If the 1970s were the “Me Decade,” and the ’80s were the years of the Reagan counterrevolution, then the ’90s, writes Ellen Willis, were the Decade of Denial. In keeping with the mass media’s glib assumption that a phenomenal increase in wealth for a minority meant genuine national prosperity, the 1990s saw an astounding refusal, on both the left and right, to question received wisdom or engage in substantive deliberation. Turning her acute eye to the decade’s defining moments-imbroglios like those surrounding the O. J. Simpson trial, The Bell Curve, Monica-gate, and the Million Man March-Ellen Willis reveals the mindlessness behind the noise. Arguing that we suffer from a lack of true freedom, she demands that we radically rethink our country and ourselves to create a society in which we can fully enjoy life.
“Reading Ellen Willis feels like a great discussion with a witty, politically perceptive friend over Sunday-morning bagels and endless cups of coffee.” –Michael Bronski, The Boston Phoenix Literary Suppleme”[Ellen Willis is] one of a very few writers to articulate a radical vision that frequently butts heads with those of other so-called progressives. . . . She has the gift of being able to untangle contradictions, conflicting thoughts, and confusing feelings to arrive at a radical political analysis seldom seen elsewhere.” –Marcy Sheiner, San Francisco Bay Guardian
“[Willis] suggests new and potentially more productive ways of seeing our political and social problems, ways that might take us beyond our exhausted, circular arguments.” –Paula Geyh, Chicago Tribune
“For thirty years, in a wide arc from The Village Voice and Social Text to The New Yorker and Mirabella, Ellen Willis has been the sixties’ best exponent and a savvy interpreter of American politics and culture.” –George Scialabba, Dissent