February 8, 2006

Feminist crone cat fight!

Betty Friedan, RIP, was a long-time Stalinist fellow-traveler who got bored with supporting the Soviet Union in the late 1950s and discovered a more fun way to indulge her inner diva by transforming herself into a celebrity feminist.

Germaine Greer unloads on the recently dead Friedan in "The Betty I Knew" in The Guardian, describing a trip they took together to pre-revolutionary Iran in the 1970s:

Betty's imperiousness had the shah's courtiers completely flummoxed. She ordered a respirator for her hotel room and one was brought over from the children's hospital. Three days later the courtiers asked me if it would be possible to remove it, as the hospital only had two and she wasn't using hers. I told them to go ahead and grab it, and that I would deal with Betty myself, but she didn't seem to notice that it was gone.

Again and again our escorts, aristocratic ladies with bleached hair and eyebrows, dressed from head to toe by Guy Laroche, would ask me to explain Betty's behaviour. "Please, Mrs Greer, she behaves so strangely, we think she may be drinking. She shouts at us, and when we try to explain she walks away. Sometimes her speech is strange." ...

As we were leaving our farewell party to go back to the hotel, Betty propped herself in front of our Cadillac and refused to get in. "Dammit!" she shouted, "I wunt, I deserve my own car! I will nutt travel cooped up in this thing with two other women. Don't you clowns know who I am?"

"Mrs Greer," pleaded the courtiers, who were shaking with fright. "What shall we do? Please make her quiet! She is very drunk."

Betty wasn't drunk. She was furious that the various dignitaries and ministers of state all had their own cars, while the female guests of honour were piled into a single car like a harem. Helvi and I looked on from our Cadillac at Betty standing there in her spangled black crepe-de-chine and yelling fit to bust, "I will nutt be quiet and gedinna car! Absolutely nutt!"

Eventually one of the ministers' cars was sent back for Betty. As it pulled out of the gateway I caught sight of her, small, alone in the back, her great head pillowed on the leather, eyes closed, resting after this important victory.

This is quite reminiscent of last year's expose of the egomania of the late Susan Sontag by lesbian English professor Terry Castle, "Desperately Seeking Susan." As I said then:

Indeed, much of what we are taught as the high intellectual history of the human race is based more on the magnetism and impenetrable self-assurance of thinkers than on minor issues like whether they were right or not. Freud is a perfect example, a charlatan who befuddled two generations via his implacable self-esteem. Marx was similar, and Ayn Rand was cut from the same cloth but fortunately never had as deleteriously wide an impact as Marx or Freud.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

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