Sunday, December 30, 2012

Paglia the vitalist?

You've probably heard of Camille Paglia. She's a lesbian feminist professor from the U.S. She's generally left-wing, though she doesn't always follow the standard line.

Anyway, she's written a column that's critical of the pop stars Taylor Swift and Katy Perry:
Despite the passage of time since second-wave feminism erupted in the late 1960s, we’ve somehow been thrown back to the demure girly-girl days of the white-bread 1950s. It feels positively nightmarish to survivors like me of that rigidly conformist and man-pleasing era, when girls had to be simple, peppy, cheerful and modest. Doris Day, Debbie Reynolds and Sandra Dee formed the national template -- that trinity of blond oppressors!

As if flashed forward by some terrifying time machine, there’s Taylor Swift, America’s latest sweetheart, beaming beatifically in all her winsome 1950s glory from the cover of Parade magazine in the Thanksgiving weekend newspapers.

The minor note in this comment is a swipe at white people ("blond oppressors"). The major note is a criticism of feminine women. She doesn't like it if women are demure, or girly-girl, or man-pleasing, or peppy, or cheerful or modest.

And what of Katy Perry? Camille Paglia notes that Katy Perry is more overtly sexual than Taylor Swift:
Most striking about Perry, however, is the yawning chasm between her fresh, flawless 1950s girliness, bedecked in cartoonish floral colors, and the overt raunch of her lyrics

But this "overt raunch" doesn't satisfy Paglia - as it's not truly rebellious or decadent:
Whatever sex represents to this generation of affluent white girls, it doesn’t mean rebellion or leaving the protective umbrella of hovering parents. The messy party scenes where everyone boastingly goes crazy don’t have the debasement and ostracism of true decadence once projected by such avant-garde groups as The Velvet Underground and The Doors. No alienation here!

So who does Paglia prefer? Black or Hispanic women like Rihanna, Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez:
Authentic sizzling eroticism does appear among the strata of high-earning female celebrities. Rihanna, who earned $53 million last year, was born and raised on Barbados, and her music ... has an elemental erotic intensity, a sensuality inspired by the beauty of the Caribbean sun and sea. The stylish Rihanna’s enigmatic dominatrix pose has thrown some critics off. Anyone who follows tabloids like the Daily Mail online, however, has vicariously enjoyed Rihanna’s indolent vacations, where she lustily imbibes, gambols in the waves and lolls with friends of all available genders. She is the pleasure principle incarnate.

That's interesting. By now Camille Paglia is beginning to sound like a vitalist nihilist, i.e. as someone who, to overcome a void in their lives, feels the need for excitement, novelty, intense experience of any sort (that's the vitalist part) and who also wants to pull down what is left of society or social values (hence the emphasis on debasement, rebellion, decadence and alienation).

There's more:
With her multicultural roots ... Beyonce draws on the emotional depths of black gospel as well as the brazen street sass of hip-hop, which produced her formidable persona of Sasha Fierce. Urban rappers’ notorious sexism seems to have made black female performers stronger and more defiant. But middle-class white girls, told that every career is open to them and encouraged to excel at athletics, are faced with slacker white boys nagged by the PC thought police into suppressing their masculinity -- which gets diverted instead into video games and the flourishing genre of online pornography.

The emotional deficiencies in sanitized middle-class life have led to the blockbuster success of the five Twilight films as well as this year’s The Hunger Games...

The insipid, bleached-out personas of Taylor Swift and Katy Perry cannot be blamed on some eternal law of “bubblegum” music...

...Middle-class white girls will never escape the cookie-cutter tyranny of their airless ghettos until the entertainment industry looks into its soul and starts giving them powerful models of mature womanliness.
Again, we're being presented with an image of boring, middle-class, whitebread whites in contrast with more vital and alive blacks and Hispanics. In this viewpoint, Rihanna is the role model even if she gets beaten up by the boyfriend she then returns to (which is a more "vitalist" experience, I suppose, than having a merely nice husband).

