The female lead in my upcoming book has the tiniest bit of an attitude. I would call her crazy, but knowing that attitude, she’d punch me before I got the chance to explain. So, before she finds out my address, let’s have a look at a few similar ladies who were touched by the hand of crazy.
Crazy comes in many forms. I am definitely not thinking of the trashy newspaper archetype (which are, more often than not, manufactured by said trashy newspapers in the first place). The kind of crazy I’m thinking of is the sort that has moxie, the sort that leaves you in awe, the sort that looks at the improbable, the dangerous, and the impossible, and gives it a go anyway. The sort that has such a belief in their ideas they will go to any length to see them realized.
Given the news over the last couple of weeks, there’s only one lady to start with, Margret Thatcher.
Maggie, as she was known in the UK, ticked quite a few of the crazy lady boxes. That of course can be taken both ways, and there is no doubt that during the 70s and 80s, she polarized opinions in the UK. But consider, she was born into a family of grocers, gained a PhD in Chemistry, and went on to be the first female leader of a western nation. To cap that, she was re-elected three times and went on to served as Prime Minister for eleven years (both records for the 20th century). Whichever side of crazy you think she’s on, that’s not a bad résumé.
She did all of this in the face of a male dominated political system. More that that, she did all of this knowing that she would have to face male dominated trade unions (predominately coal miners and car workers), most of whom didn’t want to be told what to do by anyone, particularly not a woman!
When she had made up her mind that an objective was worth the consequences, she almost never changed her mind. She understood the consequences at the outset, and if the materialized, she didn’t have to rethink and waver in her conviction.
She was also remarkably brave to go with her convictions. In 1984, when the IRA blew up the hotel in which her party was having their annual meeting, she was lucky to escape with only minor injuries. While bodies were still being pulled from the rubble, she had the presence of mind to continue with her normal duties while dealing the crisis as it unfolded. The following day the party conference went ahead and she gave the opening speech, exactly as planned.
Was she loved by everyone? No! But I think that is one of the marks of crazy people, they polarize opinion. Given all the challenges she faced, to wake up one day and think “I’ll give it a go,” you’ve got to be just a little bit crazy.
And that’s a crazy I’ve got to admire.
What about you?
I tend to admire people with such conviction (as long as their conviction is not utterly immoral, of course). Thatcher also had that rapier wit that is perfectly drawn out by the British system of prime minister and parliament hashing out their opinions. I used to love watching those interactions on cable when I was college. (Why don’t we do that here?)
Oh yes! Prime Minster’s question time is a great laugh. It’s amazing to see these people trading barbs as if they were in a pub! I think it’s healthy debate and it does show the world what these people really think, rather than the prepared press releases that just tell people what their marketing department thinks will go down best with the voters.
Maggie was no doubt the Iron Lady. Without a measure or two of crazy, awesome wouldn’t be awesome. Awesome would be ordinary, and we would never grow.
Well done, Maggie. Well done.
I forgot to mention the Iron Lady moniker! I think it was the Russians that first dubbed her with that name. You’ve got to be crazy to have the Russians call you names 🙂
I totally agree, Nigel. She was definitely a great lady, and I think it was no accident she and Ronald Reagan’s terms more or less coincided. I think they fed off each other, and both of them ended up being even greater leaders that they would have been alone.
I think you’re right. I like that picture that shows them both at the table. I get the vision that the US team turned up expecting to “handle” her and she probably turned round and shocked them before they even spoke!
I also admire Margaret Thatcher. Love her or hate her, she was an amazing woman and a strong leader. I hate how so many people were so disrespectful of her upon her passing. Whether they agreed with her or not, it only reflected badly on the one celebrating her death. Wish we had a Maggie here. Instead, we get Palin. *cringe*
Yes. All those people who scorned her forget how the UK emerged from the 80s with a way more modern industry and culture than it entered. Lots of people don’t like change (me!) and I know a lot of people went through hardships under Maggie’s rule, but the alternative would have been an impossible state sponsored black hole that would have set the country back decades. Mind you, sometimes when I go home I have to check which decade we’re in anyway!
Thanks for having the courage to say something positive about Margaret Thatcher. I think she was great. I’m sure that she wasn’t perfect but she at least had the nerve to be “pro-British”. Is that not what the taxpayers were paying her to do?
It’s amazing how so many Brits jump on the political fashion bandwagon and vilify her when many of them know nothing about her or what occurred during her tenure as Prime Minister. The fact that “La Reina Cristina” in Argentina hates her should give folks a clue.
It would be fun to run a propaganda campaign in the UK adoring or vilifying an imaginary UK MP. We could announce the death of said imaginary hero or villain and then watch the hysteria in a broad segment of the public. I can imagine the crowds of tearful faithful worshipers attending candlelight vigils. The same trick would work just as well in France, Italy, here in the USA or nearly any nation. Nietzsche never would have proclaimed that “God is dead” if he had heard a radio broadcast or seen a television news program.
Have you ever watched “Being There” with Peter Sellers?
Maggie did polarize opinions, but she certainly was pro-British and precious little of the measures she brought in have been changed. People talk about the repeal of the poll-tax, but it was replaced with something that was very similar but under a different name.
Appearance is everything these days. It’s the same in politics, business and so many other fields. One great British political idea that would do wonders over here is Prime Minister’s Question Time. The bar room barracking while everyone address each other as “the right honorable” strips away much of the ad-man’s veneer.
Sadly, I haven’t seen Being There. I’ll have to put it on my list. I haven’t seen Wag The Dog, either. But there again, I’ve seen it too often.
I always admired Margaret Thatcher for her guts. Ever notice how women are labelled “crazy” when they lead with conviction and take no bullsh*t, but men who exhibit the same traits in the same role are labelled “assertive” or “powerful” or some other positive descriptor?
Hope I get called “crazy” someday. 😉
Crazy? I’ve ALWAYS thought of you as crazy! Ha, never thought I get to say that!
You’re right. Women get a bum rap on lots of characteristics. James Bond is a hero as a man, but as a woman he’d be a heartless slut. It’s a sad state of affairs, but keep up the crazy, one day it’ll all change 🙂
Aw, thanks, Nigel! From you, I’ll take “crazy” as a compliment. 😉
Wow, I like what you’ve done with the place, Nigel! It’s obviously been way too long since I’ve been here.
I agree that you do need to have a certain admiration for Maggie, but on the other hand, there are so many other crazy people who have absolute belief in their convictions, and many of them have been incredibly destructive. Still, I give her credit for playing a man’s game better than they played it. That took some serious cojones
Glad to see you, Madame! I’ve been taking it easy on the blogging front lately.
Yes, sadly there’s plenty of people with a twisted view of what’s normal. Not everyone agreed with Maggie, but she stood up for what she believed was best for the country, and being re-elected three time, a lot of people agreed with her.