Sunday 5 March 2017

Chester Brown: "Dave Sim"

(from a Patreon Update, 4 March 2017) 

Tim, of the website A Moment Of Cerebus, reposted some things over there that I originally posted here on Patreon about Cerebus writer-artist Dave Sim.

In the comments section for that repost, Dave responds:
"I never considered Chester to be a friend."
According to Dave, this was his reason for hanging out with me regularly:
"I [thought] it was worth maintaining communication for the sake of Canadian Cartooning Posterity."
He wasn’t my friend, he was fraternizing with me for the sake of Canadian Cartooning Posterity? Perhaps that’s so, but I do remember Dave saying that he was my friend. Perhaps he was using the word ironically. At the time I assumed he was sincere because he certainly acted like a friend. I was sincere in being Dave's friend. I genuinely like the guy.

Dave adds:
"I thought it was even-handed of ME to associate with HIM even though he was […] a whoremonger."
Maybe it would have been, depending on his motive for associating with me. I’m not sure I understand what he means when he says that he did so for sake of posterity.


In later comments for the repost, Dave discusses sex-work.
"Do you want your daughter to be a hooker? Do you want your sister to be [a] hooker? Do you want your mother to be a hooker? If you don’t want them to be hookers, then you think being a hooker is a bad idea."
In the 1950s, most people would have been upset if they'd found out that they had a gay brother. That doesn’t mean that homosexuality was wrong, but it felt like it was wrong in a society that was more homophobic than the one we live in now. We live in a society that’s as whorephobic as it ever was, so most people would feel badly if they had a sister who was a sex-worker. But the emotional reactions of the siblings of prostitutes (or their parents or other family members) says nothing about the morality of the work or whether it really is "a bad idea".

Incidentally, it would not bother me if I had a daughter, sister, or mother who was a sex-worker. It shouldn't bother any intelligent person.

Dave goes on to recount how, before he was old enough, he was eager to be in strip-clubs. When he was finally able to enter them, he found it a depressing experience. (Note that this was an emotional reaction on Dave’s part. While he supposedly now eschews emotional arguments, he refers to his individual emotional reaction as if it’s relevant to the broad subject of the morality of sex-work.) On the few times he was in such a club, the dancers seemed "dead inside" — like there was "no light in their eyes." He elaborates:
"I think it’s a matter of women being naked in front of a bunch of strange men on an on-going basis eats at their soul very, very quickly. Even more so with hookers because there’s a greater physical intimacy."
Dave seems to think that, because he was initially eager to get into strip-clubs, this therefore indicates that he wasn’t affected by the whorephobia that surrounded him as he grew up, and that that prejudice didn't influence his emotions when he looked into the eyes of a few strippers and felt that they looked “dead”. It's my opinion that he wasn't aware of the underlying whorephobia in his mind. It felt true to Dave that those women had "dead" eyes, but that was a subjective reaction. On top of the whorephobic bias that was affecting Dave’s perception, you have to remember that an interaction with a sex-worker happens between two people. It’s entirely possible that whatever Dave was saying to those women was getting a “dead” reaction in response. (How old was he again? How clueless did he seem?) But that doesn’t mean that the eyes of those women were dead for their other clients or for people outside of their work — for their family, for their friends, for their neighbours. So 18 year-old Dave walks away from the club feeling bad — depressed, as he said — and he concludes that all sex-workers are soulless husks and that sex-work is bad.

I’ve met many, many sex-workers. There were the ones I depicted in Paying For It, of course, but also, since then, I’ve met many people in the sex-worker-rights community and many sex-workers who’ve come out to my book signings. None of them had dead eyes, and the majority had lively ones. I’ve been paying Denise for sex for fourteen years now and her eyes have as much light in them as when I first met her. You should have seen how her eyes lit up when she first saw a printed copy of Mary Wept, or how she reacts when something exciting is going on in her life. This idea that her soul was eaten away many years ago is... well, it’s a tired and very untrue cliché.

When it comes to this subject, Dave has clichés, emotional reactions, and his idiosyncratic religious beliefs — what he does not have is a rational argument.


