Monday, 7 March 2016

Damian vs. Seiler Sat 5 Mar

DAVE SIM:
I've always been an advocate of pluralism as a societal given -- and certainly have always found it more than a little weird when I find myself having to explain the concept of pluralism to a grown-up and even weirder when I see myself "drawing a blank" in doing so (most famously when visiting Jeff Smith  back in '93 -- see BONE COMMENTARIES now on Patreon).

I think Jeff S. went "over the edge" throwing  the "disabled card" in the discussion about Charles Krauthammer.  WAY stretching a point to make "armchair" into an insult.  But, then, I really dislike "identity politics" of any kind.  (i.e. I pray five times a day and fast in Ramadan and read the Koran aloud on a daily basis so before you criticize me, THINK WHAT THAT MAKES YOU) (stick to answering my points and I don't care what you think of my religious observance).

I think Tim W and Damian are pretty much on the same team which I would define as COMICS JOURNAL UBER ALLES.  It was as a reward for Tim -- the fact that he would create and maintain a site like this without compensation in a universally-hostile-to-Dave-Sim environment -- that I engaged with the TCJ website back in 2012.  I could see that Tim had a complete blind spot about THE COMICS JOURNAL's and FANTAGRAPHICS' underlying (and so far as I can see irredeemable) nature and he really wanted ALL of the comics he loved -- including CEREBUS -- to be included in that context.

It was a major fiasco from the git-go.  Which was not MY doing. I was cordial and as eloquent as I could be and the CJUA team -- here represented primarily by Damian -- has been attempting to "spin" the resulting fiasco as a win for TCJ ever since.  Look how open-minded they are!  Look how inclusive they are!  Look how supportive of Dave Sim they are!

Which is complete b.s.  I told Tim EXACTLY what would happen.  I would go over there and do a thread.  The thread would go ballistic and they would shut it down. Which is exactly what happened.
Because. That's. The. Kind. Of. People. They. Are.  And. That's. The. Kind. Of. People. They. Attract.

To me, shutting down threads is the antithesis of pluralism.  It's:  as long as my team is winning, we are all engaging in free speech and good for us.  As soon as my team is losing or even being made to look bad, it's time to end the discussion.

That's what the threat to shut down the comments section on Saturday looks like to me.  Again, no surprise TO ME, because CJUA has that as an entrenched viewpoint and Tim W (no offence meant, Tim: just identifying what I see as the core relevant point) is a "CJUA kind of guy".

Granted: Damian "winds" Jeff up.  It's also true that Jeff "winds" Damian up.  Genuine pluralism is ABOUT "winding" people up.  Or, more fruitfully, avoiding winding them up and just saying what you have to say FACTUALLY or AS AN OPINION.

I appreciate the fact that, TO ME, I now have a couple of defenders on this site: Sandeep and Jeff.  I appreciate them defending me -- while also appreciating that they're always being careful to SPECIFY that they don't speak FOR me.

I'm hoping that Jeff will not allow the CJUA forces to "head fake" him into abandoning me when he agrees with me so that AMOC goes back to being an environment where, as is the "received wisdom" everywhere else, Dave Sim is Crazy, Period.  End of discussion.

It seems to me that Damian's subtext is always "Dave Sim is Crazy" so I think it only reasonable to give space to the only two people who are willing, on an on-going basis, to assert the contrary.

I'm glad to see that cooler heads seem to have prevailed.

And, Jeff?  Please keep leaving phone messages when you think someone is being critical of my opinions.  I'm not sure this WORKS, but clearly just letting "Dave Sim is Crazy" stand unchallenged WASN'T working.

So, let's keep doing it this way.   

30 comments:

James said...