It's interesting, though, that moderns who choose to go down the vitalist path sometimes reach different conclusions to those who choose the more orthodox liberal path. For Camille Paglia the failure of whites is not in being too powerful and too oppressive, but too repressed and insipid. She is willing, for instance, to recognise that white boys have had their masculinity suppressed by the ruling PC.

The problem with vitalists, though, is that even if they are willing to unleash the masculinity of white boys, it is not to serve the good, but to pursue an unrestrained lifestyle in which what matters is the intensity of sensation in whatever direction, a preference for the primitive, and an unrestrained and unbounded assertion of self.

Perhaps I've read Camille Paglia wrong - after all, it's just one article. It's just that she doesn't seem to have any orientation to what is good or true in society or social mores; it's all about avoiding what is bland and insipid in favour of what is intense or challenging, no matter what it is. If Taylor Swift were to swear black and blue on stage, or act like Madonna and wear weird corsets and flash on stage, I get the impression that Camille Paglia would be impressed and think things were moving in the right direction.


  1. Why should anyone think that the bland picket fence culture of the 50s is a good role model for whites? I don't think one should defend people like Debbie Reynolds and Doris Day. They really are bland, bleached out representatives of an overly commercialized culture.

    However much one may regret the fact, many other cultures have been less modernized and homogenized than ours. So it isn't just anti-white prejudice that drives people to seek out other cultures. Often there is something of a genuine desire to live in a more traditional culture.

    The boys over at Alternative Right discuss this issue in their latest podcast:

  2. If you want to know where Paglia is coming from I'd strongly suggest reading Chapter 1 of her book Sexual Personae.

    This video is also vintage Paglia:

  3. Paglia has actually written some great stuff in her career. She is a mixed bag though. Some stuff you'll like and other stuff you'll hate. She is well hated by most feminists. Her lezziness comes out in this piece though.

    From Sexual Personae by Camille Paglia

    "If civilization had been left in female hands, we would still be living in grass huts." - pg 38

    "Not a shred of evidence supports the existence of matriarchy anywhere in the world at any time... The matriarchy hypothesis, revived by American feminism, continues to flourish outside the university." - pg 42

    "I accept decadence as a complex historical mode. In late phases, maleness is always in retreat." - pg 125

    "The Great Mother, like Rome herself, is the Whore of Babylon." - pg 138

    "There is no female Mozart because there is no female Jack the Ripper." - pg 247

    "The thrill of terror is passive, masochistic, and implicitly feminine. It is imaginative submission to overwhelming superior force." - pg 267

    "Butchery is not the point of vampirism. Sex - domination and submission - is." - pg 268

    "Romantic love - all love - is sex and power. In nearness we enter each other's animal aura. There is magic there, both black and white." - pg 274

  4. Ah yes, Paglia. In around 1991 it was literally impossible to attend a single Australian gathering of "conservatives" (self-styled) without getting an earful about how wonderful Paglia was and how she was going to be our greatest ally in the culture wars, yada yada yada. (The more recent equivalent would, I suppose, be Ayaan Hirsi Ali.) Lesbianism? No worries. Pro-abortion ideology? No worries. Unable to show any interest in any culture which was not the de facto plaything of Hollywood Jews? No worries there either.

    One day, perhaps, real Australian conservatives will stop appeasing journalists who hate us, hate Christendom, and hate everything Christendom stands for. But that won't happen in my lifetime (I'm 51) and I suspect it won't happen in the lifetime of any younger person likely to read this website.

  5. Paglia got it completely wrong with Katy Perry. Katy Perry even before she was famous said she was obsessed with copying 1950s style. It does not mean in the slightest she is in support of 1950s lifestyle.
    In fact she is a proponent of the "unrestrained lifestyle" Mark discusses. She is really rather repulsive. A terrible role model for young women.

    It's so clear though i'm amazed Paglia does not get this. That she seems to be focusing on Perry's whiteness and 1950s style.

