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Monday, December 3, 2018

Camille Paglia v. The Hive

Silverfiddle Rant!
Nothing tingles my intellectual anticipation like a fresh Camille Paglia essay.

Camille Paglia is a brilliant professor who occupies that strange, abandoned no-man’s land of humanities, arts, literature and social criticism unencumbered by partisan ideology. 

She's an atheist who laments the destruction of our Judeo-Christian foundations and the concomitant rise of nihilistic nothingness. She is a lesbian who decries the passing of the classic macho, testosterone-driven manly gentleman, and she has told the #MeToos to grow up and stop infantilizing women. She has rightly pointed out that cultural vandals and moral panic peddlers have destroyed the sexual mystique that has driven male-female relationships in all cultures since the dawn of mankind.

Here are some excerpts from her latest essay. Her wisdom approaches the Talmudic...

“…secular humanism has failed. As an atheist, I have argued that if religion is erased, something must be put in its place. Belief systems are intrinsic to human intelligence and survival. They “frame” the flux of primary experience, which would otherwise flood the mind.”

“But politics cannot fill the gap. Society, with which Marxism is obsessed, is only a fragment of the totality of life. As I have written, Marxism has no metaphysics: it cannot even detect, much less comprehend, the enormity of the universe and the operations of nature." 

"Those who invest all of their spiritual energies in politics will reap the whirlwind. The evidence is all around us—the paroxysms of inchoate, infantile rage suffered by those who have turned fallible politicians into saviors and devils, godlike avatars of Good versus Evil.”

“when art is reduced to politics, as has been programmatically done in academe for 40 years, its spiritual dimension is gone.”


“A society that respects neither religion nor art cannot be called a civilization.

“Their (#MeToo movement) elevation of emotion and group solidarity over fact and logic has resurrected damaging stereotypes of women’s irrationality that were once used to deny us the vote.”


“... #MeToo movement has gone seriously off track... No democracy can survive in such a paranoid climate of ambush and summary execution. This is Stalinism, a nadir of politics.”

“What I see in both the Women’s March and #MeToo is an atavistic rediscovery by Western women of the joy of their own mutually nurturing solidarity—a primary feature of daily life during 10,000 years of the agrarian era that has been lost over the past two centuries of industrialization. As I have often noted, the sexes throughout human history actually had very little to do with each other. There was the world of men and the world of women, each with its own spheres of influence and activity. Women didn’t take men that seriously, and vice versa. ”

“What I see spreading among professional middle-class women is a bitter resentment toward men that is in many cases unjust and misplaced. With divorce so easy since the sexual revolution, women find themselves competing with younger women in new and cruel ways. Agrarian women gained power as they aged: young women were brainless pawns whose marriages, pregnancies, childcare, cooking, and other chores were acerbically supervised and controlled by the dictatorial crones (forces of nature whom I fondly remember from childhood)."

In short, #MeToo from a historical perspective is a cri de coeur from women who are realizing that the sexual revolution that many of us had once ecstatically embraced has in key ways devalued women, confused their private relationships, and complicated their smooth functioning in the workplace. It’s time for a new map of the gender world.”

50 comments:

  1. the paroxysms of inchoate, infantile rage suffered by those who have turned fallible politicians into saviors and devils, godlike avatars of Good versus Evil.

    And there's the money shot....

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  2. I have a friend, who if anyone listened to him would assume he is a born again Christian. His defense of Christianity (and it's positive effect on humanity and our culture) is that strong.
    Yet he is an atheist.
    When I think of Paglia, and my friend, I wonder, what keeps you from rejecting your current position which is rejected by that which you so clearly admire?

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    1. I don’t think it’s inconsistent at all to be able to acknowledge the positive aspects of an influence on society - while not making a commitment of belief in the supernatural.

      Unless a lot of folks are going through the motions for optics sake (or just hedging bets) isn’t having faith in a deity, one of the most critical and intimate personal acts a person can ascribe to?

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    2. Good mornung, Ed. You and I may differ in our understanding of what it means to be a Christian, yet we both define ourselves as Christians.;-)

      I believe that Almighty God is the living embodiment and perfect expression of:

      SPIRIT (the force that animates and motivates us to assume the burden of living with hope and enthusiasm),

      TRUTH (the essence of Reality),

      INTELLIGENCE (the means by which we may learn to know God, appreciate His abundant gifts, and deal creatively and productively with His creation),

      SOUL (our Individual Identity),

      PRINCIPLE (the means of living with Honesty, integrity, Decency, and Charity in all situations),

      LOVE (also known as CHARITY –– the all-important force that makes all other aspects of mortal life and humn interaction tenable and potentially joyful –– perfectly summed up by the Golden Rule.)

