January 10, 2016

"The cultural boils Miss King sought so vigorously to lance included..."

"Political correctness; feminism ('Feminists will not be satisfied,' she wrote, 'until every abortion is performed by a gay black doctor under an endangered tree on a reservation for handicapped Indians'); environmentalism; the antismoking lobby; sentiment; intimacy; weakness; special pleading; lack of breeding ('No matter which sex I went to bed with, I never smoked on the street'); gay liberation; far rightism; far leftism; mild to moderate leftism; democracy ('I believe in a Republic of Merit in which water is allowed to find its own level, where voters, like drivers, are tested before being turned loose'); the Constitution; children ('In order to molest a child you must first be in the same room with a child, and I don’t know how perverts stand it'); the human race. Miss King, who defined herself by a much shorter, tidier list, was, in her own account (though in no particular order), a monarchist; a discreet, tweedy, long-celibate lesbian; an erstwhile pornographer; and 'slightly to the right of Vlad the Impaler.'"

From the NYT obituary for Florence King.

24 comments:

ganderson said...

Loved Florence King. RIP

Big Mike said...

Well, Miss King certainly got feminism right. The 21st century version of it, anyway.

Bob said...

I can see a copy of her With Charity Toward None: A Fond Look At Misanthropy on my bookshelf if I turn my head slightly - - a favorite of mine.

Sebastian said...

"feminism ('Feminists will not be satisfied,' she wrote, 'until every abortion is performed by a gay black doctor under an endangered tree on a reservation for handicapped Indians')" Big Mike was quicker to the draw -- but see, that's a little closer to the truth about actually existing feminism than bromides about equality.

Eric said...

Miss King was a better writer, clearer thinker and tougher than any of the nancy boys currently at NR.

Michael K said...

I read her columns and they were often the only thing I read in NR. Now, it is mostly Mark Steyn and I used to read Derbyshire religiously. Now I read him at Taki's Magazine online.

"Nancy Boys" is pretty close.

hoyden said...

I don't think RIP applies to King. Wherever she's at she will be herself.

J. Farmer said...

As a gay teenager in the late 1990s, I related with writers such as King and Andrew Sullivan in his book Virtually Normal, still in my opinion the best book on contemporary gay politics. I never identified with the nurture-over-nature, environment-over-heredity, identity politics of the modern left. If I wasn't gay, I'd just be the most evil thing of all: the dreaded straight white male. But fortunately, I was gay, which made me a victim, not as much of a victim as a woman or a black person, but more of a victim than a Latino or Indigenous American. Even then, I had a bit of a reputation in high school as the "gay Republican," even though I constantly said that I wasn't a Republican. When I comment in gay-centered blogs, I'm frequently called a right-winger and a racist. So it's fun to come here and be called a leftie.

Otto said...

It is illuminating to see what Anne finds interesting. Alas a common trait among princesses - nostalgie de la boue

The Bergall said...

A proud misanthrope. God rest her soul.........

Birkel said...

J. Farmer,
You are a Leftist because of your views. Quit fighting so hard against what you will eventually recognize. Denying who you are is sad.

Mid-Life Lawyer said...

I loved her columns when I subscribed to National Review in the eighties (I think). Nice obituary. The NYTimes still does good obituaries.

EDH said...

Read by conservatives and liberals alike for her arsenical wit...

NYT Style Guide:

Conservative are "arsenical" (deadly poisonous) and liberals are acerbic?

Conservatives are "misanthropes" and liberals are "curmudgeonly"?

Michael K said...

" When I comment in gay-centered blogs, I'm frequently called a right-winger and a racist. "

How about Gay Patriot ?

vanderleun said...

When I was editing Penthouse we published King for years. And for years she insisted we use as her author's photo a picture of her leaning against a wall with the sign "Deliveries in Rear" right behind her.

Funny, tough, uncompromising and a fine writer.

The Godfather said...

De mortuis nil nisi bonum.

And the NYT almost got there until the very end.

Florence King was a wonderful and very funny writer, and I'm sorry she's gone.

J. Farmer said...

@Birkel:

J. Farmer,
You are a Leftist because of your views. Quit fighting so hard against what you will eventually recognize. Denying who you are is sad.


And what are my "views?"

@Michael K:

How about Gay Patriot ?

I was talking more about gay blogs more in the sociocultural sphere than the expressly political ones. As pretentious as this sounds, I like to read blogs where I think there is a chance that I might actually learn something. It's one of the reasons I was an enthusiastic reader of Sullivan's blog. His thinking could oftentimes be aggravating and infuriating, but I felt like he had a personal, individual voice. The few times I end up on sites like Gay Patriot it just comes across as more talk radio, circle jerk blathering. And, quite frankly, I try to limit my commenting to when I think I have something different to say than the mass. I've never seen much point in being the 51st commenter to say exactly the same thing as the first 50.

Basil said...

Left National Review about the time they no longer published the eccentric conservative intellectual writers. They became ashamed of what they had fought to be in the beginning of the magazine, conservative religious, normal Americans. Still have my treasured stack of 1980's issues, and look back on them sometimes in wonder at how far this once great magazine has fallen. Rich Lowry, a failure by any measurement, a truly nasty sell-out.

vanderleun said...

Don't get me started on that dickless Rich Lowry who is a disgrace to the magazine editing profession on choice of writers alone not to mention his dismissal of some of his best. He's a blight on the profession whose true talent is teaching autofellatio to dogs.

Birkel said...

It's as if the person asking about his "views" didn't read the second part of his own comment.

J. Farmer said...

@Birkel:

"It's as if the person asking about his "views" didn't read the second part of his own comment."

No, I think it's more likely a case of you missing my point completely. I began by admitting being attracted to the writings of the King and Sullivan when I was a teen in the late 1990s. Both are gay people with a generally conservative worldview. Both also happened to partially define themselves in opposition to the organized gay political left. Next time I remarked that I often did not fit in politically with other gay people because I reject identity politics and the victim-based mentality that is at its core. My point is that I was called a Republican and a right-winger based purely on my opinion of a handful of gay-related issues.

The same phenomenon operates in this space. Most people call me a leftist because of my view on foreign policy. When I go on The Guardian and talk about mass immigration, I am called a racist right-wing crank.

I have a simple solution to this conundrum, though. Ignore it. Because it actually makes no difference. An argument should be judged on its rationality and logical coherence. If a far-left radical supported a certain policy that you agreed with, would that policy be made wrong by the mere fact that it was advocated by someone of a different political orientation?

Nurse Rooke said...

Late to this party, but felt I must chime in on: deploring the influence of Lowry at National Review. Yuck. The magazine is indeed much flatter, predictable, and thus dull without the voices of e.g. Steyn, Derbyshire, and occasional appearance from Christopher Buckley. The only 2 people worth reading there (possibly mostly online?) are Kevin Williamson (who has moved far away from the NY office) and Andrew Stuttaford (an Englishman with a day job).

Birkel said...

Denial of self is sad, J. Farmer.

J. Farmer said...

Stupidity is even sadder, Mr. Birkel.