In a later comment, Dave states:
“I think Chet slipped — BADLY — from his otherwise “even-handed and fair” persona when he claimed that the reason Joe Matt wasn’t using prostitutes was because he was too cheap and the reason I wasn’t using prostitutes was because I didn’t think women should work. […] Which, I think, just demonstrates how CRITICALLY IMPORTANT prostitution is to Chet. I can’t think of a single other instance when he wasn’t 100% truthful about whatever he was talking about.”
I’m not sure where Dave gets this idea that I said that the only reason why Joe doesn’t pay for sex is because he’s too cheap. In panel 52:2 in Paying For It, Seth makes a joke to that effect:

Joe expressed concern to me that people might take that joke seriously, so I wrote this in the notes section, on page 264:
"Joe would like me to note that, while he is cheap, that’s not why he isn’t a john. He wouldn’t pay for sex even if he was rich, because, despite his reputation, he’s very romantic. Which is true."
In addition, in the scene in which I first tell Seth and Joe about my first experience with a prostitute, Joe’s reactions aren’t about money, but about love (panel 52:6) and how it’s supposedly “cold and clinical to pay for sex.” (Panel 52:7.) There’s also the scene on pages 181 to 184 in which Joe defends romantic love and advocates for holding on to one’s ideals. It seems to me that most readers would get the impression that Joe’s avoidance of sex-workers goes beyond being cheap even if those readers ignored the notes section.

Dave also thinks that I “wasn’t 100% truthful" when I said this in an interview that I did with Sean Rogers for The Comics Journal:
“[Dave] disapproved of paying for sex. He thinks women shouldn’t have jobs. He wants them at home getting pregnant and raising children, not out in the world having jobs. And so prostitution, for him, is just another job that keeps them away from their real role in life. That’s why he disapproves of it.”
Dave can’t recall ever saying such a thing. All I can say is that that was my impression of his views, and I was surprised to read that he doesn’t think that that passage at least resembles something he would have said to me. (Rereading the passage now, the part that looks a bit inaccurate to my memories of things he said is where I imply that that was his sole reason for disapproving of sex-work.) I don’t think Dave would lie about this. It’s possible that he’s forgotten that he said such a thing, but it’s much more likely that my memory is at fault or that I misinterpreted various things he said. Obviously, in establishing what Dave believes, he should be the preferred source, especially since he’s honest and forthright about those beliefs, even when they’re enormously unpopular.


According to Dave:
“Chet […] got the idea of using prostitutes from reading CEREBUS No. 186.”
That’s wrong — Cerebus 186 got me questioning romantic love. I didn’t contemplate paying for sex until years later, when I found myself in a situation where I could have paid to have a Playboy model embrace me, as I depicted on pages 19 to 23 of Paying For It.


At one point in the comments, Dave writes that, because he doesn’t think I hate women, I should therefore “extend [him] the same intellectual courtesy” and acknowledge that he also doesn’t hate women. Sure, I acknowledge that he doesn’t hate women. I’ve never said that Dave hates women. When the subject of The Petition came up many years ago, I told him to his face that I don’t believe that he hates women. I think he’s a misogynist. Misogynists don’t necessarily hate women. I explained that to him at length, not just in person but also in a series of faxed letters (which have been posted somewhere on the internet).

I’m starting to think that maybe he does have a memory problem.


In the context of A Moment Of Cerebus, my opinion about the cover of Latter Days (that it’s ugly) seems harsh, so let me add that that cover is an anomaly. Most of the covers that Dave and Gerhard produced were great.

Cerebus is a masterpiece. I don’t have to agree with an author (or be that author's friend) to enjoy his-or-her work. I’ve read all sixteen volumes at least twice through, and some of them I’ve read more than twice. There seems to be a popular view out there that the early volumes are good and the later ones are unreadable, but, to me, Cerebus becomes more and more interesting as it progresses.

And I’m looking forward to reading a completed version of The Strange Death Of Alex Raymond.


Tim, you have my permission to repost this, too — although I understand if you don’t want to because you don’t want a prostitution debate taking over your site.

Chester Brown has been writing and drawing comics and graphic novels since the 1980s: Yummy Fur, Ed The Happy Clown, I Never Liked You, Louis Riel, Paying For It, Mary Wept Over The Feet Of Jesus. You can help provide him with a stable source of income while he works on his next graphic novel by donating at Patreon.


Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

A couple of comments demonstrating particular insight into Dave's method of "thinking":

"Note that this was an emotional reaction on Dave’s part. While he supposedly now eschews emotional arguments, he refers to his individual emotional reaction as if it’s relevant to the broad subject".


"Dave has clichés, emotional reactions, and his idiosyncratic religious beliefs -- what he does not have is a rational argument."

