Ah Planet Janet Albrechtsen. What colour is the sky on that distant land? Today’s column is a long screed against victimhood. Been raped? Sexually abused as a child? Made you kinda depressed and a bit fucked up? Forget professional advice based on real cases.
Instead take your queue from Lisabeth Salander, the fictional heroine of Stieg Larsson’s ‘Millennium’ trilogy, currently being read by everyone everywhere. After a thousand words obsessing on what a great role model the repeatedly-raped, solitary self-harming, voyeuristic, bisexually promiscuous Salander is for those who’ve been harmed, Planet adds a tiny caveat:
“Her choice is to fight back, seeking brilliant revenge against the pervert guardian and anyone else who exploits her obvious vulnerabilities.
Salander may not be real.
Well, as Mia Farrow said of her on-screen lover in the Purple Rose of Cairo “he’s fictional – but you can’t have everything”.
The really funny thing is that Planet hasn’t begun to understand the books – whose Swedish title “Men Who hate Women” gives a clue to their fairly dour feminist sociological interest. The whole trilogy (Larrson had the intent of writing ten books, but died) is a leftwing attack on the collapse of Swedish social democracy, and its replacement by an amoral market culture.
Salander – a compelling one-dimensional character who most closely resembles Tank Girl – represents in part Larrson’s fear about what Swedish society was becoming – violent, amoral, atomised and isolated. A lifelong member and supporter of the Communist Workers League, Larrson once remarked that Salander was the person Pippi Longstocking would have become if she’d grown up in the new Sweden.
Someone should probably remind Planet that James Bond is not a model for international diplomacy, and Omar from ‘The Wire’ does not represent a viable pathway into small business success. Salander works because she’s a fantasy of precisely what isn’t possible – that the vast majority of people can recover from serious violence or abuse without confronting what has been done to them.
Surprisingly, or not, Planet has no consistency on this. When Susan Greenfield was in the country last year, Planet couldn’t get enough of her asinine one-dimensional argument that computer games were TAKING OVER CHILDRENS BRAINS! Planet needs to get her story straight. Does she believe that we need to take responsibility for ourselves – or are we simply neural software?
There’s a world of difference between attacking the culture of victimhood, and the asinine and uncharitable – in the literal sense of sin caritas, without love – argument that people should just get over tremendous violence done to them.
Nothing indicates the Right’s retreat into fantasy better than Planet’s recourse to fiction as a way out of the genuine – and insoluble – dilemma as to how much those who have been seriously harmed should or shouldn’t focus on the matter in their lives.
Amazingly, the majority of those who are genuine victims – yes, there are victims, unless you believe there is neither innocence nor evil – don’t become cool, nihilistic cyber-sleuths as a coping mechanism. Their way out from under the shadow is to renounce easy fantasies of revenge as a first step – and some of those who don’t become the next generation of abusers.
So, why this pathetic and childish version of the sado-conservative thesis? Could it be because the major threat to the new just-so stories about ‘Western Civilisation’ are victims, in their untold numbrs, of West Civ’s central institution. In the name of our values, they must be crushed.
Mind you, what does one imagine Lisabeth Salander would do to the Pope….?
Still, remember, she’s not a real person, living in the real world. Planet, I mean.