MsGeek.Org v2.0

The ongoing saga of a woman in the process of reinvention.
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Monday, April 11, 2005

Richie's off to look at a couple of cars I found on the Craigslist.Org website. I would have gone along but I'm again fighting off this cold/flu/crud as it mutates from GI crud to head cold to now where it's burrowed deep into my chest. I wish the damn thing would be over, already. I'll probably be hacking away two months from now as I wait to get my minute of glory in Monarch Stadium.

Anyway, it was revealed Andrea Dworkin died over the weekend. I was not a major fan but I realize that hers was an important Feminist voice. Her writings were manifestations of the pain that was inflicted on her throughout her life. Ayn Rand's whole political philosophy was forged in the personal pain of watching Bolsheviks seize her father's pharmacy. Andrea Dworkin's take on Feminism was forged in two horrible acts of violence perpetrated on her before the age of 20: molestation in a New Jersey movie theatre, and a savage post-arrest "examination" inflicted on her by prison doctors which left her mutilated. It is no surprise that Man's inhumanity to Woman would be the obsession of the rest of Ms. Dworkin's life, much as the atrocities of the Soviet system would be the obsession of the rest of Ms. Rand's life.

She often would find herself in weird alliances...her views about pornography would find her on the same public stage with Religious Right crusaders. And her work was misunderstood, sometimes by those who had taken the time to read her work, but mostly by those who had never read a word of her writings. When Rush Limbaugh would inveigh upon his hated "Feminazis" his visual image was of the unkempt, unruly, loud-mouthed but undeniably brilliant Dworkin.

In more than a few respects, Ms. Dworkin's demonization in the media resembles the demonization of Emma Goldman a century before. Emma Goldman's brilliance threatened the American status quo, to the point where she was packed up and shipped off to Soviet Russia in a cramped steamship with other foreign-born radical leaders. Did any who would condemn her ever once read what she had to say? Unlikely.

Did Andrea Dworkin hate men? Apparently not all: she married her longtime companion John Stoltenburg, and had carried on correspondence and friendship with British Science Fiction/Fantasy author Michael Moorcock. Did she believe all heterosexual sex was rape? No, the quote which was twisted was actually about the fact that many states in the US exempted husbands who perpetrated marital rape from prosecution...a situation that still exists even to this day in some states.

Ms. Dworkin was apparently quite ill for the past few years. This is upsetting, because it's a reminder of the fact that yeah, I'm quite a bit overweight, and I also have had chronic diseases throughout my life. Dying at age 58 is not a natural death. According to many accounts, she had very severe arthritis, which might or might not have been directly caused by being overweight.

In spite of all this, the press that seems to be following the revelation of her death now is surprisingly complimentary. Except for a bit of right-wing baiting on a few "usual suspect" blogs the press has been quite thoughtful. Now that she is no longer a live, loud mouthed radical feminist but a silenced, still, dead icon of the Second Wave of Feminism, she's no longer threatening. It's like how Franklin Delano Roosevelt gave permission for Emma Goldman to be buried in Chicago but ignored her pleas to live her last few days in the America she still loved. A dead icon can't challenge the status-quo, but a live radical can.

I hope that Emma and Ayn have brewed up a nice cup of tea for you in that afterlife of philosophers, and made sure there is a nice plate of rugelach to enjoy with your tea. I'm sure the three of you might have a lot to talk about...and argue about. Ess gezunterheit.

Note at 9:45pm: We have a vehicle again. Clinton-era (1993) Ford Escort LX Wagon. Designed by Mazda, built at Ford de Mexico. 5 speed stick. Zoom-zoom. Fnord.