Dave this is an instance where your status as a luddite shines through. While there are instances of the thought police coming in to shut down threads that threaten their dogma, to dismiss all closed threads as people trying to curb genuine discussion is ridiculous. If you had spent any time on an ordinary forum or comments section, you'd see that often an incendiary topic will just result in namecalling and and pointless, childish whining. Your comment about people getting wound up by genuine opinions is all well and good, but what good does it do when a person comes in to post a comment specifically designed solely to wind someone up? What valuable discussion is being curtailed when a thread is closed that has degenerated into people insulting each other back and forth?

The internet allows people to share their every trivial thought and while the ease of communication is great, it results in a lot of dead-end flamewars that have a net negative effect on everyone involved in them. Stern, sane moderation can keep discussion orderly without shutting down controversial views that may contradict the beliefs of the moderators, its a tricky balancing act to maintain, a moderator's own sense of morality may compel them to shut down perfectly valid discussion that they deem immoral, but in spite of those pitfalls, moderation is a necessity in discussion threads online. Unless you enjoy seeing people just calling each other names back and forth forever. You seem to be likening closing a thread to closing the letters section of a comic because the creator is tired of answering criticism but its more akin to changing your phone number when the amount of scammers, telemarketers and political advocates becomes too much to bear.

Glen said...

Challenging and debating the views of Dave Sim or his work doesn't equate to thinking he's crazy. You immediately end the discussion by saying anyone critical of Cerebus must have it in for Dave. That's simply not true. I wish Dave would stop playing the victim once in awhile and notice that after more than a decade since the last issue we are still here talking, critiquing, and admiring Cerebus. That should mean something.
There were many things he wrote in in the Notes to the President and the Cerebus letters page that I found abhorrent. I don't think Dave Sim is crazy. I just disagreed with those opinions he wants us to sign away on a petition. There's a difference.

I like reading Damiens comments and tend to agree with many of them. I hope he continues.

I hate when the comment section becomes an echo chamber. It's boring.

Tony Dunlop said...

"I hate when the comment section becomes an echo chamber. It's boring."

Yes, this!

nyuk nyuk nyuk

Sandeep Atwal said...

Apropos nothing, Jeet Heer's recent tweet:

"Obama is writing the intro to a volume of The Complete Peanuts comic strips. Trump should write intro to Complete Cerebus the Aardvark."

13 Retweet, 60 Likes.

https://twitter.com/HeerJeet/status/707011146117718017

Jeff Seiler said...

Thanks, Dave, for your support of Sandeep and me. And, yeah, maybe I stretched the Krauthammer thing a bit.

As for letting them "head-fake" me? My cat tries to "head-fake" me on a daily basis when we're play wrestling so that he can sink some teeth into my arm.

Trust me, I know from "head-fakes".

Anonymous said...

Woo hoo! My name in the title (and first-billed too), and proof that a cartoonist whose skills I admire has been thinking about li'l ol' me. I'll have to buy a larger head to house my ego.

Let's count the errors of critical thinking in just Dave's one post above: irrelevance, guilt by association, ad hominem, special pleading, straw man, misattribution, poor-me-ism, paranoia, and just plain poor writing (seriously, what's the second part of his second paragraph even mean?). And these are just the ones I noted as I read along. I can fisk his post point-by-point if anyone is interested; exchanges of critical opinions I think is fruitful, but I don't want just a bunfight.

I am willing to admit some fault (get Jeff the smelling salts!) in that my rhetorical style sometimes leads me to say something that, while accurately reflecting my thoughts, does not perhaps take into account the possible (or perhaps even likely) inferences that readers might make. I'm thinking particularly of my statement "Dave Sim does not know how to think." I stand by that statement -- but I fear that some readers might take that to mean "Dave Sim is stupid." For the record, I do not think Dave Sim is stupid.

Anyone who wants to read a good assessment of Dave's thinking or "thinking" might check out this now-half-decade-old essay (not by me): http://whenwillthehurtingstop.blogspot.ca/2011/09/how-we-will-read-cerebus-part-i-as-i.html.

-- Damian

Jeff Seiler said...

Think ya meant "Fisk" there, Damian. Capital F. And, I'm almost positive you didn't mean "fiske", although one never knows for sure...

