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Subject to Debate: Sense and Dissents on Women, Politics, and Culture

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2001

    Profundity in your pocket

    Having a collection of Katha Pollitt's essays from The Nation all in one portable edition would alone justify buying Subject to Debate: Sense and Dissents on Women, Politics, and Culture. It sure beats dragging around six or seven years' worth of easily damaged magazines. And Pollitt is a good person to carry around, especially for those of us on the other side of some of today's debates. In a time when frustration, anger, and outrage seem too frequently to meet with a 'Get over it!' response, Pollitt provides welcome assurance that we are not alone. I can't count the number of essays in this collection -- every time I try, I get snagged by another favorite title and have to read it again -- but each is a jewel of wit, wisdom, and unflagging enthusiasm that justice is still something to be aspired to. Whether her topic is Richard Nixon, whom Pollitt scathingly immortalizes as 'The Last President'; same-sex marriage ('When gay friends argue in favor of same-sex marriage, I always agree and offer them the one my husband and I are leaving.'); or affirmative action ('If we can't have socialism, at least let's get rid of feudalism.'), Katha Pollitt gives the reader both information and hope, items occasionally in very short supply. But in addition to the short reprints from The Nation, Subject to Debate the book offers a new introductory essay, more in tone and length like the essays in her earlier book, Reasonable Creatures, that alone is worth the cover price. Employing her usual erudition and passion, Pollitt imbues 'Feminism at the Millennium' with the historical and contemporary context and the call to activism women of all ages -- and the men who care about them -- need as we all enter the twenty-first century. A must read, and a total pleasure, too!

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