Thingish Things

Return of the Ellen Jamesians?

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Jul• 05•11

In John Irving’s The World According to Garp, a group of fanatical feminists called “The Ellen Jamesians” have their tongues surgically excised to protest the sexual assault and tongue removal of a young girl names Ellen James. (Toward the end of the book, James herself asks T.S. Garp, the book’s eccentric protagonist, to help make the Ellen Jamesians stop.)

It is impossible not to recall the Ellen Jamesians in reading this ABC News story about Mac MacLelland, a “civil rights” reporter who just staged her own rape — and wrote about it — to overcome PTSD, which, she says, was caused by viewing the emotional duress of a Haitian sexual violence victim.  I don’t doubt that MacLelland has problems, and they may very well be caused by terrible things she has seen.  But I question her decision to publish her version of a cure, lest others suffering from PTSD hurt themselves trying to overcome it. There are other answers.  Lots of them. Maybe MacLelland should next write about those. 


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