    It seems to me that Paglia has some sort of grudge against blondes (I believe interestingly Katy Perry is actually a blonde). It's a classic southern European envy of northern Europeans.

    This is one of those clear moments where a feminist simply does not know what she is talking about and is revealing a personal grudge she has with "white" people.

  6. I was so confused by this article Marc, I wanted to write about it myself.

    I actually agreed with Paglia on some points...but can't understand what she really wants to say

    1) It's disturbing to see Taylor Swift and Katy Perry promote 1950s images while Taylor Swift is an Uber-Whore...Katy Perry has a failed marriage and is a crazy anti-Christian interracial dating whore

    Why are white women flocking to 1950s images yet at the same time engaging in hook up whore culture?

    At least with Rihanna...she is a whore, she sings like a whore, she acts like a whore, and is beaten like one.

    I'm not really sure Paglia understands we'll ignore that.

    There IS something wrong with these women and the culture being promoted for white girls through these artists.

    First, I think it's because they are controlled by Jewish Music Executives.

    But if we assume Taylor Swift has control over her career...


    I don't know the artists Paglia talks about, but I think some of the 80s artists that I know "We are young...heartache to heartache we promises no demands.."

    I think those guys were more real, honest....much better role models for girls.

    I hate Taylor Swift, she's a terrible terrible role model...Even Eminem's 16 year old daughter..EMINEM's daughter said she was a terrible role model and a whore. That's pretty bad.

    So yeah....It's disturbing...

    My guess is this: When Taylor Swift first came out some kids from her highschool said that she was a notorious mean girl bitch. I think that is completely true.

    I think Jewish Studio execs saw Taylor Swift as this beautiful blonde mean girl whore bitch to promote bad values....while Katy Perry is the lost Anti-Christ rebelling against the family.

    So the dissonance we're seeing is just the ugliness of the girls true personalities combined with pretty dresses.

  7. Let me repeat this for all you guys who don't follow this stuff...

    Taylor Swift is a Whore despite the pretty blonde face that makes you all feel happy to see a white person on a magazine cover.

    She is purposefully promoting whoredom and bed hopping for her young fans.

    Do not defend her, do not be happy she's being promoted even if she is white.

    She's a trap. And women who insult her like me, are NOT anti-Northern European or jealous of blondes being that I am one.

  8. Camille Paglia was born in 1947, so she was a child in the 1950s, not a teen. Dorris Day was a memory by the time young Camille set out for her senior prom, in 1965 or so, and her formative college years were spent under the "tyranny" of such loathsome Medusas as Grace Slick and Janice Joplin.

    I agree with earlier commenters that Taylor Swift is a Trojan Horse. Her wholesome appearance is a matter of style, not substance. For some reason this sort of feminine sluttery infuriates creaking old feminists like Paglia. I think it is because it reminds them that they are old and irrelevant, and that the visions they had in 1969 will die with them.

    Mark correct to say that Paglia is the voice of "vitalism," which is to say Romanticism. Romantics always look for Life in undisciplined emotions and unconstrained imagination; they always admire "primitive" people, whom they imagine to be more in touch with their vital drives; and they always end in madness and sexual perversion.

    Conservatives do not oppose imagination, emotions, or sexuality (or at least they shouldn't), but we believe these vital forces must be trained and disciplined. In the feral state so beloved by Romantics, they are destructive, not creative.

  9. Interesting that Mae West and Madonna have been ignored. And the criticism of Doris Day? Day was one of the best female singer/actors ever, a thorough professional and consumate performer.

    Paglia shouldn't give up her day job. She is not competent to judge artistic performance, hence the seemingly disjointed article.

  10. Paglia has always been an odd duck. Ithink the key distinction with her is that she believes in paying the price for debauchery. You can live however you like, but you cannot play both sides.

