Everything's Awesome and Camille Paglia Is Unhappy!


Todd Krainin/Reason

Growing up as "a gender nonconforming entity" during Eisenhower's America wasn't easy for cultural critic and best-selling author Camille Paglia. Her adolescence in small-town, upstate New York was marked by rejection, rebellion, and cross-dressing—all in reaction to the stultifying social norms of the 1950s and early '60s.

So what does Paglia think of contemporary culture, with its openness to a wide variety of ever-proliferating gender, racial, and sexual identities?

Not much.

"I do not feel that gender is sufficient to explain all of human life," Paglia tells Reason TV's Nick Gillespie. "This gender myopia, this gender monomania, has become a disease. It's become a substitute for religion. It is impossible that the feminist agenda can ever be the total explanation of human life."

Whether the subject is feminism or the fate of Western civilization, Paglia is no Pollyanna. In this wide-ranging discussion, she says higher education is going to hell, the Fourth Estate is an epic FAIL, millennials are myopic, contemporary criticism has croaked, and Hillary Clinton might singlehandedly destroy the universe. Even Madonna, once Paglia's ideal of sex-positive feminism, seems to have lost her way.

Does the celebrated author of Sexual Personae and Break Blow Burn have any reason to get out of bed in the morning? Does she have any hope for the universe at all? Watch the video to find out.


2:55 – Growing up as a "gender nonconforming entity" in Eisenhower's America.

7:50 – What is feminism? The limits of identity politics.

14:35 – Rape, paternalism, and Madonna on the university campus.

19:30 – How the country club model of university life has debased contemporary cultural criticism.

24:38 – The decadent obsession with cultural identity in the modern world.

29:13 – Authentic multiculturalism and critical theory.

32:42 – Is there any hope for the humanities?

37:25 – Contemporary journalism is bad and it makes politics even worse.

45:18 – What sort of image does a great president project?

47:27 – The importance of "working class people". 

51:08 – Hillary Clinton is a disaster. Dianne Feinstein is presidential.

54:46 – What are you optimistic about? Students are more ignorant than ever.

58:16 – Paglia's upcoming work: religion and the paleo-Indian period.

Runs about one hour.

Produced by Todd Krainin. Cameras by Meredith Bragg and Krainin.

Scroll down for downloadable versions and subscribe to Reason TV's YouTube Channel to receive notification when new material goes live.

Reason interviewed Paglia in 1995. Go here to read that conversation with Virginia Postrel.

INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT: This is a rush transcript. Check against video for accuracy.

reason: Let's talk about the state of contemporary feminism. You have been in a public life or in an intellectual life since the late 1960s, a proud feminist, often reviled by other feminists. Gloria Steinem most famously said you were an anti-feminist and that when you denied that, she said that would be like a Nazi saying they're not anti-Semitic. You're mixing it up. What is going on with the state of "professional feminism" in this country. It seems if you look at from, say, the early '70s, things have gotten better for women. Men are less uptight about gender roles. Women are more in the workforce, they get paid equally, sexual assaults and sexual violence are down. In so many ways, things are going better than ever, and yet from sites like Jezebel or Feministing, all you hear is that things have never been worse.

Paglia: Feminism has gone through many phases. Obviously the woman's suffrage movement of the 19th century fizzled after women gained the right to vote through the Constitutional amendment in 1920. Then the movement revived in the late 1960s through Betty Freidan co-founding NOW in 1967. Now, I preceded all that. I'm on record with a letter in Newsweek, I was in high school in 1963, where I called for equal rights for American women and so on. I began thinking about gender, researching it, I loved the generation of Amelia Earhart and all those emancipated women of the '20s and '30s, and because I had started my process of thought about gender so much earlier, I was out of sync with the women's movement when it suddenly burst forth.

reason: It became a huge kind of cultural moment in the late 60s—it had been percolating before…

Paglia: It was literally nothing. There was no political activism of any kind from women getting the right to vote in 1920… when Simone de Beauvoir wrote her great magnum opus, The Second Sex, published in the early 1950s, she was thought to be hopelessly retrograde. Nobody could possibly be interested again in gender issues.

reason: You were living in upstate New York. Did you already know what your sexuality was? What was it like to be a woman, a lesbian, in 1963?

Paglia: Well, the 1950s were a highly conformist period. Gender had repolarized after really great gains it seems to me in the '20s and '30s, and one must be more sympathetic to the situation of my parents' generation. They had known nothing but depression and war throughout their entire lives. My father was a paratrooper, when he got out of the army, everyone married, and I'm the baby boom. They wanted normality. They just wanted to live like real people, man and wife in a home. I found the 1950s utterly suffocating. I was a gender nonconforming entity, and I was signaling my rebellion by these transgender Halloween costumes that were absolutely unheard of. I was five, six, seven, eight years old. My parents allowed me to do it because I was so intent on it.

reason: What were you dressing up as?

Paglia: A Roman solider, the matador from Carmen. My best was Napoleon. I was Hamlet from the Classics Comics book. Absolutely no one was doing stuff like this, and I'm happy that this talk about medical sex changes was not in the air, because I would have become obsessed with that and assumed that that was my entire identity and problem, so this is why I'm very concerned about the rush to surgical interventions today. At any rate, I was attracted to men—I dated men—but I just fell in love with women and always have. Yes, there's absolutely no doubt. I was on the forefront of gay identification. When I arrived at graduate school at Yale 1968-1972, I was the only openly gay person, and I didn't even have a sex life. To me, it was a badge of militance. And I was the only person doing a dissertation on a sexual topic. It's hard to believe this now.

reason: What was the topic?

Paglia: Sexual personae, which was the book finally published in 1990 after being rejected by seven publishers and five agents, and that was unheard of again. I'm delighted I had the sponsorship of Harold Bloom that pushed the topic through the English department, I think possibly that they allowed me to do such a thing on sex was actually kind of amazing.

My clashes with other feminists began immediately. For example, it was 1970 or 1971, there was a feminist conference at the Yale Law School, and major feminists were there including [the author] Rita Mae Brown, who said to me, "The difference between you and me, Camille, is that you want to save the universities, and I want to burn them down." How can you have dialogue with these people? Later she became a rich lesbian novelist and has a horse farm in Virginia. And then I had a screaming fight with the New Haven Women's Liberation Rock Band over The Rolling Stones, because at that time, hard rock was seen as sexist. Now, this argument seems so retrograde.

reason: Although it's true, right? The guitar's a phallus. The rock god is Dionysius. He's not a woman.

Paglia: But at that time, there were no woman musicians. That's why Patti Smith was so radical when she appeared in her Frank Sinatra garb for [photographer and lover Robert] Mapplethorpe on the front of Horses. We had a screaming fight about [the Stones' song] "Under My Thumb." I said, "Yes, yes, the lyrics are sexist, but this is a great song. This is a work of art." And these feminists cornered me with my back against the wall practically spitting in my face saying, "Nothing that demeans woman can be art." Now, as a student of art history, how can you have any dialogue with these people? That is the Nazi and Stalinist view of art, where art is subordinate to a pre-fab political agenda.

Next was the argument over hormones. Again, screaming argument over hormones, which I was told by the founding members of the Women's Studies Department at the State University of New York at Albany, that I had been brainwashed by male scientists to believe that hormones even existed, much less had any role in the shaping of our identity and character. So I was banned from the women's movement from the start, but I kept going on. I was pro-pornography, pro-prostitution on libertarian grounds. For years, my wing of feminism—which had been silenced and ostracized all time by the Steinem wing, the establishment wing, partisans of the Democratic party, my party, but nevertheless, I don't feel that feminism should be subordinated to any party—finally, we rose in the '90s and the pro-sex wing of feminism won in the '90s thanks to Madonna having changed the culture.

reason: For you, what is the essence of feminism? Is it using the lens of gender to explore every given issue? Is it a formal gesture? Is it a methodology, or is it a set of political positions that can't change?

Paglia: I am an equal-opportunity feminist. I believe that all barriers to women's advancement in the social and political realm must be removed. However, I don't feel that gender is sufficient to explain all of human life. This gender myopia has become a disease, a substitute for a religion, this whole cosmic view. It's impossible that the feminist agenda can ever be the total explanation for human life. Our problem now is that this monomania—the identity politics of the 1970s so people see everything through the lens of race, gender, or class—this is an absolute madness, and in fact, it's a distortion of the '60s.

reason: You're not saying that those things—race, class, and gender—which is kind of the holy trinity of contemporary cultural studies, but all of those things are important, and they all intersect in many ways.

Paglia: They are important.

reason: But you're essentially arguing that none of these explain things totally.

Paglia: That's right. These are techniques of social analysis I find very useful. That's the way I teach and write. Race, class, and gender? Absolutely! But the point is that Marxism is, as I argue in the introduction to my last booklet, is not sufficient as a metaphysical system for explaining the cosmos. It is very limited. Marxism sees only society, but we are much greater than that. There's nature, there's eternity, there's questions of mortality, which Catholic theology of the Middle Ages addresses far more profoundly then Marxism ever has.

reason: And of course, one of the foundational texts in feminism, The Dialectic of Sex, but Shulamith Firestone, literally just took class out of the Marxist idea and put in gender and then did the same thing. So you're saying there's some power in those moves, but they're limited.

Paglia: Yes, that's right. They're simply tools. But we should have a large toolbox.

reason: Is that the lesbian in you talking, that you want a large toolbox? 

Paglia: No, it's actually ex-Catholic. I'm an atheist, but there's no doubt that I see things theologically, and I was profoundly influenced by Hinduism and Buddhism when I was in college at Harpur College in upstate New York [at SUNY-Binghamton]. These ideas were everywhere. I feel that the '60s had a vision, a large cosmic perspective that was absolutely lost in this degeneration, in this splintering of the 1970s into these identity politics.

reason: Was it just that the revolution eats its own, or is it that there's a shrinking economic pie, so people started grabbing for whatever they could before the Titanic goes down? What explains that kind of narrowing of the cosmic vision?

Paglia: My explanation: I actually wrote an entire essay about the religious vision of America in the 1960s in "Cults and Cosmic Consciousness," and I feel that the real visionary thinkers of my generation destroyed their brains on drugs. I think that LSD just leveled all the truly talented people of my generation. 

reason: I have to say that this conversation is over! (laughs) So who were the people who destroyed themselves on drugs? 

Paglia: My classmates. I think the authentic imaginations, the really innovative people of my generation, the most daring of my generation took the drug. Now I, for some reason, felt that the LSD was untested, and I did not want to experiment with it. But I was very interested in it. I was interested in all types of "vision quests" at the time. I went up with fellow students [from SUNY-Binghamton] to see Timothy Leary speak at Cornell. I saw him, and it made me uneasy that he the guru with such a crowd around him, but his face was already twitching. I could see that this was not going to end well, and it did not. So when I got to graduate school in 1968, I can attest to the fact that no authentically radical student of the 1960s ever went to graduate school so all that were left were the timeservers, who parasitically [inaudible] on the achievements of the 1960s for heaven's sake. Here's an example: When I had applied to graduate schools, I applied to six or seven schools…

reason: And you didn't get into the one you wanted so you went to Yale?

