Monday, August 3, 2015

Camille Paglia, scholar, author,
philosopher, art critic, lesbian, political maverick


Stewart, Trump, Sanders: “Liberals think of themselves as very open-minded, but that’s simply not true!”

Jon Stewart

Trump's a carnival barker, 
but funnier than Stewart.

Donald Trump

Richard Dawkins is a joke. 
Sanders and Drudge 
earn approval



In part one of our three-day conversation with Camille Paglia, the brilliant cultural critic talked Bill Cosby, Bill Clinton and the odd, persistent return of ’90s political correctness. Today she takes on even hotter-button topics: Religion and atheism, Jon Stewart’s “Daily Show” legacy, liberals and Fox News, and presidential candidates Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.


You’re an atheist, and yet I don’t ever see you sneer at religion in the way that the very aggressive atheist class right now often will. What do you make of Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens and the religion critics who seem not to have respect for religions for faith?
I regard them as adolescents. I say in the introduction to my last book, “Glittering Images”, that “Sneering at religion is juvenile, symptomatic of a stunted imagination.  It exposes a state of perpetual adolescence that has something to do with their parents– they’re still sneering at dad in some way. Richard Dawkins was the only high-profile atheist out there when I began publicly saying “I am an atheist,” on my book tours in the early 1990s. I started the fad for it in the U.S, because all of a sudden people, including leftist journalists, started coming out of the closet to publicly claim their atheist identities, which they weren’t bold enough to do before. But the point is that I felt it was perfectly legitimate for me to do that because of my great respect for religion in general–from the iconography to the sacred architecture and so forth. I was arguing that religion should be put at the center of any kind of multicultural curriculum.

I’m speaking here as an atheist. I don’t believe there is a God, but I respect every religion deeply. All the great world religions contain a complex system of beliefs regarding the nature of the universe and human life that is far more profound than anything that liberalism has produced. We have a whole generation of young people who are clinging to politics and to politicized visions of sexuality for their belief system.  They see nothing but politics, but politics is tiny.  Politics applies only to society. There is a huge metaphysical realm out there that involves the eternal principles of life and death. The great tragic texts, including the plays of Aeschylus and Sophocles, no longer have the central status they once had in education, because we have steadily moved away from the heritage of western civilization.

The real problem is a lack of knowledge of religion as well as a lack of respect for religion. I find it completely hypocritical for people in academe or the media to demand understanding of Muslim beliefs and yet be so derisive and dismissive of the devout Christian beliefs of Southern conservatives.

But yes, the sneering is ridiculous!  Exactly what are these people offering in place of religion? In my system, I offer art–and the whole history of spiritual commentary on the universe. There’s a tremendous body of nondenominational insight into human life that used to be called cosmic consciousness.  It has to be remembered that my generation in college during the 1960s was suffused with Buddhism, which came from the 1950s beatniks. Hinduism was in the air from every direction–you had the Beatles and the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Ravi Shankar at Monterey, and there were sitars everywhere in rock music. So I really thought we were entering this great period of religious syncretism, where the religions of the world were going to merge. But all of a sudden, it disappeared!  The Asian religions vanished–and I really feel sorry for young people growing up in this very shallow environment where they’re peppered with images from mass media at a particularly debased stage.

There are no truly major stars left, and I don’t think there’s much profound work being done in pop culture right now.  Young people have nothing to enlighten them, which is why they’re clinging so much to politicized concepts, which give them a sense of meaning and direction.

But this sneering thing!  I despise snark.  Snark is a disease that started with David Letterman and jumped to Jon Stewart and has proliferated since. I think it’s horrible for young people!   And this kind of snark atheism–let’s just invent that term right now–is stupid, and people who act like that are stupid. Christopher Hitchens’ book “God is Not Great” was a travesty. He sold that book on the basis of the brilliant chapter titles. If he had actually done the research and the work, where each chapter had the substance of those wonderful chapter titles, then that would have been a permanent book. Instead, he sold the book and then didn’t write one–he talked it. It was an appalling performance, demonstrating that that man was an absolute fraud to be talking about religion.  He appears to have done very little scholarly study.  Hitchens didn’t even know Judeo-Christianity well, much less the other world religions.  He had that glib Oxbridge debater style in person, but you’re remembered by your written work, and Hitchens’ written work was weak and won’t last.

Dawkins also seems to be an obsessive on some sort of personal vendetta, and again, he’s someone who has never taken the time to do the necessary research into religion. Now my entire career has been based on the pre-Christian religions.  My first book, “Sexual Personae,” was about the pagan cults that still influence us, and it began with the earliest religious artifacts, like the Venus of Willendorf in 35,000 B.C. In the last few years, I’ve been studying Native American culture, in particular the Paleo-Indian period at the close of the Ice Age.  In the early 1990s, when I first arrived on the scene, I got several letters from Native Americans saying my view of religion, women, and sexuality resembled the traditional Native American view. I’m not surprised, because my orientation is so fixed in the pre-Christian era.

You mentioned Jon Stewart, who leaves the “Daily Show” in two weeks. There’s handwringing from folks who think that he elevated or even transcended snark, that he utilized irony very effectively during the Bush years. And that he did the work of critiquing and fact-checking Fox and others on the right who helped create this debased media culture? What’s your sense of his influence?

I think Stewart’s show demonstrated the decline and vacuity of contemporary comedy. I cannot stand that smug, snarky, superior tone. I hated the fact that young people were getting their news through that filter of sophomoric snark.  Comedy, to me, is one of the major modern genres, and the big influences on my generation were Lenny Bruce and Mort Sahl. Then Joan Rivers had an enormous impact on me–she’s one of my major role models.  It’s the old caustic, confrontational style of Jewish comedy. It was Jewish comedians who turned stand-up from the old gag-meister shtick of vaudeville into a biting analysis of current social issues, and they really pushed the envelope.  Lenny Bruce used stand-up to produce gasps and silence from the audience. And that’s my standard–a comedy of personal risk.  And by that standard, I’m sorry, but Jon Stewart is not a major figure. He’s certainly a highly successful T.V. personality, but I think he has debased political discourse.  I find nothing incisive in his work.  As for his influence, if he helped produce the hackneyed polarization of moral liberals versus evil conservatives, then he’s partly at fault for the political stalemate in the United States.

