Dave Sim's blogandmail #369 (September 15th, 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, IT'S "OH, NO! NOT JEFF SMITH AGAIN"
WEEK HERE ON THE BLOG & MAIL
HERE IT IS AT LAST, FOLKS!
THE REASON THAT YOU'RE ALL SUPPOSED TO
SHUN DAVE SIM AND VILIFY HIM AND
SNEER WHENEVER YOU MENTION HIS NAME.
YOU KNEW THERE HAD TO BE A REASON SOMEWHERE
RIGHT? WELL, THIS IS IT, FROM JEFF SMITH'S
INTERVIEW IN THE COMICS JOURNAL BACK IN 1999:
SMITH: There's not much to tell. A lot of it was based on Dave's infamous CEREBUS #186 where he published his little "tract" about women sucking the life blood out of men, and how they can't "think", they can only "feel". He put Vijaya and I [sic] into that issue. That was unacceptable to me. He was crossing a line that he had been warned not to cross.
[This was interesting to me in that the only line I had been warned not to cross was when I had told my then-horizontal-mamba-partner (1992-1994) Diana Schutz how READS was going to be structured: along the lines of Truman Capote's "Cote d'Azur" – real comic-book people and incidents fictionalized in the first half, then shifting to an actual documenting of what was going on in my life at the moment that I was writing the concluding issues and seeing what the result was in juxtaposition with the Cerebus vs. Cirin wordless battle in the comics parts of the stories. She said, "Leave me and my family out of it."
Which I was more than willing to do.
The only interesting person in the extended Schutz family – the then-current members, anyway -- on a "Cote d'Azur" basis that I could see was her sister Trishie who had only been interesting when she was going out with Joe Matt and only because Joe documented their relationship in an interesting and humourous way. As soon as they broke up Trishie vanished into obscurity along with the rest of Diana's relatives. I did use a lot of the comic-industry dirt that Diana trafficked in extensively and compulsively told me about no matter how many times I told her I hate gossip and I don't like listening to it. How Jeff Smith could be construed to be part of Diana Schutz's family is an interesting Marxist-feminist story in itself, but unfortunately a YHWH speculation for another day: here I'm sticking strictly to the facts, ma'am]
SPURGEON: He talked to you about it beforehand?
SMITH: He was writing [it] about the time he came out to California to stay with us during the first APE show. The night he arrived, Dave sat down on the couch opposite us
[This isn't true. I was seated on a single chair at right angles to the couch. Jeff was at the near end of the couch to my right and Vijaya was at the opposite end of the couch]
and said, "Let me tell you what color the sky is in my world." Then he proceeded to lay out this horrible, upside-down, conspiracy-theory view of the world. Vijaya and I sat there, and at first we talked with him about it. We were like, "Wow. You almost have a point, sort of, but it's upside down there at the end." And he goes on for hours! Droning on and on…
[This isn't true either. What I was doing was responding to Jeff's conversational question when we had arrived at their A-frame house atop the San Andreas fault – he had picked me up in a limousine at the San Francisco airport -- "So what are you working on?" What the hell. I had nothing to hide. Literally. I described the structure of READS, with the fictionalized comic book first half and then, in the second half, moving into a more literal "here's what's going on in my life right now," and I explained some of the anecdotes that I was working with, newspaper stories I had been accumulating that had been getting weirder and weirder as soon as I began collecting them: particularly a recent one that I had found about some environmental group which had spent an unearthly amount of money cleaning spilled oil off of a seal and had then had this ceremony releasing it back into the wild where it was promptly eaten by a killer whale.
My thesis was that life was out of balance and these ludicrous excesses of Life Uber Alles (now pretty well swept under the rug beneath the label of "politically correct" – as if that justifies them) were becoming more the rule than the exception. But I was aware that most people saw the killer whale eating the seal as a Profound Tragedy instead of seeing it for what it was: what killer whales, you know, do. This is, presumably, what Jeff meant by "upside down there at the end". I was viewing a Profound Tragedy and seeing it as a Weird Burlesque.
