The News Blog of Comics Culture
Sim is so repellent I don’t understand how anyone can actually enjoy his work.
Wait, he has a blog now?
It’s my understanding that Dave Sim still largely stays away from computers, maybe only around them when he has someone else with him answering comments / questions from the Cerebus Yahoo group (I don’t even know if he still does this). So his blog isn’t physically done by him, rather someone puts it together for him from his letters and or faxes. Dave Sim once called computers “typewriters with a television screen attached”.
I haven’t talked with Dave in some time,… but, yeah, Dave was forwarding his letters to someone else to post on his blog.
Sin often goes over the top, but sometimes I find myself laughing at the things he says before I can stop myself, and I still think his issue of Spawn was one of the best single issues of a comic ever written.
Dave does have a computer. When I interviewed him by fax, he later sent me everything on a CD he burned. He once made a reference to the Comics Journal Message Board at an awards ceremony, but I don’t know if he’s actually on the Internet.
I’m relieved to know he is sane. I can only imagine what he would be like as a madman!
is Cerebus the graphic novel equivalent of Birth Of A Nation?
I wonder how many people would still shrug off Sim’s views if he was a racist who wrote about how terrible people of color are.
Ah, that he isn’t on a computer explains why he wants to know so bad who James Turner’s “female editor” is but can’t figure it out for himself.
Or on the Internet, I should say.
Dave’s one of the nicest, most intelligent people I’ve ever met.
I don’t agree with many of his personal beliefs, but hell, I can say that about virtually everyone I know.
Bartholomew Fair said: “I wonder how many people would still shrug off Sim’s views if he was a racist who wrote about how terrible people of color are.”
It amazes me that this PC-warped notion that “Dave Sim hates women” continues to breathe slithery breath.
Okay, it doesn’t really surprise me.
Yes, he has some “unpopular” views about gender differences that threaten some people. (It’s nothing new, it’s been going on since issue #186 in 1994) and he dared question the now-politically correct “sacred article of faith” that men and women are exactly the same, equal in every way.
In my recollection, his most controversial statements have been that a woman can be a spiritually/mentally draining presence (particularly for a creative man) and that in a scripturally proper household, the woman should defer to the man and not be a sassing, needy harpy. Whooo, that’s so outrageous.
Fact is, if you’re going to equate Sim with racist propagandists based on THAT criteria, then you’re going to have to lump in a GIGANTIC portion of all the men on this planet, including a considerable number in the USA. You can start with the Southern Baptists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Amish, Mormons and Muslims. ALL their dogmas contain some degree of misogyny. Do all Baptists and Muslims believe their women should be subservient to them? Of course not.
But a LOT of them do.
(This idea of female subserviance is a big reason why Jimmy Carter severed ties with the Southern Baptists, just as I did, several years ago.)
Half the views I see attributed to Dave are either exagerrations or outright fabrications, and much of that misinformation seems to come from sources that have a long-term interest in discrediting Dave (GaryCOUGHGroth) or from those whose own views apparently can’t stand up to challenge.
To my knowledge, he’s never opined that women should be silent unless spoken to, walk 10 paces behind her man, or allow herself to be used sexually, or that women shouldn’t vote, NONE of that crap. And yet he’s long been caricaturized as some raving, woman-hating misogynist. It’s dispicable. And to some, such as THIS writer, who who has actually READ Sim’s essays and interviews, and has had dozens of lengthy conversations with the man himself, all this comes off as transparent, “politically correct” witchhunting.
Years ago, Dave issued a challenge to The Friends of Lulu to officially condemn restriction of FREE SPEECH -which of course would include explicitly adult material, like the Eros line. Apparently the group refused to respond for quite some time, and then only dismissively so.
Sure, I thought the whole thing was rather tacky on Dave’s part, particularly since (if I recall correctly) his ex-wife Deni Loubert is a member, but it hardly qualifies Sim as a woman-hater. But boy did it ever earn Dave the permanent ire of that group and their affiliates.
So it’s interesting how often the cheap shots against Dave originate from those with connections to that group.