I don’t demonize Fox News. At what point will liberals wake up to realize the stranglehold that they had on the media for so long? They controlled the major newspapers and weekly newsmagazines and T.V. networks. It’s no coincidence that all of the great liberal forums have been slowly fading. They once had such incredible power.  Since the rise of the Web, the nightly network newscasts have become peripheral, and the New York Times and the Washington Post have been slowly fading and are struggling to survive.

Historically, talk radio arose via Rush Limbaugh in the early 1990s precisely because of this stranglehold by liberal discourse. For heaven’s sake, I was a Democrat who had just voted for Jesse Jackson in the 1988 primary, but I had to fight like mad in the early 1990s to get my views heard. The resistance of liberals in the media to new ideas was enormous. Liberals think of themselves as very open-minded, but that’s simply not true!  Liberalism has sadly become a knee-jerk ideology, with people barricaded in their comfortable little cells. They think that their views are the only rational ones, and everyone else is not only evil but financed by the Koch brothers.  It’s so simplistic!

Now let me give you a recent example of the persisting insularity of liberal thought in the media.  When the first secret Planned Parenthood video was released in mid-July, anyone who looks only at liberal media was kept totally in the dark about it, even after the second video was released.  But the videos were being run nonstop all over conservative talk shows on radio and television.  It was a huge and disturbing story, but there was total silence in the liberal media.  That kind of censorship was shockingly unprofessional.  The liberal major media were trying to bury the story by ignoring it.  Now I am a former member of Planned Parenthood and a strong supporter of unconstrained reproductive rights.  But I was horrified and disgusted by those videos and immediately felt there were serious breaches of medical ethics in the conduct of Planned Parenthood officials.  But here’s my point:  it is everyone’s obligation, whatever your political views, to look at both liberal and conservative news sources every single day.  You need a full range of viewpoints to understand what is going on in the world.

What is your media diet like?

The first thing I always turn to is the Drudge Report, which I’ve done around the clock since the birth of that page. In fact, my column in Salon was the first to take the Drudge Report seriously as a major new force in the media. I loved it from the start!  Its tabloid format is great–so easy and accessible and such a pleasure to read.  I’m so happy that Matt Drudge has kept that classic design.  Silly people claim he’s stuck in the past, but that’s absurd.  Drudge is invoking the great populist formula of tabloids like the New York Post and the New York Daily News, which were pitched to working-class readers.  Andy Warhol, who came out of a working-class immigrant factory family in Pittsburgh, adored the tabloids and reproduced their front pages in big acrylic paintings. The tabloids were always the voice of the people.  I admire the mix on Drudge of all types of news stories, high and low. The reason that nobody has been able to imitate Drudge is because he’s an auteur, stamping the page with his own unique sensibility and instincts.  It must be exhausting, because he must constantly filter world news on a daily basis.  He’s simply an aggregator, not a news source, but he has an amazing sense of collage.  The page is fluid and always in motion, and Drudge is full of jokes and mischief.

So I begin with that, and then I check the New York Post, the New York Times, Salon.com, Lucianne.com, and Arts & Letters Daily.  The Washington Post online is far more ideologically diverse than the printed newspaper ever was.  I’ll look at British papers of opposing sides, like The Guardian and The Telegraph, and I’m a big fan of the tabloid Daily Mail.  I like Google News a lot–I can type in a topic like “Hillary” and get a whole range of articles, both liberal and conservative, including on obscure fringe web sites.  I think it’s an absolute civic obligation for people to at least briefly review the full political spectrum of viewpoints on any major issue.

I was looking back at some of your old Salon columns, and was surprised to see some kind words for Donald Trump. There was one in particular when you were quite delighted by the way Trump went after Rosie O’Donnell on “The View.”

[laughs] Well, my view of Trump began in the negative.  When he was still relatively unknown nationally, he jackhammered a magnificent Art Deco sculpture over the main doorway of the Bonwit Teller department store on 5th Avenue.  It was 1980, and he was demolishing the store to build Trump Tower.  The Metropolitan Museum of Art had offered to take the sculpture, but Trump got impatient and just had it destroyed.  I still remember that vividly, and I’m never going to forget it!  I regard Donald Trump as an art vandal, equivalent to ISIS destroying ancient Assyrian sculptures.  As a public figure, however, Trump is something of a carnival barker.

But as a provocateur yourself, you must admire the very interesting his game he is playing.

So far this year, I’m happy with what Trump has done, because he’s totally blown up the media!  All of a sudden, “BOOM!”  That lack of caution and shooting from the hip. He’s not a president, of course. He’s not remotely a president. He has no political skills of any kind. He’s simply an American citizen who is creating his own bully pulpit.  He speaks in the great populist way, in the slangy vernacular.  He takes hits like a comedian–and  to me he’s more of a comedian than Jon Stewart is!  Like claiming John McCain isn’t a war hero, because his kind of war hero doesn’t get captured–that’s hilarious! That’s like something crass that Lenny Bruce might have said!  It’s so startling and entertaining.

It’s as if the stars have suddenly shifted–because we’re getting a mix-up in the other party too, as in that recent disruption of the NetRoots convention, with all that raw emotion and chaos in the air.  To me, it feels very 1960s.  These sudden disruptions, as when the Yippies would appear to do a stunt–like when they invaded Wall Street and threw dollar bills down on the stock exchange and did pig-calls!  I’m enjoying this, but it’s throwing both campaigns off. None of the candidates on either side know how to respond to this kind of wild spontaneity, because we haven’t seen it in so long.

