Monday, 21 January 2019

File under: "Hey, I forgot about that!"

Hi, Everybody!

Ahem, say it with me now:
Comiclink auctions.

The remastered Volume 1, digitally for $9.99.

For anyone who missed the birthday card Kickstarter, there's a Indiegogo live
So, scanning through Jeff Tundis's www.cerebustheaardvark.com I found the "F.A.Q." tab, which has all of the Yahoo Group "5 Questions" that Dave answered back in the day. And in the Cerebus Volume 1 section, there was this one:
Q3: Jaka's self-exile from Palnu: From her letter at the end of i16, it would seem that if she doesn't actually visit on occasion, she carries on a friendly correspondence with Julius. Later, in i24, Katrina relates the story from A Night at the Masque with Lord Julius as the hero, as told by her sister/Julius' niece, obviously Jaka, who must have again been talking to Julius, at least through the posts. She doesn't sound like the missing person who was the object of a 12 year search. Is this just an unintended inconsistency in the book? Was the 12-year search a ruse put on by Julius to cover up that he was, whether rapist or mere humiliator, the cause of her flight? (And if he was, why is she so chummy?)

DAVE: I've just noticed that you guys often manage to ask three questions while only using one number. Well, I apologize that this one gets pretty complicated in a hurry, but here goes:

The situation between Jaka and Lord Julius was the same as the relationship between Lord Julius and anyone. Julius stayed ahead of the game by staying ahead of everyone playing it and being the only one who knew how the whole thing fit together (that is, that it doesn't fit together, but as long as you can keep your forward momentum and treat everyone in your life as a straight man, it all works out in the end. This was my insight at the time that, at essence, conducting an effective and successful leftist government is really no different from how Groucho handles the stateroom scene in A Night at the Opera).

The difficulty that this posed for Lord Julius' family and romantic relationships is obvious,it's essentially playing the female trick back onto them. Lord Julius' government, life and relationships consists entirely of curves that go nowhere. He's a fun house mirror and a roller coaster. I would assume that he had a certain affection for Jaka that was probably half genuine familial love and part Groucho "Memoirs of a Mangy Lover". Let me put it this way, if Harpo had had a gorgeous willowy blonde daughter, could you actually picture Groucho keeping his eyebrows in one place when she hit the age of majority? To kick it up a notch, in the context of political power that we're discussing it is, after all, very difficult to differentiate "uncle" and "mangy lover" if you have someone's fate in your hands as would be the case with Lord Julius and his entire family. As can be seen with the Caesars, once you start trafficking at or near the levels of absolute dominion, incest is never very far down on the list of executive privileges you're going to be tempted to allow yourself if only because you're allowed everything else. What is illicit to other people is commonplace for you and consequently not exciting, so you gradually find yourself contemplating larger and larger societal taboos. The situations are not entirely comparable, Lord Julius relative to Palnu was more comparable to Caesar Augustus than, say, Nero or Caligula relative to Rome.

As with the Caesars, proximity is all and the greatest female proximity to the apex consists in legitimized sexuality (marriage), family ties or illegitimate sexuality (the mistress). When absolute power devolves upon an individual man, the latter two categories of women are quite apt to aspire to the primary one, proximity always seeks greater proximity. Given that in any hierarchy a wife outranks a sister, a sister will be tempted to become a wife if it's on offer. This is part of the conundrum that Jaka poses. You can certainly understand a young girl being humiliated as she was on her birthday, being "mistaken" for Astoria, but presumably this didn't come out of thin air.

In one sense a practical joke, but in another sense, Lord Julius was very directly addressing a specific speculation (in a Caesar-like context) which would result from Jaka reaching a marriageable age. All part of the "keep 'em guessing" Lord Julius travelling circus. And what's her reaction? She flees to another city and becomes a tavern dancer. So, to me, at one level she's asserting her basic decency which has been offended at even the surface level of meaning and, at the same time, she's playing right along in the same way that any "woman scorned" usually does when you hit those kinds of hot buttons, she usually goes out and does something slutty (or many slutty things).

