Among books I read last year were the biography of PAULINE KAEL: LIFE IN THE DARK by Brian Kellow and BATTLE HYMN OF THE TIGER MOTHER by Amy Chua. I thought to write about the Kael book, but I could go on forever about Kael, and so I decided to save it for another day. On Chua’s book I have only a few things to say, so I might as well get it over with.
I hadn’t heard of Amy Chua until last year when I came upon a post by the Blogger Named Ernest, which led to a spirited discussion among regular readers. Blogger Named Ernest seemed more approving than critical of Chua’s approach to education. Though a member of the liberal elite, Chua, it turns out, tends toward political incorrectness—or as such things are possible within her community. Like Camille Paglia, she’s something of an odd fit, a kind of insider-outsider. Married to a Jewish man, maybe she feels a certain rapport with Jews who’ve long defined their position in white gentile society as insiders/outsiders. Anyway, what follows is not really a review of the entire book but observations on certain aspects of Chua-ism or Chualogy. The approach is more psycho-social than anything else.