Thursday, October 29, 2015

My Life on the Road

I'm looking forward to getting Gloria Steinem's new memoir My Life on the Road. The reviews are mostly very positive: complaints that Steinem doesn't share enough personal gossip are the biggest criticism. But it's full of lots of good stuff, like what an asshole Gay Talese was and possibly still is:
One day, trying to cover Bobby Kennedy, she found herself in a taxicab between Saul Bellow and Gay Talese. Talese leaned over and said to Bellow, "You know how every year, there's a pretty girl who comes to New York and pretends to be a writer? Well, Gloria is this year's pretty girl." Steinem didn't object at the time; she was too embarrassed and reluctant to express anger. Decades later, in the telling of the anecdote, she metes out a justified revenge.
Reliably, Terry Gross interviewed her about the book. The New York Times also interviewed her. The New Yorker has a piece about her.

Steinem looks amazing for her age, so much so that I have a hard time believing she hasn't had some work done. But even more so, she's actually a couple of years older than my mother and the women in my mother's home for seniors and yet she seems so much younger in her engagement with the world. That, I think, comes from living independently and doing your own thinking your entire life.

One thing I find curious in the Fresh Air interview, Steinem suggests that women no longer have an obligation to do gender after age 50, and she doesn't come right out and say it but she seems to be suggesting that this includes being sexual. Gross played a recording of a 1992 interview she did with Steinem, when Steinem was approaching 60. But clearly that wasn't true for Steinem - she got married for the first time at age 66 to David Bale (father of actor Christian Bale.) You have to be pretty serious about having sex with someone to go so far as to get married to them.