Elaine Showalter has the darndest bad luck. First, Inventing Herself, her chatty new book about feminist superstars, preaching the merits of free love and risk-taking, hit the bookstores at about the same time that intern Chandra Levy went missing, possibly as the result of taking one risk too many. Second, she had the worse luck of having war break out in September, exposing Susan Sontag, one of her heroines, as a stunningly self-satisfied blithering idiot, incapable of making the most basic moral distinctions between human error and cold-blooded evil. Feminism's great talent for giving bad advice to women has never appeared quite so crashingly evident. Nor has the rot at its core.
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