Isaiah's latest THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "The Moment COVID Delays." Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi robotically repeats, "We feed them! We feed them!" To which a man responds, "Not on 600 bucks, Fancy Nancy. You gave 800 dollars way to student loans!" Senator Bernie Sanders asks, "What does the stimulus mean to you?" And receives the response, "It means you are too chicken to fight for us! You said 2000 was a matter of life and death!" While one person yells, "Douse 'em with water and see if they melt!" Isaiah archives his comics at THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS.
Saturday, April 03, 2021
Naomi Wolf would have been a topic in one of the snapshots this past week had there been more time -- and had we not had trouble logging in one morning (that morning, I dictated it and it was e-mailed to this site because we couldn't log into it).
WNNY is "We're Not Naming You." WNNY wrote an article this past week that was an attack on Naomi Wolf. WNNY is a young woman. Maybe she needs to grow a little, maybe she'll be an idiot all her life, I have no idea.
And, to be clear, I'm not opposed to criticizing Naomi Wolf. Doing our media critiques at THIRD, Ava and I have to criticize all the time -- and frequently negatively -- people we know. Those pieces have resulted in many, many hurt feelings. When we got ABC to give a friend's show a second season and a new time slot, no one really rushed to say thank you. But when someone thinks we got their show cancelled (an actor of an unfunny FOX sitcom, to note just one person), we never stop hearing about it (in that case, a sitcom got the axe over ten years ago and we still hear from him about this).
At THIRD, Ava and I have criticized Naomi Wolf many, many times. And I'm sure we will again.
WNNY has written an attack on Naomi. She used the anniversary of THE BEAUTY MYTH (published in 1991 here in the US, in 1990 in England) to attack Wolf.
Her attack was badly written.
And when I say badly written, I mean on every level.
First of all, she has no understanding of the book. And, again, I mean on every level, she has no understanding of the book. She doesn't grasp the book's origin -- how it started out for Naomi -- it was not planned as a book. She doesn't grasp the context the book falls into -- not the context within feminism and not the context within political theory and not the context within the times it was published.
WNNY is not mature enough to be aware of what the book grows out of -- a series of lectures delivered by a political theorist, Judith N. Shklar, whose work resulted in this site's title. Now Shklar has passed away and, since she was a woman, if you're not a poli sci person, you may not know her name. But maybe if you're going to critique a book, you need to know where its roots are, what it's responding to and what was taking place when it was published.
I don't feel that THE BEAUTY MYTH is a great book. I've made that clear many times before. Of Naomi's work prior to 2000, I would argue FIRE WITH FIRE is the classic. THE BEAUTY MYTH's roots show to me -- both what influenced it and what Naomi was attempting to achieve when she first started it (before it was intended to be a book). I think it is important and that it contributes and builds on many things. I think it's an influencer.
But, no, I don't think it's a great book. It reads 'dead' to me. It's not alive. FIRE WITH FIRE is messy but it's alive and Naomi's struggling and sharing the struggle. It's a book to discuss and to contemplate and it's still an important book. And I have many negative criticisms of it -- and Ava and I have made them at THIRD -- but it is an important book, a very important one.
PROMESCUITIES is an embarrassment. The points WNNY wants to make, she should have used that book. (And Ava and I have criticized it.)
But the points WNNY really wants to make are "Naomi Wolf is a sh**ty person and not worth s**t."
Before we get to why, let me be clear, an argument on that might be interesting to read. It could be insightful if WNNY had done any actual work, if she could make some arguments. She can't, she's not up to the work required. She can't even criticize THE BEAUTY MYTH in her own limited area (WNNY's own limited area) of general feminism (WNNY clearly only can place feminism within the context of liberal political theory). So she fails there.
She fails in that her article is plodding and I lost anger about three paragraphs in because I was just so damn bored. So bored that I stopped reading and would have forgotten it if a feminist (college professor who falls into the camp of radical, Marxist feminism) friend hadn't called and asked, "Did you see that crap?" During our phone call, I promised I'd go finish reading it and then write about it. And it was a chore to read. It was plodding, it was dull.
If you're going to launch a bitchy attack, at least try to do it in an amusing way. Barring that, provide passionate anger, provide something.
WNNY provides nothing.
The article was published this week and largely died immediately upon publication. That's another reason not to name WNNY. Keep the article dead where it belongs.
But why the attack?
Because Naomi is straying from the camp, she's to be ostracized and the best way to do it is with a 'feminist.'
Just as defense attorneys long ago learned to hide behind a female attorney when defending a rapist, the system knows that you really need a woman to do a harsh attack on another woman for it to have a greater chance of being adopted.
Now I have no problem with attacks. They can be fun to read, they can have merits.
I do have a problem with what WNNY did.
I have a problem because deciding to attack before you know how to attack (or bothering to do the work) results in very bad writing.
