Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Dave Sim's blogandmail #372 (September 18th, 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.







So returning to reality (as I like to do), I had come all the way to Columbus with a set of boxing gloves and, in my "Dear Jeff Smith" piece in CEREBUS 265, I had left it up to him to pick the venue, the timekeeper and the referee. It seemed to me that it would be completely dishonourable for him to just walk in at that point and tell me where and when we would be sorting this out when I had given him that much advance notice, coming in two days ahead of time to give him the most number of scheduling options, but the fact that I had brought the gloves with me indicates that it didn't surprise me that he would handle it that way. People like that are just that way: if there's a sneaky, underhanded way of doing something and a direct and above-board way of doing something, they will always pick the former over the latter, every time. Why? I'm the wrong person to ask. It's just the way those people are. Personally, I always go the other way. If there's a sneaky, underhanded way of doing something and a direct and above-board way of doing something, I pick the latter. Which is what I was doing here. Jeff had to be made to put up or shut up. I would allow him to choose the context in all particulars and weight them in his own favour whatever way he wanted to. We would insulate our hands to keep from jeopardizing our livelihoods. Jeff could pick the referee who would presumably keep him from getting seriously hurt. Presumably the biggest gorilla he could find or knew of. Presumably the gorilla would feel no comparable compulsion to keep me from getting seriously hurt if things went the other way. Fine. I had made my peace with the whole situation.

Let God judge between me and thee.

If he did just stroll in at the last minute, I assumed – again, opting for sneaky and under-handed -- he would set a place and a time for Monday, figuring that I would already be booked on a flight home (which I was) so he could say that he named the venue and the time and I ducked out. Big Tough Jeff Smith wins again. So I was already prepared that I might have to re-book my return flight or miss the dinner that I was going to buy all the exhibitors after the show if he set the place and the time that night or have to negotiate an alternative if he said everything had been arranged for Sunday which presumably he would know I wouldn't violate the Sabbath for. The last one was the trickiest one, but one way or another, we would see who would deck who and who would give who a fat lip. I sleep in track pants and a sweatshirt which would serve as athletic gear in a pinch. I had already said in the same piece that I would take my chances without headgear or a mouth-guard and left it up to Jeff if he wanted to use them or do without them.

He gestured at the table, smirking, and said, "So where are the gloves?" And I replied, straight-faced, serious and factual, "They're back at the hotel." He gave me a derisive, "Yeah, as if." look, said "Welcome to Columbus" – to which I replied "Thanks, Jeff" and then he walked on to the next table and left the room roughly ten minutes later. "Well, that was easy," I thought to myself.

Having made a point to come over to where I was sitting and to ask about the gloves, to me, established who was backing down here. Just to make sure, I brought the gloves back the following year. No Jeff. Nor has he shown up at SPACE since that second show.

The boxing gloves were among the contents of the penthouse apartment that I sold to an estate liquidation agency in 2003 shortly after the SPACE show. I didn't see any need for them anymore and in my new more aesthetic lifestyle, storage space was at a premium.

So, the issue of who was and who wasn't a coward having been established, I was pleased to shake hands with Jeff on the front steps of The Beguiling two years ago, the afternoon before the first TCAF and I made a point of seeking him out for amiable chatter over in the children's tent where he would be set up when I saw him over there, waving to him whenever I saw him at a distance that weekend and figuring the whole thing had been sorted out back at the second SPACE show when he didn't follow up on his "where are the gloves?" question with "where and when" we were going to do this and at the third SPACE show when there was no sign of him. And I haven't said a word about it since.

Until now.

And if everyone would just learn to leave the whole subject alone I won't have to say a word about it again. On the other hand, if Jeff wants to opt for the Bryan Talbot version of events, or if any one of the other hundreds of people he has told Tall Tales to over the years about what happened choose to revive the issue publicly, my offer remains open. I come to Columbus every year for SPACE.

