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Being the selected wisdom of a certain writer of adventure picto-books, Gail Simone.

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26 November 12
walkstherain:

gailsimone:

tenearthimps:

gailsimone:

sweaterkittensahoy:

Gail Simone is recommending the Cerebus sale at Comixology. I have never read Cerebus, but Dave Sim, its creator, is a noted misogynist,  so it’s hugely disconcerting to see Gail Simone backing his work.
I sort of understand Simone’s tweeting of it because it’s a book that means a lot in the continuity of comics and is—from everyone I’ve known who’s read it—a very good story. But Sim refers to women as “voids” and defined that as “without a glimmer of understanding of intellectual processes.” He accused Jeff Smith (creator of Bone) of being dominated by his wife, and when Smith called him out on it, challenged Smith to a boxing match to, I assume, prove his manliness.
And I look at Simone supporting the sale of this book, and I understand its historical significance in comic book history (the first fully self-published title to take off), and I understand that it’s known for being a truly epic, well-done story, and I think of the Tony Harris apologists who say he’s not actually calling out “real” geek girls, and I wonder if one of the main reasons sexism persists so hard in comics is because high-ranking people in the industry—specifically, one of the most recognized women in the industry—back the sale of a book by a man who has referred to everyone of her gender as “without a glimmer of intellectual processes.” 
Recently, I was talking to a buddy of mine about some reservations I had on a writer change on a comic, and I said I wanted to give it a few issues to see how I felt even though the early news was making me twitchy, and my buddy said, “I’m going to tell you something I think a lot of comic readers need to hear.”
“What’s that?”
“You don’t owe them shit.”
Dave Sim wrote an epic comic. That is impressive. It is, by all accounts, a good story. That is also impressive. But you don’t owe him your time or money just because he pulled it off. You don’t owe him your attention and glimmers of intellectual processes (if you’re a man because we ladies are “voids”). You don’t owe him shit.
Gail Simone has written some of the most-enjoyed comics in the last decade, including a great run on Birds of Prey, the enjoyable Welcome to Tranquility, and a loved run on Suicide Squad. You may have read one or all of these and really enjoyed them. You may really respect her talent and skill. You don’t owe her shit.

Ick.
First, no, no reader owes me anything. Who ever said or implied such a thing? No one owes me a damn thing and I didn’t ask anything of anyone, either.
And it was Secret Six I wrote, the beloved run on Suicide Squad was by John Ostrander.
Do I think my mentioning that Cerebus is available digitally is one of the reasons “sexism persists so hard in the industry?” No, I think that’s a pretty goofy assertion.
The implication seems to be that I apologize for Dave Sim’s misogynist horseshit, or that I defend it, in some way. I do not. When Dave was on his previous ‘internet tour,’ big name creators lined up to kiss his ass, and precisely two known mainstream creators addressed him directly about his ridiculous and offensive statements. Myself and Pia Guerra.
You’ll be happy to know I got a ton of tsk-tsking about that, as well.
Dave Sim’s current philosophies are fairy dust mixed with bullshit mixed with gender rage on a massive scale. They do not lend themselves well to honest defense or apologies. The comments you quote are just a tip of a very depressing iceberg.
The issues Dave is making available digitally, to my mind, constitute a masterwork of comics. They are so good, there are only a handful of North American comics that can compete with them. When I was a kid, for a long time, I could only afford one comic a month, and that comic was Cerebus.The story being reprinted, HIGH SOCIETY, is possibly my favorite single comics story ever.
Some time much, much later, Dave Sim lost touch with reality. I’m not saying he became mentally ill, I don’t know and don’t want to guess. But he became what I think is a pretty tragic figure. I think his ideas are loathsome and contemptible, but I also think they are not entirely dissimilar from what you hear from a lot of street corner prophets.
Does that mean that the work he did before this break, where he routinely had some of the most fascinating female characters in comics, is tainted? Does that work now have implications of misogyny no one saw at the time?
For me, and I thought long and hard on this, the answer is no. I reread the early volumes and they still are tremendously good comics. But I expect my followers are intelligent people who can make their own choice.
The big questions are, and I think it’s perfectly fair to struggle with them…is great art still great art if it’s sexist?  Is art created by an artist before a personality breakdown to be lumped in with later work?  Is buying work that you find valuable and meaningful an endorsement of an artist’s much later-stated views?
I don’t tell people not to enjoy or purchase work by an artist because I find their views offensive. I don’t feel I have any authority whatsoever to do that. Like any other rational person, I make those judgments for myself, and myself only.
I have a lot of followers. Some might have gotten some enjoyment and value out of those early Cerebus books. My views on Dave Sim are ridiculously well-documented, I’ve never shied away from condemning his nonsense. I will continue to do so. I absolutely respect the opinions of anyone who doesn’t want to read these books based on Sim’s later rants.
But if someone were to ask me what comics to study to learn meaningful sequential storytelling, Cerebus would likely be in the top two or three choices I would recommend.
My followers are adults, I full expect they can make up their own minds, and I knew some would be interested. I am not going to judge them either way.

