Sunday, 12 May 2013

Bradley Manning, Julian Assange and Mary McCarthy; or Deracinating McCarthy the NYT way

If MM were alive today, would she be an active supporter of Julian Assange and Bradley Manning? Of course she would - no two ways about it. What leads me to this no-brainer ? Her unwavering opposition to US Empire building in Vietnam for one, and her lifelong pursuit of the truth, political and personal for another. Today's Truthout interview with Julian Assange underlines that the tradition of the principled, courageous American dissident, which McCarthy played a leading role in forging, is far from dead.

The Death of Truth: Chris Hedges Interviews Julian Assange

Sunday, 12 May 2013 09:44By Chris HedgesTruthdig | Interview

Assange, Manning and WikiLeaks, by making public in 2010 half a million internal documents from the Pentagon and the State Department, along with the 2007 video of U.S. helicopter pilots nonchalantly gunning down Iraqi civilians, including children, and two Reuters journalists, effectively exposed the empire’s hypocrisy, indiscriminate violence and its use of torture, lies, bribery and crude tactics of intimidation. WikiLeaks shone a spotlight into the inner workings of empire—the most important role of a press—and for this it has become empire’s prey. Those around the globe with the computer skills to search out the secrets of empire are now those whom empire fears most. If we lose this battle, if these rebels are defeated, it means the dark night of corporate totalitarianism. If we win, if the corporate state is unmasked, it can be destroyed. 

And yet, if NYT's  4 month's late centenary piece is to

 be believed, we should simply be remembering MM 

as an upmarket high brow fashionista

A Woman of Intellect and Style

Published: October 19, 2012

MARY McCARTHY would have been 100 this year, a milestone commemorated last spring by her alma mater, Vassar College, and again last Tuesday, at the American Library in Paris.Mary McCarthy, the American writer, was known also for her elegant style.

Ms. McCarthy, who died in 1989 at age 77, also created an aura, trading up from her scruffy image at Vassar to an elegant look all her own.
“If you were to make a movie of Mary McCarthy’s life,” the editor William Abrahams told Ms. Kiernan in the early 1990s, “Grace Kelly could have played the part.”
Could we possibly be having a McCarthy Moment in fashion? This season’s little black cutaway dress from Balenciaga? Or that pretty tie-neck blouse from Lanvin (just look at the author’s portrait-sitting with Cecil Beaton)? She visited both design houses and shopped for leather goods at Mark Cross, cashmere at Brooks Brothers, suits at Bonwit Teller and gloves and scarves at Herm├Ęs. All last summer we had espadrilles (hers came from Lanvin); this fall features 1940s-ish cropped jackets, and Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is grooving on Peter Pan collars.
“She combined sexy and tailored,” Ms. Kiernan said. “It’s cool now.”
Many female writers whom Ms. McCarthy inspired intellectually reflect her style as well. A. M. Homes’s new McCarthy-ish novel, “May We Be Forgiven,” earned her an austere, short-waisted photo straight out of the McCarthy playbook. The cover art of Susanna Moore’s latest, a World War II novel called “The Life of Objects,” elicits a McCarthy double-take: a woman’s photograph from the ’30s, in profile, naturally, hair in a bun.
Mentioning her name evokes not only the extraordinary number of images of the writer published over the years, but “a literary figure, a political figure, an urbane figure, a very witty figure who had honesty and wasn’t shy about expressing her opinions,” said Ronald Patkus, who organized the Vassar show. “It’s time for people to think about the role she played in the early and mid-20th century.”
Claire Messud, a novelist and critic, refers to the intertwining of Ms. McCarthy’s appearance and pointed intellect as a stance inherited from Edith Wharton and “the glamorous Europeans, like Louise de Vilmorin or the Mitfords or Elizabeth Bowen.”
She added, “McCarthy was probably one of the first female intellectuals I was aware of, and there was this sense of the presentation of yourself as not so much distinctive as elegant, of presenting yourself with respect — self-respect was manifest.”
This packs a particular relevance for young female writers today, said Elissa Schappell, a novelist and a founding editor of the literary magazine Tin House.
“The way she looked had the mark of someone who knows herself,” she said. “Like with her inner life and writing: she could be zingy and ruthless but never sloppy. There was a certain precision and candor, very incisive and sharp. I didn’t know she wore designer clothing, but it doesn’t surprise me. There’s always something very clean, thought-out. The look was very curated.”

The process of re-branding MM has begun. If she can't be ignored or rubbed out of American cultural and political life, then she must be gutted, deracinated and re-packaged as the original Sex in the City girl or some other such moronic nonsense.

 To recall the real MM we need to ask 
 ourselves, what would she be holding now? 

A placard saying 'I'm Bradley Manning' or a  
copy of Vogue?