Politics has always been performance art.  So we’ll see who the candidates are who can think on their feet.  That’s certainly how I succeeded in the early 1990s.  Before that, the campus thought police could easily disrupt visiting speakers who came with a prepared speech to read.  But they couldn’t disrupt me, because I had studied comedy and did improv!  The great comedians knew how to deal with hecklers in the audience.  I loved to counterattack!  Protestors were helpless when the audiences laughed.
So what I’m saying is that the authentic 1960s were about street theater–chaos, spontaneity, caustic humor. And Trump actually has it!  He does better comedy than most professional comedians right now, because we’re in this terrible period where the comedians do their tours with canned jokes. They go from place to place, saying the same list of jokes in the same way.  But the old vaudevillians had 5,000 jokes stored in their heads. They went out there and responded to that particular audience on that particular night.  They had to read the crowd and try out what worked or didn’t work.

Our politicians, like our comedians, have been boring us with their canned formulas for way too long.  So that’s why Donald Trump has suddenly leapt in the polls.  He’s a great stand-up comedian. He’s anti-PC–he’s not afraid to say things that are rude and mean.  I think he’s doing a great service for comedy as well as for politics!

Does Bernie Sanders remind you at all of the other side of the ‘60s ethos? That rumpled, socialist Clean Gene?

Totally! It’s been such a long time–I thought it was gone forever! Bernie Sanders has the authentic, empathic, 1960s radical voice. It’s so refreshing. Now, I’m a supporter of Martin O’Malley–I sent his campaign a contribution the very first day he declared.  But I would happily vote for Sanders in the primary.  His type of 1960s radical activist style descends from the 1930s unionization movement, when organizers who were sometimes New York Jewish radicals went down to help the mine workers of Appalachia resist company thugs. There are so many famous folk songs that came out of that violent period.

When I was in college–from 1964 to 1968–I saw what real leftists look like, because a lot of people at my college, which was the State University of New York at Binghamton, were radicalized Jews from downstate. They were very avant-garde, doing experimental theater and modern dance, and they knew all about abstract expressionism. Their parents were often Holocaust survivors, so they had a keen sense of history.  And they spoke in a very direct and open working-class style. That’s why, in the 1990s, I was saying that the academic leftists were such frauds–sitting around applying Foucault to texts and thinking that was leftism!  No it wasn’t!  It was a snippy, prim, smug bourgeois armchair leftism.  Real ’60s radicals rarely went to grad school and never became big-wheel humanities professors, with their fat salaries and perks.  The proof of the vacuity of academic leftism for the past forty years is the complete silence of leftist professors about the rise of the corporate structure of the contemporary university–their total failure to denounce the gross expansion of the administrator class and the obscene rise in tuition costs. The leading academic leftists are such frauds–they’ve played the system and are retiring as millionaires!

But what you see in Bernie Sanders–that is truly the voice of populism.  I love the way he says, “This is not about me, it’s about you–it’s about building a national grassroots organization.”  That is perfect!  I doubt Sanders can win a national election with his inflammatory socialist style–plus you need someone in the White House who knows how to manage a huge bureaucracy, so I’m pessimistic about his chances. However, I think that he is tonic–to force the Democratic party, which I belong to, to return to its populist roots. I applaud everything that Sanders is doing!


[NOTE: David Daley is the editor-in-chief of Salon.com]


114 comments:

  1. There are a lot people who are going to vote for this woman knowing damn well that she's phony and that she thinks she's above the rules.
    She's a phony and she thinks she's above the rules.
    That says a lot more about America than it does about her.
    Hillary.gets a $600 haircut while we worry about having enough money to pay our electricity bills. Enough is enough. Seriously. Her campaign chest is bulging from Wall Street donors. Do we really need another Wall Street crook? I don't think so. BTW, Hillary doesn't have a 'white liberal problem'. She has a corruption, elitist, murderous foreign policy problem. And that's really scary.

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    1. WE DELETE IMPOSTORS, especially when they make a bad job of their imposture.

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  3. The truth can be a hard reality sometimes, especially if you listen to the Liberals. But the fact that the truth may be hard to swallow and bitter to digest but never the less it’s the TRUTH.
    And that’s the way I see it with Donald Trump. It’s kind of a funny thing, despite drawing criticism the lefties, something that I and everyone else expected, but Donald has a much more difficult path to his nomination, he has to take all this criticism not only from the opposing party but from his fellow candidates and politicians on both sides of the political spectrum, Trump’s campaign also clearly resonated with some voters, with a recent national Fox News Poll showing the billionaire taking the lead over fellow GOP candidates.
    Conservatives may have good reason to be scared. Given his poll numbers, Trump is looking like he’s going to be a lock to get the GOP’s nomination but for a party that wants to attract Latino voters something that they may need to win, but it seems that he’s going to give the party a problem in securing them.
    As far as the issue of illegal’s coming into the US, no question about it, Trump is the only one in both parties that say’s it like it is and like it should be.
    And as far as the Liberals, Democrats, and Progressives are concerned, they are totally against anything that will stop illegal immigration. The Democrat’s are ready to greet illegal ‘s with open arms, they are all for the welcoming of these trouble makers and it they could they would even welcome Castro, the Ayatollah of Iran, and the President of Mexico here with open arms.
    Liberals were attacking John McCain in every way possible in 2008. The only reason they're defending him now is because he's being criticized by Donald Trump who is the front runner and who scares the living shit out of them. They're in full panic mode and their desperation is showing
    It is almost comical how stupid the Democratic base is. The party of stupid are saying all these stupid things about The Donald because they are scared of Trump. And they know that Hillary is Toast!
    It’s all over for Hillary, time for her to throw her leg over her broomstick and fly back to the cave in Arkansas.
    To summarize: As for me, I am for anyone but anyone who is a democrat. I don’t like Obama, Obama’s policies, or anything about Obama...
    I think Obama should stick to shooting hoops, playing Golf, and going on Vacations with Rap Stars and other Celebrities, or having a beer with them.

