I don’t usually reply to Letters to the Editor, but … Since this lot (see opposite) is particularly atrabilious, a lovely word I have just learned from Don Anderson, I feel moved to make a few mild replies. Ken Gelder and Gerard Windsor are big boys now and can look after themselves, but I will say that John Carroll’s is the only negative response I have seen or heard to Windsor’s June Self Portrait (there were lots of positive ones, although Gerard did get a tad upstaged by his small son). I should also like to point out to John Carroll that Norman Mailer was reduced to his correct proportions years ago (‘brought down’, if you will – funny how Mailer’s name irresistibly suggests these metaphors of detumescence) by an assortment of immortal feminists who most certainly do not need any help from me, and as far as I am concerned the basic difference between Norman Mailer and John Hooker is that John Hooker is a serious human being. If I did indeed take a tone of unbecoming admonition, it seems to me that John Carroll has caught it; there’s a lurking sub-text to his letter best expressed as ‘Naughty girl, silly girl, stop it now or Daddy will smack.’
The last paragraph of Caroline Lurie’s letter made me hang my head and kick the floor a bit, 1 must say. But it has been my bitter experience (a general observation, this) that the indiscriminate exercise of tolerance and generosity – towards, for example, the ungenerous and intolerant – in the name of enlightened female-hood usually results in having one’s head shoved firmly back down under the surface of that primordial slime (posh stuff this posh stuff go it molesworth) from which so many of us have so recently emerged, dazed and blinking, into the light.