September 10, 2012

Caitlin Flangan

Flanagan is a writer of articles for publications like The Atlantic and an author of full-length books, like To Hell with All That: Loving and Loathing Our Inner Housewife. She tends to get flogged as anti-feminist, and in person she can be a bit cloying in her insistence on traditional values. But while you (and I) may think that her defense of traditional family structures is problematic, there's no denying the truth in much of what she writes.  To Hell with All That is full of dead-on insights, like how our (modern, white, middle-class) culture tries to strategize our way out of the shortcomings of our (modern, white, middle-class) life. We schedule date nights rather than just having sex already; we look for tactics to create a sense of family togetherness that used to emerge from simply spending so much time together. I've read scathing critiques of her work that blast her for being contemptuous, but half of what she writes about is how contempt for old-fashioned ways of life has impoverished our understanding of how to create a healthy, happy home. I'm not a big fan of contempt in writing about culture, but it seems unfair to call her out for that, when it's the most salient feature of most such writing today. Plus, she is funny as hell.

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