She became involved in the culture war, defending a professor accused of sexual misconduct and fired, even though an investigation vindicated him. She asked, “Why are accountability and transparency seen as antithetical to women’s rights?”
There is also a speech on teaching writing with the help of Tarot cards.
Some of the most memorable things in “The Painful Questions” are simply out-of-the-ordinary comments that can be imprinted on your mind. She wrote, “When I first saw the term child molester in a newspaper, I though it said molea job for children in which they will be paid to collect moles. “
She writes about an early job in market research. She’s skeptical of Pop-Tarts, “breakfast candies made of two layers of flour glued together like a seashell, with a jam in place of the clam,” because they are (originally) continuous. explode in the toaster.
There’s a very good essay, titled “Cat’s Cradle,” in which she offers an ethical way to get rid of feral cats that wreak havoc on bird populations. She imagines coyotes that would devour the cats and take them to a self-contained fun fair where they could spend the rest of their lives playing with squeaky catnip toys.
Sidebar: This reminds me of a friend’s experience. This friend is broken, unemployed, and starting to lose his sense of humour; he started to feel wild. He was ready, he thought, to be a robo-coyote’d.
When Mormon missionaries recently knocked on his door, he said he would convert immediately if they gave him the “full package.” His visitors were very confused. Full package, he explains — an apartment in Salt Lake City and a well-paying job, ideally in books. The Mormons sped on their bicycles, leaving behind dust upon awakening.
There is no fun fair attached to him.
Christopher Hitchens wrote that he needed a rectal thermometer to detect how quickly he was becoming an old fart. Atwood, at the age of 82, seems to be barely decomposing. She shines on the cover of this book, and the best works here also lend a certain glow.
As for the speeches, I suppose during that time you could, as at any conference, sneak out onto the sidewalk to buy illegal vape.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/21/books/review-margaret-atwood-burning-questions-essays.html In Margaret Atwood’s essays and speeches, Some Perils of Trade