Dave Sim's blogandmail #397 (October 13th, 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.
Jimmy Gownley sent along a copy of issue #18 of his full-colour self-published comic, AMELIA RULES, wondering if this was what I had been talking about in my earlier Blog & Mail deploring (as Steve Ditko was doing in his essay in THE COMICS, "An Issue, Question" which just concluded in Vol.18 No.7 in July) the absence of comic books about the war in Iraq analogous to the war comics of past decades.
Well, of course I was talking about father-to-son: that there is an obligation, as I see it, on the part of the mainstream publishers to show the sons of U.S. Forces that what their dads are engaged in is heroic and that they have every right to be proud of them just as a given, as part of basic patriotism and Americans acknowledging American sacrifices on their behalf. AR #18 was obviously a different kettle of fish, since the character of Joan is a girl and the point of the story is her dad going off to war for a year. What I was dreading, Jimmy, was that you were going to overdo the "Give Peace a Chance" (you're of that generation where I knew it was going to be in there) and I'll give you major points for the fact that you swam upstream against your own nature and kept it down to a couple of panels. Likewise making the soldier's family Catholic. Given your political sensibilities I was holding my breath waiting for you to write something blasphemous and/or heretical. Again, I'll give you major points for tip-toeing around Catholicism while keeping it in there and writing some funny lines that I don't think too many Catholics would take offence at.
And obviously I have core problems with Amelia and the other girl characters that you do where they definitely (in my view) qualify as "androgyny propaganda" but, again, you're of that interchangeable gender generation where you based the story on a friend of yours who has all sons, but you saw nothing dishonest in adopting the Chris Claremont "is there any reason this character can't be a girl?" thing. Well, yes. To me, definitely, if you're documenting a father and son situation and you turn the son into a girl that's intellectually dishonest, and it's a specific brand of intellectual dishonesty that I think is eviscerating our society. You believe it's our only hope for the future. That's what makes horse races.
Anyway, AMELIA RULES: THE THINGS I CANNOT CHANGE was a beautiful piece of work, Jimmy. Cried like a baby through the entire ending, I did. I'm not ashamed to say so. As I've said elsewhere I save my tears for those things that matter. If this one isn't a shoo-in for best single issue in the Eisners next year I don't know what would be. The excerpt from Mary Murphy's journal and Major Murphy's last word – and especially the photo of the family reunited after his year's deployment to Baghdad, a great finish to the issue.
Yeah, of course I'll be glad to contribute some artwork. How about the complete "Arnold the Isshurian" from EPIC MAGAZINE? It's actually done on six separate sheets of art board, so it's almost like getting six different pieces of art. Definitely auction them as separate lots. I bet the "Hi boys and girls" ventriloquist page goes for the most. I'll throw in the original painted cover for SWORDS volume 3 since the painted covers have been going for the most lately.
Oddly enough I'll be spending Veteran's Day in the U.S. of A. for the first time ever since it's the day after the opening of the art exhibit at the Norman Rockwell Museum. What a great place to spend Veteran's Day, eh? Stockbridge, Mass., the beloved hometown of the painter of "The U.S. Army Teaches Trades (Telegrapher)" (1919), "Let's Give Him Enough and On Time" (1942), "The Homecoming" (1945) "Thanksgiving: Mother and Son Peeling Potatoes" (1945). Really looking forward to it.
If your local comic store doesn't carry AMELIA RULES (and, hey, retailers, not meaning to tell you your business but you'll notice that Jimmy is primarily getting interest from mainstream bookstores even though he's been Direct Market Exclusive since the early 1990s since he was flogging SHADES OF GRAY at the Spirits stops) you can order direct from www.ameliarules.com.
And just to make sure that this goes ALL the way back to what I was talking about and what Steve Ditko was talking about let me quote, again without permission, the concluding paragraphs from Ditko's "An Issue, Question" essay:
"A war can be seen with the nation as a `hero' against another nation as the `villain'. The nation's `civil wars' are among the conflicting personal, intellectual, ethical, political philosophies, with the best minds (rationally principled) against the worst minds (unprincipled power-seekers), with every citizen/mind involved in various degrees of passivity/actively, pro-con, ignorance/intelligence, with inevitable good or bad consequences.
"So when comic companies have, hire, better men/minds then we'll have authentic heroes fighting the full range of human conflicts caused by the irrational (as briefly seen in the very early days of comic books), from fictional dramas to real-life events, of irrational action, wars, threatening man's well-being, freedom and life.
"So today it may take a real hero to win one's `civil war', to `enlist' in publishing hero and war stories, as it takes heroes enlisting to fight in real wars of freedom.
"It will take a personal revolution with one's own Valley Forge to become a `publisher' of one's own worthy life adventure.
"But what is first needed is to actually FIGHT THE BATTLES and win control, ownership, of that irreplaceable, selfish value: ONE'S RATIONAL MIND.
"And it is NEVER too late to enlist."
As always THE COMICS is available from Robin Snyder, 3745 Canterbury Lane, #81, Bellingham, WA, 98225-1186 USA ($28 US for one year, $35 foreign and Canadian)
And just to be scrupulously fair, like Jimmy I'll give the last word to Major Stephen M. Murphy, US Army:
"Thank you to everyone who helped me through my last year in Baghdad. While I was not patrolling the streets like so many young sons and daughters are, I was still greatly appreciative of the direct and indirect support I received from way back home in the United States.
"Also, I would like to urge my fellow citizens to remember that it is the government, not the military, that chooses to go to war. And that it is the citizens who choose the government.
"Please exercise your rights and responsibilities as members of a free society and participate in the democratic process. It is very simple to sit back and let others make choices for our nation, but remember that sometimes those choices lead to the sacrifice of our most important natural resource – our sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, and parents.
"And that should only ever happen when it is absolutely necessary."
Tomorrow: Bruce Thornton's Passion of the Left
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