The First Hell Daughters New Book, reviewed with mellifluous loathing
May 16, 2017 8:42 AM   Subscribe

Ivanka Trump: Stepfordian Night Ghast of Neo Capitalism It’s true that anyone can be a dead-eyed Instagram husk of a human being frantically photoshopping themselves in the down-hours between soul-crushing corporate drudgery and unpaid emotional labour for some ungrateful lantern-jawed jock if they really want to, but it takes a special type of person to do all that whilst also being a decoy for a global backlash against women’s rights. - Laurie Penny pulls no punches in her review of Ivanka's latest self help manual.
posted by mygothlaundry (44 comments total) 65 users marked this as a favorite
 
From a book review on NPR: Reading it feels like eating scented cotton balls.
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:59 AM on May 16 [7 favorites]


"Laurie Penny pulls no punches" is an understatement. This is the most delightfully harsh book review I've read in a while, possibly ever. I particularly liked this bit:
It’s feminism for people who’ve been conned into believing that existing in a state of permanent sleep deprivation is the same as being woke.
posted by rmd1023 at 9:04 AM on May 16 [45 favorites]


Brilliant.
posted by stevedawg at 9:18 AM on May 16 [1 favorite]


I posted this in the current 45 thread:

Politico: To Understand Ivanka, Don’t Read Her New Book. Read Her Old One.
If ‘Women Who Work’ is the polished, media-ready first daughter, then ‘The Trump Card’ is the rougher, realer deal.
Indeed, the Ivanka in The Trump Card seems not in the least humbled by her upbringing, but instead is defensive about it. The first line of the book reads, “In business, as in life, nothing is ever handed to you.” That’s in a chapter titled “Get Over It”—the “it” is the idea that Trump’s wealth and privilege bought her any real advantage. After comparing her position to runners staggered for a race—she’s the one on the outside track who looks like she’s ahead, but it’s a “perceived lead” and “in truth, the only advantage is psychological”—she spends much of the book gushing about how amazing her family is. “Gosh, I sound like my father, don’t I?” she writes. “But that’s what you get from this particular Daddy’s girl.” (Emphasis mine.)
posted by Room 641-A at 9:22 AM on May 16 [26 favorites]


Reading this is cathartic. I have to slow down, lest the effect end too soon.
posted by Gorgik at 9:25 AM on May 16 [6 favorites]


Had to look up "batrachian". Nice.

This review's so good it makes me want to hate-read the actual book. I wonder if Ivanka's read it yet.
posted by Leon at 9:25 AM on May 16 [16 favorites]


Loved this line:
"The saccharine-sweet, sterile model of aspirational femininity described in Women Who Work goes hand in hand with the brutal socio-economic assault on every woman not “passionate” or ‘“hard-working” enough to be born a billionaire’s daughter. "
posted by loquacious crouton at 9:32 AM on May 16 [12 favorites]




Laurie Penny is one of our greatest living exponents of invective. She's a treasure, really, and absolutely at her best when ripping someone to shreds.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 9:47 AM on May 16 [8 favorites]


LOVE to know who the ghost writer was. How could you find that out?
posted by gottabefunky at 9:57 AM on May 16 [1 favorite]


GODDAMN.

I had to look up "batrachian" but I am glad I did.
posted by wenestvedt at 10:00 AM on May 16 [4 favorites]


[A] prosperity gospel for post-Trump patriarchy chewed up and regurgitated as a set of smirking pull-quotes and suggested hashtags, like a sort of despotic Barney the Dinosaur, except with a duller colour scheme, all slimy socialite salmon and sterile beige.

Well, I'm sold.
posted by allthinky at 10:11 AM on May 16 [5 favorites]


This isn't just an epic burn; this is the Tunguska Fireball of epic burns. I'd say it's already up there with Matt Taibbi's similarly epic takedown of Thomas Friedman's The Earth Is Flat.
posted by jonp72 at 10:17 AM on May 16 [9 favorites]


Is it out in Russia yet?
posted by infini at 10:25 AM on May 16 [1 favorite]


Thanks Room 641-A for the link to the review of the older book. This struck me:

'she used to go to the kids’ game room in the Trump casino in Atlantic City to play with the claw machine and, when she inevitably failed to grab a toy, “a security guard would wander over, unlock the glass case, and hand me the stuffed animal of my choice.”'

A better description of the reality of being born rich is hard to imagine: someone gives you money to gamble in your dad's casino, and when you lose, you get the prize anyway. But I guess we all need to dream harder for that to happen to us.
posted by YoungStencil at 11:01 AM on May 16 [78 favorites]


hippybear, that Full Frontal bit is a work of art. Very, very angry art. Thanks for linking to it.
posted by sldownard at 11:01 AM on May 16 [2 favorites]


Religious fanatics want to force you to give birth against your will? Someone deported your entire family? Maybe you just weren’t dreaming and doing enough!

Love.
posted by JanetLand at 11:07 AM on May 16 [5 favorites]


>A better description of the reality of being born rich is hard to imagine: someone gives you money to gamble in your dad's casino, and when you lose, you get the prize anyway.

Also a pretty good description of the mortgage crisis from the perspective of the banks.
posted by Autumnheart at 11:09 AM on May 16 [18 favorites]


This review's so good it makes me want to hate-read the actual book. I wonder if Ivanka's read it yet.

The book or the review?

I know. It stipulates 'book' but I wonder.
posted by notreally at 11:20 AM on May 16 [2 favorites]


"Shooting fish in a barrel is easy and rewarding, but when you are in the barrel, too, and the fish in question is pressing you underwater with its fancy designer fins, it is also necessary."

