Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Camille Paglia is back and sticking it to the PC thought police

Back in the mid nineties I was living Melbourne, doing standup comedy and getting some acting work here and there. Needless to say a lot of my fellow arty wankers were full on lefties. Heaps of feminist chicks, too.

They were always quacking on about equality, freedom of speech, artistic integrity, diversity and all the rest of it. But it slowly became very clear to me that they didn't walk their talk -- barely crawled it, actually. In reality they were highly conformist and intolerant of any views other than their own. This was especially true of anything to do with the Bloke-Chick Thing.

Anyhoo, I started looking beyond The Age (then as now a drearily right-on rag) for info and views. Somehow I got to hear about Camille Paglia, this feminist who was ruffling other feminists' wings big time. I can remember saying to a coupla bolshie babes I knew at the time: "Why are you so hostile to her? Isn't feminism a broad church?"

These days such a suggestion would prolly require a trigger warning, coz they would almost blow their tops, no kidding. When they managed to calm down they'd always tersely state something along these lines: "Camille Paglia is not a feminist, okay!"

I found the notion of a feminist who wasn't intriguing, and promptly read her epic tome Sexual Personae. It's a fantastic book and I'd recommend it to anyone interested in art, history, politics and the culture wars.

Unlike today's social justice warriors -- who've basically got their heads whopped up their own clackers (as Van the Man might say, they've got their eyes closed in the dark) -- Camille Paglia uses a much wider, longer lens, viewing contemporary developments in a grand, global, historical context.

She really burst onto the scene in the early nineties and was quite a celebrity at the time. But while she was still busy in the noughties, her media profile certainly waned considerably.

Now, with the resurgence of an extremely toxic, divisive and authoritarian version of political correctness -- particularly on American campuses -- her insights have become more relevant than ever. So she's popping up all over the place and triggering countless finger-wagging arsehats, which is great to know.

1 comment:

  1. I remember being fascinated by Camille Paglia back in the 90's but my head was elsewhere, usually out in the mystical nature she so refreshingly praises. WOW!She really socks it out there in the most intelligent and honest way, what a bright light. I am definitely tracking down Sexual Personae, it sounds like a mind opener. The decline and collapse of civilisations definitely throw up a lot of repetitive signs. Somewhere I read with great "relish", that MasterChefs are another signature appearance... the gluttony and greed, the supposed refinement of cultural desires, all just evidence of the rotting foundations, the camouflages we employ as we evade the truth.
    It's going to take more than a restumping.
    I'm off to screenprint a new T Shirt.
    "Camille Paglia for the Senate"!!

    Another Boadicea;)