Barbara Ehrenreich, 'Myth Busting' Writer And Activist, Dies

3 weeks ago 88

NEW YORK (AP) — Barbara Ehrenreich, the author, activistic and self-described “myth buster” who successful specified notable works arsenic “Nickel and Dimed” and “Bait and Switch" challenged accepted reasoning astir class, religion and the precise thought of an American dream, has died astatine property 81.

Ehrenreich died Thursday greeting successful Alexandria, Virginia, according to her son, the writer and writer Ben Ehrenreich. She had precocious suffered a stroke.

“She was, she made clear, acceptable to go,” Ben Ehrenreich tweeted Friday. “She was ne'er overmuch for thoughts and prayers, but you tin grant her representation by loving 1 another, and by warring similar hell.”

She was calved Barbara Alexander successful Butte, Montana, and raised successful a household of national supporters, wherever household rules included “never transverse a picket enactment and ne'er ballot Republican.” She studied physics arsenic an undergraduate astatine Reed College, and received a PhD successful immunology astatine Rockefeller University. Starting successful the 1970s, she worked arsenic a teacher and researchers and became progressively progressive successful the feminist movement, from penning pamphlets to appearing astatine conferences astir the country. She besides co-wrote a publication connected pupil activism, “Long March, Short Spring,” with her then-husband, John Ehrenreich.

A prolific writer who regularly turned retired books and paper and mag articles, Ehrenreich honed an accessible prose benignant that brought her a wide readership for different unsettling and unsentimental ideas. She disdained individualism, organized religion, unregulated economics and what Norman Vincent Peale famously called “the powerfulness of affirmative thinking.”

A proponent of wide causes from unions to termination rights, Ehrenreich often drew upon her ain experiences to pass her ideas. The commencement of her girl Rosa helped inspired her to go a feminist, she aboriginal explained, due to the fact that she was appalled astatine the hospital's attraction of patients. Her conflict with bosom crab years agone inspired her 2009 publication “Bright-Sided,” successful which she recalled the bland platitudes and assurances of good wishers and probed the American insistence — a religion, she called it — connected optimism, to the constituent of ignoring the country's galore troubles.

“We request to brace ourselves for a conflict against terrifying obstacles, some of our ain making and imposed by the earthy world. And the archetypal measurement is to retrieve from the wide delusion that is affirmative thinking," she wrote.

“Positive reasoning has made itself utile arsenic an apology for the crueler aspects of the marketplace economy. If optimism is the cardinal to worldly success, and if you tin execute an optimistic outlook done the subject of affirmative thinking, past determination is nary excuse for failure. The flip broadside of positivity is frankincense a harsh insistence connected idiosyncratic responsibility.”

For “Nickel and Dimed,” 1 of her champion known books, she worked successful minimum wage jobs truthful she could larn firsthand the struggles of the moving poor, whom she called “the large philanthropists of our society.”

“They neglect their ain children truthful that the children of others volition beryllium cared for; they unrecorded successful substandard lodging truthful that different homes volition beryllium shiny and perfect; they endure privation truthful that ostentation volition beryllium debased and banal prices high,” she wrote. “To beryllium a subordinate of the moving mediocre is to beryllium an anonymous donor, a nameless benefactor, to everyone.”

Ehrenreich wrote for The New York Times, The Nation, Vogue and galore different publications, and her different books included “The Worst Years of Our Lives: Irreverent Notes from a Decade of Greed,” "Blood Rites: Origins and History of the Passions of War" and “Fear of Falling: The Inner Life of the Middle Class.”

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