Sunday, 24 March 2013

Trading Eggshells With Zulli

Cerebus #175 (October 1993)
Art by Dave Sim & Gerhard
(from Dave Sim Collected Letters 2004, page 559)
Actually this was an entirely fictitious nature that I romanticized to an unnatural degree of subtlety and comprehension of metaphor that you would never find in a woman as attractive as Jaka. It was a kind of submissiveness and a gesture of friendship from a patron to an artist, her way of saying the Zulli had been more important to her then just "hired help". Because of the formality implied by the social gulf between them, that's very difficult to communicate. So what she was indicating was that his picture had been instrumental in helping her break out of her shell that she had been in. The fact that she imitates his wallpaper design in an obviously amateurish way on the eggshell expresses to him that she is aware that she could never have come close to having created the picture that he did and exactly how wide the disparity is between the two of them in that way and that she freely acknowledges that, thus putting herself irrefutably on a much lower plan than himself in a way that would be impossible in her privileged world and doing so with a token that can always remind him of those two facts. He helped her to break out of her shell and she will always be beneath him on the creativity scale. "Here, this represents me, when compared to the way your picture represents you. I can't even get one part of the wallpaper right." And then Zulli responds by sending her an amateurishly hand-carved ebony box whose lid doesn't fit properly, his message being: We're all amateurs at most things. I can tell that it was no easier for you to produce the wallpaper pattern on the egg than it was for me to produce it on the side of a box and, as you can see, the results are comparable. I'm no more a carpenter than you are a painter, so let's both have a keepsake to remind us of those humbling facts. In fact, I want you to have half of the egg. You worked too hard on it to give it up entirely.

To complete the story, she should have sent him back the lid to the box, inverted, and lined with one of her own best silk handkerchiefs to hold his half of the eggshell, so that in both instances the eggshell half would be free, instead of enclosed.
Cerebus #193 (April 1995)
Art by Dave Sim & Gerhard 


Jim Sheridan said...

So, all pretty women are dumb.

A Moment Of Cerebus said...

That's not what he said at all. "An unnatural degree of subtlety and comprehension..." doesn't equate to "dumb" in my opinion.

Jim Sheridan said...

"that I romanticized to an unnatural degree of subtlety and comprehension of metaphor that you would never find in a woman as attractive as Jaka" -

So, who does possess such a degree of subtlety and comprehension of metaphor? Unattractive women? Men? Dave Sim?
What IS it specifically about a woman's attractiveness that would render her lacking of such comprehension?

A Moment Of Cerebus said...


I think you're looking for something that isn't there just because it's "Dave Sim" saying it. In my opinion there is no way to reasonably twist the quote and conclude he said "So, all pretty women are dumb."

Yes, he was talking about Jaka specifically, but Dave Sim's views about attractive men might be the same. I don't know and neither do you, based on that quote.

Jim Sheridan said...

Had he just said "Jaka," I'd agree with you. However, he expands the scope by saying "a woman as attractive as Jaka," which is not just Jaka.

Yeah, the fact that it is Dave Sim does bring some connotation to the conversation, and "dumb" might be an overstatement, but the words he used do have meaning, and they do quite literally establish a connection between a woman's appearance and her cognitive abilities.

Anonymous said...

I think what Dave Sim is saying here is that a woman as attractive as Jaka has no need to develop such attributes. There are a few actresses or supermodels with college degrees and sharp minds, but they are such an exception to the rule that it is always brought forward as something rare among their peers.

Pretty famous people of both sexes get away with a lot more than the rest of us and it is rarely because of their razor sharp intellect.

David Birdsong