Eloquent words from Paul Elie on Mary Stewart. May she rest in peace and rise in glory.
Certain authors leave us feeling not admiration or devotion so much as gratitude – gratitude for the time we spent, the peak experiences we had, with the books they wrote.
For me, Mary Stewart was such an author. She died yesterday in Scotland, where she lived, age 97. But the memory of
EB White on the power and importance of libraries, 1971.
This is wisdom.
I had a good time talking on CBC radio just now, and I am looking forward to going to WINNIPEG tomorrow to talk on stage with Bill Richardson and share in your weird Manitoban rituals!
Pictured above, THE POOL OF THE BLACK STAR.
Look it up, non-Winipeggers.
Perhaps the coolest room I’ve ever been in!
I hope I can be clear about this, but my thoughts all day have been a bit muddled, so I apologize if I express myself poorly or come off as defensive or anything.
1. There are deeply problematic relationship dynamics glorified in Twilight.
2. Criticizing misogyny in art is good and important.
3. My concern is that popular work by women receives far more vitriolic criticism from the public (like, in terms of number of demeaning jokes made by Jay Leno*) than popular work created by men.
4. So I think we’re talking about two different kinds of criticism: The totally legitimate criticism we see in literary journals and feminist web sites about misogyny, and the demeaning and dismissive this-sucks-because-teen-girls-like-it-and-everyone-knows-that-teen-girls-are-not-fully-human criticism we see in popular culture.
5. Also, I would like to see equal attention given to the sexism in popular work by men, from Nicholas Sparks to for instance J. D. Salinger. Catcher in the Rye—although I like it very much—is profoundly and disturbingly misogynistic and yet seems to get a critical pass both online and off. This happens a lot, I think, with books by men, and I don’t want male writers (including me!) to get that pass.
6. I might be wrong about any/all of this. I’m wrong a lot, and always trying to learn.
*EDIT: Apparently Jay Leno has retired. You learn something new every day.
The impulse behind the original twitter comments—well-stated here, and what I’d characterize as a wise condemnation of what one might call ‘contempt prior to investigation’—was spot on. The lack of nuance available on twitter is well addressed here. I find the idealization of the Bella/Edward relationship deeply worrisome, and many of the tropes of the first book (the only one I’ve read) are intensely problematic in the roles they reinforce.
I would love to see us as a culture refrain from turning what’s popular into a punch line, without actually engaging,
Sign of Truth.
this has basically been my philosophy since I was 12
Why you should buy books this year
And great interview altogether. (From back in October, but I just saw it today.)