Monday, 1 February 2016

The Emotional Response

Cerebus Vol 14: Form & Void
Art by Dave Sim & Gerhard
(from an interview conducted by Tom Spurgeon in The Comics Journal #184, February 1996)
...Well, I think that women are more censorship-oriented. Who do you think can up with the term "politically correct"? Apart from the term, who do you think has ruled all discourse "out of order" which can be characterized and dismissed as "misogynistic" or "sexist"? I think the First Amendment to your constitution is the last life raft to Western Civilization to keep the barbarians of political correctness from breaking down the gates and seizing the city out-right. I'm challenging that sensibility that rules debate out of order with 186...

...It's impossible for the Androgynous Mainstream to engage the argument I present without making obvious the fundamental schisms within their uneasy coalition. Any time a government becomes aware that that is where the argument is leading, it's time to attack the minutiae at the periphery. Governments have great instincts for self-preservation...

...Obviously -- in any being who is degraded in their nature to a point where their emotional reaction to something supersedes any intellectual assessment. That's the centerpiece of my argument: "Look at what you have become." My view is that an emotional response is like an alarm going off. It signals the intellect that something has arrived which warrants a higher-than-normal level of focus and attention. In most people, I think the emotional reaction triggers an outpouring of invective which precludes the possibilities of any kind of focus -- provoking instead a scattershot "shoot anything that moves" posture in the Psyche. You see it all the time in The Comics Journal -- people reacting emotionally to Gary Groth casting them in a bad light through word-craft and a carefully constructed argument. They don't engage the argument, they stomp pettishly on the minutiae at the periphery...

...I'd include Gary in that group. If you go back and look at the "Dave Sim is a Nazi" issue of the Journal, the people who were the most offended were the ones who either had never read Cerebus or haven't read Cerebus for years. I admire Seth's work -- bringing that New Yorker cartoon-style to the comic book page was a great stroke and a great potential initiated by one individual. But if you were to ask me which view I would give greater credence to: the author of From Hell saying that the text pieces in Reads were the closest thing to a mystical experience on paper or Seth saying that Cerebus is the same as Jack Chick comics... words fail me...

...I said that the end of Church & State and the end of Reads represent two extreme. It depends on the reader which one is the mountaintop of "right thinking" and which is the depraved corruption of all that is good and true...


Erick said...

What constitutes an "Emotional Response"?
Dave professes to believe in religion. Even his hybridized version of Christianity, Islam and Judaism has at it core a belief in a deity. Religion is about faith. Faith in the unknowable. Faith is not science. Faith is not something that can be proven. Faith is an emotional response to a human yearning to know why we exist and how we cane into being.

Dave then, by his own words and actions, is emotional.
'Of course he is' you say. He is not Mr. Spock. True. And because of that one must conclude that his every utterance is in some way driven by his 'emotion' or emotional response to a situation. And not some dispassionate reflection.

Think about that.

While I disagreed with his views on women, it was not until i read his views on ISIS and how he completely disregards the sexual abuse of women by ISIS. Claiming that it is some type of G7 concept of "Access to women". That is when I became disgusted with Dave Sim.

Know full well that ISIS has given full religious justification for the wholesale enslavement and sexual subjugation of the Yazidi women and in documented cases, children. They have justified this in written documents as well as in their online magazine Dabiq.

If anyone's non emotional response to the sexual abuse of women and children is that of indifference, then my admitted and proud emotional response to you is that you are sociopath.

Even a so-called logic driven person should be able to recognizes the difference between right and wrong and does not need to hide behind religion.

And BTW I a string believer in God.

Here are Dave's verbatim remarks regarding ISIS. And for those of you who do not know, please look up the treatment of Yazidis by ISIS and then decide if you have an emotional response or not.

"I think the men of ISIS, like all Muslims, are centrally concerned with submitting to God's will and doing what they think God wants them to do. I'm not God so I have no idea if they are or not. The will of God in Judaism, Christianity and Islam -- relative to women -- involves marriage and fatherhood instead of fornication, adultery, whoredom and masturbation. It would be unusual for a good Muslim to rape a captive "if she wishes to preserve her modesty" as it says in the Koran on that very subject. I'm not saying it doesn't happen -- the Boko Haram abductions are a glaring example -- I'm just saying that I think it would be unusual.

