You are using an outdated browser.
Please upgrade your browser
and improve your visit to our site.
Skip Navigation

Daily Affirmations 6/9

1. Naomi Klein Wolf has an article in Harper's Bazaar paying homage to Angelina Jolie, uber-feminist icon. No, I'm not praising Naomi Klein. I'm praising Willa Paskin of XX, who directs us to Wolf's mind-boggling celebrity suck-up:

In this month’s Harper’s Bazaar, Naomi Wolf has penned an absurd, overwrought, swooning love letter to Angelina Jolie, the woman who, in Wolf’s analysis, most fully embodies “having it all.” It’s just about impossible to read this piece and simultaneously remember that Wolf is a serious feminist and thinker. She has bent her erudition to the plainly ridiculous, plainly thankless task of explaining that, because Angelina Jolie is a symbol of both goodness and sexiness, she is a better, more complete woman than Mother Teresa, Florence Nightingale, and Elizabeth Taylor. Apparently, if Mother Teresa had made time to screw hotties between her busy orphan-caring schedule she would be as awesome, important, admirable and transcendent as Jolie. Seriously, this article is hilarious. ...

Just for fun, I want to leave you with the paragraph that made me cough up my orange juice:

Then there is the plane. Women are so used to being dependent on others (certainly on men) for where they go, metaphorically, and how they get there. Flying a private plane is the classic metaphor for choosing your own direction; usually, that is a guy thing to do, yet there was Jolie, with her aviator glasses on, taking flying lessons so she could blow the mind of her four-year-old son. That is the ultimate in single-mom chic: Even before she had reconstructed a nuclear (or postnuclear) family with a dad at the head of it, she was reframing single motherhood from a state of lack or insufficiency to a glamorous, unfettered lifestyle choice. Paradoxically, having done so, she makes the choice of a man to help her raise her kids seem like one option among many for a self-directed woman rather than either a completion of a woman or a capitulation.

Did you get that single moms? If you want to be the "height of single mom chic"—And who doesn't!— time to start coughing up the cash for private flying lessons and babysitters. The most superfantastical woman in the universe flies planes and, if we're serious about being women, and serious about being feminists, we all must try to be more like her.

Good point, Willa Paskin! (Also, XX is a great daily read.)

Update: Whoops, this is about Naomi Wolf, not Naomi Klein. I'm fully aware of the difference. Consider me mortified.

2. David Brooks offers several sharp and sensible insights on Sonia Sotomayor:

Sonia Sotomayor had bad timing. If she’d entered college in the late-1950s or early-1960s, she would have been surrounded by an ethos that encouraged smart young ethnic kids to assimilate. If she’d entered Princeton and Yale in the 1980s, her ethnicity and gender would have been mildly interesting traits among the many she might possibly possess.But she happened to attend Princeton and then Yale Law School in the 1970s. These were the days when what we now call multiculturalism was just coming into its own. These were the days when the whole race, class and gender academic-industrial complex seemed fresh, exciting and just.

There was no way she was going to get out of that unscarred. And, in fact, in the years since she has given a series of speeches that have made her a poster child for identity politics. In these speeches, race and gender take center stage. It’s not only the one comment about a wise Latina making better decisions than a white male; it’s the whole litany. If you just read these speeches you might come away with the impression that she was a racial activist who is just using the judicial system as a vehicle for her social crusade.

And yet her history and conversations with her colleagues suggest this is not the main story. If you look at the whole record, you come away with the impression that Sotomayor is a hard-working, careful-though-unspectacular jurist whose primary commitment is to the law. ...

To my eye, they are the products of a clear and honest if unimaginative mind. She sticks close to precedent and the details of a case. There’s no personal flavor (in the boring parts one wishes there were). There’s no evidence of a grand ideological style or even much intellectual ambition. If you had to pick a word to describe them, it would be “restraint.”

Looked at in her totality, Sotomayor seems to be a smart, careful, hard-working judicial professional, who along the way picked up a patina of 1970s race-, class- and gender-consciousness.

Good point, David Brooks!

--Jonathan Chait