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Elizabeth Sandifer

Elizabeth Sandifer created Eruditorum Press. She’s not really sure why she did that, and she apologizes for the inconvenience. She currently writes Last War in Albion, a history of the magical war between Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. She used to write TARDIS Eruditorum, a history of Britain told through the lens of a ropey sci-fi series. She also wrote Neoreaction a Basilisk, writes comics these days, and has ADHD so will probably just randomly write some other shit sooner or later. Support Elizabeth on Patreon.


  1. Carey
    June 20, 2014 @ 1:14 am

    Just a quick correction, but if I recall correctly, Mr Scott is Joans father, and not husband in Tea and Sympathy.

    I'd disagree with you regarding politics in Moore's Captain Britain, although in part because it was written at the same time as V For Vendetta, and addresses some of the same issues, mainly about the insanity of the Right, and the fear that the victimisation of sections of society will lead to internment/concentration camps. It is broad, that I grant you, but considering within four years of the end of Moore's run on Captain Britain the British Conservative government would introduce Section 28 of the Local Government Act (better known as Clause 28) which stated that local authorities in England and the UK "shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality" or "promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship," Mad Jim Jaspers and his policies were remarkably precedent.


  2. Eric Gimlin
    June 20, 2014 @ 7:40 am

    I think, other than 3 pages in a famine benefit comic, this is the last time Moore ever did any work in the Marvel Universe. He was already into his "leave and don't look back" stage at this point; unless I'm missing something his only new work at Marvel after this was 2 benefit books (The famine relieve comic and a 9/11 magazine) and one story in Epic Illustrated that was creator-owned.

    On a totally different note, I just found copies of one of the lesser known battlefronts in the war: The 1986 (published therefore in 1985) Batman and Superman Annuals. Each of them feature a 3-page text story by Morrison, which marks his first work on the respective characters. Interesting stuff.


  3. BerserkRL
    June 20, 2014 @ 8:04 am

    I love how people still describe the Thatcher government as "libertarian."


  4. Elizabeth Sandifer
    June 20, 2014 @ 9:42 am

    You're right that he never did more Marvel work, but it wasn't until Marvel got litigious over the use of the Marvelman name that this transformed into an ideological position as opposed to a more general "I can afford not to work for Marvel and Marvel kind of annoys me."


  5. Elizabeth Sandifer
    June 20, 2014 @ 9:49 am

    The thing is, Jaspers started out as a much more direct symbol of authoritarianism, and Moore consciously diluted that. I mean, it's unsurprisingly easy to fit Captain Britain into the larger context of Moore's work, and so I agree that Captain Britain is consistent with the larger anti-fascist ideology that's pervasive in Moore's work, but I don't think Captain Britain is itself a major contribution to that aspect of Moore's work. I think the politics of Captain Britain are based much more on destabilizing the basic idea of Britain as a unitary symbol in the first place,


  6. Elizabeth Sandifer
    June 20, 2014 @ 9:49 am

    (And you may well be right about Tea and Sympathy – will check that at some point, but I don't have the Captain Britain omnibus handy right now.)


  7. Nyq Only
    June 20, 2014 @ 10:52 am

    The Young Conservatives and Conservative student groups at the time, whilst being vocal cheerleaders for Thatcher were often overtly Libertarian – or at least claimed to be and used that term often to describe themselves. The authoritarian and libertarian traits of modern conservatism never seem to have any trouble living simultaneously together in some people's heads.
    When "socialism" is almost anything and rhetorically "socialism" gets equated to Stalinist atrocities and a person believes the government's only role is to defend private citizens (and more importantly their property) from "socialism" then almost authoritarian move can be justified as somehow being "libertarian".
    The British libertarians in the Conservative Party that I knew in the 1980s didn't seem to get upset about any curtailing of liberties (certainly not during the miner's strike) – at least until the government started making moves against football violence.


  8. Daibhid C
    June 20, 2014 @ 11:09 am

    A battlefront indeed, since the previous year's Superman annual also had a comedic text story, this one written by Moore.

    (I remember reading Moore's story at the time and enjoying it, although at the age of 8 the name meant nothing to me. I may have read Morrision's as well, but if so it didn't stick in my mind so much.)


  9. sleepyscholar
    June 20, 2014 @ 4:25 pm

    Daibhid C: "I may have read Morrison's as well, but if so it didn't stick in my mind so much."

    You are Alan Moore and I claim my five pounds!


  10. Spoilers Below
    June 20, 2014 @ 7:57 pm

    'How people themselves perceive what they are doing is not a question that interests me,' [Chomsky] says. 'I mean, there are very few people who are going to look into the mirror and say that person I see is a savage monster; instead, they make up some construction that justifies what they do. If you ask the CEO of some major corporation what he does he will say, in all honesty, that he is slaving 20 hours a day to provide his customers with the best goods or services he can and creating the best possible working conditions for his employees. But then you take a look at what the corporation does, the effect of its legal structure, the vast inequalities in pay and conditions, and you see the reality is something far different.'



  11. Aylwin
    June 22, 2014 @ 1:31 am

    Right. Because obviously the way people think is the very last thing that could ever tell you anything useful about their behaviour or how to respond to it. It's not as though understanding and refuting the perceptions that enable people to justify bad behaviour, to themselves as well as others, has ever played any part in bringing about positive change on either an individual or a social level.

    Thanks Chomsky.


  12. Spoilers Below
    June 24, 2014 @ 12:05 pm

    With the admitted risk of running afoul of Godwin's law, the reason why self-perception doesn't matter is some cases (definitely not all, but some, especially in the highest echelons) is brilliantly demonstrated by Franz Stangl, commandant of the Sobibor and Treblinka extermination camps.

    Trigger warnings for the following paragraphs, of course.

    The way that the Nazis set up and ran the camps was pure genius, in a horrible, disgusting way, in that it made sure no single person was actually responsible for what was happening.

    The outside perimeter and the officers barracks were guarded by SS, but the inmates were guarded by Ukrainian "volunteers" (people recruited from POW camps and the like). Stangl himself, in his interviews with Gitta Sereny, goes on about how brutally the Ukrainians treated the Jews. When Sereny asks "But weren't you in charge of the camp? Couldn't you have stopped them?", Stangl goes "No no, I was just an administrator! That was out of my hands!".

    Stangl was recruited under the pretense that his expertise as a police detective was needed to clear up the distribution of "resources" (loot) from an army supply camp under construction. It wasn't until he arrived at Sobibor that he realized what he had signed up for, and then he kept telling himself that hey, the beatings and killings are being done by the Ukrainians and the SS, I'm just here to keep an eye on the loot and administrate construction. Same thing when he got put in charge of Treblinka. The camp was a complete nightmare. There were piles of bodies just strewn about the railway leading up to the gates. There was complete chaos. The guards were drinking themselves into a stupor daily to deal with what they were doing. Stangl was just there to shape things up. He made everything better, even for the Jews. He was just doing his job to the best of his abilities. He didn't kill anyone.

    A West German court later sentenced Stangl to life in prison for the murder of 900.000 people.


  13. Aylwin
    June 24, 2014 @ 1:15 pm

    But people's ability to disavow responsibility in such cases depends precisely on their perception of themselves and their role in events. What is "I was just an administrator" if not a statement of self-perception?


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