There’s no denying that Margaret Atwood has made an indelible mark on the written word. The Handmaid’s Tale has endured as an eerily prescient dystopian masterpiece, The Blind Assassin is compulsively readable, and the MaddAddam trilogy is, well, brilliantly mad. Atwood is also held up as a feminist hero, and this is where things get a little murky. While she definitely champions some feminist themes in many of her novels, her personal politics often veer quite sharply into the realm of white feminism, severely lacking in intersectionality. Many were disappointed when she criticized the #MeToo movement rather early on, reminding us that even literary geniuses can be problematic.
Well, Atwood decided to once again give a very, very bad take. While she gave an interview with Variety ahead of The Handmaid’s Tale’s second season on Hulu, she spoke a bit about the 2000 opera based upon the novel and how it included “a film reel going across the top of the stage and showing various things blowing up.” She continued, giving a rather unorthodox view on 9/11.
“One of the things that blew up was the Twin Towers. But it hadn’t blown up yet. They did the opera again, and they had to take it out, because it was no longer in the future. Does that give you a creepy feeling?”
Yes, it does.
“They didn’t get that idea from my opera, don’t worry. They got the idea from Star Wars.
Do you really believe that?
“Remember the first one? Two guys fly a plane in the middle of something and blow that up? The only difference is, in Star Wars, they get away. Right after 9/11, they hired a bunch of Hollywood screenwriters to tell them how the story might go next. Sci-fi writers are very good at this stuff, anticipating future events. They don’t all come true, but there are interesting “what if” scenarios.”
Sigh. A representative for Atwood has yet to address her comments, but it’s safe to say that it’s not a great look for the author. Separating art from the artist is always a tricky thing to navigate, and Atwood isn’t making it easy. Certainly not as easy as it was for Luke Skywalker and the rest of the Rebel pilots to blow up the Death Star.