"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Monday, April 14, 2008

"The advantage of a bad memory is that one enjoys several times the same good things for the first time." - Friedrich Nietzsche

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Crisis In The American Universities
Camille Paglia

"I will continue to attack the well-meaning people who think they're protecting women and in fact are infantilizing them... My generation of the Sixties, with all of our great ideals, destroyed liberalism, because of our excesses. We have to face that. And we have to look for something new right now.

The situation right now is that we have on one side people who consider themselves leftists but to me, as far as academe is concerned, are phonies, people who have absolutely no credentials for political thinking, have no training in history...

The whole thing is nothing but a literary game. I'm exposing it... What I don't like right now is that there's a kind of knee-jerk, intimidating way of calling someone "neoconservative" if they happen to criticize the liberal academic establishment--"Right, you're a neocon." Now, when people call me a neocon, what kind of idiots are they? I'm someone who is on the record as being pro-pornography--all the way through kiddie porn and snuff films... rather than blaming The New Criterion or Roger Kimball for all the problems of the world, it's time for the liberals of academe to critique themselves, to reform it from within...

As for the Lacan, Derrida, Foucault people, who needs them? Put them on an island and let them float out to sea. This is what I say!... There's no authentic self-sacrifice, no direct actual experience of workers or working-class people. It's appalling, the situation. It's everywhere, it's everywhere in the Ivy League.

Now, one of the reasons I'm so angry. I really went on the warpath last year, especially about feminism. I consider myself a feminist... There was a point where feminism and I agreed. I was thirteen though. It was 1960, okay? That was a time when I said, "Men are terrible. The sexes are the same. Men must change. Society must change. And all the problems between the sexes are coming from the fact that men are so awful." I was thirteen! That's an unevolved position. It's thirty years later, girls! Let us move on! Oh, God!...

No one wants to talk about nature now. Meanwhile, the entire student population of the world is thinking about nature, the environment, they're thinking globally, but our faculty are off in their little corners talking about social constructionism. They haven't thought about nature in twenty years, okay, they are so behind. You mention the mere word "nature"--"Essentialism!" That's it.... The thing about the Sixties is that we had a comprehensive world-view. We saw the injustices of society, and we wanted to remedy them. We focused our negative energy against society to change it. At the same time we saw the enormity of nature. And we honored the enormity of nature. It is appalling, the situation now, that you could think about talking about sex without thinking about nature.... The contempt for science that's going on among humanists is contemptible...

The disaster of women's studies today is that women are being prevented from understanding that there's a hundred-year history of sex-theory, sex-commentary. Instead they're being forced to read these very narrowly trained contemporary women. And most of it is junk! It's junk! It's appalling!...

Diana Fuss... show[ed] a series of slides that she had made of contemporary ads and pictorials from Harper's Bazaar and so on... There was a Revlon ad of a woman in a blue pool of water, and she was beautifully made up, and there was obviously a reflector being used to shine the sunlight especially intensely on her face. This was a beautiful ad. And Diana Fuss was going, "Decapitation--mutilation."... Such radical misinterpretation of reality is psychotic. But it's a whole system. Psychosis is a system. People within that system feel it's very rational... Now, what I hated about this was you had two hundred young women, who didn't understand a word of what she was saying--it was all that Lacan gibberish--and they're all going, "Ohhh, wow! The woman from Princeton--a big woman from Princeton. She's so brilliant!"...

She knew nothing about art. And I also could tell she knew nothing about popular culture. Now you see the problem here. You cannot just suddenly open a magazine and look at a picture of a nude woman and then free associate, using Lacan. You cannot do that! Because fashion magazines are part of the history of art... I made a huge statement that night--the whole audience gasped. I went, "The history of fashion photography from 1950 to 1990 is one of the great moments in the history of art!" And everyone went, "How can you say that?" Because obviously fashion is an oppression of women.

