Sunday, 22 July 2018

TL:DR: The Genesis Question part twelve

Hi, Everybody!

If it's Sunday, it's Meet The Pres... er, I mean Dave's commentaries on the Genesis Question:

12 April 14

Hi Troy and Mia!

Well, this is a first -- starting the letter on Saturday so I can address non-Biblical subjects and then continuing it on Sunday.

1) Happy belated birthday, Drexel!  Your birthday is April 14?  That's the same as Gerhard's birthday!  And your Dad said that you were turning 11, which means you were born in 2003 which would have been Gerhard's 44th birthday and Gerhard is turning 55 this year.  Fun with numbers!  George Gatsis who is doing my restoration work on CEREBUS also has an April 14 birthday. Happy Birthday again. Hope you're still drawing and writing a lot.

2)  RE:  John Layman.  Where it got left is that I sent a fax through Chris Ryall at IDW saying I would be glad to do the cover but I want to do it as a photorealism cover where he's in Tony Chu's place and there are people attached to the book -- John's co-workers, friends and family -- in place of the corpses.  In which case I would need HD digital photos to work from.  So he would basically need to arrange to photograph himself and the "corpses" individually, using the original cover as reference. 

The other possibility was that he would also be one of the corpses and I could put Cerebus in Tony Chu's place. 

His call. Yes, no problem with giving him my number.

3) Kickstarter…uh…how would you feel about buying 5 of the packages every quarter?  I'm kidding (in a way), but there is no question that the number of packages that get bought -- what the series is numbered out of -- is going to very quickly identify it -- the campaign specifically but more generally "Cerebus as an intellectual property in 2014" -- as a complete flop, semi-success or a success.

 I don't think runaway success is in the cards.

The fact that I'll be keeping going with it win, lose or draw (or, perhaps, more accurately extreme loss, general loss or quasi-loss) means that it's probably going to become a rare item.  WHEN it is going to become a rare item rather than a complete failure is the only real question. In the short term you're probably buying however much dead paper.

If the number of people participating drops -- as I assume it's going to -- over the first however-many then it's going to become a REALLY RARE ITEM. 

#4 out of 125…#4 out of 90…#4 out of 75…#4 out of ???.  If you order 5, basically you'll have, possibly, the whole print run by NUMBER FORTY or so.  The Last Cerebus Collector.  

Part of what I'm trying to do is to make sure that if CEREBUS as an intellectual property is actually dying this time -- that my career is over as it was in 2012 -- which I'm pretty sure it is, that people can watch it happen in Real Time and stop being in denial.  To have to face that this has been an on-going process by feminism since 1994.  When they set out to destroy you they make sure you get destroyed and stay destroyed.  My context has gotten smaller and smaller and smaller since 1994.  No upward spikes anywhere, just down, down, down, down, down.

Quarterly Kickstarters is the last thing I can think of to try to make restoring CEREBUS and HIGH SOCIETY viable and getting them back in print. After, say, ten years, I can say to the last 20 people still buying the CEREBUS ARCHIVE NUMBER FORTY-ONE, "You're the last 20 people left. Here's how we're doing. Okay, at this rate, we will finally have enough money to pay for a reprinting of READS which has been out of print for the last twelve years in 2031".

I'll find a way to make a living personally somehow but what I want to do is to break this idea that I'm some big success with thousands and thousands of fans all desperate to throw money at me.  That's Not Reality.  I have a few thousand fans who are all sulking because they can't have expensive hardcovers or individual commissioned drawings of Cerebus subjects.  They aren't interested in me, who I am, what I'm doing and what I'm interested in doing.  They just want me to play Cerebus' Greatest Hits the way they want me to play them. If I won't do that, I don't exist for them.

4)  The LOCK & KEY cover is the only piece of work I have done in the last twenty years that anyone is interested in so it's going to be auctioned through Heritage.

I'm HOPING that Heritage is now hooked up to A Moment of Cerebus and they will let Tim know when work of mine is coming up for auction.  Understandably, Heritage has the same complete level of disinterest in my work that the comic-book field in general has.  If I want to give them prime CEREBUS pages, they will wake up but I'm supposed to be preserving the Cerebus Archive, not selling it. Without CEREBUS art, everything that I've done is just a big pile of "throw it at the wall and see if any of it sticks". 

Tim was doing his best to keep track but he missed several variant covers and, with them not being announced at AMOC, they went for, like, $300.  So that's, presumably, what my cover price is at now starting from a high of $600 on the POPEYE cover. God only knows what my interior page price is at.  With that level of complete general non-confidence I have no interest in dealing with anyone one-on-one and selling what I consider my best work "by the pound".  The only hope is to go with the only people who have access to hundreds of thousands of bidders and that's Heritage.

