Question: What’s more tedious than Gloria Steinem?
Answer: Multiple Gloria Steinems.
On January 26, a film entitled The Glorias premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. In it, Julianne Moore, Alicia Vikander, Lulu Wilson, and Ryan Kira Armstrong all play Steinem at various ages. In addition, Steinem herself shows up toward the end of the picture, playing herself.
This goes on for 2 hours and 19 minutes.
The film was directed and co-written by Julie Taymor, who previously helmed the hilarious, raunchy Mel Brooks film musical The Producers. But The Glorias could not be further removed from Mel Brooks territory. By all accounts, it’s a solemn tribute to a woman whom Taymor views as an icon.
This is the same Gloria Steinem who, as we reported here in 2015, headed up a cockamamie “walk for peace” from North Korea to South Korea. Her partner in arms in this disgraceful stunt was Korean Solidary Committee head Christine Ahn, who is seen by many as a stalwart apologist for the Pyongyang regime. Steinem proved her cluelessness about the whole subject when she declared at a press conference that Korea is divided not because the north is a totalitarian prison state but because of the “Cold War mentality.”
As also noted here, Steinem is chummy with Angela Davis, the former Black Panther, accessory to murder, and Communist Party candidate for the Presidency of the U.S., whom Steinem appears to consider a feminist role model.
Then there’s Camille Paglia’s canny observations – which we’ve quoted – about “the simplistic level of Steinem’s thinking,” “that animus of hers against men,” and the fact that Steinem had “turned feminism into a covert adjunct of the Democratic party” (and thus, like many other members of the National Organization for Women, kept shamefully quiet during the Monica Lewinsky scandal).
This is the woman whom Julie Taymor decided was worthy of celebrating.
The film received the usual raves in the usual places. Yes, the reviewers acknowledged flaws, but because this is a loving tribute to a left-wing idol, the positive verdicts were pretty much predetermined. At Variety, Owen Gleiberman cheered: “Despite the teasing title, it’s not about several competing Glorias; it’s about how all the women Gloria Steinem met or knew, and whose pain and perception she absorbed, were Glorias….We come away moved by her journey, and with an enhanced appreciation for what she did, how she did it, and what it took.”
From Indie Wire: “Filmmaker Julie Taymor has never operated within conventional parameters, but then again, neither has her latest cinematic subject, feminist icon and political firebrand Gloria Steinem.” Indie Wire calls the film a “wonderfully inventive” account of the “inspirational” Steinem’s “extraordinary life.”
And so on. Ah well: given the politics of Hollywood, and the knee-jerk reverence on the left of the vapid Steinem — who taught millions of well-off American women to think of themselves as oppressed and to ignore the real oppression of women in other parts of the world — we knew this had to happen eventually.
Oh, one last thing: Bette Midler is in the picture too, playing the late Bella Abzug, a shrill, grating Manhattan congresswoman during the 1970s, when New York City was at its lowest ebb, in terms of crime and economy, and who was too busy screaming about the Equal Rights Amendment to do anything of note to address her city’s crisis. The film treats her as a heroine, too. At least the casting sounds right.