Wednesday, 3 October 2012

HARDtalk: The Virtual Tour #15

Okay, we're back at AMOC HQ and we've got a question from Eric and Dominick:

Your Kickstarter campaign for High Society has been, so far, a resounding success. Obviously you did not predict such an overwhelming response, from both fans and industry insiders alike. How do you account for this support, particularly given your alleged pariah status in the comics industry?

Well, it isn't alleged, it's actual.  Four years in and there are still only 380 signatures on the "I Don't Believe Dave Sim is a Misogynist" petition at ipetitions.  Given the number of people that I've met in comics over the last 35 years, that definitely points in the direction of a nearly-universal consensus that Dave Sim is a misogynist and a misogynist is the worst thing you can be in our society.  I don't agree with that assessment, but I have to find a way to accommodate it. I mean, looking on the bright side there are 380 people on the planet I can be comfortable around.  That's a lot of friends for anyone.  But, in terms of going to a public event like a convention?  No, that would be denying the nearly-universal consensus.  I've said that I will revisit the question -- not change my mind, necessarily -- but revisit the question if there are 2,000 names on there.  At the rate we're going there's no danger of that happening in my lifetime.

See, I see the "misogynist/feminist" dichotomy as a false one. "If you aren't a feminist you're a misogynist".  It's "heads I win, tails you lose".  Anything that anyone says or does that a feminist doesn't find personally validating means that that person hates women?  No, you don't want to give ANY group in your society that kind of "carte blanche" veto over any viewpoint besides their own.

My pariah status does give me a freedom to speak openly about things other people can't speak openly about.  For example, when I wrote "Tangent" ten years ago, feminists were up in arms about the unfairness of more men than women being enrolled as freshmen (freshpersons?) at university.  The ratio was about 60-40 in favour of men.  Now, it's roughly 70-30 in favour of women and, as someone who pays reasonably close attention to these things, I don't hear anyone so much as suggesting that it should go back the other way -- even to 50-50.  If equality means numerical parity (which I don't think it does, but which feminists used as the basis for reversing the higher education structure) then numerical parity has to be how we do things.  As soon as one gender begins to dominate the other in any context, we have to enact whatever rules are necessary to restore 50-50 balance.

I accept the fact that the society within which I function responds to that by shunning anyone even wanting to discuss it.  It's an intellectually unsustainable position, but I'm more than willing to accommodate it as the universally societally acceptable viewpoint.  As I said way at the beginning of this HARDtalk interview, I am where I was put 18 years ago for daring to question feminist precepts.  The Impossible Things to Believe Before Breakfast are as impossible to believe today as they were ten years ago.  If feminists think that expelling my from society is going to improve the situation -- which I don't think it has -- then I'm more than happy to accept my fate.  God's will be done.

On the other hand, if 1,680 more people want to stand up and say that that's intellectually unsustainable, then I'll revisit the question of my going out in public.
Our HARDtalk Tour question today is from Andrew Hickey, our host at MINDLESS ONES:

Glamourpuss is rooted in - and in part an examination of - the ‘photorealist’ work of Alex Raymond, Stan Drake and so on, but some of the best stuff you’ve done has been in a Mort Drucker influenced style. Have you any plans to work more in that style?

Hit the link to MINDLESS ONES for the answer to that question - and be back tomorrow for more HARDtalk.

Already signed up for the HARDtalk Virtual Tour are Bleeding Cool, Millar World, Terminal Drift, Canadian Comics Archive, The Comics Journal, The Beat and Mindless Ones. Add your question for Dave Sim at one of these fine websites before 10 October and if your question is chosen (they'll need to be tough, interesting questions!) you'll receive a personalised, autographed copy of a Cerebus back-issue, with a Cerebus head-sketch by Dave Sim!


Tim Phillips said...

Although I love dave's work, I do wish Dave would stop going on about his petition. It can be quite irritating, distracting readers from the work he' promoting.

Tim phillips said...

I keep losing my phone connection here ... Anyway, I recognise that this is an important topic for him yet it possibly alienates potential readers and people in general as it encourages a "you're with me or you're not mentality". Much of this negativity stems from stuff written about years ago, ignoring an opportunity to move on. These tours are great, but sometimes they can come across a bit self-absorbed well a lot really.
I recognise why dave responded in the way he has do to eric's question above, but dave could have taken a more constructive, positive approach.

Anonymous said...

"Well, it isn't alleged, it's actual. Four years in and there are still only 380 signatures on the "I Don't Believe Dave Sim is a Misogynist" petition at ipetitions. Given the number of people that I've met in comics over the last 35 years, that definitely points in the direction of a nearly-universal consensus that Dave Sim is a misogynist and a misogynist is the worst thing you can be in our society."

