May 1, 2020

"Rose Byrne’s Gloria Steinem comes off as a vacillating, shallow, vain egomaniac; Tracey Ullman’s Betty Friedan strongly suggests that her feminist anger..."

"... came out of crushed romantic dreams; Bella Abzug is only slightly more appealing — but largely because her pragmatism seems so sane in comparison with the antics of her fellows.... And what the series gets so right about left-wing identitarianism is how riddled it often is with jealousy, personal rivalry, and internal spats... The intersection, if you’ll forgive my using that word, of glamour and elite left-wing politics is pretty damning of both. The feminists completely underestimated Schlafly, because their vain self-regard could not believe that any serious pushback against the ERA could be rooted in real arguments about the difference between the sexes rather than their interchangeability.... Schlafly’s version of feminism is, in fact, less a reactionary one than a truly prescient one. She was the first feminist (though she would reject that label) to depict traditional home and family life as something not to be despised, as long as women had the choice to abandon it.... This is the first time I’ve seen a conservative woman portrayed as human, complicated, vulnerable, and also extraordinarily courageous."

Andrew Sullivan praises the Hulu movie-biography of Phyllis Schlafly (in NY Magazine).

Here's the trailer (with Cate Blanchett in the starring role):

80 comments:

Sebastian said...

"Rose Byrne’s Gloria Steinem comes off as a vacillating, shallow, vain egomaniac; Tracey Ullman’s Betty Friedan strongly suggests that her feminist anger... came out of crushed romantic dreams"

This is news?

Sebastian said...

Schlafly recognized the culture war for what it was.

Others realized it too late.

Greg Hlatky said...

Bella Abzug was a repulsive old commie.

n.n said...

In the pursuit of capital, pleasure, leisure, narcissistic indulgence, and democratic leverage... We are not children anymore. Men and women are equal and complementary. Reconcile.

William said...

They might have given Schlafly a few good lines, but I doubt that the portrayal is, on balance, sympathetic. In like fashion, they might show the heroic feminists with a few humanizing flaws but I doubt that their portrayal is, on balance, unsympathetic. The trailer is probably aimed to appeal to that demographic that is turned off by tbe media demonizing of people with a different opinion.....Bella Abzug was an awful human being on many, many levels. They should do a dramatization of her sham marriage and the way she treated her husband.

Drago said...

I can't wait for the movie about Kelly Anne Conway being the first woman to lead a victorious Presidential campaign!

Oh, wait.........right.

Ann Althouse said...

I'd like to see this but I hate to have to sign up for another service. I already have too many subscriptions to TV things (on my cable service, plus Amazon Prime), and I hardly watch any of it.

Known Unknown said...

This is akin to Norman Lear hiring Carrol O'Connor to play Archie Bunker. That certainly backfired.

James Graham said...

A conservative portrayed honestly in a movie?

Ice skating in Hell?

rehajm said...

yah...gonna miss that one. However in that same genre Amazon has every season of Cougartown available!

Freeman Hunt said...

Hey, I will watch it! I assumed it would be a hatchet job.

Freeman Hunt said...

Well, the trailer doesn't make it look *not* like a hatchet job. We'll see.

gspencer said...

"Bella Abzug is only slightly more appealing"

The name "Bella Abzug" and the word "appealing" have no business being anywhere near each other.

buwaya said...

Mentioned by Sullivan - Rosens review in Commentary

Rosen on Schlafly

My take for what its worth - The show writers intentions, as per the NYT piece mentioned, are very clear and its foolish not to take them at their word. Rosen is most likely right and Sullivan is just trying to put lipstick on a pig.

I have no intention of signing up for Hulu either and I am out of patience with US media anyway.

What you have there is a condition of war. Everything in your MSM is contemptible propaganda, or there is a propaganda theme embedded. It is all tainted with your caste war.
If you have to watch it assume that is how it is. The more clever ones are out to slip something past you, with the old spoonful of sugar trick.

Fernandinande said...

