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Thanks! -- Arnie Perlstein, now living in "Portlandia"!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

P.S. re The Sutherland Fracas

Christy Somer posted the following excerpt from Sutherland's interview, which reminded me of one point I meant to include in my long comment on it, but forgot to:

[Sutherland] "I've heard a range of responses. And I have had some very extreme and, I have to say, unpleasant responses to my work. All I can say is that, you know, as critics we should just stop polishing her halo. There are very few authors that we put in this extraordinary position where we feel that we should never say anything critical about them. She can stand up to it. She's interesting. She's experimental. She's an extraordinary writer. The idea that we can never question what she wrote
I think is absolute nonsense."

That is precisely what is so infuriating about Sutherland's comments---she sets up a straw man by characterizing all those who object to her (profoundly fallacious) assertions about JA's writing in the interview as being the kind of kneejerk fanatical Janeite who cannot tolerate a single word of criticism of JA's writing. As much disagreement as there is among intelligent Janeites over so many things about her writing and her life, perhaps the only two things that unite us all is (i) our deep love of her writing, and (ii) our great willingness to see JA as a real human being, with warts as well as gifts of genius.

So it's a particularly nasty innuendo of Sutherland's, which smacks of her own paranoia more than anything, to paint all those who criticize HER claims as blindered fanatics. She demonstrates some really amazing CHUTZPAH, so much so that she has even managed to make me and Jeannie (whose message I just read before hitting the "send" button on this one) agree completely on something about JA.

"Sutherland speaks as if she really believes in this particular agenda of hers. And at least this ending part of Sutherland's interview sounds very sincere and truthful."

You really do take assuming good faith to the ultimate, Christy! ;)

Cheers, ARNIE

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