I'll be sending Heritage glamourpuss artwork to auction.  First non-Alex Raymond pages and then Alex Raymond pages that won't be in the revised STRANGE DEATH OF ALEX RAYMOND, then covers.  I assume those will start low and then go even lower.  I'm hoping that sending them a sufficient volume of pages so they can have one or two pieces in each weekly auction for a period of six months will attract one, two or three Dave Sim Photorealism art collectors.  One of the problems with my idea of doing IDW variant covers was that the covers didn't come out regularly enough so even the people who were interested in buying them didn't see when they went up for auction.  If I can get Heritage to agree to put pages in their weekly auctions EVERY week and make sure they have enough artwork to do that for six months, given that they have hundreds of thousands of "eyeballs" on their site, that's the best that I can hope for.

As soon as I'm 100% sure that there is a link between Heritage and AMOC and I'm 100% sure that the LOCK & KEY cover auction will be announced to AMOC so it can be on AMOC, then I will send Heritage the original. So, you'll read about the auction on AMOC.

Sorry I didn't call you back but I've got the write the descriptions of the CEREBUS ARCHIVE NUMBER ONE pages and starting picking out 20 or so glamourpuss pages for Heritage to start with before I can get back to working 12 hours a day, 6 days a week on STRANGE DEATH.

Okay.  Next stop. Sunday. 
13 April 14

It's interesting that Mr. Ross has  a new version of his book coming out (or it already has come out).  It's pretty slow going here trying to address what it is that he's saying so I'll leave it up to you if you want to send me the revised version and in the meantime I'll just persevere with what I have. I'll probably still be on Chapter Three by the time summer rolls around at this rate.

He writes:

The Bible teaches that God alone, not Satan or any other created being, has the power to create and destroy what God creates.


and cites 1 Samuel 2:8, 1 Chronicles 16:26, Job 9:8, Psalms 24:1, 89:11-12, 146:5-6, 148:5-6, Isaiah 37:16, 44:24, 45:7-18, Romans 11:36, 1 Corinthians 8:6, Ephesians 3:9, Hebrews 1:1-14, Revelations 4:11 and 10:6 as proof of this contention. 

1 Samuel 2:8:

He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set among princes and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth the YHWH's and he hath set the world upon them

Okay, well, obviously, to me, this is a reference to the YHWH, not to God. 

But, even leaving that aside -- let's just say, for the sake of argument that the YHWH is God -- I really don't see how this citation establishes that "God alone…has the power to create and destroy what God creates." 

The verse says absolutely nothing about that.  It says that "the pillars of the earth the YHWHs".  As in most Biblical references to the YHWH the present indicative verb -- the word "are" or "is" -- needs to be interpolated because it isn't in the text itself.  The only time it appears definitively in the text (from what I can see) is when Protestant Christians get ahold of it and compel the inference that it was always in there because they've put it there the last dozen or so times they've rewritten the Bible.

And (the verse says) "he hath set the world upon them" ("them" referring, presumably, to the pillars of the earth). 

In visualizing the earth as a planet, there are no obvious constructs that could be deemed to be literal "pillars", so, at one level or another, we are dealing in the realm of metaphor.  Once there, I can't see how you could have anything less than a protracted discussion about a) what the pillars are and b) what purpose they have and c) what properties they possess.   An environmentalist is going to make one case, a geophysicist another case, a spiritualist another case, a cosmologist another case and so on.

So you'll have a multiplicity of concepts of what the pillars of the earth are.  Even if you totally fudge the subject and declare that your exhaustive list of different opinions constitutes an irrefutable definition (rather as the IPCC deals with "climate change" and as Mr. Ross seems to deal with his own assertions) you then have to illustrate how this applies to your contention that "God alone has the power to create and destroy what God creates." 

I think you would have to be God in order to declare that definitively. 

Can God delegate that power to others?  Presumably, yes.  My own inference would be that that's what free will is.  God creates us, but many of us commit suicide.  Presumably if the power to create and destroy was God's alone that wouldn't be possible.  Do our individual physical forms and their relationship to us, to our souls resemble, metaphorically, the earth and its relationship to its pillars? If so, then presumably in the same way that we have the power to destroy our physical forms, the earth has the power to destroy its (his/hers) pillars because God has made that possible. 

It's interesting, as always, to speculate on these things but so little is definitively known about any of them that I think it's extremely suspect to use them as citational proofs of anything.