The Hulu ads for this seemed to indicate a story about a smirking, scheming, insincere woman, perhaps taking advantage of beauty pageant contestants. I had to double-check because it seemed like Sullivan was describing a completely different movie (and the posted excerpt doesn't mention the title).

Jim Gust said...

Schlafly was ridiculed for warning that the ERA would lead to men being allowed into women's restrooms. Prescient.

As it turned out, the constitutional amendment was not required after all.

Lurker21 said...

Interesting. The show took flak from Newsbusters because they let the Friedan character make a lot of digs at Schlafly, like associating her with the KKK, but if the show's depiction of Friedan shows her to be unreliable and deplorable, that gives the show a different spin.

rhhardin said...

I only dismiss people for acting like women, not for being women.

Temujin said...

I'd like to see this because I had some admiration for Phyllis Schlafly and frankly, don't believe that they'd give her proper treatment, but I'm not going to sign up for another streaming service to watch this. It'll be out on FX regular at some point.

Conservative women are treated by Journalists! just slightly better than Conservative blacks. Which is to say, with one hand held on their nose while they type their comments with their other hand.

Molly said...

(eaglebeak)

My mother was a roommate of Betty Friedan (then Betty Goldstein; Friedan was the guy, or a guy, that she married) in Greenwich Village in the mid-1940s. She said that Betty was a considerable pain in the ass.

rhhardin said...

Marge Piercy

The Wrong Anger (original is in lines and stanzas but is free verse anyway)

Infighting, gut battles we all wage so well. Carnage in the fish tank. Alligators wrestling in bed. Nuclear attack across the breakfast table. Duels in the women's center. The fractioning faction fight. Where does the bank president drink his martinis? Where do those who squeeze the juice from the land till it blows red dust in your eye hang out on Saturday night? It's easy to kick my dog, my child, my lover, the woman across the desk. People burning their lives away for pennies pile up in neighborhoods like rusting car bodies. Why not stroll down to the corner yacht club and invite the chairman of the board of I.T. & T. to settle it with his fists?

How hard to war against those too powerful to show us faces smiling like billboard lions from bloodflecked jaws: their eyes flick over us like letters written too small to read, streets seen from seven miles up as they spread the peacock tail of executive jets across skies yellow with greed. Their ashes rain down on our scarred arms, the fall out from explosions they order by memo.

Darrell said...

The womens' auxiliary of the Left.
Bound to be bat shit crazy.

Bilwick said...

No one seems to bring up Bella Abzug's Commie background.

James Graham said...

"Bella Abzug is only slightly more appealing."


Note to self: don't bother with any movie that portrays the odious as semi-attractive.

Michael K said...

Other reviews I've seen were far less generous to this propaganda effort.

wild chicken said...

Same.

Phyllis Chesler wrote some interesting stuff about the same bunch. I think she'd nuts too tho. She's convinced she has "chronic lyme" lol.

wild chicken said...

Same.

Phyllis Chesler wrote some interesting stuff about the same bunch. I think she'd nuts too tho. She's convinced she has "chronic lyme" lol.

joe said...

Ann - you've got to dump cable. I just got a bundle of HULU, Disney+ and ESPN for $10.00 a month. I have 5 streaming services and pay a fraction of what a normal cable bills is. The only streaming service that is not a good deal, is YouTube TV. The offering is good but the price is terrible.

MacMacConnell said...

I met Schlafly in the 70's when this was going on. She was an intelligent and very gracious woman. It would be interesting to see how they treat her in this series.

Original Mike said...

"I'd like to see this but I hate to have to sign up for another service. I already have too many subscriptions to TV things (on my cable service, plus Amazon Prime), and I hardly watch any of it."

I'm not signed up for any of this stuff for that reason; once you start, where do you stop?

Amexpat said...

already have too many subscriptions to TV things (on my cable service, plus Amazon Prime), and I hardly watch any of it.

I sign up for only one service at a time, ending the subscription the same day I pay for it. That gives one month, which is more than enough to see what I want. Typically, I'll sign up for Netflix twice in a calendar year and HBO once. That allows me to watch what I want and sample the series that are having an impact.

etbass said...

