Re: Dave Sim's blogandmail #170 (February 28th, 2007)
As promised, here is my "further word" on the subject. This is the multi-page fax I sent to Dave earlier today in response. Dave's words are in italics, mine with usual ---- preceding.
With all due respect, Jeff, you misunderstand. At this point, I'm not so much trying to find people to get involved with putting together a "female comics professional petition against censorship" I know better at this point -- as I am in addressing a larger concern which, as I see it, is the extent to which feminists get a free ride in our society essentially by dividing society into feminists and misogynists. If you do something they don't like, you're a misogynist and, once labelled as such, it means that all of your viewpoints (once and future, declared and undeclared) are null and void and it validates the decision to ignore whatever you say -- essentially making society into a girl's high school clique where, unless you toe the party line, you can very quickly find yourself on the outside looking in, beyond redemption and, yes, a pariah.
----------- I understand that, but I still think this *particular* scenario and related debate will not produce any outcome worth the effort. My rationality, while agreeing with your position, sees energy wasted -- energy better spent elsewhere until a better situation represents itself (one that does not further damage your position -- which I believe is *always* possible, even if you do not). Also, it should be noted that you use this same "0" or "1" logic to frame your religious vs atheist position, a situation I find far more important, and one in which we are diametrically opposed.
It's very possible, as you say, that this is also a discussion about "personal feelings vs. principle" and the extent to which the gender opposite errs in favour of the former rather than the latter, but I still think (if true) "personal feelings vs. principle" is a very small aspect of the larger problem of the extent to which feminists get a free ride in our society. If you disagree with their politics, their tactics and their choices they accuse you of "finding a strong, independent woman a threat" and that brings the discussion to an end and leaves them to pursue their politics, their tactics and their choices without dissent or without having to properly defend them as men have to do. The only way as a man that you can refute the accusation of "finding a strong, independent woman a threat" is to treat her as a threat and get out of her way. The threat isn't from "strong, independent women" per se, the threat is from a group (which just happens to be "strong, independent women") who are using intellectually suspect leverage and intimidation to suspend debate or discussion of what they are doing to society and, consequently, getting a free ride to continue doing it. The proper response is "I don't find strong, independent women a threat. What I find a threat is when someone tries to intimidate me into not asking sensible questions about what it is that they're doing and the reasons why they are doing it. A sensible argument doesn't need intimidation to be accepted."
------------- Agreed, for the most part. I think you really have to be careful in your approach to such situations because emotions inevitably run high, as they are a part of human nature. You, yourself, use a form of intimidation in your arguments. You present yourself as an intellectual and religious theologian, empowering yourself with an overwhelming sense of "rightness." This, in my opinion, imbues your arguments with a sense of intimidation -- but not so much in the overbearing, hateful sense, but more of a genuine "How can I possibly elevate my argument to his level" kind of way. The more you attack for (what seems to be) the sake of attacking, you inevitably evoke an emotional reaction and the game is lost as the more moderate potential allies fall away and join the opposition -- in much the same way many people, including myself, see the creation of *more* terrorists by virtue of our actions in Iraq. I know you despise games, but you are playing a game of perceptions here (for example -- what defines a "strong, independent woman" is a matter of perception). That is the reality of the situation. Also, by claiming (and rightly so) that these extreme feminists have damaged your credibility and financial stability, you are being threatened by these extreme feminist / "strong, independent women." I agree that the threat is very real.
Well, I was in the 8-10 years of age bracket at the time that DC was shredding original artwork rather than giving it back to the artist. By the time I was 17, I was at least aware of the historical context and the different sides to the issue of returning original artwork and I developed my own viewpoint on the subject. I would not have considered, "But I didn't know DC was shredding artwork. I was in the 8-10 years of age bracket when they were doing it" an intellectually valid defence, but rather an embarrassing admission of fundamental ignorance.
----------- True, but please realize that you were a rather exceptional and dedicated comics fan. Add to that your high moral character, and you should see that you are a rarity indeed.
