Thursday, February 26, 2015

Thoughts From a Catholic Pagan...

Rational Nation USA
Purveyor of Truth

Following are remarks made by Camille Paglia, University Professor of Humanities and Media Studies during an interview with America. Her remarks are honest, spot on, and perhaps a bit controversial. The three comments below are but a third of her interview responses, ones this writer found most interesting.

Identifying yourself as a “dissident feminist,” you often seem more at home with classical Greek and Roman paganism than with postmodern academia. How has this reality affected your public and professional relationships?

I feel lucky to have taught primarily at art schools, where the faculty are active practitioners of the arts and crafts. I have very little contact with American academics, who are pitifully trapped in a sterile career system that has become paralyzed by political correctness. University faculties nationwide have lost power to an ever-expanding bureaucracy of administrators, whose primary concern is the institution's contractual relationship with tuition-paying parents. You can cut the demoralized faculty atmosphere with a knife when you step foot on any elite campus. With a few stellar exceptions, the only substantive discourse that I ever have these days is with academics, intellectuals, and journalists abroad.

In your view, what’s wrong with American feminism today, and what can it do to improve?

After the great victory won by my insurgent, pro-sex, pro-fashion wing of feminism in the 1990s, American and British feminism has amazingly collapsed backward again into whining, narcissistic victimology. As in the hoary old days of Gloria Steinem and her Stalinist cohorts, we are endlessly subjected to the hackneyed scenario of history as a toxic wasteland of vicious male oppression and gruesome female suffering. College campuses are hysterically portrayed as rape extravaganzas where women are helpless fluffs with no control over their own choices and behavior. I am an equal opportunity feminist: that is, I call for the removal of all barriers to women's advance in the professional and political realms. However, I oppose special protections for women, which I reject as demeaning and infantilizing. My principal demand (as I have been repeating for nearly 25 years) is for colleges to confine themselves to education and to cease their tyrannical surveillance of students' social lives. If a real crime is committed, it must be reported to the police. College officials and committees have neither the expertise nor the legal right to be conducting investigations into he said/she said campus dating fiascos. Too many of today's young feminists seem to want hovering, paternalistic authority figures to protect and soothe them, an attitude I regard as servile, reactionary and glaringly bourgeois. The world can never be made totally safe for anyone, male or female: there will always be sociopaths and psychotics impervious to social controls. I call my system "street-smart feminism": there is no substitute for wary vigilance and personal responsibility.

In your view as a classicist, what can the ancient Romans and Greeks teach us as human beings?

Following my culture-hero, Oscar Wilde, I do not subscribe to the implicitly moralistic assumption that literature or art "teaches" us anything. It simply opens up our vision to a larger world—or allows us to see that world through a different lens. Greco-Roman culture, which is fast receding in American higher education, is one of the two foundational traditions of Western civilization, the other being the Judeo-Christian. These traditions twined about and influenced each other for centuries and produced the titanic complexity of the West, for good and ill. To ignore or minimize the Greco-Roman past is to put intellectual blinders on—but that is exactly what has been happening as colleges are gradually abandoning the big, chronological, two-semester freshman survey courses that once heavily emphasized classical antiquity. The trajectory is toward "presentism," a myopic concentration on society since the Renaissance—a noble, humanistic term, by the way, that is being ruthlessly discarded for the blobby new Marxist entity, "Early Modern."

Full interview can be found BELOW THE FOLD'

Via: Memeorandum


  1. Was not aware that current colleges are abandoning the 'History of Western Civilization' that was required when I attended. That type of thing, and the grade escalation problem could well turn out
    poorly educated grads. My connections confirm the problem of heavy admin, which in some cases
    encourages the above problems, for mostly financial reasons (more students, more money)..and the
    corresponding discouragement among the working profs.

    1. BB said: " That type of thing, and the grade escalation problem could well turn out
      poorly educated grads."

      The same thing happens with racist "affirmative action" quotas which treat African Americans as intellectual cripples. I was in a program in university which requires a 3.0 GPA to stay in it. Blacks though had to only keep a 2.5 GPA. I remember well the experiences of my black friend. Such policies only bring harm, and make grads poorly educated.

  2. Christina Hoff Sommers is another one of those "dissident feminists" whose work seems to ruffle feathers and who for that factor alone I admire.

  3. I read "Sexual Personae" by Paglia years ago. She's a bundle of contradictions, but remains an interesting character.

    1. How so?

      Are you saying she lacks objectivity?


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