Paglia: I made the choice for Yale because of the library. I felt that I needed the library. But I also applied to Buffalo and thought of going there. Leslie Fiedler was there. Norman Holland was there, so I could have easily gone to Buffalo. At any rate, I was confronted by the leader of the campus radicals on the quad who said, "I heard you're going to Yale." He said, "You don't do that. In graduate school, that's not worth happening." He did allow that if I were to go to graduate school, I should go to Buffalo. That was the only thing that he permitted. But these people, the idea that there were any tenured radicals—Roger Kimball's phrase—this was not true. Todd Gitlin was the absolute only one.

reason: Todd Gitlin, who was the leader of Students for a Democratic Society in the 1960s. So there weren't tenured radicals. There were tenured bureaucrats is essentially what you're saying?

Paglia: So here's the thing: Any authentic leftist, who had a job at a university in the 1970s or '80s or '90s, should have been opposing the entire evolution of the university—that is, toward this administrative bureaucracy that has totally robbed power from the faculty. The total speciousness and fraud of academic leftism is proven by the passivity of these people in every department of the university to that power play that happened. My first job at Bennington, we rose. 1976, we rose, the faculty voted no confidence in the president and to fight back against the board, we rejected the power of the board. And where has there ever been after that any such uprising?

reason: Two things: One is that I actually think you're right that universities travel on their faculty, and various studies have shown that there has not been a growth in the number of faculty, certainly not of tenure-track faculty, but the big growth of employment in universities is in administration.

Paglia: Absolutely. The salaries soared.

reason: If you went to college up through the late '60s to mid-'80s, there was no in loco parentis. There were fewer and fewer required courses. It was a kind of temporary autonomous zone. Then it started getting ratcheted down. And then you hear about the student experience, and it's about required courses and making people think certain things or not express certain things. So much of the focus of undergraduate education seems to be on kind of indoctrinating people into the proper ways of thinking.

Paglia: That's right. 

reason: How does this play into this passivity on the part of the faculty? Is it that the faculty wants to see this happen, and so they're happy to have bureaucrats run things?

Paglia: All I can say is that once again, the people who went into teaching, who went to graduate school, are just fowl or sheep as far as I'm concerned. When you look back at the '60s, one of the organizers of this rebellion at Bennington was a veteran of the Columbia University uprising where they took over the president's office and so on. When you look back, there were all these movies made in the '60s and even early '70s about campus uprisings; all the time you have students and faculty occupying the president's office, breaking into the board meeting… Where do we find this? All these radical leftists battening off the universities all these years, decade after decade after decade. 

Let me just say something about the in loco parentis because when I arrived in college in 1964, in loco parentis was operative. I was in a girl's dorm. We had a sign-in at 11:00 at night. The boys could run free. They had panty raids. We threw water at them out the windows and so on. My generation of women rose up and said, "Get out of our private lives!" And the university said, "No, the world is dangerous. We must protect you against rape and attack and all those things." And we said, "Give us freedom! Give us freedom to risk rape! That is true freedom!"

reason: Isn't it as true that what they were trying to restrain was not rape, but rather your sexual appetite?

Paglia: I think that they believed they were acting for the parents, that it was their obligation to protect, and this is why I went so much against the grain of contemporary feminists, and when I wrote about the date rape hysteria, I wrote this inflammatory piece for Newsday in 1991 that still I'm still being persecuted about it everywhere. People are still angry about it, and basically what I said was free woman must take personal responsibility for their own sex lives, and keep the authority figures out of your sex life.

reason: And to be clear, in no way is this sanctioning sexual violence. 

Paglia: Absolutely not.

reason: What you're talking about is cases where people retroactively reclassified something of a regrettable sexual experience that they would rather not have consented to as rape. 

Paglia: I'm talking about date rape, what everyone is talking about right now, about this so-called "rape culture." But that essay that I wrote begins, "Rape is an outrage that cannot be tolerated in any civilized society." That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about this new reclassification of people getting drunk, going on a date, going to fraternity houses, and women not taking responsibility for their own behavior. I said that gay men for thousands of years have been going out and having sex with strangers everywhere. They know they can be beaten up. They know they can be killed. What is this where women are, "Oh, we must be protected against even our foolish choices. It's up to men to…" This is ridiculous. This is an intrusion into the civil liberties of young people that have this kind of vampiric parent figures and the administrators hovering, watching, supervising people's sex lives. In Europe, there's nothing like this. There's no idea that the University of Paris is concerned about the dating lives of damn students.

reason: Well, they also don't have sports teams, and they don't have dorms. 

Paglia: Exactly. It's this residential college thing, this vision of college as this summer camp, this Club Med. This is the folly of American education.

reason: It's more reeducation camp now, right? Camp Wo-Chi-Cha?

Paglia: It's, "Let us hold your hand. Let us give you the incredible gym with exercise equipment. Let's give you the thousand choices in the cafeteria." This has nothing to do with education anymore.

reason: You talked about how in the '90s, your view of feminism, getting rid of legal or de jure restrictions on women's ability rise or fall, cultural equality, things like that burst out, and Madonna is one of the great change agents for you. Talk a little about Madonna's effect on the culture, which we're still feeling. One of the more interesting things that comes up is that before and after Madonna, every popular movie and many popular and artistic novels, it's all about the "Virgin-Whore Complex." A woman can only be a virgin or whore, and in Madonna's wake, it seems the virgin-whore complex, which bedeviled Western Civilization for decades, doesn't seem to really matter anymore.

Paglia: Madonna's great period was 1983 to 1992. She absolutely changed the world. There's no doubt about it. And since then, it's cringe-making when the current Madonna… it's embarrassing.

reason: I think you'll agree that when she started faking the English accent, the real Madonna died (laughs), every bit as much as Elvis died the day he went into the Army.

Paglia: But what Madonna did was to allow young women to flirt with men, to seduce men, to control men. She showed that you could be sexy but at the same time control the negotiations and territory between male and female, and that was really powerful. So now, we're in a period, this is what I don't understand, where women on campus—the institutionalized whining now—that's what it's turned into.

reason: Clarify what's the difference between a legitimate gripe and whining?

Paglia: Well, in my point of view, no college administration should be taking any interest whatever in the social lives of the students. None! If a crime's committed on campus, it should always be reported to the police. I absolutely do not agree with any committees investigating any charge of sexual assault. Either it's a real crime, or it's not a real crime. Get the hell out. So you get this expansion of the campus bureaucracy with this Stalinist oversight. But the students have been raised with helicopter parents. They want it. The students of today—they're utterly uninformed, not necessarily at my school, the art school, I'm talking about the elite schools.

reason: So it's those kids over at that other school.

Paglia: It's the grade grubbers, the bright overachievers. I'm not at that kind of school [here at University of the Arts in Philadelphia] . I'm at a school of arts and communication where people already have a vocational trend. To be admitted here, you have to already have demonstrated a vocational aptitude. I'm talking about the Ivy League. Now, I've encountered these graduates of Harvard, Yale, the University of Pennsylvania, and Princeton, I've encountered them in the media, and people in their 30s now, some of them, their minds are like Jell-O. They know nothing! They've not been trained in history. They have absolutely no structure to their minds. Their emotions are unfixed. The banality of contemporary cultural criticism, of academe, the absolute collapse of any kind of intellectual discourse in the U.S. is the result of these colleges, which should have been the best, have produced the finest minds, instead having retracted into caretaking. The whole thing is about approved social positions in a kind of misty, love of humanity without any direct knowledge of history or economics or anthropology.

reason: Maybe the university is not the place where that sort of stuff is happening anymore. So, for instance, you have think tanks that do a lot of economic or policy work. You have popular historians who are not academic. Fiction and poetry, even as there's been a rise in for decades now of creative writing programs and what not. Nobody looks to the university to be cutting edge on almost anything really, so maybe it's just that you picked the wrong hors. Maybe you should have followed the campus radicals' suggestion and not gone into academia?

Paglia: [As a] writer of cultural criticism, I find that I'm happiest when I'm writing for the British press, and I write quite a bit for The Sunday Times magazine in London. I find that the general sense of cultural awareness means that I can have an authentic discourse about ideas with international journalists from Brazil or Germany or Italy or Norway or Canada even—somewhat, but they have a P.C. problem themselves. I can feel the vacuum and the nothingness of American cultural criticism at the present time. It is impossible—any journalist today, an American journalist, you cannot have any kind of deep discussion of ideas.

reason: Is that just a kind of hyper-exaggeration of the American disease, which goes back to early American literary criticism, that we're people who come from nowhere and we don't care about the past. We're freed from the burdens of the past, but we don't care about the past.

Paglia: Yes, I think this is true. The past is always present in Europe. To the extent that you're in Berlin, you can still see the bullet marks on buildings from World War II. And it's a terrible burden to have that there. I think Americans are far more ingenious and open and daring. On the other hand…people abroad have a much more sophisticated idea about [politics and ideology in] Europe because they'll have 13 parties conflicting in parliament and so on. So I think that's been a problem over here—it's either-or. You're either a liberal or a conservative, and what?!? You're combining things from both sides? Then obviously you're a traitor! It's become some sort of religion whether you're a Democrat or a Republican over here. And as you had the first conservative challenge coming from talk radio in the early '90s to the liberal hegemony in the mainstream media, I thought that was a very exciting period, because you start to get the clash of ideas, but now the right itself has become a victim of its own insularity, and I no longer feel that dialogue anymore.

reason: You did not exist in the mid-'60s. Your cultural identity did not exist. And now, there's a million types of people that you can be. You can be a conservative lesbian, you can be polyamorous, you can be bisexual, you can be this, you can be that…

Paglia: Yes.

reason: Would you agree that there's been just a massive proliferation of legitimate cultural identities out there? Is that a good thing or a bad thing, and what's driving that move forward?

Paglia: At first, I was very excited about the ethnic identity movement, because I feel very Italian American and have always been in revolt against the WASP style that dominated academe—Leslie Fiedler himself was a victim of this, Harold Bloom was—there weren't any Jews hired in the Yale English department in the mid-1950s, there were quotas on Jewish students admitted to Harvard, all things like that. But over time, what's happened, I think, is that gender identity has become really almost fascist. It's to me a very shrunk and miniaturized way of perceiving your position in the world and in the universe. There [comes] a time when these fine gradations of gender identity—I'm a male trans doing this, etc.—this is a symbol of decadence, I'm sorry. Sexual Personae talks about this, that was in fact the inspiration for it, was that my overview of history and my noticing that in late phases, you all of a sudden get a proliferation of homosexuality, of sadomasochism, or gendered games, impersonations and masks, and so on. I think we're in a really kind of late phase of culture.

reason: So that the proliferation of cultural identities, the proliferation of all sorts of possibilities is actually a sign that we're…

Paglia: On the verge of collapse? Yes! Western Culture is decline. There's absolutely no doubt about it, in my view, looking at the history of Egypt, of Babylon, of Byzantium, and so on. And so what's happening is everyone's so busy busy busy with themselves with this narcissistic sense of who they are in terms of sexual orientation or gender, and this intense gender consciousness, woman consciousness at the same time, and meanwhile…

reason: Is that also racial or ethnic consciousness as well?

Paglia: Well I think right now, to me, the real obsessions have to do with gender orientation. Although I think there's been this flare-up [regarding race]. I voted for Obama but I've been disappointed. I think we had hoped that he would inaugurate a period of racial harmony, and I think the situation has actually become even worse over recent years. It seems to be overt inflammatory actions by the administration to pit the races against each other, so I think there's a lot of damage that needs to be healed. But I think most of the problems as I perceive them in my students and so on, is that there's this new obsession with where you are on this wide gender spectrum. That view of gender seems to me to be unrealistic because it's so divorced from any biological referent. I do believe in biology, and I say the first paragraph of Sexual Personae that sexuality is an intricate intersection of nature and culture, but what's happened now is that they way the universities are teaching, it's nothing but culture and nothing's from biology. It's madness! It's a form of madness, because women who want to marry and have children are going to have to encounter their own hormonal realities at a certain point.

reason: Do you see your personal liberation as having helped to grease the skids for decadence, for the collapse of Western Civilization?