The concept behind a "female comics professionals' petition against censorship" doesn't exactly require a 75-page writ to explain. Here: "How about if the only comics organization with a large base of female comics professionals canvases their membership to see who would be willing to sign a petition denouncing censorship so that that petition could be used by the Comic Book Legal Defence Fund to keep some of our retailers out of jail?" There. Now everyone is up to speed on the issue.
------------ And again I say, in this, you are 100% correct.
When you say "the old members (a decidedly unchivalrous choice of words, but we'll let it go),
----------- Don't bother. You're the one claiming misplaced chivalry, not I!
who have absolutely *no* responsibility to act in the manner you wish them to, will continue to ignore or insult you because of past history," I hope you aren't suggesting that this is a reasonable defence for considering the amputating of discussion of an issue as an intellectually honest way of dealing with that issue?
---------- I think it's intellectually honest to see all the factors, negative as they may be, and judge if the effort is worth the possible outcomes on a case by case basis. I think it is intellectually dishonest to latch onto one scenario and ignore the futility of its pursuit to the abandonment of all else. That can only be perceived as a senseless, emotional response. I'm not claiming that the defence you postulate is reasonable or unreasonable -- but that it is the only one in this particular instance. Adherence to the reality of the situation in the absence of any alternative is reasonable.
Certainly I can't make any of them compose a petition and I can't make them sign it nor would I want to if I could: I have never advocated compulsion, I have only advocated on-going debate with an eye to reaching a sensible conclusion -- but don't you think someone, somewhere in the FoL context (past, present or future) should -- if they are to be treated as intellectually honest individuals worthy of being taken seriously -- mount some sort of reasonable defence for just amputating the discussion? i.e. "The Reason that it was Intellectually Honest of we, the 1996 Board of Directors of the Friends of Lulu, to simply stop discussing even the idea of a `female comics professional petition deploring censorship' is " and then find something sensible to fill in the blank? It seems to me that your answer is no. And what I'm suggesting is that, given that your answer is no -- and the answer of the comics community is no -- the net result is a free ride for feminism.
------------ Sorry to upset your logic, but that is (at least in my case) incorrect. I *do* think they should make an honest statement as to why they refused to agree to your suggestion -- even if that response is an angry cry of "because Deni's ex husband was the one doing the asking and we just don't want to be involved with him in any way." Is it logical? Of course not! Is it honest? I would say yes. Do you think that's ever going to happen? I should hope not -- expecting such an unlikely event would truly be unreasonable. You have, in a way, backed them into a corner. The only recourse is either silence, or attack... or capitulation and admission of shame.
-------------- However, if you think that I believe that feminists should see their own corrupted ideology destroy any positive societal effect they may have once been able to achieve on a slow ride to a Hell of their own choosing -- then yes, they get a free ride.
And, in my view, no one should get a free ride in a democratic society. And, further, I think the issue of a free ride for a political viewpoint is such an important one that I am willing to sacrifice what little there is left of my professional reputation and stature in the field on the altar of feminist totalitarianism in order to reinforce the validity of my own point: no one should get a free ride in a democratic society and if I'm the only one who elects to stand in your way, so be it
--------------- That is, as always, your choice.
I have never asked for and I have no interest in an apology. You unconsciously strike an interesting note in suggesting that the pursuit of the resolution of a rational debate: a rational answer to a rational question is, in our feminist society, likely to be considered harassment and is yet another means by which feminists get a free ride. If you disagree with them too emphatically, you're harassing them which means that you have to withdraw your disagreement thereby creating the illusion of consensus, thereby giving feminists a free ride.
---------------- I have not said that. You are free to take your disagreement to the grave if you like. I only offer my opinion on your tactics, and the validity thereof. Withdraw nothing. I only ask that you be open minded, and aware of the the tactical errors you may be making, and adjust accordingly.
If you're talking about the "microcosm resolution" obviously the answer would be to put the question to the female comics professionals in the FoL membership or female comics professionals generally and see how many would be willing to sign a petition that the CBLDF could use deploring censorship. The offer of the four pages in the back of Cerebus for a membership drive was, in retrospect, an inadvisable quid pro quo. No one should have to be bribed into doing the right thing. They should do it because it's the right thing to do and I think helping the CBLDF to protect freedom of speech is in that category. If someone has a rational basis for disagreeing with that premise, I'll be glad to hear it.