Of course, that leaves aside revenge questions. ISIS is mostly made up of Saddam Hussein's Sunni military who doubtless experienced Shia backlash when Iraq was overturned by the US invasion and who are now, in turn, wreaking vengeance upon the Shiites behind that backlash. Muslims have very long memories. The fact that they still call us Crusaders a thousand years later speaks volumes.

"Access to women" is a G7 concept. In a Muslim context, you have only married women (unaccessible) and unmarried women (unaccessible except through legitimate means: like family-approved courtship). Wives and potential wives. A Muslim man isn't going to want to be seen as a whoremonger or a fornicator or an adulterer because that a) would indict him in the sight of God and b) would rule him out as a potential husband. Particularly Islamists like those in ISIS and al-Qaeda."

Erick said...

Typos - get ya every time.
should have been - I am a strong believer in God. Not a string.
And it should have read 'came into being' not cane. Although if i had spelled it 'cain' that might have worked

Jeff Seiler said...

Speaking as a professional proofreader, Erick, those weren't your only typographical errors. As to the contextual design of your comment, (and speaking solely for myself) I think that you forget that one of the first (unwritten, or, who knows?, maybe written somewhere) rules of warfare is "kill or enslave all the men and boys of a certain age, and rape all the women and girls, then also enslave them."

Is it right, or moral? Hell, no. Is ISIS conducting warfare, or are they conducting a jihad? Maybe. Maybe not.

I don't condone what they have done/are doing any more than you do. But, logically, "kill all the men and boys and rape all the women and girls" makes sense, in that you are getting rid of your enemies and you are polluting their genetic stream with your own, polluted, genetic stream.

Warfare 101.

Morally corrupt, debased in the worst way, and basic human nature. To the nth degree of depravity.

Dave Sim said...

Hi, Jeff. Thanks for the phone message. I hope this isn't a daily thing as well. We'll have to wait and see.

Hi Erik! I'm not God, so I have no idea WHAT the will of God is. Neither do you.

I don't think my faith in God is emotion-based at all. It's based in seeing in Scripture WHAT I CONSIDER eternal verities (usually God) mixed with WHAT I CONSIDER abhorrent corruptions (usually YHWH). Emphasis on WHAT I CONSIDER. What I THINK, not what I FEEL. I could be headed straight to hell, as a result -- too much think not enough feel -- no doubt about it. But it will be because of MY choices. I pray five times a day, I fast 24 hours on Sunday and sunrise to sunset all other day including the 30 days of Ramadan, I read scripture aloud because I THINK that's what God wants me to do. I'll find out on Judgement Day if I'm doing what God wants me to do same as you will, same as everyone will.

I think I'm safe in assuming that ISIS believes it's doing the will of God. I don't think they are, but I could be completely wrong in that. Only God knows if ISIS is doing God's will. Which members, if any, are doing God's will and to what extent. As it says in the Koran, "God will not wrong you so much as the husk of a date stone." Those who are doing acts that are abhorrent in the sight of God WILL, I'm sure, be punished. Both in this world and in the next. That's God's job, not mine.

Dave Sim said...

I'm also fasting 24 hours every date that ends in a "3" this year (3, 13, 23) in honour of John 3:16 (get it? 3/16?), the "God so loved..." verse...and then donating what I would have spent on food to the local Foodbank of Waterloo Region (and reading John 21 aloud: the "feed my lambs/feed my sheep" chapter).

Does God WANT me to do that? I have no idea. I'm not God. But it seems like a more fruitful use of my time than discussing whether my religious faith is emotion-based. Is it in the sight of God? I have no idea. I'm not God. But it is definitely my personal preference, intellectually.

Thanks for taking the time to post your comments.

Barry Deutsch said...

Dave, doesn't that mean that you'll be fasting 48 hours in a row several times this year (such as Saturday the 13th and Sunday the 14th of this month)?

I'm no doctor, but I'm worried that might not be optimal for your health, especially since I think (if I'm remembering correctly, I might be mistaken) you already mentioned being concerned about occasionally looking gaunt. I hope you allow yourself to drink water during your fasts.

But of course, you know what's best for you. (Or even if you don't, you know better than I do!)

Anonymous said...

Good to see Dave can still come up with the funny when he tries ... to be serious. Still, donating money to the food bank is commendable; better to do the right thing for the wrong reasons than to do the wrong thing.

Speaking of doing the wrong thing ... Jeff: we do actually have some written rules of warfare, and they don't permit "kill or enslave all the men and boys of a certain age, and rape all the women and girls, then also enslave them."

