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I have another post to follow the last but right now I am finishing up my reading for the Special Russ Galactic Suburbia episode later tonight. Thee is nothing to soothe one’s feminist ails like reading Russ, I guess.

There used to be an odd, popular, and erroneous idea that the sub revolved around the earth.

This has been replaced by an even odder, equally popular, and equally erroneous idea that the earth goes around the sun.

In fact, the moon and the earth revolve around a common center, and this commonly-centered pair revolves with the sun around another common center, except that you must figure in all the solar planets here, so things get complicated. Then there is the motion of the solar system with regard to a great many other objects eg the galaxy and if at this point you as what does the motion of the earth really look like form the center of the entire universe, say, … the only answer is:

that is doesn’t.

Because there isn’t.


And this:

What is frightening about black art or women’s art or Chicano art – and so on – is that it calls into question the very idea of objectivity and absolute standards:

This is a good novel.

Good for what?

Good for whom?

One side of the nightmare is that the privileged group will not recognise that “other” art, will not be able to judge it, that the superiority of taste and training possessed by the privileged critic and the privileged artist will suddenly vanish.

The other side of the nightmare is not that what is found in the “other” art will be incomprehensible, but that it will be all too familiar. That is:

Women’s lives are the buried truth of men’s lives.

The lives of people of colour are the buried truth about white lives.

The buried truth about the rich is who they take their money from and how.

The buried truth about “normal” sexuality is how one kind of sexual expression has been made privileged, and what kinds of unearned virtue and terrors about identity this distinction serves.

And she goes on but you should really go read the book!

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  • By Sean the Bookonaut on 10 July 2011 at 2:46 pm

    Tis being eagerly awaited.

  • By Niall on 10 July 2011 at 3:56 pm

    Much as I admire the book — and that second quote is spot-on — I’ve always had a bit of a problem with that astronomical analogy. Leaving aside the fact that (so far as I know) it’s still possible there will eventually be a Big Crunch, which would mean the universe does have a centre, the fact is that people behave as though the Earth goes around the sun because it is good enough for daily life; and that belief was adopted over geocentrism because it offered practical improvements, such as a more accurate understanding of seasons. We haven’t adopted the more general cosmological view not just because it doesn’t offer such improvements, but because it would make a nonsense out of trying to live on this planet. I don’t think that’s a good model for the social-cultural privilege, really; our present situation is very far from good enough.

  • By AlisaK on 10 July 2011 at 4:14 pm

    But isn’t that also the point? The social-cultural privilege of our present situation is good enough for those who profit from it and those are the ones with the power to change it, should that want to. Cept they think they are the centre.

  • By Niall on 10 July 2011 at 4:44 pm

    I don’t think that really tracks, because in the case of privilege abolishing the “good enough” — which is not really a “good enough” — would make things better for the majority of people, whereas in the case of astronomy, abolishing the “good enough” — which actually is good enough for daily life — would make life worse for everyone.

  • By AlisaK on 10 July 2011 at 5:23 pm

    See, that it doesn’t track with you, is cause … you get it. But to all those other men out there who don’t think that women can write or do write or write any good or that you know there is sexism of any kind out there … well they think the analogy fits – that in the case of privilege, now is “good enough” – cause they don’t see their privilege and to them, they don’t need to change the way they view the world, they like the view. It’s comfy and “good enough”. And for them, this is what the world is supposed to be like. You can see it whenever there is a suggestion that things might need to be altered and they freak out.

  • By Zoe on 10 July 2011 at 6:33 pm

    Damnit, I was hoping to have read that book before the podcast, I haven’t been able to track down a loan of a copy of How To Suppress Women’s Writing). I was blown away by The Female Man, I keep trying to write a coherent review and just failing.

  • By AlisaK on 10 July 2011 at 11:26 pm

    I’d lend you mine if I was going to see you soon. It’s pretty awesome stuff. Still, have you read the short story we also review? When it Changed – is available free online.

  • By Sean the Bookonaut on 12 July 2011 at 2:12 pm

    Only one copy of it in public libraries in South Australia (as I might have mentioned it once or twice before).

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