O brave new world…

…that has such people in it. (as they say).

I’m thinking especially about Germaine Greer and all the more specially, of course, of our own Miranda. (You need to click the link to see the illustration, which is yet another reference to the cover of The Female Eunuch.)

Miranda is at present on a bit of a roll as a pop psychologist. Hot on the heels of her triumphant analysis of Peter Costello as a younger sibling, she has tried her hand at Germaine Greer on the occasion of GG’s recent essay on Rage.

These are the fruits of Miranda’s psychological labours, as I have gathered them from where they are scattered throughout the column:


Most reasonable adults control themselves at dinner parties, especially ones held in their honour, and don’t fly into a rage when teased. All power to Greer for not needing to belong or grow up, but she is like a particular type of precocious indulged child, allowed latitude because she is so interesting. No society can operate with more than a handful of entertaining anarchists.

This is a reference to Greer’s own account of an occasion when her own rage brought a dinner put on by a friend for Greer’s own birthday to come to a premature end with which Miranda opens her piece. At the very least, Greer must be telling this story in order to give an inward or subjective account of rage. Greer lives her life at a high voltage and it is not so surprising that something like this might occurred. Even if, as seems more than probable, she is capable of and has committed great acts of rage, that cannot be dismissed as a valid basis for a subjective account.


It was striking, watching Greer perform on the ABC’s panel program Q&A last week, to see how coquettish she can be, describing herself as “naive” and the book that made her famous, The Female Eunuch, as “girlie” and “jejune”. All her life she has been agitating for the attention of men, one way or another, with other women as competitors.

I almost didn’t include the first sentence, as if I were to include all of Miranda’s personal observations about Greer I would be quoting a disproportionate amount of her article. At this point, I want to concentrate on the psychology.


She [Greer] hints at the roots of her obsession in her book Daddy, We Hardly Knew You, about a father she has called distant, weak and unaffectionate.

I almost omitted that as simply being an account of what Greer has said, but it probably contains an additional psychological conclusion or hint at one.


Never having had children, or lived an extended period of domestic bliss with a man, she has rejected the experience and choice of most women. Her 2003 picture book The Beautiful Boy, which lusted after teenage boys whose “sperm runs like tap water”, indicates her emotional development never progressed much past 12, leaving her suspended in a mindset of doing or saying anything to get a boy’s attention.

There is an earlier reference to Greer’s having been married for a week in 1968, and being of a generation which despises marriage, the fashion of whose “middle age” was “immortalised in the 1962 Edward Albee play-turned-zeitgeist movie Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf.”

I’m not convinced the dates really match.

There’s more in Miranda’s article than that, but then I’m sure there’s more to what Germaine has to say than Miranda is letting on. So to the extent that now I’m interested to find out about what Germaine actually said, Germaine seems the real winner here. If it were not for that, and for the possibility that GG may indeed be said to be dealing in the same currency, albeit at a more generalised level, I’d have to wonder if Miranda had not strayed at some points beyond psychology to personal abuse.

4 Responses to “O brave new world…”

  1. Neil Says:

    Germaine Greer terrified me when I was a teenage English scholar. Not that she ever did anything to me, or was my tutor… It was her presence whenever I passed her in the upstairs corridors near the old Muniment Room under the clock that unnerved me…

    Perhaps Miranda can help me…

  2. wanderer Says:

    Now I get it, you’ve been reading MD. Stop reading crap; start playing the piano; end of sadness.

  3. marcellous Says:

    @ wanderer: touché!

  4. Rob Dyball Says:

    MD always makes me think of Nietzsche:

    (What is happiness…) “…Not contentment, but more power; not peace at any price, but war; not virtue, but efficiency – virtue in the Renaissance sense, virtu, virtue free of moral acid.”

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