    Therefore I am a racist. And I’m ready for the retards on the left to debate me or call me whatever vile thing they wish to.... As soon as they are done throwing all that crap at Donald Trump.

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    1. Yes, yes, sure, but THIS post is SUPPOSED to be about what CAMILLE PAGLIA thinks of Trump –– and many other things as well.

      A WORD to the WISE:

      If you're determined leave lengthy tirades instead of responding to the topic, the least you could do would be to make a clear DIVISION between your PARAGRAPHS. Dense blocks of turgid prose frankly discourages people from trying to read what you've written.

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  4. I'm glad you picked up on this. I read the interviews as well. I love her social commentary. It's no wonder the true-believer lefties hate her. She is a fount of inconvenient truths.

    If we had more people like her on all sides, we could actually have some productive dialog.

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  5. I still think that the problem with DC is that the building are too short. The Donald can fix all that, get people living closer together, and save energy through more efficient transportation systems! Go Donald!

    As for Ms. Paglia, she'd make a great dominatrix! Progressives could pay her to whip them as she whispered "Sweet Bernies" in their ears as they climaxed!

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  6. Phyllis Butts-McCrackenAugust 3, 2015 at 8:38 AM

    Camille is still one sexy broad...

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    1. I'd prefer to call her "a most handsome woman." I think she might prefer that too.

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  7. Information You DeserveAugust 3, 2015 at 8:39 AM

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  8. A proud ProgressiveAugust 3, 2015 at 8:49 AM

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    1. Another day in Obama’s America!, students were threatened with being arrested for protesting Hillary Clinton at a campange Speeh
      But the THUGS who burnt down stores and houses in Baltimore were just Youths who were letting off some steam.

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    2. Please try to tie that observation in with Paglia's interview, Tyrone, or I may have to delete it.

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  9. Anti Progressive'sAugust 3, 2015 at 9:17 AM

    I'm with trump had enough of Obamas lies he's the king of jerks and stupid!

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  10. Let Obama talk long enough. With every word he says he epitemizes stupid He has turned against Americans with values all for votes not the good of the country and no one can argue that.

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  11. An Ashamed AmericanAugust 3, 2015 at 9:39 AM

    These Hoopers are so stupid that I'm ashamed to call myself someone from the same country as they are. It is no wonder that their news sites and blogs are awash in cynicism and anger, blaming their disappointments on everyone but themselves.
    And let's not forget that they are the party of Trump, Bush, and Palin.

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  12. Dear Liberals, Progressives, Socialists and All Other Assorted Idiots:

    We tried to tell you but YOU, and we tried to warn YOU and we told you that Elections have consequences, but you told US that we were crazy.

    WE Conservatives, TRIED to tell you that your Messiah was lying again when he told you that YOU could “Keep” your Health plan and Keep YOUR doctor if your Congressman voted for Obamacare.

    WE Conservatives, TRIED to tell you that your Messiah was lying again when he told you that he ONLY wanted to stick it to the “rich” and hike THEIR taxes, and not yours.

    WE Conservatives, TRIED to tell you that your Messiah was lying when he toldYOU that he knew nothing about the attack on Benghazi, yet he watched the entire Attack on Benghazi and did nothing to help them!

    WE Conservatives, TRIED to tell you what many Democrats have believed for years that Michelle Obama was NOT Jesus reincarnated.

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  13. A Proud ProgressiveAugust 3, 2015 at 11:20 AM

    .

    Thank you for another Thread regarding another disastrous Republian election. It is a joy to read such an articulate, distinct, and thought provoking writer such as you... (Sarcastic)

    The GOP is truly, finally, totally fucked up. And it’s the biggest national disaster I’ve ever witnessed.

    The only thing I’m confident about is that this will not end well.
    Thanks Obama ...

    ~@:o?
    .

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  14. A Trump Supporter.August 3, 2015 at 11:48 AM

    There is nothing that I love more than hearing people rightfully and properly standing up for The Constitution of the United States.
    Liberials need not apply

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  15. Why bother with Paglia when you have much more talented commentators and social critics of the 60's such as Joan Didion and Renata Adler?

    I suppose they don't get the attention because they don't confuse a cult like the Maharishi with true Hinduism or because Didion would skewer it.

    Paglia is just a gadfly without much hard content.
    But it's an interesting article. I thought she might have died.

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    1. It just goes to show, the Left likes to mix "fiction" heavily in with their journalism and social commentary.

      Oh wait, the "New Journalism" is dead. Jon Stewart killed it with Snark Journalism.

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    2. Paglia cleary states in the interview, "I HATE SNARK!"

      That means she hates YOU, Canardo, since you are the very personification of snark.

      Drop your sick shtick, and talk to us as a human being, or your tedious sniping will be eradicated. This is not Who's Your Caddy?

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  16. Paglia's always just been a contrarian.

    JMJ

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    1. and we all know the progressive hive hates contrarians...

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    3. Ducky would know. He used to "probe" Christiane Amanpour's "depths"... AND he once stayed in a Hilton!

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    5. A better word for the vibrant Camille might be PROVACATEUR, Jersey.

      If you want to appear erudite, call her a PROVOCATEUSE. Then you could sing a rousing chorus or two of "If My Friends could See Me Now!" ;-)

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    7. I like Paglia, in a lot of ways. She's a critic. I don't know how much of a provocateur she is anymore. When she was younger she caused a big rift in the feminist movement that in the end brought the movement, and her relationship with it, closer and more united. So that's good. But she's being a real hypocrite here. Have you ever read her stuff beyond this? She is no less snarky than any of her targets here.

      As for appearing erudite, only slobbolas concern themselves with that.

      JMJ

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    8. "she caused a big rift in the feminist movement"

      Intelligent, independent thinking tends to do that. You should try it sometime.

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    9. Jersey,

      I like a LOT of people whose viewpoints differ radically from my own. I like you, for instance. I've realized for a long time there's more to you than meets the eye. A good part of your boorish persona is just an act.

      I even like Ducky, hard work though that may be too much of the time. I'd like him a great deal more, however, if he'd learn state his differences with Conservatism more politely.

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  17. Reverend Al ShartstainAugust 3, 2015 at 2:17 PM

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  18. I'm disappointed at the lack of quality on the responses to Paglia's interview so far. From my point of view it isn't the topics she chooses to discuss that are important so much as her unique blend of whimsy, breezy dismissal, cheerful acceptance, outrageous irreverence and withering scorn.

    One never knows what to expect from Camille –– a self-defined liberal Democrat –– who, nevertheless marches only to the beat of her own personal drummer.

    I admire her for NOT making a career of her lesbianism, her atheism or anything personal at all. She is issues oriented, almost compulsively honest, and startlingly bright. Paglia prides herself in being unpredictable –– independent, –– outrageous –– a maverick –– and that is the source of her strength, her charm and enduring fascination.

    I cannot abide the way we've turned ourselves into a nation of grim, sour-pussed, militantly doctrinaire devotees of granitic, boilerplate political positions the ramifications of which most of us do not begin to fathom.

    Paglia may be confusing –– even off-putting at times –– but at last she shows some depth and seems fully alive.

    It's refreshing.

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  19. PAGIA POINT for DISCUSSION #1:


    We have a whole generation of young people who are clinging to politics and to politicized visions of sexuality for their belief system. They see nothing but politics, but politics is tiny. Politics applies only to society. There is a huge metaphysical realm out there that involves the eternal principles of life and death. The great tragic texts, including the plays of Aeschylus and Sophocles, no longer have the central status they once had in education, because we have steadily moved away from the heritage of western civilization.

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    1. Aeschylus and Sophocles had a central status in education? When?

      Sexuality is just recently central to peoples belief systems?

      She makes no sense.

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    2. ...although she could definitely benefit from a session with Adler's, Speedboat.

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    3. Yeah, really, I don't even know what she means. I work with young people, and from a variety of backgrounds. I just don't this sexual politicization she sees. Maybe among the academic class these days? I don't know. Not a big deal.

      And it's not like Americans ever got much of a classical education. My wife did, but she intentionally got that from the Jesuits. Only so many folks with Jesuit educations running around out there. Americans always leaned more to the trades than higher classical education. We've always had to import talent for the theoretical, philosophical, classical education stuff.

      JMJ

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    4. Try Cotton Mather, Jefferson, Franklin, Adams. Melville, Hawthorne, Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman to give yourself a healthy start, and then get back to me.

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    5. That list doesn't even make sense, and does nothing to change the well established fact that mentioned.

      JMJ

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    6. Hey, Jersey, you said we've had to import all our learning, philosophy, advanced thinking, etc. from Europe. I just proved you wrong with that very short list of original American thinkers.

      We were not founded by ignorant peasants, and we have not been populated purely with ignorant men who knew nothing other than blood, tears, sweat, and backbreaking toil.

      It's only since the 1920's –– shortly after the poisonous influence of progressivism took hold that in general our people have become less refined, more uncouth, loutish, brash, belligerent and selfish in the extreme.

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    7. WHAT MR COGITO THINKS ABOUT HELL
      --- Zbigniew Herbert

      The lowest circle of hell. Contrary to prevailing local opinion it is inhabited neither by despots nor matricides, nor even by those who go after the bodies of others. It is the refuge of artists, full of mirrors, musical instruments, and pictures. At first glance this is the most luxurious infernal department, without tar, or physical tortures.

      Throughout the year competitions, festivals, and concerts are held here. There is no climax in the season. The climax is permanent and almost absolute. Every few months new trends come into being and nothing, it appears, is capable of stopping the triumphant march of the avant-garde.

      Beelzebub loves art. He boasts that already his choruses, his poets, and his painters are nearly superior to those of heaven. He who has better art has better government--that's clear. Soon they will be able to measure their strength against one another at the Festival of the Two Worlds. And then we will see what remains of Dante, Fra Angelico, and Bach.

      Beelzebub supports the arts. He provides his artists with calm, good board, and absolute isolation from hellish life.

      Delete
  20. PAGLIA POINT for DISCUSSIIN #2

    It was Jewish comedians who turned stand-up from the old gag-meister shtick of vaudeville into a biting analysis of current social issues, and they really pushed the envelope.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Richard Prior was Jewish? Lord Buckley?
      Jean Shepherd?

      I'm sure she's referring to Lenny Bruce almost exclusively since Mort Sahl never pushed the envelope and Jackie Mason was never funny.

      Whether Bruce's Judaism had much to do with his comic schtick is worth discussion but as usual Paglia is more a bomb thrower than an analyst.

      Delete
    2. Camille P. hates SNARK, ergo she hates YOU, Canardo.

      I don't hate you, but I think your behavior shows you to be an absolute ass.

      Your stale, tattered Vaudeville Act is ossifying. It doesn't play well in Peoria, and it is not doing too well in the Blogosphere ether.

      Get yourself a new scriptwriter. Whoever writes your material is a dreary, witless HACK.

      Delete
    3. Paglia IS a snarkster, FreeThinke. I don't think you've read much of her stuff. She's being very hypocritical here. It's okay, but it's a fact.