      LIFE (God is the author of existence. Without Him we wouldn't be here, and neither would the Cosmos, of which we are a very small-but-integral part who may be vitally important primarily to ourselves and no ine else ;-)


      My point in sharing these thoughts is only to indicate that in my view, it is possuble for individuals who cannot bring themselves to accept any sort of official doctrne, dogma or specific creed may in Truth be what-i-call de facto Christians, because they think, feel, and behave according to the dictates, tenets and principles set down in the biblical documents central to our faith.

      People like Camille Paglia, whom I like a good deal, and have long regarded as that extremely rare thing – A TRUE INDIVIDUAL –– and benevolent provocateuse ––, who lives a PRINCIPLED existence, respectful of TRUTH, as she understands it, and is always curious and eager to expand the parameters of her knowledge.

      People eager to dismiss Paglia as too "diffuse," "non-commital," "all-over-the-map," "heretical," even "patently insincere," or "a charlatan" are wrong in my opinion.

      Unlike far too many self-styled "intellectuals," Paglla make no pretense at knowing what's best for everyone, makes no attempt to anoint herself as any kind of charismatic "Leader," or "Messiah." Doesn't seem to believe that there is any ONE WAY that "EVERYONE" must follow – "OR ELSE"

      Instead she merely shows her readers what she sees and believes offering her wisdom and often brilliant critical analysis with a take-it-or-leave-it approach I have always found both refreshing and reassuring. For this I applaud her.

      Lest anyone wants to think her too "undisciplined" or too "agnostic" to be taken seriously, and therefore "dangerous," may I suggest that God, Himself, gave each of us an INDIVIDUAL IDENTITY, FREE WILL, and varying degress of INTELLIGENCE which enable us to discover TRUTH in our own individual ways.

      I believe that God gave us His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, not so much to DIE for us, but to SHOW US the WAY towards undertanding that we are essentially SPIRITUAL beings made in God's image, and that means that even if we suffer, injustice, capture, torture, and a barbaric form of execution, we remain ALIVE, nevertheless, in SPIRIT, which is the only form we take that really matters in the final analysis.

      +... M_E_R_R_Y_ ...+... C_H_R_I_S_T_M_A_S ...+


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    3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    4. I am certain that YOU are an absolute, unmitigated CREEP..

      I pray every day that you may yet find Jesus and at last join the human race. But the likelihood is so slim I might as well wish for the ability to turn URINE into vintage CHAMPAGNE.

      Oh well, I guess most of our readers appreciate having a King's Fool in court. There could be no other reason for alloing you to stay undeleted. but don't proceed under any delusion that you would ever be allowed to play Hop Frog.

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    5. Franco,
      Do not feed the troll! Off-topic and idiotic comments deserve nothing more than scrolling on by.

      Thank you.

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    6. "Where there is no love, put love, and you will find love"

      -St. John of the Cross

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    7. Generally i would agree with you and St. John of the Cross, FJ, but elements exist that are SO obnoxious, SO incorrigible, and SO vile they CRY OUT to be put down promptly, fiercely, and conclusively.

      I am not, nor have I ever pretended to be a saint, FJ. ;-) It never ceases to amaze –– and frankly irk –– me that of the thousands of words posted that show some insight, wit, good style, moral courage or other form of virtue are almost unvariably ignored, or given sort shrift at best, while a pettifogging attempt to have a little fun at a vicious lunatic's expense attracts a slap on the wrist.

      It is what it is, but that dosn't mean I have t like it.

      I'm pleased to have remained more than little childish at age 78. After all the Bible DOES say that "in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven you must become as a little child," does it not?

      };^)>

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    8. FJ,
      Faith isn't evidence-based. Neither is love, for that matter.

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    9. Long workday, late getting back. Thanks for the replies.
      As to lack of evidence, Jesus said, "You don't see the wind..." .
      The evidence is in the effect.

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    10. BRILLIANT response, Ed. I will remember it, and probably use it myself, if you don't mind.

      Merry Christmas!

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    11. John 3:1-8...

      There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 2 the same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. 3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

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  3. #MeToo is a Bachae of pagan puritanism. All that remains is the death of Cadmus and the matriarchical tearing-up and consummation of his flesh

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    1. #MeToo is a demented concatenation of brainwashed females who've been psychologiclly CONDITIONED by the warped influence of Cultural Marxist Mischiefmakers into believing they are all VICTIMS" of the Male Sex, which is directly respnsible for the poverty and misery of these sick females' ntellectually barren and spiriually steriile, essentially ludicrous existence as PAWNS in the Left's Aggressive Long March Through the Culture to establsh a totalitarian regime in which every semblance –– and all memory –– of America as Founded has been OBLITERATED through relentless campaign of derision.

