Camille Paglia's thoughts

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Belle
Posts: 1430
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:45 am

Camille Paglia's thoughts

Post by Belle » Tue Dec 04, 2018 3:45 pm

This incredible intellectual and brave culture warrior has made some devastatingly accurate calls here in "The Spectator". We in Australia have much the same, huge problems. I wish I could write and think as well as she does!

Camille Paglia: ‘Hillary wants Trump to win again’
The author and academic discusses 2020, Trump and Jordan Peterson


December 4, 2018

Camille Paglia is one of the most interesting and explosive thinkers of our time. She transgresses academic boundaries and blows up media forms. She’s brilliant on politics, art, literature, philosophy, and the culture wars. She’s also very keen on the email Q and A format for interviews. So, after reading her new collection of essays, Provocations, Spectator USA sent her some questions.

You’ve been a sharp political prognosticator over the years. So can I start by asking for a prediction. What will happen in 2020 in America? Will Hillary Clinton run again?

If the economy continues strong, Trump will be reelected. The Democrats (my party) have been in chaos since the 2016 election and have no coherent message except Trump hatred. Despite the vast pack of potential candidates, no one yet seems to have the edge. I had high hopes for Kamala Harris, but she missed a huge opportunity to play a moderating, statesmanlike role and has already imprinted an image of herself as a ruthless inquisitor that will make it hard for her to pull voters across party lines.

Screechy Elizabeth Warren has never had a snowball’s chance in hell to appeal beyond upper-middle-class professionals of her glossy stripe. Kirsten Gillibrand is a wobbly mediocrity. Cory Booker has all the gravitas of a cork. Andrew Cuomo is a yapping puppy with a long, muddy bullyboy tail. Both Bernie Sanders (for whom I voted in the 2016 primaries) and Joe Biden (who would have won the election had Obama not cut him off at the knees) are way too old and creaky.

To win in the nation’s broad midsection, the Democratic nominee will need to project steadiness, substance, and warmth. I’ve been looking at Congresswoman Cheri Bustos of Illinois and Governor Steve Bullock of Montana. As for Hillary, she’s pretty much damaged goods, but her perpetual, sniping, pity-me tour shows no signs of abating. She still has a rabidly loyal following, but it’s hard to imagine her winning the nomination again, with her iron grip on the Democratic National Committee now gone. Still, it’s in her best interest to keep the speculation fires burning. Given how thoroughly she has already sabotaged the rising candidates by hogging the media spotlight, I suspect she wants Trump to win again. I don’t see our stumbling, hacking, shop-worn Evita yielding the spotlight willingly to any younger gal.

Has Trump governed erratically?

Yes, that’s a fair description. It’s partly because as a non-politician he arrived in Washington without the battalion of allies, advisors, and party flacks that a senator or governor would normally accumulate on the long road to the White House. Trump’s administration is basically a one-man operation, with him relying on gut instinct and sometimes madcap improvisation. There’s often a gonzo humor to it — not that the US president should be slinging barbs at bottom-feeding celebrities or jackass journalists, much as they may deserve it. It’s like a picaresque novel starring a jaunty rogue who takes to Twitter like Tristram Shandy’s asterisk-strewn diary. Trump’s unpredictability might be giving the nation jitters, but it may have put North Korea, at least, on the back foot.

Most Democrats have wildly underestimated Trump from the get-go. I was certainly surprised at how easily he mowed down 17 other candidates in the GOP primaries. He represents widespread popular dissatisfaction with politics as usual. Both major US parties are in turmoil and metamorphosis, as their various factions war and realign. The mainstream media’s nonstop assault on Trump has certainly backfired by cementing his outsider status. He is basically a pragmatic deal-maker, indifferent to ideology. As with Bolsonaro in Brazil, Trump rose because of decades of failure by the political establishment to address urgent systemic problems, including corruption at high levels. Democrats must hammer out their own image and agenda and stop self-destructively insulting half the electorate by treating Trump like Satan.


Does the ‘deep state’ exist? If so, what is it?

The deep state is no myth but a sodden, intertwined mass of bloated, self-replicating bureaucracy that constitutes the real power in Washington and that stubbornly outlasts every administration. As government programs have incrementally multiplied, so has their regulatory apparatus, with its intrusive byzantine minutiae. Recently tagged as a source of anti-Trump conspiracy among embedded Democrats, the deep state is probably equally populated by Republicans and apolitical functionaries of Bartleby the Scrivener blandness. Its spreading sclerotic mass is wasteful, redundant, and ultimately tyrannical.