-- Damian

Travis Pelkie said...

"I told him to his face that I don’t believe that he hates women. I think he’s a misogynist. Misogynists don’t necessarily hate women."




how exactly do you define a misogynist, then? What makes Dave a misogynist but not a woman hater? Because "hating women" is essentially the core of the definition of misogyny.

I'm genuinely interested in Chester Brown's definition of the word, especially in the context of Dave.

Glen said...


That sentence raised a Spockian eyebrow with me as well.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines a misogynist as:

"A person who dislikes, despises, or is strongly prejudiced against women".

Let's try not to redefine words because we are afraid to confront someone whom we admire or like.

Dominick Grace said...

Well, words DO change meaning over time, actually. And Chester saying he thinks Dave doesn't hate women but is a misogynist is not incompatible with that quoted definition anyway. There is a OR in there: the definition as phrased allows misogyny to refer to a strong prejudice against women, not a dislike for them.

Sean R said...

Oh come on, Dominick. Sure, there are words that drift over time, but that doesn't mean that incorrect usage, especially when it's driven by a culture of increasing hyperbole, erases or trumps the original meaning. If language matters, if specific meanings matter, then there are practical reasons to push back against usages that soften or blunt the meaning/lessen the usefulness of actual words with specific meanings.

Speaking of which: Mr. Brown's construction of "whorephobia" and attempt to wield it in the absence of another supporting argument is hilarious/depressing/both of these things at once (I'm sure the Germans have a word for it).

Damian: how helpful that Mr. Brown has used some of your classic lines! You only had to cut and paste this time rather than retyping them yourself.

I think Dave's previous comments cut to the quick of the issue very effectively. I think if you to read them again and responded directly there might be an interesting dialogue to be had. I'm intrigued by Mr. Brown's assertion that "any intelligent person wouldn't be bothered" if they had a sister who was a sex-worker. Do you count yourself in this category?

To Mr. Brown, or anyone else who agrees with his assertions--what are the incidences of mental illness among sex workers? What percentage of that population was abused as children? How does the life expectancy of a sex worker compare to a non-sex worker? Do you think any of these issues are causal, or just correlated with that choice of profession? How many of these things do you expect would change with legalization, and how would such a legalization scheme avoid the problems with essentially indentured servitude seen under the German legalization scheme?

Look, I'm no expert. At all! But it doesn't take much exposure to the sex economy for an empathetic person to see the damage that's being done to people on one side of that exchange. And it doesn't take a great thinker to see when someone's deluding themselves in an attempt to intellectually justify something that they enjoy.

Sean R said...

I'd also like to point out that one doesn't have to share Dave's religious beliefs to agree with his observations or the conclusions that he derives from them. Individual people's lives have value, and pain is real, ergo, actions that cause pain and decrease that value are morally suspect, at the least.

Unknown said...

Dominick - The problem that I see with "where you're going with this" when it comes to the meaning of words drifting over time is that you end up in Bill Clinton territory: "It depends on what your definition of the word 'is' is." I mean it's an interesting theory: we will gradually change the meaning of the word misogynist until it doesn't mean hating women and then we can all go: "What is Dave Sim's PROBLEM? Being called a misogynist isn't an INSULT! (necessarily)"

In a related instance, I think society as a whole is getting a little weary (a lot weary?) of the overuse of "phobia" in our society as a means of ending a discussion and declaring victory. "Dave Sim doesn't acknowledge the existence of whorephobia, therefore Dave Sim is an ignorant Philistine, therefore I, Chester Brown, who is avowedly not a whorephobe, win! Yay for people who think the right way!"

I think whoredom and whorish behaviour are bad ideas. Far from being a "whorephobe", my parents were fine with me buying PLAYBOY magazine when I was 14 or 15 and were fine with me reading my Dad's copies of PLAYBOY from about the age of 11. BEFORE that, my sister and I were told, in no uncertain terms, to keep away from Dad's bottom drawer where he kept the PLAYBOYs (which, of course, was the first place we went any time my parents were gone for more than ten minutes). I definitely now think that posing nude for PLAYBOY constitutes whorish behaviour and is detrimental to the model, the photographer, the magazine and the reader. It's a (to me) bad idea and I'm, personally, sorry that I went as far down that road as I did. I recommend against it. For Chet, it was obviously a natural progression: you read PLAYBOY and look at the pictures and when you can afford to have sex with them you have sex with them. That, to me, is a bad idea and I recommend against it.

