Dave Sim's Collected Letters Vol 3:
Pretty Girls & Other Subjects
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'll be running interesting excerpts from those letters every Saturday.
This is a letter from Dave Sim to me, dated 20 August 2004, responding to a letter from me of 1 August 2004:
Thanks for your letter of August 1. As I told you on the phone, I’m kind of up-to-my-eyeballs in this Neil Gaiman thing at the moment. As Lewis Carroll put it, all the running I can muster just to stay in one place (or, rather, not to fall too far behind too quickly).
There won’t be any response from Mayor Zehr, I don’t think, since it was just a general interest kind of communication. I got a phone call from him when I expressed a criticism of the current council’s generally liberal/profligate (depending on how you look at it) spending ways. The actual answer he gave was kind of evasive, but then he is a politician and that’s one of the job skills. What I was trying to point out was that if you increase the borrowing authority for the City and then increase the capital works projects, what you are doing, in effect, if not literally, is spending the next Administration’s money. If you’re re-elected, that’s fine. But, if you aren’t, you are basically putting your successors at a disadvantage, fiscally, that you didn’t have. I was just wondering if he couldn’t put a cap on it, voluntarily. He’s a liberal, I’m a conservative; he’s going to want to spend more. So his dollar amount is going to be higher, but at least pick the amount and enshrine that in law. He found a nice way of saying it, but basically his answer was that there’s no reason he should tie his own hands fiscally. Basically, the “catch me if you can” approach. You can vote him out of office or try to start a backlash from the citizenry in the media, but it’s up to him to do what he thinks is right as long as holds the officer he won fair and square. Since I’m the only person who shows up to watch the City Council meetings every week, I can’t fault his reasoning.
I’m enclosing my reaction and the reaction to my reaction to Douglas A. Jeffrey’s letter. No response as of this date. Personally, I see “Tangent” as being the core of the common-sense position I hold, not “the outer limits...of any given envelope”.
Karen Redman was reelected in Kitchener Centre and is now the government whip, which means that she is responsible for keeping everyone in line on any upcoming vote when Parliament reconvenes in October. A key role in any minority government and a difficult one for a rookie. I suspect she was tapped because she was both a woman and a Chretien loyalist, both of whom needed to be represented in Paul Martin’s new government. It would be difficult to explain all of the ins and outs of the current political situation. My best assessment is that Paul Martin is still taking the uber Liberal road of being all things to all people. My best guess is that he will avoid tabling any kind of legislation for as long as possible and having Parliament sit for as short a period a possible before rising for the longest recess imaginable as a way of maintaining power and avoiding having to face the major schisms in his own party. It worked for Chretien for years. The tactic the Conservatives have taken (which I was hoping they would) is to say nothing and to nothing and leave the Liberals to tear themselves apart, however quickly or however slowly. Canadians are in denial about the governing party, so they have to see what it actually is before they will seriously consider an alternative. The process could take years, but I think it is worth doing it exactly the way Stephen Harper is doing it.
On to the letter to the editor that you sent. Yes, it’s just something we’re all going to have to get used to, I’m afraid. The idea that the world loves a Democrat in the White House and loathes Republican. It seems to me that it’s really not about being liked or not being liked, it’s about doing the right thing in a time period where everything is very uncertain. The situation in Iran is definitely upping the stakes in the card game. The schism, it seems to me, is who do you want [to be] playing the cards you’ve been dealt in that game? Someone who believes in God and fervently wants God to guide his actions? Or, an atheist who is trying to figure out how to play the hand so [that] everyone ends up feeling good about themselves? It seems to me that the fanatic Muslims would be voting Democrat for the same reason that Republicans are trying to get Ralph Nader on the ballot in every state. Whichever way things shake out, a Democrat is going to give them more wiggle room than a Republican will, just because the Democrats see everything in co-equivalency terms. Yasser Arafat is a good example of why you should never see a fanatic Marxist-Muslim as being the same as everyone else. However, it is a democratic choice. If it is Kerry in November, the United States will still survive and flourish. But, I do think it will look as if the United States flinched at a critical moment and this doesn’t strike me as a time when flinching is a good idea.
P.S.: The backing boards say Now & Then Books because that’s what they stamp on them at Now & Then. It used to irritate me bit, but I owe Cerebus’ existence in no small part to what Harry Kremer did for it, so I can’t kick very hard at the two being associated. Here in town, Harry is still THE name in comic books. Dave Sim is just someone who used to work for him.