I have a bigger problem in that I don't like silencing people in terms of dogpiles. I don't do dogpiles.
I'm glad that Naomi's questioning the response to the pandemic. It needs to be questioned. Liberties are being lost. Now, more than ever, we really need the late Michael Ratner.
Naomi's written two classic books -- FIRE WITH FIRE and THE END OF AMERICA (2007). It's the latter book that has led Naomi to her work currently and her work since 2007. You can't write that book and not have your eyes opened. The book details the ten steps of closing societies and makes the argument (I agree with her) that the US is moving through these stages. That was true before the pandemic and it's true now.
I don't see Naomi as a pandemic denier. That's what WNNY smears her with.
Naomi is aware of the pandemic and she knows it's serious. She's done work noting that. Unlike WNNY, Naomi's also spoken with experts and activists from around the world about the responses to the pandemic -- she's even published interviews with some of these people.
WNNY wants to smear Naomi and make her toxic so that people won't listen to her or mention her or, most importantly, raise the questions that Naomi's raising.
We don't do that here.
We won't do that here.
On the pandemic, if I want to drop our click numbers, all I have to do is post something Francis A. Boyle has written.
I don't look at the numbers, Jim does. Jim briefs me on them some times. I never ask and frequently tell him not to tell me. But he's charted that within a 24 hour period of publishing something by Boyle, we will lost a minimum of 3,000 'views.' It will take us four to seven days to get back those views.
That's fine. I'm not about views. Not in that way. When this site reached 5,000,000 views and Jim told me, that's another story. I was in such a panic that it was hard to write here. That's what people never get -- or got -- about me. I can work with someone I hate. I can kiss someone I hate for the audience and be convincing. And it's not stressful for me. Having a director hate me doesn't bother me one bit. Now when I'm liked, that's a problem because then I'm worrying about disappointing someone.
So I can live on hate and have lived on throughout many jobs in my life.
I'm not afraid to lose clicks. Francis A. Boyle is an expert, he knows the law. If he's making an argument and I'm aware of it, I consider it this site's role to be sure that the argument is up here and amplified.
I am all about us -- a society -- forming a consensus but I am not about a faux consensus being created via the media and imposed upon us.
Naomi Wolf is a feminist. That is not in doubt. Her work is feminism and that may confuse people who grew up on the internet which tends to insist that, in the US, feminism is about abortion.
I am pro-choice. I will not change on that. But I really don't think abortion is the most pressing issue in the US today. I think some 'feminists' have made it clear that their beliefs begin and end with abortion.
Some of the junk that supposed feminists obsess over in the US is disgusting. The 2018 Academy Awards were disgusting. At a time when assault -- of women and of children -- were being discussed, a few chose to make it about greed and these women aren't feminists. Whine, whine, I wasn't paid this or that, whine, whine. They hijacked the topic and they hijacked the arts. That is, please note, what the Academy Awards are supposed to be about -- art. It's why so many bad films win Best Picture. It's not artistic merit as much as it is how the Academy wants to see itself. So many Best Picture winners were societal advances in film but were not close to being the best film -- or even the best of the nominated films -- of their year.
Greed isn't pretty and a lot of those women looked petty.
Michelle Williams kicked off the greed cycle in the lead up to that ceremony with her whining about her 'unequal pay.' As we noted in real time, her low pay for reshoots were the result of a lousy agent who should have demanded, before a frame of film was shot, let alone the reshoots, that she had a favored nations clause. She didn't. Then it turned out that she was the one who agreed to her terms. She was bragging -- trying to get an Academy Award -- that she believed in the film so much that she did the reshoots for free (she got a per diem, so she didn't actually do it for 'free'). But then she and her friends started the whole whine-a-thon about the difference in pay for reshoots.
They didn't tell the world the reality that she had already been paid $625,000. That's a huge sum of money when so many live in poverty. So stop the whining. Second, a 38-year-old actress who has never opened a film (filled seats in movie theaters) isn't likely to become a star. In studio films, she's a supporting actress, not a lead actress. You can argue she was overpaid for ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD -- especially considering how little it grossed (under $30 million in North America).
She was greedy and she was a distraction from real issues. And we see that far too often.
Genital mutilation is a real problem. 'Honor' killing of women is a real problem. Rape and assault are real problems. Racism and sexism are real problems. The lack of a living wage is a real problem. That you 'only' got a little over half a million dollars for shooting a film isn't really a real problem.
NOW, when Kim Gandy headed it, would not regularly that peace is a feminist issue. And it is a feminist issue.
Far too much of online feminism in the US is about a very limited feminism that exists solely for some woman to argue 'my choices I made are feminism.' Maybe they are, maybe they aren't but they are rarely pressing feminist issues.
Naomi's dealing with real issues.
Instead of smearing Naomi, the woman who attacked should try learning a thing or two from her.
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