- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 4, 2003

Sunny and silly’

“Move over once again, Helen Fielding. Chick lit’s latest denizen is Pamela Anderson, who recently signed a $2 million deal with Simon & Schuster to write two novels.

“The pneumatic actress is almost finished with the first book, she reports, and is having a whale of a time writing it. ‘The book is about me,’ she told the Daily Telegraph. … ‘You know — sunny and silly. I don’t think that you will be disappointed.’

“Sunny and silly would not be the first two adjectives that spring to mind to describe Anderson. This is the woman who starred in the most downloaded porn video in history with then-husband Tommy Lee, a man she later accused of beating her and with whom she staged an extended, acrimonious custody battle. He’s also to blame, she claims, for infecting her with hepatitis C via a tattoo needle. As a result of that disease, she announced recently, she likely has little more than 10 years to live. …

“Pity the young female writer who wants to explore women’s experience with any texture, depth or complexity.”

Anne Kingston, writing on “Chick lit keeps on clicking,” Saturday in the National Post

More than human

“Joe Katz has spent a year observing people and their dogs in his hometown of Montclair, N.J. … His latest book, ‘The New Work of Dogs,’ looks at the roles we impose on our pets in a mobile society where many of us are increasingly isolated from family and friends, and feel alienated from community.

“‘What kept shocking me,’ Katz says, ‘is that people were telling me again and again that they get more emotional support from dogs than humans. Their dog is “my child with fur,” and the death of a dog is the same as the death of a human and should be treated the same way. …’

“A group of women gather for lunch at a trendy restaurant. All are in their late 30s or early 40s. They are either divorced or single, but most have dogs, and they laugh as they declare their need for men and relationships a thing of the past. They say dogs are far better than men. …

“‘It’s clear to me after talking to so many people, especially women,’ says Katz, ‘that many of them don’t get enough emotional support in their lives. … Do we want to be a society where people turn to animals for support rather than to other people?’”

Julie Richard, in “Loving Our Dogs to Distraction,” in the September/October issue of Best Friends magazine

Killer chicks

“Since the millennium, a succession of women filmmakers have entered the formerly male territory of sado-masochism and screen violence. … Now women can do anything men can do both in front of and behind the camera. Like Lara Croft, or Uma Thurman in ‘Kill Bill,’ they can … kill 10 men with one blow, save the world and give great sex. Or are women filmmakers and their on-screen sisters being co-opted into the glamorous, testosterone-driven world of screen sex and violence under the guise of liberation? Jane Campion’s new serial killer thriller, ‘In The Cut,’ has a masochistic heroine who finds the sleazy underworld of brutal men and brutal sex attractive. …

“The glorification of violence and exploitative sex in films used to be considered a man thing. Feminism began by asking tough questions about the endemic misogyny in society, male power and what it really means for women to be viewed as objects for the gratification of men’s voyeuristic and violent sexual fantasies. The few feminists who got to direct their own films (exemplified by Campion) set out to redress the balance, to tell stories from women’s point of view.”

Cherry Potter, writing on “Sex and violence, feminist style,” Monday in the Guardian.

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