Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Pertinent Impertinence of Camille Paglia

Camille Paglia in 2008

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 . . .

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At 10:59 AM, Anonymous Sperwer said...

I think Paglia is still too tied into the upper chattering classes to realize that (i) there is still a huge pool of real male talent in the US, which is regulary replenished through immigration (if not the birthrate), and (ii) the sort of conflict she envisions might not be a bad thing, since it's likely to result in the collateral reduction in the population of the sandal-wearing sentimentalists who owe their privileged existence to the willingness of hard men to do violence in the night to our enemies (as Orwell so nicely put it).

At 11:29 AM, Anonymous libertybelle said...

"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.

With the changes underway in our military, gender neutralization strikes me as a prime concern. Following how the US military goes about integrating women into more traditional male-only occupations for decades and having a little experience of it when I was young, it seems that the politics outweighs sound military judgment. The standards quietly get lowered or women are held to a lesser standard, but everyone pretends that isn't happening. The real statistics on women's performance, problems, etc. remain top secret, because any commander who strays from the script that women perform magnificently will be silenced quickly. Many women do serve honorably and do truly splendid jobs, but when it comes to many of the grueling physical jobs (of which the military has many), only in the movies are women equal to the men. Commons sense and thorough research lays out the differences between male and female performance on all the assorted physical metrics - but those also can't be mentioned, because the Pentagon and Congress harbor some rabid feminists who will silence any naysayers.

At 11:34 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Certainly, 9/11 roused and directed the natural aggressiveness of a generation of young men.

I'm less sure that the wars we've sent them to have made best use of their masculinity.

The raid that got Bin Laden was a good use, though.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 11:37 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Libertybelle, good points, and anyone who watches sports knows there's a difference.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 12:42 PM, Anonymous libertybelle said...

Jeffrey, the Bin Laden raid itself was a remarkable accomplishment, but this administration hit the airwaves bragging and divulging highly classified details - to include identifying Seal Team 6. So, shortly thereafter, which the mainstream press and this administration don't mention was what the military refers to as "blowback" - the attack on a helicopter in Afghanistan carrying Seal Team 6 - largest loss of life in a single day in the war on terror.
Not sure what we've actually accomplished in the long haul truthfully - we've really degraded our forces in over a decade of continuous war and politically we've abandoned both theaters and walked away - sending the message that we quit. No, I don't want us to stay there indefinitely, but my point is we are strategically lost in that region of the world - completely without a clue.

At 12:54 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

The fight will have to be more intelligently carried on in future. Perhaps we'll learn from mistakes.

Jeffery Hodges

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