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October 13, 1999 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-10-13

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12 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday. October 13, 1999

Feminist author stirs up more bacdash with

Los Angeles TIimes
If you ran into feminist Susan Faludi in
a dark alley, would you recognize her?
Probably not, and with good reason.
The author of the 1992 best-seller
"Backlash" (Crown) hasn't been around.
at least not where cameras are concerned.
She's been turning down talking-head
media opportunities for years. She's been
too busy reporting.
"I wanted to return to being a shoe-
leather, more anonymous, more tradition-
al reporter who just goes out and talks to
people without arriving as a celebrity
with an entourage," says the Pulitzer
Prize winner. "Dan Rather descending on
whatever hot spot with his dressers and
makeup artist - that, to me, isn't jour-
nalism. It's performance."
Shying away from the limelight proba-
bly helped Faludi - a big, bad feminist
- get men to open up for her latest trea-
tise, "Stiffed: The Betrayal of the
American Man" (William Morrow).
Many didn't know who she was, and
when they found out, they were
impressed that she'd written a much-
talked-about book.
"None of this was particularly diffi-
cult,' she says. "I really think that part of
the distress for a lot of men is that they
don't feel listened to. They don't feel
acknowledged. That's one of their big
beefs about feminism. So when a
woman, and even a feminist woman,
shows up and wants to hear them out,
that's enormously appreciated".
She heard from men who felt margin-
alized, men who didn't feel valued by
their employers or their families, who felt
pressure to live up to the media's car-
toony images of masculinity. And the sto-
ries were similar whether from the shut-
tered California's Long Beach Naval
Shipyard or Hollywood, from Citadel

cadets, porn stars or men who'd blasted
off at Cape Canaveral Flu.. or from
Promise Keepers or mcmbers of the Spur
Posse, which preyed sexualy on young
women. Amid this diversity, she found
men "in crisis."
"Out of that feeing thai they were
made obsolete by something they could-
n't put their finger on came a crisis that
took the form of anger at women, vio-
lence in the workplace. shooting in
schoolyards and in less dramatic form,
widespread confusion and distress
among avemrge men just tying to get
through the da There's such an unattain-
able vision of what masculinity is sup-
posed to be that is erptrated by the cul-
ture flhat it leaves most men feeling like
losers: Already men in the media are
putting up their dukes. iln an essay in the
October issue of Esquire magazine titled
"Are We Not Men? Susan Faludi Says
W"'re Not' Sven Birkerts bridles at the
notion that he might feel "stiffedsa
"This woman is clearly on a mission:
Find a soft place in the colective ale
self-esteem and drive at it until the lance
runs redthe writes.m
Birkrts and otherk bsed their arly
critiques on a slim pamphlet of excerpts
released to the media by the publisher.
Stories about the nearly 700-page book
were embargoed until after Newsweek
magazine came out with its Sept 13 issue
featuring "Stuffed" on the cover. But then,
Faludi's public pe'rsona precedes her
"There've been a numbe'r of incr 'dibly
boneheaded pieces by people who
haven't read the book, who've actually
said, 'I haven't read the book," she says.
"What's misunderstood is this is not a
book about men in the Qenerne. saying,
'This is how men are at all times.' lt's a
book about how, right now, many men are
facing a crisis, and I know that because I
talked to hundreds of men and spent six
years investigating this."
Faludi, who lives with author and jour-
nalist Russ Rymer in Hollywood's
Beachwood Canyon, has just launched
her book tour. The 40-year-old came by
her activist bent growing up in Yorktown


"Los Angeles i juit the place whe
things happen first and most acutelv And
I wanted to look at the crisis in its most
acute form. because I thought that what'
going on in the extremes otien illumi-
nates the middle.
As she talked to more and more mer
she discov red that feminists' foils
weren' men, per se, but the postwar cul-
ture that left everybody adift, especially
when many companies began switching
their loyalties from employees to stock-
holders in the '90s.
On that spectrum, Faludi places both
Ike Burr. a project superintendent at the
Long Beach Shipyard who was laid off
when the base closed in 1995, and
Sylvester Stallone, an icon of media-dr-
yen masculinity who tried to break out4
that mold two years ago with the movie
"Copland" and met a tepid response.
Stallone felt like he had been turned
into some 1940s Javne Mansfield pinup
girl, so he tried to flee the action market,
but, of course, that didn't work either.YoU
either move toward the light and kind of
disappear in the blaze ofcamera lights,or
you pull back and feel lost in the
anonymity of a culture that doesn't rec-
ognize people who are just leading *
meaningful but ordinary life"
Faludi says, unlike men, women have a
tool for grappling with a culture that
judges people according to their image
-- feminism.
"Feminism is women's attempt to con-
front these same forces that now have men
by the throat. That was a big breakthrough
for the women's movement, knowing that
we're not a bunch of hysterics, there actu-
ally are social and economic and politic
influences that are buffeting us.
"But men. because of the way the cu-
ture defines masculinity, aren't even
allowed to acknowledge that, because
they're supposed to be dominating their
environment, not the other way around.
Actually, feminism has all these tools for
analyzing the culture that would be quite
useful to men if they could get beyond
hating feminism and blaming it for men's