And beauty, according to, um, Miss, um, Naomi Wolf, is a heterosexist conspiracy by men in a room to keep feminism back--and all that crap that's going on... if you read Lacan, this is the result. Your brain turns to pudding! She has a case to make. She cannot make it. She's full of paranoid fantasies about the world. Her education was completely removed from reality... We had this huge fight about the song "Under My Thumb." I said it was a great song, not only a great song but I said it was a work of art. And these feminists of the New Haven Women's Liberation Rock Band went into a rage, surrounded me, practically spat in my face, literally my back was to the wall. They're screaming in my face, "Art? Art? Nothing that demeans women can be art!"...

Feminism is 200 years old. Ever since Mary Wollstonecraft wrote that manifesto in 1790. It's 200 years old. It's had many phases. We can criticize the present phase without necessarily criticizing feminism, I want to save feminism from the feminists. What I identify with is the prewar feminism of Amelia Earhart, of Katherine Hepburn--who had an enormous impact on me--that period of women where you had independence, self-reliance, personal responsibility, and not blaming other people for your problems. I want to bring that back...

There are two huge areas that feminism has excluded that need to be integrated within it... One of them that was excluded was aesthetics... I don't feel less because I'm in the presence of a beautiful person. I don't go [imitates crying and dabbing tears], "Oh, I'll never be that beautiful!" What a ridiculous attitude to take!--the Naomi Wolf attitude. When men look at sports, when they look at football, the don't go [crying], "Oh, I'll never be that fast, I'll never be that strong!" When people look at Michelangelo's David, do they commit suicide? No. See what I mean? When you see a strong person, a fast person, you go, "Wow! That is fabulous." When you see a beautiful person: "How beautiful." That's what I'm bringing back to feminism. You go, "What a beautiful person, what a beautiful man, what a beautiful woman, what beautiful hair, what beautiful boobs!" Okay, now I'll be charged with sexual harassment, probably. I won't even be able to get out of the room!

We should not have to apologize for reveling in beauty. Beauty is an eternal human value. It was not a trick invented by nasty men in a room someplace on Madison Avenue...

Its politics is also naive, a politics which blames all human problems on white male imperialists who have victimized women and people of color. This view of history is coming from people who know nothing about history. Because when you think of the word "imperialist," if you automatically just think "America," then you don't know anything. Because someone who's studied the history of ancient Egypt knows that imperialism was practically invented in Egypt and in the ancient Near East. If you want to talk about imperialism, let's talk about Japan or Persia or all kinds of things. It's not just a white male monopoly.

What we need, you see, is really systematic training in political science and history... Instead, it was sort of like, "Hey, we need history! Let's see. Oh--there's Foucault!" It was sort of like that. It's sort of like ducks when they're born--the first thing they see, you know? So if they see a vacuum cleaner, they think it's their mother. They'll follow the vacuum cleaner. That's what happened. Foucault is the vacuum cleaner that everyone followed...

And unfortunately what's happening today, with this kind of very sanctimonious and sermonizing talk about sex that's coming out of the rape counselors and so on... we cannot have this scenario being projected of male rapaciousness and brutality and female victimage. We have got to make women realize they are responsible, that sexuality is something that belongs to them. They have an enormous power in their sexuality. It's up to them to use it correctly and to be wise about where they go and what they do. And I'm accused of being "anti-woman" because of this attitude? Because I'm bringing common sense back to the rape discourse?

Now when people say to me, "Oh, you're always talking about feminists as if they're monolithic. We're not monolithic. We're very pluralistic. We have so many different views." No, excuse me: the date-rape issue shows that I am correct. Because there is one voice speaking about date rape from coast to coast, one voice, one stupid, shrewish, puritanical, sermonizing, hysterical voice. And where are all these sophisticated feminists supposedly out there? Where are they?... There's not one voice raised to bring some sense into this hysteria...

If a real rape occurs, I will help to lynch the guy from the nearest tree... But this sort of thing is disastrous. We cannot have this, these white middle-class girls coming out of pampered homes, expecting to do whatever they want. They don't understand what's going on, that there's a sexual content to their behavior, that maybe there's a subliminal sexuality, a provocativeness in their behavior. "Don't say 'provocative'! Because then you're blaming the victim!" Well, women will never be taken seriously until they accept full responsibility for their sexuality...