Paglia: I have, yes.

reason: Do you feel at all ambivalent about that?

Paglia: I've defined myself as a decadent. One of my first influences was Oscar Wilde. I stumbled on a little book called The Epigrams of Oscar Wilde in a secondhand bookstore in Syracuse, New York when I was like 14 and I was fascinated by his statements. So I am a Wildean, and he identifies himself as a kind of decadent in that period of asceticism.

reason: And certainly he was toward the end of the great hegemony of England as a world power, at least in a cultural sense. 

Paglia: Yes, that's true too, the decline of an empire. Absolutely.

reason: So somebody like Leslie Fiedler, who taught for years at Buffalo and before that at the University of Montana, he literally wrote about freaks [and the great widening of American culture]. He did not seem to see it as a sign of decadence, though. Wasn't it kind of a delivery on the promise of an America where you could be an individual and where you could kind of create new forms of existence and new forms of identity?

Paglia: Well, to me, Fiedler was one of the myth critics. Northrop Frye was a huge influence on me, and the myth critics had this enormous view of history and of culture, and it's partly influenced by Jung. 

reason: We're talking archetypes here. 

Paglia: Yes, and this kind of synchronism, seeing all the religions and cultures of the world, so that broad vision to me is the authentic multiculturalism. Leslie Fiedler had it. There's the formula. He honored also the great writers. He worked in Chaucer, for heaven's sake. He worked in John Donne. He didn't have any fetish about the dead white European myths. He understood that vitality had switched over to America, but he was omnivorous. The people today, what they practice, [versions of New Historicism], I call it this yuppie buffet style—we take a little here, a little this, you juxtapose them, you make cutesy remarks, and that's it. There's no deep learning any longer. That's a Jewish style! The Jewish style of Fiedler or of Harold Bloom is deep erudition. 

reason: The movie version of Fifty Shades of Grey is out. It's been accused and valorized for mainstreaming BDSM. It is always remarked upon as, "This is sub-literary. You take Ayn Rand and dumb her down, and you're still a mile above where E.L. James is." Fiedler in particular—and this seems very distinct from someone like Harold Bloom—was famous for talking about the effects [popular and low-brow] texts had on audiences. [Fiedler praised] Gone With the Wind, which was dismissed by "real" critics as chick lit: "It's not really literature, it's certainly not Faulkner, it tells us nothing of the South, etc." Fiedler said, "No, actually, you need to look at a book as meaingful that makes you cry every time you read it" and that has a hold on millions of people. Obviously Sexual Personae, which is a book much like [Fiedler's encyclopedic] Love and Death in the American Novel, which is this incredible work where you're grabbing from high and low… it's an incredibly learned book.

Paglia: Well I've said that Love and Death in the American Novel is the book immediately behind Sexual Personae. This is the next step into the gender area. 

reason: You have standards. Your last couple of books, particularly Break, Blow, Burn, which is about great poems. How do you square a great poem with high and low…

Paglia: Bloom absolutely rejects the writers in the last part of my book. Bloom has never accepted the Beats. I was heavily influenced by the Beats, and I love a certain kind of poetry that Bloom thinks is garbage.

reason: And I'm guessing that he's not a big Joni Mitchell fan. 

Paglia: (laughs) Probably not. But the point is that I call for standards. In great art, but also popular culture, I say, "This is good. This is not good." I don't think that there's any difference for me from the Fiedler way. I respond to both. I always respond to both. Great art and also Elizabeth Taylor and so on, at a time when she wasn't taken seriously. And I always follow my instincts and the pleasure principle. So I don't see any contradiction. 

reason: What would be a way forward for colleges or other institutions to start making a defense of the humanities?

Paglia: Oh, that's hopeless. It's absolutely hopeless. The humanities destroyed themselves with veering toward postmodernism and post-structuralism. It's over. They've been completely marginalized by deconstruction, by questioning, undermining, and throwing out the whole idea of the genius, of the master of great works of art. I believe that there are great works of art. I do not believe that the canon is produced by critics sitting in a room testifying to their own power. I believe the canon is created by other artists. You identify the canon by who had the greatest influence on other artists over time. That is the story. The whole historical tradition, the linear line, which I absolutely believe in in terms of art history, has been discarded. The survey courses are being abandoned. Graduate students are not being trained even to think in large terms anymore. They have no sense of history. I find there's more sense of history in southern evangelicals who didn't even finish high school because their knowledge of the world is based on the Bible, so they're thinking in terms of, "What happened 2,000 years ago? What happened 2,500 years ago?"

reason: So you think it's impossible to revivify the humanities?

Paglia: How is it going to happen?

reason: Well, I'm asking you. You're making a pretty good case that it's helpful.

Paglia: I want parents to rebel and stop paying these obscene prices. The government is like, "Put all that loan money flush into the colleges and drive up the tuition obscenely, etc." I want to return to vocational education, with people being trained for real jobs.

reason: But that is also totally at odds [with intellectualism]. Isn't that a capitulation to the worst kind of element [that sees college only in terms of job preparation]?

Paglia: No.

reason: Where then do people talk about ideas?

Paglia: Then it forces universities to pare down this ridiculously overinflated curriculum to what is necessary. I had a very wonderful experience when I was finishing Sexual Personae living in New Haven in the early 1980s. I was teaching these freshmen basic great books literature courses to night classes at the Sikorsky helicopter factory. These are adults who are married with children—some of them were middle-aged. Just getting additional credits. These were night classes—I had to have all these badges to get in with security and whatnot. It was fantastic. This is what should be done. People have to live, to have some way of supporting themselves. This is ridiculous, graduating kids with these crushing debts. And what are we doing? We're releasing them into what? They're going to be working for McDonald's? We should think in terms of careers. We should be about preparing people to get jobs, and not just getting jobs as the Ivy League does in finance or in law, these high-tech professions and so on. No! Right now, it's expected that you go to college. Why? My generation, the baby boomers, were the first where people are talking about college as a "right." It used to be very few people went to college. My father was the first member of his family to go to college. He did it on the G.I. bill. And I am the direct beneficiary of it. But the abandonment of the core curriculum for this cafeteria-style way of education today, where people are just picking out these crazy names for courses…

reason: Yet there's no question that virtually every undergraduate has a much more structured curriculum now. They don't have a lot of options. If you talk to a typical English major, they have many more required courses for just general ed requirements, there are many more required courses than there were in the '70s.

Paglia: Honestly, you're able to graduate with degrees in literature without having read several of the major authors. I just don't think that's true. The survey courses are gone. There are very few places that have the survey courses any longer like an art history course that went two semester starting with cave art and ending with abstract modernism and so on—those have been abandoned, and these are some of the best courses that were ever offered in the American university with this great vision of things, moving chronologically over time, showing influence, and so on. They've been abandoned. And I'm encountering the graduates, and again, their minds are mush! I've tried to find interesting pieces of cultural criticism on the web and in the magazines and so on, and I find them horribly written, verbose, meandering all over the place, solipsistic, and so on. I read the comments, and now and then, there will be some very sharp comments diagnosing exactly what was wrong, but overwhelmingly, the comments are stupid as well. There's an absolute degeneration of American culture that is speeding up.

reason: Talk a little bit about Salon. This offers a kind of fascinating vantage point. We're 20 years on from the beginning of Salon essentially. You were writing for Salon at a time when people like David Horowitz, the left-wing-turned-right-winger, was there. It was a much more kind of ecumenical place. The idea was that people should be interesting. Now, we've hardened into what might be called the politics of exclusion and exhaustion, where you're either a right-winger or a left-winger—you're a Weekly Standard neo-con or a Salon P.C. warrior.  You were talking about Democrats and Republicans and how never-the-twain-shall-meet. What is driving that kind of intensification of difference and unwillingness to brook any sort of overlap between political and ideological categories? 

Paglia: First of all, what I want to say about Salon is that in its great period, you still had David Talbot, the main founder of Salon, in charge, and David Talbot's mind was very sophisticated and cosmopolitan, and he was interested in the full range of ideas. He had tremendous prescience. This was a great editor. And at a certain point, he retired from management, and I had several very sympathetic editors after that I worked with happily, but what had the sense of the pressure coming as the turn toward this kind of hysterical and one-dimensional political rhetoric came in. It was coming from a few of the co-founders of the magazine.

reason: Who are you talking about?

Paglia: I'd prefer not to mention names. David Talbot's imprint on Salon gradually faded, and what happened was today Salon—it's like a collegiate magazine to me. The headlines are strident. It's like knee-jerk and predictable, and I think it's very sad. I think one of the most tragic declines in the history of the contemporary media is what's happened to Salon.

reason: A libertarian may be poorly defined as socially liberal and fiscally conservative or as socially tolerant and fiscally responsible. Is that a political or ideological position that can actually offer something good to the future?

Paglia: Well it appears that Rand Paul is drawing excited college crowds. It would be interesting to see whether young people have the kind of old style of sense of identification with Democrat or Republican. I have the sense—it's not an entirely comfortable one—that my students have slowly morphed away from even paying attention to politics over the past let's say 15 years. It's worried me, because the crises around the world are actually intensifying, and how are they going to cope as a generation.

reason: Well to go back, you had mentioned that you're a Democrat. I'd assume your parents were Democrats? But you have an intense brand of loyalty.

Paglia: My grandfather's generation was Democrats. My grandfather worked in a factory and they loved Roosevelt and so on, and then that generation, my parents' generation, shifted during the disorders of the 1960s and there was a shift toward the Republican in the '70s and so on, and I've always been a Democrat myself, and I voted for Obama. I remain a registered Democrat. But I voted Green in the last election, so I voted for a woman president already, Jill Stein. And I contributed some money to the Green Party, even though people might think that since I'm a skeptic about global warming, what am I doing, but I honestly still believe that the Green Party is closer to the vision of the 1960s that I remember than what the Democratic Party has become. 

reason: When you're talking about students now, is it a bad thing that they forget politics? Because there was a huge element of the '60s revolution, which was like, "Politics? That's old men duking it out and trying to throw our bodies in front of each other." Is it a bad thing? Because one of the promises of libertarianism, really, is that we squeeze politics down to the smallest sphere possible so we can get on with more meaningful parts of our lives.

Paglia: I'm just concerned if you're not interested at all in the news or in political sparring and maneuverings and so on, then how can you possibly have any influence on the future? I'm worried that we're heading toward a kind of Big Brother empire where you have the career politicians at the top in league with the puppet masters of the media, the ability manage the news, the complete drop of journalistic standards now that the newspapers are vanishing. No young person reads a newspaper. That's on the way out. So without staff of investigative reporters, how are you ever going to be able to get in depth stories that might take a year or two to research? So we're in a period now where the people who are reporting and writing the news don't even bother to investigate; they just report what the government official says as if it's the truth. You don't even have a disclaimer like, "Such and such official claimed." The media is acting as a total mouthpiece, and that bothered me in the run up to the Iraq War. I was like the only person who spoke out in Salon at length against the Iraq War. Everyone fell down flat in front of what the government was saying.

reason: But don't you think there are lots of non-traditional news sources? How much of this is that your reading habits are attuned to a previous era's. You have groups like ProPublica, you have The Marshall Foundation, which is headed up by a former New York Times editor that looks at sentencing reform and is doing long-form reporting on criminal justice. You're so relentlessly negative. 