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    2. #MeToo will, ultimately, hurt women and "set us back." Why can't these #MeToo recognize that reality?

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  4. Replies
    1. Thank you.

      One of the many things that strikes me about Paglia is how she can laser-zap #MeToo's lunacy and dangerous effects, she can also sympathetically discuss why so many women today are attracted to it, as she does in the last three paragraphs. And none of it is self-contradictory.

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  5. Good morning, Silver Fiddle!

    Thank you for this beautiful, encouraging, most enlightening post featuring the words and ideas of one of the few "public intellectuals" for whom I have respect and admiration.

    By refusing to adopt a simple-minded "doctrinaire" position to anything, and maintaining an adamant insistence –– by her own example –– that each person has both a RIGHT –– and by implication a DUTY –– to think for himself, she has done much to break the tragc influences of the "mind-forged manacles" William Blake refers to in his poem "London."

    +... M_E_R_R_Y_ ...+... C_H_R_I_S_T_M_A_S ...+

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    1. __________ LONDON __________

      I wander through each chartered street,
      Near where the chartered Thames does flow,
      And mark in every face I meet,
      Marks of weakness, marks of woe.

      In every cry of every man,
      In every infant's cry of fear,
      In every voice, in every ban,
      The mind-forged manacles I hear:

      How the chimney-sweeper's cry
      Every blackening church apalls,
      And the hapless soldier's sigh
      Runs in blood down palace-walls.

      But most, through midnight streets I hear
      How the youthful harlot's curse
      Blasts the new-born infant's tear,
      And blights with plagues the marriage-hearse.


      ~ William Blake (1757-1827)

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    2. Seems like misplaced respect and admiration

      She wants to replace religion with art and states that a society that values neither is doomed. Yet her art criticism is juvenile as you can read in the linked article.
      She extolls the very pop culture that you regularly trash.

      "The supreme artists of the half century following Jackson Pollock were not painters but innovators who had embraced technology—such as the film director Ingmar Bergman and the singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. During the decades bridging the 20th and 21st centuries, as the fine arts steadily shrank in visibility and importance only one cultural figure had the pioneering boldness and world impact that we associate with the early masters of avant-garde modernism: George Lucas, an epic filmmaker who turned dazzling new technology into an expressive personal genre."

      Never mind that the importance of Bergman and Dylan had squat to do with embracing new technology her uncritical fans aren't going to bother with this blather.
      I am surprised that she is so taken by Bergman's Persona and not Summer with Monica which could function as an example of her idea of gender roles or Winter Light which bluntly portrays the loss of religion (or more properly, faith). Profound themes and technique without "an embrace of new technology" insight.
      Likewise Dylan, who for better or worse made the popular song personal.
      She clearly has a acute an understanding of Dylan as she does Bergman.

      But read the article and tell me what you think of it. I think the woman's a fraud who never got over being kicked to the curb by Susan Sontag.

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    3. Ducky,

      Six George Lucas Star Wars films in 28 years vs. four Disney Star Wars films in 3 years. The difference? No amount of CGI editing and new scenes will ever make Disney's diarrhea firehose not stink.

      I take it you object to recognizing George Lucas' talent as a director. Maybe you're waiting for Disney to offer you $4 Billion for your production company?

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    4. Bob Dylan? Electric guitar?

      The orange crate you deliver your shabby lectures from is cracking.

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    5. The electric guitar was new technology? If you say so.

      Beamish, you're describing a mass marketer which he was. Even then,Spielberg was the innovator.

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    6. Ganz Scheissvoll wie gewoehnlich! Dein Sinn ist leer, ganz leer. Eigentlich bist Du ein Scharlatan, Endemann.

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    7. Cogent response as usual.
      That's okay. it's tough defending the indefensible.

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    8. Electric Guitar? Ask those at the '65 Newport Folk Festival.

      Ducky,
      I can't tell if your ad-absurdum literalism is sincerely plonkish or a defensive debate tactic...

      It's obvious you are more suited for the politburo propaganda
      churned out by the constipated minds at The Nation.

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    9. The Master of Distraction and Digression has struck again. No one could be more skilled at inveigling interlocutors to get off on a tangent than Entemann.

      And the powers that be steadfastly refuse to regard him as a troll!

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    10. Newport '65, yes I remember it well but the electric guitar was hardly new to music.

      Charlie Christian would be the logical choice.

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    11. It was new to the Newport Folk Festival.

      Take your blinders off

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    12. John Lee Hooker, Lightning Hopkins, Muddy Waters, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the Staple Singers electric instruments weren't new to the folk festival.

