Holy Michigan, Batman!

September 24th, 2006 | Uncategorized

Thank you everyone, for the 72 feet of discourse (at rough estimate) spawned by that last post. I’ve been totally crazed with work for the past several days and haven’t even been able to read all the comments yet. In fact, the last time I checked, there were 78—astonishing enough. But now I’m staggered to see the count is up to 226.

I just wanted to say how much I appreciate the conversation. People have said some really smart things, and for the most part are being civil. I think. As I said, I haven’t read everything yet.

I feel bad I haven’t been weighing in, and I’m too fried to add anything right now. I stayed up all night last night finishing my latest batch of strips, threw some clothes in a suitcase, caught an ass-crack of dawn (thanks to Katie for that excellent expression) flight to Austin, Texas, and did a reading for a very engaging and inquisitive crowd at BookPeople this afternoon. Tomorrow, on to Atlanta. Tonight, crash. Now.


29 Responses to “Holy Michigan, Batman!”

  1. shadocat says:

    I just wanted to thnk YOU for givig us this forum. Sleep tight…

  2. kat says:

    a friend and I revised “ass-crack of dawn” for situations when its so #$%^ing early that even that expression isn’t quite strong enough. We thought of the earliest historical period or era that we could, and landed on “jurassic ass-crack of dawn.” I submit it to the online universe for consideration…..

  3. Deb says:

    Hey Alison………….thank YOU! It was nice to wake up at the “ass-crack of dawn” on my 55th birthday to see new pictures and hear you have been shocked and awed at the incredible responses to your strip. Most of us, I think, have been keeping up with the thread and you have a wonderfully diverse group here…..maybe not all agreeing, but at the very least, respecting everyone’s right to speak their mind and individual truth’s. Have a great time on the new tour.

  4. Deena in OR says:

    Deb-Happy Birthday! I’ll be in Eugene 10/19th and 20th…prospective student/parent visit day, ya know? Maybe a coffee? [Sorry, all for the off topic chatter :)]


    (fan geekdom here) Did you know that Rachel Maddow, from AirAmerica, has read Fun Home…twice? Thought you might appreciate that.

  5. Aunt Soozie says:

    ass-crack of dawn…that’s wonderful.
    I checked out the threads over at the mwmf boards…whew baybee…I’ll be staying right here with you Ms. Bechdel. Thank you.

  6. Daisy Thompson says:

    Since people are thanking Alison, let me add my own thank you thank you thank you (multiply by 20+ years.)

  7. Central PA Contingent says:

    It’s just so incredible to me that so many people who did not go to BEN High School are responding to Fun Home in the way they are. I read it so personally, Alison. I’m knocked out that you managed to tell this story so honestly, and so rigorously. I ran away to Europe a long time ago and to be honest I haven’t thought much about home or high school in about 20 years. Your story brought it back in such a flood, from sunsets to cicadas, black snakes to lilacs. I can’t stop thinking about it now.

    I idolized Bruce and was devastated when he died right before I would have had him for 12th grade English. I had him for a mini course, though, and ended up reading Faulkner and Joyce and Fitzgerald with him for the first time. Fun Home brought that back so vividly. You know, I remember him pounding a desk (probably a startled Mantle twin’s), yelling, “The whole world is sex, baby, and don’t you forget it!” Something to do with Dewey Dell in As I Lay Dying. Fun Home gives that a new perspective.

    I lost my dad suddenly last year, and was surprised to learn that he and Bruce were born in the same year. I think my dad died too young. It kills me to think how little I understood that when yours died 25 years younger. I had no idea. But I’ve never driven by that place he died without thinking of him.

    I’m sorry. I’m sorry for what you guys all suffered, in all ways, and sorry for what you lost. Thank you for everything you put into this work. I’m proud of what you’ve done, and I’m incredibly moved by it. I don’t think you’ll remember me, but I was friends with Christian. He was an incredibly kind boy. Can you please send him regards from Holly?

  8. kat says:

    Happy Birthday Deb!!

  9. Deb says:

    Awwwwwwwwwwwww, thanks for the birthday wishes! I’ve had a great day. Hey Deena, email me and we can get together! Should be fun.

    Sorry for the personal posts……….y’all just feel like family! 🙂

  10. Sandra says:

    Hi Alison,

    Hi Alison,

    Regarding the phrase “ass-crack of dawn’: if you Google ‘Language Log’ (I’m computer-illiterate enough to get it wrong if I try to cut and paste the url of the website), go to Language Log, look on the right and scan ‘Recent hits and old favorites’ until you see ‘Butt-crack of dawn’ (and then go there), I think you’ll be quite amused…

    Keep up your wonderful work. I’ve loved DTWOF since I started reading it in the early 1980’s.

  11. […] Then on Sunday, I made a mix tape of sad and lonely songs before heading downtown to a reading at Book People, the large independent bookstore in Austin. It’s very geeky of me, but I went to see Alison Bechdel give a reading that I had already seen her do at Amazon in Minneapolis. But the Minneapolis reading was crazy, super hot, and crowded. At this reading, I had a comfortable seat near the front and found the audience response much more mature and interesting than the one at Amazon. You can see me in this picture on her blog. And I still want everyone out there to read Fun Home! […]

  12. Chris says:

    RE: the polite (for the most part) and courteous (for the most part) discussion spawned by your current online strip.

