Neil Gaiman says:

Neil Gaiman says:
pic by Allan Amato

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Refuting Dave Sim

It has taken me a long while to get this together, mostly because it is difficult to read Dave Sim's "Fifteen Impossible Things to Believe Before Breakfast That Make You a Good Feminist" and excerpts from "Tangent" while remaining coherent. But at last, thanks to my leave, I've had the chance to do a 2nd draft of my initial thoughts.

If you are unfamiliar with Dave Sim ("Cerebus") and his Tangent writings, then the following will make more sense if you read them first.

From the cave of the Feminist Homosexualist Axe Sis!

You don't have to be a thick-skinned dyke to be taken seriously, but it helps. I sure would love to be channeling a 6' Amazon if I ever happened to stumble into Dave Sim in Kitchener some day, because as he rightly says (one of his few truisms) comic-book people are a thin-skinned lot. I think it's partly from being a creative person, constantly wondering if you have any worth, if your stuff is good, if anyone will like it.

Ok, the genius of "Cerebus" aside, the acknowledged accomplishment of finishing 300 issues of a self-published comic book, the accolades, awards and fanaticism, the interesting toxin that spreads when he shakes his hallowed head, infecting more anti-feminista boy comic animation acolytes.. this is really about one thing: the Pariah King.

Dave has permanently imbedded his list of "Fifteen Impossible Things to Believe Before Breakfast That Make You a Good Feminist" on the Blog & Mail so that whenever you want to read about comics, you are faced with his witticism instead. Until you scroll lower, of course. Dave says his opinion is correct, because no Feminists have refuted his claims. So, here's mine. It's long, it's pretty dry, but it's the best I can come up with without having to go back to University.


Dave Sim sez:
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.

Children are produced by women, sometimes with a husband, bfriend, or S.O. standing by to help, sometimes not. Women don't have the sole responsibility of raising their children. Here's a thought; why doesn't the father stay home, look after the child, and the mother can work. How about part-time daycare? How about a communal day-care shared with other families?

Of course your kids are not going to be as well raised if they are raised by strangers, instead of staying home and being raised by a mother OR a father. What is important here is the freedom of choice women should be allowed to continue to have. When you start saying: "Stay Home, Raise Children" and point to a woman, you are thrusting her back in time to when women were property, basically slaves, who did what they were ordered to or were killed, mutilated, etc. It isn't right, it took a long time to break the chains, and like the dyke coming out of her denim/leather closet, we ain't going back.

Saying that the only valid person to hand-raise a child is the kid's mother chains her to the house, no matter what the perceived benefits are. Saying that a mother does a better job raising her kid and giving up a career is forcing a choice that isn't fair.

Why don't you take the gender out of the issue. Look at it from the point of view that you should have TWO people raising a dependent Minor. Two people, not necessarily a man and a woman, not necessarily even married. You could have a brother and sister raising an adopted kid (like in Lucy Maud Montgomery's "Anne of Green Gables") or even a communal household. The importance for the child is attention, love, respect and being there. A stranger obviously isn't going to do as good of a job. So, find a way to balance the home life, career life and kid-life so that everyone is happy. Or at least tolerant of the balance.

Take turns. Sesame Street at least taught us one thing (even if it wasn't the disbelief of imaginary snuffleupagusses..) SHARE. If genderless partner #1 takes a year off work to raise progeny, then genderless partner #2 can do it the next year. Use in-laws. Use friends. Create a cooperative day care where everyone helps out. If you look at the question as a need that has to be met (child rearing), then either mother or father, or grandfather, or grandmother, or transgendered s/he Auncle could do it. It can be a shared responsibility and doesn't have to throw gender in it at all. If you're talking about single parents, then there is even more of a need to set up a collective where the hard work of raising kids can be shared. Work part-time, raise children part-time. The kids need the attention, love and guidance of a parent (or guardian) for their first years.. it seems like a lot to demand, but it is worth it.

Dave sez:
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.

Ok, Dave seems to be incensed about something here. Is it the gov't using his tax dollars to fund something he doesn't believe in? He believes in "legitimate" funding of things like the military and roads (even though he doesn't use a car) So having a military to kill people is ok, and roads to drive on is fine, but day-care isn't. The provision of a system to support raising children apparently is not up Dave's alley. Oh wait, maybe he's upset because the structure is put together so that the woman (the assumed person returning to work, and thus benefiting from the day-care) is underpaid and is under-contributing to the tax that supports the provided day-care. Hmm. Well, pay-equity would help with that. Women in Canada are still underpaid. Amazing in our apparently "equal" society. If this were not the case, part of Dave's argument gets blown away like tissue-paper.

