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Dr. Helen

‘What you’re seeing is how a civilization commits suicide,…’

December 28th, 2013 - 6:01 am

Camille Paglia in the WSJ:

‘What you’re seeing is how a civilization commits suicide,” says Camille Paglia. 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. And that’s just 20 minutes of our three-hour conversation.

When Ms. Paglia, now 66, burst onto the national stage in 1990 with the publishing of “Sexual Personae,” she immediately established herself as a feminist who was the scourge of the movement’s establishment, a heretic to its orthodoxy. Pick up the 700-page tome, subtitled “Art and Decadence From Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson, ” and it’s easy to see why. “If civilization had been left in female hands,” she wrote, “we would still be living in grass huts.”

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Top Rated Comments   
The Left will do anything to win. The Right will do anything to avoid a confrontation. The Left are activists. The Right are inactivists. Two liberals in a group of 100 conservatives will dominate the discussion. The 90 plus conservatives will whisper to each other, discuss what just happened AFTER the event, and then flee to some other group that has less chance of liberal interruption.

I've argued with teachers, in class, since I was 10 years old. It never once provoked any of the after-class conservatives to speak up in class. These undercover conservatives hide in school, work, and union meetings. They are more likely to call into Rush's radio show and claim "not everybody in the teacher's union is such and such" than to speak up inside their union meeting.

When one side will not stop and the other side will not fight, the outcome is settled. The country will not survive just because you feel nice being a quiet example to your neighbors. The country has switched from Mayberry Rules to Prison Rules. We can either win the culture war or lose the culture war. Wishing there was no culture war guarantees we lose.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
I love Camille Paglia. She is, to my mind, one of the few honest voices in the Humanities today. I can say that with authority, because I have a Master's degree in British Romantic poetry (concentration on Blake), with a dual minor in medieval literature (concentration on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight) and the Humanitites (concentration on American literature and postmodernism). I have exhaustively studied literature and literary criticism going all the way back from Homer and Plato to present. Most of the courses I took really only gave me a direction to pursue, which I did; almost everything I learned came through independent study on my own.

I have always been fascinated by original thinkers, those that go against the grain, buck convention. All true artists are unique--they refuse to conform. They do respond to those that came before them--Bloom call this the anxiety of influence--but they do so in a way that is uniquely their own. Michelangelo and Mozart come to mind. They both respected tradition, but they took tradition into areas that no one could have possibly imagined.

Paglia is the same way. I have read several of her works, and I have to say that as a Humanist, she is brilliant. She totally gets what the Humanities are or should be all about, the study of human character. It's a fascinating field of study, and really the only one a basic curriuclum should be built around. You can learn more about human character just by reading Chaucer than you ever will by reading any psychology textbook.

But Paglia is a walking contradiction. She is a lesbian, pro-pornography, feminist who rails against the feminist establishment. First, it's hard to imagine her as a true lesbian, since she has a son. Second, she really isn't pro-pornography so much as she's pro-erotica. Third, she isn't really a feminist, rather she's a suffragette.

She embraces the freedoms from static convention that the 60s and 70s wrought, but yet she remains true to tradition, at least as it pertains to the Humanities. She is all for equal opportunity, but she refuses to deny biological reality. She fully understands that the way this culture, this education system, this legal system treats men is only going to insure it's inevitable collapse. And she knows that women will suffer all the more for it.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (10)
All Comments   (10)
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I don't know if I would classify either woman as "masculine". Rather, both women are rational and refuse to engage in this game of "pretend" that modern Progressives love so much, as if by pretending that something is true, it becomes so.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think Camille is, maybe, understating the possible/probable outcome. The implicit assumption is that our society is independent and unassailable, and will fail as a result of 'internal' issues only.

The real concern should be, as history amply illustrates, when a society becomes weak, feeble, and crucially emasculated, that is when 'the barbarians at the gates' will strike.

Call me a misogynist if you will, but I class her (and Dr. Helen) as 'masculine' - in the sense of the 'philosophically defined approach' ie. facts rather than feelings, black-and-white rather than constant shades of grey, etc.A complement - really! Honest!
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
Camille Paglia reaches a truth beyond that known by any political official in the U.S. or U.K. What happens to institutions in those counties--or any other for that matter--when those institutions lose their masculinity is catastrophic.

One of her best quotes is, "If it was left for women to create civilization we would still be living in grass huts." In truth, with women in charge, even those grass huts would have gone up in cinders.

For proof reach no further than "The Tinder Box: How Politically Correct Ideology Destroyed the U.S. Forest Service, Christopher Burchfield, Stairway Press. The entire book supports the case presented by Ms. Paglia. The most powerful arguments are presented in Chapters 6,7, 16 and 17 (check out the Amazon reviews).

The dichotomy between men and women has evolved over 6 million years now. The differences are not marginal but are manifest. For feminist readers--upon reading the Paglia column--analyzing "The Tinder Box" will require a bottle of blood pressure medication by the sofa side.
Parker H. French
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
I took a sex & gender class a couple of quarters ago and was introduced to liberal feminism, but it was also the first time I studied feminism. What I noticed about liberal feminism is it's "women are victims" mentality. Its very core is based on this stance and it does no one any good. Men get lashed out against, while at the same time, it also discredits women.

I just finished a class taught by another feminist and it was very uncomfortable for me, I spent most of the quarter not wanting to be there. I noticed the instructor was harsher in her response to me, but was friendlier to the gay men and the women in the class. I confronted her on one comment she made to me. She apologized, but at the same time said she didn't remember making the comment.

My experience was so bad that I canceled my women studies minor and dropped my registered psych of women class for next term. I swore to myself that I would never knowingly take a class taught by a liberal feminist again.

I consider myself a moderate with leanings towards both sides of the political spectrum. I tend to study both sides of the issue before making a decision. I am currently studying conservative feminism and find it to be better-rounded than the liberal brand. I just started "Who Stole Feminism" and "The Rational Male" on my kindle.

One last thing, the feminist who taught my class believes that humanists who support equality, but refuse to align themselves as feminist are just being "cop-outs." This was after I told her that I was a humanist.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
I spoke to her once when she was promoting her poetry book. I found her unusual for a media star in that she began each of her remarks with a presumed respect for the (unknown) interlocutor.

She understands the metrosexual ideal of the upscale academy, and should be listened to.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Left will do anything to win. The Right will do anything to avoid a confrontation. The Left are activists. The Right are inactivists. Two liberals in a group of 100 conservatives will dominate the discussion. The 90 plus conservatives will whisper to each other, discuss what just happened AFTER the event, and then flee to some other group that has less chance of liberal interruption.

I've argued with teachers, in class, since I was 10 years old. It never once provoked any of the after-class conservatives to speak up in class. These undercover conservatives hide in school, work, and union meetings. They are more likely to call into Rush's radio show and claim "not everybody in the teacher's union is such and such" than to speak up inside their union meeting.

When one side will not stop and the other side will not fight, the outcome is settled. The country will not survive just because you feel nice being a quiet example to your neighbors. The country has switched from Mayberry Rules to Prison Rules. We can either win the culture war or lose the culture war. Wishing there was no culture war guarantees we lose.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Libertarians also are activists, and they'll speak with or argue against left-wingers, right-wingers, or conservatives. Right-wingers in general avoid confrontation except for the religious right that combines love of confrontation with excessive smugness.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
tscottme - Beautifully direct and entirely accurate.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
That's a good epigram: Mayberry Rules v. Prison Rules.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
I love Camille Paglia. She is, to my mind, one of the few honest voices in the Humanities today. I can say that with authority, because I have a Master's degree in British Romantic poetry (concentration on Blake), with a dual minor in medieval literature (concentration on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight) and the Humanitites (concentration on American literature and postmodernism). I have exhaustively studied literature and literary criticism going all the way back from Homer and Plato to present. Most of the courses I took really only gave me a direction to pursue, which I did; almost everything I learned came through independent study on my own.

I have always been fascinated by original thinkers, those that go against the grain, buck convention. All true artists are unique--they refuse to conform. They do respond to those that came before them--Bloom call this the anxiety of influence--but they do so in a way that is uniquely their own. Michelangelo and Mozart come to mind. They both respected tradition, but they took tradition into areas that no one could have possibly imagined.

Paglia is the same way. I have read several of her works, and I have to say that as a Humanist, she is brilliant. She totally gets what the Humanities are or should be all about, the study of human character. It's a fascinating field of study, and really the only one a basic curriuclum should be built around. You can learn more about human character just by reading Chaucer than you ever will by reading any psychology textbook.

But Paglia is a walking contradiction. She is a lesbian, pro-pornography, feminist who rails against the feminist establishment. First, it's hard to imagine her as a true lesbian, since she has a son. Second, she really isn't pro-pornography so much as she's pro-erotica. Third, she isn't really a feminist, rather she's a suffragette.

She embraces the freedoms from static convention that the 60s and 70s wrought, but yet she remains true to tradition, at least as it pertains to the Humanities. She is all for equal opportunity, but she refuses to deny biological reality. She fully understands that the way this culture, this education system, this legal system treats men is only going to insure it's inevitable collapse. And she knows that women will suffer all the more for it.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
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