Ibis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sandeep Atwal said...

lol...Damian's pathological obsession with Dave is actually getting to be pretty funny.

"Woo hoo! My name in the title (and first-billed too), and proof that a cartoonist whose skills I admire has been thinking about li'l ol' me. I'll have to buy a larger head to house my ego."

Holy shit, you couldn't make that up.

Dave Sim said...

Shutting down threads is also a good way to avoid having to deal with dissenting viewpoints.

I'm not a feminist. I'm not a feminist because of the "Fifteen Impossible Things To Believe Before Breakfast". If you want to attack my views on feminism, it's pretty easy: go through the Impossible Things one by one and explain WHY they represent sensible ways for society to conduct itself.

But you never do that. You just play as many different versions of "Crazy Dave Sim" as you can think of.

THAT's ad hominem when the core issue is, "Is a Feminist Theocracy sustainable without destroying people because they aren't feminists?"

Jack said...

Dave, I don't believe that all of your "Fifteen Impossible Things" represent sensible ways for society to conduct itself, and I don't think anyone does, because the list is written in such a way as to make agreement with all of the entries impossible. For example, #5 requires us to agree that (A) marriage is analogous to driving a car, (B) marriage should always be an equal partnership, and (C) B follows logically from A. A lot of people agree with B, but none of them agree with A or C. That's why no one can give you the response you're asking for.

Since you seem interested in answering criticisms of your ideas, here's one: You say that it’s wrong to call you a misogynist because you’re merely anti-feminist, and anti-feminism is a completely different position than misogyny. Calling you a misogynist, you’ve said, is like saying that you hate workers because you're not a communist.

But Dave, you’ve also said that women are obviously inferior beings who have no morals and shouldn’t be allowed to vote. If you said that workers are obviously inferior beings who have no morals and shouldn’t be allowed to vote, would it really be that much of a stretch to assume that you hate workers? I mean, if I said that Jews are obviously inferior beings who have no morals and shouldn’t be allowed to vote, I don’t think you’d object to accusing me of "Judenhass." Similarly, if a feminist said that men are obviously inferior beings who have no morals and shouldn’t be allowed to vote, I don't think you'd hesitate to call her a misandrist. And if Gary Groth wrote an editorial titled, “Dave Sim Is an Obviously Inferior Being Who Has No Morals and Shouldn’t be Allowed to Vote,” I don't think you'd be willing to sign a petition saying, “I don’t believe that Gary Groth hates Dave Sim.”

Okay, that's it. I hope your wrist gets better soon. Good luck with the Raymond book.

Erick said...

Dave and Jack,
Dave, I am happy to hear that you support open dialogue.
Jack, he named them impossible because he wrote them in such a way that it will be impossible to convince him otherwise. That does not make them true other than for Sim or some weak-minded individuals.
That being said. I am taking up his challenge. I had to break this up into multiple posts because of the limit. My apologies

In no way do i believe I will change his mind nor am I really trying, but what the heck? His points are in quotes my answer follow directly beneath each.

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."

Since you did not specify whether or not the mother in question is married, divorced or not interested in any relationship, I say yes. A single working Mother who loves, feeds, clothes and provides for her child and has a fully vetted non-family member -the stranger(s) watch her child during the daytime, is just as good or better than a Mother who stays at home and has no income other than government largesse. If you want to talk about married women, then let’s be specific.

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"

Is that $10 or $10,000? Let’s be generous and say it is $10,000. Raising a child is very expensive. But nowhere near as much as incarcerating someone.
http://money.cnn.com/infographic/economy/education-vs-prison-costs/

Erick said...

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."

If the Doctor from his or her experience determines that the woman’s life is in danger from carrying the child, then yes that doctor has a more valid claim than that of the father who does not possess the requisite knowledge.

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

Whose ethics form the baseline assumption?

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."

A camel with two humps stores more enriched reserves of nourishment in tissues than a one humped camel.