What about all the people paying taxes to a system to support day care, schools etc who don't have kids? Should they petition the gov't to give them a break? What about people who don't believe in the military and don't have a car? Maybe we can get a break on our taxes so we don't have to finance them either...

The country works because everyone contributes tax dollars to a gov't that in turn, spends (or wastes) the money on programs that benefit the country. And if you really don't like how the whole things works, you can vote to make a change. Interestingly enough, lots of people don't vote. Amazing.. women suffragettes busted their asses so we could get the vote and now, that we're fat and sassy, a lot of modern women don't even go to the polls. If you don't vote, you don't get a say. If you honestly don't believe casting a vote will change anything, try proposing amendments to the way things are being done. Join a community group, run for office yourself! Or, propose constructive criticism that makes some sane sense. Abolishing all day care and writing up a new law saying any woman who has a kid has to stay home and look after it makes about as much sense as burning homosexuals, shooting the Irish and forcing Black people to work your fields for you, so you can sit on your porch and have a nice cool drink. Think about it.

So, to answer Dave's #2: Pay equity for women = good, because when they return to work, they will contribute more tax dollars to the gov't and thus be helping to support day care which in turn, keeps them from the slavery they escaped in the first place. And again, if you go gender-less in this argument, things work much better. If you're running a day-care collective, taking turns raising kids, then you don't have to worry about #2 as much anyway. Oh yes, and remember to vote. Yassuh!

Dave sez:
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.

A woman's body is her own. A woman's doctor is a professional, paid by our gov't to help with physical and mental ailments and to diagnose and suggest treatment, etc. A potential father of a potential fetus, representing 50% of his genetic donation, as a partner of a potential family unit has a say in what happens to the potential child. A woman who was a rape victim and is seeking to abort an unwanted fetus has the right to seek a Doctor's assistance and opinion, and if necessary, the surgical process required to abort.

If we revoke someone's right to their own body, things can get really out of hand. Not just about abortions, fetuses, etc either. Think about organ donors; blood donors; stem-cells, hell, you name it, someone will buy it. Your body is your own property. The minute it is not your property, you can get clocked outside a bar, have your organs harvested, sold and end up dead very quickly. Hmm, or am I being a bit spec/fic here? Possibly...

Until a kid is born, it is a potential child. Life, may physically begin at conception, when cells collide, but the fetus cannot survive independently outside of the womb. It cannot lead an independent life, thrive, grow, rape or be raped, pay its taxes or anything else. It is the property of the womb, outside of which it will die. Until a fetus can live on its own, it is the property of the Host. And if needed, can be aborted.

What else? Ok, the automatic assumption that a father should have a 50% say on the destiny of the potential fetus. Depending on the relationship between the woman & man, sure. There should be open communication and understanding. A Doctor would not necessarily have a more valid claim on the decision, unless the birth of the potential child would unnecessarily endanger the life of the woman.

Why do men feel slightly left out of this decision making? Well, it is something that traditionally has been the woman's domain. Remember, up until recently lots, lots LOTS of women died in childbirth. Just think, running around, procreating, "being fruitful", could and very often did kill women. Being pregnant is dangerous; and giving birth, with all the hemorrhaging blood everywhere, more so. And guys just never have to enter into that risk. I know, passing a kidney stone hurts like hell: "just like childbirth"; but it won't make you bleed to death dude. So, guys' suggestions not-withstanding, the ultimate decision lies with the woman. It's her body, she's the host of the potential fetus, it's her risk (since carrying to term could kill her in the end) and ultimately if she wants to abort, she should.

Using abortion as a method of birth-control is a really dumb thing to do. Just because you're too lazy to put a condom on your boyfriend's penis before he comes, or get a prescription for birth control pills, or SOMETHING doesn't mean you should abort a fetus every time you discover: *surprise*! Sex made me pregnant? Education is the best tool for fighting unwanted pregnancies and abortions. Learning about safe sex and protection saves lives, both by protecting against disease and by stopping unwanted fetuses from even occurring.

Unfortunately, my gender-less argument doesn't work with #3, since as of yet, men cannot be impregnated against their wills by other people and be forced to make the decision to abort or not abort a potential fetus. With cloning, and other bio sciences, who knows what ethical dilemmas hover in our futures?

Dave sez:
4. So long as a woman makes a decision after consulting with her doctor, she is incapable of making an unethical choice.

This seems to be connected with the previous statement, since by itself it sounds kind've silly. I mean, is there an ethical choice if your Doctor recommends medication to clear up your yeast infection? Umm, so since it seems to be connecting to the abortion statement (# 3) I'll just reiterate what I said there.

