The New York Times is urging readers to overlook a woman’s crime because of her contribution to feminism: A manifesto that argued for the extermination of men.
Valerie Solanas shot Andy Warhol in his studio in 1968. He nearly died. Yet Solanas is now getting a positive writeup in the Times’ new series called Overlooked, which is “a series of obituaries about remarkable people whose deaths, beginning in 1851, went unreported in The Times.” Solanas gets an article because of her contributions to feminism.
“She made daring arguments in ‘SCUM Manifesto,’ her case for a world without men. But her legacy as a writer and thinker was overshadowed by a violent act,” reads the sub-headline for the article.
The Times explains that Solanas’ writing “is still read in some women and gender studies courses today.” The outlet describes her as “a radical feminist (though she would say she loathed most feminists), a pioneering queer theorist and the author of ‘SCUM Manifesto,’ in which she argued for the wholesale extermination of men.” The Times also claims her manifesto “reads as satire” even though Solanas “defended it as serious.” The Times explains that she was starting a coalition called the Society for Cutting Up Men.
Solanas managed to work her way to “the fringes” of Warhol’s social circle and she tried to get him to produce her play, “Up Your Ass,” about a homeless prostitute. Warhol didn’t like the play but cast Solanas in one of his erotic films. Solanas eventually met French publisher Maurice Girodias, who wouldn’t publish her book. Solanas then convinced herself that “Warhol and Girodias were conspiring to suppress, censor or steal her voice,” the Times wrote.
Solanas was eventually diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and continued to harass Warhol and Girodias “with threatening messages,” the Times reported.
A book about Solanas included an exchange where she said she didn’t “want to kill all men” but thought “males should be neutered or castrated so they can’t mess up any more women’s lives.”
The Times includes all of these details of her life yet couches them with words like “daring” and several reminders that her work is read in women’s studies classes without a hint of disdain.
This coverage of an attempted murderer who wanted to eliminate men from society stands in contrast to the Times coverage of the current race riots, where protesters across the country are pulling down statues of anyone who ever did anything that could be deemed racist. For example, two years ago the Times published an article asking readers to vote on which statues in America should be torn down. The second option on the list was former President Ulysses S. Grant, who led the Union in victory against slavery in the Civil War. The Times, however, described Grant like this: “Led the Union Army in the Civil War. He has been accused of anti-Semitism over a Civil War-era order, for which he later repented, expelling ‘Jews and other unprincipled traders’ from parts of the South.”
When a Grant statue was toppled during the current move to eliminate statues, the Times described Grant as “the former president who led the Union army to victory and who also owned a slave whom he later freed.”
The Times’ acceptance of removing statues of people who, while remembered for the good things they did in life, may have also held wrong beliefs or did bad things is contradictory for its insistence that we forget Solanas’ attempted murder of Warhol because of her contributions to feminism – which were themselves objectionable.
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