You'll have to see it Professor. Get the Hulu free trial to watch it, then cancel.

Cogs said...

That’s what free trials are for, Ann.

Antiantifa said...

My sister worked for Gloria Steinem for five years after college. she quit because she said she had never been so oppressed. No health insurance, less than minimum wage. It was a sweatshop for young, well-educated women.

iowan2 said...

TV things (on my cable service, plus Amazon Prime), and I hardly watch any of it.

We ditched the cable TV and subscribe to Hulu. There's some trade offs, but were happy. You can do the 30 day trial. I use a fire stick as the streaming device, which you can add apps, like prime, etal.

BidenFamilyTaxPayerFundedCrackPipe said...

Not expected.

The series Mrs. Maisel trashed Schlafly. shallowly.

Rabel said...

I don't know if this is any good or just more propaganda, but Cate Blanchett rocks my world. Streep with sex appeal. But that's just me.

Karen said...

Schlafly was a great intellect and a great hero, leading my generation to defeat the ERA. We need many more of her, clear thinking and unperturbed by the mob.

tim maguire said...

Hulu’s not offered in Canada, and, like you, professor, I have enough services, thank you very much. I didn’t cut the cord so I could pay just as much for an endless array of services each of which gets me part of what to watch. Amazon Prime is my favourite because it has nothing to do with why I signed up for Prime. It’s a true freebie.

narciso said...

do I need to link the human events review, which points out what a trash work this is,

I'm Full of Soup said...

Shocking to hear that a happily married woman with kids is nicer and saner than three angry feminists.

Howard said...

Great cast.

Chris Lopes said...

"I already have too many subscriptions to TV things (on my cable service, plus Amazon Prime), and I hardly watch any of it."

Dump your cable service (except the internet) and just subscribe to those channels you actually watch. Pretty much all cable channels have stand alone streaming versions you can subscribe to. Don't pay for more TV than you use.

CaroWalk said...

Makes me want to see it. I’m surprised. I thought the treatment of schafly, a hero of mine, would be condescending.

narciso said...

compare and contrast

eddie willers said...

I was all for the ERA until I heard Mrs. Schlafly's arguments. They were compelling.

She got me to rethink my previous knee jerk reactions to many things. I owe her my thanks.

TheDopeFromHope said...

Ann Althouse: "'I'd like to see this but I hate to have to sign up for another service. I already have too many subscriptions to TV things (on my cable service, plus Amazon Prime), and I hardly watch any of it."

You've got an extremely generous taxpayer-funded pension: go for it!

Birkel said...

30 day free trials, Althouse.
Cancel what you don't use.

Ann Althouse said...

"You'll have to see it Professor. Get the Hulu free trial to watch it, then cancel."

I have to key in all my information... then remember to cancel... Too annoying.

Original Mike said...

"I have to key in all my information... then remember to cancel... Too annoying."

I understand! I don't mind paying for TV, but I'm not interested in working for it. Not worth it.

rehajm said...

I have to key in all my information... then remember to cancel... Too annoying.

If you have Apple TV you can manage your subscriptions through Apple. No keying in the information...

Like Amexpat I sign up for one month of service when there's enough full seasons of something that interests me. One month of HBO. One month of Showtime later. I do get Youtibe TV but mostly because I pay once for two places in different parts of the country and I can watch NESN for Bruins and Red Sox anywhere I happen to be.

I stopped payng for Netflix when they started sending money for nothing to the Obamas. I'll mooch off a nephew once in a while...

rcocean said...

"Other reviews I've seen were far less generous to this propaganda effort."

Exactly. This seems like the sort of special pleading you always get from people like Andrew Sullivan. "Oh, it may appear on the surface to be another anti-conservative pierce of left wing propaganda, but in fact if you look at it this way....blah blah".

