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Dave Sim responds

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Talon helpfully faxed our post on Dave Sim’s current output to the non-internet using creatorand reports Sim’s response:

“I have never commented unfavourably about women, my opposition is directed toward feminism and the way it has turned our society in an extreme misandrist direction.

“I haven’t responded to Heidi MacDonald because I consider any analogy drawn between the pampered, cosseted and universally capitulated-to North American feminists and what European Jews experienced between 1933 and 1945 to be among the worst examples of trivializing the Shoah that could be imagined and to be, quite literally, beneath comment.

“Heidi and misandrists like her should be ashamed of holding such views but I realize that trying to point this out is a futile task in our society as constituted. They are, quite literally, shameless in their obsessive focus exclusively on their own extremist political views.” — Dave Sim, March 31, 2008


We’re left wondering how anyone could think this passage refers to “North American Feminists”:

Sometimes, these beefs are expressed through petty personal slights. Other times, they take over entire societies which condone everything from female genital mutilation to “honor” killings to rape as the tool of ethnic cleansing to a woman being arrested for sitting next to an unrelated man in a Starbucks. I’m not trying to equate the petty with the cruel and inhumane. But until we understand the sources of these feelings and social conventions, we cannot help, we cannot cure. We cannot progress.


[Thanks to Special Agent Roundy for the Link]

  1. Up until that last paragraph, Mr. Sim was on the right track. For someone who takes such offense at being labeled a misogynist, he certainly didn’t waste any time throwing misandrist out there.

    I would have said Heidi is no more a misandrist than Mr. Sim is a misogynist, but now I believe that statement would be a bit of a slight to Ms. MacDonald.

    I would be happy to never hear another word about Dave Sim’s views on anything except comics.

  2. I didn’t think you were comparing the struggle of feminism to the Holocaust in your column–I thought you were comparing Dave Sim, a misogynistic anti-feminist who has created a few good comics, to noted anti-Semites who created beautiful works, like Wagner.

    If Sim is so concerned about inappropriate comparisons between his beliefs and those of the Nazis, perhaps he should reconsider making such comparisons as well. For example, at http://www.comicsvillage.com/column.aspx?ArticleID=79 he explicitly links National Socialism to the feminist movement. (Of course, Sim doesn’t believe that there is a feminist movement; he only believes in the “Feminist-Marxist” movement.)

  3. Re: “North American feminists”–

    This is just a guess, but as I think Dave’s been heavily influenced by Camille Paglia, and Paglia has gone on record as being against a certain breed of feminists that she disassociates from Susan B. Anthony and the like– a breed Paglia more or less characterized as superficial and overprivileged– I am GUESSING that Sim is putting some similar imputation on his female critics.

  4. Hmm, I’ve never thought of Justice as an extremist point of view. Although I suppose if your world view is threatened by the emergence of justice then it would seem extreme.

    As far as equating the petty with the inhumane, I think the Rev Martin Luther King said it best, “A threat to justice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

  5. I don’t see what hes done as being that bad. He hasn’t actually done any physical act and his views aren’t isolated to himself. Theres a lot of people that don’t like the feminists war on the family, pro abortion stuff.

  6. Wait, what? Feminists are supposed to be at war with the family now? I had no idea. Nobody sent me any marching orders or anything. Should I go to Home Depot and pick up some sandbags and barbed wire before my wife and kids get home?

  7. Sorry, but I can’t let these slide:

    @ Unpopular: Up until that last paragraph, Mr. Sim was on the right track.

    If by “on the right track,” you mean “proceeding from a series of lazy, easily-disprovable premises,” then you’re correct.

    Can you, with a straight face, tell me that North American feminists are “cosseted, pampered, and universally capitulated-to”? In a country where—40-some years after the birth of the modern feminist movement—women still aren’t getting equal pay for equal work, making on average 76 on the dollar as compared to their male counterparts, even when studies factor in variables such as children? (and that’s across the board, from blue-collar grunt work to high-powered, high-paying professional jobs: female neurosurgeons earn a median annual salary of $337,031 compared to male neurosurgeons at $487,000; female civil engineers = $61,000, male civil engineers = $78,000; et bleedin’ cetera) In a country where bullshit “conscience clauses” allow pharmacists to deny women access to drugs to which they are legally entitled, drugs that their doctors have prescribed?

    Man, if that’s what it looks like in a place where feminism has won the day, I’d hate to see the alternative.

    @ matt: his views aren’t isolated to himself

    Doesn’t make them correct: the truth is not subject to popular vote.

  8. You handed Sim the argument that you are “trivializing the Shoah” in your political attacks against him. Having read your original post regarding Sim, your free use of the Shoah in your efforts to marginalize Sim for viewpoints you disagree with provided him with the counterattack.

    You have other examples available to you for utilization in your anti-Sim campaign, such as Pol Pot’s Genocide, the Armenian Genocide, the Rwandan Genocide, and even Hussein’s attempted genocide against Khurds — and yet, you opened yourself up to Godwin’s Law and allowed Sim to score a rhetorical point against you.