Dominick Grace said...

It's not a theory. It is a fact. Word meanings are not fixed and eternal. Check the history of any number of words in the OED or other dictionaries and you will find innumerable examples of words that no longer mean what they used to mean, and in some cases even mean the opposite. "Meat" used to mean any kind of food, not just the flesh of animals. "Discriminate" in its earliest sense means to use your judgement to distinguish between things; it did not acquire its pretty much contrary negative meaning of using prejudice (pre-judgement) rather than actual evaluation and distinction until about two hundred years after the earliest citations of it in its original sense. "Awesome" used to mean worthy of or inspiring awe. Now it is almost always used simply to mean, 'I think that's cool!' "Party" wasn't even a verb when I was a kid....

Heck, the OED definition cited in the very comment I responded to includes strong prejudice against women as an alternative meaning to disliking or despising women, so in this case the dictionary is actually onside with the word having a wider meaning, as currently used, than it once had. For the record, I DID sign the petition--after muich deliberation--because I still, personally, think that using the word in a diluted sense--and you can't get much more diluted than Arya's 'If you're not a feminist, then you're a misogynist' line from a while back--is akin to the drift that has turned 'fascist' into a word that is used generally just to mean 'someone who exercises authority in ways I don't like.' However, the reality is that usage dictates meaning when it comes to language, not some sort of ideal state of a word's origin, and 'misogyny' is now so frequently used to mean 'not as pro-women as I am' that I can understand how Chester Brown can assert that a) Dave does not hate women and that b) Dave is a misogynist.

Unknown said...

I definitely thought that Chet and I were on the same page. Well, let me give you an example:

There was an event -- The Doug Wright Awards? -- at one of those boutique Toronto hotels way out on Queen Street. And part of the entertainment was Seth interviewing Chester onstage. And, at some point, Chester mentioned that although he's a Libertarian, all of his friends were Liberals or Socialists.

Well, that definitely let me out, but it was definitely not an "OH NO! CHESTER DOESN'T CONSIDER ME A FRIEND!!" thing even though we had already spent part of the day together, having lunch and going for coffee. No, I know how that game works. Especially in Toronto. If you want to "hang" with and be accepted by Liberals and Socialists, you definitely have to be either the "token" right-winger or (preferably) the SILENT right-winger (which Chester is very good at it: not saying anything). And you definitely don't want to admit, publicly, that Dave Sim is your friend. And there was no danger of that happening with Chester. And I was aware of that.

I did think it was important to maintain a connection between my end of Canadian Comics and Chester's end of Canadian Comics. And Chester was the only person "over there" (Drawn & Quarterly, the Doug Wright Awards, The Beguiling, TCAF, etc.) who didn't APPEAR to be ALWAYS openly hostile towards me.

But, not signing the petition was the break point for me. And then, weirdly, he and John Tran drove up from Toronto and showed up unannounced at my front door. A weird Toronto thing: "Look! We're from Toronto and therefore important! And you're from Kitchener and therefore insignificant! We're here to establish that we're your friends!"

Uh, well, if you think I'm a misogynist, no, you're not. This isn't a "what you think it is" thing this is a "what I think it is" thing. I'm not letting you in the house. People who sign the petition I will let into the house. But not people who think I'm a misogynist. I'll walk over to Tim Horton's with you and explain what I've already explained. Which I did.

Erick said...

A few words whose meaning have changed, and some rather radically.

Addict – An addict was originally a person who was awarded (as a slave) to a debtor for money owed. Obviously, this word has maintained the negative connotation of slavery, though our modern version refers to substance abuse, as an abbreviated form of the word addiction.
Afford – Originally, this word meant to move forward. I suppose in a way it still does but has been narrowed in scope to financial advancement.
Angel – This one surprised me. Apparently, angel originally referred to any messenger…not necessarily one of heavenly origin.
Artificial – Here’s a stretch…this word used to refer to someone having artistic or technical skills. The roots are still visible, as we now use it to describe something created or man-made.
Aspire – To breathe into is an antique definition of aspire. Feel free to metaphorically connect that to our present definition of a focused dream or desire.
Awful – Much like awesome, awful used to describe anything worthy of awe. It still does, though the connotation has changed to involve things that are terribly worthy of awe.
Bimbo – There’s a huge difference between a promiscuous woman (modern) and being one of the guys (antique). Not such an insult now, is it?
Bully – Bully meant superb or wonderful. I love this word, or at least the previous meaning of this word…and its use still stands in other countries. (Bully for you, Australia!)
Cauldron – With its current dark connotation of witches and potions, you’d never guess cauldrons were originally used to take a hot bath, though this might contribute to the common cartoon scenarios of being boiled in one.
Conserve – Speaking of mystical connotations, conserve used to refer to the observation of a rite or ritual.
Crave – Originally crave meant to demand a legal right to something. I guess craving chocolate (or tacos) takes on some serious judicial weight by this definition.
Desire – We usually use this word in reference to something we want, or more specifically someone we want. Originally, desire was an astrological term that encompassed the study of the stars.
Elope – This word has changed its definition, though both encompass running off in the name of love. The difference is that it originally referred to a married woman who fled with a lover.
Evil – You may think the meaning of this word hasn’t changed much at all, as it used to describe an uppity person.
Fantastic – We’ve morphed this word into a synonym for awesome and amazing. Historically, fantastic was something existing solely in the imagination. Like unicorns. And tidy children.
Flirt – Another favorite of mine…historically, flirt was a flicking or jerking motion. It usually referred to the motion of a woman opening a (Victorian) fan. Makes you wonder how much those women practiced at handling those fans, doesn’t it?
Heartburn – Historically heartburn had a far more literal meaning and was used to describe someone full of jealousy or anger.
Hospital – Apparently hospitals used to be fun. They were a place of reception, entertainment, and fellowship with their name-sake derived from the word hospitality.
Hussy – I want to take this word back, as it historically described the lady or woman of the house. I’m a hussy and I’m proud.

Erick said...

I grabbed the above from a website written by a woman

Carson Grubaugh said...

Started reading Paying For It for the first time last night, thanks to this discussion. Entrancing book. I had to force myself to put it down about halfway through because I needed to go to bed.

If sexual release is all there is to it I default to the classic cynical viewpoint of Diogenes, take the most expedient route and just jerk off. "I wish it were as easy to banish hunger by rubbing my belly."

All of the fun of interacting with another body pretty much goes out the window when you have to practice safe sex. Or, as M.C. Paul Barman puts it, "I said no chance for romance if I have to wear condoms cause they feel like snow pants."

Also, I am much more interested in getting the woman off than I am in my getting off. I need that aspect to enjoy it. It doesn't seem like that would be a big focus of the interaction in prostitution. Like does Chester ever perform oral sex? Missing out on a lot of fun if you ask me. Maybe he addresses this aspect of the set up in the later half of the book?

Tony Dunlop said...

"Angel – This one surprised me. Apparently, angel originally referred to any messenger…not necessarily one of heavenly origin."

This is why anyone wishing to be called "educated" needs some basic Greek and Latin. This shouldn't have been surprising at all, as the Greek word "angellos" (I'm too lazy to cook up the Greek font) means just that - messenger. Much like "martyr" just means "witness" - also Greek - that one's probably in the list but Erick stopped at "H."

Sean R said...

Come now, Tony, are you sure you're not just a monolinguaphobe?

Tony again said...

And a self-hating one at that...I speak a smattering of Spanish. Oh, and I can say "I don't speak _____" in French, German, and (modern) Greek (but not Latin - modern or classical).

Glen said...

My favorite word to change meaning is "hell".

It's derived from the German word halja which originally meant "to cover or hide".

I wonder if the modern meaning of the word came from people burying their loved ones (covering/hiding them with earth) and were curious where they went after they died.

Erick said...

I only stopped at "H" because i hit the 4k limit.
I took Latin in High School.
But I would be stretching the truth if I said I remembered the correct conjugation. Mr Google says it should be Latine non loquuntur. I came up with latine non loqui.

Tony again said...

"Romani Ite Domum"

Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

Sean R.: Indeed, we see that it is possible both to admire Cerebus and to assess Dave as not much of a thinker. I don't think anyone can accuse Chester of being a Dave-hating troll.

But what's with the weird claim on people's loyalty Dave expects? Repeatedly Dave has expressed disappointment that more comics creators didn't sign the petition. But why would they? If his petition read "I believe that Dave Sim can publish whatever he damned well likes in his comic book," he might have got more signatures (mine, for one). But it's not enough for him that people accord him that right; they must agree not only that he has the right to say it, but with what he says.