Anybody, men, women, trans FtM and MtF, hermaphrodites, genderless beings... can make ethical and unethical choices after consulting with their Doctors, or heck without consulting. This seems to be a knee-jerk statement about a woman seeking professional help and counseling with regard to the decision to abort or carry to term a potential fetus. Ethically, each person has to stand in front of the mirror, look themselves in the eye and say, "Did I make the right choice?" "Do I have to right to end this life?" "Is this 3 cm long wiggly worm life?" "Should I carry a baby that my Dad impregnated me with when I'm only 13?" Who has the right to make these decisions for us? No one. You have to weigh the decision carefully, consult Doctors, your family, consult counselors, think, breathe, question. Then decide. It is not a decision you just suddenly make. The big ones never are. Do you think it's easy having to end up in this kind've situation and deal with the ramifications?

In some countries of course, women are still property and the decision is moot, because they aren't allowed to make them. They get beaten, raped, and if they're not lucky enough to be stoned by their relatives or have disfiguring acid thrown in their faces, they get to carry their Uncle's rape-baby. What a joy that would be. And if you're really lucky, you'll live to see your daughter raped by her great-uncle AND father! But, for some people, the desire to return to a "simpler" life, before Feminism helped to break the chains of slavery is appealing. It is understandable that the appeal is mostly for men.

In answer to #4; ethics is a personal set of morals and beliefs, and ultimately, everyone must make their own decision and face their own demons. Doctors are not all-knowing and with or without their consultation, don't really have an ethical influence on the decision that a woman would have to make (regarding abortion.)

Dave sez:
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.

Marriage is not a car.

I should just leave it at that to be an ass; but I'm a long-winded Feminista and I love to get a ball rolling.


A car doesn't have to be built by Jacob Two-Two to be driven by two people. Stop at a Wendy's, go pee, get a coffee, switch sides and let genderless person #1 drive for then next 4 hours. At the Tim Horton's, stop, go pee, get a coffee, switch sides and let genderless person #2 drive for the next 4 hours. Find a motel, stop, decide who wants to pay for the room (if you're not married. If you're married, the cash all comes out of the same account; yes, a "shared" account!) Since genderless person #1 got the ice yesterday, genderless person #2 can get the ice today.
Fucking Share.

I think I've just about exhausted that..

If this isn't really about cars being a metaphor for marriage, and more about marriage being something that has to be guided by one person or another, then I'll probably have to talk more. To statement #5 I bring only my own experience; which although not officially married, apparently I am common-law, having co-habited with a guy for 8 years. If you have a relationship and you are both followers, it makes decision-making very difficult. If one person is a natural leader and the other a follower, you can get a hell of a lot more accomplished. If you're both leaders, you'll spend more time arguing and beating the tar out of each other than deciding anything anyway. My partner & I are both followers. When it comes to decision-making, it comes down to who is the strongest follower. The one who wants to follow the most will back right out of decisions and the other follower has to pick up the lead, whether they want to or not. It's not even really about sharing, but more of an abdication of power and tossing the battered crown back and forth. It's not a great way to drive anywhere really. But then, marriage is not a car.

Dave sez:
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.

Ok, on the outside, the root of this statement's origins are pretty sane. Why shouldn't guys have places where only they are allowed? They do; they're called Dens.

Humour aside, the root of it comes down to respect and permission. It is also the rectification of centuries of abuse, murder, slavery and rape. The Masonic Order is an organization that excludes women. No problem. I don't want to prance around in an apron, memorize crap and stand in front of everyone reciting it. I hated it in Grade 8 and I still do. Oh, wait a minute; the Masons actually have a branch for their wives and S.O's! It's called the Daughters of the Eastern Star. Do you know what the main point of the Daughters is? The main point is that if the Masons have a big "to-do" and the Grand Poobah comes for a visit, someone has to provide a nice big multi-course meal for all the guys. And you can bet that these guys don't have a clue about the novel idea of catering. Why should you cater something when your Slave-wife will cook for you at the drop of a hat? Thank goodness for the women's branch of our organization! Can we write more kow-towing bootlicking garbage into the Daughter's mandate? Sure! We made up the whole thing ourselves anyway!

So, needless to say, I won't be lining up to become a "Daughter" any time soon. And if the Grand Poobah and retinue drops in for a visit? They can cook their own damn meatloaf and lemon meringue pies.

Women need safe environments which exclude men. Yup. They do.
Since the beginning of organized society, for the most part, men have controlled everything. Women were property, men owned them and could do pretty much anything they wanted to to them. Just recently, the Feminist movement has helped to provide safe spaces for women, equal rights, pay equity, the right to vote, etc. The holdover of fear though, is still there. Women who are victims of murder are more often killed by their boyfriends or husbands. Women are killed by men. Women need a safe space to be away from men, especially if they have been the victims of abuse (both physical and emotional) or rape. They need a place where if counseling is happening, they are not going to have to deal with more traumatizing crap that the appearance of a man would set off.

