Eleven years ago, when Cerebus ended, Dave Sim decided to answer all of his back mail. A month or so later, he had his "Jeff Seiler Day" in which he answered multiple letters I had written over the previous year. After I received that letter, I decided to keep writing, and he kept his promise to answer every letter he received. And now, I have a foot-high stack of letters written and received over 10 years or so. I will be posting full paragraphs or pages of interesting excerpts from those letters every Saturday.
This week's entry is the letter from Dave Sim to Mr. Douglas A. Jeffrey, of Hillsdale College, which was attached to the letter Dave sent me in June of 2004, and which was referred to in last week's post. This was the beginning to one of the oddest correspondences I've ever had occasion to witness between Dave and anyone else. I was just involved peripherally, despite having "sicced" Dave on Mr. Jeffery and HIllsdale College in the first place, by virtue of having put Dave's name in for a subscription to their free conservative publication, Imprimis. Here we go:
22 June 04Douglas A. JefferyVice President for External AffairsHillsdale College33 E. College StreetHillsdale, MIDear Mr. Jeffrey:Thank you for your note of earlier this month welcoming me as a subscriber to Imprimis. I have already sent a photocopy of the first issue you sent, the April number, to one of my reader/correspondents and have quoted it to another. A most extraordinary, thoughtful and clear-thinking publication. I enclose my contribution and the addresses of two more possible subscribers.I have to admit that the only thing that dismayed me in reading about your institution was the statistic that you have 51% female enrollment and 49% male enrollment. This was the only area where I saw you as violating your mandate as a liberal arts college in the original sense of the term. Female representation is certainly something to be acknowledged and accepted everywhere and by everyone in a free society, but I would maintain that a one-to-one ratio can only be achieved through the skewing and lowering of standards. After all, even the United Nations is only calling for 30% female representation in the world’s legislatures -- and is everywhere falling well short of that goal because of the (to me, anyway) self-evident overall lesser aptitudes, interests and inclinations of the female of the species in the required areas of genuine achievement.I only remark upon this because I noted with great interest and approval that Hillsdale refused to adopt affirmative action in the 1970s, was the only college to publicly refuse to sign the Title IV compliance forms, and has chosen to forego all federal funding -- even indirectly -- in order to maintain this principle stance. To go through all of that and then to have a nearly exact 50-50 gender mix in your study enrollment, strikes me as being about as sensible as going eyeball-eyeball with the Soviets in 1962 until they blinked and then spending the next 20 years trying to find ways to appease them.I enclose one of my more controversial essays, Tangent, from 2001. Mr. Seiler is a reader of mine of long-standing and I'm sure that he (quite rightly) guessed that -- apart from the above-mentioned foundational disagreement between our positions on gender -- Hillsdale College and its publication would be exactly my "cup of tea".Sincerely,Dave Sim========================================
Entry from U.S. News and World Report’s annual America’s Best Colleges issue, 2004.
HILLSDALE COLLEGEU.S. News ranking: Lib. Arts, No. 96Freshman admissions:2003-2004: 1,150 applied, 881 accepted. Either SAT or ACT required. ACT 25/75 percentile: 24-29. High school rank: 42% in top tenth, 78% in top quarter, 98% in top half.Undergraduate student body:1,195 full time, 35 part time, 47% male, 53% female; N/A American Indian, N/A Asian, N/A black, N/A Hispanic, N/A white, N/A international; 47% from in state; 86% live on campus; 33% of students in fraternities; 40% in sororities.Most popular majors:25% business, managing, marketing, and related support services; 18% social sciences; 15% biological and biomedical sciences; 11% English language and literature/letters; 10% education.