Friday, 18 November 2016

Weekly Update #157: Fame At Last!

Dave gets a call from Penguin / Random House...!


Paul Slade said...

I don't know Gaitskill's work, so I looked up Tim Adams' recent profile of her in The Guardian to see how simpatico (or otherwise) she may be with Dave's views. Here's an extract:

"The 1970s and 1980s, when many of those stories are set, is a very different time and place. I wonder how she gets on as a university teacher now in our 'safe space' and 'trigger warning' times?

"She doesn’t teach her own work, but even so it can be difficult. 'I had a class of graduate students at NYU, not long ago,' she says. 'I had them read John Updike’s Rabbit Run. They came into the next lesson just incredibly outraged how sexist the character was – and really angry that I should ask them to read it because: how could you possibly relate to a misogynist character like that? I said: ‘You really can’t begin to imagine a character that wants to run away from his responsibilities?’ They looked at me like I had confessed to sympathy for a murderer. When I at one point tried to argue that racism and sexism were not quite the same things I had people shouting ‘Gender is a social construct!’ and so on at me. I said ‘Go home and look between your legs and tell me if that is a social construct’ and then of course all hell broke loose.' Gaitskill smiles, slightly mystified. 'Literature is not a realm for politeness as far as I am concerned.'

Clearly not. I was going to buy the book just for the Cerebus element of its cover, but now I'm quite looking forward to reading her essays too.

On another note, has anyone got a theory about what Cerebus is eating in the Friday Update's animated opening credits? I see to recall that the source sequence in the book mentioned he was "sipping thoughtfully from his finger bowl", but what IS that dish on his plate?

Anonymous said...

On the cover of Mary's book, the two kids and cat form a he-she-it trio.

--Claude Flowers

Dominick Grace said...

Cool! Do we know if there is an essay on Cerebus in the book? Or why, particularly she (or the designer?) wanted a Cerebus image for the cover?

Dave Sim said...

Uh, not really. Her editor said -- and CAVEAT EMPTOR fer sher -- not to quote her on this, but she thinks the cover is the cover of her notebook that she wrote a lot of the essays in. Somehow she got ahold of the CHURCH & STATE II cover and made it into part of a collage that she put on her notebook. I have no idea if it's a SPERMBIRDS kind of thing...

[where they just found an image of Cerebus as Pope and BOOM! That's our "Something to Prove" album cover! Which turned out to be metaphysically resonant for me as a champion of creator's rights. What am I going to do about this? "Something to Prove". Right. Nothing. It's a German punk band. It's not like they're doing damage to MY rights. They're probably not rich. Bingo. They were very grateful that I didn't sue them and let them keep using the image. Really clarified for me my "Hey, if you need to use something of mine, you're going to be the best judge of that." I'm getting the album cover framed along with an "18 months" infant t-shirt they sent me. "What could be more evil than a band called the Spermbirds? A Spermbirds t-shirt for a baby!" :)]

...I mean, presumably someone figured out whose it was if she didn't know.

It did have a "Something to Prove" quality about it because one of the essays is, evidently, a trashing of Norman Mailer.

It also had a metaphysical test quality to it. "Do we have to ask Gerhard's permission as well?" Uh, well. No. You approached ME and that's legit, But what you DO have to do is decide how much Aardvark-Vanaheim gets and how much Gerhard gets. i.e. Here's a metaphysical test right back at ya!

The publishing company and the artist get THE SAME AMOUNT? Hmm. Interesting. Is that OFFICIAL Penguin/Random House policy? And remember, the answer MUST be in the form of a question!

Claude - Yeah, I saw the YHWH thing right away, too!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for answering my question! And on a weekly update no less! (If I had just watched that first, it would have saved me the effort of asking in the comments a couple posts down, and you the effort of responding again. Sorry about that.)

I have an idea of what might be a good cover for 2006 and/or 2007. I'll send it along as I have time to work on it.

But first, to finish the Jan strips of CIH?

-Benjamin Hobbs

CerebusTV said...

For whatever reason, the request came by email to CerebusTV, so it got FaxZero'd over to Aardvark-Vanaheim... I had my doubts, but I guess ya never know...

CerebusTV said...

Whenever we get a request, we reply with advice to contact A-V directly by phone or fax. I think because we just returned from a 3000 mile cross country trip, we also forwarded a fax so it could be as timely as possible. Glad to hear it was all to the good.

Travis Pelkie said...

Quite possibly, if Gaitskill herself didn't know/remember the origin of the image, someone google searched the image and found it, and presumably found Cerebus TV and went from there, figuring to hit any and everyone who might own a piece of it.

I've never read her work, but I know she's been featured prominently in the NYT Book Review, so hey, they might use the cover image in there, too!

Obviously, the Collected Letter covers should be made up of Scrabble tiles....