-- Damian

Erick said...

Hi Dave!

Thanks for responding. I have mentioned before in my posts here of my extreme admiration for the work you did on Cerebus. At times it was simply sublime, and my presence on these boards so many years after is a testament to my continued love of the work that you and Ger did. I have also said that you are a very gracious man that i had the pleasure of meeting at book signings.

Pleasantries disposed of. Ha.

God gave us free will. God gave us the ability to determine right from wrong. Using the excuse 'I'm not God' in order to side step any responsibility for exercising that decision making ability that God gave us is not only mendacious it is childish.

At what point do you stop and say 'hey maybe God does not care if I brush my teeth with minty white as opposed to tartar control?' Then again since you are not God you can't make that call. What is a feller with bad breath to do?

Successful societies and civilizations are built in part on a majority of people accepting certain principles. In no particular order some of those are: Location near fresh water. Location near renewable food sources. Respect for life - at least for those in the same society (can't go around killing your neighbors). And greed is good! Just kidding about that last one. In short there some things that socialized humans- regardless the level of civilization they have achieved, must agree on in order to live together. I am speaking primarily of Modern human societies.

Raping and killing women and children is not open to any interpretation other than it is a crime against the humanity of those victims and a crime against humanity in general. In other words it is a wrong. The type of wrong that modern societies condemn. The type of wrong that God gave us the ability to recognize.
And since God gave us the ability to recognize such a wrong, then that must be God's will.

Thinking versus feeling. Well I think you are feeling the words of God. That is an emotional response.

Jeff, um are you reading Conan? Because that maxim is straight out of Howard. I am a military man. I was never taught that. No one I have ever encountered in any military is taught that. ISIS may not be strictly military but they are not wiping out all Iraqi or Syrian or even Kurdish boys and enslaving the men. They are sexually subjugating the Yazidi women and only the Yazid. There are also claims of genocide. What they are doing is closer to tribal warfare.

Professional proofreader as well as a professional counselor, well ill be.

Jeff Seiler said...

Erick: No, I don't read many comics nowadays, but will read SDOAR. I know that most, if not all, Western militaries, do not advocate "killing all the men and boys and raping all of the women and girls". But, historically, it has happened untold times. I'm not excusing their behavior; I'm trying to explain it. And, yes, it is a kind of tribal warfare. Much more than organized "modern" warfare. They were brutalized, so they're returning it in kind.

I personally believe that carpet bombing is too good for them.

BTW, this is what some people presciently warned of when the U.S. administration decided to pull out of Iraq.

It's not just boots-on-the-ground warfare, it's cultural warfare that will have far-reaching effects for decades.

I am running out of things to say, except that ISIS is a curse on the Middle East and that what they are doing to the Yazidi women and girls is a crime against humanity. As is, it should be noted, secondarily, their wanton destruction of cultural artifacts.

Tony Dunlop said...

"…this (ISIS and other unpleasantness) is what some people presciently warned of when the U.S. administration decided to invade Iraq."

As they say on comment boards, Fixed it for you.

Jeff Seiler said...

Yes, and no, Tony. The US military should not have gone into Iraq, but they also, having gone in, should not have pulled out.

Extend your metaphors as you will. We've all been there.

The problem, across two U.S. administrations, and countless warlords, is that the countless warlords are trying to revisit countless war crimes upon one another.

And, so it goes; and, so it goes.

Hope you have a good night's sleep...

Anonymous said...

Look, I'm just a cartoonist. I certainly don't claim to know for certain the Will of God. But I have ruminated on this matter, and I have fasted since breakfast (ok, I had one cookie, but still...), and I am about 65% certain that it is God's will that all of Jeff's political/philosophical posts should be accompanied by that picture of him dressed as Carmen Miranda. :)

-Jimmy Gownley

Tony again said...

Seconded! (And I was recently reminded that Jimmy's was the brilliance that shone forth in the Shades of Grey series way back when. Bravo!)

And I sleep just fine most of the time. Terrorists aren't interested in Midwestern backwaters.

Jeff Seiler said...

I'll go ya one better, Jimmy: Gimme your address and I'll show up as Carmen to politicize and philosophize in your living room. But for one night only.

Unless you feed me.

Anonymous said...

Jeff: Lol! I like it! Plus it will give the neighbors something to discuss!

Tony: thanks! But I think you meant to put "brilliance" in quotes ;)
Jimmy Gownley