1 Chronicles 16:26

For all the gods of the people idols: but the YHWH made the heavens.

Far from being able to use this as a proof of anything, I think basic Logic 101 would recognize the inherent fallacy:  Since God is definitely one of the "gods of the people" (and, I would contend, the Only Real One) then "all of the gods of the people" can't be idols.  Unless God is an idol.  Which, presumably, He can't be by definition.  You could as fruitlessly write "All worship is idolatry".

Obviously, to me, the assertion in this verse is unconsciously self-revelatory on the part of the YHWH (or perhaps consciously self-revelatory if, as I suspect, the highest nature of the YHWH is fully aware of what he/she/it is doing, attempting to usurp the place of God):  the YHWH knows that the YHWH is an idol and not God and that God -- and not the YHWH -- made the heavens.  

And, again, here is another instance where -- being a YHWHistic verse -- the present indicative verb, is missing between "people" and "idols" and needs to be interpolated.

Job 9:8:

Which alone spreadeth out the heavens, and treadeth upon the heights of the seas.

Completely unexpected!  A citation that is actually about God!  Job specifically refers to God in Chapter 9 and not to the YHWH. Will wonders never cease?

It's interesting that the reference is to "Which" and not "Who" which seems to me to be in conformity with what I see as accurate perception of God.  He is not as we are, even metaphorically speaking.  Of course this perception is then violated with the use of the term "treadeth" suggesting that God has a Tread.  In the sense of Presence where no other presence is possible -- the heights of the seas -- I could see that.  In terms of opening a discussion of What Size of Shoe Does God Take?, no I couldn't see that. 

It resonates nicely with the "walking on water" miracles of both the Synoptic and Johannine Jesus:  one of the few shared by the two of them.

Technically, I don't think this would be a supportive citation of Mr. Ross' contention because it only refers to "the heavens" and makes no claim that only God could create them and only God can destroy them.  They will, ultimately, according to Scripture be rolled up "like written scrolls" at the Final Trump but, not being God, we have no way of knowing if God alone created or will destroy them in that manner.  Or if "rolling them up like written scrolls" will even constitute destruction. 

Psalms 24:1

The earth the YHWH's and the fulness thereof; the world and they that dwell therein.

I sort of figured it would be too much to hope for "two in a row" referring to God. 

Again, the idiosyncratic inability of the YHWH to countenance any present indicative verb (or perhaps more accurately for God to allow the YHWH to use the present indicative verb in fallacious assertions).  The "is" between "the earth" and "the YHWH's" needs to be interpolated where it doesn't exist and it doesn't exist in the original Hebrew. 

I think it was God's intention that this perception on the part of the YHWH exist.  In order to "work through" extreme lunatic possessiveness, you need to give the lunatic something to possess, which is what I think God does with his creations on the planet scale.  Here: you want to be God? well, being God means more than just lordly dominion over lesser beings (which seems to be all that the YHWH can see or all in which the YHWH is interested). My own inference from Scripture: It means assisting small-scale enactments in positive directions and you learn what positive directions are by witnessing negative directions and the impetus behind them and correcting those over the long term. 

You -- that is, God -- "work through" it by, first, allowing the YHWH to elect a Chosen People, to exert lordly dominion through mostly lunatic laws, to be enraged when the lunatic laws aren't followed and to then engineer successive destructions of the context of the YHWH's own Temple worship and surrounding habitations. That takes thousands of years but is really only the beginning.  You can no more eradicate an entire people than you can eliminate the flu virus completely.  There is always a remnant and the story keeps going.  The people keep going.  And the people -- being actually creations of God and not the YHWH's creations -- over extended periods of time begin to express God's will through their choices and actions, despite (I think) and not because of the YHWH's lunatic legislations. 

Slavery is very prominent in the Bible and, if you take the content of the Bible as literally "what's allowed and what isn't" -- in the absolutist lunatic sense the YHWH brings to every subject -- then you would never get rid of slavery.  But we did.  Thus proving that we are God's creations.  Not God's possessions.  You don't want to have anything to do with God?  That's an entirely protected free will choice. It doesn't end happily, but it is a free will choice open to you.  Those who are not, implicitly, enslaved will, sooner or later, be unable to countenance slavery.  But it's a long-term enactment requiring thousands of years to arrive at the proper conclusion.

That, it seems to me, is how we "work through" things, all of us as God creations, including the YHWH. The YHWH is free to think of us as his/here/its possessions and -- like half of the world's population when it comes to abortion -- believe that if the YHWH gave us life, the YHWH has the right to take our lives from us.  I don't think that's true.  God gave us life, but we, I think, take our own lives from ourselves through unwise choices.  God doesn't, I don't think, arbitrarily take them from us.

