Posts From Author: debora spar

Curtain Call: Falling For Perfection

How far we’ve come. The House of SpeakEasy opened its doors on a snowy January night with a guest list including Uma Thurman, Andy Borowitz and Susan Orlean. Since then, we’ve featured some thirty of the best and brightest writers in the literary firmament. Tonight, two days after the summer solstice, and with temperatures firmly lodged in the eighties, we’re delighted to feature a super-cool guest list for our season finale. The Daily Show‘s Elliott Kalan, the New Yorker‘s Bob Mankoff, maestro Christopher Mason, poet Jeffrey McDaniel, polymath playwright and novelist Adam Rapp, Barnard College president and writer Debora Spar, and novelist Emma Straub will all take the mic to tackle the pleasures and pitfalls of Falling For Perfection. We’re delighted to introduce them to you… Elliott Kalan has been the head writer at The Daily Show with Jon Stewart since he took over from Tim Carvell in January. “Writing for Jon Stewart… is the number-one job in the world,” he says, and it’s easy to see why. In this presentation sponsored by the Eagleton Institute of Politics, Elliott analyses the use of humour in politics: Bob Mankoff is the cartoon editor at the New Yorker. He recently published an excellent memoir, How About Never — Is Never Good For You?: My Life […]
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Wonder Women: Debora Spar on Feminism, Perfection, and Where To Next

Instead of seizing upon the liberation that had been handed to us, we twisted it somehow into a charge: because we could do anything, we felt as if we had to do everything. And by following unwittingly along this path, we have condemned ourselves, if not to failure, then at least to the constantly nagging sense that something is wrong. That we are imposters. That we have failed. — Debora Spar Debora Spar, the current president of the women-only Barnard College, has written a probing-damning-optimistic report card on the state of feminism in the twenty-first century. Wonder Women: Sex, Power, and the Quest for Perfection (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013) is in some ways a two-hundred-and-fifty-page sigh of regret. Spar’s generation is one step removed from the women who read Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique and asked themselves, “Is this all?” Growing up in the 1970s against a backdrop of increased sexual freedom, Charlie’s Angels, and a huge shift in favour of women in the workplace, it was disarmingly easy for Spar’s generation to distance themselves from the widely reported extremities of the women’s movement — Ti-Grace Atkinson insisting that marriage means rape, say, or Shulamith Firestone’s assertion that “pregnancy is barbaric”. The net result for Spar […]
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