Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Five Questions On 'Male Light'

The Comics Journal #174 (February 1995)
Cover by Bill Willingham

(from a reply to J. Hagey in Aardvark Comments, Cerebus #192, March 1995)
The following is a list of questions sent to me by J. Hagey, a freelance writer putting an article together on Cerebus 186 for The Comics Journal [which appeared in TCJ #174, February 1995]...

1. Including the letters appearing in your comic, what do you think of the response to the story/essay in issue 186? Has it met, or exceeded, what you were expecting?

This presupposes that expectation is the foundation or, in some measure, a significant element in creativity. What do I think of the response? The world seems to be composed of people who unable to separate what is factual from what is opinion. They find contrary opinions threatening in the extreme. It seems self-evident to me that if two people have widely differing views, then what is being discussed is not fact but opinion. I have been in receipt of a large pile of opinions, varying from the dispassionately reasoned to the hysterical. So what?

2. What was the reason behind this story/essay, in particular the way it was written. It reads like a treatis (sic) or manifesto. It seems to beg some kind of answer? What is your world view that this essay is based on?

How typical. Condense my world view so that it fits into a neat little box of grey type in The Comics Journal. Anyone whose world view could be condensed in such a way is hardly worth considering. It is your opinion that it reads like a manifesto. It is your opinion that it begs an answer. Why would that interest me?

3. What role does 'Male Light' uniquely fulfill in the society? For the individual?

Opinions would vary on what role the 'Male Light' fulfills in society, including whether it was a role, society itself, an aberration, an impediment, a platform, the fuel or the vehicle itself. I think I could argue each of these views with a degree of success. If we're going to talk about individuals, then we're going to have to talk about individuals. Of what individual are you speaking in soliciting my individual opinion? If you are speaking of 'the individual' in a collectivist sense, then you've missed the entirety of my point.

4. Who exactly do fall into the category of those having 'male light'?

Again, opinions would vary. Individuals who represent 'male light' to me are individuals who represent 'male light' to me. Period. I can't understand why the specifics would be of interest to anyone but myself. The misapprehension seems to be that I am attempting to build a contrary consensus. In my opinion, consensus wherever it is perceived to exist is an illusion, and trafficking in the illusory holds no appeal for me. I paint what I see. I would wholeheartedly urge others to do the same.

5. Lastly, I wonder, then, if the "Wife and Kids" are the bane of male light, do we owe our fathers anything for what we, as his brood, inflicted on him and his life?

It would be easy to say that this, too, is up to the individual. It scratches a larger surface in my own case and, at the risk of muddying the water by injecting my own views, it seems to come down to an issue of 'Honour thy father and thy mother'. This is not an edict to be taken lightly. Is the decision of the late twentieth-century individual to interpret this a different way (i.e., the best way to honour my mother and my father is to make myself into the best possible person according to my own perceptions of who that is - to be true to myself, whatever the resistance and consequences implied by that) from the traditional view (i.e., you're too busy to come over for Sunday dinner, Mr. Big Shot? You can't pick up a phone?) a self-serving rationalisation? Not being a father, all I can do is go by the 'party' line that seems nearly universal in parental circles: as long as it makes him happy and he's not hurting anybody, more power to him. I think unhappy children make parents unhappier that do happy children. I'm a very happy child. I just hope that's good enough.


iestyn said...

That's a pretty cool Dave caricature there

But, please can we stop beating this drum now?!?!

Tony Dunlop said...

The floggings will continue until morale improves.

jonbly said...

It's also my opinion that it reads like a manifesto.

But that's OK, because my opinion wouldn't interest you either.

Although oddly, you also seem to want me to sign off on your non-misogyny... so perhaps you do want my opinion?

I'm getting mixed messages here.

How typical...

whc03grady said...

"[I]f two people have widely differing views, then what is being discussed is not fact but opinion."

Or, maybe one or both of them is wrong?

How about this: call the quote above (A). Dave and I have widely differing views on about (A). Therefore, by his own lights, (A) is a matter of not fact but opinion. So why should I care about (A)?


Erick said...

i remember the fantastic Frazetta interview.
Say what you will about TCJ but they gave you access to creators that was unheard of in the age before the internet.
As for Dave, i collected anything he did or that had his name attached to back then. Hindsight is 20/20. Back then I was surprised by his views but not enough to stop reading.

