2018-05-24 12:39:39 2018-05-24 12:39:39 2018-05-24 12:39:39 1660920
Great Essays, facing stupid power
The last paragraph of Rebecca Solnit's "Let This Flood of Women’s Stories Never Cease" made me think of the last line in Stephen Jay Gould's "Wide Hats, Narrow Minds."I am, somehow, less interested in the weight and convolutions of Einstein's brain than in the near certainty that people of equal talent have lived and died in cotton fields and sweatshops. — Stephen Jay Gould
Rebecca Traister and others have made the important point that we should not mourn the end of the creative lives of the men being outed as predators; we should contemplate the creative contributions we never had, will never know, because their creators were crushed or shut out. — Rebecca Solnit
If there was a Harvey Weinstein in your organization, would you let your Jason Bourne out on him? ( Earlier Solnit writing on Weinstein )… ignorance is one form of tolerance, whether it’s pretending we’re in a colorblind society or one in which misogyny is some quaint old thing we’ve gotten over. It’s not doing the work to know how the people around you live, or die, and why. It’s ignoring or forgetting that we had this kind of story explosion before, in the 1980s, with Anita Hill’s testimony in 1991, after the Steubenville gang rape and New Delhi rape-torture-murder in late 2012, and the Isla Vista mass shooting in 2014. One sentence I come back to again and again is James Baldwin’s: “It is the innocence that constitutes the crime.” He’s talking about white people in the early 1960s ignoring the violence and destructiveness of racism, their opting out of seeing it.
Because here’s a thing you might have forgotten about women being menaced or assaulted or beaten or raped: we think we might be murdered before it’s over. I have. And because there’s often a second layer of threat “if you tell.” From your assailant, or from the people who don’t want to hear about what he did and what you need. Patriarchy kills off stories and women to maintain its power. If you’re a woman, this stuff shapes you; it scars you, it tells you you are worthless, no one, voiceless, that this is not a world in which you are safe or equal or free.
Many men may not have perpetrated it directly, but as some have finally discussed, they benefitted from it; it knocked out some of their competition, it dug a Mariana Trench through the playing fields we’re always being told are level.
One 2003 investigation reported that 75 percent of women who report workplace sexual harassment faced retaliation.
It is to the credit of Diana Nyad that, despite having a rapist as a coach, she became a great swimmer, to the credit of those Olympic gymnasts on the US team that they won gold medals despite having a molester for their doctor (more than 100 women have accused him to date). But who might they have been, in their personal lives as well as their professional achievements, without such harm being inflicted upon them by men who wished to harm them, who regarded harming them as their right and their pleasure?
Half a century after the fact, Tippi Hedren told how Alfred Hitchcock sexually assaulted and harassed her off-camera and punished her on-camera and then told her, “his face red with rage,” if she continued rejecting his advances, “I’ll ruin your career.” Hitchcock, whose desire to punish beautiful women drives many of his films, did his best to do so, even blocking an Oscar nomination for her starring role in his 1964 film Marnie.
In 1934 Tanizaki was writing that Japanese sentences don't need subjects. Forcing your sentences into patterns taught by European or English-style grammars can't be right. Japanese school didn't start to catch up with the writer until the 1980's. Honda, in his 1984 book, was still ridiculing Japanese schools and linguist for letting their minds be colonized by English "Angle Language". There must be something about taking the time to write (and read?) well that helps you see through the fluff and avoid misunderstanding. This seems to work for scientists too. I still want to read Stephen Weinberg's essays, and he appears in Edward Tufte's /Beautiful Evidence/. Stephen Jay Gould is the science writer that came to mind today with Rebecca Solnit.
\#RebeccaSolnit #HarveyWeinstein #misogyny #power #Hitchcock #Olympics #writing #EnglishComposition #Japanese #文章読本