Read the Angela Carter essay collection Shaking a Leg
(left out the Home and Away section, largely due to time constraints). Am so much less inclined to marry her
now. Le sigh.
I shouldn’t be surprised that she’s such a leftie, though “if the concept of an ‘intellectual right’ be not a contradiction in terms” (“Hal Ashby: Being There
”; New Society, 1980) is rather too much. And i can’t fault her for writing about nuclear weapons in the early 80s and being so wrong about how the next 20 years would turn out. (And yes of course, people whose politics are not my own might well argue she wasn’t as off as i’m reading her as.)
Which is being wholly unfair to Shorter, whose ill temper I find wholly sympathetic. ‘In recent times, we have heard so much about “wise women” of yore and their special kind of knowledge that represented centuries of practical experience etcetera. In fact, traditional lore existed for normal deliveries and was useless when anything went wrong.’
Well, yes, I know that. My mother told me that. My mother who died early from a heart condition aggravated by a protracted labour, a labour which, even a few years later, would have been speedily cut short by he kind of medical intervention some of Shorter’s feminist sources despise. But his ongoing squabble with those silly sisters who, for ideological reasons, wish to deny the intractable nature of the past gets in the way.
He is tilting at windmills, at a particular brand of college-bred stupidity that flourishes on the north American continent, which regards the past as a Technicolor version of the present and twentieth-century medicine in its entirety as a system for producing ill-health.
-“Edward Shorter: A History of Women’s Bodies” (New Society , 1983)
Oh, Angela, how i wish you had been right about that. And though i am very much a vegetarian who wants to be vegan, i read The New Vegetarians
, 1976) and i too am troubled by the whole “commune with nature” idea.
Some of her recipes would certainly ease the plight of the long-term unemployed in advanced, industrialised countries because, even here, the ingredients cost so little. Then again, Honey from a Weed is a very expensive book. Such are the ironies of romantic austerity.
-“Patience Gray: Honey from a Weed (London Review of Books, 1987)
She has some beautiful snark about the glorification of poverty by people who are choosing
poverty. Though i’m rather indifferent to a lot of the essays, sometimes i still quite like her. And sometimes i very much don’t.
Allie, i thought of you:
Bad Taste is the key to the emerging seventies’ style. I think. In a changing world, amidst a bewildering welter of variables. at least you know where you are when you can evoke offence. It’s been a funny old decade, the seventies, and, of course, it’s not over yet. But, as its seventh segment shambles towards Christmas like some not altogether rough – indeed, in parts, vinyl sleek – yet certainly beastly beast, the mood of it all begins, with hindsight, to shape up.
-“Year of the Punk” (New Society, 1977)