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Jan 02 2014

“This PC gender politics thing”

The Wall Street Journal talks to Camille Paglia about “a feminist defense of masculine virtues.” Oh god no, not this crap again.

This self-described “notorious Amazon feminist” isn’t telling anyone to Lean In or asking Why Women Still Can’t Have It All. No, her indictment may be as surprising as it is wide-ranging: The military is out of fashion, Americans undervalue manual labor, schools neuter male students, opinion makers deny the biological differences between men and women, and sexiness is dead.

They’re joking, right? Surprising? What on earth is surprising about any of that? It’s been Paglia’s shtick for decades.

The fact that the acclaimed book—the first of six; her latest, “Glittering Images,” is a survey of Western art—was rejected by seven publishers and five agents before being printed by Yale University Press only added to Ms. Paglia’s sense of herself as a provocateur in a class with Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern. But unlike those radio jocks, Ms. Paglia has scholarly chops: Her dissertation adviser at Yale was Harold Bloom, and she is as likely to discuss Freud, Oscar Wilde or early Native American art as to talk about Miley Cyrus.

Chops shmops. She discusses all the things, sure, but it’s just discussing. She doesn’t make a case for anything, she just slaps it down and moves on to slap down the next thing. She makes assertions.

By her lights, things only get worse in higher education. “This PC gender politics thing—the way gender is being taught in the universities—in a very anti-male way, it’s all about neutralization of maleness.” The result: Upper-middle-class men who are “intimidated” and “can’t say anything. . . . They understand the agenda.” In other words: They avoid goring certain sacred cows by “never telling the truth to women” about sex, and by keeping “raunchy” thoughts and sexual fantasies to themselves and their laptops.

Is Paglia aware that those laptops are connected to the Internet?

It would be funny if it weren’t for the fact that the Wall Street Journal is taking it seriously.

14 comments

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  1. 1
    thephilosophicalprimate

    Somewhere in my archives of notable quotations (on another computer), I have a direct quote from Camille Paglia criticizing intellectual impostors. I keep it in reserve in case I ever need to wield irony as a deadly weapon.

  2. 2
    Stevarious, Public Health Problem

    Ms. Paglia’s sense of herself as a provocateur in a class with Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern.

    Wait… this sentiment is clearly a hearty ‘fuck you!’… and yet, it’s phrased like a compliment? I’m confused.

  3. 3
    angharad

    Upper-middle-class men (ironically the autocorrect tried to change that to upper-idle-class) are well known for hardly ever talking. Especially not about sex.

  4. 4
    MFHeadcase

    Of course the WSJ is taking her seriously, what she is saying fits perfectly with their editorial agenda.

    Maintain the status-fucking-quo…

  5. 5
    Bernard Hurley

    I’m not sure, angharad, I know upper-middle-class men for whom the sweetest music is the sound of their own voices and who prattle on about sex endlessly, enough to make the whole subject seem totally boring. OTOH they probably don’t talk about it much with their partners, at least, not in the way they are talk about it with other upper-middle-class men.

  6. 6
    Bernard Hurley

    The Wall Street Journal should stick to subjects they are good at, like walls and streets.

  7. 7
    Stacy

    Is that pretentious wanker still being taken seriously by the East Coast Intelligentsia? I thought her 15 minutes were up.

    She doesn’t make a case for anything, she just slaps it down and moves on to slap down the next thing. She makes assertions.

    Rapid fire assertions peppered with learned-sounding references to Freud and Oscar Wilde and MadonnaMiley Cyrus. Watch how she does it, kids, and you too can be an intellectual.

  8. 8
    dexitroboper

    At Lawyers, Guns & Money it is obligatory to link to this Molly Ivins article when discussing a Camille Paglia article.

  9. 9
    latsot

    I can never quite understand why having agenda is so often seen as a bad thing. Would we prefer it if people said and did things without a plan? Would it be better if we didn’t tell people what it is we want?

    I guess only certain people are allowed to want things and to plan to get those things.

    Damn right I have agenda. I don’t do things for no reason. When people condemn me for having agenda, it seems to me more like a denial of the reason than an argument that I’m doing it wrong.

  10. 10
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    The result: Upper-middle-class men who are “intimidated” and “can’t say anything. . . . They understand the agenda.”

    Or, as people with some grasp of reality and sociolinguistics call it: They’re indignated by the fact that they are no longer allowed to have 75% of all conversations, are told that it’s bad behaviour to interrupt people including women and who notice that indeed there are sometimes consequences for saying stupid things, which means that they might have to think before they open their pieholes.
    They also note that people no longer take their opinion as an authority on matters they don’t know shit about and they think that this loss of privilege is apparently in the words of Paglia the same as literally cutting off their balls.

  11. 11
    Nick Gotts

    Suggested dictionary entry:

    camillepaglia, n: Ridiculous, unsupported assertion(s), made purely to garner publicity.

  12. 12
    CaitieCat, getaway driver

    camillepaglia, n: Ridiculous, unsupported assertion(s), made purely to garner publicity.

    Oh, no, Nick Gotts, that’s not fair.

    She also really likes being accepted as one of the guys.

  13. 13
    Stacy

    @ dexitroboper #8: Thanks for posting that Molly Ivins essay. That was great. :D

  14. 14
    Stacy

    Molly Ivins is dead and Camille Paglia is alive. Proof there is no god.

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