- Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy
- Create a gulag
- Develop a thug caste
- Set up an internal surveillance system
- Harass citizens’ groups
- Engage in arbitrary detention and release
- Target key individuals
- Control the press
- Dissent equals treason
- Suspend the rule of law
You can read Naomi Wolf’s full article in the Guardian.
The book that made Wolf famous was The Beauty Myth. I never read it. I first knew Naomi Wolf as one of Esquire magazine’s “Do-me Feminists”. Every now and again, I’d read or hear something by her, usually revising or rejecting some aspect of mainstream feminism. My reaction to her leans toward positive, but I’ve not looked too closely. So I can’t agree or disagree with these critiques:
The release of The Beauty Myth coincided with Camille Paglia’s release of Sexual Personae, which made a scholarly defense of beauty as a natural and enduring dimension of sexuality. Paglia engaged in a spirited critique of Wolf, which included these comments in her infamous MIT lecture:
“If you want to see what’s wrong with Ivy League education, look at The Beauty Myth, that book by Naomi Wolf. This is a woman who graduated from Yale magna cum laude, is a Rhodes scholar, and cannot write a coherent paragraph. This is a woman who cannot do historical analysis, and she is a Rhodes scholar? If you want to see the damage done to intelligent women today in the Ivy League, look at that book. It’s a scandal. Naomi Wolf is an intelligent woman. She has been ill-served by her education. But if you read Lacan, this is the result. Your brain turns to pudding! She has a case to make. She cannot make it. She’s full of paranoid fantasies about the world. Her education was completely removed from reality.”
Christina Hoff Sommers criticized Naomi Wolf for publishing the now debunked figure which claimed 150,000 women were dying every year from anorexia (the actual number is closer to 100). Sommers cites this as evidence of the media’s “servile” attitude to prominent feminists, accepting their figures without investigation as if they were the “gospel truth.”
I quote them here mostly because they relate to other themes of this blog.
For more on fascism, go here.