Camille Paglia on Vanishing Manliness
The Wall Street Journal
In seeking potential articles for next year's Academic English students to read, I happened upon a link over at my friend Bill Vallicella's site promising something interesting and controversial written by Bari Weiss about "Camille Paglia: A Feminist Defense of Masculine Virtues" (September 28, 2013, The Wall Street Journal):
What you're seeing is how a civilization commits suicide . . .That's Paglia's indictment -- quoted by Weiss -- of how feminists in the West are emasculating men and leaving the West defenseless against its still masculine enemies . . . apparently. How is this supposedly happening? Weiss summarizes Paglia's view:
The military is out of fashion, Americans undervalue manual labor, schools neuter male students, opinion makers deny the biological differences between men and women, and sexiness is dead.Consider the military's status, in Paglia's view:
She starts by pointing to the diminished status of military service. "The entire elite class now, in finance, in politics and so on, none of them have military service -- hardly anyone, there are a few. But there is no prestige attached to it anymore. That is a recipe for disaster," she says. "These people don't think in military ways, so there's this illusion out there that people are basically nice, people are basically kind, if we're just nice and benevolent to everyone they'll be nice too . . . [The elites] literally don't have any sense of evil or criminality."No sense of evil. That clearly is the problem of the therapeutic left, the leftism that sees no malice, just oppressed victims in need of counseling and rehabilitation, unless the 'evil-doers' happen to belong to some oppressor group, of course, in which case they're beyond the pale, e.g., ghost-white masculine evil-doers. Or soon to be ghost white, unless manliness is rescued from its near-extinction, implies Paglia. What cure can prevent its ultimate death? Here's a beginning:
A key part of the remedy, she believes, is a "revalorization" of traditional male trades -- the ones that allow women's studies professors to drive to work (roads), take the elevator to their office (construction), read in the library (electricity), and go to gender-neutral restrooms (plumbing).Paglia has been making this sort of argument rather a lot recently, or maybe I'm simply noticing it more. Anyway, the article is worth reading if you like Paglia -- and worth even more if you don't . . .