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."

There may be people who argue that, but there are also people who argue the earth is flat. They have a right to an opinion, but you do not have to give it credence, nor do they represent the majority.

Erick said...

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

It is never just in a fair society to unfairly apportion opportunities based upon gender or race.

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."

It is important to note that there
are physical differences between the sexes. But it is also important to note that no one, male or female should be in a position that they are unfit for, be it physically or mentally.

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."

We live in a completely just and fair society where men and women from all walks of life compete on a level playing field. The United States would never embrace anyone who would discriminate based upon race or religion or gender. Would never tolerate such beliefs. Because we have indeed moved into a post racial post gender society that treats everyone as equals. Canada on the other hand…


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."

Since no. 6 does not exist in the real world, this point is irrelevant.

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."

Erick said...

If the woman is raising the child of the man who earns more than she does then the man should pay the bulk. This has nothing to do with the inherent and absolute equality of the sexes.

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."

That depends on the state they reside in. And a simple pre-nup - that any wealthy individual male or female should obtain before marriage can insure that they retain their wealth as affirmed time and time again in divorce court cases.

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."

Some women chose artificial insemination, but I digress. Who says that a man’s opinion is invalid on how to raise the child? I just saw that Guy Ritchie was awarded full custody over his multimillionaire wife Madonna. Guess who pays alimony and child support in that one?

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

Just because you typed that statement does not make it so.

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."

Perhaps some people might think that, but once again there are folks who believe that the earth is flat. They are entitled to think what they will, but they do not represent the majority.

A Moment Of Cerebus said...

For a semi-professional proofreader, Jeff Seiler displays an amazing lack of understanding of what he is actually reading. On Saturday, Jeff was heading in to his third spat of the week with Damian (all based on a misreading of what Damian had actually written) which was fast descending into name calling.

I am also a patient man, but I too have my limits. I have limited free time and I have no desire to be policing petty squabbles. I seem to remember that Dave axed Aardvark Comments from the back-pages of Cerebus for much the same reason.

So thanks for the lecture on pluralism... You might want to direct that at Jeff, who is often the first one calling for people/comments to banned/deleted from AMOC.

AMOC has a 'comments policy' to stop the very thing that happened at the TCJ.com thread. Within these limits all voices are welcome... even Jeff's.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

AMOC COMMENTS POLICY:
Please leave your real full name when posting comments to this site (anonymous posts will be deleted). Comments that debate and discuss ideas in a civil, rational manner are always welcome (even if you disagree with Dave Sim!). Comments that are potentially libelous, abusive, childish, generally strange, or just designed to prolong unnecessary and unpleasant arguments, will be deleted without warning.

Anonymous said...

Sandeep, do you really think that sentence presents a pathological obsession with Dave? You highlighted my references to myself. That sounds more like I have a pathological obsession with me. What's your objection? Are you shocked -- shocked! -- that I discuss Dave on a blog dedicated to the man and his work? I think you're confusing me with Jeff, who apparently can't stop praising Dave in any part of his life (cf. the post about Jeff giving his class an expository-essay assignment).

As I recall, Sandeep, you have a degree in philosophy. I have defended the study of philosophy by saying, "It teaches you how to think." (My girlfriend, who has an honours degree in philosophy from a university more prestigious than yours, just laughed when I said that. (Hey, as long as she's not pointing and laughing ...)) Your example alone causes me to rethink that position. It seems Dave is not the only one who could benefit from a remedial course in thinking.

On my first day of my first undergraduate philosophy class, they gave us some basic pointers in critical thinking. One of those was that you are obliged to treat your opponent's arguments as strong rather than weak, eg. if something can be interpreted as a serious but stupid argument or as a joke, you are obliged to treat it as a joke, especially if (as here) it is an aside to the argument. As I've said, you've got nothing in your intellectual quiver beyond bluster and insults. At least this time you didn't remind me that you know Dave personally.

