A Moment of Jen
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Tuesday, February 24, 2004
posted by Jen at 2/24/2004 09:30:00 PM

To: New York Times

From: Jen

Re: Article on Lad Lit

If you're going to quote the one trenchant, smart-sounding thing I manage to say about my much-derided genre and where male writers fit in, can you please please please quote me by name? Because you know, every time the word "Weiner" shows up in the Times, an angel gets his wings!

Greetings from L.A.!

The husband and baby and I arrived this Saturday and have spent much quality time with Lucy's cousin Olivia, who can now say something approximating "Looo-see!" Tres cute. My other favorite recent baby development: Lucy, now a proficient forward crawler, occasionally will crawl over a toy, and it'll get stuck in her, um, undercarriage, and dragged across the room for the ride.

Maybe you have to be there.

Tomorrow I'll be visiting the set of "IN HER SHOES," and will report back with as much information as the producers allow me to print. (My guess is that I'm probably already in trouble just for saying that I'm going to the set. But we'll see).

In other news, I'm part of a chick lit roundtable discussion over at authorsontheweb.com. And for sheer entertainment value, you can't beat the panting prose and not-so-shocking revelations of the Naomi Wolf/Harold Bloom contretemps.

As a feminist, I'm disappointed that Yale doesn't seem to be taking students' claims of sexual harassment seriously, or punishing the perpetrators adequately. The story of the tenured professor who drugged and raped a graduate student, and was simply allowed to resign, is an outrage.

But as a....well, as a thinking human being, Wolf's true confession seems a little silly.

I mean, Naomi Wolf is taking issue with her undergraduate institution for failing to adequately punish a superstar professor for something that A., happened twenty years ago, and B., she didn't even muster the chutzpah to report at the time.

(And, as a side note, I don't buy her argument that she couldn't screw up her courage because she was on financial aid and her educational future depended on staying in Bloom's, and Yale's, good graces. As someone who attended a similar institution in roughly the same era that Wolf did, I can assure you that Ivy League undergrads are practically marinated in entitlement. If you had a beef with anything, be it person or policy, you felt perfectly entitled, justified, and encouraged to tell someone. Even if you were on financial aid. Even if you were female. By the time I got to Princeton, in the heyday of P.C., especially the women.)

And it was a hand on the knee! A hand on the knee!

Yes, an unwanted hand on the knee. Yes, a hand on the knee in a student/teacher relationship, where there's an inherent inequity of power informing her consent or lack thereof and blah blah blah shouldn't have happened.

But I worry that Wolf's story will lead to a boy who cried wolf (or a girl who cried harassment, twenty years after the fact) scenario, where the next women who comes forward with a legitimate story of encroachment or intimidation or quid pro quo or rape is going to be met with eye rolls and 'here we go agains' instead of the serious attention she deserves.

Anyhow, we'll probably burn in hell for this, but Adam and I are already planning a dramatic reenactment, with one of Lucy's sodden morning diapers standing in for Harold Bloom's hot, heavy, boneless hand.
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