20 August 2007

Greer the gadfly goads again...

From The image “http://www.independent.co.uk/template/ver/gfx//new_indy_logo3.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.(of 19 August 2007)

Greer: 'Diana was a devious moron'

Germaine Greer launches extraordinary attack on the late Princess of Wales, accusing her of making a mess of her life and being unable to cope after her divorce

By Senay Boztas
Published: 19 August 2007

Germaine Greer launched an astonishing attack on the late Princess of Wales at the Edinburgh International Book Festival yesterday, labelling her a "devious moron".

Greer was supposed to be speaking about her contentious new history book about Anne Hathaway, Shakespeare's Wife, due to be published at the beginning of September.

But while she described Hathaway as Shakespeare's "angel", she used the occasion to express her view that Diana was no angel at all. "I have come to the conclusion that she was a devious moron," said the Australian academic and broadcaster. "One of the things I have been puzzled by is why her whole life was such a mess. She made a mess of being Princess of Wales, but that is fine because the job is not do-able. It is an insane job and, in history, all but one of the Princesses of Wales have come to a sticky end – stickier than hers.

"I am also interested in why she couldn't manage life after being HRH. It still puzzles me that she does that no-no thing: she sleeps with married men. If you do that in Hello! magazine, you are beyond contempt. But she does it with Will Carling, we forgive her somehow – even though his marriage is in a very delicate state and it doesn't seem to have helped at all.

"Then she does it with Oliver Hoare, the antiques dealer, who eventually realises he is in deep shit and goes back to his wife. She makes 300 nuisance calls to his home phone number. And this is the angel that people want to crown."

Never one to avoid controversy, Greer also suggested that Shakespeare died from syphilis, and that his bones, which could show the signs of the disease, will never be found. "The likely cause of Shakespeare's death was syphilis, contracted when he was a young man," she said.

Although she called him the "man of the millennium" for his writing, she described his long poem "Venus and Adonis" as "the housewives' porn that every lady kept by the bedside", and which was a torment for his wife's reputation.

Greer criticised generations of "demeaning and mean-spirited" male academics who have suggested that Shakespeare was forced to marry a"complete slag... the town bike" when she became pregnant, even though Hathaway was physically repellent and eight years older than him.

She singled out the critic Stephen Greenblatt for underestimating the role of this "silent woman of Shakespeare". Instead, Greer proposed that the marriage was for love. Greer also believes that Hathaway was Shakespeare's business angel, paying for his collection of plays to be published and preserved, securing his place in literary history.

"I argue that the only way the folio was ever published is that somebody paid for it. There was an angel, somebody who was determined that the work that cost so much for her would not disappear into the morgue of time. I think she gave the money.

"It is liberating to consider the possibility that a wife made a material contribution to the greatness of her husband. Why has it never been countenanced? All the literary wives you have heard of were considered to be frail, faulty and not worthy. I say the wives of great authors are essential to their success, whether the academic establishment has realised it or not, and we might as well begin at the top, with the wife of the man of the millennium."

A whole lot of people are going to be upset with Germaine... again. Highly intelligent people can also be stupid at the same time.

Oh why can't the weekend last seven days a week?

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