[Fwd: Re: [Fwd: Re: Butler on Spivak (was SZ)]]

Katha Pollitt kpollitt at thenation.com
Mon Nov 22 06:22:20 PST 1999

kelley wrote:

> i suspected as much about editing but wasn't sure. i *do* know that it's a
> deeply troubling thing to go through --wrangling with an editor can be
> pretty threatening.

Yes, I know. I know editors who are real Mussolinis, control freaks who change for the sake of changing -- they like their word better than your word, they don't get your jokes so they take them out etc. But then there are writers who really need pruning and shaping but are in love with their purple prose and windy digressions. I even know one person who is both!

> but, again, i don't care that butler's not accessible to the wider
> audience. i really can't see how her ideas are valuable in the least.

Well, I think if she were more accessible, she wouldn't have the same cache, because the thrill comes from the sense that one is reading something arcane.

important to uncover.for example, i did a little bit of work on the early
> critiques of betty friedan from working class feminists, particularly union
> organizers. and, of course, another project that i'd like to see is the
> erasure of the black feminst critiques. folks have managed to canonize
> bell hooks et a, but there were quite a few women writing, giving talks,
> holding cons. raisings, etc. it would be important to ask how certain
> voices were privileged while others were erased in this very recent history.

Can you give some names and cites of the union and black women? I don't like bell hooks's stuff at all. She's another blatherer. And , like butler, her politics basically boil down to individual introspection -- in her case, making people feel guilty and/or self-righteous. She has very little to say about how society is actually organized, beyond that it's racist, sexist, patriarchal, capitalist. No wonder she's so popular!


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