To those of us who follow Germaine Greer's column in the Guardian, it's become clear in the past few months that something weird this way comes. I mean, I'm not uninterested in her love of textiles, her hatred of Proust or her struggles with knitting. Look, I get that maybe Greer is just tired of talking feminism all the time - she's done a lot of that and established her views beyond the shadow of a doubt. I even get it if she doesn't want to engage in the inter-wave melee that is the great conversation these days; when she has, reception has sometimes been frosty. But that is not to say that we wanted to hear about the pioneering feminist's tryst with director Federico Fellini.
Too bad! You're gonna! Greer, who had already penned her taboo-breaking bestseller The Female Eunuch, was approached about a role in Fellini's — wait for it! — Casanova. So she showed up, sans underwear, her "flimsy dress...stuck to my otherwise naked body" by the heat; she immediately attracted his attention as a potential collaborator. "Within hours I was writing to Fellini that he couldn't reduce the Marquise du Chatelet to a huge-breasted nurse for the senile Rousseau. His response was to come to see me in my tiny house in the Montanare di Cortona."
As to the sexiness quotient? "He changed into the brown silk pyjamas with cream piping that he had brought in his little overnight bag, and hung his clothes up carefully for the next day. Every couple of hours he made a quick call to his wife Giulietta, back home in their apartment on the Via Margutta." Then he gets really scared of a bat. And gives her a generator. And, um, that's it.
If you're wondering why Greer, who made her name as an academic and provocateur, is resorting to this kind of tell-all, well, you're not alone. I guess the argument could be made that she's illuminating new facets of Fellini's character and filmmaking process — as well as adding an interesting footnote, given her role as de facto consultant — but the tone is far from introspective. And while, I suppose, the story is somewhat consistent with Greer's philosophy of open sexuality, criticism of nuclear family and, um, disdain for bras (and, hey, Fellini insists on cooking for himself), kissing and telling with a notorious womanizer doesn't do much to burnish anyone's image. I guess my question is, why? Like 90% of "I slept with [insert famous person]," it's basically uninteresting — the only mystery here is why Greer is doing it. But it's her legacy to shape, so hey.