The LA Times obit of Italian journalist, Oriana Fallaci, mentions her penchant for dramatic eye makeup at least three times. Tracy Wilkinson, the Rome bureau chief, would seem to be the natural choice to write this but she slips in enough disapproval to make FBLA wonder if she lobbied for the assignment. The obituary is long, but it’s mainly a cut and paste job with a lot of quotes from Fallaci’s own work, as well as other profiles. Wilkinson references glamour so often, we wondered if she got Fallaci confused with Sally “Being blonde doesn’t hurt” Quinn.
Wilkinson, who’s no stranger to controversy or danger herself, extensively covers Fallaci’s career, (but leaves out Fallaci’s pissing off Ayatollah Khomeini) and then gets to Fallaci’s most recent work–angry criticisms of Islam. Wilkinson lets us know what she thinks:
Using derogatory, ugly, distasteful language, she portrayed the “Muslim intruders” who “infest our streets and squares” as drug dealers, thieves, leches and prostitutes spreading AIDS.
Ugly? Distasteful? That’s a matter of opinion, isn’t? Ian Fisher, in the NY Times, made the same points without interjecting his own views.
Contrast and compare Tunku Varadarajan‘s much more personal recollection in the WSJ. He doesn’t shy away from Fallaci’s choice of provocative language or unpopular opinions, but at the same time, he draws a portrait of an unforgettable woman and writer. FBLA wishes our home-town paper could have been as poetic and honest.