Chief book critic Michiko Kakutani has a well-established liberal slant, but every now and then she'll surprise you, as in her slam of Bill Clinton's biography as a self-indulgent tome. The Times quickly made amends to its liberal readership, stepping on the review from its own critic by posting a highly favorable review of Clinton the libertine by novelist Larry McMurtry - an unprecedented 11 days before the review appeared in print.
That counter-intuitive Kakutani struck again Monday in a refreshing slam of the self-absorbed paranoid feminism shown in Susan Faludi's new book, "The Terror Dream - Fear and Fantasy in Post-9/11 America."
"This, sadly, is the sort of tendentious, self-important, sloppily reasoned book that gives feminism a bad name."
"These efforts on Ms. Faludi's part to use the terrorist attacks of 9/11 as an occasion to recycle arguments similar to those she made a decade and a half ago in her best-selling book "Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women" (1991) feel forced, unpersuasive and often utterly baffling.
"To begin with, the reader wants to ask: What disappearance of female voices? What 'bugle call' to 'return to Betty Crocker domesticity?' Since 9/11, Hillary Rodham Clinton has become the leading Democratic contender in the race for the White House, with a good chance of becoming the first female president in history; Katie Couric was named anchor of the CBS Evening News; and women like Lara Logan of CBS and Martha Raddatz of ABC have been reporting from the frontlines of the war in Iraq."
"In fact, Ms. Faludi displays a disturbing tendency to write off or ignore evidence that might undermine her theories, while using highly selective anecdotal evidence (of which an endless supply exists in today's blogosphere) to buttress her arguments."
"Such errors of logic are typical of this ill-conceived and poorly executed book - a book that stands as one of the more nonsensical volumes yet published about the aftermath of 9/11."