Thursday, November 09, 2017


I've been reading Sady Doyle's "Trainwreck" and think it's quite a good, if rather a short read, book.

I've been a fan of Doyle's for a long time and have blogged about her here many times. My admiration for her has even survived her blocking me on Twitter because I failed to STFU about Mohammed Ali's sexist attitudes towards women the day he died. This is helped by the fact that she eventually did unblock me - I don't know if my open letter to her had any bearing on that or not.

I wasn't surprised her book is good, she's a brilliant writer. And I was especially pleased to see she mentioned what a creep Doug Henwood is, in two places in the book. 

Hopefully she'll write a follow-up and include mentions of people she left out of "Trainwreck" like Matt Taibbi or members of the Dirtback Left besides Henwood. I also hope she'll touch on the unhinged hatred of Sheryl Sandburg on the part of the alt-Left. I suspect it's due to their hatred of women in power generally (Henwood has made clear his idea of feminism doesn't have anything to do specifically with women's rights but rather with "peace and egalitarianism" - which does not, Henwood clarifies, have anything to do with putting women in positions of power.)

I had admired Doyle much longer than I loathed Henwood, but I was very gratified to discover that she clashed with him during the 2016 presidential campaign, which is what any real feminist would naturally do. 

And at the same time Henwood made common cause with Jason Grote, another brocialist utterly beside himself with hatred for Hillary Clinton. I clashed with Grote nine years ago, once, and then I clashed with him a couple of times on Twitter over the 2016 election. And for that, Grote literally claimed I had "stalked" him. Now stalking is illegal and Grote publicly lying that I did this illegal thing is a form of libel and I really should sue him for it, but it wouldn't be worth the lawyer's fees. 

So if a woman expressing a few opinions on three or four occasions on her personal blog and Twitter is experienced by a brocialist like Grote as this scary illegal thing, you can imagine how terrifying the prospect of a Hillary Clinton presidency was for him. 

The NYTimes review of "Trainwreck" is justifiably positive although the review had a quibble with Doyle's views of Harriet Jacobs' career. I also have a couple of quibbles with the book - a very minor one in that Doyle claims that only after their deaths did anybody find out that Anne and Emily Bronte were also authors like Charlotte - both Charlotte and Anne traveled to their London publisher to present themselves in their true identities. Only us Bronte-heads know this but still...

A much bigger quibble I have with her is about Mary Wollstonecraft. She suggests that thanks to her husband publishing her posthumous biographical details, Wollstonecraft was perceived as a "train wreck" and that this set back the fight for women's rights. I don't subscribe to the Great Man theory of history and I don't subscribe to the Naughty Woman theory of history either. There were actual socio-economic conditions holding women back that were little influenced by one writer's life, no matter how bad her reputation.

But overall a very good book and I recommend it.