I have been a bad “fashion blogger” lately because I have been Writing Other Things, one of which is this Thing that I wrote, for Sarah’s blog, about Jonathan Franzen’s horrifying New Yorker piece on Edith Wharton. Here is some of it:
To be honest, I felt hysterical: that Victorian word for the tantrums of unstable estrogen-addled women, but that I know actually describes a rage forcibly contained, the hot burn of the involuntary tears, the snap in your composure when you are told for the millionth time that what you feel or think or say or do does not matter. I thought that complex, nuanced, funny, difficult, despicably lovable characters were the emblem of a good writer, not evidence of the insecure woman thieving our sympathies through sneaky writer-succubus tricks. And yet one hundred and fifty years after Edith Wharton wrote a number of canonical, excellent books, some rich white straight dude gets paid—what does the New Yorker pay for that kind of piece, like ten grand?—gets paid like ten grand to come to the riveting, breathtaking conclusion that she might be human, and maybe even A Writer, like him?
But you can also go read the rest of it at Sarah’s blog if you are so inclined, which is a blog you should be reading anyhow because she rules. Cool!
A delectable rant against Jonathan Franzen, unconsidered white/straight/moneyed/male privilege, and cetera. A worthy read. Sigh.
The more I read/learn/hear about the various mechanisms of privilege in our society the more I wilt. Part of me wants to return to when I was just a tomboy-minded girly-girl child who thought she was equal in every way to everyone around her, if not prettier, more clever, more ambitions, etcetera. All delusions, but they were comfy ones.
As life wears onward, the delusions just crap out. And you’re left with the nothingness everyone really owns. Plus, if you’re a woman, queer, nonwhite, whatever you’ve got less than nothing. Don’t look up. You don’t want to see it bearing down on you.
And I’m really only one of those things. A woman. I don’t think it’s for my own position that I wilt. It’s for the injustice of it. Injustice built in, that tarnishes any success I might achieve, because it was given me, at least partly, by a machine that holds other people down just because it feels like it.