Dave once again trots out his paranoid, self-pitying, and factually-incorrect feeling that all critics of him think he's crazy. Why, my own words obviously support this! (Sandeep: this is a joke; I'm using a technique called "sarcasm" to say one thing while meaning another.) You can tell when I said, right here on this blog, "Dave is a bit peculiar. But crazy? No."

And what do identity politics or The Comics Journal have to do with anything in this discussion? Nobody mentioned either of them. The closest is me linking to a comment on TCJ's message board where Gary Groth offers to publish Strange Death. I can only assume that there was more said in the conversation where Jeff was finking me out to Dave; Dave invented these things nobody said, pasted them on me (and Tim, for some reason), and used that as an excuse to disregard statements he didn't like.

That's a frequent Simean rhetorical tactic. For example: "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." Dave thinks that's a devastating criticism. But nobody says that! The feminist position is that the decision to abort a foetus belongs to nobody but the woman herself; not the father, and not the doctor. Dave made up a position nobody holds, attributed it to individuals who explicitly state that they do not hold that position, and demanded that those individuals defend that position or accept that he's right that feminism is untenable.

When it comes to discussing women and/or feminism, Dave sees himself as a brilliant philosopher and critic, boldly advancing truths that the rest of us are too cowardly or stupid to admit. I see Dave as a little boy who runs into the living room where the adults are talking, pisses on the floor, then runs back to his room when the adults fail to praise him as he feels they should.

Dave is not crazy. He's wrong. Heck, if you're never wrong, I'm less likely to think you're always right than that you're not reaching far enough. "Dave didn't reach far" is one argument I don't think can be made honestly even by the harshest critic. Whether he was able to grasp what he reached for is one of the most fertile -- and yet one of the most fallow -- areas of Cerebus discussion. It is also an area that Simcophants seem to want to police out of existence.

-- Damian

Erick said...

Damian,
well said.
I think that you do - at times unnecessarily twist the noses of Dave and Jeff and Sandeep, but I have never considered you a troll.
You do like the attention though, if you did not you would not post as much. I certainly can not claim any innocence in that regard.

I have said time and again how much I admire the work that Dave an Ger did. But that does not give Dave a free pass in my book for saying outrageous and indefensible things about women. Nor does it give a pass to those who defend him.

I love that he comments on this site, but I did not tumble on this site just to hear him. I came to celebrate Cerebus.

Give and take is good. Some are very thin skinned though.

Barry Deutsch said...

Tim, thanks for organizing and running this site. I know from experience that moderating contentious comments tends to be both stressful and thankless.

Erick, thanks for your posts. I wanted to add something to one of your points:

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."

I can't say what's going on in Canada, but in the US, universities routinely practice affirmative action to benefit male students.

(For the record, I think it's fine that universities are doing that.)

Jim Sheridan said...

Things are getting embarrassing here. "Telephone Dave immediately! Someone on the internet disagreed with him!!!" Really?

It's one thing for that bizarre sort of response to exist; it's another to actually make it publicly known that this sort of butthurt goes on. Making it public that Team Dave gets in a tizzy like that just doesn't help the cause. "Bad optics," as they say.

"Shut down the thread! Ban that person! Delete those comments! Plan a counter attack! What do we do now, boss?"

We're all emotional creatures, so I don't challenge anyone for feeling uncomfortable or even hurt when opposing ideas or even snark occurs. I just don't think broadcasting this insecurity helps. Misreading irony doesn't help either.

Jeff Seiler said...

Tim, no offense, but you misrepresented me above. To my recollection, I never called Damian or anyone here a (bad) name. (Well, I think I may have once called Dave Sim a daffy bastid, but I think I get a pass on that colloquialism.) And, being a proofreader doesn't mean you can always judge a writer/commentor's intentions unless you are in constant, direct contact with the commentor.

