Comments on: Rabbit, ran out http://www.historiann.com/2009/01/27/rabbit-ran-out/ History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Sat, 27 Sep 2014 16:27:59 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 By: Satsuma http://www.historiann.com/2009/01/27/rabbit-ran-out/comment-page-1/#comment-220642 Thu, 12 Feb 2009 03:58:56 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=3237#comment-220642 P.S. I used this Updike commentary as an example of all that’s great about blogs, as I was trying to explain blogs to my retired journalist father over the weekend.

I really love reading about Updike from a feminist context, and seeing how far things have come since the Ford Administration.

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By: Updike, Redux : Historiann : History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present http://www.historiann.com/2009/01/27/rabbit-ran-out/comment-page-1/#comment-219969 Wed, 11 Feb 2009 19:25:49 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=3237#comment-219969 [...] Michael, who objected to the thrust of my comments about John Updike’s oeuvre a few weeks ago, [...]

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By: historydoll http://www.historiann.com/2009/01/27/rabbit-ran-out/comment-page-1/#comment-207038 Mon, 02 Feb 2009 15:51:36 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=3237#comment-207038 Wow–the Lee Siegel article is truly amazing. And as a New York Jew myself, I can only say in relation to this, “Go, us!” :)

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2009/01/27/rabbit-ran-out/comment-page-1/#comment-206931 Mon, 02 Feb 2009 13:08:47 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=3237#comment-206931 Hi historydoll and Satsuma–thanks for your compliments. Apparently, some people think that the American public isn’t fawning enough in their eulogies for Updike. I came across this article at The Daily Beast last night “Writing Off Updike,” in which Lee Siegel complains that a few people dared to criticize Updike, when we should all bow down and recognize him as the Greatest Writer Evah. At least feminists don’t get the blame directly for this tragic underrating–it’s New York Jews, don’t’cha know.

Updike was a fantastically successful author–but the way some of his defenders are carrying on, you’d think that he was an impoverished little-appreciated artist who only published university-press books of poetry. Man up, people–Updike was rich and famous, so people have opinions about his work. Deal.

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By: Satsuma http://www.historiann.com/2009/01/27/rabbit-ran-out/comment-page-1/#comment-206553 Mon, 02 Feb 2009 04:31:11 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=3237#comment-206553 Yes historydoll, exactly. If you look at all the oohhh and ahhing about “great American writers” – Updike, Hemingway, Mailer etc., it is almost never women who think they are great. (Well maybe Susan Sontag now and then :-) ) I’ve always really hated Mailer, who stabbed his first wife with a knife, among other things. Hemingway was a notorium mysogynist. Updike unreadable today because of how he writes about women.
Probably more author examples out there by the bucketfull!

The thing is, literary criticism of these “greats” is again men writing about men, and they don’t have the background to be able to critique the stereotyped representations of American women, because, they are men.

Same thing with de Sade… men love him, women see him for the rapist, sex depraved woman hating menace that he really was. French I know, but this example popped into my head so I included it.

There are two American literatures out there, and the good thing about feminist criticism is that after you read the fawning article about Updike in the NYTimes, you can come here and see what women think of the “great man.” So refreshing and liberating. What a goddess send this website and blog is!!! :-) :-) :-) In the past, before the Internet, we were stuck with the male literary giants pontificating in the New York Times and on Firing Line…. William F. Buckley, ahh the good old days!

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By: historydoll http://www.historiann.com/2009/01/27/rabbit-ran-out/comment-page-1/#comment-206333 Sun, 01 Feb 2009 23:25:05 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=3237#comment-206333 I was fascinated to read this entry and the comments, because I have never been able to read Updike precisely because of his attitude toward women, and yet one rarely sees that mentioned. The opinion of the commenter above who spoke of the inability of men of a certain generation to “get it” [my words, not hirs] are only confirmed by Charles McGrath’s appreciation in today’s NY TImes Week in Review:

“‚Ķhundreds of years from now, if people still read, they will read the Rabbit books to learn what that perplexing age, the 20th century, was really like.”

No visible acknowledgement at all of the narrow dimensions of Updike’s world.

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By: Satsuma http://www.historiann.com/2009/01/27/rabbit-ran-out/comment-page-1/#comment-204333 Fri, 30 Jan 2009 22:22:52 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=3237#comment-204333 Just an update…. I found a couple of YouTube interviews of Updike. In one with the New York Times, he appeared quite confused as to why feminists would object to his portrayal of women. He said he wrote “The Witches of Eastwick” as a response, making women central characters, along with “Widows of Eastwick.” What is so weird about men of this generation is their complete inability to ever get how sexist they truly are. “But hey, I love women,” they protest.

He looked confused at the entire critique. but now that I think about it, I don’t know any man born in the 1930s who ever has a clue about women’s right to be represented as non-sex objects in literature.

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By: Satsuma http://www.historiann.com/2009/01/27/rabbit-ran-out/comment-page-1/#comment-203662 Fri, 30 Jan 2009 07:20:47 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=3237#comment-203662 This is such excellent commentary on Updike. Someone above commented on a lack of respect for the dead, but as I recall, men wait for famous women to die, and then attack them with impunity, never daring to do this while they are alive. Margaret Mead comes to mind here.

Feminists, being relentless want to be timely, and I love this refreshing take on Updike through feminist eyes. I never could understand what all the fuss was about with him anyway. The women characters were just oo badly drawn overall, and I lost interest in his writing. However, I will concede a historical interest, if nothing else to remember the really bad old days before women’s studies and feminist criticism really emerged to take these guys on.

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2009/01/27/rabbit-ran-out/comment-page-1/#comment-203240 Thu, 29 Jan 2009 23:16:33 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=3237#comment-203240 Jeremy, he’s about as down as he’ll ever get. But I hardly think he’s noticed.

This is a feminist blog. Updike has been criticized by feminists for decades, and he gave as good as he got. I hardly think it’s something that I could ignore. Please look for hagiography of Updike elsewhere–I won’t apologize for not being the author of it myself.

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By: Jeremy Young http://www.historiann.com/2009/01/27/rabbit-ran-out/comment-page-1/#comment-203228 Thu, 29 Jan 2009 23:11:21 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=3237#comment-203228 That would be for the recently dead. There’s obviously a statute of limitations on these things. Julius Caesar? Sure, he sucked, but he wrote a couple of good books. Two days after a man’s death? To me, that’s like kicking a guy when he’s down.

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