  11. Sounds a wee bit epicurean. And to the poster who rambles on about Taylor's whoredom - I'd hit it.

  12. "Urban rappers’ notorious sexism seems to have made black female performers stronger and more defiant"

    Typical Lefty racism from Paglia.

    1) Rihanna's problem growing up in Barbados was that she was bullied in school for being 'white'. Sadly she responded by becoming a slut.

    2) Beyonce is a middle-class Texan and is as far from the black urban ghetto as Paglia. She has nothing to do with 'urban rappers'.

  13. I have no idea what the posters rambling about Taylor Swift being a whore are talking about. Sounds like jealous women.
    I had an ex gf that was very much like Taylor Swift blonde and all. Even she became incoherently hateful of Taylor Swift when I mentioned her. Perhaps Taylor is regularly used as a pinata in Social studies lectures by bitter feminists hence the large amount of hate from women over her.

    To make it really clear Taylor Swift and Katy Perry are opposite ends of the spectrum of pop culture.

    Taylor Swift is an American country singer they are always more conservative than regular American pop. Even before she was famous she was just selling girl next door imagery. Sexy girl next door yes but nothing more.

    She oozes wholesomeness and this attracts men which in turn infuriates liberal women.

    Katy Perry is the complete opposite her 1950s style is her way of mocking America and the period itself. She is a whore of the worst liberal sort.

    Because Paglia's examples are so different the only common trait is their whiteness.

    Thus Paglia's entire argument is that these women are wrong because they are white. How do they fix it? They can't they have to go away.
    This is just like the Academic that wants Global warming Skeptics to be executed.

    Liberal leftists want things that bother them to die.

  14. @ anon Sunday, 30 December 2012 11:10:00 PM AEDT

    It's possible to hate yourself. Hence the existence of self-hating Liberals.

  15. Liberal leftists want things that bother them to die.

    Funny that this kind of spontaneous killing is also generally common among Africans. Most Africans have typically a short temper.

  16. I'm so glad her prissy, caterwauling column got this response from conservatives.
    She wrote it to suck up to the starched collar prunes of the right, to give them an excuse to trash liberals as culturally degenerated, in a twisted way that finds some other beauty (in this case, brown skinned and non wasp).
    Keep kissing their butt, pags, it'll pay off in the end!

  17. Paglia, for all her ostentatiously knowing cross-cultural references, fundamentally has only one cultural interest in life: post-Christian popular junk culture. Her allusions to earlier periods' artists (Mozart et al) constitute nothing more than name-dropping to impress rubes who haven't opened a genuinely intelligent book since high school (assuming they opened one even then).

    She's incapable of real, as opposed to fake, courage. Real courage would involve bawling out post-Christian popular junk culture for the evil it is. But that would destroy her sedulously cultivated reputation for hipness.

    From Wikipedia, which, for all its problems, is presumably reliable on this subject:

    "For over a decade, Paglia was the partner of artist Alison Maddex.[19][20] Paglia legally adopted Maddex's son (who was born in 2002). In 2009, the couple separated."

    Oh great. Another walking, talking sexual catastrophe whom Australia's so-called conservatives are expected to revere as a Great Moral Teacher. Will we ever learn?

  18. I do think Taylor Swift is at least a little different from the others.

    My argument is this. When we're young we have a choice. We feel an urge toward sex, but also one toward love. The love instinct carries with it an orientation toward exclusiveness; we don't want to give ourselves away too easily, because we want to give ourselves to the one we love. But, at the same time, there's an instinct to be sexually promiscuous.

    So we have to choose what's most important.

    Feminists clearly don't want women to be oriented to love, particularly not when they're young and building a career. So feminists strongly support the sexual revolution in which women are supposed to pursue relationships based on sex alone.

    The sign of a sexually "liberated" woman is that she doesn't hold back or guard her sexuality (she's not demure), but she expresses it more openly and aggressively.

    When it comes to the singers we've been discussing, Rihanna would be rated as the most strongly "liberated". Katy Perry is trying to have it both ways - she's very much "out there" sexually but she tones down the aggressiveness with some girly-girl touches.

    Taylor Swift is the one who least projects the "liberated" woman ideal. She goes for a beautiful rather than an aggressively sexual look. Her song lyrics are about the more restrained kind of girl (the good girl) eventually getting the boy. She is still oriented to some degree to love.

    She spoils it by flitting from boy to boy in her real life - so I'm not arguing that she is a traditionalist role model. She seems a bit cold and posed at times too in the way she projects her public immage. Also, her clips sometimes suggest that the two options for young women are "nerdy/shy" vs "sexually aggressive/liberated". I don't see why young women can't be a little charismatic, charming and flirtatious whilst remaining too orientated to love and marriage to give way to the "sex alone" relationships ethos.

  19. I must add,
    despite my antipathy to the puritanical, fundamentally useless-in-its-sexually-and-intellectually-repressed-ignorance-and-authoritarian-hypocrisy Australian Christian Right,
    my hat is totally off to you for your rebranding of the word vitalist.
    Vitalist as a person of joie-de-vivre is obscenely good phrase play and it brightened my day to see that there are people who still like to have fun with words and ideas for the sake of poetic beauty.

  20. @Mark

    I do think Taylor Swift is at least a little different from the others.

    Seen her latest video?

  21. I'm puzzled by people getting their knickers in the knot about her "5 partners" I know its not exactly idyllic.
    Maybe it's just a result of her fame. She is a celebrity after all not an ordinary girl.
    She has become famous and attracted the sort of guys most teenage girls hang up on their bedroom walls.
    Its says more about her friends and family that did not guard her while she rose to fame.

    I've known of girls that have had 40 boyfriends before they were even an adult. Now that is a whore.

    Katy Perry on the other hand was first really famous for being the white trophy girlfriend of a black rapper.

    It may sound like white knighting but why are people surprised a celebrity has had more than one relationship.

  22. Day was one of the best female singer/actors ever, a thorough professional and consumate performer.

    When the highest praise someone can come up with is "professional" and "consummate performer" chances are the artist he is referring to is kinda boring.

  23. Anyone who has read Paglia's book knows that she has a genuine love for the classics. She likes the tinsel of pop culture too, but it's just false to say that's what she's really interested in.

  24. SP, agreed, it's not looking good. She's writing about a lover "a few mistakes ago" who "didn't care" and she liked that about him. She knew he'd be trouble, he left her as another notch in his belt, but she's apparently not over him.

    It's that thing where young women are now supposed to spend their twenties making mistakes with the wrong sort of men.


  25. Thursday insists:

    "Anyone who has read Paglia's book knows that she has a genuine love for the classics."

    Anyone who has read Paglia's book knows nothing of the kind, unless he (Paglia seems to be an almost exclusively male fetish) is so besotted with motor-mouthed pro-abort lesbians that he mistakes mere obsessive allusiveness for scholarly enthusiasm.

    Of course it's true that Paglia talks about the classics without effort, but basically Paglia has worked the same trick that the comparatively sane - and mercifully hetero - Clive James, in Cultural Amnesia, worked years afterwards. In other words, you drop a lot of names from foreign literatures that you can be confident not one reader in a thousand will be conversant with; and you thereafter go around proclaiming that you have helped to Save Western Civ.

    Gimme a break, Thursday.

  26. @Arthur R

    I found Cultural Amnesia to be a pleasant read, when it wasn't obnoxiously philo-semitic and adulating the aphorism. His conclusion was truly astounding. I was flummoxed.

  27. Sure, Cultural Amnesia is an often entertaining and epigrammatic read. It just happens to be so inaccurate on, for example, Richard Strauss, Shostakovich, and Karajan that any 18-year-old kid in Music I who perpetrated such fallacies would be told by his tutor to take up ditch-digging. This doesn't inspire confidence in James's accuracy when James starts rabbiting on about people one has never heard of.

