Sunday, 9 October 2016

Random Reads (09/10/16)

So this week there has been a LOT of hoo-ha about the alleged outing of Elena Ferrante. For those living in caves or just defrosted from cryogenics, Elena Ferrante is the nom-de-plume of an Italian writer of the Neapolitan novels which have taken the world by storm.

Ferrante Fever hit fever pitch this week when Italian journalist Claudio Gatti claimed to have found the real author, a translator who has come into some money via an Italian publisher. Gatti's desire to reveal Ferrante's identity seems to come from a place of vindictiveness, not idle curiousity, and outing her has  caused outrage and bemusement.

There are a lot of interesting articles about this around the interweb this week.
  • British author Jeanette Winterson wrote about The Malice and Sexism behind the 'Unmasking" of Elena Ferrante for the Guardian. In her fascinating article, she calls the outing a 'deliberately malicious act'.
  • Likewise, Noreen Malone in a New York Magazine article writes that Gatti's logic has an 'unfortunate whiff of 'she was asking for it'". Malone concludes that perhaps we are disappointed in who Ferrante might actually be - she is an ordinary woman and not 'a literary or feminist pinup'.  
  • Tom Geue wrote in the Conversation about how we should respect Ferrante's anonymity. 
  • Mary Schmich from the Chicago Tribune wrote about how Gatti has spoiled the fun of fiction lovers. She writes 'I prefer to read fiction for what's on the page, not for who's on the book jacket.' - here, here.
  • Rebecca Falkoff of the Guardian wrote about the differences in reception of Ferrante's work in Italy and translated texts around the world. While not specifically on the outing of the author, it makes for an interesting read about gender and authorship.

I liked that we didn't know who Ferrante is. She has the right to privacy and it is not in the public interest to know who she really is. She has given us her brilliant work, and that should be enough. We know her as she wants us to know her. As far as I am concerned, Ferrante is still a mystery. 

So many of my favourite authors wrote under a pen-name - George Eliot; George Sand, Karen Blixen, Robert Galbraith - all of them women seeking to find a safe creative outlet. Leave them alone and let them write!

In other news.... Hillary Clinton rides high after her debate triumph, and Donald Trump continues to win the hearts and minds of women everywhere with his love of the fairer sex. He loves women so much he cannot help kissing beautiful women and grabbing at them. If we needed more evidence of his absolute unfitness to be president, we got it in the form of a 'sex tape' of sorts when a recording of his misogyny was released to the press. Some of the more enlightening commentary comes from:
  • Susan Matthews at Slate writes about Trump's lack of a filter.
  • Jessica Valenti at the Guardian writes that Trump represents 'just how jevenile and ridiculous America is when it comes to the way we think about women and leadership' 
  • Nicholas Kristoff has written a fascinating piece, Donald Trump Groper in Chief, for the New York Times about his dealings with a couple in the 1990s. 
  • Finally, the New York Times Editorial Board has written a piece on The Sleaziness of Donald Trump, which calls out high profile Republicans - Paul Ryan, Mike Pence etc - and asks why they continue to stand by such a dirtbag.
I reckon Trump's biggest problem is his sense of entitlement. As a wealthy, privileged white guy, he is used to getting his own way in business and in life. He has demeaning views that objectify and alienate women. He is not fit to be President of anything.

Huw Parkinson prepared this mashup for ABC's Insiders, which is genius:

Finally, one of the best things I have seen on the internet this week if the Pantsuit Flashmob for Hillary. Enjoy!