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Memo to Joyce Carol Oates: Betcha ISIS is “joyous” over that Russian plane shootdown

November 24, 2015

From my latest blog post for the Independent Women’s Forum:

Tweeter-bomber Oates: Time to get back to work on that 499th novel?

“All we hear of ISIS is puritanical & punitive; is there nothing celebratory & joyous? Or is query naive?”

Maybe Joyce Carol Oates should stay away from Twitter.

So many sarcastic responses followed–what about that little dance they do at beheadings?–that the New York Times felt compelled to phone a Joyce Carol Oates expert to Put It All Into Context:

“Randy Souther, who has written about Ms. Oates for 20 years and started a scholarly journal focused on her work, Bearing Witness: Joyce Carol Oates Studies, said he believed the focus on one of her four tweets missed important context. She is prone to separating her thoughts into several tweets, and she is often searching for explanations of why people do what they do, he said.

“’She’s trying to figure out what is it about an organization like ISIS, or a terrorist organization, that can draw people in and keep people in,” Mr. Souther said. ‘There must be something more than just evil, there must be somewhere in there something we don’t see.’”

Hah! And there is!

This isn’t the first time the hyper-prolific novelist’s fans have scrambled to unearth a meaning that could make plausible sense out of Oates’s bizarre tweets.

Remember her dead dinosuar tweet?

“So barbaric that this should still be allowed… No conservation laws in effect wherever this is?”

NPR had to jump to the rescue:

“The photo was, of course, a memento of Spielberg’s Jurassic Park. And Oates’ comment was attached to a tweet from Chris Tilly, the movie editor at the website IGN, who had written, ‘this guy thinks it’s cool to kill defenseless animals then take a selfie. Jerk.’

“Oates’ message has been retweeted more than 3,000 times; it has sparked jokes and jabs. But as Oates tells Newsweek about the response, ‘many of my tweets are meant to be funny; but I guess that is not always a good idea.'”

Nah, not if the tweet was “meant to be funny” but actually fell flatter than a manhole lid.
Posted by Charlotte Allen
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