Paglia: What you're saying has nothing to do whatever with the main forum of the news! I am constantly monitoring the main forum of things, and it could be this, it could be that… What affects the way the news is being reported on the radio, on the web—AOL putting the main ideas out there, what's on Google News—I'm constantly monitoring the main arenas of things. Then I pursue my own interests in certain areas. I have certain personal interests and so on, but as a teacher, I also am constantly monitoring what my students have heard of and what they know. Constantly. Every day I enter class, I try to start with something that's in the news and I'm able to monitor how aware the students are. And I'm telling you that over the last 15 years, step by step by step, it's getting worse and worse and worse. If I were at Yale or at Harvard, I'm sure the pre-law students are constantly monitoring the news, and they would know exactly what I'm talking about. But I'm not…

reason: And you would hate them…

Paglia: These are the arts! This is the future of the arts and communication here! That's the future of law and finance.

reason: During my tenure at Reason, and I started in 1993, I know that our venue, our audience has grown. Our influence—people at The Washington Post call us up, people at NPR—so in those main forums, it seems that alternative news sources, which do long-form reporting, are actually growing in terms of our influence. Not necessarily on every issue, but in many ways, when you look at the transformations in things like marriage equality, pot legalization, skepticism about war. On many issues, it seems as if you're right. Certainly before the Iraq War, there was nothing from the mainstream media, but now people, there seems to be a skepticism forming, which has to be coming from somewhere.

Paglia: Ok (laughs), all I can say is that when Hillary and her Valkyrie warriors got us into Libya, I didn't notice anything. I was absolute in my Salon column to condemn that, and here's the end result—the total destabilization of Libya. Everyone fell down flat in front of that one too. I think what libertarianism needs is a strong candidate. Rand Paul is just not taken seriously. If he really wants to run for president, he's just not taking anything seriously. The presidency is not just a boast of power; it's also symbolic. And you have to look a certain way and act a certain way.

reason: Whether it's a Democrat or Republican, what should a candidate look like whether it's male or female?

Paglia: The huge impact for me was when I was 13 and John F. Kennedy was running. You can't imagine what it was like coming out of these sleepy Eisenhower years—we didn't know why Eisenhower was a great war hero. We knew nothing of that. And this incredible, charismatic man, who had accomplished nothing, but his whole ability to speak. For a while I'd been disillusioned by JFK, but when I look back at some documentaries that show him speaking on the road when he was campaigning, that was a smart guy. In fact his management of press conferences was incredible. Of course, he created the genre. But wow, he was just pinpoint sharp, and he just put everyone to shame with their managed questions and their planned call lists, etc.

reason: Ok, his sense of sprezzatura is important. What else goes into the perfect candidate? 

Paglia: He had been in the military. He had been in the Navy. So that's another thing that's a problem now with contemporary politics is that in America now, a whole generation of men that had experienced the realities of war, been abroad, and experienced the horrors of war—it's going. So we have all these guys that are products of Ivy League schools and this Harvard and Yale concentration—this is not good. Whereas in England, there's a tradition of course of the upper class, including the royal family, going into uniform. So the sense of commitment, the ruling class has a sense about war and military history and of sacrifice and so on. Now we have an entire country of either the governing class having no… We have this professional army so the sufferings and the losses are being subjected onto others. This is very dangerous to me, because war is your encounter with historical reality and with elemental realities of life and death. [This is the problem] with the left, too. This transformation, this slow change into this middle class culture that we inhabit now, this shrinking of the industrial base, the migration of factors overseas, what is meant is that leftism has become totally armchair rhetoric with no direct contact with real, working class people.

reason: Is it a bad thing if we don't have as many working class people?

Paglia: Well, I think that it gives me this sense of grounding…

reason: But you didn't work in a factory, right?

Paglia: My grandparents' generation—all four grandparents were born in Italy, in the countryside—they were farmers. My mother was born there too. They came over here—one grandfather worked in a shoe factory, and I was living in their home. The other was a barber.

reason: You're free riding! All of our parents were factory workers.

Paglia: This is the difference to me: The leftists that I know in academe, they've never had any direct experience with working class life, most of them almost overwhelmingly. But the leftists of the '60s did. Their parents, like mine, had experienced social mobility. So all of a sudden, my father was in college, and I lived in this factory town as my first home. My grandfather came back from the factory every day. The factories dominated—for [people such as] Andy Warhol, who experienced a very similar thing in Pittsburgh. And so you get this populist feeling when you emerge from that. Then my father became a high school teacher, and eventually he became a college professor. I didn't have a television or telephone until I was 12 for heaven's sakes! We didn't have any money. So the point is that this gives you reality and a sense of practicality. I'm just one generation removed from the farmland, and this is what's missing in the middle class academic leftist. All these people know nothing, actually. They have this distant sense of the working class, very condescending, and they are somehow empowered. They are destined to help from the point of view of an intrusion of state authority, this vast complex, this octopus of state authority that's going to help the poor people.

reason: Does a similar dynamic work, or how does that work on the right? Or you're not that interested in it because you're coming out of the left?

Paglia: I feel there has definitely been a kind of fossilization of authentic analysis, a kind of jibing, joking, snide thing about Obama. I hated that about Bush, and I hate it about Obama. This is the president. I don't care what errors they make—and both of them have made huge errors—the positions of presidents should be treated with some dignity. This is degradation of prestige of our institutions. It's very bad, the cynicism, the snarkiness.

reason: You're from the 1960s, and you're upset at people taking pot shots at institutions?

Paglia: No, I believe you attack. You criticize. You don't demean. It fatigues me to read—and I love to read the commenters, because I think it's a whole new genre—and the jokes with Obama's name, "O-bummer" and "O-bennie" or Romney is "Mittens," and all this stuff coming from the Tea Party and so on. By the way, I respect the Tea Party. I don't demonize them. Now I enjoy anti-Hillary jibes (laughs). I think that's a whole art form in itself. I collect those.

reason: What is it about her? Is Hillary Clinton kind of your worst nightmare as a woman? 

Paglia: No, she's exactly my age. I feel I know her completely. Our accents are kind of the same. I understand her completely. So I see all the games and falsehoods and so forth. So I've enjoyed it. I've made an entire career practically—in fact I wrote the cover story for The New Republic "Ice Queen, Drag Queen"—that was 1996, it was way back there.

reason: So what is it about Hillary that bothers you.

Paglia: She's a fraud!

reason: Explain how.

Paglia: She can't have an opinion without poll testing it. She's a liar. This is not a strong candidate for our first woman president. To me, Dianne Feinstein, should have presented herself…

reason: Ah! Are you kidding?

Paglia: No. I don't care what her views are. What I'm saying is, for the post of president, that's commander-in-chief of the military. It's got to be a woman with a familiarity with military matters and also has gravitas, and Dianne Feinstein, I first became aware of her after those murders that occurred in [San Francisco's] City Hall…

reason: She certainly never let you forget that she was there.

Paglia: No, but I have never forgotten, because it was one of the great moments where a woman took charge in absolute chaos in barbarous murder, and the whole government was falling apart, and she came to the media and gave the news and was steady, and I said, "That's it. That's the formula for the first woman president." So what I'm interested in is that it's very important in this modern era: How do you use the media to communicate? So if you're going to be a woman president, she must communicate strength, reserve, and yet compassion. Once that formula—and I've been waiting, and waiting, and waiting for it—the only person in America who's had it as far as I'm concerned was Dianne Feinstein, and she didn't put herself forward for whatever reason as president. But Hillary does not have it. Hillary is a mess. And we're going to reward the presidency to a woman who's enabled the depredations and exploitation of women by that cornpone husband of hers? The way feminists have spoken makes us blind to Hillary's record of trashing [women]. They were going to try to destroy Monica Lewinsky. It's a scandal! Anyone who believe in sexual harassment guidelines should have seen that the disparity of power between Clinton and Monica Lewinsky was one of the most grotesque ever in the history of sex crime. He's a sex criminal! We're going to put that guy back in the White House? Hillary's ridden on his coattails. This is not a woman who has her own career, who's made her own career! The woman who failed the bar exam in Washington! The only reason she went to Arkansas and got a job in the Rose law firm was because her husband was a politician.

reason: Because I'm an optimistic person and this is an optimistic country, what are you excited about or optimistic about in this twilight of the American century?

Paglia: What am I optimistic about?

reason: Is there any reason for us to be getting up other than to fight an existential battle against darkness?

Paglia: (laughs) Well, we're so isolated here in the United States geographically that…

reason: We defintiely don't have to worry about the Japanese bombing us again. But what's good? Is anything good in your life?

Paglia: I enjoy living in America. I could only live in America because I feel that you can feel accepted in academe, you can think whatever you want, and I think it's still a very fertile area for entrepreneurship. I think people with new ideas can come out of nowhere and become millionaires overnight, and some of our most interesting people did not even graduate from college. Matt Drudge didn't go to college.

I'm an educator, so I want the reform of education, and I just feel that there should be more vocational training at the high school level to offer jobs and training in the trades for people in the inner city. Directing people to college makes absolutely no sense considering the utter delusion of the current college curriculum. I don't see what the point of that is unless somebody is already showing talent or an interest in going into law or medicine or something like that. I'm interested in that. Primary school education is an absolute hash now. I can see what the students don't know when they arrive in college. The people who are teaching at Harvard and Yale are getting the products of private schools and all kinds of private tutoring. They are not in tune with what's happening in the culture. I believe I am because the students that come to this arts school are from every possible social level. They're very talented, working class jazz musicians and dancers that I get in the classroom. I have occasionally, there might be a student from private school like every five years, but mostly they're good suburban schools. So I know what they're getting in school, and it's basically zero. What they're getting is they're being taught is "Don't bully. Like everyone. Negotiate and compromise." They've never been taught geography. They know nothing about history.

reason: So what are you optimistic about?

Paglia: America is, to me, full of fresh and creative energies. But we're being saddled with an incompetent government that's sort of sapping… I think the less you think about the government maybe the better. I still feel I wouldn't live anywhere else but the U.S. I adore nature. My current project is about Native American Paleo-Indian culture. That's where I am right now. 

reason: Let's end with that. What are you working on?

Paglia: I'm interested in the actual Native American history that predates all the theological warfare over genocide and so on. I'm talking about the period as the glaciers withdrew from the United States, the Paleo-Indian period, which is about 10,000 to 13,000 B.C. I'm very interested in the worldview, the metaphysics, the religion of that period, and I think I have some instinct for it because of my interest in history of religion. I'm very interested in religion as an atheist. One of my ambitions is to restore the prestige of religion to secular humanism, which I think has gotten very cynical and has gotten less and less creative the less it thinks about religion.

NEXT: To Safeguard All Students' Speech Rights, SAE Should Sue Oklahoma U.

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  1. [ Hillary Clinton is a disaster. Dianne Feinstein is presidential.]

    Saved me from “investing” 51 minutes of real life.

    1. I would be careful with that type of thinking. The type that says “person A said B, which I find completely ridiculous, therefore I don’t have to listen to ANYTHING person A says.” With that said, I didn’t listen to this interview either. My filter is old people that bitch about everything.

      1. Paglia is a brilliant and insightful woman who does stumble at times and has some weird blind spots. Apparently Feinstein is one of them. But she’s usually well worth reading.

