Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The New Yorker's Girls obsession

Well I thought I was done writing about Mikki Kendall, but I jumped into a Facebook argument between Susan Brownmiller and the New Yorker's Emily Nussbaum. Brownmiller posted a comment that she had been left out of Jezebel's feminist encyclopedia, which she found out via this NPR interview.

I couldn't resist pointing out that Brownmiller had been accused of racism during Mikki Kendall's #solidarityisforwhitewomen hatefest, and mentioned the ageist attack against Steinem and other feminist pioneers by Elena Haliczar and Versha Sherma. I also pointed out how much Kendall hated "Girls" because she thinks that Lena Dunham is racist because her cast is white. I knew that Nussbaum, like half the New Yorker staff, had written glowingly about the show.

Nussbaum's reply:
I sometimes have issues with other feminists, and other critics, and other writers in general, male or female, and when I do, I try to make reasoned arguments for the problems with what they've said. Things like an activist Twitter hashtag tend to catalyze responses I find illuminating, other ones I find cheap or harmful, and so on. That's the nature of these kinds of internet blowups. Including the one about Girls, which was searing, but which I personally found pretty helpful in thinking about diversity on television, even when I didn't agree with individual critiques of the show.
If Kendall ever finds out how much Nussbaum likes "Girls" I don't think Nussbaum would consider her critiques helpful - I think she would find herself accused of racism by Kendall.

Kendall's actually a lazy blogger - much of her karnythia Tumblr account is reposting of others' work and her just agreeing - although that's pretty much how most Tumblr accounts work (not a hotbed of originality) and that's why if somebody accuses you of racism - as Mikki Kendall did of me when I disagreed with her assertion that John Lennon and Yoko Ono were/are racists - it may be reposted many times, which is why it appears high on a Google search results list. 

Out of curiosity, how old do white women have to be before they’re responsible for their racism?
I've never seen "Girls" and so have no opinion on the show. Everything I've heard about it made it sound irritating, so I've been in no hurry to see it. And the fact that the New Yorker staff has such an obsession with it is also annoying. And I use the word "obsession" advisedly:

Anyway, Salon is still publishing ethics-free Mikki Kendall's work, they just published something a month ago called The Real Mommy Wars. I will say that Kendall has made a leap, professionally - she doesn't blame white women for everything that's wrong with the world, at least not explicitly, and she doesn't make scurrilous accusations of attempted murder against anyone. But sad to say, it's her defamation inclination that gives her work any originality at all. Here's an excerpt from the article:
We need a conversation about the war on poor mothers, on disabled mothers, on indigenous mothers, on trans mothers, on mothers who are not in heterosexual relationships, on mothers who are migrant workers, on mothers doing the most with the least. Feminism is supposed to be about making it possible for all to achieve equality, not about playing games of one-upmanship.
You don't say. Feminists have been saying this since the first issue of Ms. Magazine.

Kendall wants you to believe, though, that feminism has been about one-upmanship. She doesn't provide any evidence for this implication though, but evidence is not the Kendall way - she says whatever the hell she wants and you are to accept it, purely on her authority. 

And that's what Salon considers worth paying to publish. And I thought the New York Times publishing Delia Ephron's anti-the color blue rant was bad.