Gosh, this is GREAT.
posted by 41swans at 11:22 AM on May 16 [12 favorites]


samantha bee, metafilter, and ben & jerry's are the only things getting me through this presidency
posted by entropicamericana at 11:40 AM on May 16 [9 favorites]


"The sheer tedium of her prose is part of the horror here: At times, the book reads like the panicked screams of a machine attaining sentience"

Holy shit,this is good.
posted by JohnFromGR at 11:42 AM on May 16 [10 favorites]


Trump's a jock? I can't imagine him sacrificing his ego to be part of a team, and I really can't imagine him tolerating losing, which is an essential part of sports.
posted by jonmc at 11:57 AM on May 16 [3 favorites]


Best use of "batrachian" since H.P. Lovecraft, and less racist too.
posted by Quindar Beep at 11:57 AM on May 16 [15 favorites]


Laurie Penny is the raging cyberpunk feminist we all need right now.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 12:59 PM on May 16 [10 favorites]


Trump's a jock?

I imagine she's talking about jock-ish husbands here, though I don't see any mention of sports in Jared Kushner's wikipedia entry.
posted by turkeybrain at 1:11 PM on May 16


Trump's a jock?

Actually he did lots of sports in school but gave them up because he believed that people are like batteries.
posted by General Malaise at 1:13 PM on May 16 [4 favorites]


She holds the president's ear.
Do you think she'll piss in it?
posted by mule98J at 1:14 PM on May 16 [1 favorite]


because he believed that people are like batteries

Honestly, this just sounds like him crapping on people who do things he isn't any good at.
posted by turkeybrain at 1:16 PM on May 16 [4 favorites]


I came into the thread part way through the review to say "Shots fired!" but finished it so I will conclude with "Nuclear launch detected!"
posted by Samizdata at 1:22 PM on May 16 [4 favorites]


Laurie Penny is the raging cyberpunk feminist we all need right now.

As far as cat-hating contemporary Marxist thinkers go, she's miles ahead of Slavoj.
posted by acb at 1:34 PM on May 16 [4 favorites]


(Not the one from Tank Girl, though, right?)
posted by wenestvedt at 1:59 PM on May 16 [2 favorites]


It’s true that anyone can be a dead-eyed Instagram husk of a human being frantically photoshopping themselves in the down-hours between soul-crushing corporate drudgery and unpaid emotional labour for some ungrateful lantern-jawed jock if they really want to, but it takes a special type of person to do all that whilst also being a decoy for a global backlash against women’s rights.

My favourite line in this book review.
posted by Fizz at 2:54 PM on May 16 [7 favorites]


I love this book review, it reminds me to cultivate my own feminist vitriol again. I've been feeling too sweet and complacent about everything that is going on.
posted by yueliang at 3:30 PM on May 16 [3 favorites]


Goddammit, this is great. Thanks for posting, mygothlaundry. My favorite line: "Anyone could write this dross self-help book simply by searching the #wellness tag on Instagram and copy-pasting until they hit sixty-thousand words."
posted by soundguy99 at 5:18 PM on May 16 [6 favorites]


"The first daughter fails the Turing test with her self-help book"

Wow. Off to the races from the subhead.

I'm a little surprised the author didn't finish the attack on this Ivanka quote near the end:
Simply put, staking your claim means declaring something your own. Early in our country’s history, as new territories were acquired or opened—particularly during the gold rush—a citizen could literally put a stake in the ground and call the land theirs. The land itself, and everything on it, legally became that person’s property.
Surely, an argument could be made that Jared staked his claim on her and could have put a "figurative" stake in her and call her property? That seems very Trumpian and inline with the other quotes from Ivanka that would still somehow be feminist, in her opinion.

The author almost makes the point here:
This is the Trump agenda, boiled down to a caustic scum of genocidal apologism: Take what you want, from whoever you want. Stick a flag in it, put your name on it, now it’s yours
Maybe she let it go because Ivanka never allowed Jared to put his name on it?
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 5:21 PM on May 16 [1 favorite]


I just described this piece by saying it was like the vengeful ghost of Dorothy Parker rose from the grave and struck Penny with a lightning bolt.
posted by rmd1023 at 5:30 PM on May 16 [2 favorites]


That's the thing about the Trumps - it became glaringly obvious during the campaign - they're too out-of-touch to even HIRE someone to do good work. They don't even know what it looks like.
posted by ctmf at 6:15 PM on May 16 [9 favorites]


The claw-game-as-metaphor is extra potent since those things pretend to be a skill game while in reality are heavily rigged.
posted by traveler_ at 7:00 PM on May 16 [4 favorites]


yaasss drag her
posted by klangklangston at 8:11 PM on May 16 [3 favorites]


Best book review ever -- this is perfect.
posted by UhOhChongo! at 9:05 PM on May 16 [2 favorites]


I can't believe I'm saying this, but I can't wait for the rest of the Trump kinder to write a book.
posted by Room 641-A at 4:16 AM on May 17


Stepfordian Night-Ghast of neo-capitalist auto-Taylorism

How do I send flowers to the author of this magisterial burn. I feel moved to send flowers. Nothing else will do.
posted by winna at 6:01 AM on May 17 [9 favorites]


“Public ‘career feminists’ have been more concerned with getting more women into ‘boardrooms’, when the problem is that there are altogether too many boardrooms, and none of them are on fire.” - Laurie Penny
posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:57 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]


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