      2. It’s worth watching for the reaction shot of Gillespie when she says it. Cracked me up.

        1. Just after the 52:00 mark for those not wanting to ait through the entirety of this.

    2. I quit reading when she said of American journalism:

      “you cannot have any kind of deep discussion of ideas.”

    3. Anyone who identifies themselves as “”gender nonconforming entity” is a duplicitous douchebag.

      When groups have to change their call sign all the time, they are more interested in fooling people than helping the group’s “victims”.

      And women, blacks, transgender, gay people, and whatever the offended group of the month is have no crying to do anymore. You all own all forms of media and everyone is terrified to criticize all of your stupid crap.

      1. No, she’s not a “duplicitous douchebag.” She’s a brainy academic lesbian who doesn’t fit easily into pre-made categories. She is very friendly to many libertarian beliefs, and often very opposed to contemporary leftism. Don’t blithely dismiss someone who might agree with you more than you think.

        1. OK Papaya. If she really wants true equal opportunity, than all she has to do is stump for free market capitalism. If she is such a brainiack, then she would know that is the only system that offers the same opportunity regardless of what gender nonconforming entity is between one’s legs. That would be the end of the discussion rather than making a career crying for victims that don’t exist.

          Safe to say that if she was pals with Madonna, she is an idiot too.

          I applaud though her for realizing you can make a lot of money in this shithole country by creating problems. Tis the American way now.

          1. Paglia is a free market capitalist as much as anyone. But capitalism by itself is not any guarantee of equal opportunity. Equal opportunity is rooted in social relations moreso than economic ones. Capitalists are more than happy to go along with stereotypes and discrimination, if doing otherwise would hurt the bottom line.

            1. Aajax, you missed the point and you are incorrect.
              Capitalism, when practiced, is the only system that affords equal opportunity to all. Without the preordained rules of most systems, including ours(tariffs, cronyism, political favors, subsidies, tax breaks, MWDBE, instigated racial and gender strife) success would be solely determined but ones intelligence, innovation, competitive ability, and work ethic. One’s sex, race, creed, or invented scientific distortion would be completely irrelevant. Isn’t that what women should strive for?
              Once you introduce perceived or accepted social norms, that’s is where interpretation of ability is defined. Social or societal definitions are not concrete. An economic system such as capitalism is concrete in that, if practiced, you cannot interfere with the value of trade for mutual benefit. If you are better at widget making and selling then some guy, why would I not buy from you?
              There are bad actors in any economic system. You need to understand the history in the utter failure of every other system vs the absolute riches and improvements of quality of life that capitalism brought to bear the world over for a huge population of people that was never before seen. If made more people prosperous and wealthy in relative terms to folks deposed under other systems. That is a fact.

          2. Paglia on Capitalism:

            “It is capitalist America that produced the modern independent woman. Never in history have women had more freedom of choice in regard to dress, behavior, career, and sexual orientation.”

            “Capitalism is an art form, an Apollonian fabrication to rival nature. It is hypocritical for feminists and intellectuals to enjoy the pleasures and conveniences of capitalism while sneering at it. Everyone born into capitalism has incurred a debt to it. Give Caesar his due.”

            1. I stand corrected if she said that. Perhaps I should have listened.

      2. she is just a “legend in her own mind”……they are everywhere…..not legends….but people who think they are….


        1. Love her or hate her, Paglia is a pretty important contemporary thinker. Your comment is bizarre.

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  2. When I was a kid taking women’s studies courses in college (in the heady days after everyone knew the name “Anita Hill” but before everybody knew the name “Paula Jones”), we had serious debates over whether or not Paglia was really even a feminist.

    We don’t read that many of the writers that we read back then, anymore.

  3. Nice try Paglia. Only liberals like Camille see everything through the lens of gender (genitalia), race and income. It allows them to divert attention from the world of real problems and invent straw men/women as targets for their vitriol. If liberals actually told everyone what they really believe in and how they intend to obtain it, NO ONE would vote for them. Liberals have enslaved minorities with government freebies to get their vote and then take them for granted. Perfect example: allowing an unlimited number of illegal immigrants to invade America. Black American’s are directly impacted by the jobs the illegals are taking away from them. And the Congressional Black Caucus does NOTHING to stop it. They are too busy looking out for themselves and their family and friends.

    I will never understand why black American’s continue to vote for liberals. Liberals are not only holding down black Americans by making many of them poor dependents on government programs, but they are also taking away the future of their children while still demanding their vote.

    Fact: no matter how much taxpayer money you give to a liberal, they will ALWAYS want more.

    Good luck with all of that.

    1. “allowing an unlimited number of illegal immigrants to invade America. Black American’s are directly impacted by the jobs the illegals are taking away from them. And the Congressional Black Caucus does NOTHING to stop it”

      After all, it’s government’s responsibility to make sure there is a sufficient availability of the lowest paying jobs and ensure they go to dark skinned people.

      1. Since controlling the border is in fact a core governmental function, yes it is the government’s responsibility to do that. The government owes more allegiance to the interests of natives than it does to the interests of non natives, to whom it owes none.

        1. Controlling the border from what? Invading armies? Fire ants? Refugees?

          Nobody gives a shit that the border with Canada is uncontrolled. Canada is not an enemy. Neither is Mexico.

          So why do some insist on a controlled border with Mexico again? Is it because we’re jealous of their lack of welfare?

          Seems to me our concern over Mexican immigrants has more to do with blinkered domestic economic policies that no one wants to address, so we blame peaceful foreigners for highlighting them.

          1. If the people in the US want to tell Mexicans they can’t come here because Americans don’t like them or like having higher wages, that is just too fucking bad for the Mexicans. Americans don’t owe them any more loyalty than Mexicans owe us. Libertarians can’t accept that. They think Mexicans or anyone has a right to come here and borders mean nothing. Well, a lot of people including myself don’t see it that way. So all we ever do on immigration threads is talk past each other. You don’t believe in borders. I do. It is really that simple.

            1. “You don’t believe in borders. I do. It is really that simple.”

              Borders exist. Mountain ranges, rivers, oceans etc. There’s no disputing that. I think Libertarians question abstract categories like nationhood, and the ability of an amorphous collective to limit individual human freedoms like mobility. Even if the humans in question come from Mexico.

              1. Nationhood isn’t abstract, it’s man made. There’s a big difference.

                1. “Nationhood isn’t abstract”

                  I just mean intangible. Individual human freedoms are much more immediate, more readily defended.

            2. “If the people in the US want to tell Mexicans they can’t come here because Americans don’t like them or like having higher wages, that is just too fucking bad for the Mexicans.”

              What people? The workers? What about the businessmen? They obviously want to hire the Mexicans. Why do you want violate the businessmen’s right of association?

          2. Point of fact; since 9/11 the Canadian boarder has been the harder of the two to cross, by multitudes.

        2. Im not sure the government should be concerned with “interests” at all.

          Rights, sure, but not interests (other than the fact that rights are a subset of interests, or should be). And while I dont think its the job of a government to be concerned about rights of people elsewhere, within its borders its job is to protect all rights, whether a citizen or a foreign resident or a foreign visitor.

          The interesting question is citizens overseas. I can go either way, and telling a US Citizen, “If you leave the country you are on your own”, may be the way to go.

          1. Foreigners don’t pay taxes to this government. So the US government owes them no allegiance. If the people of this country decide not letting a single foreigner in is what they want, the government should do that. the views of those being excluded are irrelevant.

            1. Foreigners don’t pay taxes to this government.

              If they work here, they do.

              If they buy stuff here, they do, via sales tax.

              And plenty of citizens dont pay taxes either (well, income).

              You are making the same mistake that was being discussed yesterday — 51% getting to decide for everyone. If I own a piece of land, and I want to rent it to a foreigner, then no one else has any business in deciding if he wants to visit it. Even more so if he buys it from me.

              Travel is an absolute right, subject only to property rights.

              1. If I own a piece of land, and I want to rent it to a foreigner, then no one else has any business in deciding if he wants to visit it. Even more so if he buys it from me.

                Yeah, this is EXACTLY what the immigration dispute is about. You renting and selling land to foreigners. People really have a problem with this.

    2. I don’t understand your opening comment, since Paglia specifically criticized viewing everything through the lens of gender. I suppose even just entertaining the topic of gender makes her suspect in your eyes.

    3. Wanna know how I know you didn’t watch the interview?

      Because she criticizes identity politics, the Obama administration pitting the races against one another, and acknowledges the limitations of viewing everything through the lens of race & gender, going so far as to describe academia’s obsession with gender as “madness” and that “This gender myopia, this gender monomania, has become a disease.”

  4. Generally, people who can’t get over their “stories” are down and out alcoholics or dry alcoholics, who blame outside forces on their own pathetic view of themselves. From her point of view I am not a people. Bummer.

  5. no, not everyone sees everything through the prism of race and gender, Liberals do

    1. Only when it suits their need, otherwise they don’t give a shit. Ted Kennedy, the serial rapist and woman killer, was proof of that. These things are just tools they use to sow discontent.

      1. “they use to sow discontent.”

        The horror, The horror.

    2. well there are other prisms like culture, religion…the list goes on.

      1. Paglia prefers to look at things through the lenses of culture and religion. That’s one reason the left tends to dislike her.

  6. reason: Is that the lesbian in you talking, that you want a large toolbox?

    Love it!

  7. “Next was the argument over hormones. Again, screaming argument over hormones, which I was told by the founding members of the Women’s Studies Department at the State University of New York at Albany, that I had been brainwashed by male scientists to believe that hormones even existed, much less had any role in the shaping of our identity and character.”

    Modern feminists have a very – uh – schizophrenic view of hormones. For example, I stumbled on this feminist blog post the other day, and it basically makes two polar opposite arguments regarding hormones. Check it out:

    “The people in men’s studies, like those in women’s studies, take a mostly sociological perspective and believe that masculinity is essentially a cultural construct and that gender differences in general are fluid and variable. “That ship has sailed ? it’s a done deal,” he said recently, dismissing the idea that men and women are as different as Martians and Venutians.”

    So gender isn’t inborn it’s a cultural construct. However, she then says:

    “Researchers have started looking into the relationship between testosterone and excessive risk, and wondering if groups of men, in some basic hormonal way, spur each other to make reckless decisions.”

    So gender is a social construct, but somehow male hormones cause men to be reckless. But how can gender be a social construct if men are guided by their hormones? Oops!

    1. “Modern feminists have a very – uh – schizophrenic view of hormones.

      I know how o make a hormone. Pinch her nipples.

      1. What’s the difference between a hormone and an enzyme?

        You can’t hear an enzyme!

    2. I noted that bit of feminist cognitive dissonance back in the mid ’70s. They still haven’t resolved it.

      1. Some of us have…

    3. Were you the one who recently posted the article that pointed to all those negative male traits that were ‘natural’ while at the same time arguing that gender differences are a social construct? Same deal there. ‘Science’ is only brought out to justify pre-existing biases. These aren’t people looking for answers, they’re people who think they’re got them and will pick and choose whatever they need to support it.

  8. “Conservative though she may be, I felt that Palin represented an explosion of a brand new style of muscular American feminism..she was combining male and female qualities in ways that I have never seen before. And she was somehow able to seem simultaneously reassuringly traditional and gung-ho futurist. In terms of redefining the persona for female authority and leadership, Palin has made the biggest step forward in feminism..” – Camilla Paglia

    Establishment republicans are making yet another huge mistake by misreading the public and ignoring their most potent and popular women ever. Governor Sarah Palin.