The big questions are, and I think it’s perfectly fair to struggle with them…is great art still great art if it’s sexist?  Is art created by an artist before a personality breakdown to be lumped in with later work?  Is buying work that you find valuable and meaningful an endorsement of an artist’s much later-stated views?
I would answer these as 1) No, 2) yes, 2) yes.
I love Gail, but I don’t think this is defensible.

That’s interesting…seems very dogmatic to me.
There are certainly many artists, writers and entertainers whose work is tainted for me by their personal views. And Dave is absolutely one of them, even while enjoying Cerebus, I find myself thinking of whatever recent moon-pie thing he said. 
Like I say, it’s a struggle. I wouldn’t want to answer those questions with that kind of certitude.  I can almost guarantee that virtually everyone likes some art by artists who have said racist, homophobic, or sexist things. A lot of artists ARE, in fact, assholes.

It’s the ethical consumerism thing all over again.  At first glance, how can I say I won’t buy a chicken sandwich from Chik-Fil-A, but turn around and buy a volume of Cerberus. But then again, that’s oversimplifying.
A chicken sandwich is a commodity. It’s available through many vendors, and I can even make it at home. I’ve got choice as to which vendor gets my money.
Cerberus, however, is art. There’s a bunch of different retailers that sell copies of it (and I can certainly be discerning as to which gets my money), but ultimately Dave Sim is its creator (or one of, I don’t know if he had partners).  All roads lead back to him. If I want to understand this specific piece of art, I’ve got no alternatives.
For the moment, let’s take the money out of the equation. Say I borrow a copy from the library, or I purchase asshole offsets by giving money to NOW when I buy my volume of Church & State.
Then what we’re left with is how does the artist affect my appreciation of the art.
My mom used to love Woody Allen movies. When I was a kid, we had a bunch of them on Beta. I remember watching Sleeper and being confused to hell as to what was going on. Then the whole Soon-Yi thing happened, and she couldn’t stand him.  Couldn’t stand him, couldn’t stand his movies. Couldn’t separate the art from the artist.  I was like twelve at the time, so I didn’t understand.  The movies hadn’t changed. But now I think I see where she was coming from.
I really hate the movie A Beautiful Mind. It’s not because it’s poorly made, but because of one scene.  There’s a part where Character!John Nash is hallucinating, and attacks one of his hallucinations. Only in the real world, it turns out, he’s hitting his wife. This just pissed me off. John Nash has a disease, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that he’s an asshole and a wife-beater. Trying to use the former to justify the latter sickens me.
But he’s also contributed to the world of game theory. And, in my work as a mathematician, I have never once thought to not use his theories, his art, because of his personal failings.
Art ultimately goes beyond the artist. Art can contain meaning the artist didn’t intend, not even aware of, can come to be a cultural signifier for things it does not even contain.
Certainly one of the things it can come to represent is the assholishness of its creator, but does that have to be the most important thing about it?
I don’t have a good answer here. I don’t think I can or should consume art just from good people. A lot of artists are assholes. Plus, there’s that whole slope from “I think they’re wrong” to “I think they’re evil”, and I’m pretty sure I should consume work from people who I think are wrong. Because I could be wrong, and I don’t want to stick myself in some homogenous little echo chamber. But where’s the line?
I have no fucking idea. Happily, I don’t have to make a decision right now about the issue, since I have no money to spend on Cerberus.


That’s some pretty good reasoning right there, and you make some excellent points.
I guess, continuing your comparison, the difference would be something akin to, not purchasing a chicken sandwich by a noted virulent homophobe TODAY, but maybe being okay with buying a sandwich he made years ago when he wasn’t homophobic at all.
Doesn’t quite fit, right?

But a very solid position, I don’t disagree at all.
Except I hate that goddamn Beautiful Mind film with a white-hot passion. ;)

walkstherain:

gailsimone:

tenearthimps:

gailsimone:

sweaterkittensahoy:

Gail Simone is recommending the Cerebus sale at Comixology. I have never read Cerebus, but Dave Sim, its creator, is a noted misogynist,  so it’s hugely disconcerting to see Gail Simone backing his work.

I sort of understand Simone’s tweeting of it because it’s a book that means a lot in the continuity of comics and is—from everyone I’ve known who’s read it—a very good story. But Sim refers to women as “voids” and defined that as “without a glimmer of understanding of intellectual processes.” He accused Jeff Smith (creator of Bone) of being dominated by his wife, and when Smith called him out on it, challenged Smith to a boxing match to, I assume, prove his manliness.

