resting on her roars

By Diogenes (articles ) | Jul 02, 2006

Australian Helen Reddy is one of those 1970s figures who, like Andy Warhol, left a lasting mark on their generation, not by their talent, but by the faultlessly timed banality of their imagination. Every high school English class has its Reddy-in-waiting, viz., the scowling poetess with a self-esteem problem, yet HR's "I Am Woman (hear me roar)" became inseparably associated with the Women's Liberation Movement of the '70s and with feminism generally.

Now Reddy has given us an autobiography, reviewed with cautious amusement by the NYT. It turns out her madness is not the madness of genius. She's just bonkers.

In a not-to-be-missed chapter entitled "Royalty and Reincarnation," Reddy, having dropped the bombshell that Wallis Warfield Simpson, Duchess of Windsor, was the reincarnation of Richard III, provides a chart of the dramatis personae surrounding the abdication of Edward VIII to demonstrate that it all goes back to the Wars of the Roses. Wallis (or Richard), it seems, had a soul mission to atone for the murders of the little princes in the tower and to see that the crown was returned to its rightful heirs.

Obvious once you think about it.

Yet satisfying as the Plantagenet Atonement is to our sense of justice, I remain somewhat troubled. In protesting "I Am Woman," doth Ms. Reddy protest too much? If the Duchesser Windsor (in Flannery O'Connor's rendering) was herself a MAN earlier on, is any woman safe? Is destiny biology? Are those roars really yours?

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  • Posted by: Sterling - Jul. 05, 2006 9:24 AM ET USA

    Wait - are people still all worked up about a song from decades ago? If we start re-visiting "Color My World," I'm out of here.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 03, 2006 8:12 PM ET USA

    So if Wallis Simpson was actually the reincarnation of Richard III, then pray, who did Richard III himself reincarnate? Hmmm - I can hear the Who singing "Talking 'Bout My Generation". Helen Reddy - "The Woman I Am, and the People I Am". Alrighty then!

  • Posted by: corquin - Jul. 03, 2006 3:12 PM ET USA

    Just imagine the Duchesser Richard III shouting, "A condom! A condom! My soul for a condom!" On the other hand, if his brother had one, would there have been any princes to avenge? Sort of having a principle that negates your own existence.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 02, 2006 6:23 PM ET USA

    I was a janitor in Henry VIII's castle -ever notice how nobody is ever the reincanation of the washer woman or the serf on some manor. There are a lot more of those people in history - how come none of them ever come back. Hmmmm what if someone comes back who is St Pius X - look out modernists...... or St Joseph, Scourge of demons! All very amusing- though I have had the arguemnt with practicing Catholics who think re incarnation is fully compatible with Christianity!

  • Posted by: - Jul. 02, 2006 3:42 PM ET USA

    I'm think'n, she's an entertainer, so she should be taken seriously in important matters of history, politics, philosophy, theology, and cetera. Have Shirley, Madonna, or Cher weighed in yet? It wasn't until your "Obvious once you think about it" that your intent came clearly into focus. Resting on her roars? More of a one oar in the water (ie., one card short of a full deck, not all there, tetched, her elevator stops short of the top floor).