As usual, Dave infers a lot more than is actually there. I haven't signed that petition because I believe that encouraging that kind of passive-aggression is bad. I don't think that 'misogynist' is quite an accurate word for what Dave is, but he's so unique that I wouldn't expect there to *be* a good, accurate word for him, and 'misogynist' is at least in the right ballpark.

And where does he get the idea that being a misogynist is the worst thing you can be in our society? Pedophiles and mass murderers are clearly way below that. And for all his claims about the power of the hoosexualists, people still get beaten to death just for being (or just being *perceived as*) gay. Abortion doctors still get shot. I don't recall any instances of people being killed for being misogynists.

Tony Dunlop said...

Did anyone else notice that Dave didn't actually answer the question? "How do you account for that support?" I really, really want high-quality Cerebus reprints, and I want Dave Sim to keep making comics (whatever he wants to make, I'll buy - he's just that good), but it looks like all Dave wants to do is play the victim. Sad.

Dominick Grace said...

I'm disappointed that he didn't address the core question--"how do you account for this support?"--focusing instead on the spceious argument that because only 380-odd folk have signed the petition, all but 380 people in the world think he's lower than pond scum. That's basic faulty logic, flawed on several grounds.

I don't think Dave is a misogynist but haven't and won't sign the petition for several reasons, not least of which is that it's not simply a way to make that basic assertion but rather has attached to it the whole "if you don't sign the petition I don't want to have any communication with you" moral suasion (or, if you prefer, emotional blackmail) attached to it.

Had Dave simply put out a statement like, "I'm really tired of the universal impression that I'm a misogynist, so if you disagree with that assessment, please sign my 'I Don't believe Dave Sim is a misogynist' document," I might have considered signing it. I'd still find the whole idea of such a thing ... well, not particularly productive (and speaking of pruductive outcomes, it's not even really a petition proper, as petitions are documents directed at specific agencies or groups, such as governments, to effect policy change as supported by signees, rather than what this is, which is more like a declaration of allegiance), but at least then it would simply be a straightforward show of solidarity, with no hint of reward or retaliation depending on whether one has signed or not.

And I'd still like to know how Dave accounts for the fact that this campaign raised tens of thousands more than he'd asked for.

Eric Hoffman said...

Dom raises a good point here in that Dave didn't answer the question. Or perhaps, he answered it by disregarding it entirely on the basis that the kickstarter campaign's success has nothing to do with his position on feminism. In other words, you CAN separate the art from the man.

R. Cole said...

Rocky Cole here.

Cerebus art expert Brian Coppola ( pointed out that it would be more meaningful to have a petition that read the opposite: "I believe Dave Sim is a misogynist" as you can't extrapolate that everyone except 380 people in the world have an opinion on this, let alone actively promote ostracization and shunning.

This way, you would have a list of people who for sure believe you are a misogynist, rather than engaging in unknown unknowns and actually an unfair accusation against almost everyone else in the world.

Anonymous said...

I'm really baffled by the fact that everyone has to analyze Dave Sim's every word. "Oh my God, he didn't answer the question in the manner that I expected him to! Wait... he din't answer it... AT ALL... (weeping noises) (hushed whispers).

Look. It's Dave Freaking Sim. If you ask him a question, it's up to HIM how to answer or NOT answer it. Okay? If you don't like it? Yes, of course, you're free to litter the internet with your endless criticisms of Dave Sim, while throwing in the token "but I love his work, hyuck!" - but... do you HAVE to? What in God's name are you gaining, here. And at his expense no less?

Tim phillips said...

Well, for me, I don't want him to sabatage his opportunity to sell his work.

Dominick Grace said...

“Every pearl of wisdom to drip from Dave Sim’s well-formed, rubeous lips should be greeted either with hushed admiration or rapturous applause (puff! huff!), and anyone who responds with anything less is a DAVE SIM HATER and should JUST SHUT UP!!!! (*carotid-throb* *eye-bulge*)”

Eric Hoffman said...

@ immortalgenius aka Michael - well, uh, he didn't really entirely answer the question (or even address it) . . . it's not a criticism, it's a statement of fact. Followed by speculation (again, not criticism) as to why.

Tony Dunlop said...

After reading today's long Dave post, I regret saying Dave "would rather play the victim" and I apologize for that remark. I'm still disappointed that so much of the TCJ thread was spent talking about the petition, but clearly Dave is hard at work trying to figure out how to make a living. Mea maxima culpa.