7.02.2004

Oh New Yorker, I just couldn't even read you as I planned to when I was at the gym yesterday. How does that line go? Oh: I am the girl you know can't look you in the eye. You are so repellent to me this issue--that hasn't happened in a long time. It happens once in a while, and it seems to coincide with your publishing something by John Updike: seriously, that is so played out, nobody needs regular doses of John Updike at this point. Please.

But the big problem is your new staff writer, Caitlin Flanagan, whose first essay for you appears in this issue. Though a trusted source informs me she's tuned down the right-wing stuff this round, I couldn't force myself to read it.

Caitlin Flanagan describes herself as an anti-feminist. Okay: whatever. I understand having qualms with aligning yourself with every single feminist in history (Valerie Solanas, say), but to call yourself an "anti-feminist" means that you are taking an active stance against the "political, economic, and social equality of the sexes" (the dictionary definition of feminism). Would Flanagan actually go so far as to argue with the notion of these basic equalities? Is she that much of a conservative? Does the New Yorker really want to employ someone who thinks that women should have different political, economic, and social rights than men? If Flanagan does actually advocate this basic level of gender equality that is now at least the professed standard in most American legal, governmental, and corporate arenas, she should be more careful what she labels herself.

Caitlin Flanagan is a Clarence Thomas. Remnick: you are imitating George H.W. to put her on your staff. I guess I shouldn't be surprised: the numbingly low rate of women writing for your magazine is obviously not an accident. It is an active, ongoing policy of excluding the opinions of women who are your equals.

Look--you give this reactionary, ineffectual, fluffball token access to power, while the women who are as smart as you are and have something to say are doing what women always do when confronted with a glass ceiling: building small businesses. Look at all the women who have set themselves up, brilliantly, on blogs or otherwise to get their literary points of view across.

Anyway, all I could do when I couldn't bear to open the New Yorker at the gym was to immerse my irritation in three of our great American anarchists: Courtney Love, Eminem, and Rick James. This helped--I recommend.

Love,

Elizabeth, the girl with the most cake
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