I have been trying for decades to get my fellow Democrats to realize how unchecked bureaucracy, in government or academe, is inherently authoritarian and illiberal. A persistent characteristic of civilizations in decline throughout history has been their self-strangling by slow, swollen, and stupid bureaucracies. The current atrocity of crippling student debt in the US is a direct product of an unholy alliance between college administrations and federal bureaucrats — a scandal that ballooned over two decades with barely a word of protest from our putative academic leftists, lost in their post-structuralist fantasies. Political correctness was not created by administrators, but it is ever-expanding campus bureaucracies that have constructed and currently enforce the oppressively rule-ridden regime of college life.

In the modern world, so wondrously but perilously interconnected, a principle of periodic reduction of bureaucracy should be built into every social organism. Freedom cannot survive otherwise.

What is true multiculturalism?

As I repeatedly argue in Provocations, comparative religion is the true multiculturalism and should be installed as the core curriculum in every undergraduate program. From my perspective as an atheist as well as a career college teacher, secular humanism has been a disastrous failure. Too many young people raised in affluent liberal homes are arriving at elite colleges and universities with skittish, unformed personalities and shockingly narrow views of human existence, confined to inflammatory and divisive identity politics.

Interest in Hinduism and Buddhism was everywhere in the 1960s counterculture, but it gradually dissipated partly because those most drawn to ‘cosmic consciousness’ either disabled themselves by excess drug use or shunned the academic ladder of graduate school. I contend that every educated person should be conversant with the sacred texts, rituals, and symbol systems of the great world religions — Hinduism, Buddhism, Judeo-Christianity, and Islam — and that true global understanding is impossible without such knowledge.

Not least, the juxtaposition of historically evolving spiritual codes tutors the young in ethical reasoning and the creation of meaning. Right now, the campus religion remains nihilist, meaning-destroying post-structuralism, whose pilfering god, the one-note Foucault, had near-zero scholarly knowledge of anything before or beyond the European Enlightenment. (His sparse writing on classical antiquity is risible.) Out with the false idols and in with the true!

There’s a lot of buzz about the ‘intellectual dark web’. One of its leading figures is Jordan Peterson, who is in some ways like you — he provokes, he works in an array of disciplines, he encourages individual responsibility. I saw your podcast with him. What did you make of him? Why is he so popular?

There are astounding parallels between Jordan Peterson’s work and mine. In its anti-ideological, trans-historical view of sex and nature, my first book, Sexual Personae (1990), can be viewed as a companion to Peterson’s first book, Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief (1999). Peterson and I took different routes up the mountain — he via clinical psychology and I via literature and art — but we arrived at exactly the same place. Amazingly, over our decades of copious research, we were drawn to the same book by the same thinker — The Origins and History of Consciousness (1949), by the Jungian analyst Erich Neumann. (My 2005 lecture on Neumann at New York University is reprinted in Provocations.) Peterson’s immense international popularity demonstrates the hunger for meaning among young people today. Defrauded of a genuine humanistic education, they are recognizing the spiritual impoverishment of their crudely politicized culture, choked with jargon, propaganda, and lies.

I met Peterson and his wife Tammy a year ago when they flew to Philadelphia with a Toronto camera crew for our private dialogue at the University of the Arts. (The YouTube video has had to date over a million and a half views.) Peterson was incontrovertibly one of the most brilliant minds I have ever encountered, starting with the British philosopher Stuart Hampshire, whom I heard speak impromptu for a dazzling hour after a lecture in college. In turning psychosocial discourse back toward the syncretistic, multicultural Jung, Peterson is recovering and restoring a peak period in North American thought, when Canada was renowned for pioneering, speculative thinkers like the media analyst Marshall McLuhan and the myth critic Northrop Frye. I have yet to see a single profile of Peterson, even from sympathetic journalists, that accurately portrays the vast scope, tenor, and importance of his work.

Is humanity losing its sense of humor?

As a bumptious adolescent in upstate New York, I stumbled on a British collection of Oscar Wilde’s epigrams in a secondhand bookstore. It was an electrifying revelation, a text that I studied like the bible. What bold, scathing wit, cutting through the sentimental fog of those still rigidly conformist early 1960s, when good girls were expected to simper and defer.