And I think there are nearly unimaginable consequences to adhering to that view -- that you are entitled to destroy what you seemingly create (seemingly create because women don't create babies, they merely gestate them)  and living your life in accordance with destruction entitlement as a human right. 

But, that too, it seems to me, is a property of free will:  the freedom to choose gruesome destruction and, as a result, to make inevitable your own gruesome self-destruction if that's what you prefer.  And to make it a matter of personal ethics if that's genuinely what you think of it as being. 

Psalm 89:11-12

The heavens thine, the earth also thine: as for the world and the fullness thereof, thou hast founded them.  The North and the South, thou hast created them: Tabor and Hermon shall rejoice in thy name.

This is addressed, according to verse 8 to "O YHWH God of hosts"  ["who (present indicative verb MIA) a strong YHWH like unto thee?"].

As I've mentioned before, I don't think David can be numbered among the Prophets. He's a very interesting character in Judaic history.  As the youngest brother of the sons of Jesse, he is definitely an entity after the YHWH's own heart and is considered the gold standard for human beings as the YHWH sees us.  Unfortunately this seems to have mostly taken the form of everyone else falling short of whatever it was that the YHWH saw in David and leading directly to the destruction of Solomon's Temple and the first diaspora.  And then led, when we continued to not match whatever David Template the YHWH sees (that definitely escapes me), to the destruction of the Second Temple and the Jews being driven out of Jerusalem for 2,000 years.

I just don't see any of these verses cited under footnote 26 as constituting a scientific proof of the assertion that no one, not even Satan, can destroy what God has created. 

If nothing else, any serious discussion along those lines would founder, I think, on the terminology used.  What is the "fullness" of the world?  What, in fact, is "the world"?  Planet earth?  the earth and the heavens?  The entire context of all YHWHs everywhere?  What is "The North and the South"?  Since they are capitalized here, is it the Protestant Christians who translated the KJV who have interpolated the capitals?  And what is their intent in doing so:  to deify North and South? Is North and South used as a short form for "everywhere, all directions"?  Or is it used in the magnetic pole sense? 

Psalm 146:5-6:

Happy that the God of Jacob for his help: whose hope in the YHWH his God: made heaven and earth, the Sea, and all that therein is; which keepeth truth forever.

I really wish I could take the Psalms more seriously. 

"Is he" and "hath" have had to be interpolated to try and make the beginning of this Psalm make sense:  "Happy [is he] that [hath] the God of Jacob for his help".  The present indicative verb is missing again in two places but (finally!) turns up in "all that therein IS". 

I really need to point out the compelled inference of what the Protestant Christians were doing: basically translating the Torah under the assumption that the reason that Jews are damned to hellfire is that they misinterpreted their own revelations and, so, missed the coming of the Messiah entirely.  And that the only way to fix that was to translate the Torah for them and to annotate it and interpolate into it. 

"Here:  these passages are about Christ, here: this bride isn't actually a bride, it's Christ's church; here:  these are the words that are missing here that you should have inserted so the Psalm makes sense." 

It makes it very difficult to read aloud on Sunday mornings.  I have to keep watching the margin for "Hebr." so I know what the text actually said and then to try to figure out where the Protestant substitution begins and ends so I can get the English equivalent of the Hebrew back where it was originally.  And I have to leave out all of the italicized words the Protestants have interpolated into the text.  Which means very little of it makes sense and that becomes self-evidently a characteristic of any YHWHistic text. 

I can't even imagine what the Jews must have gone through.  "It's SCRIPTURE. You don't interpolate words INTO Scripture.  Do you know how difficult it is to keep a text this long word-perfect for thousands of years?  Early on, entirely through oral history?"

And, so far as we know, The Torah IS word perfect. 

That was pretty clearly demonstrated with the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls which showed us that Isaiah in the first century AD reads the same as the previously earliest version of Isaiah that existed to that point and which had been written down many hundreds of years later, around the year 1,000.

By contrast, the "Old Testament" (as Christians call it) is a nightmare of hundreds of years of fashionable rewritings until virtually nothing of the text remains because Protestants keep trying to make it Popular! and Vital! and Alive! for today's youth! Multiplying the number of versions practically on a daily basis and leaving out anything they don't like and replacing it with stuff that makes them feel good.

The Jews have kept their text consistent for thousands of years, Protestants can't keep the text consistent from week to week and the Protestants are going to show the Jews HOW to translate the Torah? 

Oy, vey. 

