sexism and the aesthetics of rationality

I imagine that there are people who would be disappointed to see me tackle such a topic—people who assume that, because I prefer to write about modernist literature, believe strenuously in something like beauty and its centrality in human life, and take issue with many of the most vicious incarnations of what I provisionally join lazy thinkers in calling “cancel culture” that I am “not like other girls,” by which they mean that I am Above Politics and therefore comfortably sequestered in the airy Realm of the Spirit, where complaints about sexism never disturb halcyon reflections on matters of Great Importance. Not so. It’s symptomatic of the hysterical quality of “the times” that anyone who hesitates to assimilate the ethical to the political and the political to the aesthetic is therefore pegged as the kind of person with a stomach for oratory about the beauty of the countryside and all that schlock. In fact, I have no appetite for cloying traditionalism.

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