Monday, April 4, 2016

WTF, Gay Telese?

I hate to pile on, I really do, but writer Gay Talese has put his foot in it in a way I can't ignore.  Check out this story on Jezebel, which offers this fine Talese quote:

I didn’t know any women writers that I loved.


Rather than try to list all the women whose writings I've loved, let me focus on just two books by women that changed my life.

Frances Hodgson Burnett's classic, The Secret Garden, absorbed the third-grade me so utterly and completely that while re-reading it in class one day I became so completely entranced by the book that when the rest of the class went to lunch, I sat at my desk and kept reading.  My copy quite literally fell apart from overuse.  (Thinking about that, it might be time to get my own pretty new one and read it again.)  The book captured perfectly the escape I was seeking from my life.

Years later, the fifteen-year-old me discovered Ursula K. LeGuin's The Left Hand of Darkness and thought my brain would explode.  Its ambisexual aliens made me think seriously for the first time about gender identity and also forced me to accept how little I understood about any concepts of sexuality other than my own.

I don't know what Talese was thinking when he made this remark, but if he really means it, he needs to read more widely and inclusively.


Mark P said...

I came across Ursula Le Guin when we read A Wizard of Earthsea at school.

The only other female writer whose work I've read a lot of is Anne McCaffrey. During my teens early twenties I read all of her Pern books.

I have been tempted to read Jane Austin as my wife rates her books, but I always come to the though that it's Chick Lit, and anyway has no SciFi fantasy.

Mark said...

I'm with your wife: Austen is an excellent writer from whom we can all learn.

Mark P said...

I suppose there is always Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Anonymous said...

In the niche he was referring to (anti-social journalism?) I neither have read enough nor paid attention to the authors gender. I don't think this statement is really saying anything wrong because I don't really think it is saying anything at all. An old man said something about a perception he has on gender in a field he has worked for a long time. Statistical anomalies involving gender do accure and because this is about what inspired Telese the validity of the statistic doesn't really matter.


Mark said...

I appreciate your sense of charity with the remark, and perhaps you are right. The remark still struck me, though, as something he should not have said.


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