It's another example in my "Dave can't think" thesis. He can't tell the difference between his subjective viewpoints and objective fact. He knows just as strongly that they're both true, so anyone who doesn't agree must be mendacious or malevolent. But when he rests his argument on twin foundations of science and his religious beliefs, he thinks it's equally well supported; he literally can't see that his tower is collapsing to one side, and he'll maintain that it's firm and strong. (It's for just this reason that his "unified field theory" isn't.)

-- Damian

Bill Ritter said...

Damian- I usually am in agreement with your thoughts. I struggle with "But it's not enough for him that people accord him that right; they must agree not only that he has the right to say it, but with what he says" in context of the petition. I don't recall the petition as holding a factor with publisher privileges. Dave's position (to me) has been quite clear: it's a support of Dave by rejection of his being cited as a misogynist. Nothing to do with publication.

Maybe you had a different point in mind, but how you phrased your argument seems pretty weak (or at best, forcing your message).

I could argue my thoughts on why Dave is not a misogynist. You're not inclined to buy into my arguments, as you define and apply the term in a way I think is definition-ally inaccurate; much as you likely find my resistance to seeing his misogyny ignorant (presuming you even care of my resistance!).

Barry Deutsch said...

There's a strange dynamic here, where people arguing that misogyny means "hatred of women" and nothing else are claiming that they're using the original definition, while those who are saying that the definition is broader are changing the definition.

In fact, the opposite is true. The definition of "misogyny," right from the start, was broader than just "hatred of women." The people claiming that "misogyny" means "woman hater" and nothing else are both going against the original meaning of the word, and against how most current dictionaries define the word.

The word “misogyny” was first used in English in the play “Swetnam the Woman-Hater,” published in 1820 but performed as early as 1818. (They spelled it “misogynos.”) Later uses of the word derived from this play. The play, a satirical farce, was written as a response to Joseph Swetnam’s hugely popular 1815 pamphlet The arraignment of lewd, idle, froward, and unconstant women. At the play’s climax, a women’s court finds the Swetnam stand-in character guilty of “Woman-slander, and defamation.”

So according to the word’s coiners, misogyny is not a narrow concept referring only to hatred, but a broader concept referring to to slander and defamation of women (and as I read it, sexism against women in general).

Of course, possibly the meaning of the word has evolved since 1818. But most current dictionary definitions seem to agree that “misogyny” refers to more than just blind hatred. (Dictionary definitions aren’t everything, but a definition from a well-done descriptive dictionary does indicate how researchers have found English speakers are actually using a word).

(The last three paragraph were quoted from a long post I wrote back in 2015.)

It's perfectly reasonable for Chester Brown to think that Dave is a misogynist (in the sense of, someone who has displayed prejudice against women) but not someone who hates women (in the sense of, emotionally despising every woman he meets). Those two beliefs are not contrary.

Erick said...

Well said and well reasoned Barry.

Sean R said...

Having a bit of deja vu here!

Hey Barry,

"he word “misogyny” was first used in English in the play “Swetnam the Woman-Hater,” "

You don't say!

All word components from the anglicized greek:

miso— to hate
gyno— women (greek gunē, woman)
ist— person concerned with

I notice that no one else has come forward to confess, with Mr. Brown, to being one of the intelligent, enlightened people of the world who wouldn't mind their sister (reduced by Mr. Brown from "mother, sister, or daughter") being a sex worker.

Jeff Seiler said...

Carson, you asked, "does Chester ever perform oral sex?"

Whence do you think he got the inspiration for Yummy Fur? ;)

Carson Grubaugh said...


He never really addresses the woman's sexual gratification in Paying For It, unless it is in all the notes, which I was not interested enough in to read.

Barry Deutsch said...

Sean: In English, word meanings are based on usage, not on etymology.

If she found it fulfilling, enjoyable work, and went about it in a safe way, I'd have no problem with any of my sisters being a sex worker.

Unknown said...

By 2009 I was not really interested in wandering around in a world of "Dave is a misogynist" people and "Dave is not a misogynist" people and having to guess who was who. The petition seemed to be the easiest way to get some much-needed clarity. Which, for me, is what it accomplished. Not very many people don't think I'm a misogynist. I'm fine with that. Remove myself from the scene and "everyone goes home happy".