    But we get to find out a hell of a lot about what makes James tick, just as Sexual Personae tells us a hell of a lot about what makes Paglia tick, even if her alleged subjects are only dimply apprehended through the spotlight shining on Paglia the Wonder Woman.

  28. Most of these girl "singers" have no talent. Taylor does, but Jennifer Lopez can't sing well and relies on background singers, Rhianna is mostly auto-tuned as is some of Brittany Spears. They get attention due to marketing, not talent in their voices. You can hear better singers in nightclubs who will never get a chance.

  29. There seems to be an assumption that a girl who "flits" from man to man is having sex with all of them. Thus, Taylor Swift is a "whore".
    In the Olden Days, girls could date different guys freely, until
    a committment was made with one boy/man to "go steady". Then, she
    only went with him.
    I do not assume that because Taylor Swift is young, and wants to get to know different young men, that she has gone to bed with them.

  30. Great analysis, OC!

    Palgia's shtick - taking down white princesses - is getting dated.

    Shouldn't White be the new Black?

    On the other hand, it's kinda cool to see a sixty-something woman, like Ms. Camille, 'getting' pop culture's unrivaled influence on the masses.

  31. In "fairness" to Taylor Swift, there's a long-running gossip meme that she is Hollywood's go-to "beard", something I would expect Paglia to be clued into (perhaps she is, but didn't want to stretch into the libellous?).

    As a Paglia fan, I'm dismayed by this pro-Beyonce flourish, but I think this is a foil to her real objective, demolishing Katy Perry and Lady Gaga, which I relished.

    Paglia, as a staunch atheist and crypto-libertarian, cannot satisfy traditionalism on moral grounds-- but I think there is a *certain* normative strain in her thinking, Nietzschean as it is, rightly aghast at pop trends.

    Shakespeare brings out her normative vein: she sees that Rosalind must gladly surrender androgeny for marriage, and Cleopatra must pay the price for excessive emotional volatility.

    Paglia seems well-aware her erstwhile rolemodel, Madonna, has crossed into real, "Sunset BLVD"-style insanity, but she persists in her loyalty to the 80s Madonna she liked. Contemporary readers grate on her by thinking she should like Lady Gaga just as well.

    The key, I think, is that even for Paglia's school of decadence, what Madonna did with her early 90s S&M schtick is terminal--a woman who simply begins at that stage of decadence, or else sticks with it, is beyond the pale.

    Paglia's taste for Senecan terrors in art somewhat obscures this point, because it makes her sound doom-obsessed, a relisher of pain. I don't think she's really that debauched. She writes less about lyric, idealized pleasures but my sense is that she has a certain reluctant loyalty to the vernal, after a fashion [NB: this fashion, alas, means that she compulsively trashes the 1950s. That said, she's so crazy about blondes in Botticelli, she used to allow herself to say a few things that sound almost HBD-ified.]

    Perhaps her objection to Brian De Palma's horror films sums the issue: there's no point of departure, or return, to civilization. There's no agony of the loss of our waking world, just this porno-terror dream.

    Porno-terror about sums up the latex-and-viscera world of Lady Gaga, or the even more unsettling projections (I call her "pedophilia drag") in Katy Perry.

  32. Understanding Paglia requires navigating a labyrinth and doing many mental gymnastics. I mean, I already have a wife for that.

  33. First time here, and I have to say the commenters are largely very anti-female, aren't they? Calling women they know nothing about "whotes" and "sluts" Ugly and vile.

    Taylor's fine, just growing up. Beyonce has everything to do with rappers -- besides duets, she's married to one! The less said about Perry and even more so, Rhianna, the better. Being known for showing your body and getting beaten up isn't much to be proud of.

    Lastly, when people talk about the 50's like it was prison, I wonder where they were then. I grew up in a very ordinary, middle-class home where I could go out all day and my parents never having to worry about me. Kids today don't know what they missed, and it's never coming back.

    Is this site monitored? I came here from Auster, who does monitor, and his comments are a delight. I feel like I've been in a sewer after learing here.

  34. To Anonymous above the commenters here aren't anti-female. We have a mish-mash of commenters. Some are Nietzsche types, others are Manospherian, some are Traditional Conservative types, some are former Neoconservatives...

  35. I do agree though that a couple of the Manospherian types can be quite upfront.

  36. To anon (above),

    Lawrence Auster selects the comments he publishes, whereas at this site anyone can comment.

    It usually works out alright (though there are exceptions).

    I'm surprised you have the impression of the comments being a "sewer". By internet standards, even this comment thread has been restrained.

    I expect you like the idea of women being treated in a respectful way like ladies. The problem is, a generation of men experienced not just individual women behaving badly, but a culture in which such behaviour was the norm.

    (The women I met in my 20s were hell bent on trashing the concept of being ladies rather than fulfilling it.)

    So there's a bit of a long road back to re-establishing norms in which men might have the respect they once had for women. I don't think women can just take the attitude that "no matter how we behave and no matter what kind of culture predominates amongst women the fundamental attitude of men toward us should be one of respect". I don't think the world works that way.

    I think what's more important is to encourage men to look past the culture and to recognise that there are still worthy women out there who would make good wives and who are worth making sacrifices for.

    I think that's true (and in my own personal experience and observation it's true). But I have to tell you, that not all men are convinced. And they have a point to the extent that a significant percentage of women have been made unworthy of marriage.

  37. I assume Paglia grew up in a white neighbourhood. She may be frustrated at being unable to eradicate images of her fellow white children dressed innocently and accompanying their loving parents to church. Step forward the showbiz black, who seems to have been born post-pubescent and tarty. Who is going to be the more credible fantasy pagan?

    In the case of Rihanna, this fantasy could be destroyed by a viewing of what I think was her first pop video in which she sports a feminine expression and sings of herself as "your little Barbados beach girl", or some such. Presumably, an image consultant stepped in and advised her that there was more money in porn.

    It was not a rebellious statement. It was a simple business decision.

    - Kevin.

  38. What is this creature a professor of, anyway? Is it something real or just one of those stupid subjects like “women’s studies”?

    It’s just incredible what conclusions axe-grinders like Paglia can reach when they view the entire world through the prism of a steadfast ideology – particularly one as extreme as militant feminism. The more extreme the ideology, the more ridiculous the attempt to make a coherent point. If you summarise the article as a series of contentions (instead of what it actually is – the bitter moanings of an irrelevant old beldam), you get something like the following:

    The conformity and pleasantness of women in the 50s was self-evidently oppressive to women;
    Conformity in pleasantness saps women of their personality whereas conformity in trash does not;
    The contrast between Katy Perry’s faux-wholesome image and the turmoil of her private life is negative only because of its incongruity;
    Rebellion and the subversion of societal norms in inherently good, therefore mainstream culture is found wanting because its subversion is superficial;
    Rihanna’s music is sexually aggressive and hedonistic without the incongruous façade of innocence, therefore it is good;
    Jennifer Lopez is a model for women because she was the first person to flaunt her buttocks in a magazine; and
    All of the follies of young women are the fault of middle aged women getting cosmetic surgery.

    Ridiculous. I should found an ideological school that’s all about fulfilling my desire to eat bananas. I could call in nihilistic bananaism. Then I could write any old emotionally cathartic stream of consciousness and it would appear to have legitimacy because it’s part of an ideological movement.

  39. anon:
    >>First time here, and I have to say the commenters are largely very anti-female, aren't they? Calling women they know nothing about "whotes" and "sluts" Ugly and vile.<<

    That's not normal on this blog. The commenters using that language all seem to be claiming to be female - no idea if they are or not. There are some nasty posters out there; almost all American. The sex wars seem very bitter over there.

    I'm glad Mark doesn't censor comments, and that he maintains such a positive tone here. I recently posted a rather long & (I think) insightful comment to Auster's blog and it got rejected for something else I had said several years ago. I've deleted that blog from my blog links so he won't be bothered by me again; anything useful there tends to crop up on The Thinking Housewife anyway.

  40. Flitting from boy to boy in real life Mark?


    I, and all her fans, follow the paparazzi images of her little many have their been?

    She's like on number the time she's 25 she'll hit like 30.

    You men just defend her because she's pretty, so you can't see the true evil.

    I liked her when she first came out, then she started bed hopping.

    Mark...listen to me...Taylor Swift IS The Woman You warn Young Women Not To Be on This Blog. You write never-ending posts about 40 something year old Taylor Swifts.

    Seriously. Get your ducks in a row.

    She's evil...she has just enough conservative-ness in her image to get You To Buy Your Daughters Her CD.

  41. And to the people feeling insulted that I called Taylor out for what she is...

    Whore was a word invented to shame women who slept around.

    Don't sleep around if you don't want me to call you out for it.

    You guys are weird. Weird!!! When we're 40 and single after living like Taylor you laugh at us for being wrinkly and old and ugly....but when we are 20 and cute and living like Taylor...Flitting from Bed to Bed...It's alright...she's just growing up...she's learning....she's so feminine...Whore? I think not...she's a sweetheart

    Forget it.

  42. I'm so angry over this...I'm sorry Mark....You can't write this blog promoting certain values and defend Taylor Swift. You just can't screw us young women over like that.

    Even Miley Gets It. Well Said Miley! (I don't like Miley Either...but she's 100% right)

  43. Ultimately this blog post and comments have proved my suspicion all along.

    Men don't care about women's morality.

    You can sleep with as many men as you want before marriage as long as you maintain that feminine allure.

    As long as you maintain the image, and make sure to get married and have kids at the end of the day so you aren't mocked in your 40s.

    That's the lesson here.

    Too bad I learned it too late and didn't realize that was how the game was played. I actually thought men valued character.

  44. >>Anonymous said...
    And to the people feeling insulted that I called Taylor out for what she is...

    Whore was a word invented to shame women who slept around.<<

    No, a whore has sex for money. A slut has (promiscuous) sex for free. I think me calling Rihanna a slut is fair comment; I don't know much about Taylor Swift but AFAICT she does not act like Rihanna and that is not a word I would use for her.

  45. To Angry Anon,

    You've rushed in a bit on this one. All I noted was that Taylor Swift began by presenting a different image to Rihanna - that it was focused more on beauty than raunch and that her lyrics were more about the restrained girl getting the boy than about promiscuity.

    However, I agreed with SP that her latest video was more about chasing the bad alpha boy, getting used, and being addicted to the experience.

    I don't see how that shows that I don't care about Taylor Swift's morality. Doesn't it show that I take seriously what kind of message she is sending out to her fans?

  46. ehh the anons comments are ridiculous.

    Men are wrong for calling a whore a whore but the woman in questions actions are perfectly fine and cannot be criticized. Riiiight.

    That is just more of the women can do no wrong but how dare a man question what she is doing garbage.

    This does not equal a hatred for all women. This is classic feminist dribble. ie the "war on women".

    If Simon says "a whore is a woman who has sex for cash" is the definition of a whore. Then yes a popstar that uses her sex life for fame and therefore more profits is a whore.

    Case in point I read Kim Kardashian will pocket 15 million for her latest relationship with Kanye west.

    Everytime one of these women has somesort of sexual adventure they pocket a certain number of millions generated by female interest.

  47. I find it kind of funny that some people here think that Paglia is some kind of left wing feminist. In fact, she's more of a libertarian, than anything else. That's still a kind of liberal, but it isn't the same things.

  48. I posted earlier (on Weds.,Jan.2)
    I just did a search, and found this at Yahoo:
    "Harry Styles dumped Taylor Swift over 'lack of bedroom action'.

    I believe I was correct in my earlier comment.
    She is not a slut/whore.