------------- There isn't one. However, it is *possible* (however remote the chance) that you may have gotten a different response had you presented your argument so plainly to begin with without the challenging and provocative tone of your initial petition.
A female comics professional petition might not make a difference but on the other hand it might and, apart from cash and pro bono work by First Amendment lawyers, the CBLDF doesn't have a whole lot with which to fight against censorship in individual jurisdictions. Having spent years trying to come up with what might work in the public relations end of fighting censorship, the petition was the only thing that I came up with that seemed remotely plausible and remotely possible.
The "macrocosm resolution" in my view would only come when the use of amputation of debate becomes invalidated as a tactic. Particularly in the internet age with unlimited space and forums to debate every issue imaginable it seems only sensible that individuals can opt out, but that debate should always be kept alive with the idea of achieving some resolution (however remote the possibility). I have paid a terrible price for daring to do other than kowtow to the feminist orthodoxy but my position is the same as it has always been: feminism is no different from any other political movement or philosophy. It has to defend itself with sound reasoning and refute those questions addressed to it (see The Fourteen Impossible Things to Believe Before Breakfast in my "Tangent" essay) -- if it hopes to survive and retain and build upon its present societal stranglehold.
------------ I agree. Debate should be kept alive. And your consideration of the construct of feminism echoes my view on religion -- not just your religion, but all religion. Keep that in my while when evoking the "0" or "1" proposition -- it is a two edged blade. For example, I believe (in the Ayn Randian sense) that all religion promotes myth over reality and is therefore "evil" -- but I do not believe that all people who practice religion are evil.
See, to me the "free ride for feminism" issue is much larger than that and it has implications for all aspects of our society. If the "0" and "1" of our society's trajectory is decided between "misogynist" and "feminist" (either/or) as perceived by feminists and ruling out anything someone has to say if they have been judged a misogynist by feminists
---------- Or God fearing or Demon Posessed?
-- then I don't think there is much hope of a happy or sensible outcome for our society. I don't see it as someone being my "attack dog" because I think that presupposes that I am the only person opposed to feminism. Wacky Anti-Feminist Dave and His Crazy Misogynist Ideas.
----------- My assumption that that is how I would be perceived is based on our connection, such as it is. That I am one who posts your thoughts, maintains your website, promotes your work, etc. would certainly, in my opinion, color the impressions I give in this arena.
Let me put it this way: somewhere back in the 18th century, some poor soul had to stand up in his place in the British Parliament and say, "Look one way or the other I think that slavery is wrong." He had to say that in front of all of the other parliamentarians who would instantly have giant questions marks over their heads. "Slavery? Wrong? Slavery can't be wrong. Why, it's in the Bible. Whole chapters in the Old Testament deal with the proper treatment of slaves. The greatest minds in human history from Plato on down assure us that slavery is natural and inevitable." And he would be laughed at, derided, shunned and scorned for his trouble. Now, somewhere in that parliament there must have been a few fellows who thought, "Well, you know. I think he's right. I think slavery is wrong, too."
All I'm saying is that unless a few of those fellows get up the gumption to stand with that solitary chap and say, "I think he's right: I think slavery is wrong", that is, until you have a full and open and reasonable debate about slavery without the intimidation of the majority silencing the minority then you're never going to get rid of slavery, are you? You have to start somewhere if you're going to correct a wrong turn that society, with the best of intentions, has taken.
----------- True, it takes a brave man to make a stand, and I don't question your bravery. However, if you are going to reference Lincoln, it is again a case for perception. One of the main reasons he proposed the abolishment of slavery was to keep the French (who had recently abolished slavery) from joining the Souther States in their struggle. It was a political maneuver, not a strictly paragonical moral stand. Things are almost never black and white.
I think a free ride for any viewpoint in our society is always a mistake, whether that viewpoint is that "slavery is a good thing" or "you must never disagree out loud with feminists because that means you're a misogynist or a Nazi or a redneck". Twelve years later on, and still we haven't had a peep out of anyone else here in the comic-book field. I can understand the fear of consequences from daring to stand up to totalitarian feminism I'm a living example of what facing those consequences head-on is like and for most men in the comic-book field, the warning has obviously been sufficient -- but the only thing I think we have to fear (besides fear itself) are those viewpoints we are unwilling to confront and to examine and to question because of that fear. A free ride for a political viewpoint can only lead in the direction of totalitarianism based on that viewpoint, in my view. And if we aren't already there with feminism, I think we are well on our way.