If a situation comes up like the LOW SOCIETY launch party in Toronto, well, hey, it's Toronto: it's pretty much a lock that anyone from Toronto is going to think I'm a misogynist. So, I basically said I won't go to the launch party and inflict myself on all those pure feminists -- we didn't have "trigger warnings" and "safe spaces" yet, but you could definitely feel them on the way -- but I'll buy lunch for anyone who worked on the book "the day of...". Which turned out to be Rob Walton, the guy who published it and one of the cartoonists. We had a very nice lunch and I got on the bus and went home. And then there was a big CEREBUS-themed LOW SOCIETY launch party later that night with all of the right-thinking feminists interested in attending.

IF we get to 2,000 signatures, that will still be the template. If a convention wants to pay my expenses and have me sit and sign autographs Stan Lee style (i.e. no engagement with the public but anyone who wants to buy an autograph can buy one whether they think of me as a misogynist or not; whether they've signed the petition or not), I'll be glad to entertain offers. Assuming it's far enough ahead of time, I'll make the lunch offer again. And, if it's in Toronto, it's pretty much a lock that it will be me, Rob Walton, the con organizer and somebody else. And, again, it will be a very nice lunch, I'm sure.

Unknown said...

Any time I think of deviating from that program, I just have to reread the latest post from Damian or Barry and, well, it's a no-brainer. All that can possibly happen is "DAVE SIM SPOILED EVERYONE'S GOOD TIME BY BEING AN EVIL (NOT TO MENTION STUPID) MISOGYNIST!!" If I'm not there, I can't spoil anyone's good time, now can I?

Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

Aw, Dave, and you were doing quite well with your first comment ...

It is self-evident that Dave is not interested in anything other than praise and agreement, but I think his second-last sentence is a radical interpretation of the text.

-- Damian

Barry Deutsch said...

For the record, Dave, I've never once called you stupid or evil. And I don't think you're stupid or evil.

I'm just not willing to pretend that the word "misogyny" has a meaning that excludes both the original meaning, and most current dictionary definitions.

That doesn't mean that I think you're stupid or evil; it means I disagree with you. It would be much easier to have a reasonable discussion if you were willing to make the distinction between "disagrees with me" and "thinks I'm evil and stupid."

Kit said...

The loaded construction of "confessing" aside:

I would have no problem at all with either of my sisters moving to this country and pursuing sex work. It's unlikely they would, as they're both Christians, but the question was hypothetical. Given the countries they each live in, I would be concerned for their safety from prosecution if they took it up this morning.

Living in a country where prostitution is legal, I also have no issues with any of my female friends or acquaintances who've engaged sex workers.

al roney said...

It's a case of "Her body, her right to choose!!!" when it comes to abortion, but not when a women is selling it for sex. In the case of "sex work" (PC version of whore?) she's considered a criminal or simply a victim who's being exploited, abused and so on.

Ideological inconsistency/insanity once again. The law is indeed an ass too.

I would also have a major problem if my daughter sold her body for sex. Not so much if it were my sister though.

Anonymous said...

"IF we get to 2,000 signatures, that will still be the template. If a convention wants to pay my expenses and have me sit and sign autographs Stan Lee style (i.e. no engagement with the public but anyone who wants to buy an autograph can buy one whether they think of me as a misogynist or not; whether they've signed the petition or not), I'll be glad to entertain offers. Assuming it's far enough ahead of time, I'll make the lunch offer again. And, if it's in Toronto, it's pretty much a lock that it will be me, Rob Walton, the con organizer and somebody else. And, again, it will be a very nice lunch, I'm sure."

Ok, now the petition makes sense. I was one of the first people to sign the petition (because I didn't and don't think Dave was/is a misogynist) but this is the first I'm hearing of the basic motivation. I've gotten Stan Lee's autograph, and I left a Neal Adams (and others) panel on Superman to get it, reasoning that we're at the end of Stan's second and final day of signing autographs, if I don't get it now, I never will. I was very impressed at how quickly his people moved the line forward, and I'm reasonably certain Stan didn't have the slightest idea what I said to him, what he was signing, or much of anything else going on. The guy's in his 90s, and at the end of two full days of signing autographs, you're lucky he's still conscious.

I'm not saying I hope Dave ever gets to that point [maybe Dave should have hired more cute secretaries to dictate stories to simultaneously] but I hope he can raise his regard in the field. I've said this before, but the petition as it stands looks to me like the work of a crank who spent 26 years writing and publishing an unreadable manifesto. Which Dave isn't, but it's very easy to minimize his accomplishments because he's the same guy who demanded the petition.

