Archive for the ‘Paglia’ Category

Camille Paglia, an honest left-of-center commenter on all things political, takes Obama to task:

There is plenty of blame to go around. Obama’s aggressive endorsement of a healthcare plan that does not even exist yet, except in five competing, fluctuating drafts, makes Washington seem like Cloud Cuckoo Land. The president is promoting the most colossal, brazen bait-and-switch operation since the Bush administration snookered the country into invading Iraq with apocalyptic visions of mushroom clouds over American cities.

You can keep your doctor; you can keep your insurance, if you’re happy with it, Obama keeps assuring us in soothing, lullaby tones. Oh, really? And what if my doctor is not the one appointed by the new government medical boards for ruling on my access to tests and specialists? And what if my insurance company goes belly up because of undercutting by its government-bankrolled competitor? Face it: Virtually all nationalized health systems, neither nourished nor updated by profit-driven private investment, eventually lead to rationing.

And on the dubious condemnation of angry American citizens, she adds:

And what do Democrats stand for, if they are so ready to defame concerned citizens as the “mob” — a word betraying a Marie Antoinette delusion of superiority to ordinary mortals. I thought my party was populist, attentive to the needs and wishes of those outside the power structure. And as a product of the 1960s, I thought the Democratic party was passionately committed to freedom of thought and speech.

But somehow liberals have drifted into a strange servility toward big government, which they revere as a godlike foster father-mother who can dispense all bounty and magically heal all ills. The ethical collapse of the left was nowhere more evident than in the near total silence of liberal media and Web sites at the Obama administration’s outrageous solicitation to private citizens to report unacceptable “casual conversations” to the White House. If Republicans had done this, there would have been an angry explosion by Democrats from coast to coast. I was stunned at the failure of liberals to see the blatant totalitarianism in this incident, which the president should have immediately denounced. His failure to do so implicates him in it.

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What can else can we say about Camille Paglia other than she is a delight?  She’s smart, witty, generous, and fair.  Her latest responses to readers’ letters includes a brilliant exposition on Hillary Clinton’s psyche:

A swarm of biographers in miners’ gear has tried to plumb the inky depths of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s warren-riddled psyche. My metaphor is drawn (as Oscar Wilde’s prim Miss Prism would say) from the Scranton coalfields, to which came the Welsh family that produced Hillary’s harsh, domineering father.

Hillary’s feckless, loutish brothers (who are kept at arm’s length by her operation) took the brunt of Hugh Rodham’s abuse in their genteel but claustrophobic home. Hillary is the barracuda who fought for dominance at their expense. Flashes of that ruthless old family drama have come out repeatedly in this campaign, as when Hillary could barely conceal her sneers at her fellow debaters onstage — the wimpy, cringing brothers at the dinner table.

Hillary’s willingness to tolerate Bill’s compulsive philandering is a function of her general contempt for men. She distrusts them and feels morally superior to them. Following the pattern of her long-suffering mother, she thinks it is her mission to endure every insult and personal degradation for a higher cause — which, unlike her self-sacrificing mother, she identifies with her near-messianic personal ambition.

Hillary is the typical oldest child:  bossy, ambitious, and totally lacking in subtlety.  Combined with Baby Boomer arrogance, a certain amount of insecurity about how far she’d have made it on her own, and the feminist tenor of her times, and she positively sucks.  Get in her way and she’ll go on the attack and play the martyr, all at the same time.  Ugh. 

On a lighter note, I found Paglia’s recent take on Art and Religion provocative and welcome.  The arts are really in bad shape, like much of the culture.  They confuse kitschy, ironic nihilism with brilliance.  As a friend put it, their abstract, smeared-on junk shows no “sweat equity.”  While all art does not necessarily have to be religious, nonreligious people make bad art.  They are looking at man, but not man in general, rather man is usually the reflections of pedantic insecurities of their own minds, fashionable ideology, and the meager, half-educated greul cooked up in their imagination. 

Could you imagine anything like the historical paintings of David, Titian, or Gerome today? It would be impossible; today’s younger artists can’t allude to myth and allegory because they’re raised on Pulp Fiction and World of Warcraft.  Forget beauty, could one even imagine something moderately provocative, like a portrayal of communist atrocities or the fallout of divorce or the horror of abortion in a significant piece of modern art? Please, they prefer the courage of smashing the already-destroyed ones from a century ago and the revolutionary act of making a lot of money peddling bullshit, a la, Gerhard Richter.

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