[Paleopsych] NYT: (Dworkin) Seeing Eye to Eye: A Radical Feminist Who Could Dine With (Not on) Conservatives

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Week in Review > Seeing Eye to Eye: A Radical
Feminist Who Could Dine With (Not on) Conservatives
April 17, 2005


    It's not surprising that feminists lamented the death last weekend of
    Andrea Dworkin, the antipornography campaigner and author of such
    feminist tracts as "Woman Hating." But a few conservatives marked her
    death, as well. It turns out that Andrea Dworkin and conservatives
    could agree on at least a couple of issues - Bill Clinton's
    presidency, for instance, and pornography. Most surprising of all, the
    fierce feminist in overalls and the conservatives in suits even shared
    a meal and some tea. A few excerpts:

    David Frum, columnist for National Review and former Bush
    administration speechwriter

    I met her once, through the kindness of my friend Christopher
    Hitchens, who invited my wife and me to meet Dworkin and her husband,
    John Stoltenberg, over dinner. It was an audacious pairing, and I went
    to the dinner with some trepidation.

    I can't say I was charmed. ... But despite myself, I was impressed.
    Dworkin was a woman of deep and broad reading. When I met her she was
    increasingly immobilized by illness, but her mind ranged free. ...

    We talked about her respect for the Christian conservatives who fought
    against forced prostitution and sex trafficking and her revulsion
    against Bill Clinton's abuse of women. Politically she belonged to the
    far, far, far left, but she had little use for an antiwar movement
    that made excuses for Saddam Hussein or Islamic extremism. And in one
    respect at least, she shared a deep and true perception with the
    political and cultural right: She understood that the sexual
    revolution had inflicted serious harm on the interests of women and
    children - and (ultimately) of men as well. ...

    Dworkin was grimly entertained by the opportunism of Bill Clinton's
    feminist supporters. ... I'll just say that although I would never,
    ever have expected to think so: She'll be missed.

    Maggie Gallagher, a syndicated columnist

    I was not alone! Andrea saw it, too. As I wrote in "Enemies of Eros":
    "What Dworkin observes is essentially true. Sex is not an act which
    takes place merely between bodies. Sex is an act which defines,
    alters, imposes on the personhood of those who engage in it...."

    And as I later learned, to a lesser degree, Andrea Dworkin received
    the same gift from me. Standing in the local bookstore in Park Slope
    in Brooklyn (where we both then lived), she thumbed through my first
    book. "At last, someone who understands my writing!" she shrieked

    Then she, the infamous feminist, invited me, the unknown young
    conservative, to tea. I found her soft-spoken, pale, intellectual,
    anxious, motherly. She seemed to me the kind of woman who has the
    peculiar courage of her fears.

    Charlotte Allen, of the Independent Women's Forum

    Dworkin actually made a couple of good points. They are: 1)
    Pornography is degrading to women... 2) Prostitution... is not
    "empowering"... 3) Those beads-wearing, "peace 'n' love"-spouting
    flower children of the 60's could be nasty, wife-beating brutes ...4)
    She supported the death penalty for convicted wife-murderer Scott

    Richard Brookhiser, a senior editor at National Review and author of
    "Founding Father," a biography of George Washington

    When I was introduced to Andrea Dworkin the first thing she said was
    how much she had enjoyed "Founding Father," and how much she admired
    George Washington. I was pleased (as a vain author) and also stunned.
    Washington was the ur-Patriarch, so much so that he was Father of His
    Country.... What was the source of her high opinion? Maybe the fact
    that there is no credible tale of Washington's sleeping with a slave
    (there is an incredible one), and the second fact that the last act of
    his life was to free his own slaves. As I point out whenever I talk
    about G. W., "Founding Father" is 63,000 words long; if I had to
    rewrite it in four, they would be, "He really meant it."

    Later on, when N.R. twitted feminists for supporting a later
    president, Bill Clinton, I got a note from Dworkin pointing out that
    she didn't....

    She really meant it. R.I.P.


    1. http://www.nationalreview.com/frum/frum-diary.asp
    2. http://www.uexpress.com/maggiegallagher
    3. http://www.iwf.org/inkwell
    4. http://www.nationalreview.com/thecorner/corner.asp

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