Margaret Atwood is the Next Course at the Feminists Cannibal Feast
It is no big secret I bear no love to Margaret Atwood. I will confess too what most annoys me about her is something over which she had no or little control.
Sure, she could have done a better job of world-building in The Handmaid’s Tale, say, by researching actual Christian sects, or coming up with some idea of why Christians are behaving like Muslims, or even why there is a vast theocratic state based out of – snort, giggle – New England. Trust me, there are ways to tell the most improbable tale, but make it sound plausible with a wiggle of world building and a bit of future history. In her case, all she had to posit was the influence of Islam spreading worldwide and infecting Christianity with some of the same attitudes, as it has in other times and places, like most of the Mediterranean countries in the Middle Ages.
But what really upsets me about her is the incessant fawning over what is really rather pedestrian science fiction and all the claims of “brilliant” and “insightful” about a book where she doesn’t seem to be aware there is — or ever was — more than one Christian sect, or that inside-Christianity disagreements can often be worse than outside.
And truly, it’s not any writer’s fault if they are what I call a “darling” whom the publishing establishment has decided to gift with a ride to the top. Establishment publishing moves the way it does, and often whimsically. Except… well… they favor the left and frankly feminists.
So Margaret Atwood had that going for her, of course.
But apparently, the schtick has gone sour on her. Apparently, she’s now being called a bad feminist.
What is her crime, you ask? I’m so glad you asked.
Her crime is the same as Lena Dunham’s.
Margaret Atwood has come out in defense of someone she knows, in the face of accusations of sexual misconduct.
From the article linked above:
In November of 2016, I signed – as a matter of principle, as I have signed many petitions – an Open Letter called UBC Accountable, which calls for holding the University of British Columbia accountable for its failed process in its treatment of one of its former employees, Steven Galloway, the former chair of the department of creative writing, as well as its treatment of those who became ancillary complainants in the case. Specifically, several years ago, the university went public in national media before there was an inquiry, and even before the accused was allowed to know the details of the accusation. Before he could find them out, he had to sign a confidentiality agreement. The public – including me – was left with the impression that this man was a violent serial rapist, and everyone was free to attack him publicly, since under the agreement he had signed, he couldn't say anything to defend himself. A barrage of invective followed.
But then, after an inquiry by a judge that went on for months, with multiple witnesses and interviews, the judge said there had been no sexual assault, according to a statement released by Mr. Galloway through his lawyer. The employee got fired anyway. Everyone was surprised, including me. His faculty association launched a grievance, which is continuing, and until it is over, the public still cannot have access to the judge's report or her reasoning from the evidence presented. The not-guilty verdict displeased some people. They continued to attack. It was at this point that details of UBC's flawed process began to circulate, and the UBC Accountable letter came into being.
A fair-minded person would now withhold judgment as to guilt until the report and the evidence are available for us to see. We are grownups: We can make up our own minds, one way or the other. The signatories of the UBC Accountable letter have always taken this position. My critics have not, because they have already made up their minds. Are these Good Feminists fair-minded people?