    I’m not greatly surprised. It’s not like you have a lot of readers at say, “Focus on the Family” or Westboro Baptist Church (Fred Phelps).

    On the other hand, you do have multiple metric tons of readers who are either gay or gay-friendly straights.

  13. mlk says:

    and the breadth of their views (and experiences) is incredible! I, for one and grateful for the level of civility and courtesy. I read the thread about the same time that Alison did, and was exhausted by the time I reached the end! such an emotional subject — for those who’ve been to the women’s festival and those who haven’t. all arguments aside, seems to me that the most healing will take place when there’s designated space for all womyn/women to be together — regardless of what sort of body they were born into — as well as WBW only space. what’s preventing the birth of a music festival that’s for both MTF and WBW womyn/women?

  14. Deena in OR says:

    ummmmmm, mlk…someone with the intestinal fortitude, sheer stubborness and insanity to organize it?

  15. Aunt Soozie says:

    I’m wondering why we don’t explore an existing festival that doesn’t have an exclusionary non-policy and try to energize it and make it specifically user friendly to all women/womyn/wimmin or anyway you want to spell women identified women. Honestly, until this debate I never heard the term women born women but I was familiar since the 70’s with “women identified women”…and uhm, I guess I don’t need to say that that phrase meant more than just women who were simply identifying their gender…it’s about more than checking off the F box on a form.

    Oops…I swore I wouldn’t contribute to taking this topic off of that one page where it’s happening…I think it’s better left there… But remember how well I did at my decision to not be a such a frequent poster here? Remember my heartfelt and loving adieu? ahhh…it was so sentimental and I missed you all so much during those 6 hours…especially you Alison.

    Oh, one more thing,
    to Liza from Pine Street…
    The intent of my research is to explore how many women wear boxers, briefs, bikinis, hi-cut briefs, thongs and/or cotton grandma panties as compared to how many wear cardboard underpants or culottes or pants if you are British and whether or not this impacts on fertility.

    Really…that’s my research project, there’s nothing sordid about it and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with asking sweety talented adorable butchies to drop their drawers for the advancement of science. ( I am against animal testing though)

    Kudos to you for having the integrity to remain silent on the subject other people’s undies. I think being a gallery owner must be something akin to being a bartender or a hairdresser…you get folks in these vulnerable moments, you know, like when they’re hanging their work in an empty gallery and worried about how it will be received…and they’re likely to disclose all sorts of personal tidbits about their choice in intimate garb.
    Oh, how I envy you.
    Yours truly,

  16. Aunt Soozie says:

    Auntie is only a psychotherapist…people never tell us anything…

  17. Deb says:

    Same here, just a therapist…….sigh. Hi-cut briefs by the way. Nice to see you back!

  18. Kelseigh says:

    “…it’s about more than checking off the F box on a form.”

    Soozie, I would ask you to not continue using language that trivializes transsexual women and what we go through. It’s demeaning to suggest that we think it’s something as superficial as that, and denies the reality that we *are* something more than that.

    If you are, as you say, a psychotherapist, you should know the effect of language like this very well.

  19. Aunt Soozie says:

    Kelseigh…that comment had nothing to do with trivializing transwomen at all. I was addressing the larger population of ALL women. The expression “women identified women”…which does not exclude transwomen…was not used in the past to identify everyone who could or would check off the F box on a form…ie, it wasn’t just about being female but it was a term that had meaning beyond that, it was about how one regarded herself as a woman. That’s what I was trying to say and I was not excluding transwomen from either group…women who saw themselves in a larger political context and women who didn’t.

    I’m not sure what you thought I was saying but I certainly was not referring to transwomen being the people who would simply check off the box…I meant that there was a difference between ALL women (including but not limited to transwomen) and women who were “women identified women”(including but not limited to transwomen). Maybe you’re too young to remember that term? so you didn’t get what I meant?

  20. Kelseigh says:

    Been a while since I’ve been too young for much, but then, I was just a kid in the 70’s so I wouldn’t have been moving in those circles.

    I do apologize if I took your wording wrong, but you’ll admit it’s disturbingly similar to statements that all a transsexual is doing is changing a letter on a form. So it’s easy to see how I’d make the mistake.

    By way of trivia, one of the nastiest reactions I had when I began transition was a series of ill-informed but very venemous comments in my LJ from a lesbian feminist who routinely used names that were variant spellings of “Susan” or “Suze”. Strange, huh?

  21. Aunt Soozie says:

    your LJ? What is that?
    unfortunately…Susan is a very common name…
    and so is my last name…so, there are many people not only with my first name but with my exact name…it’s a google nightmare. but there’s only one me.

  22. Aunt Soozie says:

    oh, and Aunt Soozie is never ever venemous…she’s a luhvah, not a fighter.