      It was radical because Dylan did it and he probably got the idea from Eric Burdon. He was accompanied by members of the Butterfield Blues Band and it was all pretty blues based from Maggie's Farm to his anthem to Edie Sedgwick.

      It was who did it that was the shock.

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    13. Ducky...

      Spielberg? Really? How many ways can the guy make a movie about how much he hates his dad? Yeeeawn.

      Name a Spielberg innovation that rivals Lucas' pioneer work in digital editing, sound and visuals, computer animation, etc.

      You want to criticize Lucas for being a mass marketer? Well, okay. He took that $4 Billion from selling Lucasfilm and Star Wars to Disney and donated a good $3 Billion of is to charity, which is roughly $2,999,999,999.99 more than you did.

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    14. Yes, Spielberg. I assume you're familiar with Jaws (even used John Williams for the soundtrack) and the marketing of blockbusters.
      The box office was what attracted Lucas.
      If you watch Star Wars and compare it to 2001: A Space Odyssey you soon see who had the talent for visuals. There is nothing in to compare with the docking scene in <2001>. Kubrick was ahead of all of them without CGI. Too bad his script went off the trolley.

      Again, it's about marketing, merchandising and franchising with Lucas. He didn't even produce or direct Ep. 5 & 6. I don't criticize him, just point out his primary focus and his mentor, Spielberg.

      Oh,when it comes to editing compared to his hero, Kurosawa, he ain't much.

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    15. So... you can't name a Spielberg innovation.

      Okay, Kubrick's 2001 vs. Star Wars? Side by side by the time we're seeing chimpanzees killing each other over the names listed in the opening credits in 2001, in Star Wars we,'re already immersed in a space battle and stormtrooper boarding party and the introduction of Darth Vader before we ever get a "good guy" character. No opening credits whatsoever.

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    16. And Kurosawa? The guy kicked off of the Japanese half of Tora Tora Tora! for stalling production for weeks over the color of a bulkhead in the background of a 5 second long scene?

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    17. You should study film, Ducky. You might learn something.

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    18. Sadly, I must agree with Franco. As always, the Marxist Merganser has diverted the topic two miles off track, dragged it into a dead end street and smashed out the headlights.

      Nothing incenses a lefty like an independent thinker who is supposed to be on their side but keeps committing heresy against the hive.

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    19. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    20. Thank you, Silver! Please don't EVER be sad about agreeing with ME. ;-)

      May the Joy of this blessed Christmas Season take over your life, and lift your spirits heavenward.

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    21. Ducky done jumped the fiberglass fake shark that never has the same size in Jaws. But but visual genius Spielberg lol

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  6. SF,
    Thank you for contributing this blog post. It's excellent.

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  7. Stunned at your featuring her as I'd just met with a friend Sunday and was telling how much I admired her. I read that afternoon that "She's never identified with being a woman", which I found fascinating.
    This woman is HONEST, INFORMED, HUMBLE, amazing...have always loved her work. Thanks for this, SF.

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    1. Yes, and a great deal more so than YOU could ever PRETEND to be, Canardo.

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  8. ON THIS the DAY of HER HUBAND'S FUNERAL I OFFER AGAIN this TRBUTE to FIRST LADY BARBARA BUSH. I HOPE SHE and HER HUSBAND GEORGE are NOW HAPPILY REUNITED and WILL LIVE FOREVER in PARADISE.


    ____ Barbara Bush (1925-2018) ____

    Beloved source of character and strength.
    An asset to her family and our nation
    Refreshing for her lack of agitation.
    Barbara liived a good life of great length.
    A life patrician, gracious, down-to-earth
    Regal, yet a quintessential mother
    A fount of strong opinion like no other,
    But muted, disciplined, and tinged with mirth.
    Unusually poised in public life
    She had a kind of beauty very rare
    Happy to have prematurely aged
    Resplendent in her crown of snow white hair
    In no way mean, her mind always engaged
    Proud, yet humble,and always the ideal wife.


    ~ FreeThinke

    I WOULD HOPE TOO THAT EVERY MEMBER of this NATION WILL SET ASIDE THEIR DIFFERENCES and OFFER EMPATHY and CONDOLENCES to the BUSH FAMILY on this DAY of SOLEMN MOURNING.

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  9. Yes, Camille is brilliant. She and Jordan Peterson have many discussions together on YouTube. Re: I see "spreading among professional middle-class women a bitter resentment toward men" - I heard a 25-yr. old describe his respectful approach to such a woman to take her out, an approach that would be very easy to turn down gently if you were not interested. Instead, she shot him a dirty look, turned on her heel and stomped off. That's the modern programming. Women are not even learning the skills to interact that we once had. A step backwards.

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