The New Yorker's Caitlin Flanagan and her new book also get the treatment from Ella Taylor in this week's LA Weekly.
Even women who can’t stand what Flanagan has to say concede that she’s a terrific writer. I wish we had more like her on the left — her trenchant wit and breezily fluid prose make Maureen Dowd’s look like the work of a shrill amateur. Not surprisingly, Flanagan’s intellectual heroes are mostly men — she cites her late father, Thomas Flanagan, a UC Berkeley professor of Irish history and late-life author of historical novels; The New Yorker editor David Remnick, and Benjamin Schwarz, The Atlantic’s Los Angeles–based literary editor, whom she so impressed with her skills as a dinner-party raconteur that he rescued her from futile efforts to write a novel and gave her the domestic beat at the magazine; and former Atlantic writer William Langewiesche, who switched her on to the idea of “writing history as it happens,” at which she is very good....
A week after our meeting...she calls me back and tells me she has a quote for me that she hasn’t given anyone else. “I am pro-choice, anti-war, anti-Bush, I’m a Democrat, and only a conservative on family issues,” she says plaintively. “I’ve got nothing but derision from the left — you’ve got to check everything on the menu to please them. But the right has been good to me, even though they disagree with me about abortion. I can go on Tucker Carlson and he’s respectful. The head of the Southern Baptist Convention had me on the radio. But the feminists humiliate me. We, the Democrats, have a real small tent. The Republicans have a big tent.”
Certainly Flanagan comes across out of touch with the pressures on contemporary women — and men — of all classes, not just her own. Perhaps because she once taught at an exclusive private school (Harvard, before it became Westlake) and sends her sons to another, she seems unaware of the sheer variety of family forms and child-care arrangements unfolding in today’s cities.
Previously: TNY's woman in L.A.