So, I attempted to tackle the question from another angle: For the first time in human history birth was exceeding death by a wide margin but we were still behaving as if death was this near-universal condition and that birth was barely able to stay ahead of it. Essentially, we were still selling ourselves (as a society) on the view that we live in a tragic, death-based patriarchy. My view was that it was a lunatic, out-of-control birth-based matriarchy and had been for some time. At that point, Jeff and Vijaya became part of the point of my story I was working on. As I wrote:
"Oh, NO! No way. Uh-uh." Jeff smith is shaking his head violently from side to side. He has lunged forward in his seat, his hands waving in the air, as if shooing away a large insect. All of his movements are agitated. At the other end of the couch, his wife sits, her feet tucked beneath her, calmly smoking a Marlboro Light. Her features are inscrutable. Viktor Davis takes another sip of his beer.
[a Heineken, and not only a Heineken but a bottle Heineken: Jeff and Vijaya definitely had good taste in beer, unless they had bought it specifically for me]
"You'd agree that Death is Male?" he asks.
"You'd agree that Birth is Female?"
"Which one is winning?"
"No. No, no way. It's just not true." He stares straight ahead for a moment or two and then looks at Viktor Davis. "I just don't think that way, man. I just can't see that at all."
Vijaya grinds out her cigarette in a small glass ashtray.
At Jeff's insistence, the discussion ends. They agree to disagree. Viktor Davis isn't certain what the disagreement is, but clearly an impasse has been reached.
They begin to discuss animation instead.
[Deciding to do READS the way I did it, was really a matter of my saying to myself, "I really have to start documenting some of this stuff that keeps happening to me, because it is really getting to be too weird for words and everyone is acting as if their reactions are normal and my observations are weird." And Jeff's extreme and agitated reaction to a simple discussion about the balance between life and death in the world – coupled with Vijaya's complete non-reaction – was definitely in that category. "This is so weird. What IS he so upset about?" I was a guest in their home and I think I'm a very accommodating guest. You don't want to talk about a subject, boom, subject dropped. You asked me what I was working on and I started to tell you and then you freaked out. No problem. Let's – very calmly and rationally, so I hopefully don't upset you that badly again -- talk about your background in animation.]
SPURGEON: Dave can talk.
SMITH: Now I knew what it must've been like to be trapped in Waco listening to David Koresh! Vijaya and I were rocking back and forth, going, "Can we please go to the bathroom now?" I'm making light of it but it was really offensive stuff, and there was no arguing with him. Finally I said, "Dave, if you don't shut up right now, I'm going to take you outside and deck you."
SPURGEON: Really? Wow!
SMITH: It was that serious. Well, he shut up. There was dead silence, and he squinted his eyes. He took a drag off his cigarette, and that was it. We went on with our weekend and forgot about it. At least I did.
[There are a couple of interesting things here: first, "it was really offensive stuff, and there was no arguing with him." Well, it seems to me that if a point I'm making is "really offensive" then it should be easy to refute. If a devout Muslim told me, as an example, that Jews are pigs and monkeys, which many of them believe, it would be pretty easy to just say, "No, Jews are human beings. They just have different beliefs from you." Call it the Sixteen Impossible Things Syndrome. It's not actually offensive, it's reality. You, as a Marxist-feminist, only react to it as being offensive because you have strong in-built prejudices against reality. Just explain to me why it is critically important for us as a society to lower standards for soldiers and policepersons and firepersons so that we have more women in those professions and how that is more important than having high standards where public safety is concerned. See, you get offended because you want half of every profession to be made up of women. But to do that you have to erode standards. That's not offensive, it's factual. The fact that birth is outrunning death by a wide margin in our society isn't offensive, it's factual. The person who has a problem is the one who thinks that the correct reaction to the enunciation of a fact is to react emotionally and explosively. Except in a Marxist-feminist society where the correct reaction to a fact that doesn't conform to Marxist-feminist prejudices is always to react emotionally and explosively.]
Monday: The other interesting thing about this
Tomorrow: Cerebusfangirl inquires about the possibility of more scripture commentaries.
COMING SOON! DAVE SIM IN DIALOGUE WITH GARY GROTH – A BLOG & MAIL SPECIAL!
REPLIES POSTED ON THE CEREBUS YAHOO! GROUP
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