To understand Dave Sim’s mindset and his obsession with the evil power of women, let’s begin here, as Viktor Davis might say. At the heart of every obsessive form of bigotry is the belief that the target of your bigotry is
1. An absolute insidious form of corruption that is parasitical and completely incapable of maintaining any civilization if it was not dependent on you
2. All powerful and secretly controlling the world while destroying it
The two are contradictory but a necessary part of the mindset of the obsessive bigot. The Nazis and most dedicated anti-semites believe this about Jews (note I am not comparing Dave Sim to a Nazi, though in his belief system Jews will actually rank somewhere on the feminine scale and are part of his imagined worldwide corruption of mankind. If you look here, you’ll note that Dave Sim views Jesus as the male principle and Jewish law as the female principle, so I’m likely right)
White racists of course believe that blacks are complete incapable and parasitic and yet somehow have managed to take control of society to benefit themselves. It isn’t even limited to conventional bigotry. Radicals believe this about the CIA or various secret forces controlling our society. As demonstrated this is a common bigot’s mindset. Dave Sim believes this about women. He used Cerebrus, especially the infamous Issue 186 as a platform to express that. Talk about Tangent, but there is a corollary to those two mentioned above. Let’s rehash
1. X’s are parasitical on society and completely worthless in and of themselves
2. X’s nevertheless secretly run the world
3. All thinking and argument that rejects the above 2 is X type thinking.
3a: Non X’s can also become infected with X type thinking
This basically creates a closed loop for the bigot’s world that cannot be contradicted as the act of contradicting it itself reveals an X type mindset. Dave Sim uses thinking vs feeling to describe the X type mindset, but it can be reconfigured any number of ways. Cults use this to close down mental options for their followers by automatically labeling any form of thinking that contradicts their premises and conclusions as satanic. Dave Sim would argue that any thinking that contradicts his premises and conclusions is marxist-feminist.
Now this addresses the structure of what we’re dealing with in Dave Sim but not the content. Dave Sim throughout this believes that he has compelling and powerful truths that are readily apparent and it takes willful blindness to reject them. But bottom lined, his ideas are as childish as his Fifteen Impossible Things to Believe Before Breakfast That Make You a Good Feminist which he insists on constantly reposting and repeating. But of course it’s a shallow mind that thinks in such simplistic absolutes as to believe that pointing out contradictions and flaws is the same thing as completely proving a point.
Dave Sim claims to be an anti-feminist but it’s more accurate to say that he’s opposed to women in general. If he simply left at a fifteen feminist list, he might pass as an anti-feminist, but the crux of his alternate theology (is it any surprise that at one point Dave Sim identified himself as more Muslim?) is that the female itself is a void that consumes male energy, that marriage is a part of that consuming void and that women are inherently destructive. It isn’t a matter of politics anymore but the obsessive loathing of a gender and the belief that they are responsible for what’s wrong with the world.
So now let’s bypass the usual Gary Groth / Fantagraphics level of argument, is Dave Sim gay, was Dave Sim molested as a child and address the general principle behind obsessive bigotry. Now this isn’t a value judgment or a stoning, obsessive bigotry is a mindset. Divorced from politics, the obsessive bigot identifies an entire race, gender, ethnicity as responsible for all the problems in the world and obsessively focuses on alerting everyone to that fact. By any reasonable standard, Dave Sim fits these parameters.
Now what drives someone to be an obsessive bigot? An ordinary bigot might be someone who just doesn’t like blacks or women or jews or asians or gays. It’s an ordinary enough mindset among the human race. We often don’t like people who are different from us. An obsessive bigot though believes they’re the repository of all that’s wrong with the world. That’s a borderline mentally ill mindset and indeed Dave Sim was diagnosed with schizophrenia but the significance is that to the bigot, X represents all that is evil with the world and all that threatens them.
Cerebrus is a work replete with symbolism and Dave Sim’s theology is developed very much in symbolic terms. Schizophrenics often see the world in terms of a devouring force eager to infect and corrupt them. That is because they are identifying the gap between reality and their own minds and through that distortion see the world as broken, rather than their own thinking. They also often seize on a symbolic target to contain the source of that infection.
Obsessive bigots also very much rely on a symbolic vessel for the world’s corruptions, whether it is the feminine, the jews, “the dark subhuman races” and so on and so forth. Even when they are not mentally ill, they dwell in a Manichean universe, darkness and light, an insidious corrupting force everywhere. The difference between schizophrenics and obsessive bigots, where there is one, is that the schizophrenics are often talented.
It’s too simplistic to say that Dave Sim had a bad marriage. Plenty of guys go through divorce, resent women and even behave abusively toward them. What Dave Sim however has is a worldview, one in which the female is the destructive force. It’s a symbolic idea transmuted into a literal hatred toward women and an obsessive need to tell us that women are destroying everything… especially men.
Viktor Davis’ vision of women gnawing on men is itself a typical vision of schizophrenics who often view ordinary people as vampires or carriers of dangerous diseases or CIA looking to plant devices inside them. Schizophrenics often imagine someone violating their bodily integrity and view the world through a distorted threatening lens. Dave Sim is likely describing an actual vision that he saw at one point, rather than just a metaphor. This would not be atypical.
At the root of all such visions is fear. Both bigots and schizophrenics, where there is a difference, are aware that they are out of step with the world. Bigots fear change, schizophrenics fear the violation of their bodily integrity that will lead others to control them (also an obsession with Dave Sim when it comes to women taking control of men’s minds and his mind specifically) what both have in common is a need to explain why they are out of step with the world by defining the world as evil and identifying an agent of change that is corrupting the world. Jews, women, christians, gays, conservatives, liberals, the cia, marxists, the mafia, psychiatrists, scientology, the media, a secret underground nazi conspiracy; it really doesn’t matter except as a form of symbolism. Schizophrenics and bigots, both live in a world built out of a parallel series of symbolic relationships, a hidden theology, something Dave Sim and Christian Identity for example share in common. Dave Sim’s work is dedicated to translating his symbolic relationships into essay and comic book form. It’s not a unique enterprise. There is no question that Dave Sim is talented but one does not have to be sane or a good person to be talented. Talent is an abstract but so is sanity. Morality is a value judgment.
Dave Sim would say that I have engaged in feminine thinking by analyzing him rather than responding to his arguments, but he fails to realize that for decades people have been trying to understand him rather than to win an argument with him. Most people will never believe what he does. His arguments begin with rather garden variety critiques of feminism that plenty of people accept to a distorted belief system that treats women as the ultimate evil leeches on the psyche and society of man that virtually no one would accept. And Dave Sim’s greatest rhetorical weakness has always been to try and suddenly bridge a tenable position with a untenable one.
While misogyny is probably more common than any other form of prejudice, it is also the least accepting to obsessive misogynists because naturally the only truly obsessive misogynist is gay. Celibacy is of course a choice but not one that most would welcome. People can more eagerly embrace obsessive bigotry toward most minority groups because they can be done without. But men are not about to do without women. Had Dave Sim focused on virtually any other group for his obsessive bigotry, he would have still been reviled but he would have also picked up followers. Yet hating women all the time is something that few sane men can or will do for long.