Wolcott on Flanagan

James Wolcott — whose scathing political posts I’ve admired here and elsewheretakes on Caitlin Flanagan, she of the Inner Housewife, Strawfeminist, and other action figures, in the current New Republic.

I’ve already devoted too much space and stomach acid to Ms. Flanagan, so I’ll just say that I think Wolcott gives her actual writing too much credit. He admires the “tidy ship of [her] prose” but doesn’t mention her trademark approach: opening with an anecdote that reels the reader in, and then marrying it, through sleight of hand and a dazzling absence of logic, to some outrageous thesis.

Perhaps this critique is embedded in Wolcott’s observation that Flanagan “often seems to be playing at being a provocateur, gunning for a fight, then hiding behind her humor and accusing everyone of overreacting.” To me it’s a separate point. Not only are the views she claims to hold regressive and appalling, but she has yet to construct an argument for them. (Straw woman found here.)


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