Another Letter to NPR • 12 June 2008

It saddened me to hear D**** W*** both begin and end his review of violin great Lili Haydn by emphasizing her small stature. He did not mention the equally below average body-size of Bob Dylan, nor the above average body-size of George Clinton, two of the many men whose relationships to Lili he uses to underwrite her cred as a real artist. 

Indeed, it is interesting how much of the journalist's four-minute commentary is about Haydn’s relationships rather than her work. As a cultural analyst, perhaps Mr. Was is just playing to listeners’ expectations in a culture that evaluates women for their teamwork and men for their creations.

Be that as it may, what pains me is that W** didn’t glean the basic insight that every cultural critic with eyes saw during the thankfully-ended Clinton campaign: that commentators discuss powerful women’s bodies as a way of not discussing why they really matter to us: their all-out human creativity and might.