This in our inbox yesterday, from reader “Saga Silkesmo” ([email protected]):
You know, if that “privilege” is such a horrible, oppressive thing to live with, I’d be more than happy to beat the living daylights out of you if it makes you feel better. I’d be more than happy to make fun of you, to stare at you, to shun and despise you. I’d be more than happy to stalk you so you’ll constantly fear a knife in the back if you so much as dare to venture outside. I would gladly ruin your life in a thousand petty, sadistic ways, if that is what you want.
Don’t talk about privilege as if it is some kind of fucking burden. If you knew how fucking lucky you are, you wouldn’t be so disgustingly whiny. You make me want to vomit, you ungrateful piece of shit.
And our (slightly edited) response:
Relax, we know exactly how lucky we are. And we think we made that clear in the comic. The point of “Sick” isn’t to whine about how privilege is a “burden”; it’s to point out that privilege is a violent & oppressive force, & that privileged people should be responsible for that. That’s so self-evident in the word “privilege” that it feels redundant to even have to point it out, here or in my comics.
We are all locked into a system that turns some of us into agents of evil in other people’s lives just by the fact of our indulgence in privilege. So how do we address that? Maybe could have just drawn a comic that went on about how lucky & grateful we privileged people feel to have white skin or a dick or education; but that would make for one shitty, useless comic. Yeah, privilege is great. We get it: having nice things is nice. Not living in fear is wonderful. Being born on the winning side of 800 years of genocide & slavery is spectacularly fortunate. No one’s arguing that.
But that people could be content with the fruits of this privilege without ever examining its source, or its effects on others — that’s what makes us want to vomit. With that comic we’re trying to lead the reader past the obvious to examine how privileged people create & maintain injustice, ignorance & evil. Maybe it fails at that, who knows — but to call it “ungrateful” is to suggest that privilege is just, and that the evil it causes is out of our control.
What we’re saying is: it’s pretty dim to accept privilege at face value. That’s a very basic, non-controversial thing to say. Acceptance of privilege is what allows it to keep inequality in place. And feeling content — much less “grateful” — about that would be fucking ghoulish.
Thanks for the input. And the death threats!
And with this, we now instate an indefinite moratorium on the word “privilege” on the Playhouse blog.
In related news: we’re presently on a carpal-crushing photoshop marathon in the hopes of meeting our Halloween deadline for turning in the book version of “Sick” (working title) to our publisher. It’s a finished, polished, and much-honed improvement on the web version (which we won’t be linking here to save bandwidth), sure to utterly destroy any chances of us having a “career in art,” much less a social life. Who knows, it could even get us a “knife in the back” someday! Check back here for developments as they happen.
The original version of this thing’s up for sale at the store. Actually this picture you see is a little unfinished — we’ve added a bit more color to it since we scanned it (10 minutes ago). So, it’ll be even nicer than this at no additional cost.
Also, as implied in the comic, we have a new address now! We’re still deciding whether we’re too infamous to use our street address as our mailing address — but the issue should be resolved within a week.
First off we’d like to announce that the amazing Nate Beaty did some magic on our website & fixed the trouble we’ve been having with our shopping cart! Feel free to give it a spin, & also to thank Nate the next time you’re buying one of his comics. Also we’re still out of Weather, but have a few Monsters & plenty of Dahl House to spare, so feel free if you’re in the mood.
And now the apologies: Sorry everyone — every time we promise to update our blog more frequently, the exact opposite seems to happen. We’ve been obsessed with the black magic of shoehorning our “endless canvas” webcomic “Sick” into the Gitmo-like confines of Mere Paper’s finite pages. This format-fuckery has been so mystical & byzantine it has started to resemble actual quantum physics (whatever that is). Over the past few weeks we have taught ourselves the hard yet fascinating lesson that, submerged in any long comic, there exists a vast, intricate webwork of interdependent visual & narrative relationships — & that they are utterly disrupted by even slight changes in pacing, tone & aesthetics. So really, if you’re turning one long toilet-paper-like scroll of panels into a 6-panel, 3-tiered grid on paper pages, you might as well be drawing a whole new comic. And that’s about what we’ve been up to these days — hacking up the body of our comic & re-assembling it all in a format that Gutenberg can understand. Kind of like a reverse human centipede. Unfortunately, all this has happened at the expense of our book’s original publication date, which has just been pushed back to November.
SPX was a fun time with old friends; we met a few new ones on the ride back to Ohio. As the leaves turn yellow & litter the wet Ohio streets this October, it looks like we here at the Playhouse offices will be upgrading our neighborhood from “Utter Nadir of Drug-And-Violence-Saturated Economic Despair Literally Not Technically Part of The First World” to “Gore-Spattered Front-Line Trenches of Urban Gentrification” — for just $70 more in rent! The house is the perfect Artist’s Hovel, and its damp & decrepit halls are sure to fortify us with the inspirational miasma of Squalor necessary for any Real Artist to maintain their Realness. Even better, all our roommates are sweethearts, our neighbors are freegan, & we’ll be closer than ever to the cheap beer, cheap food, art supplies, parks & laundromats we intolerable Art Types seem to consider so damn important to our bullshit little “creative process.” And, most importantly: an actual mailing address at least 35% less likely to be burgled.
So hopefully all that’ll mean more comics — especially considering that with increased rent comes an increased need to clutch in all directions at any wad of US currency within reach. Our crop of watercolors and commissions has laid fallow lately, but check this patch of garden soon for new sprouts of digestibles from your favorite cage-fed cartoonist.
In fact, as a little sample, we’ve included one that’s been stuck in the silo for a while.