(diff) ←Older revision | Current revision | Newer revision→ (diff)
|Phonebook Volume #13|
|Collects Issues: 232 - 250|
|1st Printing||1000 copies|
|Date of 1st Print||March 2000|
|# of Pages||386|
03/04: 4. Moved to issue 247
05/04: 6. In the memorialization of Iest's Destruction, we hear what purports to be Cirin conceding that a MALE god is above The Great Lady (i249/GH). We also hear a criticism of strangers raising Cirinist children. This criticism was stated exactly by Astoria in her Kevillist Origins (i163/Women and also see i169/Women - the letter from the old lady). We also see criticism of Cirin. These ideas appear to be way outside of classic Cirinism. On top of this, we have Rick's reference in Rick's Story that Cirinist dictates on hemlines are changing (i223/RS) (a departure from the initial movement's rule of everyone dressing the same to equalize all (i194/Minds)), and lesbians kissing in public (i236/GH). So it looks like Cirinist society is undergoing radical changes. Perhaps Kevilism is making inroads? But even that wouldn't explain an acquiescence that a male God rules over all.
DAVE: The point I was trying to make with the Memorial Service of Iest’s destruction was twofold: 1) Cerebus gave up too soon on the service. He’s obviously far away when the womyn-actor gets to the part about “He whose grace and mercy surpasseth all” and ready to pick a fight with Jaka over it when obviously something has happened that is a major Cirinist departure and 2) that the Cirinists were starting to run out of gas, like the difference between Khomeini’s Iran in 1979 and 2004, so, yes, they’re now working on a fusion of some kind. If you’re familiar with the Bible at all, this is mostly Isaiah and Jeremiah inspired text. It seems a good place to try to achieve an accommodation of some kind with the Judaism that Rick is also encountering off-panel in this storyline. What’s a good analogy? This is probably provocative, but I think if Mayor Giuliani after 11 September had announced a month of prayer and fasting—voluntary—that you would’ve found the seeds sown for a large scale repentance which would have benefited the entire Republic. We the people don’t know why this happened, but we the people know from thousands of years of experience that prayer and fasting are the single most appropriate reaction to any disaster of this scale. Isaiah and Jeremiah document exactly that kind of disaster and counsel exactly that kind of reaction. Sackcloth and ashes would not have been inappropriate. The problem being that prayer and fasting is in service to God, not the state or City Hall, so there’s no way of knowing which way the rabbit is going to jump when you unlock the cage which is what secular humanists and Marxists are always nervous about. And what the kings of Israel and Judah worried about. Every time Jeremiah opened his mouth it was seriously bad news for His Highness. In a general sense relative to 9-11: What if it does too much good and not in a way that’s beneficial to Marxism (which it likely won’t be)? Particularly in a huge Jewish community such as you have in New York City, generations of whom have lived through 9-11s of varying sizes simply as a matter of day-to-day living. And this is what I was hinting at here. It’s always a mistake to think that the Torah or the Gospels or the Koran can be channelled by secular interests because they’re the new kid on the block and you’ve got everything locked down tight. Just ask the Kremlin-appointed Polish government after John Paul II had paid a visit. The rabbit will jump. That’s a given. Where? About the only thing you can count on is: the least beneficial place for your Marxist regime. It was the mistake the Cirinists made because they could see that Isaiah- and Jeremiah-style texts were appropriate to the scale of the disaster. It will help the daughters and the mothers to repent and (as we read it tapering off) to devote time to their own mothers instead of to careers and somehow find a way to bring the men back into this instead of them standing around going, “Well, whatever you think, dear. I have every confidence in your judgement as a mother.” “We have to get back to family in some way.” As I think we’re seeing now in North America. “Maybe it’s not just the glass ceiling because the wheels seem to be coming off in places we didn’t even know had wheels.”
When you ask about Kevillism making inroads, uh, no—that’s what Mothers & Daughters was about. This is much later in the day and a more fundamental fragmentation—as opposed to a schism—than that. Mothers & Daughters is the schism, the duality. What little we see of the Cirinist modifications in Going Home, it’s clearly the sort of fragmentation that we see in our own society. There are now as many different kinds of feminism as there are women and—as the saying goes—the problem with atheists isn’t that they believe in nothing when they don’t believe in God, it’s that they believe in everything. They don’t know a good idea from a bad idea because good and bad are meaningless concepts except when it comes to what kind of latte their local coffee shop makes. A good latte or a bad latte. It’s the problem that occurred with feminism along about the time that they started talking about the fictional Sisterhood which only the complete idealogues on the Left Coast like Trina Robbins ever bought into because it’s just so USSR in tone. I mean, all very empowering on paper, but ultimately this is a gender whose members flip out if someone shows up at a party wearing the same dress as them. I can’t even picture myself giving two thoughts to being at a get-together and the other guy is wearing the same sweater I am. Hey, check it out. We both wore the same sweater. How about those Blue Jays? But being mysterious and unique seems to be critically important to women and it’s impossible to have a group of unique individuals accomplish anything. Guys just want to figure out what needs doing, divide it up fairly and get to work so you can get it done. Nobody is stuck on his idea if someone comes up with a better one. Feminized-human-being guys, yeah, probably, they’re going to get huffy if you overlook their Unique and Individual approach to something. But regular guys, no. That was why I thought any viable matriarchy would need a habit or a burqa, as standard issue—if there is only one area where you are totalitarian, this is where it has to be: this is what ALL the women wear: a shapeless head-to-toe sack that obliterates all individual characteristics. Then they start to function the way guys do, cooperatively. But if you allow them—and here I’m not talking about Dave Sim, I’m talking about Cirin making political decisions to make a matriarchal society workable—if you allow them to have their own style, they’ll start ranking on each other and that will take the place of any kind of cooperation. That was Astoria’s “contribution”: mothers wear the habit, but daughters can wear what they want until they become mothers. I saw an Astoria in a magazine a while back: there was a great photo of three chicks in Tehran, each with the head scarf worn a different way. The one looked conventionally subdued as is associated with Muslim women, she had the most covered up. The second one looked a little mischievous with the scarf kind of loose and a fringe of hair showing and shorter sleeves with some arm showing. The third one looked like Madonna, dark sun glasses, kick-ass grin, scarf all the way back on her head, plenty of make-up, sleeves rolled up. Trouble on a stick and proud of it. Trouble on a stick, in my experience, is not a selective condition. A chick who is trouble on a stick to date or to have for a friend or as a citizen is also not going to be employee of the month wherever she works. Y’see what I’m saying? That’s why the cover-up has to be universal or it has to be a status thing as, from what I understand, it was when it was introduced for Muhammad’s wives. We only cover up the best ones from head to toe because you’re not worthy to look upon them. That will “play” with women like Aunt Polly’s fence in Tom Sawyer. The troublemakers will contend to be the most covered up and that eliminates your troublemaker problem because covered up women have nothing to cause trouble about. Anyone looking at them is just looking at them. There’s no lust from men, no jealousy or superiority from other women. They actually turn into the human beings—in the sense of the Yiddish term, mensch—that they keep hyping themselves as wanting to be. I think this is what worries Western women about the meeting of Islam and the West, why you’re not hearing a lot of Yeah! Let’s kick some misogynistic Muslim ass and humiliate these bastards (with the exception of the recent prison scandal, a prison which was supervised by a woman) and liberate our Muslim sisters. Western women have just steamrolled their men, but steamrolling Muslim women—as I’m sure they are all fully aware in their little psychic ways—is a much tougher nut to crack. The one that always grinds Western female gears is being called a slut by other women. In a room of Orthodox Muslim women and any Western women, there is no question who the sluts are, self-evidently, particularly in their own eyes which is the worst for women—fingernails on the chalkboard when she FEELS like a slut.
Q: Additionally, we learn later that possession of a firearm by an unmarried INDIVIDUAL (male OR female) is prohibited (a sign that new Cirinism doesn't differentiate as sharply between males & females? or classic Cirinism in that unmarried Daughters are not accorded the rights of Mothers?) (i262/F&V). Can these changes be seen as instances of Rickism/Cerebism making inroads into Cirinism? Or is there another explanation?
DAVE: Yes, exactly. Full-throttle matriarchy or full-throttle feminism and you gradually don’t have anything for the men to do because you just disagree with them on principle about everything. You have to keep going to the secular-humanist Marxist well for your ideas. Make organized professional sport into a religion, combine prostitution and theatre in interesting ways, but stay away from anything having to do with God because He will eat your secular-humanist whatever-it-is for breakfast. You can’t just graft it on and trust that local traditions will carry the day. Just ask all of the largely Catholic countries that used to worship goddesses and figured what could it hurt to change her name to Mary? Ouch. Well? There’s your answer. My own best assessment as merely the author is that the thin end of the wedge was Astoria winning the notion mentioned above—that daughters don’t have to wear the shapeless sack until they become mothers. It was Serna’s weakness for Astoria that compelled her to capitulate. Cirin would have known—having seen how successful it was—that that was the one rule you didn’t break for anyone or for any reason. Serna just didn’t want to see Astoria covered up. She wanted to look at her a lot—in a purely aesthetic way: look at Serna and Cirin uncovered on page 168 when they were both young. Astoria looked like an exponentially prettier version of Cirin, a way of mentally turning back the clock to those days with the same patron/protégé relationship only with the roles reversed and the prettiest one uncovered. Feel free to see lesbian overtones if you really want to, but my guess would be “purely aesthetic".
01/06: Q1: In a bar, Cerebus is asked if Jaka is "Scorpion or Lunatic or Angel or just a Woman." The bartender characterizes this as "Prophet Ricke" stuff. This differs from the traditional "Devil, Viper or Scorpion." Is it an example of Ricke mangling the gospel? Or Thomas mangling Ricke's message? And is there more to Thomas that was never revealed (considering his look, an instance of "Something Fell," and the coincidence of the Cirinist rebel attempting to incite Jaka)? (pp102-103/i236)
DAVE: Well, for starters, Thomas is three sheets to the wind—or probably closer to four. What I was attempting to indicate (really, really tangentially, I’ll grant you) was that Cerebus’ magnifier nature had been keeping every possible Ricke intrusion at bay ever since he had left the tavern with Jaka. The Booke of Ricke teachings are sweeping the continent and yet Cerebus never hears a word about them even though a) he’s travelling with the Princess of Palnu and b) using his own name and—obviously—fulfilling the physical criteria for being the Great Cerebus as outlined in one of the chapters in that book. That unlikely reality is analogous to the fact that no one sees him as he really only in this instance it’s an even more advanced and acute form of the condition. The force of his own desire to make things work with Jaka and his elevated awareness that Ricke and Jaka are completely incompatible realities are basically harnessed together and subsume his magnifier nature to their own purpose: to change the very nature of reality in proximity to them.. Unless he can keep Ricke and Ricke’s reality—The Booke of Ricke—away from the two of them Ricke’s reality is going to destroy the relationship with Jaka so his magnifier nature essentially becomes a “Ricke antibody” . The only thing that could (and here does) pierce that insulation mechanism condition would be extreme inebriation which wouldn’t allow Cerebus’ super-reality to suppress Thomas’s super-reality in the same way that drunken people tend not to pick up on obvious social clues like negative body language, cold, evasive and impersonal responses and to just persist in continuing to interact according to their own distorted subjective impressions of the situation: disapproval and attempted suppression are just water off Daffy Duck’s back when they’re all liquored up—and this purely accidental, purely coincidental “bypass mode” (this is really the only time that Cerebus and Jaka aren’t in each other’s hip pockets in the entire storyline and thus susceptible to interaction from and with individuals outside their two-person construct) allowed Thomas to ask the most obvious question that not only everyone who knew the Booke of Ricke mythology would be asking themselves when Cerebus’ suppressant magnifier self was out of range but even more perniciously the question that Cerebus would have been asking himself all along: “Has Jaka fooled him or is Jaka some exceptional female being that doesn’t fit the Booke of Ricke classifications?” That’s why he gets thrown so badly by the question since the four classifications would be the ones that he, personally, would have been oscillating between in his on-going assessment of Jaka—she definitely fits all four depending on her mood—without being able to unconsciously admit to himself that that was what he was doing. Because Thomas inadvertently got all the way “inside” Cerebus’ defensive perimeter his super-reality and Cerebus’ super-reality merged in that moment. So his response is naturally the terror-inducing ‘Something Fell’ rather than, say, ‘You dropped something’ or ‘Oopsie.’ But, no, he’s really just a garden variety drunk. Wrong place wrong time or right place right time depending on your point of view.
Moved question to issue 243 article.
Moved question about issue 243 to that issue's article
Q3: About the Maury Noble speech moved to issue 244
Moved second part of question to issue 244
Q4: Why did you tell of the destruction of Iest in religious verse rather than actually illustrating the event?
DAVE: I think there’s a greater sense of gravitas possible in showing the very human tendency towards memorials or, rather, Memorial. It’s really us at our best, being reverently serious and living up to our potential and sincerely acknowledging the temporary nature of everything we actually experience. Dust to dust.. With that level of devastation I had a long time to mull it over and that was the conclusion that I came to. The best way to show a tragedy on that scale is with Comics’ Longest Pan Shot of the Institutionalized Memorial, the maintenance of the unaltered “Ground Zero” the start of the immediate surroundings left pretty much unaltered but with a “stations of the cross” quality to them, the landscaping which establishes order and beauty in the next outer ring and ,then the outward “life goes on” context once you’re removed from that. I think it’s what they keep missing with the Twin Towers memorial. Modern architecture insults and degrades memory rather than enhancing it.
Q4: Who authored the verse?
DAVE: I did, drawing heavily on the apocalyptic language of Isaiah and Jeremiah but again, using it to illustrate that that’s the chief purpose of Poetry as opposed to poetry—lyrical writing that is capable of conveying Genuine Enormity with all the wisdom and dignity that you don’t get from the Hysterical Live Reporter on the Scene (“Oh, the humanity!”) A good example was the 1986 Challenger disaster which was “done right”—in the Memorial, rather than memorial sense— by Peggy Noonan’s timely recollection of—and Ronald Reagan’s masterful delivery of— “To slip the surly bonds of earth/and touch the Face of God”. There’s a good instance where I have no problem crediting a woman with the highest imaginable attainment in her field—in this case, speech-writing and having to strike the proper Lyrical Note under a brutal deadline in a context where almost everything is done by committee and where the political impulse is to leach out the content in order to avoid any possible controversy. The fact that she wrote the speech and then fought to keep it intact while everyone else was functioning on a whole other wavelength in the West Wing—well, there really aren’t sufficient words for the enormity of that accomplishment in a context that I revere very, very highly (having been a Ted Sorenson Kennedyite from a very early age).. I heartily recommend her White House memoir What I Saw at the Revolution.
Q4: Thematically, was it simply a matter of not wanting to "go backwards?" Or was it to give the event a quasi-mythic feel (for example: was it actually the hand of Terim, or was it an earthquake or volcanic event -- much like the practice of finding scientifically sound reasons behind Biblical events)? (pp 349-356)
DAVE: Well, obviously, in my view nothing happens without God’s permission and it seems to me that that’s nowhere truer than when it comes to enormous tragedies. Terim being the Cerebus equivalent of YHWH, no I don’t think it was actually the hand of Terim.
“Mungu. Mungu Mkono.”
God. In the Hand of God.
Collected Letters 2, p. 103
As to your question about Going Home, no, I definitely intended that F. Stop told the story knowing that Jaka was the individual in the story that he was relating. What he was hoping to do was to make a connection with her and to do it under Cerebus’ nose, both to emphasize the connection itself (“No one understands you the way that I do”) and to emphasize the alienation from Cerebus that she’s experiencing (“He’s beneath you”). Of course he was mucking around on levels of which he himself was completely unaware. it not only recalled to Jaka’s mind her artists’ patron nature (F. Stop’s intention), but it also reminded her of being wholly and completely alone in the world and that that condition hadn’t fundamentally changed. She was traveling with Cerebus, she was sleeping with Cerebus but she had still not found her idealized counterpart, her other half. What was unhappy was that all three of them responded to the impetus, but all F. Stop relating the story did was to cast each of them into further isolation even though that wasn’t what was being addressed consciously. It’s the mistake that people with F. Stop’s vanity make — just because she’s alone, just because she’s unhappy and just because she doesn’t love the one that she’s with, that doesn’t mean that she can or even could love you. His intention was to switch places with Cerebus and all he did was to turn both of them into F. Stop: alone, unloved and drowning their mutual sorrows in gin.