Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Attacks on Laura Ingalls Wilder

One of the first attacks I remember on Laura Ingalls Wilder was written by Michael Dorris, who committed suicide about 20 years ago after being accused of sexual abuse by his daughters and the break up of his marriage. She is practically sacred to my memories of childhood and sitting with Mom while she read the whole series to my brother and me (even though I knew how to read). Many years later I read all her columns for farm magazines when I prepared my own research about women who wrote for agricultural publications.

Caroline Fraser has written 2 books and wants to dispute Ingalls-Wilder's memories and facts. That's what current academic criticism is--call it all myth, and especially browbeat American pioneers for daring to settle on Indian land. So that means we should discredit memories of Jews who were children in the 1940s watching their parents and siblings go to the gas chambers, or terrorism memories of survivors of Tutsi-Hutu wars, or the tales of living through the dust storms of the plains during the Great Depression, or the Gospels because they were written so many years after Jesus' resurrection, or the slave narratives recorded by the Federal Writers Project, or even my blogs about what I saw, heard and remember.

Liberals have long discredited Mrs. Wilder--especially because her libertarian daughter, a novelist, edited her works and was very patriotic (died in 1968). Some don't even give Wilder credit. But also the message of hard work, self-reliance, faith in family and community, and self-sacrifice is an anathema to them. I guess Laura and her little family struggling on the prairies were precursors of white privilege and must be destroyed before she gives other children hope and enjoyment.

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