Germaine Greer – Australia

Germaine Greer (born 29 January 1939) is an Australian-born writer, academic, journalist and scholar of early modern English literature, widely regarded as one of the most significant feminist voices of the later 20th century. Greer’s ideas have created controversy ever since her book The Female Eunuch became an international best-seller in 1970, turning her into a household name and bringing her both adulation and opposition. She is also the author of many other books including, Sex and Destiny: The Politics of Human Fertility (1984); The Change: Women, Ageing and the Menopause (1991) and Shakespeare’s Wife (2007). She currently serves as Professor Emeritus of English Literature and Comparative Studies at the University of Warwick … (full long text).

… A former Professor of English at Warwick, Greer became a household name when she published The Female Eunuch, attracting praise and opprobrium in more or less equal measure. She has since highlighted injustice against women in Asia and Africa, and managed an area of rainforest in her native Australia. On a raft of contentious issues, she takes a refreshingly practical view where others mire themselves in political correctness. In her speeches and theatre shows Germaine fields questions on almost any subject, serious or light, from biodiversity to Shakespeare’s women to sex for the over 60s. Audiences find the encounter candid, provocative and seriously amusing. (full text).

… Other works include The Madwoman’s Underclothes (1986), Slip-shod Sibyls (1995), The Whole Woman (1999) and The Boy (2003) Her latest book Shakespeare’s Wife was published in 2007 by Bloomsbury. (full text).

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Germaine Greer – USA

Watch these videos:

A project to build a network of seven roof-top nature reserves across the capital is to be launched by writer and broadcaster Germaine Greer today. The three-year project is funded through SITA Trust’s Enriching Nature Programme and will install living roofs on buildings including the Transport for London headquarters in St James Park, Ford Motor Company at Dagenham, the University of East London (Stratford) and Lewisham Town Hall … (full text, 4 March 2009).

… Meawhile controversial Australian author Germaine Greer has echoed claims that failure to backburn contributed to the huge death toll – claiming: “It’s useless running around looking for arsonists. The arsonists are us. They are our government and our administrators. We have been stupid”. Speaking from London, Greer said Australians were paying the price for repeatedly ignoring the lessons of past bushfires – the need for burn-offs in cooler months to lessen the risk of blazes in the summer. “I was born in 1939 and Melbourne was under black clouds of smoke with cinders sifting down everywhere and we were already there on Black Friday,” she said. “We get taught the same lesson again and again and we just think: ‘Oh no, that’s a bit drastic’. No, it’s not a bit drastic, we have to do it. “It’s the same old story. We need to educate people, we need to also have a bit of courage and we probably need somebody to direct the operation.” Is she right or off the mark? Read more of Germaine Greer’s bushfire argument here … (full text, February 13, 2009 ).

She says:

  • … Professor Germaine Greer, president of Buglife, which helped organise the project, said: “Living roofs are one way we can all do something to help so many of the creatures we love that are disappearing because of loss of habitat.” It is hoped the spaces could replace those lost to patio gardens and other developments … (full text, March 4, 2009).
  • Germaine Greer has joined the  call for reform of Australia’s fire management systems, arguing that it is “useless looking for arsonists” as the blame for Victoria’s bushfires lies with “governments and administrators”. In an impassioned statement in London overnight, Professor Greer said that Australians have repeatedly ignored the lessons of nature and that while fires cannot be prevented, “we have to learn to use fire”. Speaking with journalists at a function hosted by Prince Charles to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the UK friends of the Royal Flying Doctor Service, Professor Greer said the notion of great swathes of rural Victoria – including Marysville where she spent childhood holidays – being transformed into an enormous sepulchre was “just too terrible” to contemplate … (full long text, February 13, 2009)
  • … “Greer said Australians were paying the price for repeatedly ignoring the lessons of past bushfires — the need for burn-offs in cooler months to lessen the risk of blazes in the summer. “I was born in 1939 and Melbourne was under black clouds of smoke with cinders sifting down everywhere and we were already there on Black Friday,” she said in London on Thursday. “We get taught the same lesson again and again and we just think: ‘Oh no, that’s a bit drastic.’ No, it’s not a bit drastic, we have to do it. “It’s the same old story. We need to educate people, we need to also have a bit of courage and we probably need somebody to direct the operation. “It’s useless running around looking for arsonists. The arsonists are us. They are our Government and our administrators. We have been stupid” … (full text, February 14, 2009)”.

