- Paperback: 80 pages
- Publisher: AK Press; Revised ed. edition (27 Feb. 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1849351805
- ISBN-13: 978-1849351805
- Product Dimensions: 11.4 x 0.6 x 16.5 cm
- Average Customer Review: 20 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 267,744 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Scum Manifesto Paperback – 27 Feb 2014
|New from||Used from|
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
To see the SCUM Manifesto's humor, to let it crack you up page after page, is not to read it as a joke. It s not. The truth of the world as seen though Valerie's eyes is patently absurd, a cosmic joke. Humor such as this is a muscle, a weapon... It was the truth, and the truth is so absurd it s painful. --Michelle Tea
About the Author
Valerie Solanas was a radical feminist playwright and social propagandist who was arrested in 1968 after her attempted assassination of Andy Warhol. Deemed a paranoid schizophrenic by the state, Solanas was immortalized in the 1996 film 'I Shot Andy Warhol'.
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Portrayed by some as a deranged and vengeful lesbian in truth Solanas was not vengeful. Whether her alleged childhood abuse and subsequent prostitution led to her mental instability is not clear. What is clear is that she represented a strand of feminist theory which has not, as yet, captured the entire movement but which provides an inspiration for much of its direction as an anti-male rather than a pro female philosophy. To present Solanas as a martyr for women's rights rather than being egotistical and mentally unstable is an error of judgement.
The incident for which Solanas gained her notoriety occurred because she wanted Warhol to publish her play "Up Your Ass", a short, foul mouthed, piece which reflected her own experience as a prostitute and panhandler and expressed her general attitude to society. It was a society from which she felt alienated and towards which she was exceedingly bitter. Her anti-Freudian stance, delivered as a mid-60's "Life A Bitch" complaint, occasionally punctured by feeble attempts at wit, indicated that while she was not stupid she was mentally unbalanced.
Warhol, who considered the play so pornographic he feared it was police entrapment, put it to one side then misplaced it which Solanas interpreted as an affront to her dignity and talent. Although it has been claimed that Solanas's manifesto and her decision to shoot Warhol were not meant to be taken seriously, this is a rationalisation of her irrationality. In fact she was a paranoid schizophrenic with a psychological need to act out her fantasies. She needed treatment for her condition not praise for her actions.
When Solanas was brought into the police booking room reporters asked why she shot Warhol she replied, "I have lots of reasons. Read my manifesto and it will tell you who I am." She was committed to a psychiatric ward and later sentenced to three years in prison for "reckless assault with intent to harm". Warhol's refusal to testify against her apparently contributed to the short sentence, although she had threatened to kill him if the charges weren't dropped. This was overlooked by those seeking to have her released. Sisterhood may not have been powerful but it certainly attracted the loony Left.
Rather than understanding Solanas's mental health problems her feminist lawyer Florynce Kennedy sought to portray her as a champion of women's rights calling her "one of the most important spokeswomen of the feminist movement." This misinterpreted Solanas's objective which was achieved soon afterwards with the professional publication of the SCUM manifesto. "Up Your Ass" was finally staged a dozen years after she died in poverty in San Francisco in 1988.
Solanas later argued that SCUM had been a literary device but the manifesto expressed pathological hatred of men throughout while passages which appear amusing in retrospect only do so because they are now regarded as tongue in cheek. Solanas was intelligent enough to provide a reasoned critique of society but lacked the intellectual discipline to do so. Whether that was because of her mental illness may continue to be debated but a one track mind inevitably goes off the rails. The SCUM manifesto provided separatist feminism with a cul de sac for expanding feminist considerations into gender studies but provided no permanent contribution to the cause of women's rights. Four stars for its historical curiosity.
So why did this tract cause such a stir? Alot of its notoriety is undoubtedly a result of the shooting that - instead of her publications - brought her the fame she craved. But there is a merit to reading this more independently of the Warhol-Factory association. It is surprisingly compelling: although uncompromisingly demonising men, Solanas acknowledges towards the end that the conflict is "not between females and males", but rather between "selfish, independent, proud, thrill-seeking, free-wheeling, arrogant females who consider themselves fit to rule the universe" and "nice, passive, accepting, 'cultivated', polite, dignified, subdued, dependent, scared, mindless, insecure, approval-seeking Daddy Girls". Ultimately a radical overhauling of female behaviour in response to what feminists call 'patriarchy' has become a central facet of feminism. Solanas had studied psychology and - although she descended into paranoid violence and crazed behaviour that she herself did not attempt to psychoanalyse - she analyses well the sexism inherent in family systems: "Daddy, unlike Mother, can never give in to his kids, as he must at all costs preserve his delusion of decisiveness, forcefulness, always rightness and strength". With sentences like that, accompanied by her irrepressible, anarchic spirit, you can understand why Solanas seemed appealing to the more radical arm of the women's movement. There can, of course, be absolutely no justification - political or moral - for her brutal attack on Andy Warhol; her sustained insistence on it having been "a moral act" deserves condemnation.
In the manifesto itself, some of her comments can perhaps be understood as necessarily bold, given that second-wave feminism had a huge mountain to climb in overturning the patriarchy that had oppressed women for centuries, e.g. "Women, in other words, don't have penis envy; men have pussy envy". However other remarks - the better known ones - are so extremely derogatory that they are funny today, e.g. "Every man, deep down, knows he's a worthless piece of sh$!".
Solanas herself backtracked somewhat on the manifesto in later years, suggesting in a 1977 interview that it shouldn't be taken at face value: "It's hypothetical. No, hypothetical is the wrong word. It's just a literary device. There is no organization called SCUM...I thought of it as a state of mind. In other words, women who think a certain way are in [the society]. Men who think a certain way are in the men's auxiliary of SCUM". Solanas died of emphysema and pneumonia in 1988 - a year after Warhol, coincidentally enough. San Francisco police broke into her room at a welfare hostel, intending to throw her out because she was behind with the rent, and found her maggot-ridden body. In doing so, the angry wish of Lou Reed and John Cale, who released a song about her on their Warhol tribute album, perhaps found fulfilment:
I believe there's got to be some retribution,
I believe an eye for an eye is elemental,
I believe that something's wrong if she's alive right now.
('I Believe', Songs for Drella)
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Most recent customer reviews