From These Great Depths

As I continue to read through 40 hours of interview transcriptions, I see specific comments, feelings and thoughts occur over and over again among some of the interviewees.

Several of the interviewees in the documentary have made comments that they had never seen a woman like Sylvia before.  A woman who was wildly and absurdly funny, dangerously outspoken with spot on witty political and social commentary and whose “armament” consisted of her bathrobe, beer, a TV set, a crystal ball, and a typewriter.

Interviews from the documentary: 

Bob Greensfelder: “I think Sylvia is just a marvelous invention herself.”

Judith Arcana: “Sylvia was extremely unusual. Sylvia did give women a voice and it was a loud voice coming from a smart woman and we loved it for that.  We needed it, we got it, we loved it, we supported it.”

Alison Bechdel: “Women have always been like Sylvia, but  they have not been able to do that publicly until quite recently so there’s a space between the way women really are and the way women are allowed to be presented and that’s what Sylvia started to breach.”

Was Sylvia a new archetype?

Did she bear no ancestors?

From what internal and subconscious depths did Nicole Hollander drag Sylvia out of? 


This was a different era when Sylvia was in the public eye-in the 80s-what effect did SYlvia have in the 80s compared to the 90s to the 2000s?
How did American culture and discourse change from the 80s to 90s to 2000s? Who were we then? Who are we now?


Christ, where do the cats go?? We do not have enough soundbytes about cats.

One of my favorite soundbytes so far from the doc about Sylvia’s cats made by long-term Sylvia fan, Richard Bready:

” Let’s talk about the cats because I think the cats are — The cats, always known as ‘the boys,’ hypnotize women and persuade them to do things against their own self-interest. When women want to do something, the cats persuade them to get up and give me tuna. That’s exactly the same as making coffee. It’s exactly the same as where’s my dinner? The cats for women who do not have relationships with men are a victimizing force, and a force of which as with men, women are intensely fond and whose company they find necessary and desirable. Nicole has done books, illustrated books about why cats are better than men, and in those books cats appreciate you in ways that men don’t. But in the strip, in Sylvia, the cats are nakedly exploitative, and charming and tolerated and I think the men became cats.  I don’t know whether Nicole would agree with me.”