------------ Indeed, it is a conundrum - the same as many Scientists or Politicians claiming Faith in the fear that admission of Agnosticism or Atheism will destroy their careers.
I appreciate that you pick your battles, Jeff. I'd be interested in what battles you think are more important than holding women in our society to basic standards of intellectual honesty in debate to which the rest of us are required to conform in the name of common sense.
------------- I hold *all* people to the same standard of intellectual honesty. I know just as many men who are simple minded and vacuous in their thoughts and opinions as women. I uphold my Atheism in the face of criticism, and am vocal about what I view are mistakes and criminal motivations in our prosecution of the war in Iraq.
------------- Also, I am compelled to show the world that I can have a rational discussion with Dave Sim even though, as I stated earlier, we are so diametrically opposed on important issues.
-------------- Until next time,
Well, I know he read it because he called me 10 minutes later. He was audibly... how should I put this.... taken aback (?). While not angry, his response was unfortunately "my message isn't getting across, so please post the the 14 Impossible Things with each blogandmail." I find this to be a *bit* childish (or more aptly like a teacher punishing students by writing on the blackboard), but hey -- it's his choice to post whatever he wants. For me, it amounts to no more work than 6 key strokes to cut and paste the text, so no problem. I told him "this will probably kill it (the blagandmail)" -- but perhaps he's looking for a way out of the blog experiment anyway. In any event, I hope he doesn't resent me for backing him into a logical corner in a public forum. I still whole heartedly defend his right to have his opinions, as well as my right to defend mine.
Lenny, I also asked him about the Miscellany Qs. He said they are in the pile of mail and he intends to get to them in due time, so everybody hang in there.
Also, I asked him about the figures on trade paperback sales vs single issues like you wanted. Expectedly he got defensive, and saw this as another attempt to disregard talking about feminism, but I calmly explained it was just the opposite - that we wanted some hard figures to show just how damaged he was financially by the attacks he suffered - damage that is sometimes dismissed by saying "yeah, but more people were buying the trades by that point, so it balanced out." We'll have to wait and see what he does on that front. I didn't have time to discuss it further because the phones were ringing off the hook at work and I had to let him go.
As they say in the streets -- "It's on!" ;)
- In a message dated 3/2/2007 11:36:20 AM Central Standard Time, jctundis@... writes:
> "Sixteen Impossible Things" at least has the virtue of sounding
> Alice in Wonderland's original "six impossible things".Oh, alright then.
15. Children must be allowed to raise themselves and determine for
themselves what does and does not constitute ethical, responsible
behaviour.Children are not allowed (by law) to raise themselves and/or determine for them selves which (laws) or ethics they follow (or obey). Children's parents are responsible for helping others guide their children along paths where they can enter into society as responsible law abiding members.Children's brains, emotions and physical readiness to enter society as contributing members all develop at different time periods for different children. When they are judged by established law as being "adults" they can raise themselves (even further) and can be held accountable for their actions and responsible for their choices.Until children reach an age of legal maturity there is a legal system in society to enforce laws and punishments (along with protections against abuse or being sold into slavery) for them.This goes for all children.
16. When one is loved unreservedly, one is treated with wilful
condescension and varying degrees of contempt.When one is loved unreservedly (by anyone) one has a more realistic definition of the words "love" and "unreservedly" than the penner of this statement shows any familiarity with. One is treated with willful condescension and varying degrees of contempt for their actions -- sometimes deservedly so (i.e. if proper forensic research leads one to the logical conclusion that they are deserved of such contempt and condescension) and sometimes, unfairly I think, based on predjudicial practice (which I like to call "contempt prior to investigation") but can such contempt and willful condescension be linked to the level of love one has been shown (or shown in return)?Falaciousness, mendacity (I can even picture Big Daddy talking about "the odor of mendacity") and -- once again, NOT his best work IMO.
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