Yes, I’d Rather Read Books

January 19, 2007

than read the output of most bloggerati, including the dude who wrote this:

Here’s my take on the whole matter — “intellectuals” who’d rather read books and measure purity are next-to-useless. I prefer people of action, not of [sic] elitist academics.

The best I can say about that statement is that it has a certain “Lost Boy” charm to it – We don’t need none o’ that there “sivilization”!  Those Lost Boys are so cute: Peter Pan, Huck Finn, Stalin…

This is what I call the “Year Zero” mentality: “We are young, we are bloggers, we are coming in to sweep away all the old nonfunctioning paradigms and reinvent the world!”  The problem with that idea is that if you’re insufficiently educated and insufficiently aware, as most of these bloggers are, you’ll be reinventing the wheel.  And you’ll probably be doing it wrong.

“Action” is essential, but only when the action is intelligently focused.  And you can’t focus intelligently when you’re unaware and you’re victimized by propaganda.

When the issue is feminism, the stakes are high.  There’s far too much misinformation, distortion, and general ignorance about feminism to allow any slacking-off in this department.  There’s an active campaign to criticize and silence feminist voices – and this hostility is not only coming from the right wing, but from some people who are ostensibly “progressives”.

I’ve noticed on a few occasions, when someone says something clueless about feminism and I advise the person to read certain important books, this tends to result in an indignant uproar, along the lines of: “How dare you say I’m not a good enough feminist because I haven’t read the right books!” 

Well, sorry, but that’s how it is.  Really. 

There’s no sin in being ill-informed.  The sin is in not taking steps to rectify that situation.

Here on Supervixens we’ll be talking about important feminist writers and activists, covering some people even your “women’s studies” class didn’t include.  The idea is to provide a jumping-off point so you can read more and learn more about feminism.

There’s a huge history of women and women’s accomplishments that is largely unknown.  The only way to find out about this is through reading and study.  The puerile punditocracy won’t be telling you about it.  We will.

Dreadful/Dreadless Woman (noun): Terrible Woman/Fearless Woman, who is ineffably frightening to the ruling fools.  Example: Bessie Smith (1894-1937), who was threatened by members of the ku klux klan during one of her shows (Concord, North Carolina, July 1927).  Bessie asked some stagemen to help her get rid of the hooded hoods, but the stagemen were terrified and fled:

Not Bessie.  She ran toward the intruders, stopped within ten feet of them, placed one hand on her hip, and shook a clenched fist at the Klansmen.  “What the fuck you think you’re doin’?” she shouted above the sound of the band.  “I’ll get the whole damn tent out here if I have to.  You just pick up them sheets and run!”

The Klansmen, apparently too surprised to move, just stood there and gawked.  Bessie hurled obscenities at them until they finally turned and disappeared quietly into the darkness. [Chris Albertson, Bessie]

Definition from Mary Daly’s Wickedary.  I’ll be writing more about Daly soon.

H. R. H. Supervixen



  1. I loves her,I does!

  2. hey, nice to see you here again!

  3. great Bessie Smith anecdote.

  4. I’m sure you noticed how he conflated “purist” with “intellectual.” There’s no logical reason to do that, as far as I can tell. I know some politically wishy-washy intellectuals and, lard knows, there are many ignorant “purists” out there.

    Anti-intellectualism is such a Republican trait. Think of how Kerry was skewered for being an “intellectual elitist.” Of course, I can see why the powerful would want to steer the public away from fancy-pants books. They might just learn something and start to think for themselves!

  5. That would be a choice quote from one of Der Ko$enfuhrer’s screeds, unless I miss my guess. Careful your site isn’t overrun by indignant Kosnikki Kultists, SV. They’re mental midgets, but there’s a lot of ’em!

  6. Hi gayle, yes, it’s interesting about that because the most “purist” people I’ve seen on Daily Kos have been the ones espousing Markos and his book Crashing the Gate. It’s a kind of cult. If you disagree with them in any way, you’re descended upon.

    You’re much more polite than I am, regarding anti-intellectualism – you say “Republican”, I say “fascist”. I come from a long line of Republicans who were well-educated and would never have said anything as dumb as what Markos said.

    I like the idea of “fancy-pants books”! Thanks!

  7. Hey Alan! They can’t get in here, so don’t worry.

    Seen any good B-movies lately?

    I saw Disney’s Tarzan yesterday, on the commercial-infested Mouse network, and even in its chopped-up manifestation, I was surprised to find that it wasn’t bad. The animation was phenomenally beautiful.

  8. I’m here ’bout every day.
    But I don’t always have something to say.
    And sometimes I let that stop me.
    And sometimes my comment is content free!8D

  9. Hey StarDragon, my friend, I know what you mean. Please keep dropping by. Speak out more 🙂

  10. Sorry said you this might you be.
    Strong with the silly side of the force am I.
    Silly! Yesssss!

  11. That’s not a knock on people who’ve been fighting the good fight. Just on those who think the intellectual circle jerks of the 60s are superior to what we’re building today

    I really find it impossible not to read that as “You wait ’til you see OUR circle-jerk,Pops!”
    And mayhap we will be provided with a list of authors we may sneer at them for not having read.

  12. Weel done,Cutty-sark!

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: