Thursday, August 22, 2013

Camille Paglia Unbound

Yesterday, the irrepressible Camille Paglia returned to Salon. In an interview with Tracy Clark-Flory Paglia let fly on topics that were near and dear to her heart.

Never one to toe anyone’s party line, never one to channel anyone’s talking points Paglia displayed a refreshing independence and an unimpeachable integrity.

Her views have already made news. Here are a few of her more striking remarks.

On Hillary Clinton:

It remains baffling how anyone would think that Hillary Clinton (born the same year as me) is our party’s best chance. She has more sooty baggage than a 90-car freight train. And what exactly has she ever accomplished — beyond bullishly covering for her philandering husband? She’s certainly busy, busy and ever on the move — with the tunnel-vision workaholism of someone trying to blot out uncomfortable private thoughts.

I for one think it was a very big deal that our ambassador was murdered in Benghazi. In saying “I take responsibility” for it as secretary of state, Hillary should have resigned immediately. The weak response by the Obama administration to that tragedy has given a huge opening to Republicans in the next presidential election. The impression has been amply given that Benghazi was treated as a public relations matter to massage rather than as the major and outrageous attack on the U.S. that it was.

On feminism:

Oh, feminism is still alive? Thanks for the tip! It sure is invisible, except for the random whine from some maleducated product of the elite schools who’s found a plush berth in glossy magazines.

It’s very distressing, for example, that the atrocities against women in India — the shocking series of gang rapes, which seem never to end — have not been aggressively condemned in a sustained way by feminist organizations in the U.S. I wanted to hear someone going crazy about it in the media and not letting up, day after day, week after week. The true mission of feminism today is not to carp about the woes of affluent Western career women but to turn the spotlight on life-and-death issues affecting women in the Third World, particularly in rural areas where they have little protection against exploitation and injustice.

On the current state of academic scholarship:

In this tight job market, young scholars are in a terrible bind. They have to cater to and flatter the academic establishment if they hope to survive. Furthermore, they have not been taught basic skills in historical investigation, weighing of evidence, and argumentation. There has been a collapse in basic academic standards during the theory era that will take universities decades to recover from.


JPL17 said...

Paglia's critiques of the modern academy, feminism, and so-called "deconstruction" (I call it "demolition") are among the most brilliant and refreshing I've read. Her first big work, Sexual Personae (which I read in the early 90s), actually changed how I perceive and appreciate not just art and literature (the book's main focus), but western civilization itself, and the importance of the masculine ideal in it. One of these days I'd love just to sit in on one of her regular lectures at University of the Arts in Philly.

Anyway, thanks much for posting from her most recent comments in Salon -- especially so early in the morning. I'm definitely woken up now.

Lastango said...

Heh... it's a good day for Paglia quotes:

“Masculinity is aggressive, unstable, and combustible. It is also the most creative force in history. It is the patriarchal society that has freed me as a woman. It is capitalism that has given me the leisure to sit at this desk writing this book. Let us stop being small- minded about men and freely acknowledge what treasures their obsessiveness has poured into culture. Men created the world we live in and the luxuries we enjoy. When I cross the George Washington Bridge or any of America’s great bridges, I think- men have done this. Construction is sublime male poetry.”

...makes ya proud to be a man, and want to go out and Do Something. No doubt Paglia enjoys encouraging men, in part for the general good that ensues.

Dennis said...


It is always good to see a woman who understands the larger picture and see past her own nose. It is such a rare characteristic in a feminized society that is built on the accomplishments of men who cared more about women than the vice. If men were as bad as they paint us do they really think that they would have the freedoms they have now?

I have always enjoyed Paglia for saying exactly what she thinks no matter who might feel alienated.

Love the quote.