Sam Tanenhaus, New York Times: Amy Bishop Proves Bitches Will Kill You; Why Won't Hollywood Act?

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Some deepthink from the Times' Sam Tanenhaus on Amy Bishop, the Harvard grad who killed a bunch of her fellow professors in Alabama a few weeks back, called "Violence That Art Didn't See Coming" because the editors didn't know what else to call it:

First, says Tanenhaus, art has let us down. Though "the Western literary tradition, from Shakespeare to Dostoevsky, teems with pathologically violent men... the landscape of unprovoked but premeditated female violence remains strangely unexplored." Which is weird, because we have female murderers all the time, right? They tell you only about 12 percent of homicides are done by chicks, but those are just the ones the mainstream media hasn't covered up to protect their reputation.

An expert on female serial killers tells Tanenhaus "women who kill are 'relegated to an "exceptional case" status that rests upon some exceptional, or untoward killing circumstance'" -- for instance, they were reacting to the threat of rape or some such excuse.

"A decade or two ago this all made sense," admits Tanenhaus, but "much has changed since then" -- he doesn't say what; Amy Bishop, we guess, and maybe some broad who mouthed off at him in the subway.

We need a great artist, like Don DeLillo or Martin Scorsese, to make an Amy Bishop book or movie, for which Tanenhaus provides a nice elevator summary that we guess he hopes they'll see ("her stable marriage to a uxorious husband, who was also her collaborator on scientific inventions"). But will they? They won't -- even though "it is not hard to imagine Mr. DeLillo or Mr. Scorsese mapping the interior circuitry of Timothy McVeigh," because that would make white men look bad. Maybe like Shakespeare and Dostoyevsky and all those other artists, they're covering for the bitches because they're all gay and it's a Will & Grace bonding sort of thing. They laugh at us at their cocktail parties!

"The uncomfortable fact," says Tanenhaus, "is that for all her singularity, Dr. Bishop also provides an index to the evolved status of women in 21st-century America." How ya figure, Doc? "The number of female neurobiologists may still be small, but girls often outdo boys in the classroom, including in the sciences." (This is, literally, his very next sentence.)

There's also: "The tenure struggle said to have lighted Dr. Bishop's short fuse reflects the anxieties of many other women who now outnumber men in the work force and have become, in thousands of cases, their family's principal or only breadwinner." All time bombs, and all in Tanenhaus' social circle, ready to go off -- unless artists act!

Fortunately some people have created some artworks (like Kill Bill and Blue Steel, from 1989) which conform to Tanenhaus' fantasies of violent women and thus give him some comfort. Moreover, he has a trump: He talks to Joyce Carol Oates, who agrees that Amy Bishop is a "sociopath." And, says Tanenbaum, retucking his shirt in triumph, "Ms. Oates's feminist credentials are in good order."

Tanenhaus, in case you were wondering, is what some people like to call a "smart conservative."


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