“Don’t be afraid of your ambition, your dreams, or even your anger. Those are powerful forces. … Be bold, try, fail, try again, and lean on each other, hold on to your values. Never give up.”

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The quote above comes from the in-depth New York Magazine profile of the woman who would have been US president (if only!), Hilary Clinton. I’m not American, so I couldn’t vote for her, but I would have if I were. My personal take on why she didn’t win was because she was a woman and there is still a lot of misogyny in the world. The takeaway seems to be that, “I just don’t like her. I’d rather Trump win than her.” Even if Trump has proven to be incompetent and may ultimately be dangerous.

A good read. Read the whole here. Meanwhile, some choice quotes from the story:

“The takeaway from Lean In,” says Clinton, “is that there is a stark difference between men and women when it comes to success and likability. So the more successful a man is, the more likable he is. The more successful a woman is, the less likable she is. And it’s across every sector of society.”

Sandberg predicted to Clinton that her reception during the campaign would be very different from the 69 percent approval rating she’d gained as secretary of State. “Sheryl was right-on,” says Clinton. “Once I moved from serving someone — a man, the president — to seeking that job on my own, I was once again vulnerable to the barrage of innuendo and negativity and attacks that come with the territory of a woman who is striving to go further.” So how did knowing that ambition is negatively correlated with likability for women affect Clinton’s approach in seeking the most powerful office in the land?

“Well, this is the joke,” she says. “You gotta be authentic! So you go out and try to be as effective as you can in presenting yourself and demonstrating the qualifications you have for the job, but you’re always walking a line about what will find approval from the general population and what won’t. It’s trial and error.”

Her team recalled the persistent feeling of being in uncharted territory. As McIntosh says, “Should she have showed more emotion? I don’t know. We don’t know whether women who show less emotion get to be the president. Should she have been less hawkish? I don’t know. We don’t know if we can elect a pacifist woman president. We can’t point to where she diverges from a path that other women have taken because she was charting that path, and that might fuck with your analytics a bit, as it turns out.”

The campaign was sometimes frustrated by the fact that Clinton couldn’t play the same game as her opponents. “Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump both excelled at channeling people’s anger,” says Schwerin. “And there was a way in which this anger was read as authentic. But there’s a reason why male candidates can shout and are called passionate, and if a woman candidate raises her voice to whip up a crowd, she’s screeching and yelling.” Clinton understood this, says Schwerin. “So she’s controlled. She doesn’t rant and rave, she’s careful. And then that’s read as inauthentic; it means that she doesn’t understand how upset people are, or the pain people are in, because she’s not angry in the way those guys are angry. So she must be okay with the status quo because she’s not angry.”

[Image borrowed from “Hillary Clinton Is Furious. And Resigned. And Funny. And Worried.”]

 

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The eternal boy-girl equation explained

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I detected instantly that she didn’t like me. It’s a fact of life that a girl can tell in a flash if another girl likes her. Feely says that there is a broken telephone connect between men and women, and we can never know which of us rang off. With a boy you never know whether he’s smitten or gagging, but with a girl you can tell in the first three seconds. Between girls there is a silent and unending flow of invisible signals, like the high-frequency wireless messages between the shore and the ships at sea, and this secret flow of dots and dashes was signaling that Mary detested me. — young Flavia Sabine de Luce, aspiring chemist and protagonist of The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

Why else do we …

Why else do we read fiction, anyway? Not to be impressed by somebody’s dazzling language—or at least I hope that’s not our reason. I think that most of us, anyway, read these stories that we know are not ‘true’ because we’re hungry for another kind of truth: The mythic truth about human nature in general, the particular truth about those life-communities that define our own identity, and the most specific truth of all: our own self-story. Fiction, because it is not about somebody who actually lived in the real world, always has the possibility of being about ourself.”

— Orson Scott Card, from the introduction of Ender’s Game

By the way, the latest trailer for the movie is kick-ass awesome and Asa Butterfield looks like how I envisioned Ender to be! Notwithstanding the controversy surrounding the movie, I personally can’t wait to watch it!

Somebody asked …

Somebody asked Somerset Maugham about his place in the pantheon of writers, and he said, “I’m in the very front row of the second rate.” I’m sort of haunted by that. You do the best you can. The idea of posterity for a writer is poison, don’t you think so?”

Michael Edwards

— Stephen King, quoting Somerset Maugham, in an interview with Ken Tucker. Full article here. Can’t wait for his new book, Joyland!

[photo borrowed from the article]

‘Get a life,’ t…

‘Get a life,’ they say. Sometimes I feel as if I have gotten everybody else’s. I have a colleague who describes his job as ‘covering the national dream beat,’ because if you pay attention to the movies they will tell you what people desire and fear in their deepest secrets. At least, the good ones will. That’s why we go: hoping to be touched in those secret places. Movies are hardly ever about what they seem to be about. Look at a movie that a lot of people love, and you will find something profound, no matter how silly the film may seem.”

[With archrival and colleague Gene Siskel (left), Chicago Tribune’s movie critic. I bet they’re having contentious discussions of the movies wherever they are now!]

— From “Reflections After 25 Years at the Movies,” April 1992, as quoted in “15 Roger Ebert Passages That Epitomize His Writing” in nymag.com. Roger Ebert was part of the movie landscape I usually visited as an omniverous movie watcher. Unlike some friends, I didn’t read him regularly, but I did admire his way with words, and his pithy commentaries about movies, life and the human condition that he oh-so briliantly wrote about. They don’t make movie critics like him anymore.

[Image borrowed from his obit in the Boston Herald]