Friday, November 10, 2006

In Memory of Ellen Willis

Today is Friday, 10 November 2006.

With great sorrow, The Museum of the Bourgeois memorializes the death yesterday of comrade Ellen Willis, journalist, radical, feminist, gone too early at the age of 64.

In an essay in her book, Beginning to See the Light: Pieces of a Decade, she wrote: “My education was dominated by modernist thinkers and artists who taught me that the supreme imperative was courage to face the awful truth, to scorn the soft-minded optimism of religious and secular romantics as well as the corrupt optimist of governments, advertisers, and mechanistic or manipulative revolutionaries. Yet the modernists’ once-subversive refusal to be gulled or lulled has long since degenerated into a ritual despair at least as corrupt, soft-minded, and cowardly – not to say smug – as the false cheer it replaced."

"The terms of the dialectic have reversed: now the subversive task is to affirm an authentic post-modernist optimism that gives full weight to existent horror and possible (or probable) apocalyptic disaster, yet insists – credibly – that we can, well, overcome …"

"My deepest impulses are optimistic, an attitude that seems to me as spiritually necessary and proper as it is intellectually suspect.”

The struggle continues.


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