The Books of My Numberless Dreams

On the up side

Posted on: February 13, 2008

One can always depend on some form of mindless entertainment to shake its sequined figure in an effort to distract and amuse. First a “Lori Gottlieb” — I’m convinced she’s an escapee from a different dimension — wrote a most bewildering article for a supposedly respected political magazine called The Atlantic. I’m not sure how to seriously respond to her piece because…it’s as if she were speaking Sanskrit.

To the outside world, of course, we still call ourselves feminists and insist—vehemently, even—that we’re independent and self-sufficient and don’t believe in any of that damsel-in-distress stuff, but in reality, we aren’t fish who can do without a bicycle, we’re women who want a traditional family. And despite growing up in an era when the centuries-old mantra to get married young was finally (and, it seemed, refreshingly) replaced by encouragement to postpone that milestone in pursuit of high ideals (education! career! but also true love!), every woman I know—no matter how successful and ambitious, how financially and emotionally secure—feels panic, occasionally coupled with desperation, if she hits 30 and finds herself unmarried.

Oh, I know—I’m guessing there are single 30-year-old women reading this right now who will be writing letters to the editor to say that the women I know aren’t widely representative, that I’ve been co-opted by the cult of the feminist backlash, and basically, that I have no idea what I’m talking about. And all I can say is, if you say you’re not worried, either you’re in denial or you’re lying. In fact, take a good look in the mirror and try to convince yourself that you’re not worried, because you’ll see how silly your face looks when you’re being disingenuous.

I don’t know. Was this printed in the comedy section? Is it like the New Yorker‘s “Shouts and Murmers”? I read Ed‘s take on the article first, rather confused and concerned that he had come a little undone again, which happens occasionally, but I was soon set aright. But I first came across it at Old Hag; only read the title before I slammed on the backspace key, then. But I dutifully went through some of the other questionable articles, mostly book reviews, that The Atlantic published in the past and…well.

Things don’t take a turn for straightforward hilarity until one reads the comment section over at Charlottesville. One struggling rebel writer/martyr used the opportunity to make an irrelevant remark on the female hegemony today in publishing. The marginalization of male writers writing about real manly issues like “manhood” was deemed “progress” but resulted in nothing but the proliferation of chick lit! These narrow-minded female editors just don’t get the male point-of-view.

I wish to seek this isolated isle of literary matriarchy that is so resistant, even incapable of understanding the male mind. It sounds so wonderful when one considers the fact that women, for centuries, have by default been dealing with the masculine point of view in oral and written literature. I wonder which schools they went to…?

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5 Responses to "On the up side"

If abandoning feminism means I have to mix metaphors and scramble my syntax then I think I might well stick with it…… :)

I gave up the Atlantic just before we moved to Switzerland because I felt it tended to be very inconsistent (long articles that contradicted themselves in the last sentence for example). But that article goes beyond ridiculous – I’m actually shocked at its low intellectual, psychological, and philosophical level. Despite my frustration with the magazine, I wouldn’t have expected something that egregiously poor from The Atlantic.

litlove yes, I wondered about where the editors were when this piece came across their desk. Honestly…

verbivore apparently it’s a part of a long trend. The previous “women’s issue” writer who peddled the same sort of crap was picked by, of all things, the New Yorker. Heh.

This is the same old tired argument that used to irritate me so much in university, all those accusations of false consciousness — “if you don’t agree with me you are in denial.” So juvenile.

I knew there was a reason why I canceled my “Atlantic” subscription years ago, and why I’m considering letting my “New Yorker” subscription lapse. The New Yorker hasn’t (yet) published something so bad as that Atlantic article, but perhaps I should just get out while I can.

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