And I look at Simone supporting the sale of this book, and I understand its historical significance in comic book history (the first fully self-published title to take off), and I understand that it’s known for being a truly epic, well-done story, and I think of the Tony Harris apologists who say he’s not actually calling out “real” geek girls, and I wonder if one of the main reasons sexism persists so hard in comics is because high-ranking people in the industry—specifically, one of the most recognized women in the industry—back the sale of a book by a man who has referred to everyone of her gender as “without a glimmer of intellectual processes.” 

Recently, I was talking to a buddy of mine about some reservations I had on a writer change on a comic, and I said I wanted to give it a few issues to see how I felt even though the early news was making me twitchy, and my buddy said, “I’m going to tell you something I think a lot of comic readers need to hear.”

“What’s that?”

“You don’t owe them shit.”

Dave Sim wrote an epic comic. That is impressive. It is, by all accounts, a good story. That is also impressive. But you don’t owe him your time or money just because he pulled it off. You don’t owe him your attention and glimmers of intellectual processes (if you’re a man because we ladies are “voids”). You don’t owe him shit.

Gail Simone has written some of the most-enjoyed comics in the last decade, including a great run on Birds of Prey, the enjoyable Welcome to Tranquility, and a loved run on Suicide Squad. You may have read one or all of these and really enjoyed them. You may really respect her talent and skill. You don’t owe her shit.

Ick.

First, no, no reader owes me anything. Who ever said or implied such a thing? No one owes me a damn thing and I didn’t ask anything of anyone, either.

And it was Secret Six I wrote, the beloved run on Suicide Squad was by John Ostrander.

Do I think my mentioning that Cerebus is available digitally is one of the reasons “sexism persists so hard in the industry?” No, I think that’s a pretty goofy assertion.

The implication seems to be that I apologize for Dave Sim’s misogynist horseshit, or that I defend it, in some way. I do not. When Dave was on his previous ‘internet tour,’ big name creators lined up to kiss his ass, and precisely two known mainstream creators addressed him directly about his ridiculous and offensive statements. Myself and Pia Guerra.

You’ll be happy to know I got a ton of tsk-tsking about that, as well.

Dave Sim’s current philosophies are fairy dust mixed with bullshit mixed with gender rage on a massive scale. They do not lend themselves well to honest defense or apologies. The comments you quote are just a tip of a very depressing iceberg.

The issues Dave is making available digitally, to my mind, constitute a masterwork of comics. They are so good, there are only a handful of North American comics that can compete with them. When I was a kid, for a long time, I could only afford one comic a month, and that comic was Cerebus.The story being reprinted, HIGH SOCIETY, is possibly my favorite single comics story ever.

Some time much, much later, Dave Sim lost touch with reality. I’m not saying he became mentally ill, I don’t know and don’t want to guess. But he became what I think is a pretty tragic figure. I think his ideas are loathsome and contemptible, but I also think they are not entirely dissimilar from what you hear from a lot of street corner prophets.

Does that mean that the work he did before this break, where he routinely had some of the most fascinating female characters in comics, is tainted? Does that work now have implications of misogyny no one saw at the time?

For me, and I thought long and hard on this, the answer is no. I reread the early volumes and they still are tremendously good comics. But I expect my followers are intelligent people who can make their own choice.

The big questions are, and I think it’s perfectly fair to struggle with them…is great art still great art if it’s sexist?  Is art created by an artist before a personality breakdown to be lumped in with later work?  Is buying work that you find valuable and meaningful an endorsement of an artist’s much later-stated views?

I don’t tell people not to enjoy or purchase work by an artist because I find their views offensive. I don’t feel I have any authority whatsoever to do that. Like any other rational person, I make those judgments for myself, and myself only.

I have a lot of followers. Some might have gotten some enjoyment and value out of those early Cerebus books. My views on Dave Sim are ridiculously well-documented, I’ve never shied away from condemning his nonsense. I will continue to do so. I absolutely respect the opinions of anyone who doesn’t want to read these books based on Sim’s later rants.

But if someone were to ask me what comics to study to learn meaningful sequential storytelling, Cerebus would likely be in the top two or three choices I would recommend.

My followers are adults, I full expect they can make up their own minds, and I knew some would be interested. I am not going to judge them either way.

The big questions are, and I think it’s perfectly fair to struggle with them…is great art still great art if it’s sexist?  Is art created by an artist before a personality breakdown to be lumped in with later work?  Is buying work that you find valuable and meaningful an endorsement of an artist’s much later-stated views?

I would answer these as 1) No, 2) yes, 2) yes.

I love Gail, but I don’t think this is defensible.

That’s interesting…seems very dogmatic to me.

