The Pertinent Impertinence of Camille Paglia
I found the link to this above photo of Camille Paglia through Google Images, and though it has nothing specifically to do with today's substantive issue, there are connections, for her manner of lesbian feminism precludes neither concern for aesthetic feminine beauty that men can also appreciate, as the photograph shows, nor concern for men's need of a masculine gender role that channels male aggressiveness in a proper direction. But let's see where all this vaguely leads by considering the pertinent impertinence in a couple of her remarks.
In the Janus Forum Debates sponsored by the American University Political Theory Institute on October 8, 2013, Camille Paglia faced off against Jane Flax on the question of "Gender Roles: Nature or Nurture"? Though I haven't read the entire debate, I found Paglia's Opening Statement interesting, especially her final remarks in that statement:
Like late Rome, America too is an empire distracted by games and leisure pursuits. Now as then, there are forces aligning outside the borders, scattered fanatical hordes where the cult of heroic masculinity still has tremendous force. I close with this question: is a nation whose elite education is increasingly predicated on the neutralization of gender prepared to defend itself against that growing challenge?Paglia's pertinent question here, which some may consider impertinent, reminds me of her remarks in Tracy Clark-Flory's Salon interview of her, for as I noted in a recent blog entry, she had this to say about global threats faced now and in the future:
The escalating instability not just in Egypt but throughout the Mideast is very ominous. There is a clash of cultures brewing in the world that may take a century or more to resolve -- and there is no guarantee that the secular West will win . . . . The true mission of feminism today is not to carp about the woes of affluent Western career women but to turn the spotlight on life-and-death issues affecting women in the Third World, particularly in rural areas where they have little protection against exploitation and injustice.I remarked on this passage's two statements in a response:
These two statements come in response to different questions, but they deserve to be tied together, for Islamism -- though Paglia wasn't focusing solely on specifically this -- poses the greatest threat to the successful secularism of the West and to the rights of women around the world.This growing threat of Islamism also lies behind Paglia's reference to the "fanatical hordes where the cult of heroic masculinity still has tremendous force," and we see her concern that "a nation whose elite education is increasingly predicated on the neutralization of gender [might very well prove not] prepared to defend itself against that growing challenge" from Islamists.
I reckon we'll eventually find out whether Paglia's question is pertinent or impertinent . . .