Many abusive males in critical (terminal?) situations threaten not only that they will kill their female partners, but that they will hunt down and kill their families, friends, and children. If some psycho threatened you like that, wouldn't you want a place where his gender wasn't permitted and you could get support from other women?

Dave sez:
7. Because it involves taking jobs away from men and giving them to women, affirmative action makes for a fairer and more just society.

According to the American Heritage Dictionary, "affirmative action is: a policy or a program that seeks to redress past discrimination through active measures to ensure equal opportunity, as in education and employment."

A fair and just society would be one where an equal representation of all genders, races and religions, abilities and ages would be present in all work places, don't you think? Does that not sound fair? Affirmative action is designed to encourage people of different racial, gender, sexual orientation and religious background to pursue and land public service positions like in the Federal and Municipal governments. I know, I know, if you're a white, straight guy, you're angry because all of a sudden you don't fit into any categories on the application form any more. You know what? Tough luck. Yes, I know that sounds harsh. It is the present style of governments (Canada's specifically) to apologize for screw-ups in the past (sorry, Japanese POWs) and to try and fix things retroactively. For a long, long time, if you WEREN'T white, straight and a guy, you didn't get a good job. Yes, there were jobs around you could have; if you were a woman you could be a: nurse, teacher, missionary, housekeeper or wife. If you weren't white, you could do just about any menial job available, (drive a cab, or be a nanny or housekeeper.) Does this sound stereotypical? Well, stereotypes exist for a reason. The Canadian Government is sorry it screwed over women, and the women and men of non-Caucasian races and gays. The Government instituted affirmative action to fix this; it ain't perfect, but if you can suggest something that would equally represent a nation which is a multi-racial mosaic with over 50% women in it, go for it.

Dave sez:
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.

Having a sliding scale for physical requirements, so that represented people of all races and genders have a chance to qualify for positions to help the public is the only fair way to standardize a system without excluding visible minorities. A woman police officer with a side arm can protect you just as ably as a male police officer with a side arm: SHE HAS A GUN, dumbass! A female firefighter who passes physical requirements has to be able to carry someone, just like the boys do. Although, I'm afraid even a strapping fireman would have a tough time hauling my ass out of a burning building, unless he can deadlift 350lbs. So in that sense, it is moot.

Dave sez:
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.

Men have had the upper hand in all education since time immemorial. Again, affirmative action is trying to rectify unfairness in accepting enrollment not just from women but also different races, and people with different abilities and orientations. It is still difficult to get into an academic position if your grades suck, no matter who or what you are. The current rules are put in place simply to make things fair, after a history of discrimination, hatred and lynchings.

Dave sez:
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.

Sexism, racism, hate-crimes, anti-Semitism, and such don't seem like things that rational people would want to petition to be able to express publicly. If you really want to stand around and slur people who are different than you, do it in the privacy of your own home. There are differences between what Freedom of Speech stands for and the promotion of blatant hatred and misinformation. The same people who spray-paint swastikas on Jewish graves are cut from similar cloth to those that denounce women and murder them with crossbows. Just as racism is intolerable, so is sexism and displays of hatred for people who are differently abled, sexually identified etc.

Dave sez:
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.

Dave, you can't have it both ways. If you want women to stay at home and raise the kids they gave birth to and didn't abort, thus losing their potential income earning ability, ya gotta pay. If, on the other hand, you support women being able to put their kids (wait, their 50% child, since kids don't just spontaneously occur in the womb, generally) into gov't sponsored daycare so that they can return to work and earn a wage, then you just refuted argument #1 didn't you? Kids cost money. You can't just screw around with a woman, get a divorce, take off and expect her to raise 50% of your genetic inheritance. Do you know how hard it is to raise kids on your own? Alimony was instituted for a reason; to help offset the costs of raising a kid.

The other side of alimony is to support a person that basically has not been allowed to work for some time. Usually (in the "good old days") a guy would marry a woman, she'd stop working (or never worked to begin with, because there were only basically 4 job categories available to her at the time), and would be the unpaid maid, cook, shopper, organizer and sex partner to her guy. After 10 or 15 years when they split, she's completely out of the employment loop. She has to start at square one, competing with 19 year olds for jobs with requirements she's not trained to deal with. Alimony helps women get on their feet when they've been out of the professional work force.

Also, if a woman is making more money than her mate (rare enough) she pays him alimony. One should also consider that the percentage of guys who just split and pay absolutely nothing is still pretty high.

Dave sez:
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.

