The Saturday Paper
Yes, yes Nanette
Helen Razer’s convoluted dismissal of Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette demonstrates that middle-aged white women of privilege can patronise and “mansplain” with the very best of the boys’ clubs (“The great Gadsby”, July 28–August
3). According to Helen, Nanette is no game changer , “will not change the world”, and she goes so far as to berate us poor suckers for the folly we display when we “bathe in the tears of a clown” while hoping for meaningful change. However, in my middle- aged, white-man world some sort of rough transformation does indeed seem to be at hand and Gadsby deserves our thanks for holding up the mirror to these misogynist times. Pub talk and dinner table discourse is being reframed, partly in response to Nanette, and you’d better believe something is going on when a couple of midweek commentators on a sports radio station (SEN 1116 Melbourne) forgo their footy talk to marvel at how watching Nanette had “opened their eyes” and how they are now “beginning to get it – at last”. Nanette is the cry of a soul in pain – an artistic manifesto so much more profound than “the tears of a clown”. Gadsby’s challenge is to men, especially the #NotAllMen types, to look squarely at the toxic world of male privilege, which, left unexamined, will continue to oppress all women and to corrode the souls of all men.