  9. “Feminists are supposed to be at war with the family now?”

    Don’t be silly. Feminists aren’t actually at war, any more than Dave Sim is actually moving goalposts.

  10. Allen, I don’t think Godwin’s Law really applies here. Heidi’s references are directly related to Sim’s own works on the subject. It’s not the use of the Shoah to marginalize his viewpoints but rather the use of his own words to repudiate his viewpoints as expressed elsewhere. There’s a contradiction there that doesn’t seem to make sense.

  11. “Don’t be silly. Feminists aren’t actually at war, any more than Dave Sim is actually moving goalposts.”

    How do you know? This is Dave Sim. He could actually be running around, moving goalposts. Who knows how the man gets his kicks?

  12. The rub with any issue like “feminism/women’s rights” is that advancing the oppressed group to a status of equality does reduce the status of the dominant group. Enabling women to have more ground in public life erodes the amount of ground available to men. Some people choose to focus on the advancing of oppressed groups, others choose to focus on the losses of the dominant groups. These choices tend to be grounded in individual beliefs, emotions and vested interests. These positions are not usually mutable through argument.
    Heidi and Jack believe in advancing women’s lives and freedom in this world. Dave Sim and Matt are more concerned with what they will lose.
    Good luck shouting at each other…

    And, HEY MATT- feminism is only “war on family” if you believe men can’t share decision-making, yield to a more capable partner (in situations where that partner is more capable), raise children, cook, clean, etc.
    I think we can do these things and we can share our world and lives with our partners in equality rather than treat our partners as subservient, lesser beings. See, now I shouted…

  13. A little less glibly: Seth, your model of gender relations as a zero-sum game proceeds from a wonky proposition; you’re casting the parties in an adversarial paradigm, whereas the historical model is one of partnership. And when one party advances, the rules of that partnership change, but the net results are beneficial to the partnership as a whole, and to both parties individually.

    Just off the top of my head: As women’s sexual freedom has increased, men’s sexual freedom has not contracted (as your model would predict), but has instead also increased. Men’s earning power overall has not shrunk as women’s has grown — unless you’re sitting on a bunch of poll data that I haven’t seen; instead, the overall household income of men in partnerships has grown, and both partners benefit from that. The reduction in numbers of unplanned children brought about by easier access to contraception has been a boon to both women and men. And the easing of gender restrictions in career tracking has resulted in a broader range of options for both women and men.

    Funny thing about equality; in a fair system, it really is better for everybody. I’m a feminist because I know what’s good for me — and a rising tide lifts all boats.

  14. What “patently untrue?”

    If you’re a member of the “old boy’s network,” you may stand to lose a job if the “new girl’s network” gains hegemony.

    Maybe the girl who gets your job does so because you did your job badly. Or maybe she was brought in to fill a quota? Who knows? Every case is different. Generalities aren’t workable, on Dave’s side or Heidi’s.

  15. What “patently untrue?”

    If you’re a member of the “old boy’s network,” you may stand to lose a job if the “new girl’s network” gains hegemony.

    Maybe the girl who gets your job does so because you did your job badly. Or maybe she was brought in to fill a quota? Who knows? Every case is different. Generalities aren’t workable, on Dave’s side or Heidi’s.

  16. What’s “my side”, here anyway? I’d love to know.

    Maybe the idea isn’t to create ANY new network. Maybe there’s a new “old people’s network.”

    Where they show Matlock and Murder She Wrote all the time.

    (that was a joke.)

  17. Generalities aren’t workable, on Dave’s side or Heidi’s.

    Except when they’re used to keep down half the human race out of fear that maybe, someday, one guy, somewhere, might be unjustly dismissed from his job if Those Damned Women are not stopped?

    This would be the one percent doctrine at work, would it?

  18. Jack,
    I agree that a fair system is better for everyone. I’ll even extend that to say that in order to make Ye Olde Grand Narrative of Emanicipation work, there’s going to be times that one qualified person is going to lose out to another simply as a way of redressing old wrongs, and that IMO that’s just a matter of karma coming around to be a chameleon (or something).

    But no matter what long-range POV one takes of the matter, for the person who doesn’t get the job, it’s still a zero sum game. It doesn’t make any sense to pretend otherwise, no matter how many long-range justifications one puts out there. This is not to say that the original “old boy’s network” wasn’t just as much of a zero-sum game: in fact, it was more of one. The justifications for the Narrative of Emancipation are better, but it’s not a perfect world and abuses will happen.

    To the extent that Heidi has said roughly-similar things (“old people’s network”), hers too would be on the side of Universal Emanicipation, as I read her words here. I’m certainly more on her side than on Dave’s (whether she wants me there or not), and I think Dave has based too much of his rhetoric on the “one percent doctrine.”

    But it just doesn’t make any sense to say, “No one loses.” “Acceptable losses,” maybe.

  19. A-rod,

    I merely tendered my opinion.

    BTW, I love your line, “There’s a contradiction there that doesn’t seem to make sense.”

    I am still smiling over that. You had better run out and trademark that.

