Jun 3 2011

Amanda Third, ‘Shooting from the hip’: Valerie Solanas, SCUM and the apocalyptic politics of radical feminism

‘Shooting from the hip’: Valerie Solanas, SCUM and the apocalyptic politics of radical feminism
by Amanda Third

.. I consider that a moral act. And I consider it immoral that
I missed.
I should have done target practice. (1)

–Valerie Solanas commenting on her near-fatal shooting of
Andy Warhol in 1968

 

Valerie Solanas took the elevator and got off at the fourth floor
She pointed the gun at Andy saying you can’t control me anymore …
Valerie Solanas waved her gun pointing at the floor
From inside her idiot madness spoke and bang
Andy fell to the floor
And I believe life’s serious enough for some retribution
I believe being sick is no excuse
And I believe I would’ve pulled the switch on her myself

–John Cale and Lou Reed, ‘I Believe’

Introduction
In the early afternoon of June 3rd, 1968, the summer of the student uprisings across the US, Valerie Solanas waited, clutching a paper bag, outside Andy Warhors new gallery and office space, the Factory, at 33 Union Square, New York. It was a warm summer day but Solanas was heavily dressed and she had even applied a little makeup–from all accounts something she reserved for special occasions. When Warhol and his assistant arrived in a taxi, Solanas rode with them in the elevator up to the gallery. After exchanging a few words with Solanas, Warhol and his entourage went about their business, ignoring her presence. A few minutes later, Solanas pulled a .32 calibre automatic pistol from the paper bag and fired three times at Warhol.

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