Saturday, December 27, 2008


Camille Paglia in "Fresh blood for the vampire" wrote in praise of Sarah Palin's muscular feminism. She didn't convince me that Palin is the new prototype for women everywhere to emulate, but there is something to be said for women in general getting tougher. I do agree that there are far too many French Literature majors amongst women in college. There have been far too many women who have written papers on the Wife of Bath in The Canterbury Tales. Too many young women swooning over Wordsworth or Tennyson or even Sylvia Plath. Paglia's point is well taken. I'm one of those women. Ask me about English Literature in the 1800 or 1900's.


Ask me about Yeats, Auden, Pound, Frost, Eliot. Ask ME about Chaucer orBoccaccio. And with my Master's, ask me about Kristeva's theory of feminine time versus masculine time. Ask me about the female narrative. Yeah. I'm literary all right. And that's part of the problem--- according to Paglia and I agree--- exactly how practical is it? And doesn't it relegate women to a ghetto of their own creation? I took an economics class as an undergrad and I got an A, but it was all theory; GNP, guns and butter. Whatever.

Here's the problem. I've only recently discovered that

the first freedom is economic

I don't know who wrote this. Perhaps someone can tell me. But it's been RINGING in my head since I read it. This is like St. Paul on the road to Damascus type revelation. The first freedom isn't beauty, and it's not intelligence, passion, or creativity. And its certainly not love. Not for women. No. It's money. Duh. I make fun of a friend of mine who's got his economic future all sewn up. He refuses to buy signature denim and delights in fifteen dollars blue jeans on 14th Street. His Dad was a money wizard. I make fun of my friend, but I am envious of his knowledge. Boys are Taught this. Women are not. God love my mother. Sincerely. But she wanted me to learn how to type. So I could be a secretary, support myself before I got married. That was IT. She wanted to be grandmother to my children. It was the cultural zeitgeist. My mother wasn't stupid.

When I got to college I just knew that I loved literature and history. Mostly literature. I wept when I read Franny and Zooey. I've read Eliot at gallery openings and had my audience in the palm of my hand. In sadness, or sorrow I always conjure Auden's image of the falling boy, "in Brueghel's Icarus." See. I told you I was literary. But I don't know shit from shinola about the stock market. Or hedge funds. And I am not young. I got my head in the clouds. I believe that I am valuable contributing member of society but my credit rating says otherwise these days. And here is where Paglia got it right:

I should've learned about money and business. I thought it was enough to balance my check book now leave me alone, I got to get high and listen to David Bowie. That's what I knew about money. I just wanted enough to get by so I could turn back to books, to writing. Warnings about that attitude fell on deaf ears. It seems as if there is always a generation of women, young women, who do the same thing over and over. Who fail to realize that

the first freedom is economic.

If you don't have an inheritance, and if you don't want to snag a good husband--- a doctor or a lawyer--- if you want to be single, you better learn about money. I HATE being called to task on fiscal mismanagement. It's humiliating. Classes in finance should be required for ALL women in college. Concert violinists, French Restoration theorists, poet/actresses should not be able to graduate unless they can read stock charts. That's when we will see


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