...And a gas jockey earning $17,500 marries an actress making $24 million... blahblahblah.

Two words: Pre-nup.
According to Webster's New Millennium™ Dictionary of English a "Prenuptial agreement is a written contract between two people who are about to marry, setting out terms concerning division of assets, earnings, and property if the marriage is later dissolved; also called [prenup, [antenuptial agreement], [premarital agreement]"

Dave sez:
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.

Pure opinion Dave. A man's opinions on how to rear and/or raise his 50% genetic donation are just as valid as the woman's. Although the man hasn't physically carried the embryo and later fetus, or gone through the agonizing trauma of sometimes a 36 hour delivery, although he most likely (I'm generalizing here) hasn't spent much time caring for other kids in his immediate family and probably hasn't read much child-rearing material, sure, Dave, he has a 50% say in the rearing of his child. As long as the parents are both participating equally in the raising, supporting, nurturing and nourishing of the child, they each get a 50% say. In a perfect world such would be the case. Many times though, if the woman is (as in case #1) staying home, raising the kid(s) herself and spending almost 100% of her time with them, she has a much better idea of their needs and the style in which they should be reared than the guy who, since, Mom is at home, has gotta be out winning the bread, is only spending maybe 20% of his time with his kid(s). It's mathematics, pure and simple.

If you don't like the way it gets sliced, make yourself a new pie and cut it down the middle. Kids don't care as long as they get plenty of love, attention and the basic necessities. Seriously.

Dave sez:
14. Disagreeing with any of these statements makes you anti-woman and/or a misogynist.

Well, that's a pretty broad brush. I'd say that as long as we live in a free country and that Freedom of Speech is a right, you have the right to agree or disagree with anyone's statements. Being an intelligent, well-read, caring individual means that you're most likely going to have a slightly more educated opinion than the average Joe or Jill. I think spouting out a bunch of ill-conceived misogynistic crap and then being surprised when women take offense to it is a little simple. Equally, I think that women who knee-jerk a muscular thigh into Dave's crotch are just as simple. Read, learn, absorb, reflect, form an opinion and opine. Refute. Keep thinking. The easiest way for women to find themselves chained back in the corner of the kitchen, bent over being shafted while they simultaneously cook, eat, clean and raise children is for them to assume that the Feminist Agenda is chugging along smoothly and doesn't need any additional attention or help.

Dave sez:
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.

Of course not. Look at what is really trying to be accomplished here:
Democracy is equal representation. However, if you look back at the birth of democracy, there are big gaps back there.. giant gaps where there were absolutely no women to be found. No gays, blacks, Asians either.. waitaminute; things looked distinctly male and whitish for a really long time. Right, only people who had rights of citizenry could vote. In merry old England that excluded Criminals, Idiots, Women and Minors. In the States, that excluded anyone not male and not white and not attending a recognizable church (or having property.) Changing things so that there is an increase in representation for the voting populace equalizes the voice of the people. Eventually, it will happen on its own (one would hope), but for now, it seems that positions need to be filled by the opposite gender than what has occupied the seats for centuries. Barring matriarchal royalty (which ain't exactly democratic) the equality of female representation has waited too damned long to occur. Look at the population breakdown: of the 32,623,490 people in our country; 16,155,454 are men and 16,468,036 are women. Now, it's a no-brainer to see that there are 312, 582 more women than men in Canada (at least according to Statistics Canada!) Is it wrong that there should be equal representation of our population in government? Of course not. It's not feasibly enforceable to change things so that we not only get slightly more than 50% female representation, but also the 10% GLBTTQ representation as well..oh and the racial and religious spectrums too... To make things easier, we'll just say that most gov't jobs are more open to visible minorities than they used to be. Over time, representation of all of Canada's myriad people will be accomplished. And in the meantime, like some of the other topics we're dealing with; the country is making up for past inconsistencies.

More Refutations against Mr. Sim - Excerpts from Tangent

Dave Sim sez:
"Emotion, whatever the Female Void would have you believe, is not a more Exalted State than is Thought. In point of fact, I think Emotion is animalistic, serpent-brain stuff. Animals do not Think, but I am reasonably certain that they have Emotions. 'Eating this makes me Happy.' 'When my fur is all wet and I am cold, it makes me Sad." "Ooo! Puppies!' 'It makes me Excited to Chase the Ball!' Reason, as any husband can tell you, doesn't stand a chance in an argument with Emotion... this was the fundamental reason, I believe, that women were denied the vote for so long."