  23. Kelseigh says:

    LJ = LiveJournal, just another blogging/journalling service. I run a couple of the larger trans-related communities over there.

    Hehe. I wasn’t suggesting you were venemous, but it’s just funny we should be on opposite sides of a similar issue.

  24. Deb says:

    LOL Yes, Aunt Soozie has made this femme blush a few times with some of her posts. She is definately a luhvah!

  25. mlk says:

    back to Aunt Soozie’s suggestion that we explore an existing festival that includes trans women . . . just learned recently (yesterday) that the Ohio LBA festival admits trans women. my friend Kelley has been one of the organizers since it started (just learned that recently, too) and she says some of the women who come to Kirkersville also go to Michigan and other festivals — so maybe it wouldn’t be so difficult to build up Ohio’s festival as an inclusive festival?

    I’ve gone back and read the more recent posts re: Alison’s strip wow!! have learned so much about the Michigan festival. my learning curve was steep!

    my previous thoughts were that it’s not such a good idea to try so hard to crash a festival whose importance is symbolic. my thinking went something like this: why put energy into changing the longest running womyn’s festival instead of creating women/womyn’s festival that includes trans women? isn’t it more important to gain access to women’s shelters and medical care? not that I believe these these issues are unrelated, but within myself I was questioning the wisdom of creating controversy among those who might otherwise be allies. and I still think that’s a reasonable line of thinking.

    but then I read about the very anti-trans rhetoric on the Michigan blog (sorry if it was somewhere else, but I can’t wade thru all those entries to find the ones that pertain), that was unchallenged, and the influence of the Michigan festival on practices at other festivals. my assumption was that there are similar events where trans women can be with other women to enjoy music, learn together, etc. the reported transphobia created by Michigan’s “policy” gives me pause. learning the original meaning of WBW also gave me plenty to think about.

    at the same time, I’ve got to say that the postings that say in effect “allowing trans women into the festival won’t significantly change the festival” are comforting to me. I was having a pretty emotional response to some of the posts (yeah, emotions can get in the way) because I’m dealing, again, with the fact that I’ve been unable to have children. I’d made peace with that in my 30’s, but now that I’m in my 40’s and anticipating menopause I’ve found that choosing not to pursue pregnancy (an easy decision at 46) doesn’t feel the same as the prospect of losing my fertility. yikes!!

    reading the MWMF posts made me long to have support from sisters — making peace earlier with my infertility was done mostly on my own. yet what is my loss when compared to the void felt by women who can’t have children because they don’t have the equipment — and who have all the other obstacles that have been described by trans women in earlier posts?

    I like the idea of having separate tents for ciswomen and transwomen. it has an organic feel to it, and shows respect for some basic differences within the women’s community. that’s not to suggest that reproductive issues and “trans-issues” can’t be offered outside those tents. in fact, it’s my hope that that’d happen in time. but change takes time . . . what are we gonna do now?

    it’s been refreshing to see this discussion move beyond rhetoric to sharing that’s more thoughtful and, well, personal. seems to me that differences in ideology were causing division and incredible anger.

    thanks for listening . . .

  26. mlk says:

    stray thought (re: Deena in OR’s post)

    doesn’t it take “intestinal fortitude, sheer stubborness and insanity” to organize *any* community festival? or anything that fills a gaping void? women are certainly up to the task.

    I suspect that ideological differences keep the two factions from working together. what a shame!

  27. mlk says:

    I’ve noticed that postings here have fallen off since I returned to the MWMF topic. damn!! that wasn’t my intent.

    looks I made a bad decisision here . . .

    Aunt Soozie already knows that I can’t always recognize humor. guess I need to brush up my lurking skills 🙂

  28. Aunt Soozie says:

    No mlk, you’re a-ok.
    I liked reading your take on things.
    I have some more thoughts on this subject but have to gather them before I share them. Though my darling told me that “some people must cringe” when they see what I’ve written and she adds…it’s interesting that you’re making an unapologetic argument for separatism. I didn’t think you were going there…my beloved Soozie. (When she adds that, my beloved Soozie, she can say anything. And I think mostly she’s referring to my comments about Alison and Phranc’s underwear.)

    Meanwhile, that Alison, from the MWMF controversy to the passing of a long loved kittycat…she’s dishing out some seriously intense lesbo content here.

    Shadocat apologized for asking about the health of Mo’s cats and I’m glad cause I did kinda wanna blame Shadocat for planting that idea in Ms. Bechdel’s head. But, I’m not angry with you Shadocat…to everything there is a season… darn, I wish I could say that in Latin, I feel so utterly un-dork-like. Doncha hate when that happens? I know I do.

  29. mlk says:

    Aunt Soozie, don’t know if you (or anyone else) will read this but . . . I think several of us may have played a part in the conception of strip 496. it’s (part of) the way that AB does comics.

    If you want to be certain that your thoughts on MWMF are read once you get them together, you may send them to me at mlynkohn@msn.com. I must say, though, that I started a new job about a month ago and don’t have the opportunities to go online — or even check e-mail — that I had as a temp employee.