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Letters, Speeches, and Unpublished Writings, 1898–1929
Zitkala-Ša: Letters, Speeches, and Unpublished Writings, 1898–1929, edited by Tadeusz Lewandowski, offers a fascinating, intimate portrait of the Yankton Sioux writer and activist Gertrude Simmons Bonnin (1876–1938).

Gertrude Bonnin, better known by her Lakota name, Zitkala-Ša, was one of the most prominent American Indians of the early 20th century. A talented writer, orator, and musician, she devoted much of her life to the protection of Native peoples. As such, Bonnin corresponded with many other distinguished persons within the early Native rights movement, including Carlos Montezuma, Richard Henry Pratt, and Arthur C. Parker, as well as Fathers Martin Kenel and William H. Ketcham of the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions. This volume gathers together Bonnin’s letters, lesser-known writings and speeches, illuminating her private and public struggles.

American billionaire Leona Helmsley (1920–2007) was the most notorious ‘rich bitch’ of the 1980s. A high school dropout from humble roots, through keen business acumen and steely determination she built a real estate and hotel empire that made her a household name. Showing a flair for publicity, Helmsley featured herself in advertisements for her hotel chain, which portrayed her as a ‘queen’ who demanded only the best for her guests. However, reports of her cruel treatment and obscenity-laced firing of employees, along with her famous dictum, ‘We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes,’ soon earned her the moniker ‘Queen of Mean.’ She was eventually convicted of federal income tax evasion and mail fraud in 1989 and served 18 months. Upon her death she left 12 million dollars to her dog, having cut many of her human relatives out of the will. As such, Helmsley has made rich fodder for satirists in popular culture. She was lampooned on several episodes of the comedy show Saturday Night Live, and was an object of ridicule on The Howard Stern Show. In addition, her likeness appeared in Gary Larson’s The Far Side and Bill Griffith’s Zippy the Pinhead, and after her death her equally snooty dog ‘Trouble’ appeared in a run of Mother Goose and Grimm comics. Helmsley even inspired the biographical film Leona Helmsley: Queen of Mean (1990). This paper explores the depiction of Helmsley in popular culture as a haughty and tyrannical evil woman, and the more sympathetic image presented in cinematic adaptation of her controversial life and personal and professional intrigues.

In: Illuminating the Dark Side: Evil, Women and the Feminine

The case of American investor and philanthropist Zell Kravinsky (1956-) presents numerous ethical challenges regarding our social responsibility to others. In 2003, after disbursing the bulk of his forty-five-million-dollar fortune to various charities, Kravinsky made the decision to donate one of his kidneys to an impoverished African-American woman he had met only once. In doing so he courageously saved a life, but also incurred the wrath of his family, friends, and many observers in the media who questioned his sanity. To Kravinsky, however, refusal to donate would have been tantamount to murder, constituting a violation of his belief in ‘maximum human utility’ – a concept that insists on taking responsibility for all others less well-off, and conflates the value of others with both one’s family and oneself. He has since stated that he would gladly give up more organs, indeed his life, to those who would better serve humanity, and argued publicly that: ‘No one should have a vacation home until everyone has a place to live,…and no one should have two kidneys until everyone has one.’ This chapter offers an examination of Kravinsky’s generous if atypical act and its philosophical moorings, exploring the issue of how his brand of utilitarianism leads to the complete devaluation of the individual.

In: The Bounds of Responsibility
In: Zitkala-Ša
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