This time it’s Fiction writer TMI

January 15, 2008

This time it’s Lorrie Moore, of all people who I have most recently raved about in conversations with friends! Kate Harding on Shakesville alerts us to Moore’s space cadet views on the Democratic primary. Much like Mary Gordon’s off the all concept of Hillary being unelectable b/c the women of America would be too sexually jealous (??), Moore struts her bizarr-o stuff with passages like:

In my opinion, it is a little late in the day to become sentimental about a woman running for president. The political moment for feminine role models, arguably, has passed us by. The children who are suffering in this country, who are having trouble in school, and for whom the murder and suicide rates and economic dropout rates are high, are boys — especially boys of color, for whom the whole educational system, starting in kindergarten, often feels a form of exile, a system designed by and for white girls.

Point taken, public education is truly broken for large numbers of “boys of color” in our country. That doesn’t automatically mean it’s just peachy keen for white girls, obviously, and what about the fact that girls in the country currently outperform their male peers at almost every level of the academic ladder and still end up making less money and holding far fewer positions of power?

More generally, I’d really like to know how being a fiction writer, albeit a great one, qualifies you categorically for a political op-ed in the Times that has nothing at all to do with fiction. I guess it could be b/c Moore is a contributor to the book that I haven’t read yet but that on its face seems quite odd, 30 Ways of Looking at Hillary: Reflections by Women Writers (?? this book needed to be published why? to give established writers a chance to publicly expound upon a useless topic in unrigorous ways?) Second, as much as I think that learning to read and interpret literary symbols creates mental skills that cross over into just about every area of life, I really think that Moore’s assertion that Obama

is original and of the moment. He embodies, at the deepest levels, the bringing together of separate worlds. The sexes have always lived together, but the races have not. His candidacy is minted profoundly in that expropriated word “change.”

reads more like something I’d expect from an undergraduate essay analyzing one of her books than a statement that can have any kind of serious credibility as political analysis or insight. He “embodies”? Oh my.

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