Dave Sim said...

iestyn - Yes, Bill Willingham was apprehensive of what my reaction would be when I saw it in Texas (first SPIRITS stop). John Christian, the local retailer had bought the original. I laughed and basically posed beside it, trying to imitate the image as closely as possible. It's a caricature. It's supposed to look bad. Of course the fact that I was good-natured about it didn't -- and doesn't -- get mentioned.

Bill Willingham is one of the few major professionals to have signed the petition and he signed it pretty early.

I don't think the Feminist Theocracy CAN stop beating the drum. The POINT of the Feminist Theocracy IS the drum: there are only three reasons to not be a feminist. 1) You're crazy 2) you're evil 3) you're crazy and evil. They can't move off that spot and still be feminists.

My assumption is that we will discover that you can't have 86% of women out in the workforce and sustain a civilization. The Feminist Theocracy believes that the problem is that we don't have enough women out in the workforce and we don't have enough of them in positions of absolute authority. Since we live in a Feminist Theocracy, that isn't going to change until they've pushed it to the limit and then have to entertain the idea that maybe that wasn't the problem. Conservative estimate: 100 years from now.

It's like President Obama's speech in Dallas championing inclusiveness. It's b.s. when the only inclusiveness that you allow is feminism. I was thrown out of society twenty years ago. Society -- that is, the Feminist Theocracy -- sees no reason to reconsider that. Ergo, you don't have an inclusive society, you have a Feminist Theocracy.

Dave Sim said...

Tony Dunlop - Yes, that's very much the approach of the Feminist Theocracy. Floggings will continue until morale improves. They're completely at peace with that.

Dave Sim said...

Mitch - That would be fine if the Feminist Theocracy allowed for dissenting viewpoints. I'm not offended that you're a feminist, why are you offended that I'm not a feminist? I'm not "not a feminist" as a means of hurting your feelings. I'm not a feminist because I think feminism is b.s. which I have explained at considerable length.

Tony again said...

Actually I was referring to "flogging the dead horse" of "Is Dave Sim a misogynist?"

Barry Deutsch said...

Dave, I don't think a person would have to be crazy, evil or both to not be a feminist. I think a person would need to have 1) different goals from me, or 2) different premises from me, or c) both.

I'm pretty certain Bill Willingham isn't a feminist, for example - I haven't talked to him one on one about politics, but my impression is that he's a right-wing libertarian. That doesn't make him crazy or evil. It means that he either disagrees with me on what a good society would look like, or he disagrees with me on what the best means for building such a society would be, or both.

Certainly there are some feminists who'd say that to disagree with feminism you'd have to be crazy and/or evil. But in my experience, that's not the norm.

And there are also those - like yourself, but you're certainly not alone in thinking this - who think that to be a feminist, one has to be crazy, or evil, or both. (As you just wrote in another thread).

You're of course allowed to have dissenting viewpoints, and I'm bewildered you think otherwise. Have you been arrested? Is someone preventing you from publishing Cerebus or posting it on the web?

I think Sandeep has pointed out to you that there are large, organized forums of many different kinds of "dissenters from feminism" online. How is that happening, if dissent is not allowed? How did Donald Trump become the GOP nominee, if dissent is not allowed?

I'm not denying that there are cases of feminists (or folks that are allied with feminists) being censorial - for example, agitating to get someone fired for stating an opinion. But there are also cases of non-feminists doing that. In the US, at least, these are edge cases on both sides.

whc03grady said...

But...but, I'm *not* a feminist.

I believe women should enjoy equal treatment under the law, and the same rights to self-determination as anyone else, but that's where it ends. I think there are irreducible differences between the sexes (explained entirely by natural selection, but it's not surprising I think that since I've been inhabited by a demon since childhood). I don't believe a single one of the 15ITtBbB (though #5 is a pretty clear case of False Analogy).

So, whatever.

Mostly it's discouraging to see someone of intelligence come down on the side of relativism (conceptual relativism, in this case). There are objective truths. If people disagree about something, it's just simply not the case that by virtue of that alone, what's being discussed is not fact, but opinion (talk about your impossible things to believe before breakfast).
But the quote originates before the Great Conversion, I think, so I suppose it's subject to revision.