Furthermore, you seem only to police my side of the "petty squabbles". And, I'm pretty sure Dave never shut down Aardvark Comment until issue #300 but, rather relegated the space to long essays. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure that Dave always had final say as to which letters to Aardvark Comment were printed, thereby obviating the need to shut it down for any reason, other than temporarily replacing it with his essays.

You especially and, I would hope, unintentionally misrepresented me in your third paragraph. Once, I called for a couple of snarky anonymous posts to be deleted, only after someone else pointed out that policy first. And, I believe I once asked about Damian being deleted because of his uncivil comments. Other than that, I have never been "the first one calling for people/comments to be banned/deleted from AMOC".

I fully understand pluralism. I just wish that everyone here could do it without snarkiness, back-handed compliments, or undermining language.

And, thanks for, "even" including me.

Jeff Seiler said...

Damian, on the two or three occasions when I "finked" on you (which word, by definition, implies that you had done something which *needed* to be informed on--hey, your word), I specifically made it a point JUST to tell Dave what day the comment was made, who wrote it, and then to quote directly from it, for the phone message to Dave. I always want him to draw his own conclusions.

Jeff Seiler said...

Jim S., I only phone Dave two reasons: He asked me to do so, and I understand that he is too busy to monitor this site on a regular basis. And I always try to err on the side of NOT calling him for two reasons: To be fair, and because he is way too busy to have to listen to phone messages from me all of the time. As proof of the last sentence, Dave actually told me that I should have called him about one comment someone made, after I didn't give him a heads up call.

Travis Pelkie said...

Wasn't the TCJ thread about negotiating with Fanta to reprint Cerebus in HC, in a public forum? And wasn't the thread shut down because Kim Thompson wasn't getting anywhere with the negotiation and had actual business things to do (before he, y'know, died)? I'm being overly blunt, I know, but correct me if the factual parts of my statements are incorrect.

Jeff, I do love ya (in a manly way, understand), but I don't think Tim is wrong to characterize you as the first to ask to ban or delete comments or messages.

Actually, no, he is wrong. You're the ONLY one who I remember asking to ban someone (Damian, natch). I don't think anyone else cares enough.

(Ok, I may be mis-remembering, because I think some other people have called for banning of people. Maybe. Forgive the overly broad statement.)

Again, I'll say what I said on another thread -- when you and Sandeep (and Sandeep, Damian's first comment was so obviously sarcastic I don't know why you quoted it as if he wasn't being facetious) and Dave get so worked up about Damian (and it really is only Damian that you guys go after/"need" to go after), it really is more fuel for the "Dave Sim is Crazy" fire. I don't think Dave is crazy. But when you espouse pluralism but seem to say that everyone here should agree with you and anyone who disagrees with Dave thinks he's crazy, and you feel the need to have to respond to every little comment made against you that's even a little bit critical, well... (man, that was a run-on sentence!)

As I said, we're adults here. We can read a Damian comment and if it's something completely egregious, we can roll our eyes and say, "well, that's Damian". We don't need Dave to keep telling us that Damian is against him and so forth. We know his position. We know Dave's position. I find it highly unlikely that anyone who stumbles across this part of the internet is going to read Damian's comments first and figure he's the one to listen to, when here he's the odd man out (mostly).

I do appreciate seeing that Dave believes in not shutting down comments, and in not using "identity politics" to shut down opposition. I have actually seen comments on blog posts about Cerebus where some commenters suggest that because Dave embraces Islam, that anyone who disagrees with his statements on women and other topics is ergo anti-Muslim.

Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

Travis, on this blog Reginald P. also called for me to be banned -- twice, I think.

-- Damian

Anonymous said...

Yeesh, drama.

Sweeping aside the inter-personal spats (which are kind of obnoxious, boring, and sad), a few thoughts:

Dave Sim is crazy, but that's not (in this case) a bad thing. Crazy is interesting. Crazy- or to remove the general pejorative nature of that particular word let's call it 'unique thinking' and 'intense dedication'- had a significant role in creating one of the big, important works in all of American comics. And it's sad to me that identity politics and personal invective get in the way of Cerebus being recognized for what it is.