Remember Sullivan for years tried to call himself a Conservative, because he differed from the left on a couple issues. But like I said, I've seen these sort of reviews of left-wing movies for years: "its not really what you think, Trumbo/Iron Lady/Nixon etc. is really an even-handed look at..."

Sebastian said...

So, fellow commentators, could any of you more in touch with pop culture recommend any decent righty/conservative movies or TV series in the last 20 years or so? Or at least stuff that gives righties a fair shake?

I'm Full of Soup said...

I/m with you Althouse. Too many user id's, passwords, accts.

eddie willers said...

I have to key in all my information... then remember to cancel... Too annoying.

I have an ethical problem with that as well. It just doesn't sit right with me.

I subscribe to Dish Network and they had a beef with AT&T (who BOUGHT DirecTV and HBO) and AT&T tried to use their service to screw a direct (no pun intended) competitor.

So Dish said "screw you' and dropped HBO. OK with me except for one thing. I had followed Game of Thrones and wanted to see the final season. So I went to my (wonderful) Amazon 4K Firestick and ordered HBO Now. The final season was eight weeks long so I held onto my subscription for another month to salve my guilt.

narciso said...

and the last season was legendarily bad, the pitch meeting people, critical drinker, et al, did the inquest, before Weinstein went away, hbo was planning a whole series of 'juliannes bender, instead they went with plot against America, and watchmen, amazon went with hunters their screed on Nazi takeover circa 1977

bagoh20 said...

"FX/Hulu exposed: ‘Mrs. America’ producers completely fabricated scene to make Phyllis Schlafly look bad"

https://www.theblaze.com/news/fx-hulu-mrs-america-lied-phyllis-schlafly

It seems they just flat out rewrote parts of the history to show things exactly backward from what happened. The video at the link compares real video to the series depiction of the same scenes. Why do they need to lie like that if they are right on the issues? They make the Schlaflys look like entirely different people from who they were, by making intelligent, well-prepared people look like idiots, when it was often their opponents who fit that bill.

Kai Akker said...

Last saw Cate Blanchett in that shopgirl lesbian crush movie, a Patricia Highsmith book, Carol. She was sensational in an otherwise forgettable movie. You could not take your eyes off her.

But I cannot imagine her playing Phyllis Schlafly without subtly undermining or caricaturing her, I'm afraid. The trailer was not appealing at all.

Michael K said...

So, fellow commentators, could any of you more in touch with pop culture recommend any decent righty/conservative movies or TV series in the last 20 years or so? Or at least stuff that gives righties a fair shake?

"Created Equal, a documentary with Clarence Thomas in his own words. We saw in a Tucson theater but it is available around. It is terrific.

Wince said...

Schlafly was a military defense expert in her own right, wasn’t she?

Wince said...

Schlafly was a military defense expert in her own right, wasn’t she?

Karlito2000 said...

sebastian said:

So, fellow commentators, could any of you more in touch with pop culture recommend any decent righty/conservative movies or TV series in the last 20 years or so? Or at least stuff that gives righties a fair shake?


I would recommend Foyle's War. Excellent British series, the first season is on Amazon Prime

Also the Duchess of Duke Street. Also British, Edwardian era through WWI.

Sebastian said...

Doc, Karlito: thanks.

Robin Goodfellow said...

Blogger Freeman Hunt said...
Hey, I will watch it! I assumed it would be a hatchet job.


It's actually not terrible. My wife started watching it, so I watched along with her. I think Schlafly is portrayed mostly fairly (as much as could be expected, anyway).

MayBee said...

I have a hard time imagining getting a movie made in Hollywood that makes Gloria Steinem look bad, or Schlafly look good. I have a hard time imagining getting actresses to play them that way. The only actress I can imagine giving a conservative a fair shake is Nicole Kidman.

Jay Vogt said...

While I do admire that cast a lot (the ones that I know anyway), I can't imagine a duller idea for a movie or TV series.

Could be that I'm a guy

Megaera said...