On another level she could be indicating, yes, this is what I am and then biding her time until she comes back and takes her place as "Lady Julius". I would assume that she reacted to any overt contact from anyone from Palnu by moving along to another tavern and would only respond to actual letters from Lord Julius, himself, (in her case, sent to various "general delivery" outlets). To which she would respond in what she would see as a comparable fashion to his own as possible. She is a pretty decent and guileless individual on a strictly human level, so she would only be able to address the practical joke at a certain number of levels. (given that she's a largely humourless and intrinsically easily offended individual,that is, that she is irretrievably female,this mostly consisted in being contrary and indulging in contrary behaviours: to punish Lord Julius for not being who she pictured him to be, she would repay unreliability with unreliability: promising, as an example, that she would come for a visit,repeatedly,and then not showing up when she says she is going to, as in i16. There. That'll show him. Which of course it wouldn't.

To her it's about as withering as her later "Ha-ha on you Gertrude Cirinist Poopiehead." In any tit-for-tat exchange she's largely unarmed. The larger consideration that she misses, it seems to me, is that she was implicitly inside of Lord Julius' context to a far greater extent than he was inside of hers. That is, given his greater importance in the larger Estarcion scheme of things, she was Lord Julius's niece to a far greater extent than he was Jaka's uncle. But, these are just the sort of things which feminism,actually their more refined dichotomies, Cirinism and Kevillism,causes to be seen through a glass darkly. If you are sufficiently perverse, that is, at essence so intrinsically composed of funhouse mirrors and roller coasters, it is possible,as was the case from 1981 onward, to see the former Lady Diana Spencer as larger than the British crown, of greater significance than God's Anointed on earth that the bearer of that Crown is held to be and, as happened with Diana Spencer, feministic "All you need is love" perversions take on a life of their own and, in my view, compelled what would otherwise have been a very nice, pretty nursery school teacher elevated to Princess of the Realm to feel obligated, as part of the feminist zeitgeist in which she unhappily found herself, to contend against the British Crown in the way that a three-year-old rebels against parental authority (because women are incapable of seeing anything as being larger than themselves if they are raised in the feminist manner). The only things that have any importance in the feminist context are a) to be strong, which is to say wilful ("My way or the highway.") and b) to be independent, which is to say contentious and contrary.

The legions of perverse women which feminism had unleashed upon the world, observing these goings-on, nurtured the conflict: every daughter aligning with Diana against every mother, Queen Elizabeth. As long as it's just your mother-in-law, it had what it proved to have: wonderful soap opera potential of the beautiful stylish young girl against the miserable old bag. But this was one of God's Anointed on earth. That's a very different scrap. "Oh, pooh. No one believes that load of old bullocks anymore." Well, if that's what you choose to think, that's what you choose to think, but don't come crying to me if you find out that a good millennium worth of tradition proves to be a slightly larger counterweight to your "Oh, pooh" than you want it to be. No, of course Jaka couldn't evade detection any more than Princess Diana could (well, somewhat more given the absence of electronic media). But, you can, and both did, create the illusion of having your own life if you're willing to force yourself to be fundamentally ignorant of reality on an on-going basis. In Princess Diana's case you have to date a Muslim to even create the illusion that you're outside of the orbit of your estranged husband. The situations are analogous. How do you stop being Lord Julius' niece? Answer: you can't. Who can you be or aspire to be in 20th century Britain if you're Prince Charles' ex-wife? Answer: nobody. All options are well down in the pecking order. All you can do is to create either the illusion or the reality of building your own power base or just accept that you're a marginalised,instead of a central figure,in the cast of the play you were just performing in. Completely unacceptable from a feminist standpoint. So, that's essentially what happened with Jaka. Everyone kept watching her to see what sort of a power base she was going to build. Which was fine from the Cirinist and Kevillist standpoint as long as it was just her and Tom, Dick and Harry on the side of a mountain acting out all the parts she had written for them (well, except Dick,that is, Oscar). Once Cerebus moved in, it was a different situation. The self-exiled Princess of Palnu and the former Pope. It was distinctly analogous to Diana Spencer taking up with the son of an extravagantly wealthy arriviste Muslim (and it was certainly interesting keeping track of the many misadventures of Ms. Spencer even as I seemed to be pretty accurately fictionalizing them) where "what is up with that?" it seems to me, became no longer a merely soap-opera based inquiry, given that several ascending layers of reality were possibly and quite suddenly in jeopardy both from the Cirinist and Kevillist perspective (in our world, I mean) and from the vantage point of those institution(s) they were, as usual, attempting to undermine. I mean, feminism is the real-life version of TV's Survivor. The idea is to pay lip service to pluralism, freedom and inclusiveness while ruthlessly destroying anyone who might even potentially be competition. I don't believe in the conspiracy theories about Diana's death because there were too many layers of reality "in play" that I can see. A direct line attempt to threaten to "bring down" the Anointed of God (it is noteworthy, to me anyway, that so many of those vulgar baskets and balloons and signs outside Kensington Palace asserted that "Heaven has found her Queen" and so on. Diana of the Hunt and all that Alan Moore-like rubbish that was, I think, the actual underpinning of the Diana Spencer Story as she chose, however inadvertently and naively, and to her own decided detriment in the long term,to tell it). Meanwhile, back at my funnybook and speaking of inadvertently, it's a hallmark of Jaka's actual disingenuous nature that looking slutty was probably entirely inadvertent on her part. It was just "fancy dress" in the English sense. Putting on costumes and dancing. It took Mrs. Thatcher to get her, kicking and screaming all the way, to see what a tavern dancer actually is. On another level she could never actually detach herself from Palnu and Lord Julius. Ostensibly because she loves him, but, at a deeper level, because of the extent to which being the Princess of Palnu was central to what she was.