Take your library card, get down to the public library and check out "When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals" by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson & Susan McCarthy. One of the things the authors spend an enormous amount of the book's introduction and subsequent early chapters on is the affirmation in the scientific community that animals don't feel. Everything is laid out in perfectly logical explanation; animal response, habits, mating, etc. It is only later in the book, and by squeezing the odd renegade scientist who refuses to back down from the obvious actions of animals in front of him that we get examples of animals expressing emotion.

Dave's brush, as broad as ever "that animals feel", is actually a very very tiny voice in the scientific wilderness. He would probably be better going with the "animals think" card, since it, at least, is a lot easier to test and classify. We have evidence that dolphins think, that rats think, that dogs, pigs, cats and simians think. It is scientifically encouraged to show that animals think. Not so with feelings.

Basically, it's hogwash anyway. Homo Sapiens, are animals, separated merely by invention and our ability to adapt to any climate. We are thinking, feeling creatures, pursuing the modes of survival, and in those moments between food, sex, shelter and competition, we reflect (as some bears do [see above book source] on the beauty of sunsets.)

Dave sez:
"Behind this...lies the Greater Void, the Omnivorous Engine which drives every... institutionalized waste of human time and energy, which drives, in point of fact, our entire degraded society. The wife and kids."

I'm sure a greater omnivorous engine would be the non-productive partner who languishes in creative thought while being supported by the productive partner who not only procures food, but cooks, serves, cleans, organizes, nurtures, teaches and disciplines offspring and the like, efficiently and without a word of complaint.

As long as people pro-create, some person(s) will have to take time from their busy lives to raise and take care of children. If you don't want the financial and emotional drain of a supportive partner and family; the answer is easy. Avoid attachments to people, avoid emotional attachment, love, what-have-you, avoid sex, and for heaven's sake don't narcissistically produce children if you are not interested in their emotional, mental, spiritual and physical needs. Because they are draining.

If you want to sit and produce your Light by yourself, do so. Don't blame your partner and your 50% genetic contribution for sucking every ounce of your energy away from you. There is always, always a choice.

Dave sez:
"In one of those Poor Us studies for which the Emotional Female Void is notorious, it was pointed out that after a divorce, the average male standard of living rises... the average female standard of living drops... I think the...explanation is that the excision of a five-to-six- foot leech from the surface of a human body is going to have more of its own blood in its own veins. Unless the leech finds another body, it is going to go hungry."

Standard of living = more free money available to spend on things not necessarily essential to life. Most women in the situation of a divorce find themselves either having to raise children on their own, thus having either far less, or absolutely NO spare money to spend on non-essentials, or are adrift in a professional limbo because they have been out of work for so long, that it is difficult to reenter the work force. While the male partner has been moving upward in the corporate ladder, the female partner stopped her career to either raise their collective progeny, or to support and take care of the male partner in a way that suited his needs. With a divorce, the female partner is left completely at loose ends. Not mentioning the feeling of emotional destruction that permeates the difficulty of divorce, but it is no wonder men thrive after leaving this kind of a situation. They haven't lost anything professionally; they are not supporting a family on their own.

Dave sez:
"In labouring to fill the insatiable Void Need for material possessions at home, his time and his energy and his spirit disappear into the Vaginal Bottom Line of the workplace."

Pure Dave opinion. Many women (self included) have very little interest in accruing possessions. In fact, I earn more than my male partner and scour used book stores instead of new. Most of our possessions are hand-me-downs, and I rarely haunt clothing stores. Many guys I know are voracious consumers, dropping half a pay cheque on toys, comics, books, movies and the like. If the statement above is how a person happens to be feeling; trapped in a job they hate, in a rat-race of repetition, unable to come up for air, living pay-cheque to pay-cheque, maybe they shouldn't have gotten the half-a-million dollar mortgage? Maybe they should be thinking about reorganizing their finances? Maybe buying furniture at the Neighbourhood Services might be an idea? Nothing has to be brand-new off the shelf you know...

As for the Vaginal Bottom Line... many people work hard, spend lots of money with no regard for the vulva or inner intricacies of the female. This supposed "pussy power" of which you speak is not necessarily the supreme matriarchal voodoo ointment cloying the male masses that you seem to think it is. Do your male readers a favour and grant them an iota of free-will and independent thought Dave. Grant your women readers (I'm sure there's still a couple out there) the same respect. You might even sell a couple more books.

Dave sez:
"The Male Light and the Female Void: Seminal Energy and Omnivorous Parasite."


When exploring the mysteries of mythology, it is interesting to note that in Wiccan and AmerIndian beliefs, the Full Moon is representational of male power and the New Moon (or dark of the moon) is a symbol of woman's power. I could go to town talking about Celtic beliefs as well, and would (ya never know) perhaps find a sympathetic ear in Sim-land, after all, his personal beliefs are a hegemony mish-mash of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. But then again, early Celtic beliefs are pretty female-centred, believing as they did that the Earth herself, the giving, fertile land was feminine and the creator which at the end of things was there to welcome one back into the life-giving womb.

