Katha Pollitt (born 1949) is an American feminist writer. She
is best-known for her column "Subject to Debate" in
The Nation magazine but has also published in numerous other periodicals,
including The New Yorker, Harper's Magazine, Ms. magazine and
the New York Times. In 1994, she published Reasonable Creatures:
Essays on Women and Feminism, a collection of nineteen essays
that appeared in The Nation and in other journals.
of her Nation essays from 1994 to 2001 were collected in Subject
to Debate: Sense and Dissents on Women, Politics and Culture,
published by Modern Library. Before she became a regular columnist
for The Nation, Pollitt edited its Books & the Arts section,
and won a National Book Critics Circle Award for a volume of her
poetry, Antarctic Traveller, in 1983. On June 13, 2006, Random
House published her book, Virginity or Death!: And Other Social
and Political Issues of Our Time.
of Pollitt's writing is in defense of contemporary feminism and
other forms of "identity politics," against perceived
misimpressions by critics from all over the political spectrum;
other frequent topics include abortion, the media, U.S. foreign
policy, the politics of poverty (especially welfare reform), and
human rights movements the world over. Her more controversial
writings include "Not Just Bad Sex" (1993), a negative
review of Katie Roiphe's The Morning After: Sex, Fear and Feminism
on Campus, and "Put Out No Flags" (2001), a Nation essay
on post-9/11 America in which she explained her refusal to fly
an American flag out her living room window.
married, but later divorced, Randy Cohen, author of The New York
Times Magazine column "The Ethicist." They have a daughter,
Sophie Pollitt-Cohen. On April 29, 2006, Pollitt married the political
theorist Steven Lukes.
Pollitt was criticized by Bernard Goldberg, who named her number
74 in his book 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America, because
of her 2001 essay "Put Out No Flags." Goldberg criticized
what he perceived to be her lack of patriotism in the time shortly
after the September 11th, 2001 attacks.
anticlerical, not antireligion. If somebody believes there is
God, I'm not interested in trying to persuade that person there
is no intelligent design to the universe. Where I become interested
and wake up is about the temporal power of religion, things like
prayer in schools, or Catholic-secular hospital mergers."
Stephen Jay Gould pointed out in Time, in no other Western country
is the teaching of Evolution regarded as controversial. Throughout
the world, one way or another, most Christian denominations have
managed to reconcile belief in God with belief in the mechanisms
of natural selection. A French or German or Scandinavian politician
who called for students to entertain as a reasonable deduction
from existing evidence the proposition that Earth is at most 10,000
years old would be bundled off to a mental hospital."
now religion has the romantic aura of the forbidden -- Christ
is cool. We need to bring it into the schools, which kids already
hate, and associate it firmly with boredom, regulation, condescension,
makework and de facto segregation ... Prayer in the schools will
rid us of the bland no-offense ecumenism that is so infuriating
to us anticlericals: Oh, so now you say Jews didn't kill Christ
-- a little on the late side, isn't it?"
a better world, science teachers would teach creationism along
with evolution as an exercise in critical thinking.”