People Watching: Valerie Solanas

valerie solanas Of the people who went in and out of the doors of The Factory she stands out perhaps most of all. Why? Because she is the woman who shot Andy Warhol. Which bring me neatly to how I heard of her — the film I Shot Andy Warhol. That film was a great portrayal of someone who felt she belonged within the world of the great artist who was briefly taken in and then cast aside (not an uncommon it seems in Warhol’s world). I think the other route a lot of people may take to her is via the album Holy Bible by The Manic Street Preachers which had a song called Of Walking Abortion which is named after a line from S.C.U.M Manifesto the text for which she is primarily known. She had ideas and she had written them down in an erudite if confrontational manner. The Society For Cutting Up Men was never going to be something that was going to go down well with many people and would people even be reading it if she hadn’t shot Warhol? Probably not. But because of her ideas, because of what she did, because of who she did it to, she is an endless source of fascination for me, and I know I am not the only one. Check the film, try and find a copy of the book — see something that might qualify as the antithesis to The Factory, something that nestled close to it’s breast like a viper.

9 Replies to “People Watching: Valerie Solanas”

  1. I have Valarie Solanas filed in my myspace photoalbum titled ASSHOLES.
    A quote from my reveiw of S.C.U.M. Manifesto,

    ” SCUM Manifesto an embarassment to humanity!,
    If I could have rated this a *negative 5* I would have.

    SCUM Manifesto is the ranting blathering of a deeply demented,hate-filled, self- loathing lunatic. Shame on her and all those who subscribe to her prejudicial thinking. This world is filled with many beautiful, loving and wonderous men and she, as a woman who bore a son would have been better off raising him in a loving, nurturing way rather than spinning out of control on a lifelong mission to feed her internal monster of victimhood by spewing hate and lies-speaking not for all women but for those equally disillusioned about the value of our fellow men. At best, this book can be described as a waste of valuable paper resources. If you must check this book out then read it for free online and do not give one CENT to the perpetuators of her demented hatred. ”
    Sincerely,
    Denise LaFrance the painter, Toronto, Canada
    http://www.myspace.com/denisethepainter

  2. Valerie Solanas was deeply troubled and mentally ill. That doesn’t mean she didn’t have interesting ideas. It doesn’t mean she wasn’t a worthy person. You can look at her work and her life and appreciate her without actually “subscribing” to her proposals. I think she recognized her own irony, and she’d probably get a real kick out of some of her detractors’ comments.

  3. I’m a white male and not much of a feminist. I’ve read a few of the usual suspects – Greer and whatnot – and follow pretty much the standard, “women should be equal under the law and now they are so why are they still moaning?” line, and I just want to say that Valerie Solanas is one of my great heroines.

    That short book she wrote is filled with pathos, love and humour – great, dark humour that will stay alive for as long as people can read.

    Solanas makes me laugh like Catullus, Gogol or Nietzsche make me laugh. Pure joy.

    Which isn’t to say I think she was joking. She was serious about the word. That is an unbelievable rarity these days. People who accuse her of being a hate monger need to remember the difference between the literal and the real.

    She was a troubled woman who wrote a great book. I love and admire her for that book and hate to see her memory slandered and denigrated.

    Love and respect Valerie wherever you are now.

  4. even though i cringe every time i read something like “women should be equal under the law and now they are so why are they still moaning?” as I did above, I am glad that I took the time to read through the comments on this page because there are few cooler things in life than fun-loving transsexuals who make their own jeans and paint postapocalyptic porn paintings of naked cowboys with wedding presents on top of their package. I highly recommend clicking through. A+!

  5. Strangely enough, Valerie was highly intelligent, had a mensa IQ, and a degree in phycology. Although I don’t agree with her ideologies, I think she took some of the things she learned from her mentor (a well respected phyc professor) in a distorted manner.
    It seems to me she was starved for attention, albeit in a negative way, and was truly (as Warhol would say) looking for her “15 minutes” of fame.

  6. I was a downtown walking beat cop in Phoenix and unfortunately had to deal with the lunatic, Valerie Solanas, during the early to mid-80’s. She walked the streets in nothing but a filthy nightgown, ate and slept in dumptsers and caused the secretaries and businessmen to be fearful by crowing at the top of her lungs like a chicken. We called her “Scab Lady” because she constantly dug at her flesh with a fork until she bled. She was one big walking scab! Valerie Solanas was THE most insane person I’ve ever had to deal with – dangerous, too!

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