Rose: Love in Violent Times Inga Muscio
Weight: 9.6 oz
Method of Disposal: Donating or Giving Away
I fell in love with Cunt: A Declaration of Independence when I was 16. It got me excited. I proclaimed that I would buy 100 copies and give them all away for free before I died, just to spread the word. I wrote Inga a letter telling her about my plan, thanking her for writing, and asking her to sign a book. She sent back an autographed copy and some Cunt stickers I carried around with me, never deciding on where they would get their best use.
I did buy quite a few copies of Cunt. I gave them to friends. I bought the revised copy. To this day, I still have one of the original yellow books, one of the revised blue books, and the autographed yellow copy. I quit buying them right as I got into college. I was reading so many amazing things. It just kind of faded away. It was not until much later that I found my disappointments with the book.
Despite my growing distaste, I continued to buy her books. It meant so much to me at 16, and that means something no matter what I learn, feel, think in the now/future.
I just pulled Rose off the bookshelves and read it for the first time. I was disappointed. It was all over the place and never seemed to come together in any real way. The chapters were labeled differently, but I so often felt like I was reading the same thing over and over and over. It is her stream-of-consciousness, blunt writing that is her strength, but it can also be her weakness. I like that she does not write as if she is smarter, more educated, wiser than other people. I like that she says things that make sense. I worry when she compares the opening of a Wal-Mart to the dropping of atomic bombs in Japan. It feels like a painful and inaccurate comparison even though I agree that Wal-Mart does terrible things. I could even think of a lot of ammunition/information to throw behind the argument that a Wal-Mart opening could be like a bomb—but I did not get it from her. She mentions is, but she drops it quickly and moves on, like almost everything else. I do question some of the research, statistics, information she sites. There should be a good way to not fall into the rut of academic writing but still give me a clue as to where you got your information that rape has gone up dramatically since the Iraq War (and things like that). I do not doubt that it has, but I want to know more about it and read more about it.
I have disdain for the use of “retarded” in the first Cunt and for the flippant anti-prostitution analogies used in Rose. I just do not see the need. I think it is unnecessarily hurtful, though possibly unintentional. Just, if you are asking us to think about our words then think about yours.
I think Inga is a great activist, a passionate writer, and probably a loving person. I am just not so easily amped up anymore. I have grown and changed. I am no longer moved by the language and voice I once was. Again, I am still thankful for that energy I was given as a teenager, but in the future I hope to read far more useful books on the same topic. We do need to find love in these violent times, afterall.