Friday, June 02, 2006

My new heroine

Do you ever have the feeling, when reading a biography, that "I am this person, except that I'm not?" Pretty Lady just had this feeling when reading a profile of Orianna Fallaci.

Fallaci’s manner of interviewing was deliberately unsettling: she approached each encounter with studied aggressiveness, made frequent nods to European existentialism (she often disarmed her subjects with bald questions about death, God, and pity), and displayed a sinuous, crafty intelligence. It didn’t hurt that she was petite and beautiful, with straight, smooth hair that she wore parted in the middle or in pigtails; melancholy blue-gray eyes, set off by eyeliner; a cigarette-cured voice; and an adorable Italian accent. During the Vietnam War, she was sometimes photographed in fatigues and a helmet; her rucksack bore handwritten instructions to return her body to the Italian Ambassador “if K.I.A.”
Of course, Pretty Lady's existential rage is not nearly so intense or well-developed as Orianna's; Pretty Lady came to the conclusion, in her late twenties, that if she didn't do something about her existential rage, it would kill her. So instead of continuing to smoke filterless Camels and bombarding the likes of the Ayatollah Khomeini with difficult questions, Pretty Lady took up meditation and yoga, and is all the happier for it.
Although she is no longer at risk of incarceration, she invoked the possibility. “Because, you know, I am a danger to myself if I get angry,” she said. “If they were thinking to give me three years in jail, I will say or do something for which they give me nine years! I am capable of everything if I get angry.”
Pretty Lady does not necessarily wholeheartedly support Orianna's radical, take-no-prisoners stance against Islam, but she can rather see her point. As with dear VD, she is glad that somebody is out there, forcefully propounding non-politically-correct points of view, attempting to balance the debate, and that occasionally it isn't her.
She is an excellent cook, and she made us lunch—cotechino sausage, polenta, mashed potatoes, and delicious little tarts with pine nuts and dried fruit—and served champagne. I’d never seen anyone approach certain kitchen tasks with such ferocity. “I must CRUSH the potatoes,” she declared. ...I mentioned Hugo Ch├ívez, the President of Venezuela. “Mamma mia! Mamma mia! ” Fallaci shouted from the kitchen... “You cannot govern, you cannot administrate, with an ignoramus.” When I left, she insisted on giving me a bag of chestnut flour and dictating a recipe for a dessert that she says children love. “If you make a mistake, you spoil everything,” she instructed, adding, “Get the good olive oil—not the kind they do in New Jersey.”
You see? Still, there exist Real Ladies in this world.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

No doubt, she has stomped on the earth.

I think she's a little over the top, even today; but the article made it clear that she shuns a violent interpretation of her concerns about immigration.

Personally, I think that Islam is a lot scarier than Mexicans seeking a better life.

Perhaps I'll read her books.