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… Tonight, Heston also tries to convince his celebrity guests that “meat disguised as fruit is a wonderful idea”, especially if that fruit is a plum made from bulls’ plums, and that lampreys – a bloodsucking eel – are an amusingly violent starter. While Germaine Greer plays the “I’m an unshockable Australian feminist who’s been on I’m A Celebrity… I’ll eat anything” card, Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood reacts to lamprey blood sauce in the way you’d expect of a man in a sequinned tie … . (full text, March 10, 2009);

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for another act. Now, it is a girl, so be nice because she could be a bit … well, crap. No, it’s not a comedy routine, but a true introduction I’ve been given on stage before my act. It’s an attitude female standups have come to expect from insecure, chauvinistic hacks with little talent. But from Germaine Greer? Whatever happened to sisterhood? The answer to the question “Are women funny?” has never been in doubt. Of course we are – and not even in particularly different ways to men. Plenty of brilliantly witty women have shown that, given a mic and a stage, we can more than give men a run for their funny … (full text, 5 March 2009).

… This image of a militant feminist doesn’t sit comfortably with me because I am none of those things; in fact most of the women I know who describe themselves as feminist are nothing of the sort. The second wave feminism of the 60s and 70s gave us the hugely influential manifestos of Germaine Greer and Betty Friedan. It made men realise that there was more to equality than the vote. It distilled the cry of the thousands of women living in servitude as housewives and quietly whispering to themselves at night “Is this it?” But, equally, it has distorted the world’s view of feminists, and made many women reluctant to associate with the ideology. Although now I’ll quite happily discuss my opinions on patriarchy to strangers, not long ago I would accompany my introduction as a feminist with an apologetic shrug and an “I know what you’re thinking, but … ” … (full text, March 6, 2009).

She writes:

  • … For 40 or maybe 60 millennia, Aboriginal peoples managed fire proactively, setting alight woodland, scrubland and grassland, so that they could pass freely, so that game was driven towards them, so that fresh green herbage was available. Aboriginal languages have dozens of words for fire. As the Endeavour sailed up the eastern coast, Captain Cook noted that the skies were darkened with smoke by day and lit up by fire at night. In the national parks of Australia, the importance of regular burning is well understood. Elsewhere the emphasis has been on prevention. Attempting to prevent fire in most of Australia is simply postponing the inevitable … (full text, February 9, 2009);
  • TOMORROW, MADONNA will be 50. She is no longer the fast-talking, streetwise midget who used to terrorise talk show hosts in the Eighties with her sizzling one-liners. Back then you never knew what colour her hair would be or whetherher eyebrows would be bushy or pencil thin or whether she’d dare you to sniff her underpants … (full text, 15 Aug 2008);
  • When Miley Cyrus was asked about the picture of herself clutching a satin sheet to her chest that Annie Leibovitz has taken for the current issue of Vanity Fair, she said it looked “pretty and natural” and that she thought it was “really artsy”. If by this she meant artistic, rather than artsy-fartsy, she was right on the money. In western art most of the women portrayed semi-clad or totally nude are children. Their nipples are pallid and undeveloped, their breasts hard and veinless, their pubes unfurred. When Lucian Freud paints girl children, nobody cares; when Leibovitz photographs them, everyone goes ballistic. When Botticelli paints the yet-to-be-enjoyed goddess of love emerging from the sea, people come from all over the world to gape at her. The Greeks and Romans liked their goddesses meaty; our preferred Venuses are children. Hardy perennials such as Diane de Poitiers held their sway as long as they did because their bodies never matured … (full text, 30 April 2008).

She says also: … “superior bullying tactics, like making housemates cold and hungry, could encourage playground bullying” … and: “I thought it was actually demonstrating the role of taunting in the playground and there are so many children whose lives have actually been destroyed by taunting in the playground,” … She also said that her fellow housemates had publicity-seeking agendas. “I had no idea who would be in here and it’s wrong for me to present myself in the same context as they are”  … and: “I’m leaving over specific issues, but best for everyone if I don’t discuss them. I have a problem with decisions, I make them fast and when I make them, I stick to them” … (full text, 12 January, 2005).

She writes also: The world mourns. World-famous wildlife warrior Steve Irwin has died a hero, doing the thing he loved, filming a sequence for a new TV series … // … Irwin was the real Crocodile Dundee, a great Australian, an ambassador for wildlife, a global phenomenon, a superhuman generator of merchandise, books, interactive video-games and action figures. The only creatures he couldn’t dominate were parrots … (full text, 5 September 2006).

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