There are certainly many artists, writers and entertainers whose work is tainted for me by their personal views. And Dave is absolutely one of them, even while enjoying Cerebus, I find myself thinking of whatever recent moon-pie thing he said. 

Like I say, it’s a struggle. I wouldn’t want to answer those questions with that kind of certitude.  I can almost guarantee that virtually everyone likes some art by artists who have said racist, homophobic, or sexist things. A lot of artists ARE, in fact, assholes.

It’s the ethical consumerism thing all over again.  At first glance, how can I say I won’t buy a chicken sandwich from Chik-Fil-A, but turn around and buy a volume of Cerberus. But then again, that’s oversimplifying.

A chicken sandwich is a commodity. It’s available through many vendors, and I can even make it at home. I’ve got choice as to which vendor gets my money.

Cerberus, however, is art. There’s a bunch of different retailers that sell copies of it (and I can certainly be discerning as to which gets my money), but ultimately Dave Sim is its creator (or one of, I don’t know if he had partners).  All roads lead back to him. If I want to understand this specific piece of art, I’ve got no alternatives.

For the moment, let’s take the money out of the equation. Say I borrow a copy from the library, or I purchase asshole offsets by giving money to NOW when I buy my volume of Church & State.

Then what we’re left with is how does the artist affect my appreciation of the art.

My mom used to love Woody Allen movies. When I was a kid, we had a bunch of them on Beta. I remember watching Sleeper and being confused to hell as to what was going on. Then the whole Soon-Yi thing happened, and she couldn’t stand him.  Couldn’t stand him, couldn’t stand his movies. Couldn’t separate the art from the artist.  I was like twelve at the time, so I didn’t understand.  The movies hadn’t changed. But now I think I see where she was coming from.

I really hate the movie A Beautiful Mind. It’s not because it’s poorly made, but because of one scene.  There’s a part where Character!John Nash is hallucinating, and attacks one of his hallucinations. Only in the real world, it turns out, he’s hitting his wife. This just pissed me off. John Nash has a disease, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that he’s an asshole and a wife-beater. Trying to use the former to justify the latter sickens me.

But he’s also contributed to the world of game theory. And, in my work as a mathematician, I have never once thought to not use his theories, his art, because of his personal failings.

Art ultimately goes beyond the artist. Art can contain meaning the artist didn’t intend, not even aware of, can come to be a cultural signifier for things it does not even contain.

Certainly one of the things it can come to represent is the assholishness of its creator, but does that have to be the most important thing about it?

I don’t have a good answer here. I don’t think I can or should consume art just from good people. A lot of artists are assholes. Plus, there’s that whole slope from “I think they’re wrong” to “I think they’re evil”, and I’m pretty sure I should consume work from people who I think are wrong. Because I could be wrong, and I don’t want to stick myself in some homogenous little echo chamber. But where’s the line?

I have no fucking idea. Happily, I don’t have to make a decision right now about the issue, since I have no money to spend on Cerberus.

That’s some pretty good reasoning right there, and you make some excellent points.

I guess, continuing your comparison, the difference would be something akin to, not purchasing a chicken sandwich by a noted virulent homophobe TODAY, but maybe being okay with buying a sandwich he made years ago when he wasn’t homophobic at all.

Doesn’t quite fit, right?

But a very solid position, I don’t disagree at all.

Except I hate that goddamn Beautiful Mind film with a white-hot passion. ;)

Reblogged: walkstherain

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    The work is what survives.
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    This sort of makes sense, with some caveats. I enjoy Cthulhu Mythos works and have and will buy copies of Lovecraft’s...
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  13. loyaltonothingexceptthedream reblogged this from gailsimone and added:
    At what point did Cerebus really start to go downhill? I’ve heard alternatively Jaka’s story and Melmoth.
  14. ceramicdecay reblogged this from invisiblelad
  15. notgoingtohelp reblogged this from gailsimone
  16. invisiblelad reblogged this from gailsimone
  17. gailsimone reblogged this from walkstherain and added:
    That’s some pretty good reasoning right there, and you make some excellent points. I guess, continuing your comparison,...
  18. walkstherain reblogged this from gailsimone and added:
    It’s the ethical consumerism thing all over again. At first glance, how can I say I won’t buy a chicken sandwich from...
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    Dear friends,I wanted to let you know about a new petition I created on We the People, a new feature on WhiteHouse.gov,...
  21. awa64 reblogged this from therobotmonster and added:
    I agree… mostly. The work is what endures, and the work is what stands on its own. Reading Cerberus or watching...
  22. cyclopsscott reblogged this from therobotmonster and added:
    All of that. Awesome stuff, summed it up better than I was able to. :) And with Flight of the Valkyries, you’re...
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    The question of whether art and artist and artist and artist’s beliefs are separable is a big one. In my view, the work...
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Themed by Hunson. Originally by Josh