Friday, June 3, 2011

If I saw Naipaul in a dark alley

Naipaul is crying- what a pansy-ass!

Over the course of this year, they funneled us a lot of "special opportunities for women writers" kinds of fliers and whatnot. I feel sort of pulled about separating out women writers from writers. Which seems to be in the air all this year and last. From the Franzenfreude era to the truly barf-worthy news yesterday of colossal jackass VS Naipaul, who finds no woman writer in all of literature to equal him

I don't really care if he has a Nobel. He better hope he never runs into me on the street if he wants to keep his teeth. Because, given the chance, I'd knock them down his throat with my tiny, determined, "sentimental," "feminine tosh" fist! My "narrow view of the world" would be so narrow that all I could see was  his face and me, hitting it. 

Okay, rage over. Because, at the end of the day, I can't help but think how actually BORING his comments are. The difference between Naipaul's asshole comments and, say, Franzen's, is that Franzen's comments about men and women are rooted in concern over the lack of male readership in serious fiction. While Naipaul seems so certain no women can match him as writers, women are still who read all the good fiction. While Franzen's comments were interpreted as the same message, actually, they were more the opposite (though I can see how they were received that way:

"So much of reading is sustained in this country, I think, by the fact that women read while men are off golfing or watching football on TV or playing with their flight simulator or whatever. I worry — I'm sorry that it's, uh — I had some hope of actually reaching a male audience and I've heard more than one reader in signing lines now at bookstores say 'If I hadn't heard you, I would have been put off by the fact that it is an Oprah pick. I figure those books are for women. I would never touch it.' Those are male readers speaking. I see this as my book, my creation." (NPR's Fresh Air)

And furthermore, why does everything have to be judged in terms of less than, greater than, or equal to? The whole point of different voices and different people is that there is a multitude of things out there most of which are neither greater than or less than. And what qualifiers are we using to judge these things? Critical success, (most critics being men)? That unsentimental litmus test of money?? Because if we're going by that, then I'm sorry, Mr. Naipaul, but JK Rowling is not only not your match, but she is truly, definitely kicking the shit out of you. She's actually knocked your teeth out, in a way that I can only dream about for the moment. 

I think it bears repeating because I still completely agree with Jennifer Weiner and Jane Smiley on the issue:

"It's just interesting to sort of stack them up against a Lorrie Moore or against a Mona Simpson — who write books about families that are seen as excellent books about families," Weiner says. "And then to look at a Jonathan Franzen who writes a book about a family but we are told this is a book about America."
Jane Smiley:

"There's an aspect of fiction that is being written by women that is really smart, really daring, in terms of the subject matter that it takes on — and really popular. And I think it's being overlooked because it's so, so straightforward and because the payoff is emotional rather than intellectual."
On a more positive note, I think one of those emails we got from the English Department about opportunities for women writers is great. Linen Press is an all women small publisher. Good for you, Lynn Mitchell. 

Now, I'm off to write some more sentimental, narrow-minded fiction. And you just try to stop me, Naipaul. I may be small (and a chick!) but as anyone who's ever seen me angry can attest, I'm not someone to cross.

Oh, and, like, Happy Friday! I gotta go get ready for a garden party. 

1 comment:

  1. Glad to hear you have a little of that South Georgia "kick your ass in a second" redneck woman gene. Which you know I think is a good thing! No, a great thing!


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