Listening off and on today to video of a public event I knew of beforehand and might, a few weeks ago, have chosen to attend in person. (Still really only partly wish I’d gone, delight in many ways though it clearly would have been to experience first-hand. I’m a crowd-avoider.)
How many long-time spouses of men who have so little difficulty talking about themselves and their work, and whose habits in doing so are as set as Spiegelman’s evidently are, will very readily sustain the pleasurable creative effort Mouly pursues, live on stage here, in drawing him along from thought to thought? I suppose there’s professional remove, in part, that she’s able to bring to it in this setting. She sees him as someone — someone of his generation, it may be right to say — whose story and whose stories need to be heard (in this I’d agree wholeheartedly), and she makes the most of the conversational opportunity. In any case, what one imagines could easily have been an interesting older guy’s tedious, perhaps only occasionally illuminating holding-forth is here instead a measured exploration of memories and vital individual perspective.
3 thoughts on “13 dec 2022: Spiegelman and Mouly in conversation, Chicago Public Library”
Wow, Mr. Spiegelman does talk about his mother’s suicide (he doesn’t shy away from the topic) but not much considering she launched his career!
Yeah, found myself hung up on this too, the enormous presence his mother is in this hour’s account, from how-I-became-a-cartoonist to unAmerican-Biblebelters-in-Tennessee, and his apparent inability to represent her to us in any but the sketchiest terms.
Thinking about this some partly in relation to Crumb’s more receding, but still essential, presence in the story. Like Crumb — not just like him, certainly, but like him nevertheless — Spiegelman isn’t somebody you want to wind up, somewhere along the line, trying to convince yourself is really basically okay. These guys are not okay. You have possibly much to learn from them — I know I do — but you don’t want to be like them. If you haven’t got what Aline Kominsky, requiescat in pacem, had or Françoise Mouly has, they’re guys you probably don’t want to be too close to either. I know I don’t.
(I mean, very few of us are really all that okay in my judgment. I don’t mean to put these two in a strange-others box, by any means, that I’m not in myself. But if ‘okay’ is something we can aim to get nearer to, as I think it is, then some among us are undoubtedly greater figures of caution than others, and in this sense I’d mark Crumb, especially, and to a lesser degree Spiegelman for some distinction.)