      JMJ

      Delete
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  21. PAGLIA POINT for DISCUSSION #3:

    I don’t demonize Fox News. At what point will liberals wake up to realize the stranglehold that they had on the media for so long? They controlled the major newspapers and weekly newsmagazines and T.V. networks. It’s no coincidence that all of the great liberal forums have been slowly fading. They once had such incredible power. Since the rise of the Web, the nightly network newscasts have become peripheral, and the New York Times and the Washington Post have been slowly fading and are struggling to survive.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. She's correct but it would be worthwhile to apply this to the clown show you will see this Thursday.

      You will see the remnants of the RNC and a party that now takes its orders even less from Roger Ailes and more from utterly delusional blogs like Red State, Gatewau Pundit, Breitbart, Geller/Spencer.

      However the bloggers are just tools that ultimately keep the proles distracted from economic issues. The proles stay distracted by concentrating on the culture war which they are losing soundly.

      The media was much healthier when it was largely populated by centrists. This idea of a leftist controlled media is insane.

      Delete
    2. "She's correct."

      BRAVO! You should have stopped right there. The rest is sheep dip.

      Delete
  22. PAGLIA POINT for DISCUSSION #4

    The resistance of liberals in the media to new ideas was enormous. Liberals think of themselves as very open-minded, but that’s simply not true! Liberalism has sadly become a knee-jerk ideology, with people barricaded in their comfortable little cells. They think that their views are the only rational ones, and everyone else is not only evil but financed by the Koch brothers. It’s so simplistic!

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    1. To unspecific to be discussed.

      Substitute "Libertarian" for "Liberal" and play the game from the other side.
      Either way it's a mug's game.

      Delete
    2. Get a blog of your own, Canardo, and we'll be glad to come over and politely discuss your incessant, idiotic assumptions and assertions there. You are trying to compare boxes to plastic bags, tennis balls to footballs, mangos to grapes, etc.

      ALL you EVER do is make attempts to CHANGE the SUBJECT to one of YOUR choosing,

      You are a DIVERSIONIST among other things far less savory.

      I ask you please to STOW it.

      Paglia spoke a simple, patently obvious truth to anyone of even the most modest intelligence. Thank God SOMEBODY with more clout than I has the balls to do it.

      All of you on the Left are smoldering with rage, because after several decades of total dominance, your DEATH GRIP n the COMMUINCATIONS INDUSTRY has FINALLY been BROKEN.

      HALLELUJAH! and HOSANNA to the Highest!

      NONE of you can stand COMPETITION, and you have no defense against truth tellers, so you mock, scorn, deride, ridicule, libel and defame them every chance you get.

      YOU and all your kind are like the BULLY in the SCHOOL YARD who cries "FOUL!" when one of his victims FINALLY –– after months of torture –- fights back and places a well-deserved kick in the bully's shins.

      If it were up to me, I'd give the bastard a swift kick in the gonads.

      Delete
  23. PAGLIA POINT for DISCUSSION #5

    I find it completely hypocritical for people in academe or the media to demand understanding of Muslim beliefs and yet be so derisive and dismissive of the devout Christian beliefs of Southern conservatives.

    [T]he sneering is ridiculous! Exactly what are these people offering in place of religion? In my system, I offer art–and the whole history of spiritual commentary on the universe. There’s a tremendous body of nondenominational insight into human life that used to be called cosmic consciousness.

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    1. Art is central to my world also.

      What now Camille, you've discovered art and we must bow.
      Utter tripe.

      There's also a world of religious art that might even get a jaded old harpy like yourself on her knees, Camille but I doubt you're aware of it any more than you are profoundly aware of secular art.

      Delete
    2. Actually, Ducky, Paglia is quite familiar with Church art, literature and music, and has commented favorably upon it, how it uplifts the soul, transcendent, etc.

      Sounds like you're the 'old harpy.'

      Delete
    3. He is, indeed! I keep trying to provide him with opportunities to prove otherwise, but he's a dyed-in-the-wool SNARK. A rancid REFUTATIONIST. A blethering BOLSHEVIK REDUX. And a BLOODY BORE.

      Delete
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    5. OKAY! That's IT! You're OUT, Canardo until you learn to behave yourself with a modicum at least of decorum, and sop being such a despicable little SNOT.

      Sarcastic jibes, rancid rhetoric, bilious irrelevancies, negative taunts and other manifestations of disrespectful nastiness WILL be removed upon contact from here on in.

      IF you had told us something informative, interesting or persuasive about your leftist heroes Joan Didion (whose unwholesome, cadaverous appearance positively FRIGHTENS me), or this Renata Adler of whom I've never heard, I'd welcome it, even if I didn't like it, but NO all YOU have to offer is a lot of name-dropping. It makes a poor substitute for genuine critical commentary.

      Your tactics are unacceptable here.

      Delete
    6. I've yet to learn why you and Silverfiddle, one a champion of fine music and the other a critic of the overt sexuality in our culture defend Paglia who isn't known for much more than her defense of Madonna.

      Face it, she's a bomb thrower who doesn't stand up to thoughtful analysis.


      Remember Freethinke, this is the woman who thinks Emily Dickinson is a sadomasochist. Just weird.

      Delete
    7. Ducky: I am a critic of the pornified, cantoonish, hyper-sexualization of our culture. I'm as much a fan of a shapely beauty as the next man. Unfortunately, we've gone from classy to trashy in just a few generations. I'm not even that old, but I am old-fashioned, I guess.

      Delete
    8. But Paglia is a big champion of porn.

      Really, I don't get it.

      Delete
    9. GOD DAMN IT, Ducky! You've done it AGAIN. I asked you for specific information, and instead you AGAIN try to CHANGE the SUBJECT.

      Tell us what's so hot about Renata Adler, whoever she is, or expand on the fine points of Joan Didion's superior philosophy if you want, but QUIT your usual line of DSTRACTIONIST patter. It ANNOYS me.

      Talk abut BOMB THROWING! Christ Almighty! What the hell else is it you think YOU'RE doing ALL the TIME?