There’s rarely any actual discussion of exactly what it is that Dave Sim has supposedly said or done to deserve such ludicrous villification.
And I expect there will be none here.
A look at today’s blog entry by Sim (about, of all things, the non-surface of the Sun and the enormity of the universe) doesn’t exactly read like the raving lunatic Dave is often portrayed as:
I’m pretty sure that Dave has said Women shouldn’t vote — or more properly that giving women the vote is a disaster. BZZZZZZZT! Next!
Actually, here’s the quote I was thinking of I think he went on at length in a later piece, but don’t have it at hand:
Emotion, whatever the Female Void would have you believe, is not a more Exalted State than is Thought. In point of fact, I think Emotion is animalistic, serpent-brain stuff. Animals do not Think, but I am reasonably certain that they have Emotions. “Eating this makes me Happy.” “When my fur is all wet and I am cold, it makes me Sad.” “Ooo! Puppies!” “It makes me Excited to Chase the Ball!” Reason, as any husband can tell you, doesn’t stand a chance in an argument with Emotion. There are no rules to Emotional Argument. You simply wander around in rhetorical circles until you feel Happy again, and then the argument is over. This was the fundamental reason, I believe, that women were (rightly) denied the vote for so long. In order to move a civilisation forward, an overview is required. You have to be able to step back and examine the structure of a problem. This is what Thinking, Reasoning, is. Every political campaign waged in the G-7 countries has as its centerpiece Job Creation. Polls give the politicians a list of voter concerns. Job Creation is at the top of the list. Ergo, the politicians promise Jobs. Because the Female Void dominates proceedings (simply because the Female Void dominates everything), a candidate is elected based on how he or she makes the electorate Feel. We Feel we can Trust this candidate. No effort is made to step back and ask, “Isn’t the whole point of technology to eliminate work?” Reason would tell you that you can either eliminate (or limit) technology or you can eliminate (or limit) jobs. It is not possible to have it both ways. The Female Void Emotional response is that we have to have it both ways. And so we do. And so the problem gets worse instead of better.
I’ll grant you that he hasn’t outright said that women are horrible Venusian agents out to suck our orgones. (Well, he might have, but past the three-quarters mark I was tired of being browbeaten by the backmatter in the individual issues and stopped reading.) Sim’s repeated & entrenched personal claim is that women are different than men, and that men are superior to women because we value ‘reason’ over ‘emotion’. Which is fallacious poppycock, but nevermind. The point is, his art & fiction tends to exaggerate that opinion-which-he-holds-to-be-fact into something which most of us find personally repellent.
I have no doubt that Sim knows a few women who don’t trigger his arachnid reflex, but his opinion of the majority of women tends to hinge on what they think of him as a Brilliant Interpreter of Reality– cf. his heel-turn on Carla Speed McNeil as an artist after her interview in The Comics Journal #280. That sort of behavior tends to color one’s impressions, so it’s hard not to think of Sim as a misogynist (or at least a very sexually frustrated individual). While I don’t believe he actually hates women, homosexuals, or left-wingers, he has a deeply dour and unfavorable view of a fair portion of the population, and that view is based on his personal biases as opposed to verifiable fact, which makes him a rather tedious and insufficient artist.
To make the matter more of a morass, Sim tends to take every challenge as either an affirmation of his absolute infallibility (“You’re arguing with me, so I must be Right”) or as a personal affront (see his rather lengthy list of former friends & associates, most recently including Gerhard). Whether this behavior is a symptom of his martyr complex or whether it helped him develop one, he has retreated into using his deeply personal & idiosyncratic religious preferences as a defense– a frankly untenable position, and one that doesn’t help his public perception. He’s perfectly right to be concerned / bothered / hurt by how we view him, but he doesn’t attempt to actually engage in a conversation with us* so that we may all redress our differences, he just grumps & grumbles about how he’s been shut out & shut off because we can’t cope with his profound insights. Again, not the worldview of a genius or competent artist, but that of a crank & conspiracy theorist who has painted himself into an illogical corner: God is an embattled point of light in the darkness because that’s how Sim perceives himself.