    Gallup Most Admired Women in the World list (Dec 29 ’14)
    Smithsonian Most Admired People of All Time list (Nov 17 ’14)
    Midterms Palin makes 22 endorsements, 20 wins, 82% (Nov 5 ’14)
    SarahPAC raised millions once again with zero debt (Nov 1 ’14)
    PPP: Palin highest rated in party at 70%, again (Jan ’14)

    1. The hatred of Sarah Palin is largely manufactured by progressive media. The fact is that she was enormously popular in her home state when she was governor. I have friends that knew her back from her days as a town mayor. They spoke highly of her as a person and public servant. I don’t agree with a number of things she says, but she is far more capable and of better character than nearly all sitting national politicians.

      1. She was capable enough to state that “we’ve got to stand with our North Korean allies.”

        1. “Israel is strong friend of Israel’s” ’08

          “I don’t know what the term is in Austrian..” ’09

          “My fellow Americans in all 57 states, the time has changed for come. With our country founded more than 20 centuries ago, we have much to celebrate ? from the FBI’s 100 days to the reforms that bring greater inefficiencies to our health care system. We know that countries like Europe are willing to stand with us in our fight to halt the rise of privacy, and Israel is a strong friend of Israel’s. And let’s face it, everybody knows that it makes no sense that you send a kid to the emergency room for a treatable illness like asthma and they end up taking up a hospital bed. It costs, when, if you, they just gave, you gave them treatment early, and they got some treatment, and ah, a breathalyzer, or an inhalator. I mean, not a breathalyzer, ah, I don’t know what the term is in Austrian for that?” – Sarah Palin, lampooning Obama gaffes ’10

          “We’re the country that built the Intercontinental Railroad.” ’11

          “..a lot of other developing countries, Europe in particular.” ’13

          “If we don’t deepen our ports all along the Gulf..in places like Charleston, S.C., or Savannah, Ga., or Jacksonville, Fla” ’13

          1. Israel is strong friend of Israel’s

            I fail to see the problem with that one. Tautologies are sometimes useful.

            1. OMG, you’re kidding, right?

              1. Founders1791 is a strong friend of Founders1791.

                Unless you are picking on grammar and bad use of apostrophe.

                1. You’re not kidding! LOL

            2. That’s not tautological, unless “friend” is reflexive. It actually seems as if “friend” is antireflexive.

      2. If only she wouldn’t speak.

        1. Liberals love free speech for thee, but not for me, right?

          1. Not a liberal, not one cell. But if you’re inclined to encourage an idiot, even an idiot on your team to speak, incessantly, then don’t look addled when people listen, then chuckle.

      3. She’s capable enough to believe that Obama redesigned dollar coins by moving the phrase “In God We Trust” to the edge of the coin, even though the design was commissioned by a Republican Congress and approved by George W. Bush.

        So, yeah, super capable, that one.

        1. Social signaling isn’t used much here. It is just a hard place for stupid people to feel smart.

        2. What a croc! …another liberal inventing a strawman that never existed!

          Fact is Governor Palin actually selected Alaska’s Commemorative Quarter design in ’07

          The salmon (and bear) wins Alaska’s new quarter design

          Super capable? ….you betcha!

      4. She was a threat to the Democrats is why they don’t care for her much.

      5. The hatred of Sarah Palin is largely manufactured by progressive media.

        Well, I hate her in spite of the progressive media. Because she’s, you know, a buffoon.

        The fact is that she was enormously popular in her home state when she was governor.

        Right up until she quit to focus on the important work of reality TV.

        I have friends that knew her back from her days as a town mayor. They spoke highly of her as a person and public servant.

        I’ll just leave that hanging there.

        1. The best thing about Sarah Palin is that someone hating her is the a nearly full proof way of telling that they are not that they are a poser and more concerned about appearing acceptable than actually thinking. She is like a magic talisman to tell who when the chips were down will go fascist and join the mob and who won’t. There are few things easier and more cowardly you can do today than sitting around talking about “how dumb Sarah Palin is”. Talking about evil rich white men might beat that but not by much.

          1. She’s not a buffoon?

          2. Seriously, explain the appeal, without using the word “tits” or “folksy”. She have some good ideas about criminal justice reform?

            1. I think she is politician. She is not Abe Lincoln or anything. But she is better than most politicians and worse than others. No, she is not a buffoon as measured against the rest of our political class. Why people act like she is and is somehow worse and dumber than people like Pelosi or Obama or about a thousand others I can name is beyond me.

              1. Dude. You’re reading a bunch of implications into what I said that aren’t there. I’m not a commenter at Salon, for God’s sake. I don’t think she is worse or dumber than Pelosi or Obama. Or Boehner. Or Harry Reid. No comparison to Chuck Schumer. But I don’t think you can set the bar any lower if that’s the group we’re comparing to.

                I don’t understand why people fawn over her. I don’t see the appeal. Even putting aside her silly career since she left office, I’m reading this


                and I can’t see anything that sets her apart. Her politics are bog standard GOP.

                There are better people that deserve more attention.

            2. (1) to be clear you brought up “tits” and “folksy”. Real classy!

              (2) “She have some good ideas about criminal justice reform”

              (a) Her first legislative action after taking office was to push for a bipartisan ethics reform bill which she signed into law July 2007.

              (b) Indianola Iowa Tea Party Speech in the rain September 2011

              “she delivered a devastating indictment of the entire U.S. political establishment – left, right and center – and pointed toward a way of transcending the presently unbridgeable political divide. She made three interlocking points.” – NyTimes

              (c) she appointed multiple bipartisan Supreme Court and Lower Court justices

              (3) Bet you didn’t know this about Sarah Palin
              a. Nov elections she got the Independent Democrat elected over GOP in Alaska
              b. she sold the state jet, limo, and let go chef – driving & cooking herself
              c. she rejected a $25k raise as governor, took a pay cut as Mayor
              d. she exposed corruption in 2005 by Attorney General Gregg Renkes
              e. she sacrificed her $118k job to expose them and with 4 kids
              f. she exposed corruption in 2004 GOP Chairman Randy Ruedrich
              g. she spent 18 years in commercial fishing business
              j. she spent 17 years in public office Governor, Mayor, City Council
              h. she runs 3:59:34 Marathons

              1. Well, I’m willing to overlook her positions on abortion and the drug war if she spent 17 years in public office and has a good marathon time.

                1. Overlook her position on “not” killing babies in the womb?
                  Are you channeling Dr. Gosnell with that quip?

                  Governor Palin correctly opposes most abortions “except when the life of the mother is in jeopardy”

                  Governor Palin vetoed House Bill 4001 that denied same-sex couples health benefits one month after taking office.

                  Governor Palin appointed Superior Court Morgan Christen against the wishes of the pro-christian Alaska Family Council group

                  One of Sarah Palin’s best friends for more than 30 years is gay.
                  “She’s not my gay friend, she is one of my best friends who happens to have made a choice that isn’t a choice that I have made. But I’m not going to judge people.”

                  1. “One of Sarah Palin’s best friends for more than 30 years is gay.” Oh, no you didn’t. Let me give you an analogy that may help you in not using the “I have black friends” fallacy in the future: “I don’t lie. Why, I told the truth just the other day!”

                2. Why didn’t respond like an adult on Governor Palin criminal justice reforms?
                  Couldn’t or wouldn’t? LOL

          3. I imagine Sarah Palin is probably a nice person, but she starts seeming shrill and annoying whenever I hear her stating opinions. Also, I can’t think of anything of leadership significance she’s actually done.

            So I don’t understand the adoration surrounding her. I’m convinced that’s a media induced phenomenon created by con-tards, as much as is the animosity towards her created by prog-tards.

            1. Th adoration is real simple. She is a brand. One the one side are posers who exaggerate her faults as a way of showing they are part of the upper crust and not one of the dumb hillbillies. On the other side is people who exaggerate her virtues as a way of telling the first group to go fuck themselves.

              I am utterly disdainful of the first group. And somewhat sympathetic to the second.

              1. I see. So she’s basically a celebrity icon that doubles as a litmus test for revealing one’s sociopolitical dispositions.

                1. Pretty much MFCKR. That is a great way to put it. People use liking or hating her as a social signal and project onto her their biases and prejudices.

                  1. Or, if you’re Lisa Ann, just to make a career for yourself.

                    1. Or, if you’re Lisa Ann, just to make a career for yourself.

                      Didn’t she already have a career for herself doing MILF porn before that?

    2. “Establishment republicans are making yet another huge mistake by misreading the public and ignoring their most potent and popular women ever. Governor Sarah Palin.”

      Surely you mean ex-govenor Sarah Palin. Aside from an excellent youtube clip of her winking, the only time I saw Palin speak was after she saw fit to subject viewers to a remarkably rambling resignation speech. Her courage and self confidence, however misplaced, were admirable.

      1. “…the only time I saw Palin speak was..” – mtrueman

        1st, CSPAN: Alaska State Issues with Governor Palin – February ’08

        2nd, You actually admit to missing the entire ’08 presidential election? October ’08

        2nd, Palin doing standup on Leno beats Romney on Letterman ’10
        (jon stewart) http://thedailyshow.cc.com/vid…..man-romney

        4th, Fighting the war on Christmas – Bill O’Reilly and Sarah Palin ’13

        5th, Sarah Palin on Fallon beats Bill Clinton on Kimmel ’14

        1. Complete the sentence:

          “Sarah Palin took a bold stand on __________________.”

          1. Everything from exposing corruption in her own party multiple times to delivering honest government so well she was given the highest rating of any governor ever at 93%

            1. All your resume-padding is proving my point.

              1. Resume padding? She walks the talk, what about you? I’ll bet she has accomplished more than you or your entire family tree combined

        2. What is this I don’t even

        3. I don’t watch TV, rarely see anything on youtube, and have little interest in presidential elections. Or Alaska’s gubenatorial elections. Maybe I’ll get around to your links, no promises though.

          1. Kind of makes your opinion a bit less than “informed.”

            1. I know who won. As for the rest of it, there are more important and interesting things happening. My opinion, anyway.

    3. Establishment republicans are making yet another huge mistake by misreading the public and ignoring their most potent and popular women ever. Governor Sarah Palin.

      Actually, I would say that is one of the few things establishment R’s do well.

    4. She is also another neo-con big government fascist in sheep’s clothing. She is as dumb as Obama.

      1. Governor Palin rejected 80% of Obama’s stimulus money because it infringed on state sovereignty. She cut hundreds of millions in waste which allowed her to deliver 3 of 4 (75%) budgets balanced and on time larger than 17 other states & most Fortune 500 companies.

        Alaska received AAA credit due to Governor Palin’s prudent financial stewardship.

        1. She also ran on a presidential ticket with john McCain who stumped for mortgage forgiveness(bailouts) to underwater home owners.
          Why do so many sheep americans want to praise politicians?

          We should all be taught to hate and distrust all of them. Then perhaps there would be smaller government out of lack of belief in their bullshit promises. She is a protectionist, big government supporter of the military industrial machine and thus no different in her destructive policies than Bush, Obama, McCain, Clinton, or insert establishment politician here.

          1. Clueless! No one in politics today has exposed crony corrupt politicians like she has and a great personal costs politically and financially!

            1. Then why did she run with john McCain. You choose to ignore. Do you work for her or something?
              McCain is one of the worst of all times. Maybe you work for GE or Boeing.

