My Munro article is in the can, y’all, and here are the things Imonna do now:
The blog has been more fallow than its usual don’t-call-it-climate-change-it’s-just-fallow state because I’m working on a long term writing project. On Alice Munro.
I haven’t been paid for my writing since we thought our computers would snap us back to the Iron Age. That dark millennial moment I took a “break” from journalism to “get smarter” in grad school.
And on Alice Munro? Even cooler than the fluff piece I wrote back then on the Stanford Linear Accelerator. Which is to say: quantum cool.
So here’s a teaser of Munroviana to tide us over.
I have told students for 10 years.
I have witnessed its verity for 15 years.
I have practiced it for 20 years. Or tried to.
I believe Dylan Farrow anyway. But from a purely rhetorical perspective, she wins.
Ariel Castro has hung himself.
The sub-human whose crime was to push most of our society’s long-standing messages about women and children into the realm of the absolutely-horrifying-cannot-ignore-it, will no longer breathe our air.
His crimes remind me of Margaret Atwood’s Year of the Flood, which I recently re-read, and which features a few horrifying sub-humans who commit similar crimes against women.
I’m planning a book reviewlet of this, and its predecessor Oryx and Crake, as soon as I get half a second to type up what’s in my head. But meanwhile, I’ll say that Atwood portrays this kind of violence against women as part of the landscape. As something that makes people uncomfortable, impotent, and near-apathetic.
We know it happens, but what can we do about it? Nothing.
Atwood’s solution is vicariously thrilling. But her solution, alas, is the least realistic part of her portrayal of violence against women. Everything else is too, too close to our world. For every Ariel Castro there are a dozen other cretins, or more, whose crimes against women will remain unknown, let alone unprosecuted.
Or others whose crimes against women will be prosecuted but inadequately punished.
Or others whose crimes against women are loudly defended by glamorous celebrities. And by his own victim.
I cannot begin to speculate if Castro’s suicide was an admission of guilt or contempt. Of understanding or its opposite. I have no feelings about his death. He is gone, his house is now demolished, and his victims are surviving as best they can.
The rest of the world can move on now, and forget that Castro was shaped by our world–the same world that shaped you and me.