In a word, sophistry. It’s a self-perpetuating pity party & a mode of self-destructive behavior, and I believe he finds it personally validating in some hermetic way. (The pun is intended.) It’s his own fault if we’ve had enough. For god’s sake, we spend more time talking about Sim-the-man than we do Sim-the-creator because he made damn well certain that we wouldn’t be able to distinguish the two: he made himself synonymous with the work and demanded we accept both on parity, which is self-sabotage for which I’ve no sympathy. The work should exist independent of the artist, it should not be reliant on him unless he lives his life as a work of art. Sim does not.
If he gets off the pot and produces something new worth reading, I’ll re-evaluate my stance– I’m sure many of us would. But until such time comes to pass, I’m sick of hearing about how awful we’ve all been toward his precious, precious ego.
* ‘Us’ in this case referring to former fans who gave up in the face of unnecessary & abusive politicking.
Some of Dave Sim’s best friends are women! I hope most of you get my point here (and for those that don’t, insert “black people” where “women” is in that sentence).
Heidi – FYI, the long piece you quote is from Cerebus issue #186, from one of Viktor Davis’ text pieces. A search of the Sim writings on my site only produced this, which is as close as I can see to what you’re describing:
“That sounds far-fetched, but remember this all started with giving women the vote. I’m sure the vast majority of men thought at the time, “It’s a bit of a stretch, but once they have the vote, they’ll be satisfied.” In my view, all of these things follow one on the other and women and homosexuals are never going to be satisfied, no matter what you capitulate to. Same-sex marriage is the latest one. Most men delude themselves that if we capitulate on same-sex marriage, that will be the end of it. I have no idea what comes next, but the surest way to find out is to legalize same- sex marriage. ”
Which is from the “Louis Reil: Conversation with Chester Brown” segment that ran in the back of Cerebus. Many of Dave’s views run contrary to public opinion, but at least do him the courtesy of quoting him correctly.
I remember from a Matt Groening Life in Hell comic strip on the Republican Convention, don’t be caught saying ‘When will the White Christian Man catch a break?!’ That seems like a good rule for life in general.
First. Dave does use computers for word processing and some production, but he does not use the internet (or if he does, for a bare minimum when required because it’s too much of a distraction). He writes his blog in chunks and forwards them to me. It is all new material, often in response to letters. You want to open a dialogue with Dave? Write him a letter. He will probably respond in public. Go for it.
Second. It isn’t that *arguing* with Dave proves him right — it’s the fact that emotional nonsense like this proves him right. “Oh look! An opportunity to bash Dave Sim. Everybody pile on! Wheee!!!” Idiotic children. Please, continue to misquote and malign him for no good reason. It makes it that much easier to defend him.
Third. Yes, it is hard to separate Dave from Cerebus. He made it a very personal work, and that *adds* to the artistic achievement, it does not detract from it. However, as difficult as it may be, it is not impossible. Yet so many fail at it over and over and over again — so called experts that really should know better. *That*, Alice, is truly repellent.
Wow, Sim’s not only a misogynist, he’s a Luddite. Technology doesn’t limit jobs, it creates jobs, and any careful reading of history will demonstrate that this is so.
So much for Sim’s brand of “reason.” What a train-wreck. To think I once admired that guy.
>>>>Second. It isn’t that *arguing* with Dave proves him right — it’s the fact that emotional nonsense like this proves him right. “Oh look! An opportunity to bash Dave Sim. Everybody pile on! Wheee!!!” Idiotic children. Please, continue to misquote and malign him for no good reason. It makes it that much easier to defend him.
Hm, I don’t see much point in trying to win this “argument” since anything that disagrees with Dave will automatically be branded “emotional nonsense.”
That’s how he getsya! Wait till he figures out hate is an emotion… it’ll BLOW HIS MIND.
