Friday, March 24, 2006

Round Two

Now that the Leslie Morgan Steiner mommy wars story has played itself out, I'm gearing up for the next onslaught, which is going to be Caitlin Flanagan and her new book: "To Hell with All That." (Because linking on the web is intepreted by Google as a vote of confidence, I'm not linking to the book's profile on Amazon. I'm sure you can find it if you look.) Flanagan's already been booked on the Today Show, there's no hope of her going quietly into the night.

Her book is a rewarming of her five-year career as a magazine essayist/reviewer/bombthrower, and reports are that she's toned it down a little in re-editing those pieces. There's also a new piece on her breast cancer.

If you want to prepare to jump into the Flanagan fray in the coming months, please, please read this profile in Elle magazine. The author, Laurie Anderson, paints a brilliant,damning portrait of Flanagan: her compelling writing, her apparent hypocrisy, her aversion to logic.
... thinking hard about what Flanagan is actually trying to say -- ?what her work stands for beyond the succor of sparkling prose -- may be something she should hope her readers will avoid ...


What is so stunning about Flanagan's writing are conflations such as these, only specious upon reflection, as well as her sudden reversals, as if she's willing to say whatever's most convenient, most clever, and damn the consequences.
Flanagan has always fascinated me. I have never understood how a great writer and could come to such loopy conclusions, and I'm grateful to Anderson for doing a great job of trying to answer that.

(Instant update: Flanagan is officially bait for the blogosphere, and I won't be able to keep up with what will no doubt be some wonderful posts. But Amanda at Pandagon probably has the title for best Elle/Flanagan analysis at this point. Update: In terms of vitriol, Gawker's Flanagan posting is also in the running.)


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