She certainly didn't forget her diplomatic immunity or fail to make use of her status in displacing bartenders from their premises all across Estarcion. She was always the Princess of Palnu who thoroughly enjoyed playing "Just call me Jaka." I should probably have made clearer in my earlier answer that Jaka was indeed molested as an infant but that the recollection was very deeply buried,only coming out in fever dreams, as an example. That is, my having conveyed that information, there is a part of Jaka you know more about than she does. It would actually be unlikely that Lord Julius would be the culprit. In the context of absolute political power there just wouldn't be any occasions when the Grandlord of Palnu would be left alone with his infant niece. What would even be the pretext? Of course at the Caesarian level you don't need a pretext, but it would be extremely unlikely for an Augustus,although I grant you it would be less unlikely for a Nero or a Caligula.
Click for bigger, ya know, if you're into that...
Which kinda plays into My "nutty" Fan Theory...

Next Time: Depends on how much more snow I get...

6 comments:

Mike Battaglia said...

Matt,

I went all the way down the rabbit hole chasing after your "insane" theory. I would say there's enough evidence to consider it... if it wasn't for Dave shutting it down out of the gate. It's an interesting approach on his part--to so completely and utterly control the narrative; it's the polar opposite of what Damon Lindelof did with LOST. DL would answer certain practical questions, like "did you mean for this to be taken THIS way, or was it just a(n) coincidence/oversight" (like with the black fuzzy shirt), but when it came to the bigger questions, he (and the other writers) left a lot open to interpretation, specifically to encourage theorizing. I think DL referenced, or somebody did, "Puff the Magic Dragon" as an example of creating something and allowing an openness for interpretation, and then referenced 'George Lucas explaining The Force as "mitochondria"' as being too much information.

All this is to say, if Dave hadn't very clearly shut it down, I think it would be excellent grist for the theory mill, in terms of fan discussion, etc. I have a little theory that Dave also disagrees with, which is that writers all pull from their subconscious, and so they aren't in complete conscious control of the narrative. As an example--albeit with a shade of difference--think of Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris", where Owen Wilson's character (SPOILER ALERT) realizes his dream of getting feedback on his novel from none other than Earnest Hemingway; Hemingway says "it's not bad, but I don't buy that the protagonist is unaware of his wife's affair", and that's how Owen's character learns that his wife is cheating on him; he had written it into the story without knowing it. Like I said, shade of difference--maybe more than a shade, but you get the idea. I hope.

Speaking of LOST, I noticed some interesting parallels to Cerebus... but I suppose that's for another conversation. Or not.

Michael Grabowski said...

Completely off-topic, with apologies.

"Mind your manners, son. I've got a tall, pointy hat!"

https://www.france24.com/en/20190121-kyrgyzstan-decide-national-hats-status

Anonymous said...


Most Black men are easily offended and have no sense of humor

Anonymous said...

WTF?

Anonymous said...

he’s drawing attention to dave’s casual remark about women.

Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

That Dave's a real card!

-- Damian