The profit and glory of telling women to "Fuck off"
I’ve never watched Succession so I can’t relate to analyses of the show. But that Leonard Cohen/Bob Dylan line delighted me. You have at least one of those gems in everything you write.
Taylor Sheridan( Yellowstone, etc etc)is another misogynist who hates and probably fears women. He tortures every one in increasingly bizarre and extreme ways. I find myself wanting to only read books by women, watch shows only made by women, use only women as the lawyers, doctors, accountants, etc that I need, vote for only women.
Looking back at the Village Voice in the late 60's onward, it seems like a dream. It was the best job in the world for anyone, male or female, gay or straight, didn't matter. It was an island in a sea of shit.
Thought provoking piece -- i read yesterday that Gerry was a man in the original script but Jean Isabel Smith went for it anyway (and obv got it). Without her, that would have left only Shiv as a primary female character.
This is great, glad you posted what might be thought of as two separate pieces, given how well they reinforce each other.
Thank you for The Crash Course in Succession.
I tried watching once.
Turned me off.
After reading much buzz about it, I tried watching again.
Turned off a second time.
Now I get it.
Your very articulate explanation helped to understand--in part--WHY.
Thank you for the episteme of misogyny in Succession! Wonderful article.
I would love to attend your zoom event second week in June. I’m Irish living in London but in Ireland that week so a weekend daytime would be my only option. I’ve upgraded to paid - with pleasure. I’m 66 and my queer, feminist bones about to launch me into an MA in Creative Writing in September in poor bereft London.
you already know my thoughts on this brilliant analysis. just dropping in to say i’d love to be part of that craft zoom. pretty flex w time cuz i have no life anyway rn lol
Now I realize that part of the time you were writing for the Voice, I was reading it! And identifying as a feminist. I was 18 back then.
But that said, I would love to help figure out how to have and give more support for authors and artists in general, but women, especially.
FUCK YEAH, Laurie, to all of this! So good to see your experience and wisdom scorching the cultural landscape. I've given up trying to point out to younger friends the fact that Shiv ain't nobody's feminist hero. As far as the second part of your post goes, it helps to know that at least some of the shit that women are currently drowning in has been braved and survived by previous generations. I would have loved to have been present for the particular breakthrough moment in publishing that you describe. (Love to take the writing workshop, BTW. I'm on the West Coast so my work days don't finish until 8pm PST, but maybe you can record it for those of us who can't attend in person?)
I just loved this piece and also your writing. Thanks! I will pass on watching Succession.
Re: “Succession”. I naively thought the series was pointing out the misogyny or that the greed lust knew no sex. It was complicated because Shiv was repeatedly betrayed and thwarted, even though she seemed clearly the most capable and that’s the story of Any Woman and yet in the context of the story, she was no different than any of the characters. However, I can see your point in the built-in or unconscious portrayal of misogyny.
Yes! Yes! Yes! Thank you so much, Laurie, for this gem of an epistle on misogynism. And for the Cohen/Dylan comparison, of course. That you thought it and THEN wrote it down, made me laugh with unchagrined enthusiasm.
The analysis of Succession was spectacular and helped me understand why the series made me feel so creeped out. It was the same reaction I have when encountering a sexual abuser. It was a masterclass in gaslighting. Everyone is so deformed that you’re fooled into thinking they’re all being treated equally. But they are NOT, thank you again! One sees the misogynism and chalks it up to the misogynism in the family and in the world that men have built, especially the Roy Logan’s of the world, but to understand it as the unconscious misogynism of the creator, explains the creep factor. To write about any ism, the narrative voice must be free of the ism so the characters can roll around in it without making half the audience want to get the hell out of there as fast as they can. And your assessment of Armstrong’s hard on for Matsson is just brilliant. Pithy perfection!
Misogynism – google that word and what comes up is misogyny, misogynistic, misogynist. My autocorrect draws the ‘misspelled’ red line beneath it every time.
I use the suffix ‘ism’ intentionally because misogynism deserves to be classified as the the system of belief, the doctrine that it is. That is what the suffix ‘ism’ implies. All the most egregious isms in the macrosystems of men –racism, antisemitism, terrorism, classism, etc. – are beliefs. They are doctrines. When we say misogynist or misogynistic, it places the onus on the individual or the act rather than the system of belief. And if there is no misogynism, how can there be systemic misogynism?
At some point, when I believed I was free of systemic misogynism, I was in my local bookstore looking for something to read. Each shop staffer would have a mini review displayed next to the book they were recommending that month. As I read them I realized I was skipping over the books written by women because I wanted something fierce, something powerful to read. It was a jolt. I had never read anything with the fierce power of Toni Morrison’s work and yet here I was, overlooking the women writers because I believed their writing was less powerful than what men wrote. Gaslighting is not easily shed. It’s a very long slog.
Thank you again, Laurie. First letter of yours I’ve read and I upgraded immediately!
Would like to participate in your zoom on Saturday but not sure I can manage my schedule to make it work. Should I sign up anyway?
Hi there, popping in to say I'd love to attend any upcoming Zoom conversations to talk writing craft. Thank you!
I couldn’t bear to watch Succession so I really appreciate reading your view of it. I’ll need to read it again. And yes, the Cohen/Dylan line is perfect. I’ll read that again, too. 💕
Yes! Weekends are best for me. I’d love to hang out, talk shop, hear your wisdom. We share much.
I’m way behind on reading your posts. I’ve just got too many deadlines, but I’ll make your Zooms!