But I never fully understood Wilde’s caustic satire of Victorian philanthropists and humanitarians until the present sludgy tide of political correctness began flooding government, education, and media over the past two decades. Wilde saw the insufferable arrogance and preening sanctimony in his era’s self-appointed guardians of morality.

We’re back to the hypocrisy sweepstakes, where gestures of virtue are as formalized as kabuki. Humor has been assassinated. An off word at work or school will get you booted to the gallows. This is the graveyard of liberalism, whose once noble ideals have turned spectral and vampiric.

John F
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Re: Camille Paglia's thoughts

Post by John F » Tue Dec 04, 2018 8:08 pm

Typical Paglia. Her "thoughts" may go over well in Australia, but in this country not so much. Her political views as summarized in Wikipedia:
Paglia characterizes herself as a libertarian. She opposes laws against prostitution, pornography, drugs, and abortion, and is also opposed to affirmative action laws. Some of her views have been characterized as conservative. She is critical of current transgender discourse and has long rejected what she describes as "the political agenda that has slowly accrued" around the issue of climate change. In a 2017 interview with The Weekly Standard, Paglia stated, "It is certainly ironic how liberals who posture as defenders of science when it comes to global warming (a sentimental myth unsupported by evidence) flee all reference to biology when it comes to gender."

Paglia criticized Bill Clinton for not resigning after the Monica Lewinsky scandal, which she says "paralyzed the government for two years, leading directly to our blindsiding by 9/11". In the 2000 U.S. presidential campaign she voted for the Green Party candidate Ralph Nader, "[because] I detest the arrogant, corrupt superstructure of the Democratic Party, with which I remain stubbornly registered."

In the 2004 U.S. presidential election, Paglia supported John Kerry; and in 2008 she supported Barack Obama. In 2012, she supported Green Party candidate Jill Stein. Paglia was highly critical of 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, calling her a "fraud" and a "liar". Paglia refused to support either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, indicating in a March Salon.com column that if Hillary Clinton won the Democratic Party's nomination she would either cast a write-in vote for Bernie Sanders or else vote for Green Party candidate Stein, as she did in 2012. Paglia later clarified in a statement that she would vote for Stein.[78] In 2017, she stated that she is a registered Democrat who voted for Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic primary and for Jill Stein in the 2016 general election.
There's almost nothing here I can agree with. Paglia may claim to be a "registered Democrat" but having voted against Democrats as often as for them, throwing her vote away on third-party candidates and thereby contributing to the victories of George W. Bush and Donald Trump, I say as a real Democrat that she's registered under false pretenses.
John Francis

Belle
Posts: 1430
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:45 am

Re: Camille Paglia's thoughts

Post by Belle » Tue Dec 04, 2018 10:04 pm

So, don't read her books just read Wiki. Rather low resolution, don't you think? She has a great many intellectual supporters including all those in the Intellectual Dark Web and beyond. And this in media which has tens of millions of supporters and viewers - many times more than conventional newspapers and networks like CNN, Fox and the like. They're all busy with confirmation bias; not so people like Paglia et al. The 'disrupters' are trouncing the conventional media which cling tenaciously to their tired old bromides.

I loved her comments about reading Oscar Wilde and it's so true!!!! And then there's this absolute gold with its modern politico-cultural resonances:

But I never fully understood Wilde’s caustic satire of Victorian philanthropists and humanitarians until the present sludgy tide of political correctness began flooding government, education, and media over the past two decades. Wilde saw the insufferable arrogance and preening sanctimony in his era’s self-appointed guardians of morality.

We’re back to the hypocrisy sweepstakes, where gestures of virtue are as formalized as kabuki. Humor has been assassinated. An off word at work or school will get you booted to the gallows. This is the graveyard of liberalism, whose once noble ideals have turned spectral and vampiric.

Ricordanza
Posts: 1742
Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2005 4:58 am
Location: Southern New Jersey, USA

Re: Camille Paglia's thoughts

Post by Ricordanza » Wed Dec 05, 2018 7:25 am

The Democrats (my party) have been in chaos since the 2016 election and have no coherent message except Trump hatred.
I half agree with this statement, and she has some other insights. However, I take issue with Paglia's view of the "deep state" or the "bureaucracy." The only reason our country has survived (so far) the Trump presidency is that there are still some dedicated and experienced career government employees who are keeping the ship of state afloat and (reasonably) on course.

lennygoran
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Location: new york city

Re: Camille Paglia's thoughts

Post by lennygoran » Wed Dec 05, 2018 8:08 am

The Dems have a clear message which I hope to see proven very soon! Corruption, Obstruction of Justice, collusion, lies to the American Republic Len [waiting for the tax returns and the blocked number!]

