Everyone in the book from the psychiatrist on out is severely dysfunctional. Depending on how you look at it, that's either wonderful comedy or wonderful tragedy. But I did – and do – think it was wonderful]

On the subject of "expecting to hear some fanfare piece about your hitting #300" on National Public Radio (ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, etc.) – well, you weren't alone in that but you were more alone in that than you might have suspected. On the one hand, it's partly an indictment of the nature of media in our modern age where the average civilian makes a number of assumptions about how the whole thing works and most of those assumptions are wrong. Particularly when it comes to things like NPR. People assume that there is classic journalism at work – radio hosts scanning the headlines or the internet for interesting items to do a piece on. There's some of that, but at this point, there is so much competition for publicity that the odds are if you're hearing about something on NPR it's because a Public Relations firm flogged it to them. Unless you hire a PR firm and have them put together a press release and a shiny press package with some transparently obvious media "hook" in 20 pt. Baskerville the odds are no one is going to hear about whatever it is. Basically the PR firm writes the story for them. Here's your lead, here's your hook, here's your meat and staffers basically package the whole thing, connect all the dots, call the PR firm to schedule the interview and then you basically do the same interview with 12 different people over the course of three or four days by phone or (if you want to spend the money) in person "on Tour". I was on NPR any number of times in 1992 in x number of different cities. They were usually the easiest interview to land because they have so much air time to fill up just talking. The average NPR outlet could process, say, 48 to 75 interviews in a given day. If you even had a PR firm and an actual press kit you were pretty much guaranteed to get an interview.

But (and this is a key point) there was no institutional memory. One of Cerebus' big media hooks was that this thing was going on ALL THE WAY UP TO 2004! In 1992, I was the only person who was even talking about 2004 as if it was a real year. That probably got me more media coverage than anything else. What a weird guy! He's talking about 2004 as if it's an actual thing! The fact that it started in 1977 helped. Even radio hosts can do math if it's simple enough. 1977 to 1992; 1992 to 2004. Hey! THIS WACKY WEIRD GUY MIGHT ACTUALLY MAKE IT! But nobody (I mean, NOBODY) thought to write in their rolodex "2004 – check back and see if he made it". See, there was no genuine interest, just FEIGNED interest. They pretend to be interested in what I'm selling, I pretend to be interested in telling them about it – just as if we're sitting in the living room with you – and that's what they get paid for. The PR firm jumped through the NPR staff hoops and I made it. If I want to be on again in 2004, I'm welcome to try, but it's probably going to be a whole new staff and a whole new host. And even if it's the same staff and the same host, it's not like the time they had Governor Clinton on in '92. "Hey, remember the comic-book guy? He was doing his comic until 2004?" No one would say that. Don't you have a life outside the office? How can you remember a comic-book guy from 1992?

Like a lot of NPR fans you fell for the illusion – that these people are actually interested in what they're talking about. They're not. Or that they have any awareness apart from what their staff tells them and what press releases they read three weeks ago when they were putting together the line-up for this week. None of them read CEREBUS to prepare, they just read the press release. That's all they ever do. There's no time to do anything else. Most of them are doing a quick scan of the press release and the suggested questions their staff came up with and jotted in the margin just before they hit the button and the red light comes on. "Oh, right. The comic-book guy."

A conservative estimate? I probably did two or three hundred media interviews over the course of the twenty-six years. I probably know three or four dozen people who make their living in the media who I could name off the top of my head. No one did anything on CEREBUS coming to an end. Why? Because I didn't send them a press release and I didn't have a PR firm phoning them three times a week for a month before I was coming into town virtually begging to get me on the air or into their newspaper or magazine and promising anything they had to promise to make it happen. Even if I had, if Danny Bonaduce decided to write his memoirs and his PR firm called the day before I came in, bye-bye, Dave. Conversely, if a crazed comic-book artist shot the Speaker of the House that day, my PR firm would be up to their necks in call-backs from everyone who wouldn't give them the time of day the day before ("Didn't we have a comic-book artist scheduled? Where's that press release? Get the comic-book artist. No excuses. Get me the comic-book artist for today's show."). Frank Miller's condo could be across the street and they wouldn't have a clue. It's all press release.

Tomorrow: Of course, it COULD have happened…


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.