Man… it’s pretty rough stuff.
From the linked page:
Hmm. I’d have assumed her mother stopped speaking to her because Rebecca penned a poorly written but scathing “My famous mommy was the worstest mommy ever!” whineschrift about her yet at the same time changed her surname from Leventhal to Walker in order to cash in on said terrible mom’s fame. I didn’t realize it was because she questioned her ideology.
Alice Walker is very kooky (I’ve mentioned in a couple of threads my own experience when meeting her- the praising of Castro, the “waaaaay too full of herself” thing, etc.) but at her best she is a FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC writer, many times greater than her daughter will probably ever be. I think it’s pathetic that Rebecca only seems to be able to get attention to her own writing when she writes about her mom being a self absorbed bitch (gee gee Ree-Ree, glad that gene passed you by). She really should go try watercolors or acting or yodeling or something if she wants to work in the arts or at least write about something other than cashing in so obviously on her mom’s celebrity to sell gossip (about an author- as if one person in 100 will care).
I’ve no trouble imagining that Alice Walker probably wasn’t a great parent. That sucks if you’re her kid, but… get the hell over it. Or, if you’re going to write about it, at least write about it in an interesting style (Rebecca doesn’t). And by her own admission it’s not like she grew up with daily beatings and then in a workhouse- she spent most of her time with her father and stepmother and claims her stepmother was very maternal towards her.
Well, she probably read that Christina Crawford’s coming out with a new 30th Anniversary version and video of Mommy Dearest (true, but can’t cite) and wanted to get a seat on that gravy train.
What Sampiro said.
You know, if the alienated adult child of a conservative politician or minister wrote such an article, there might well be an outpouring of sympathy & praise for his/her courage.
Or there might not be.
This is about Rebecca and Alice, not politics.
Speaking of whiners. Great. Yet another persecuted Christian.
You poor, poor thing.
Now, feel all better?
“I was 16 when I found a now-famous poem she wrote comparing me to various calamities that struck and impeded the lives of other women writers. Virginia Woolf was mentally ill and the Brontes died prematurely. My mother had me - a ‘delightful distraction’, but a calamity nevertheless. I found that a huge shock and very upsetting”
I’d want to see the poem as a cite, but if this is true, it means AW asked for it. Or if she’d written an idealized, self-serving piece (kids used for publiciity à la “Here’s Joan Crawford at home with her happy adopted brood.”) she’d have asked for it, too.
But if your famous parent is a rotten parent aside from the fame, save it for family reunions and spare the rest of us.
The exception being if your mom was Shirley Jackson and told the world that you kids were a pack of wild animals, you’re still allowed to write your side, but only to say “she was right.”
1.) I’ll move this over to Cafe Society.
B.) TVeblen, calling someone a ‘whiner’ in MPSIMS (where this thread originated) is inappropriate. Please keep it confined to the Pit.
Another category of appropriateness of complaint: when the child is famous, but the parent is not:
Tennessee Williams pretty much made a career out of his mom’s lobotomizing his sister. Which is acceptable, given the enormity of the grievance (but what’s weird is that for over twenty years the theater-going public kept coming back for this same guy’s processing this same issue, play after play, just for the lyric dialog)
I once met a not-really-famous sculptor whose mom had appeared on “Queen For A Day,” a radio and then TV show where women bleated out their hard luck stories and were rewarded by samples from the sponsors. His mom’s tale of woe was mostly about what a rotten kid he was, for which she received a washing machine.
Years later his revenge was a sculpture featuring a front-loading washing machine with an unmistakable vagina dentata motif.
I’m torn. I suspect that daughter dearest is wholly right, but also that she probably shouldn’t have written this…
I already knew I was a shock, and an upsetting one, but if my mother had told me I was a “delightful distraction” a whole bunch of things might have been different.
Haven’t read any of Alice Walker’s books, but I really don’t care how fantastic a writer she is; if this is true, she’s also an ass. Any talent she possesses is irrelevant, it doesn’t make her any less of an ass.
smiling bandit, why the hell “shouldn’t” her daughter have done this?
I pretty much agree with Slithy Tove. Considering Walker it isn’t exactly a stretch to think that she might not be the Ultimate Mother of the Year, and thus the problem isn’t that her daughter is speaking out, but that it’s just not that interesting. If Walker was an advice columnist, a writer of parenting books, a psychologist, that’d be more apt a subject. (I haven’t read the daughter’s book so I can’t speak to her ability to spin an interesting tale out of the material provided.) For instance, finding out Lynn Johnston’s (writer/artist for the comic strip “For Better or For Worse”) real-life family troubles and how she pretty much writes her hopes for reality into the strip, even when it distressed her real family to be compared against her work - now that provides an interesting way to view the material.
That being said, the daughter in her article paints with as broad of a brush against feminism as she accuses her mother of doing so against men, motherhood, etc. She is her mother’s daughter in that aspect, it would seem.
I have not read any of Alice Walkers bios, I have only knowledge of her fictional writings. I cannot help but focus on the “delightful distraction”. It may not mean much to others but I think it is as good as anything for a child. Maybe another day I can come up with something.
I don’t recall a whole lot of sympathy for Patti Davis from either liberals or conservatives.
At least Patti was gracious enough to give us a nude pictorial
(The pictures are not safe for work, but you have to click again to see any of them, so I think this is in keeping with the 2-click rule.)
Well, I tend to be a private person. Even if I held a grudge against my relatives, even if they were public persons, I can’t imagine screwing with them in public. I don’t recall Alice Walker ever pretending to be some great mother (although she was largely before my time).
On a more personal and more important reason, I don’t think much of catharsis and I suspect this will just make lil’ Walker more embittered.
What CairoCarol said, with the addition that I would preorder that anniversary Mommie Dearest if I could.
I feel so awful for her that she had a difficult childhood. Sex at 13! Divorced parents! Distant mother!
My irritation is the overkill aspect. Walker has already written an entire book that’s titled Black, White & Jewish but could be called My Mom Alice Walker Was a Scumbucket, and now she has to write this article as well? And again, her birth name was Rebecca Leventhal- if Alice is so terrible, why did she change her name to Rebecca Walker other than to cash in on her fame and audience?
I don’t care one way or the other about Alice Walker and I think The Color Purple is overrated, but I sense a level of narcissism and spoiled, ungrateful self-absorbtion with this chick. She was given everything, she wasn’t abused, her complaints are whiney (wahh…boo hoo…my mom went off on trips a couple of times) and her extropolations of things like the poem completely hyperbolic and again, narcissistic. I doubt the poem was really, literally about her personally. She strikes me as the kind of person who just automatically has to make everything all about MEEEEE.
She also appears to be the kind of mother who thinks everybody else is endlessly fascinated and impressed by the fact that she’s been able to reproduce and that we all hang on every description of every description of every soiled diaper and are endessly awed by her boundless love.
Worst of all, she’s a terrible writer. That perfect combination of talentlessness and pretension that one sees so frequently in Freshman comp classes.