It is remotely possible -- if highly unlikely -- that outside of the trailer Blanchett drops that remote flattened-affect smugness she was radiating, and shifts into her pretend-human mode...but I don't believe it enough to make me actually watch this mess. Cate Blanchett would have HATED Phyllis Schlafly, much as Meryl Streep hated Margaret Thatcher, and neither woman is a good enough actress to rise above their loathsome ideologies.

Bill said...

I chauffeured a famous NYC novelist around San Francisco one weekend over 30 years ago. Charming, if slightly neurotic lady -- dished a bit about some figures she knew personally. One thing I remember clearly is that she said Betty Friedan hated Gloria Steinem, and that much of her antipathy was rooted in envy.

CaroWalk said...

@Sebastian, “ So, fellow commentators, could any of you more in touch with pop culture recommend any decent righty/conservative movies or TV series in the last 20 years or so? Or at least stuff that gives righties a fair shake?”

Not much currently... but Clint Eastwood S oeuvre is a good bet. Just saw Richard Jewell. It’s gratifying to see the media and fbi unmasked as power hungry twits.
Also—a German film, The lives of others— nit to be missed.
Other than that, I’m stumped. The terrorists in American drama plots are almost exclusively right wing fringe.

Big Mike said...

I have to key in all my information... then remember to cancel... Too annoying.

Not to mention you’d have to do all that to see a movie that maybe gives a fair shake to Phyllis Effing Schafly!

Sebastian said...

Caro: Yes, Jewell is on my list, have seen Lives.

eddie willers said...

I would recommend Foyle's War

I second that. Great series often with "play fair" mysteries.

And, last time I looked, all the episodes were free on Amazon Prime.

Lurker21 said...

Sullivan was a British-style conservative, and not really a Thatcherite one either. When the Labour Party was militantly socialist, it didn't take much to be a Conservative. You just had to reject Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Mao and the Labour left. Sullivan doesn't have much sympathy for American-style conservatives. They are too religious and too interested in social issues and not elitist enough. There's a long history of British Tories feeling more at home with America's Democratic Party.

If you do want an American analogy for Andrew Sullivan someone like David Brooks or Michael Lind would fit. They weren't in line with the student radicalism of the '70s so that made them think (or other people think) that they were conservatives. The film director Whit Stillman was also considered a conservative, though he isn't much like American conservatives: When half your Harvard class was Maoist, even liberal Democrats were considered (and might consider themselves) to be conservatives.

Quaestor said...

One thing can truly be said for Bella Abzug. She had much better taste in millinery than Frederica Wilson.

But then, the pigeons of Las Vegas can make the same claim.

m blue said...

Let's see. Freidan, check. Steinem, check. Abzug, double check. Dworkin, Brownmiller and that idiot Naomi Wolf, triple check. Germaine Greer, half-check. I am sensing a pattern here but can't quite put my finger on it...

Oh, wait. I got it. Women who live to lord it over the shiksas. What do I win?

buwaya said...

A lot of American politico-cultural activism has been majority-Jewish. I'm not sure how acceptable it is to analyze this stuff as something of a tribal practice, specifically a parochial outgrowth of Jewish culture, not shared by the mass of Americans.

Sometimes Jews do acknowledge this, that they are falsely assuming things about most people that derive from their own.

When you live in a multicultural society you must be careful to understand the others in order to avoid friction. Perhaps New York/Ivy League schools need classes in the culture of the American Volk.

buwaya said...

In a multicultural, or colonial society, it is a mistake to not possess some skills in ethnography.

Sydney said...

The trailer looks like a hit job in Schlafly. Very smug and insincere, even when saying grace at table.

rwnutjob said...

"Jack Ryan" series with John Krasinski on Prime is the best thing I've ever seen on TV. I was constantly amazed that something made for a subscription service could be this big & epic. When I told one of my friends about it because he was looking for something to watch on his iPad on a series of long flights, he was skeptical. He texted me afterwards that the series was worth the entire subscription price.

Robert Cook said...

How did proponents of the ERA, or the ERA itself, imply that a traditional home and family life something to be despised, and how would its passage have harmed any women?