It’s not just Sim’s precious ego I’m tired of– almost every major comics blog for the past three weeks has either been running articles on Sim or linking to those who do, and the majority of the discussions hinge on the problem that concerns us here: Sim’s insistence that he and the work are part and parcel. “Accept Cerebus, accept me.” Out of the seven articles I’ve read in the past three weeks only one has taken the time to actually discuss the merits of Cerebus as a narrative. That speaks volumes about the problem Sim has created for both himself and anyone who would understand him. “Accept Cerebus, accept me.” I don’t dig that. I don’t think it should have been necessary to understand or accept Dave Sim as my personal savior in order to enjoy Cerebus, but that’s what he insisted on, and that insistence poisoned the work for me. I consider that a loss, because I enjoyed the work, in parts, and admired the various techniques he employed to tell his stories, but I don’t like Cerebus because I don’t like Dave Sim’s worldview.
That fault may be a matter of my poor taste, lack of comprehension and generally doomed status of Damned If Do, Double-Damned If I Don’t, but bear with me:
Cerebus, while an at-times compelling & humorous tale, doesn’t propose solutions. It’s bleak to the point of being painful. It points out societal ills (real & imaginary) and argues semantics (at length & pedantically, in a fashion that would bore the tits off Norman Mailer); it doomsays, but it doesn’t suggest anything remotely resembling a better world. I know the world’s in shaky shape. It has been, most of my life. I don’t need Sim to point that out, particularly not if he’s going to do it in an unimaginative and uninformative fashion.
Regarding Sim’s late-in-the-day conversion, which figures largely in the latter third of the work and seems to be the closest he can come to an out: Religious faith CAN be a solution– but only on a personal level. Believing in G_d doesn’t change the world, it only changes the individual (and then only to an infinitesimal extent– in my experience, born-again types tend to be A & not-A simultaneously). Religious conversion doesn’t equate doing something to make the world a better place.
Sim was a writer before he was a die-hard mystic with delusions of grandeur, and fiction should, at its best, project a better world. An artist should be able to produce a work of art that conveys information & ideas vital to our betterment as a species. If you can’t, that’s okay, too– there’s nothing wrong with simply being entertaining –but Sim likes to come on like he’s the proverbial prophet with the key to the rose garden of immortality, and it just. ain’t. so. If he does, that rose garden’s only big enough for one.
So, to bring it home:
Sim’s insistence that he and the work are on the same level is belligerent and unnecessary. The twain may be the same but it’s hardly what you’d call informative or uplifting. If I need a cynical comic artist to remind me that life can be utter sh*t, I can pick up Harvey Pekar or Robert Crumb or Eddie Campbell– all of whom go on to point to ways in which our sense of failure, frailty & fumbling hopelessness is essentially untrue, that life IS worth living, if only we’ll pull our collective head out of our ass. They move on to provide solutions. That’s what makes them worthy artists & worth reading. Sim, however, is down on everyone and everything, positive & negative, including himself. He thinks we’re all damned. I don’t need that, and I believe I can speak for a fair number of others who don’t, either.
When he produces something that bespeaks beauty, I’ll read it. But I don’t much see the point in running him down any more. He does a good enough job of that on his own.
“It amazes me that this PC-warped notion that “Dave Sim hates women” continues to breathe slithery breath.”
Oh dear, it’s probably all that slithery food I’ve been eating. I’ll try to cut back.
You know, reading over his blog… this guy really just has his one tune, don’t he?
Every argument has two sides. If you’re only interested in listening to the side that benefits you and supports your world view, then you’re no better than those who are arguing against you and trying to prevent your viewpoint from spreading by doing the same thing.
Scott Bieser Says:
“…Sim’s not only a misogynist…”
There is no evidence that Sim is a misogynist.
“Believing in G_d doesn’t change the world, it only changes the individual…”
The individual is part of the world.
“… in my experience, born-again types tend to be A & not-A simultaneously). ”
This is impossible.
[...] Quote of the day from THE BEAT [...]
Events/Previews Editor: Jessica Lee
Technology Editor: Bruce Lidl
Entertainment Editor: Shannon O'Leary
Padraig O Mealoid
Return to top of page
Copyright © 2013 The Beat Log in