  20. Gene, you conveniently leave out the theoretical woman’s spouse…let’s say she has a husband.

    Does he not gain from her employment? The household has more income!

    No “acceptable losses” there.

    And perhaps, she is brilliant! Her company soars, creating more jobs! The man who didn’t get the job is hired as well!

    I could go on….but you get the picture.

  21. I apologize Allen, for my poor writing. I was merely trying to express what I believed the point of Heidi’s original essay was and how Godwin’s Law was as applicable as Murphy’s , in my opinion.

    Once again, sorry I don’t have a smug insult or pompous joke to follow up with.

  22. Dave Sim doesn’t read much of the internet, thus Talon has to prod Sim to respond to things he might otherwise never see.

    I wonder if Dave Sim sees the entire article that Heidi wrote, or just select parts cut-and-pasted into emails. And I wonder the same about Dave Sim’s responses…are we seeing the entire email, or just parts that are selected to move an argument forward?

  23. A-rod, it is okay…other than a faint attempt on your part to ‘guide’ my speech, I had no illusions that you intended humor. I eagerly await future exchanges when you surely will ‘educate’ me as to what issues exist, and which are those that I should embrace to your satisfaction.

    Toby, the only two comics entertainment blogs I read are written by women. Being male, I would attempt the argument that I already know what males think regarding comics and the like. I want to know what women think about the medium — that might be a black mark against me, alas…

  24. I never sent any of Heidi’s article to Dave…I’m guessing that someone else did. What I sent was some of the conversations going on about this on the YAHOO group, and Dave responded with that Heidi quote.

  25. Well, Jack, men and women often are in an adversarial paradigm, IMO. I think any sharing situation revolves around a finite quantity, whether we’re talking about resources, opportunities, land, whatever. There is always some limiting factor in the picture that means somebody can’t have everything at the same time as someone else has everything.
    When I referred to “reduc(ing) the status of the dominant group”, I meant realities such as this (the following example is from my life and cutely reverses the genders- it’s actually the anti-libbers’ nightmare!): Back in the 90s my girlfriend and I broke up. A year previous, she wanted to break up but I worked my way through it BECAUSE I COULDN’T AFFORD MY OWN APARTMENT! The next year, I was making enough money to not feel the financial need to challenge the idea of breaking up.
    Reverse the genders of the people in my example and it becomes an example of what I mean. I think most anti-feminists want the power to “keep” women and control their relationships with women. If a woman doesn’t have the power to get money on her own, it is hard for her to leave a relationship or even live as an adult without a relationship. In traditional pre-lib societies females started life as daughters subservient to fathers, and became wives subservient to husbands. Throughout their lives, their individual security and power was derived from their individual subserviences to men.
    As to your statements about the mutual benefits of gender equality, I’m happy to agree with you. And I do think gender equality or the elimination of gender-centric views is good for our species.
    But I do believe males are losing power as a consequence of female liberation. I think our “losing power” is for a good cause, and that having that power was unjust. And I think that some other males don’t want to lose that power and are doing what they can to try to keep it. They’re not crazy or stupid, they’re just nasty and selfish.
    I don’t want to be adversarial with you, I do want to convince you that the Dave Sims of the world have a reason to act like they do and say what they say…

  26. Jack Fear, what I meant by right track was that he was still within realm of a reasonable argument. Then he called Heidi a misandrist, which she CLEARLY is not. It’s at that point I decided not to give a damn about Dave Sim’s views on certain subjects henceforth. He became hypocritical without much effort with just the first line of the last paragraph. That’s pretty much all I was going for… and you should be pleased because I had previously been in the Dave-Sim-isn’t-a-big-meanie camp.

  27. He rips on women all the time. What the hell is he even talking about? He’s got no self-awareness left.

    Once again: I am a fan. I just read FLIGHT last week. I’ve just about read all the phone books up to the point where I started buying the floppies every month in the mid-90s.

  28. Peter,
    Sure, our hypothetical one-percenter could have a wife who works, brings in income (more than him, perhaps), and who excels at her job.

    But it’s still a zero-sum game if Woman X gets the job he wants. There’s any number of variables one can bring in, but the basic schema remains true.

    On at least one occasion, Sim has stated that he’s not opposed to women entering the workplace (for your assignment, class, see Paglia’s “No Law in the Arena” and write 100 words drawing comparisons), as long as they abide by the “hard knocks” of the workplace. I *assume* that he thinks most women can’t take those hard knocks and that therefore they (and society) would be better off staying home. I wouldn’t be surprised if he contradicts this stance somewhere else, though I give him props for trying to stay consistent within his own suppositions.

  29. Well, Gene—is it really one-percent?

    I fit very well into that mode. Great wife, excels at her job, makes more money than me.

    (And if she was male, she might be making even more!)

    And I guess you and I won’t be able to agree on the zero-sum thing, as my previous statement made clear. If you hire talented people–whatever gender–there is no clear one-to-one ratio on available jobs. The ultimate “sum” is that we all benefit by casting as wide a net as possible.

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