Stride me no Strident
Emily Amick: There’s a discussion raging on the blogosphere right now about Wonkette’s ‘post-feminist’ review of your book in the New York Times.
Ah. I rushed over to Google blogsearch to find out about that, and the comments seemed to be running heavily in the ‘jaw-droppingly stupid’ direction. Good. But – what did the Times ever run a review like that for? What is its point? What next? Assigning a stand-up comic to review Amartya Sen’s next book? Assigning Tom Cruise to review a book by John Searle? What is their point? That US public discourse isn’t stupid enough yet, they have to put their shoulders to the wheel and make it even stupider?
Katha Pollitt: You certainly wouldn’t know from the review that the book is not, actually, one long grim fulmination against high-fashion shoes and the young women who wear them. It’s fine that she hated the book (well, not really!), but I wish she had accurately conveyed its contents.
Oh but that wouldn’t do, because that would have been non-stupid, so would have defeated the whole (deeply opaque) purpose.
Katha Pollitt: There are pieces about Republicans, Democrats, Greens, fundamentalists ( of all stripes), creationism in Kansas, sexism in the media…and daycare workers sentenced to long prison terms for sex abuse that almost certainly did not occur. There are pieces about Muslim women’s rights – a topic Wonkette says I’m “fixated” on, which is an odd choice of word, don’t you think? Maybe she’ll tell us someday exactly how much concern is the right amount to have.
Yes, I do think. I very much think, and I’m not the only one. I was telling JS about Cox’s review yesterday via Messenger and he interjected – ‘Fixated?’ Just so: fixated: this is what we have come to. We’ll have to be writing another book about this kind of thing. The grindstone is whirling, the knives are stacked up ready for sharpening.
E.A.: Yet many young women believe the feminist movement doesn’t allow them to wear stilettos and lipstick. So where is the line between “stridency and submission?” K.P.: We’re still on Wonkette, I see. Have you ever heard that word “strident” applied to a man? I can’t believe the conversation is stuck on this idiotic plot point: Feminists with loud voices and hairy legs versus girls who just want to have fun.
Exactly. ‘Strident’ is of course a word largely reserved for feminists, and boring feminists versus fun sexpots is an idiotic plot point. Wonkette should sit on the naughty stool for a very long time.