Dave sez:
"If you look at her and see anything besides emptiness, fear and emotional hunger, you are looking at the parts of yourself which have been consumed to that point."

Whatever (again.) Starting to repeat myself here.

In the mythology of Sim-land, one supposes that he had a run-in with a particularly grabby, cloying, all-encompassing female. Men can be just as overbearing and encompassing. In fact, if one looks at studies involving emotional abuse of women, the partner men set themselves up to be the devouring whole from which the emotionally abused woman finds herself unable to easily extricate.

Dave sez:
"It wouldn't be that big a stretch to categorize my writing as Hate Literature against women . . . in this Fascistic Feminist country"

We live in a country that thankfully has laws that protect not only women, but anyone who happens to be different from the norm (and the norm) from abuse, discrimination, racism, hate-crimes, unethical firing practices, abuse in the work-place and much, much more. We enjoy a country that has health care, and Freedom of Speech. Canada is the antithesis of Fascism, and to accuse it as such puts down many people who fought and died to preserve freedom in our country. If you have problems accepting policies the government puts in to practice, then continue to speak freely, write letters, vote, put together committees and display your displeasure. Thankfully, in this country, it is unlikely that you will be kidnapped and shot for voicing a different opinion.

Much of Sim's writing is very close to being hate-literature, but as long as there are strong feminist (not necessarily female) advocates to refute not only his ridiculous Things To Believe Before Breakfast but all of his rantings, they could be considered more "dislike"-literature than hate. Hate is such a strong, emotional word after all.

June 19th, 2007
Suzanne A. Marsden

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Megaverse Needs You!

I have a secret.
Yes, you probably think you know ALL my secrets... with a Blog, what can one talk about but the revelatory glee of exhuming secrets? But I have one that's bigger than the Closet, weightier than having a BMI of 56, more sinister than a penchant for parmesan popcorn, 80's muscle cars, Robin of Sherwood (Michael Praed eps, please!) and Musicals.

The secret.

I am a Role-Player. Hey! No gushing sighs of "yeah yeah yeah--" Not that kind of role-playing. No whips, chains, leather and studs for the Suester. Nooo, something far less socially acceptable happens in this innocent suburban basement. Something happens quite frequently. Sometimes we even recruit others to join our odd escapades into the imagination. Sometimes those people are ones you KNOW! Like... Keith Savage(!) or Robert Anderson(!) and the shadowy numberless others who may be called upon to don the mask of a RPGer...

Now that the secret is out, my "I Helped Save the Megaverse And All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt" makes more sense. And those odd comments when I was in college answering the classic "What are ya doing this weekend, Marsden?" um... "Playing with my friend..." yessss.. it all becomes clear. From the early days of Gr. 6 playing the original TSR D & D set, to clustering at my friends' older brother's hallowed ankles as he DM'd us through a killer AD & D campaign that left almost everyone DEAD... It has been an enjoyable ride!

Got turned onto Palladium Books a little over 10 years ago and it has been an amazing, fun and imaginative sally. Part of my 100% mark in scriptwriting at Algonquin should have been shared with Clay, since I based my script on the improbable adventures of my Rifts New West character I was playing at the time: Kate Brazil! Nothing like playing to really "get into" a character's head, discover motivations, past, what they are striving for and for who their antagonists might be!

So, I am indebted to Palladium Books (and to Clay!) But, for the purposes of this Blog, I'll stick to Palladium Books (haha!) They have enjoyed much success, maybe the danger was TOO much success. Someone on the inside washed the company for all it was worth, then took off to let Palladium thrash and sink into debt and ruin. Which totally blows!!

Kevin sent emails out to the Fandom last year and recently this week for help, to "Spread the Word", so I aim to please. If you haven't checked out Palladium's site, their new releases, have tried RPGing at all, then steer your browser in their direction. The World Books are thoughtfully put together, the artwork (barring a few inconsistencies!) is lovely and the adventures that will sprout from the systems will keep you gaming for years. If you have ever thought vaguely about trying to game, now is a great time to pre-order Palladium stuff, pick it up at the Comic Book Shoppe or order directly from them. They need your help!

A world without Palladium books would be very very SAD. And Clayton would be sad. You don't want to make Clayton cry, do you? Do you?? Anyway, sorry for the plug, I'll have some actual news in the future. But for now, the soapbox is on loan to Mr. Siembieda as he strives to hold back the angry fists of debt. We know how that feels, eh? Hang in there buddy!!

and thanks,
Suzanne aka "Darcy Williams, CS Grunt" (for the last month anyways)

Palladium Books Main Page
Kevin Siembieda's eBay auction page
Palladium Books Stuff!
Donate to Palladium!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Screw the "24" Hour Comic

Hello! I have been on deadline for my that is why it has been quiet around here, and on my sister site Kunstpike (which would all be filled with crazy drawings from "Wayside" instead of Sue sketches, cause that's all I've been doing lately.)

