Writes Lionel Shriver, in a NYT op-ed titled "Will the Left Survive the Millennials?" Obviously, Shriver isn't a millennial himself, since he seems to remember the Skokie case. He remembers it in a distorted fashion, which might suggest that he's quite old and his memory is failing, but he must be younger than I am, because I remember being in law school — I started in 1978— with students who were questioning whether they could support the ACLU anymore because it had defended the right of the Nazis to march not just "down Main Street," but through a predominantly Jewish neighborhood (one with many Holocaust survivors).
Now, I'll look up Lionel Shriver. Oh! She — she! — is only 6 years younger than me. She was 20 when the Skokie case came out in 1977. I guess it depends on the meaning of "youth." But how did she come to be named Lionel?
Shriver was born Margaret Ann Shriver on May 18, 1957, in Gastonia, North Carolina, to a deeply religious family (her father is a Presbyterian minister). At age 15, she informally changed her name from Margaret Ann to Lionel because she did not like the name she had been given, and as a tomboy felt that a conventionally male name fitted her better.Okay with me. I'm a strong supporter of the freedom to be as masculine or feminine as you want while identifying as male or female.
Shriver writes novels, the most famous one seems to be "We Need to Talk About Kevin," and the new one is "The Mandibles: A Family, 2029-2047."
ADDED: After writing this, I saw that I had another Lionel Shriver tab open in my browser: "A Defence of Lionel Shriver: Identity Politicians Would Kill Literature if They Could."
To put it uncharitably, Yassmin Abdel-Magied, a sensitive plant, had a tantrum during the keynote address by Lionel Shriver. Her ire was caused — or triggered, as the kids say — by what is a very conservative notion nowadays: writers of fiction can write about whatever they damn well please.And here's that keynote address: "I hope the concept of cultural appropriation is a passing fad."
The moral of the sombrero scandals is clear: you’re not supposed to try on other people’s hats. Yet that’s what we’re paid to do, isn’t it? Step into other people’s shoes, and try on their hats....
If Dalton Trumbo had been scared off of describing being trapped in a body with no arms, legs, or face because he was not personally disabled – because he had not been through a World War I maiming himself and therefore had no right to “appropriate” the isolation of a paraplegic – we wouldn’t have the haunting 1938 classic, Johnny Got His Gun.