And you know what's so ridiculous about this is that these people want "multiculturalism," they want to talk about various ethnic groups. At the same time they want to deny there's any difference between those ethnic groups. This is insane! It's illogical. It's incoherent. If you're going to have the ethnic groups and if you're going to draw a firm line separating those groups, then surely those groups have characteristics that separate them and that should be the subject of comment. But no--the amnesiac liberal establishment wants to draw lines and erase all of our mental life within those lines...

The idea that feminism is the first group that ever denounced rape is a gross libel to men. Throughout history, rape has been condemned by honorable men. Honorable men do not murder; honorable men do not steal; honorable men do not rape. It goes all the way back through history. Tarquin's rape of Lucretia caused the fall of the tyrants and the beginning of the Roman Republic. This idea that somehow suddenly feminism miraculously found out that women were being exploited and raped though history is ridiculous... Look--ethics has always condemned such abuses. You do not have this endless series of atrocities through history. Men have also protected women. Men have given women sustenance. Men have provided for women. Men have died to defend the country for women. We must look back and acknowledge what men have done for women... In America, woman is at her freest. Never in history have women been freer than they are here. And this idea, this bitching, bitching, kvetching about capitalism and America and men, this whining--it's infantile, it's an adolescent condition, it's bad for women. It's very, very bad to convince young women that they have been victims and that their heritage is nothing but victimization. This is another perversion.

All right. Here's something: Germaine Greer. What a loss. What a loss! If that woman had stayed on her original track, all of feminism would have been different. She was sophisticated, sexy, literate. What happened to her? After three years, she turned into this drone, this whining, "Woe is me, all the problems of the world!" Something went wrong in feminism... Sometimes women have failings. Sometimes everything is not because of male conspiracy. Sometimes women do stupid things, okay, and become vain and conceited...

For all the talk of academic feminism about how they care for women--they think they speak for women--they don't speak for women! You go out in the street, most women on the street have contempt for feminists. Why? It's because of the excesses of feminism. They like to go through this ritual, "Oh, yes, we have such solidarity with Third World women." They don't know anything about Third World women! So much of academic feminism today is nothing but the complaining of white upper-middle-class women. They don't even realize the extent to which they're trapped in their own class. They don't realize it. And they just have to be broken out of it...

The abuse of language has got to stop. Throwing around words like racist and homophobic and so on. Now, homophobic has a specific psychological meaning. It means someone who's obsessed with homosexuality, so that you go out and maybe kill or maim someone who is homosexual because of your own inner fear that you may be having homosexual impulses. It's a true phobia. We cannot allow the word homophobic to be constantly used for anyone who says, "I don't like gay people" or "I think homosexuality is immoral, according to the Bible." We cannot be misusing this word. We cannot condemn as bigotry everything that we don't agree with. Words like bigotry have to go. Or you don't get enough money for AIDS: "Genocide!" When you use words like this--this is what they were shouting up in Kennebunkport when Bush was on vacation on Labor Day--"Genocide!" Now what does this do? I mean, you totally destroy the true meaning of genocide as it was authentically embodied under Hitler. That's what you do. You destroy meanings, you anesthetize people, and you turn people off. You turn the mind off. You kill the brain. We cannot have this. We cannot have this abuse of language going on...

I demand that the profession go cold turkey on the conferences! There must be an accounting. Every college, every university, we must ask for an accounting. The funds that are being used to send people on plane trips to Monte Carlo and around the world should be going to the students and to development...

What I'm asking for is a true multiculturalism. Not this phony stuff, where you have these people who say [imitates smug, airy woman professor], "Oh, I'm multicultural because to my novel course I've added, yes, two novels by black women and one by a Chinese-American woman. See--I'm multicultural!" That's not multicultural! If you were really multicultural, you'd be studying, the way we did in the Sixties, Hinduism and Buddhism. You'd be studying other world cultures. These people are lazy, good-for-nothing pretentious people! Hypocrites! Hypocrites masquerading under this flag of multiculturalism."
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