Ok, about today's title. If you don't know ANYTHING about 24-Hour Comics, please go and read about them and the initial "Dare" on Scott McCloud's site. Then go over to my DragonHead Studio site and read my two online 24 Hour comics (The Wyrm's Treasure and SnowBlonde.) Then, go get some supplies and do one yourself! Anyway.. on to the rest of my post..

When I had initially read the variants on Scott McCloud's 24-Hour Comics project, I had always been skeptical of one of them: the "Eastman" variation (named after Kevin Eastman, co-creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!) Neil Gaiman also has a variation named after him, which is; if you get to 24 hours and you're not finished, drop the pencil, c'est tout, that is it. These are both called "Noble Failures", noble, because well, geez, it's an amazing expenditure of time, creativity, mental pain and effort! Failure because.. well, it ain't 24 pages in 24 hours.
But back to Kevin...from McCloud's 24-Hour Comics Index:
"Kevin Eastman - No Guts, No Glory
That's the title of the printed version (The original was "F**k the Dead" but Kevin decided an alternate title might be more marketable for some reason.)
[...] The Eastman Variation: If you get to 24 hours and you're not done, KEEP GOING UNTIL YOU ARE!

24 pages, completed in 50 hours."

50 HOURS man! That's an accomplishment--it's.. well, can you imagine being up for 50 hours? I had been skeptical because the longest I've stayed awake was during my 3 stints of 24-hour comic-making (the last was the worst though, as I had to drive a friend home afterward and attend a family dinner the same day--urk!)

People stay up crazy-late all the time. Hell, many women who endure labour sometimes work on their first one for 36 hours.. Talk about the pain of creation! And afterwards, when you have your baby (or twins :-) you get those long, sleepless nights, taking care of them and forgetting what a solid night's sleep felt like.

Where am I going with this?
Well, as usual, I was behind on my storyboard. I had resolved to get started early, and I did! But really, after last week, I didn't have enough done to be able to finish the board in a reasonable amount of time. The idea of submitting my work late was not an option, especially when my friend Nick was counting on me!

In High School, University, College and working for various studios, I've always amazed myself by somehow even though all hope seemed lost, of being able to come through in the crunch. I don't know why sometimes it takes UNTIL THE CRUNCH CRUNCHES to get down to it, but there is probably a chemical explanation for it somewhere..

The mystique of the 24-Hour Comic pales when you've been awake and drawing for 41 hours... and, even then, I probably could've kept going (Clay calls this the "Third Wind", not sure, probably my cracked teeth were helping keep me awake too!)

I never intend to get behind and then have to do all-nighters, I don't believe anyone does (unless they're masochists!) The weird thing was getting on the other side of one, hearing morning bird-song (4 am), seeing the powder violet-blue of pre-dawn pale behind dark green pine needles (5 am), and realize; the night is over, and you still have work to do. Lots of work to do.

But I finished it, and gave it in with a deep-felt sigh of relief (one of those sighs that comes from the depth of your feet out the top of your head.) Perhaps the drive to finish something that is deadlined, the imperative and will to see it through made time irrelevant. When you're doing a 24-hour comic there are always breaks for food, jelly-bean and beer runs, pizza, etc. It's fun; a circus-- a performance to see IF you can do it; stay alive and conscious and keep drawing. It is also a more communal affair. Apart from my first solo one ("Good medicine/ Bad medicine"), I've drawn with other comic artists and the company and joviality really help.

This was more like lying on an executioner's block and drawing to save my life. I suppose it was; drawing to save my creative and professional life. Stopping wasn't in the equation. Driving around, doing anything not related to drawing and basic body functioning was not allowed. I had to finish.

Can I learn from experiences like this? I guess I would probably learn more if I tried to pull a miracle out and failed instead of succeeded. But, in a way having to do this is failure; you can't do it and have a life, not a stress-free (or stress-reduced) one anyway. All I can say is for the next board, which I get in 2 weeks apparently.. I will plan better, start earlier and avoid the zombie-elixir of the 41-hour comic!


PS--for the sake of our more timid viewers, the event of my cracked tooth, abscess and all of that fun stuff has been omitted. I may post it later when I have some happy news to report, and leave out the pictures...

My Uncle has this on his desk. It seems appropriate to post and inspire other Procrastinators ;-)