Florence King

How niceness became the eighth deadly sin for women

[audioplayer src=”http://traffic.libsyn.com/spectator/TheViewFrom22_07_August_2014_v4.mp3″ title=”Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett, Camilla Swift and Lara Prendergast discuss the demise of the ‘nice girl'” startat=1335] Listen [/audioplayer] Niceness is the eighth deadly sin for any self-respecting feminist Fredericksburg, Virginia I have come a long way with feminism. When it first hit the fan in the early 1970s I was living in a

America’s war on sleep

 Fredericksburg, Virginia Ask an American to name the author of the line ‘Sleep, that knits up the ravelled sleeve of care’, and he will promptly reply ‘Shakespeare’. It’s pure guesswork but we always credit the Bard with anything that sounds like a literary quotation, so he inadvertently gets it right. But if you recite the

Notes on …Vodka

James Bond’s ‘Vodka martini, shaken, not stirred’ will never be a mark of sophistication for me because vodka and I go back too far. Our association began when I was nine or ten in that brief interlude after the second world war when Russia was still ‘our noble ally’. Vodka was simply one more new

No man’s land

Fredericksburg, Virginia Walt Whitman once observed, ‘In America, the men hate the women and the women hate the men.’ That sounds like a commentary on feminism and probably was. Although Whitman was caught up in personal sexual conflicts more befitting a sensitive poet, he lived through most of the 19th century, when women were in

Stuck in the middle

Understanding the American class system is elementary. In Ruggles of Red Gap, the striving American wife instructs her new English butler on the duties she expects him to perform for her husband. ‘I want him to look like somebody,’ she explains. ‘Like who, madam?’ asks the perplexed servant. ‘Like somebody,’ she repeats firmly. There you

To your health

Fredericksburg, Virginia The huge popularity of your TV show Doc Martin here in the US has nothing to do with the balmy Cornish setting. What really turns us on are the scenes in the Doc’s surgery, where no one ever pays a bill. Contrast that with the bedlam of an American doctor’s office. A panicky

Three men and a vote

The contest for the Republican nomination is stuck in the rogues’ gallery stage Fredericksburg, Virginia An election year in America is just that — a year. The 2012 race has just kicked off and still has eight months to go, but it is already having a critical effect on me: keeping up with the contest

Reason vs romanticism

The American South? You don’t know the half of it Stand by. I am going to explain the American South, a subject that makes the quantum theory seem like child’s play. The first thing you must understand is that there is no South — there are two. One is the Upper South of horses, tobacco