Assockaued Press
Susan Faludi, best known for her feminist treatise "Backlash," recently published "Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man."

Heights, N.Y., the daughter of Steven
Faludi, a photographer and Holocaust
survivor from Budapest,, Hungary, and
Marilyn Lanning Faludi, a late-blooming
cditor who once helped derail a petition
that would have prevented a black family
from moving to town,
At Harvard, Susan dove into advocacy
journalism with the campus newspaper.
She wrote a piece blasting sexual harass-
ment on campus. forcing an implicated
professor to take a leave of absence.
Later, as a reporter in the Wall Street
.journal's San Francisco bureau, Faludi

won a Pulitzer for a 190 artile about
laid-off worker4eoned in a 5.bil-
lion 1evera'ed buvoa by Safewav Stor'.
In between, Flil reported for t he
Miami Herald the Atata Constituion
and West the Sundi magazine ot the
San ose M'r urv News.
In a piece for Wet she decimated
Newsweek': notorious 198 article alle -
ing that women over 40 were "more like-
ly' to be kiled by a terrorist" than to find
a husband That artile led to "Backlash:
The Undeclared War Against American
Women, which won a National Book

Critics Circle AwardFand gave her a name
as a prominent feminist.
{Faludi acknowledges the "delicious
irony" in Newsweek's trumpeting of her
new book aiter its inauspicious conuibu-
tion to her fitst one, but she adds, "I think
it has more to do with how Newsweekis
changing. There are some strongly femi-
nist people at the magazine.")
In "Backlash," Faludi argued that fem-
inists were undermined by a culture that
blamed them for their problems. When
she began "Stiffed,' she set out to deter-
mine why men resissted women's rights.

in, I 1.11 is am I

Travolta tangles with tax court


"A Civil A' ion' may' be an apt
name for the tussle John Travolta has
been involved in with the Internal
Revenue Service.
The actor has be'n embroiled in a
dispute that is slowly winding its
way through U.S. Tax Court, in
which the star is fighting an IRS
demand that he pay Sli million in
back taxes and penaltie: for the years
1993 through 1995
It may be a lot of money for most
of us, but it's not about to break
someone who now makes S20 mil-
lion or so a picture. Nonetheless, in
court papers, Travolta's lawyers
arieue that the IRS unfairly wants to
disallow losses and deductions that
Travolta claimed.
Details are sketchy in the court
papers, but they show the dispute
stems mostly from 52.27 million in
losses Travolta claimed from a com-
pany called ATLO Inc. In addition,
the IRS disallowed more than
550,000 in itemized deductions in
1994 and 1995.
Many top Hollywood stars, direc-
tors and producers operate through
various corporations for tax reasons.
ATLO is a so-called S corporation, a
device wealthy people often use for
tax advantages. Earnings and losses
flow through to the owners.
The tax court documents don't
specify the nature of the losses and
deductions at issue, but they do say
that Travolta claimed losses of
5576,014 in 1993, $921.502 in 1994
and 5775,466 in 1995 related to
The IRS said Travolta's taxable
income should have been $2.2 mil-
lion for both 1993 and 1994, and


Hardknox Lost And Gone Forever

Courtesy of New Line Cinema
John Travolta may play an angel, but the IRS demands he pay $1.1 million.



S4.7 million for 1995.
The dispute dates back to some
leaner years in Travolta's career,
which was reignited in 1994 with the
movie "Pulp Fiction." He is now
among Hollywood's top-paid stars.
Travolta's recent films include "A
Civil Action" and "The General's

Tax disputes usually get sett
before they become public, unless
taxpayer decides to appeal, as Travota
Neither IRS officials nor
Travolta's tax lawyers would com-


Eye Of The Hunter









The Righteous Ones



1 . .

Paris .............. $496.
New York.......$270


I I U ~ I - ~ I



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