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Frame: Missing Marilyn’s America

October 20, 2010

I’m not very political, and I’m well aware that “feminism” has always been the other f word.  But I thought Making Ignorance Chic in today’s New York Times was an interesting perspective on “dumb blondes” of the past and present. In the article, Maureen Dowd details the story of Marilyn Monroe, a woman with “a curious incandescence under the skin” who was largely seen as a stupid sexpot. She brings up the starlet to discuss the “false choice between intellectualism and sexuality” that has plagued women for decades, and then longs for Marilyn and other public women of the past, who, even while batting their eyelashes, knew that “it was cool to be smart.” At least, Dowd posits, Marilyn aspired to be both beautiful and intellectual. These days, celebrities like Paris Hilton have no qualms about appearing moronic, and in fact wear their stupidity like a Louis Vuitton bag stuffed with a Yorkie on a Kate Spade leash. More unsettling, political figure Sarah Palin is doing her part to make ignorance “fashionable.”

even baby kate didn't have the guile to pull off marilyn's move

Palin says that “exceptionalism is suspect,” and we should be wary of this in our leaders. I’m not going to delve much into this here, this is a food blog- I should stick to what I know. However, this is also a blog about writing, so I will comment on Palin’s recent “tweet,” in which she makes the annoyingly specious argument that English is a living language, and we should embrace words like “misunderestimate.” Shakespeare liked to make up words too, she says. Ms. Palin, I am pretty well acquainted with Hamlet and his ilk. And you, ma’am, are no William Shakespeare. Please, do women everywhere a favor, and stop trying to make stupid look cute.

hey, its no eat pray love...

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