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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

Anti-Solnit

I hate this essay by Rebecca Solnit as much as I did all of her previous writing. Solnit is a total anti-me. She has this lisping, cutesy, puckered up writing persona that is all about touchy-feely nebulous shit she takes out of her ass and treats as real. 

In case you don’t know, Solnit made herself famous by claiming that men condescend to her. I forced myself to read 70% of the linked essay and I wonder what she expects when she writes such inane stuff in such a childish voice. 

And by the way, I’m stunned that somebody can pose as a famous feminist while producing such a bizarrely bad reading of Pushkin. Solnit’s feminism is all about forcing everybody to treat the platitudes she offers with respect. It doesn’t go beyond her narcissistic woundedness. 

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11 thoughts on “Anti-Solnit

  1. el on said:

    \ such a bizarrely bad reading of Pushkin

    Why is it bad? I read the fairy tale years ago, so may be I missed something.

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  2. Shakti on said:

    She seems to have made a surface reading of the tale, as I understand it. What is a better interpretation of it?

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    • One could always ask why a woman is presented as this gaping hole of want that nothing can fill. What is the history of this portrayal? Why is the poem so dedicated to making the readers hate the woman? What is so disturbing about her desire to have power? What is the history of portrayal of old women?

      But “the indigent powerless old woman in the poem is just like Trump” is not what I would call a profound reading. It’s maybe something that a precocious 6-year-old would come up with to please her parents.

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      • By the way, the image of a woman as a bottomless pit of unsatisfied desires is central to the 19th century literature. That’s the time when capitalism becomes inevitable and is associated, in many instances, with the female. A Great example is the novel The Bringas Woman by Galdos.

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        • Somebody help me, I can’t stop! The countries with the most entrenched sexist model of gender segregation are the ones that find capitalism the most traumatic and react very violently. They intuit in capitalism a great equalizer. Which is not to say that capitalism is “good.” I’m not Solnit, I don’t think I’m such categories.

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          • el on said:

            \ Somebody help me, I can’t stop!

            I enjoy such comments, so may hardly ask you to stop. 🙂

            Haven’t known about the association between capitalism and women. Was it made solely because of equalizing effect of capitalism, or were there additional reasons?

            \ By the way, the image of a woman as a bottomless pit of unsatisfied desires is central to the 19th century literature.

            I thought it was widespread long before that. Thought about Chaucer’s Wife of Bath with her sexual and other appetites:

            “The bridle he put wholly in my hand
            To have complete control of house and land,
            And of his tongue and hands as well–and when
            He did, I made him burn his book right then.”

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            • No, it’s also the sexual aspect. Women, as you know, distract men from the path of righteousness by arousing in them sexual desires. Capitalism is like women. It seduces you into wanting, buying things on credit, wanting some more. Capital is fickle like a woman, unreliable, treacherous, seductive.

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      • el on said:

        \ What is so disturbing about her desire to have power?

        Reading the text (rather than subtext) of the poem, I find it most disturbing that she tries to have power over somebody (the golden fish) who gave her any power to begin with:

        “I don’t want to be a mighty tsaritsa,
        I want to be a sea empress;
        I want to live in the Ocean-Sea
        with the golden fish as my servant
        to bring me whatever I ask for”
        http://www.stosvet.net/12/chandler/index9.html

        \ What is the history of portrayal of old women?

        I don’t know, but your questions reminded me of Anne Sexton’s poem “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”:

        https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/snow-white-and-seven-dwarfs

        ,

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        • Yes, women will always undermine each other because that’s just how they are. 🙂

          The trope of the malignant old woman is present in European literature since the Middle Ages. There isn’t an alternative obsession with old men.

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        • Good poem. The empty china-doll eyes is exactly how I imagine Solnit.

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