The background radiation of an art-appreciating conservative's life is accepting that the art one consumes is going to hold ideas and messages that are likely abhorrent or at least odious to your beliefs. Naked Lunch is art, and a great book (Dave's dismissal of it notwithstanding), and important regardless of your moral proclivities. Same with Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Or V for Vendetta (the comic. That fucking movie was just... ugh). Or a significant portion of Lars von Trier's work, or a couple of Spike Lee's joints (he's kinda hit or miss if we're being honest with ourselves). Guys like Frank Miller, Dave Sim, or Steve Ditko move outside of the political comfort zone, and get effectively booted from polite society, their work dismissed or re-evaluated unfavorably (in Miller's case particularly). I'd argue that Miller has been doing his most honest work recently- his cartooning has become downright morbid, his words distilled and exaggerated into hardboiled high fantasy. But you know, they're the bad kind of crazy (as opposed to Alan Moore's dabbling with Magick and sequestering himself away from the filthy plebs), so fuck them.

What's particularly fascinating (to me, at least) is watching Dave's metamorphosis as an artist and thus Cerebus' evolution as a character over the course of 30 years. Sim began the work as a feminist, drug-using Canadian leftist married to his co-publisher, then a divorced high-functioning alcoholic trying to use his measure of success and popularity to promote independent publishing, then an anti-feminist who finds religion while doing research for his book, to a guy who decides to completely eschew women, casual friends, and drugs altogether and live a spartan lifestyle of work and prayer. More than simply becoming a more proficient artist and writer, this evolved the book in utterally unexpected directions. Moreso than what happens when one creative team hands off a super hero book to the next set of hired hands. And completely different from the 30 years worth of Stan Sakai's ever-steady dedication on Usagi Yojimbo. Unique. Crazy, if you will. Worthwhile. Not the sort of thing one just dismisses because it's not ideologically pure.

- Wes Smith

A Moment Of Cerebus said...

After some consideration, the AMOC 'Comments Policy' is now suspended until further notice. Moderating the comments on AMOC has been a thankless task and I'm done with it. As Dave suggests, let us embrace pluralism... warts and all.

Michael A Battaglia said...

Jim Sheridan said: --- Things are getting embarrassing here. "Telephone Dave immediately! Someone on the internet disagreed with him!!!" Really?
It's one thing for that bizarre sort of response to exist; it's another to actually make it publicly known that this sort of butthurt goes on. Making it public that Team Dave gets in a tizzy like that just doesn't help the cause. "Bad optics," as they say.---

Jim:

Dave doesn't have access to the internet but is the best possible source of defending his viewpoint. He has made himself available, here, to do that, but needs to be notified because, as I said, he doesn't have internet access at home. Using terms like "butthurt" and "tizzy" in this context indicate an ignorance on the subject you think you're attacking. In short, everything you claimed to be happening, here, is actually happening in your head. It's true.

Most of us are grateful to see Dave continuing to interact with his fans and detractors some 12 years after the completion of Cerebus, and we're equally grateful for the people who help make that possible ('team Cerebus', as you put it). Dave doesn't have to take the time. Tim doesn't have to take the time. Sandeep, Jeff, et al don't have to take the time. No one is making a living at this. People are putting in time and effort, here, and I feel safe in saying that MOST of us have a great level of appreciation for this dynamic. "Bad Optics" my ass.

Jeff Seiler said...

Thank you, Michael A Battaglia! And, God bless you.

Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

O gawdelpus, not Michael Battaglia. The guy who got himself banned from the TCJ message boards for his foaming "defences" of Dave? (Seriously, read that thread.) The guy who even Dave said was possessed by demons? (Really defeated him with iron-clad logic there, Dave.) I've really gotta step up work on this comment about how the Simcophants like Mike and Jeff and Sandeep do more harm than good to the legacy of Cerebus.

-- Damian