Name the time and the place – publicly, I have no interest in any private communication with someone who says one thing privately and another thing publicly as Jeff has continued to do -- and I'll be there. I don't have as much money as I used to, but I would consider buying another pair of boxing gloves to be an investment.

A solid investment.

And if Jeff chooses to ignore this, then obviously he's the coward -- which he and I both knew five years ago after I answered his "So, where are the gloves?" question and he wandered off and which I was willing, until Bryan Talbot's book, to keep just between the two of us. I have a great deal of compassion for the "accuracy challenged" having been married to one. He backed down and that was good enough for me. I would prove that I was a bigger man than he by keeping it confidential. Anyway, he now has Bryan Talbot to thank or blame (as the case may be) – not me -- for my now, of necessity, making his cowardice a matter of public record.

Only one of us is a coward and trust me, folks, it isn't me.

Gary's follow-up fax, still full of vituperation and vilification and "Crazy Dave Sim" stuff at least contained one sensible sentence:

"For what it's worth, I can understand your need to set the record straight."

Which I appreciated. A great deal. More than I can say. One faint glimmer of light in the Marxist-feminist darkness that has surrounded me since 1994. I assume from that, that thirteen years later Gary finally (finally!) read what I wrote and read what Jeff Smith said I wrote and understood that a disservice had been performed towards me by Jeff with the full duplicity of his magazine (and the universal endorsement of the comic-book field).

Should he or Tom Spurgeon or someone else have actually read the passage in READS and compared it to Jeff's version before publishing Jeff's version and launching another wave of self-righteous Marxist-feminist trashing of Dave Sim on the Internet which lingers to this day? It depends. If we're supposed to take the COMICS JOURNAL at face value as a journal -- that is as an example of journalism, presumably yes. Presumably it should have been checked at the proof-reading stage or it would have made an interesting side-bar on that page or someone might have looked up the passage and done a follow-up question with Jeff.

Of course, I don't take the COMICS JOURNAL at face value as journalism. Far from it. It's Tabloid Journalism of the vilest Marxist-feminist sort, the comic book field's answer to Pravda and all you have to do is find yourself outside of their high school girls' clique and you know the full extent of what that means for you and for your career. Just ask anyone who has gone through it.

Jeff is drawing the covers to Fantagraphics' reprints of the Walt Kelly OUR GANG material and designing their POGO reprint collections, which I hadn't known. Gary told him that I'd be responding to the slander in Bryan Talbot's book and Jeff asked him to pass this along to me:

Well, next time you talk to Sim tell him to calm down. I don't have any bad feelings about him anymore. He can write whatever he wants.

I had to laugh. He ruins my career and incites everyone to treat me as a pariah and thirteen years later he doesn't have "any bad feelings" about me. No, I'm sure he doesn't. What would he have left to feel bad about now that I have been permanently exiled from the comic-book field and he has assassinated my character with his Tall Tales all over the world? He's done a solid job for thirteen years. He hasn't completely destroyed me, but he has come very close. I asked Gary to relay this on my behalf to Jeff:

I am calm, Jeff. I've been calm for thirteen years while all of you people have done your level best to destroy me. It hasn't worked out BECAUSE I've been completely calm. Now I'm – very calmly through the Blog & Mail – reading into the record what has happened for the last thirteen years and – you can thank Bryan Talbot for this – revisiting your key role in that attempted destruction. I don't care and never did care what your "feelings" were about me or anyone or anything else. All I'm interested in and all I ever was interested in is reality.

And there you have the reality as it stands: Jeff Smith the lying coward. We'll see if he wants to change half of that next April at SPACE.

And to the familiar sound of Marxist-feminist crickets chirping in the dark emptiness of the comic-book field, let me say here and now that I'll be happy to update all this the next time a Marxist-feminist chooses to follow in Bryan Talbot's footsteps and slander my name in public by recounting the lies Jeff has been spreading since 1994.

Tomorrow: ComicsPRO position paper on variant covers





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.