      Delete
    10. By the way, I'd be interested to learn WHY Paglia thinks Emily Dickinson was a Sado-Masocist, if, indeed, she does.

      Could you provide a link to give it some context please?

      Delete
    11. FreeThinke, Paglia isn't new to me and obviously isn't new to Ducky either. You were right about her being a provocateur - when she was young. And it was a base and unpleasant philosophy that went something like 'if you got, use it baby.' She never really came fully around on that. Paglia staking her class above these other folks is just a demonstration of her personal curmudgeonly tastes.

      JMJ

      Delete
    12. Ducky,

      I certainly don't have to agree with everything someone espouses in order to enjoy reading them.

      Delete
    13. Freethinke, Didion's Slouching Towards Bethlehem was the first major criticism of the 60's sub culture by someone who actually experienced it. Paglia is quite late to the party.
      Silverfiddle would definitely enjoy it.

      Adler is often concerned with the debasement f language in contemporary journalism. Try her new collection of essays, After the Tall Timber. Her takedown of Pauline Kael is legendary among cineastes.
      Speedboat is an experimental cult novel concerned with the aimlessness and emptiness of 70's upper middle class life.

      Get a copy of Paglia's Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson and see what you think.
      I know form her discussion of the bust of Nefertiti that she's not a very good art historian.

      But really, as a social critic she is not up to either Didion or Adler.

      Delete
    14. I wouldn't say Paglia is completely without merit either, Silverfiddle but her obsession with playing the agent provocateur has prevented her from developing any kind of complex consistent philosophy.

      Your glee in her supposed skewering of the left is a stretch.
      Adler would put her lights out.

      Delete
    15. You bang on about Adler as if she invented something. She did not. Every generation has its describers of the seamy underside, not-talked-about, whatever...

      Ever read "My Secret Life," an explicit diary of sexual adventures in Victorian England?

      Huxley's "Eyeless in Gaza" is a peek behind the curtain and a sharp criticism all in one. Every generation has such writers who produce such work.

      Your criticism is weak and whiny. She doesn't develop a "complex consistent philosophy" because she is not a philosopher.

      Provocative? Oh, the horrors! Don't you and Jersey fall on the fainting couch at the same time...

      Remember a time when lefties, especially 'educators' were into provocation? You know, to shake people out of entrenched thinking and spark lively conversation?

      That was back before the hippie leftists brought it all down and became the new stodgy keepers of the new orthodoxy. Suddenly, erstwhile virtues like freethinking and dissent are verboten.

      Yes, it is hilarious to watch doctrinaire leftwing progs scream in horror like little girls who've seen a spider.

      The Nation and Salon may be addressing some grains of truth, but they are musty, boring old-line regurgitations. I don't know how even people on the left have not grown bored with that stale crap. You'd think at least one of those octogenarians could think up a new way to ladled out the intellectually-thing gruel to the nonagenarians still hanging around and reading it...

      Delete
    16. Well, thank you, Ducky, for at last providing some substance beyond your usual quips and taunts. I read 90% of Adler's supposed takedown of Pauline Kael (whom I have always despised, by the way probably for much of her early work which Adler finds praiseworthy), and found it little more than just another example of what Paglia would describe as condescending snarkiness.

      At one point Adlers says of Kael, "She tended to write rather too long for what she had to say ..., and there was something overwrought in her tone."

      I had to chuckle at that, because it seemed Adler had given us a perfect description of herself. I found the piece ponderous, tedious, humorless, bogged down with much extraneous detail, and stray, diffuse observations. As with most attempts at caustic criticism Adler's piece revealed a great deal more abut Adler than it did about Kael.

      Nowhere near as waspish, snide and acidic as much of what-I-recall of Kenneth Tynan, John Simon, or Graham Greene, of course, but not as entertaining either.

      I certainly share Adler's professed concern for the marked degeneration in English usage, style and syntax –– not only among journalists, but everywhere one turns these days. At the same time, however, I was unimpressed with Adler's ponderous, rambling, overly detailed style. Writing of that sort strikes me as reminiscent of women who feel compelled to weigh themselves down with too much jewelry.

      If you are determined to assume the role of an Omnipotent, Omniscient Observer, you'd better be not only notably –– but astonishingly –– good. Adler failed in that attempt.

      That aside, thanks for the recommendations. I wish I could still read books, but have been unable to read away from the 'puter for more than tend years because of filing eyesight.

      I've known Paglia for a good many years. I certainly don't consider myself one of her disciples, but as I said elsewhere in this thread I find her wild inconsistencies, breezy irreverence, impudence, and puckishness engaging.

      I detect no underlying bitterness or viciousness in Paglia as I do with so many others who put themselves forward as having superior powers of perception and analysis. I doubt very much that she believes everything she says anyway. I can tell by reading between the lines.

      Your friend Adler seems a bit like Ninotchka before she fell in love with Paris, Melvyn Douglas, and the haute bourgeois lifestyle –– i.e. too deadly serious, and too full of herself.

      Delete
    17. ... but as I said elsewhere in this thread I find her wild inconsistencies, breezy irreverence, impudence, and puckishness engaging.
      --------

      One man's "puckishness" is another man's snark.

      You don't detect any viciousness in Paglia because she has no real convictions.
      Of course she doesn't believe what she writes. That's why you can't sense any passion.
      She never stayed with any theme long enough to develop a consistent theory. Her style was never creative or innovative while Adler's certainly has been.

      If Paglia has done anything original let me know.

      Delete
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    19. No Silverfiddle, I've never read nor had the impulse to read "My Secret Life". Why bother?

      But I'm still waiting for some incisive insight of Paglia's.

      "Every generation has such writers who produce such work."
      Ever since The Tale of Genji. That's a fact.
      Paglia ain't one of them.