  9. “Conservative though she may be, I felt that Palin represented an explosion of a brand new style of muscular American feminism..she was combining male and female qualities in ways that I have never seen before. And she was somehow able to seem simultaneously reassuringly traditional and gung-ho futurist. In terms of redefining the persona for female authority and leadership, Palin has made the biggest step forward in feminism..” – Camilla Paglia

    Establishment republicans are making yet another huge mistake by misreading the public and ignoring their most potent and popular women ever. Governor Sarah Palin.

    Gallup Most Admired Women in the World list (Dec 29 ’14)
    Smithsonian Most Admired People of All Time list (Nov 17 ’14)
    Midterms Palin makes 22 endorsements, 20 wins, 82% (Nov 5 ’14)
    SarahPAC raised millions once again with zero debt (Nov 1 ’14)
    PPP: Palin highest rated in party at 70%, again (Jan ’14)

  10. How long did it take her to interview every living person to support her “universal” claim?

  11. Man, what’s with all the contempt for Paglia in these comments? She’s consistently interesting, and is a huge breath of fresh air compared with most academics in the arts.

    When I was at Berkeley, Sexual Personae just came out. My extremely progressive roommate picked it up and put it down in distaste within 5 minutes, never to touch it again. I admit enjoying that at the time.

    1. Wtf, I can find time for contempt of any liberal.

      1. The question here is finding time to respect Paglia. Is that beyond your abilities?

      2. All liberals aren’t equal. She’s in the Christopher Hitchens/Mickey Kaus class of rogue liberals who are less dogmatic and predictable and more friendly to libertarian and conservative views than the Pelosi types.

        1. Even if I like poking fun at her weirder statements, Paglia is a cut above the idiocy that infests progressivism nowadays. This is woman who saw a narcissistic feminist ‘does the world really need men anymore?’ article and then called them all idiots while pointing out that men still fill the majority of dangerous work roles and without them the economy would collapse. More progressives being like Paglia would be nothing but an improvement.

          1. I appreciate that she’s an academic that still respects non-academics.

        2. Its liberal vs progressive.

          All leftists are not created equal.

    2. Man, what’s with all the contempt for Paglia in these comments? She’s consistently interesting, and is a huge breath of fresh air compared with most academics in the arts.

      Yeah, I dig her. Might not agree w/ her on everything per se, but she strikes me as being self-possessed and independent in her thinking, so I can respect that. She doesn’t seem to be whoring herself out for any ideological ‘side’, plus does a good job pointing out shortcomings/fallacies of contemporary academe and its obsequiousness to Cultural Marxism, etc.

      I’m guessing the critics here misunderstood what she was saying or didn’t listen in the 1st place.

      1. I did not listen in the first place. her stuff sounds like postmodernism which is absolute nonsense.
        I admit to not taking the time to hear her thoughts. All of this social norm stuff is rained down on the heads of all of us with such storm force consistency that it is impossible for people who figured out the scam long ago to care.
        Basically what I am saying is that the “ists” movement people played all their cards decades ago by overstated the severity of problems that were not and are not pressing or important. They all detract from the real threat to one’s freedom, or gender identity, or post racial pigment cock conformity. That threat is government and people who make up fake names for things to become famous.

        How’s that for close minded gender prism viewing?

        1. I did not listen in the first place. her stuff sounds like postmodernism which is absolute nonsense.

          What’s so objectionable about postmodernism (or at least what you’re typifying as ‘postmodernism’)?

          1. I wouldn’t put too much stock in her take on postmodernism. Check out this Salon column.


            She rails against postmodernists, especially Foucault elsewhere, yet writes this:

            “The claustrophobic world of post-structuralism sees nothing but oppressive society operating on passive, helpless mankind.”

            That is not how Foucault saw the world. And she should know this. She praises McLuhan as an example of ‘the Protestant plain style’ yet McLuhan was a Catholic convert who took his mysticism very seriously and was anything but a plain stylist. He was Baroque. And he shared an interest in many of the things that attracted the French postmodernists, Spinoza, vitalism, Joyce to name some of the most obvious ones.

            “What’s so objectionable about postmodernism”

            For most commenters here, I think they would object to its materialism. To be a Libertarian, I think you have to embrace some species of idealism.

            1. I wouldn’t put too much stock in her take on postmodernism. Check out this Salon column?

              I was more curious if @timbo understood what they thought they were criticizing. I’m well-aware that Paglia isn’t exactly fond of Postmodernism (albeit as you point out, she seems to have a contorted view about it).

              For most commenters here, I think they would object to its materialism. To be a Libertarian, I think you have to embrace some species of idealism.

              Hm, I don’t know about that. I’m fairly partial to Max Stirner, who’s something of an anti-idealist (though not quite a materialist per se). And I’d say his viewpoints are very compatible to Libertarianism.

              1. “Hm, I don’t know about that.”

                You may be right. I think the faith in Smith’s invisible hand, which allows us to do as we please while ensuring that our actions will ultimately be for the greater good, is pretty idealistic. Whenever people here write about “the market” as being the solution to almost every conceivable problem, I imagine they have a perfect market in their minds, one we should aspire to. Stirner was no friend of Capitalism, as I understand, so he would likely be immune to this kind of thinking.

                1. You may be right. I think the faith in Smith’s invisible hand, which allows us to do as we please while ensuring that our actions will ultimately be for the greater good, is pretty idealistic.

                  Depends. ‘Invisible Hand’ was an apt metaphor given the empiric limitations of Smith’s era, but one’d be a fool to go any further with that nowadays, when we’ve much better science at our disposal to both describe & explain why markets work.

                  Whenever people here write about “the market” as being the solution to almost every conceivable problem, I imagine they have a perfect market in their minds, one we should aspire to.

                  Maybe. Personally I treat ‘the market’ & ‘society’ as interchangeable references. And tend to suspect that when most speak of something like ‘perfect markets’, they’re only suggesting that the market/society would be more innovative and ergo more prosperous with less encumbrance by state interference.

                  1. Stirner was no friend of Capitalism, as I understand, so he would likely be immune to this kind of thinking.

                    Not sure. Stirner does attack the notion of property rights, but does so from his view that ‘rights’ are something of a superstitious metaphysical spook?for Stirner, property exists only insofar as something can be defended as one’s own.

                    Also, in historical perspective ‘capitalism’ in Stirner’s era didn’t mean ‘free-market economics’ as is oft-connoted today?it was a pro-business outlook, not pro-market, and had everything to do with state-subsidization & sanctioning of monopolistic commercial enterprises, etc. Obviously something Stirner would be very much opposed to.

                    1. Not only is this obviously mumbo-jumbo, with some politician-like double-speak, but the current climate of thought in the United States is entirely contradictory to the stupid definitions offered by this crap; which is ultimately an excuse for people’s voluntary stupidity and tantamount to an admission that the under-achievers and losers need to identify with a scapegoat in order to justify their disappointment and lack of success. The highlighted field is particularly hilarious because the same proponents of this line of thought are the very people that subscribe to the collective and that preach the absoluteness of global warming, racial strife, gender strife, the perceived evils of capitalism, and rejection of every other rational explanation of the function of civil society. Postmodernism is basically an objection to science, no matter how incontrovertible, an objection to the natural division of classes and labor that come with market economies, and an objection to the survival of the fittest mentality that comes from the human nature to strive and succeed.

                    2. “an objection to the natural division of classes and labor that come with market economies”

                      The Postmodernists certainly do oppose this as you would expect when they broke with the modernists and rejected Marxism and revolution. I would have thought that this would gain the Postmodernists some credit in the eyes of Libertarians.

                      I think if you believe that Postmodernists have an objection to science, you’ve been reading the wrong writers. They take science very serious, as well as mathematics and the humanities. I think they draw on a much wider range of intellectual pursuits than say the Libertarians. The Postmodernist beef with science is when science sets itself up as the ultimate arbiter of what is truth. Don’t mix this up with rejection of science.

                      Aside from that, I think you have a good idea what Postmodernism is about.

                    3. The Postmodernists certainly do oppose this as you would expect when they broke with the modernists and rejected Marxism and revolution. I would have thought that this would gain the Postmodernists some credit in the eyes of Libertarians.

                      Eh. timbo sounds more to me like a Conservative than a Libertarian.

                      I think if you believe that Postmodernists have an objection to science, you’ve been reading the wrong writers. They take science very serious, as well as mathematics and the humanities. I think they draw on a much wider range of intellectual pursuits than say the Libertarians. The Postmodernist beef with science is when science sets itself up as the ultimate arbiter of what is truth. Don’t mix this up with rejection of science.


                  2. mcfkr:
                    of course I speak of free markets as the ideal. I am espousing where we need to be knowing full well that capitalism is dead and had been dying for over 100 years. Point being that any conversation about what is best should start and end with trading value for benefit with no outside influence. If we are getting deep, we might as well talk about what would be best for humanity and try to teach future generations about how to improve their lives.

          2. Postmodernism PBS Definition – A general and wide-ranging term which is applied to literature, art, philosophy, architecture, fiction, and cultural and literary criticism, among others. Postmodernism is largely a reaction to the assumed certainty of scientific, or objective, efforts to explain reality. In essence, it stems from a recognition that reality is not simply mirrored in human understanding of it, but rather, is constructed as the mind tries to understand its own particular and personal reality. For this reason, postmodernism is highly skeptical of explanations which claim to be valid for all groups, cultures, traditions, or races, and instead focuses on the relative truths of each person. In the postmodern understanding, interpretation is everything; reality only comes into being through our interpretations of what the world means to us individually. Postmodernism relies on concrete experience over abstract principles, knowing always that the outcome of one’s own experience will necessarily be fallible and relative, rather than certain and universal.

            1. Postmodernism PBS Definition

              Not bad. So, what you’re essentially saying is that Postmodernism can be a useful philosophical toolset for scrutinizing commonly held assumptions and other forms of implicit bias. What’s so terribly objectionable about adopting a stance of epistemic skepticism?

        2. If I remember correctly, she bashed postmodernism during the interview.

        3. “I did not listen in the first place.”

          That’s painfully obvious.

          “her stuff sounds like postmodernism”

          Except for the part where, you know… she criticizes post-modernism. She’s been a constant critic of it for decades now.

      2. My quibble is her fer too polite scoffing at critical Theory and all things Frankfurt.

        They are deserving of nothing but wrath and unmitigated scorn.

    3. Man, what’s with all the contempt for Paglia in these comments?

      Obviously this got picked up somewhere else and a lot of new folks came here to pile on. Me, I found her refreshing at Salon all those years ago – one of the first writers who got me to think outside the lefty box.

    4. Nobody actually watched the interview, they just used it as an opportunity to post pre-fabricated criticisms of liberals.

  12. Unfortunately for Ms Paglia human beings are born with either XX or XY chromosomes, that DOES limit gender. If one undergoes sex change surgery they may posses new equipment, but they still have the same chomosomes they were born with. Your philosophical point is taken, but science obliterates it.

    1. “human beings are born with either XX or XY chromosomes”

      Speaking of someone who sees everything through the prism of gender.

    2. Unfortunately for Ms Paglia human beings are born with either XX or XY chromosomes, that DOES limit gender. If one undergoes sex change surgery they may posses new equipment, but they still have the same chomosomes they were born with. Your philosophical point is taken, but science obliterates it.

      Well, technically science sez you’re mistaken that all humans are born w/ XX xor XY chromosomal pairs, e.g. some are born XXY: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klinefelter_syndrome

      Many other variations on this sort of thing (aneuploidies) exist too.