Carrying over from the previous discussion, how does one know whether or not one's mother, aunt, sister, daughter, etc. has already been a "sex worker" in the past? Gentlemenly standards have almost entirely been eradicated, and it seems to me prying into their past is itself a violation. If it's wrong, they're the one who's wrong. I don't think Donald Trump is wrong because his latest wife posed nude. If posing nude is wrong, I think that's on Melania.

Parts of the left are abuzz with the idea that Melania has done "sex work" (it's amazing how prudish the left gets when they see the opportunity to attack) and I don't see how it would benefit Trump, Melania, their family, America or the world for anyone to dive into that. She's an attractive woman who found her way towards the wealthiest men in the world and she's now FLOTUS. "Don't go there" applies in every sense of the phrase, considering the communism she ran from, the modelling world she grew up in, the wealthy men she encountered, her own hotness, and the political realm she's landed in now. If you were Trump, would you leave her alone in a room with Bill Clinton?

And, carrying over from the previous discussion, there isn't any real definition of prostitution. Is giving a blowjob to the guy who took you to the movies prostitution? Is giving a blowjob to the guy who drives you home from work prostitution? Because I don't think even the most patriarchal oppression is going to stop girls and women from making that offer, much less keep boys and men from saying "yes." It's very different from describing how much of men's tax money is going to women's "issues. Or maybe it isn't.


Unknown said...

ChrisW - I didn't DEMAND the petition. I asked Margaret if she was willing to post it and she did. Now I know who doesn't think I'm a misogynist so I know who to associate with without wondering what they actually think. I don't even DEMAND that people sign it. Sign it or don't sign it. It really doesn't matter to me apart from that "0" or '1" clarity. Access to Dave Sim isn't a UN-protected human right that I'm taking away from you.

"If you were [President] Trump would you leave her alone in a room with Bill Clinton?"

That's an interesting question on several levels, I think.

"No," but more because women of...non-specific virtue?...tend to have sex with Bill Clinton. It's something you find out definitively when you're "sort of famous". If someone is more famous than you are (which any famous person, in my case, is going to be), the odds are your girlfriend or fiancee or wife will have sex with them if the opportunity presents itself. Nothing against YOU (particularly) it's just, hey, it's Bill Clinton and you're Dave Sim. DUH. You have to become philosophical about that. It's like the comics creator I met at a convention who said in answer to "Oh, hi, I'm Dave Sim": "I had Zolastraya before you did".

And we all agree in our general societal laissez-faire way that It's Up To Her.

I mean, it ISN'T (in the "there are no consequences" i.e. "we're all secularists now" sense we tend to express it: there are consequences even if "he never finds out") and women tend to know that. "This is a relationship powder-keg potentially". But, if she's been going out with you for a while and she still hasn't got a ring on her finger...WTF? Why not?

Definitely hard to argue with that.

Andrew Rilstone said...

The problem is the word "hate", isn't it?

One guy might "hate" Ruritanians, in the sense of being made physically sick by their very presence, spitting or punching ever Ruritanian he meets, and just having a gut feeling that Ruritanians are evil. I think that was how Mr Hitler felt about the Jews, a it's sadly how some people still feel about gays -- just angry and disgusted by the whole idea of them.

Another guy might actually be perfectly pleasant to all the Ruritanians he meets, and even have Ruritanian friends and hire Ruritanians to work in his business -- while all the time subscribing to a view that Ruritanians are, because of their genes, say, or because the king of Ruritania signed a pact with devil, third rate citizens, inferior to Europeans -- that they shouldn't be allowed to go to college because the Ruritanian brain explodes if it tries to study science, or that they shouldn't be able to vote in elections because they all secretly working towards the destruction of Western civilization and the establishment of an Ruritanian superstate. I am afraid that that's how some people in my country feel about Muslims, right now.

You can say that the first guy hates Ruritanians and the second guy doesn't; or you can say they both hate Ruritanians in different ways. I suppose some people might say that the second guy, deep down, feels the same way as the first guy, but is embarrassed to say so.

I take it that when Chester Brown says "Dave Sim does not hate women, but he is a misogynist" he means "He is like the second guy, but not like the first guy."

That would be an intelligible point of view. Everything else is semantics.