      It is interesting to do a Google on "Camille Paglia" and take a look at what she's up to lately:

      " How Bill Clinton is like Bill Cosby" --- yawn

      "Columbia Anti-Rape Mattress Project Is Not Feminism" --- Paglia is just writing about that? Talk about late to the party.

      "Media Refusal To Cover Planned Parenthood Videos Is “Shockingly Unprofessional” --- No coverage? She's a bigger joke than Breitbart.


      Really weak tea, Silver. Pick up a copy of "After the Tall Timber".

      Delete
    20. ...pay particular attention to Toward a Radical Middle.

      You may find some insight on how to constructively ally with your left wing brethren.

      Paglia, not much help.

      Delete
    21. I'm not allying with her, I just enjoy her observations.

      This bigger issue here, which FT has already pointed out, is your knee-jerk trashing of anyone who deviates from your very narrow ideological doxies.

      FT has proffered a discussion topic, but you immediately foam at the mouth and sling shit on the author of the ideas instead of using them for a springboard of discussion. What a perpetual pus-filled toothache you are...

      Delete
    22. " ...Hinduism was in the air from every direction–you had the Beatles and the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Ravi Shankar at Monterey, and there were sitars everywhere in rock music."
      ---------
      How do you take something like that seriously?
      Ravi Shankar played at Monterey so we were all getting a lesson in Hinduism? She should stick to Madonna, Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus.

      The woman has no depth. I once enjoed her discussion of sadomasochism in Lililana Cazani's (sic) "The Night Porter". Even if she had spelled the director's name properly it would be pretty clear she had paid cursory attention to the film.

      The woman is shallow and a genuine fraud.
      I think pointing that out is essential to any discussion of Paglia.

      Delete
    23. She uses such observations as an entre to discussing social phenomena. I can't believe such arch criticism is coming from someone who still, despite all the evidence, believe Karl Marx (LMAO) was right.

      Let's face it. Today's herd of leftists, with their trigger warnings and micro-aggression antennae aquiver, are about as edgy as a butterknife.

      Paglia is a breath of fresh air in a stuffy, stale room.

      Delete
  24. It's hilarious how leftwing progs don't realize what stick-up-the-ass, intolerant, orthodox prigs they've become. Camille Paglia reveals it. Go look at the comment thread for each of those interviews.

    I was watching a Sam Kinnison DVD the other evening that violated the PC code from beginning to end, and included plenty of lurid blasphemy and insults to conservative Christians, and this was at the height of Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority.

    Despite Dark whining from the likes of Ducky about Ronnie Raygun, rightwingcons and all that, Kennison and others were free to bash anything and everything.

    I couldn't help thinking that if he were alive today, he could not do much of that routine, thanks to the Progressive Hive. Just ask Seinfeld or Dave Chappelle.

    The late George Carlin was a true liberal, but progressive PC prigs pissed him off and he rightly fingered them as the new source of intolerance.

    Camille Paglia is a kind of rorschach test for intelligence, open-mindedness, freethinking and having fun while doing it. Hive drones like Ducky and Jersey flunked the test.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I mostly agree. Thank you for weighing in.

      Delete
    2. Oh, you're so right, Silver. Paglia showed us progs what stick-up-the-ass, intolerant, orthodox prigs we've become by being a stick-up-the-ass, intolerant, orthodox prig. What were we thinking?

      JMJ

      Delete
    3. You can't be blamed Jersey. Drones are hardwired to protect the hive.

      Delete
    4. What hive? I like Camille Paglia! I have more in common with her than any of the "great minds" you guys bandy about. But, she can be a real sick-in-the-ass.

      JMJ

      Delete
    5. stomp, snort, and gruntAugust 4, 2015 at 8:15 PM

      Paglia has always been an interesting character. Most independent minded and clear thinking folks are.

      Sure leaves a boatload of cons and progs behind, eh?

      Delete
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  26. At one time I regarded Paglia as a cutting edge wit against the entrenched media collective. And even here she is a provocative and edgy critic that obviously knows how to get "a rise" from the stultified left. Her earlier rise to fame was likely aided by her attributed recognition of Ayn Rand as being influential to her thinking ,,, or as the old canard would have it—a Randoid.

    But times change and sometimes ones perceptions change over time as new evidence becomes available including ones perception of Ayn Rand

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  28. For the sake of AmericaAugust 4, 2015 at 7:25 AM

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  31. The trump supporters are the equivalent of the obama supporters in 08. He doesn't have to have a plan just a speech. No information voters are a real threat on both sides.

    On the leftist side is HRC saying bush, perry, walker have a war on women for pushing to de-fund PPH when it was a women who pushed it. I guess you can't blame her because she is getting hit pretty badly from the Rightwing clowns.

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  35. Why is Christy the GoonFather even bothering to run for the presidency? The folks in New Jersey despise him. They booed the crap outta him the other day, not once but twice. Normal people don't like loud-mouthed bullies -- normal people, that leaves out the T-GOPers who think Christie would be a terrific president.

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    3. WHAT THE HELL???

      WHY THE HELL TO YOU LET THAT ASSOLE ANONYMOUSE'S IDIOT COMMENT STAND???


      WTF????????

      Delete
  36. It pisses me off to no end as it should you as well when people, especially those leftist idiots in government, and you know who refer to illegal aliens as Immigrants. That’s an insult to the millions who came here legally, especially my grandparents who immigrated LEGALLY from Poland.
    Today thousands and thousands of these useless druggies pour in daily. And these "elected" officials turn a blind eye to it.

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  37. A Free Thinke Reader.August 4, 2015 at 3:37 PM

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  40. IrrRational NationAugust 4, 2015 at 4:27 PM

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  41. Jon Stewart is a revoting specimen of humanity sadly typical of the gene pool from which he sprang. Reminds me of the Creature from the Black Lagoon only uglier and a lot more dangerous.


    ----------------------------> Katharine Heartburn

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