      1. she is probably one….

    3. It most certainly does limit gender. You are just begging the question and assuming gender isn’t defined by your chromosomes. I think it is. And saying “no it isn’t” doesn’t convince me otherwise.

      1. Isn’t ‘gender’ defined by the clothes you wear, the way you walk or throw a ball? I think you’d be hard pressed to prove that’s determined by chromosomes.

        1. Gender is a linguistics term shoehorned into human sexuality. It is meaningless. A persons sex is male or female, and can be important or irrelevant depending on the context. Gender =/= sex.

          1. Is gender meaningless, or does it mean sex? How is a person’s sex determined? By chromosomes? In that case there are alternatives beyond simply male or female.

            I suspect you are another idealist here who believes that there are transcendental categories like male and female, and individuals who do not fit the mold are faulty and inadequate to the extent they differ from these ideals. I would have thought that this position was profoundly at odds with Libertarianism which stresses the freedom of the individual to create their own lives.

  13. Spoken like someone who sees everything through the lens of race and gender.

  14. I think sometimes we says things Dogmatically? There are other lenses per say like Religious lenses, cultural lenses…list goes on.

  15. She sound very intelligent and also mildly insane (radicals she liked disappeared because they all did LSD?)

    She helped create the leftist narcissistic intellectual circle-jerk culture she now reviles and freely admits to this. I can’t help but chuckle at that. Just the fact she simultaneously pisses so many of them off by writing about the obvious (e.g. biology matters) from ‘within’ makes her a little bit of my hero though, even if I disagree with many of her other wacky ideas.

    1. Ha. I like that. It’s kind of like Michael Moore making a movie about capitalism’s virtues once everyone figures out what a fraud he is.

      1. That would be kind of awesome. 😉

  16. As petty as this is, I’m pretty sure Paglia once called the new Star Wars trilogy brilliant. I simply can’t trust anyone with such an extreme lack of taste.

  17. she is just one opinion in a world of 7+ BILLION…….go figure

  18. OT: The Big12 (sic) is sucking it up today.

  19. Camille Paglia is one of the few avowed “feminists” I can tolerate. In this interview, she comes off as the career-academic who rarely sets foot away from the university. That said, she is the rare lefty who admits that it was her generation who loosed the monster we have today: Identity Politics, the idea that people’s ideas are not only valid, but immune from criticism because they assess themselves as a “minority.”

  20. “I voted for Obama but I’ve been disappointed. I think we had hoped that he would inaugurate a period of racial harmony, and I think the situation has actually become even worse over recent years.

    It seems to be overt inflammatory actions by the administration to pit the races against each other”

    Yeah. And?

    She expected otherwise? As a community activist, Obama was a leader in charge of the Progressive Theocracy’s efforts to promote racial division and unrest. This has been a conscious tactic of the Left for decades.

    And now she’s shocked, shocked I tell you, that Obama is still swinging this hammer as president?

    He’s an evangelist for the Progressive Theocracy, specializing in racial rabble rousing.

    It’s the only thing he has ever done in his life. It’s what he knows. It’s who he is.

    He was a long standing member of a marxist black supremacist “church”. Who did she think she was voting for?

    1. She was voting for what all leftist vote for. Deep down, no matter what their call sign is, they really hate business, profits, and freedom that comes with progress and success. leftist are first and foremost consumed with envy and hatred towards those who they are not.

      There is really no magic formula to America anymore. The left have always been marxists morons who did not know they were fascists. Now the right, represented by repubs has become a fascist regime that sells themselves as pro -business liberty minded elites.

      They are all of the same ilk. If you would have given this lady some power when she was at her peak, she simply would have become nancy Pelosi.

      1. I don’t think Republicans have ever sold themselves as liberty-minded, save perhaps for Goldwater.

  21. Although the Feinstein thing was off the wall Ms. Paglia is correct in noting the absolute fraud that is Hillary Clinton, a protector and enabler of her serial sexual predator husband, and a destroyer of any woman who has had the misfortune of crossing this man’s path. All the while preaching of her championing of the cause of women, this complete and total joke has not demonstrated a competency level sufficient to run a 7 – Eleven store, much less a country.

    1. + 1 red in tooth and claw.

  22. I was shocked to learn how much common ground I share with Paglia. I think many of her observations and comments are spot-on — save for Feinstein, where reality eclipsed promise ages ago. I especially share her frustration dealing with people that are historically and economically illiterate. I live amidst a liberal academic community that is rather self-impressed and feels a deep obligation to “help” everyone else. In reality they are profoundly ignorant, delusional, binary, and fragile. She is damned right to criticize those people.

  23. Thank you Reason! Great interview, I had wondered why she left Salon. I think she has really hit the nail on the head with her commentary on the University problem in the US. I graduated in 1985 from a University and I believe my year may have been the last where we had access to true professors and not graduate assistants teaching Economics, Calculus, French, Geology, etc. I agree that administration and bureaucracy have taken over the curriculum. It is disastrous for our young people who are hand-cuffed to ridiculous student loans. Some of the student loans are more than a house! How is that helping our young people?

  24. OMG! Another old and unfulfilled lesbian blaming the world! Imagine that!

  25. Yeah, Camille, when I see your picture I see a gay black man.

    1. And oh, yeah, Diane Feinstein would make a great president…the first cadaver in the office. Camille, do you know how old Feinstein is? I can just see it, a 90 year old leaving office (and the country) in shreds.

  26. Racists are like that…all they see is race and think others are exactly like them.

    Bless her heart….she’s just pitiful, just pitiful.

  27. I have always loved this woman. She has always carved out her own path, many times against the grain. But she has never bowed to criticism, but stayed true to her beliefs.
    Although I don’t agree with her 100%, she is right about so many things, especially our education systems.

    Always appreciate her candor, and how she ALWAYS speaks her truth.

  28. Thank you, Reason, for a wonderful interview of one of America’s INTERESTING feminists. Good job, bring us more of this.

  29. I ran across her interview in an old copy of Playboy and was impressed with her. Those who dismiss her as another leftist are missing a doorway into the enemy camp. Choose your battles.

    … Hobbit

    1. She’s a lesbian Dennis Kucinich!

  30. We have liberals to thank for continually separating Americans into groups and pitting them against each other. The current muslim in chief is a prime example.

  31. my neighbor’s step aunt makes 77 an hour on the laptop. she has been out of a job for 2 months, last month her paycheck was 14304 just working at home for 3 hours every day… look at this

    ===== FOX81.COM

  32. Jezebel is a Gawker property. It is not something to be taken seriously in any way, it only exists to troll for page hits.

    Gawker as a whole should have been driven out of business when that asshole from Gizmodo stole the iPhone 4 prototype.


  33. OT. I want to bring in some fresh Prog/Troll blood. Shreek, Mary, Tony, Bo, Hinh, craiginass, and Dumpy are getting stale. Bare with me I’m trying. =D

    1. I would mention mtrueman , but he is just a stupid asshole, like Tulpa.

      1. ” but he is just a stupid asshole”

        You still haven’t got it yet, have you? Just so you’re not the last to know, It’s all LIES.

    2. Mike got branded the Village Idiot and Town Liar a few weeks ago and has since dialed back his rhetoric and geriatric explosions.

  34. Camillie – I agree on much with you – but no: Dianne Feinstein is NOT presidential. She’s not as whacked out as Barbara Boxer, but she is intolerant of opinions other than hers.

  35. Fascinating interview. I could spend hours talking to her. Its funny to see how ivy league educated people from the east coast think fly of over country people. I feel sorry for her in some ways, looks like she missed out on some of the most rewarding events in ones life.

    1. …like leaving out apostrophes?

  36. Paglia is attracted to dominant and Napoleonic personalities which is why she appears to be less critical of the acclaimed who rub the social/political cognoscenti in a less than pleasurable fashion. She, like most of us, is attracted to the values she holds dear in her own head space.

    Rational and edgy she wilds on the pure fucking entire cultural/social/ political spectrum but I’ve noticed throughout the years of reading her that she pulls the tip if it gets too close to etching on what excites her and, instead, will valley-girl on that personality or thing that mystifies her intelligence.

    She is ragingly brilliant and profoundly adept at slathering her genuine assumptions and perspectives like fucking syrup over anything that spills from her fingertips. And somehow she hasn’t grown up yet which is beautiful to me. The brain is maximum, the interpretations brimming, the sexuality complex, the fire trail of text always titillating… but she hasn’t killed the little lesbian inside. That small girl wondering, feeling, and exploring still… as she has grown into a hoary head that doesn’t expound merely to get editors and readers off.

    She welcomes you on her goddamn ride while she gets off and if you can handle the universe expanding right in front of your face then she’s performed justice to the dizzying whim of her utterances. Just clean your goddamn cum off the dashboard please.

      1. Don’t trigger me, bro.

        1. Christ, even bigger yawn

  37. She kinda looks like Bruce Jenner.

  38. TO: Paglia
    RE: Okay?.

    ?.do you have proof of your allegation? Or are you just pulling this out of your fourth-point-of-contact?

  39. Somethings are really wrong with America if Ms. Paglia and I agree on so much that is wrong-I doubt any two US citizens could be more different than her and me-me very conservative in almost everything, married faithfully to one bride for over 41 yrs, never voted for Democrats (but refused to vote for Nixon ever), Mass every day, etc. But both of us see and say America in in trouble. It must be true. Ms. Paglia, I commiserate with you. And I appreciate it when you speak truth. St. Thomas Aquinas said there is only one truth, and you have profoundly spoken part of it. Is there a fix? a cure? or is the USA already on the edge of the dung heap of civilizations? Guy McClung, San Antonio

    1. Satan has been busy it seems, Guy.

  40. Camille’s criticism of the snarkiness and cynicism of blog commeraterie was interesting. Almost seemed pointedly directed at Nick’s posters here.

  41. my god who is the bigger intellectual dilettante here, Pags or Gillespie, truly a battle for the ages

  42. There’s no total explanation for life because there’s no particular cause for any outcome in terms of life whereas human life is rife with particular causes that seem to contribute solely to an outcome. But say that and a lot of people easily get upset or dismiss such insight as a kind of arithmetic mistake.

    Anyway, I can appreciate Ms. Paglia’s effort or motive to see comprehensively and how such quality about her might influence her students and the folks who follow her work.

  43. I love Camille Paglia! Smart funny right on….Nick G. could use a makeover though: grow hair out all around, part on the left and comb back with a dash of mousse…because right now he looks like my older brother’s high school graduation photo (1970)…

    1. Really? I thought Nick looked great. I was wondering how he never manages to age.

    2. Really? I thought Nick looked great. I was wondering how he never manages to age.

      1. walgreens pvt brand men’s black hair coloring?…he looks idiotic…like a marker

  44. What a great interview. Camille is ranting about decadence and how it is a sign of declining civilizations, then Nick reminds her that she helped the decadence along, and you see that she has this little moment of self awareness. And Nick listens to it all and with his very positive nature puts off his vibe that wherever it’s going, the future will be a good place. How this women talks like she does (she understands Economics better than Romney does) and still votes Green I can’t understand but God bless her.

    1. yes, when nickie is finding intellectual holes in what you say its time to give it up

  45. Does anyone really expect me to listen to this fuckng feminazi troll for a goddamn hour? Putting this thing on the Internet should be a federal offense. Where the fuck is the FCC when you really need them.

    1. She supports many libertarian ideas. She criticizes gender identity politics. RTFA.

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