From The American Scholar:
When a novice writer received a letter from Jacques Barzun, asking her to write a book, how could she have know what she was in for?
If you thought there was nothing new to say about female sexuality, you don’t know Naomi Wolf’s gift for saying nothing new about anything. In her 1991 bestseller, The Beauty Myth, she revealed that attractive women are luckier than homely women. A human shoehorn, she used her subsequent fame to ease herself into the role of political consultant in the 2000 presidential race and reveal that Al Gore has the personality of a tree. She took charge of his wardrobe and revealed his true nature as a resplendent autumnal tree by making him wear socks in warm, earthy colors and teaching him to cross his legs so that they showed.
Now she has uncrossed her own legs and written the life and times of her vagina.
Joan Fitzpatrick interviewed Germaine Greer, Professor of English at the University of Warwick, who as well as having set up Stump Cross Books, which makes available work by women writers, is working on an edition of the complete works of the seventeeth-century poet Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea.
From the Los Angeles Times:
Lady Gaga has been spending time with internationally known philosopher Slavoj Žižek, if you can believe the heated headlines of the New York Post. Lady Gaga is even more widely known, a pop-culture one-woman phenomenon of singing, dancing and crazy out fits. Žižek, a lively philosopher and theorist, is a critic who often turns his attention to pop culture.
To quote John McEnroe, “You cannot be serious!“
This NPR book review of the confessional Dark Desires and the Others, written by Luisa Valenzuela, is titled Sex, Submission, and ‘Dark Desires.’ It’s interesting. The reviewer says,
It’s a little self-indulgent, perhaps, and rambling, too. But Dark Desiresdoes rub up against an uncomfortable truth that began to emerge in the late 1970s and early 1980s, around the time her notebooks were originally written: Women were suddenly finding success in work and business, but were failing at love. Valenzuela could be a case study in Female Perversions, Louise Kaplan’s groundbreaking Freudian study of this phenomenon. Women who felt powerful in their chosen professions were, in their love and sex lives, willfully subjugating themselves to their male partners.
Sometimes, there is simply nothing further to say.
Motherhood, it seems, is the Middle East of social controversy. Alliances may shift, new dogmas and leaders may arise, tactics may change, but the fundamental conflict resists resolution. Despite the efforts of would-be peacemakers, impassioned partisans continue battling to claim all the territory as their own. My way, they declare, is the one right way to be a good mother, a real woman, a fulfilled human being.
“Fortunately, nobody dies in the mommy wars (a term popularized by Newsweek 21 years ago). And, despite the ongoing verbal assaults, American women have actually established a modus vivendi….
In 1998, Virginia Postrel published her compelling book, The Future and it’s Enemies, the Growing Conflict over Creativity, Enterprise, and Progress. It offered a new way of describing the political landscape, escaping the trite left and right memes (which unfortunately, never seem to go away). The linked book review was written by philosophy professor Kelly L. Ross and is found at his remarkable philosophy website, The Proceedings of the Fresian School. I cannot improve on his comprehensive review. I will, however, offer a brief summery taken from the book and Ross’ review:
Author of several books, including the well-known House of the Spirits (1982), Isabel Allende, tells tales of passion in this video. Speaking about creating characters, she offers, “nice people with common sense do not make interesting characters; they only make good former spouses,”one of several humorous comments.
Isabel Allende is something of a controversial author…and the video leaves no doubt where her heart lies.