Camille Paglia: Navel-gazing about gender while the world burns

By Carolyn Moynihan:

Camille Paglia, an American college professor and social critic, is one of a kind: a feminist who objects to almost every form of feminism known to womankind; a sexual radical who believes in complete freedom of sexual expression, yet a realist who insists that women have to take full responsibility for the sexual choices they make; and a lesbian who objects to the current censorship of any discussion about the causes of homosexuality.

Paglia is, in fact, a notorious contrarian on practically every social issue. And for all her radicalism the 69-year-old often sounds more like an Italian grandmother of yesteryear (she is the child of Italian immigrants) than the political progressive and sexual radical she claims to be. At least, that is the impression left by the very interesting and entertaining interview with Ella Whelan of Spiked (the home of UK contrarianism) about feminism, recorded in the video above.

The video is half an hour long, but here is a taste of Paglia’s views on the issues flourishing in the American hothouse.

Today’s college students

“They have no sense of the great patterns of world history, the rise and fall of civilisations like Babylon and Rome that became very sexually tolerant, and then fell. If you’ve had no exposure to that, you can honestly believe that ‘There is progress all around us and we are moving to an ideal state of culture, where we all hold hands and everyone is accepted for what they are … and the environment will be pure…’ – a magical utopian view that we are marching to perfection. And the sign of this progress is toleration – of the educated class – for homosexuality, or for changing gender, or whatever.

“To me it’s a sign of the opposite, it’s symptomatic of a civilisation just before it falls: ‘we’ are very tolerant, not passionate, but there are bands of vandals and destroyers circling around the edge of our civilisation who will bring it down.”

On identity politics and transgenderism

“This hyper-self-consciousness about ‘Who am I? Where exactly am I on the gender spectrum?’ is mere navel-gazing, while in the Middle East ISIS is beheading people. It is a kind of madness of self-absorption.”

Read more: