untitled

Cirinists & Kevillists–Metaphorical Hari Kari

(Soundtrack: Weezer–Pinkerton. Y’know, I’m sure it isn’t immediately apparent–but I’m thinking that Dave Sim & Rivers Cuomo have quite a bit in common…)

According to Bruce Baugh, things went strange in Cerebus when its creator lost the will to reexamine certain positions… This opened as a very Emersonian work, intent upon “unsettling all things”; however, it seems pretty clear that, somewhere along the way, Sim began to reify the narrative construct he had created to house his protagonist… He forgot that the “truths” Cerebus was in the process of discovering had been invented for this express purpose–by himself… There’s no shame in this—to my mind it is the greatest obstacle that any creative artist faces. And it’s the only real tragedy that can befall a visionary… This is what Coleridge is getting at in his discussion of Behmen in the Biographia Literaria–a passage which Emerson builds upon in The Poet when he argues that “the history of hierarchies seems to show that all religious error consisted in making the symbol too stark and solid, and was at last nothing but an excess of the organ of language.”

I’m not being patronizing here–I know that Sim understands this danger, viscerally. After all, this is a guy who, in the same interview, can make an observation like this:

Yeah…that’s part of trying to write the book, it’s ‘OK, what does life look like to me?’ because there are very few things that look to me the way people describe them. They tell me that this is this – alright, I don’t see it that way, I see it like this. Once I tell them how I see it it usually pisses them off on the one hand because it’s such a contrary thing to say, it pisses them off on the other hand because it doesn’t fit together with what they’re saying and it looks a little more accurate, but even to contemplate…A lot of people cling to different things in their lives – one of the basic natures of the human animal is to say ‘This is something I can count on’. To me it’s…you light a cigarette on the end and you pull on it and you’ll get smoke out of it. If you drink enough you’ll get drunk. The Toronto Bluejays play baseball six months out of the year, the Maple Leaves play hockey six months. If it says it’s going to be on television it’ll be on television – that’s what I can count on. And then people say ‘What about your family?’ Family’s family – that’s a bunch of other crazy people. Everybody’s normal until you get to know them – everyone knows their family too well to even begin to imagine they’re normal…Well enough about me, let’s talk about me.



While blustering that:

If you’ve got a better working model of the world than mine I’ll be happy to hear it. But most of the time when people start rebelling about what I’m saying about Cirinism and Kevillism, I think I can take my descriptions and apply them to just about anything that comes up and you can say that fits in there pretty well. Whereas when you are trying to convince me of feminist rhetoric I just don’t see the application. It’s the same thing to me as Communism – it looks good on paper, but you try to apply it to real life and it’s got absolutely nothing to stand on.

Anyway–I’m fascinated! I’m not going to discuss this series anymore until I’ve actually experienced the whole…but once I have, I’ll have a lot to say, I can assure you! Hey Aardvark-Vanaheim! Wanna send me a free batch of phone books? You’ll never find a more conscientious critic of the work than me! I’m obsessed with narrative structure + “love, death, & scripture”, and I’m secure enough in my feminist credentials that I don’t feel any need to “prove” them by lecturing Dave Sim…


Good afternoon friends!

Dave

Advertisements

6 comments

  1. No, Dave, I think a Sim/Cuomo comparison makes a lot of sense! The difference is that whereas Sim’s catastrophic dealings with the opposite sex led him to go batshit insane and rationalize that insanity into the basis for the remainder of his life’s work, Cuomo’s led him to record one terrific, deeply personal album (Pinkerton), enroll at Harvard, drop out, and begin making almost confrontationally IMpersonal albums (the green album, Maladroit). Frankly, if being impersonal is the only alternative to relegating women to second-class citizen status a la Sim, vive l’impersonal!

    Sean

  2. “I think I can take my descriptions and apply them to just about anything that comes up and you can say that fits in there pretty well.”

    It’s a sign of how far down the well Sim’s spiraled that he thinks that a construct that can explain *anything* is somehow superior. He’s confused rationalization for rationality.

  3. Dave, is this what you mean when you talk about solipsism? This tendency of the artist to confuse his created-world and its perfectly symbolic rules for the world itself and its unknown laws?

  4. Sean,

    yeah, that’s the track I was on with Sim/Cuomo…you gotta know when to back off!

    Mitch,

    this is exactly what I mean by solipsism! Frightening isn’t it? But there’s something compelling about it too (for me at least). All of my favourite artists labour on the faultline between the mind and the world, and sometimes (often!) they fall in!

    Dave

  5. Sean,

    yeah, that’s the track I was on with Sim/Cuomo…at least the latter knew when to back off!

    Mitch,

    this is exactly what I mean by solipsism! Frightening isn’t it? But there’s something compelling about it too (for me at least). All of my favourite artists labour on the faultline between the mind and the world, and sometimes (often!) they fall in!

    Dave

  6. Actually, I’d make it a little sharper than that. I think he began the metafiction with a strong sense of the lessons he wanted to teach, and then rejected those in favor of others. Not that this detracts from the rest of your points. — Bruce

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s