Belle
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Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:45 am

Re: Camille Paglia's thoughts

Post by Belle » Wed Dec 05, 2018 3:05 pm

lennygoran wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 8:08 am
The Dems have a clear message which I hope to see proven very soon! Corruption, Obstruction of Justice, collusion, lies to the American Republic Len [waiting for the tax returns and the blocked number!]
I'm not so familiar with American politics and, of course, my own country interests me more. But from my experience governments are not elected on negativity but on what THEY'VE got to sell the people. We have exactly the same problems here in Australia with two major parties on the nose and a jaded electorate seeing the rise of so-called independents. Europe and the UK has its political disrupters now, too. The people voted for Brexit and their government is either in tatters about how to enact it or deliberately sabotaging the whole thing. The UK is in a democratically precarious position now with the will of the people being ignored and calls for 'another vote'.

The reason I posted the Paglia comments is because she writes so magnificently, I enjoy her ideas about the wider society and its attitudes and she panders to nobody.

Belle
Posts: 1430
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:45 am

Re: Camille Paglia's thoughts

Post by Belle » Wed Dec 05, 2018 3:07 pm

Ricordanza wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 7:25 am
The Democrats (my party) have been in chaos since the 2016 election and have no coherent message except Trump hatred.
I half agree with this statement, and she has some other insights. However, I take issue with Paglia's view of the "deep state" or the "bureaucracy." The only reason our country has survived (so far) the Trump presidency is that there are still some dedicated and experienced career government employees who are keeping the ship of state afloat and (reasonably) on course.
I agree with her view about the Deep State; we have that situation here. The long arm of government!! It absolutely terrifies me and I couldn't even scratch the surface on the atrocities of our Family Court system; I have two sons caught up in it right now and its reach and power is catastrophic. Out the window for the presumption of innocence in the brave new world of 'victim' rights. Government and its agencies actively sneer at my sons, treating them like criminals and facilitating the denial of access to their children. Some men kill their partners; ergo all men kill their partners and the state is here to protect a woman with any and all accusations she makes. Totally untested.

In Australia we have a 'royal commission' into the banking system; our 'four pillars' banks which survived the global meltdown of 2008 and enabled Australia to get through fairly unscathed. The corporate behaviours exposed by the (deep state's) examination of banking have uncovered a culture of corruption which I could pretty much have told you existed - without the millions of dollars price tag of this public inquiry. The immediate consequence has been increased government regulation and a significant drop in lending and the collapse of value in Australian capital city housing prices. (Not so flash if you're at retirement age and want to downsize and use that capital for your income - or those who have homes worth less than the loans they've taken out.) I look on at my age and wonder what else people could have imagined was going to come from this? The naivete of the people simply staggers me and Paglia partially explains that phenomenon!!

I don't want to appear to be supporting the creeps in private enterprise who rip off the people, but what happened about teaching people "caveat emptor"? Putting the responsibility back onto people to make decisions they feel are in their best interests and less likely to see them exploited. Vigilance and awareness go a long way. My own view accords with Camille Paglia; if you have government to do all your thinking it infantilizes the people and creates a culture of victimhood. Do the hard yards, be suspicious, check and double check and then go hard on the rip-off merchants. That way many problems at the coal face can be solved and it makes the bank more wary about thinking they have the right to exploit ordinary people. Right now if you want anything at all from a bank, no matter how trivial, you are buried in reams of paperwork. We had friends who went into offshore currency speculation in the '90s with one of our largest bank; he nearly lost everything. The rest of us shook our heads and wondered why he had been that stupid in the first place!!

My husband and myself have disagreed about our national banking inquiry; he thinks 'the banks are trusted by the people and supported by the government' so it was necessary. Many people share his view, but I'm much more interested in cause and effect, actions and consequences. And the analogy with chemotherapy; the cure is often worse than the disease.

There are millions of people leap-frogging the traditional media to discuss and challenge all these ideas and the deep state and I welcome that.

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