The "heaven and the earth" in this Psalm (just to cite one particular weirdness) are both spelled with the lower case but, suddenly, the Sea is capitalized.  WHY would you suddenly capitalize the Sea and leave heaven and earth with lower case initials? 

Are you saying that this is one of the reasons the Jews are condemned to hellfire, because, maybe, they don't UNDERSTAND why the Sea needs to be capitalized and "the heaven and the earth" need to be in lower case?  Well, here, in this instance, count me as a Jew:  because I certainly don't understand why the Sea suddenly needs to be capitalized or why I'm condemned to hellfire because I don't understand the thinking behind it.   

Oy, vey.

 Psalm 148:5-6:

Let them praise the Name of the YHWH: for he commanded and they were created.  He hath also stablished them for ever and ever: he hath made a decree which shall not pass.

Okay, I'm about halfway through Mr. Ross' citations and coming to the end of this week's letter.  It's probably worth recapping what it is that all of these citations are supposed to be providing irrefutable proof for:

The Bible teaches that God alone, not Satan or any other created being, has the power to create and destroy what God creates.

I just don't see the application in most of these.  Not one of the cited Biblical verses says, specifically, "God alone, not Satan or any other created being, has the power to create and destroy what God creates." I don't even see how you can draw the inference that they do.  Not one of them so much as mentions Satan in the conventional sense or by that name. 

They ARE discussing the nearest approximation of Satan so far as I'm concerned -- the YHWH -- but that just adds another level of weirdness to it.  As if Mr. Ross is demonically possessed and so has been pressed into the YHWH's service to specifically assert the inversion -- YHWH is God and God is Satan -- and to attach that assertion to modern science. 

It's hard for me to come up with any OTHER explanation.  Why would a scientist, writing about the Bible AS science and giving citations -- AS a scientist who knows that citations need to be specifically relevant to the proposition being asserted -- suddenly pull Satan out of his hat and cite a bunch of verses, none of which refers to Satan?

Why indeed?

See you next week.

Best,

Dave
Next Time: Wait, what was that first bit? 

Saturday, 21 July 2018

Teenage Mutant Ceri-prise!

Hi, Everybody!

Regular reader, Gary Boyarski wrote in:
Hi! I just wanted  to share the amazing news that my copies of Teenage Mutant Ninja Cerebi have arrived! 

You have no idea how exited I am to hold this comic in my hands. (Well, maybe you will once you see the pictures.)

And it looks great! Just like the bastard child of Ninja Turtles #1 and Cerebus should. Anyway, I am one proud Papa of this cover. I may have to go out and get more copies. 

Thanks Dave! For the amazing opportunity to have a Cerebus comic with my name on the inside.  

-Gary Boyarski



Well thanks Gary!

Speaking of Kevin Eastman,
Yeah, that one.
 Here's an article from the July 1989 Continental Profiles I got on my first solo flight, in July of 1989:


I'm not gonna lie, 10 year old Matt has made me save this for nearly thirty years because of the picture of the Masters of the Universe movie standee...




If anybody can mention this article to Kevin Eastman, so he can see it, I'll make you AMOC Special Friend of the Day.

Next Time: Who wants to read the profile of the guy who made Pictionary from July 1989?

Friday, 20 July 2018

Remembering Harlan Ellison (Dave's Weekly Update #244)

Hi,  Everybody!


Heeeeeere's Dave:



Donate here, if you're amicable.

I met Harlan at a convention in Madison, WI, where he was appearing with Peter David and Neil Gaiman as the Three High-Verbals. I bought his script for I, Robot, and his story collection Angry Candy. As I was getting ready to hand over my money, his wife Susan asked if I wanted a copy of Hemispheres, the United airlines in-flight magazine, saying, "it's the last one." I said sure, and handed over my money. 

When I got up to Mr. Ellison to have him sign my books, he asked if I wanted the magazine signed too. I looked perplexed, and said "yeah. I guess?" 

He gave me a look.

I can't describe it, but it was like the look you'd give a cat that hacked up a hairball on the table during Thanksgiving dinner. But not as nice.

He turned to Susan and asked if I had paid for the magazine.

She said yes, I had.

I offered "they told me it was the last one."

Mr Ellison asked me if I knew what it was the last one of?

I said, "no."


Patiently, as if talking to a small child (or the village idiot,) He said that it was an in-flight magazine that contained a short story he had written that was very good and that I'd probably like it. 

I said, "oh." and thanked him.

The story is called Incognita, Inc., and it is VERY good, and I REALLY liked it.

Next Time: Man. Aardvarks. Seriously, this time...