Eat, Pray, Love -- and Bash Conservatives (Part One)

Those of you who follow my blog may recall a reference or two to Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love. It's the only book that isn't nonfiction (well, it IS nonfiction; it's a memoir, but I mean it's a story -- not an informational book) that I've ever read twice.

I loved it -- with the exception of a few references Ms. Gilbert makes to politics, that is. (Can you guess which side she's on?) I can't stand reading a story, only to have the author jump into reality with politics -- of any persuasion. Ruins it for me, at least for a page or two.

Nevertheless, I loved E,P,L because Ms. Gilbert is unquestionably a gifted writer. I simply love the way she writes. Second, this book was about a woman in her thirties who had just gotten a divorce and had had a "rebound" love interest afterward. I could relate wholeheartedly to her story b/c it was so similar to mine. The difference is that I was in my late twenties -- and my divorce wasn't about my sudden realization that I didn't want kids. Far from it. Nevertheless, I was sympathetic to Ms. Gilbert's coming to terms with her desire to be childless. Like being gay, that's a tough epiphany to have -- let alone admit.

Unfortunately, since the release of E,P,L, Ms. Gilbert has let her politics show full-throttle Her new book is called Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage. I have not read it yet, though it is sitting beside me now, alongside several reviews and interviews with Ms. Gilbert about the book. Here is a review from the Wall Street Journal by Meghan Cox Gurdon:

One of Ms. Gilbert's most endearing qualities in her first memoir was her sunny generosity toward those who see the world differently. In Committed, she shows less liberality. She finds it "a bit crazy" that social conservatives persist in thinking marriage means one man and one woman. She is hugely impressed by the pro-marriage arguments of "The Subversive Family," by Ferdinand Mount, but is appalled to find that he is a conservative. She confesses: "I can honestly say that I would never have ordered this book had I known this fact in advance." And in an especially unflattering episode, Ms. Gilbert recounts the tense silence that followed her discovery that the small-town mayor summoned to administer her wedding vows is -- gasp! -- a Republican.

So there it is. Ms. Gilbert has shown her true colors. Someone needs to tell her that by this one statement alone -- "I can honestly say that I would never have ordered this book had I known this fact in advance" -- she has proven her short-sighted and intolerant personality. If you wouldn't pick up any book that's been written by a conservative, you have no leg to stand on when bashing them. Like Ms. Flynn from yesterday's post, she simply doesn't know enough to do any bashing. Read, listen, and learn -- then bash if you must.

I'm afraid Ms. Gilbert is not the enlightened and liberal woman she portends to be. She is knee-deep in childish resentment toward what she considers societal constraints -- and allows her emotional, rebellious ways get in the way of contentment.

Perhaps a child is precisely what Ms. Gilbert needs. If nothing else, it would help get the focus off all this ruminating, all this self-exploration -- and center it something of real value.

1 Response to “Eat, Pray, Love -- and Bash Conservatives (Part One)”:

  1. Terro says:

    I made it through "eat" in Eat, Pray, Love, also because of Elizabeth Gilbert's writing talent, but I tired of her constant concern for herself. I agree that a child might be just the challenge she needs - although, for the child's sake, better imagined fictionally than in real life.

    Gilbert's own very ordinary inability to fathom another side of opinion from her own will not serve her well as a writer...and perhaps not, I wonder, in her second marriage.