Camille Paglia strikes again!

I have a love/hate relationship with Camille Paglia.  I love her writing style an enjoy her stark commentary.  Meanwhile, I hope and pray that she will come to senses about God.

Right now at Salon she had a piece in which she crushes the skulls of popular atheists, “snark atheists”, certain liberals such as Dawkins, John Stewart, etc.

She eviscerates liberals for their hypocrisy.

It’s a must read.  Make popcorn.

Sample:

Q: You mentioned Jon Stewart, who leaves the “Daily Show” in two weeks. There’s handwringing from folks who think that he elevated or even transcended snark, that he utilized irony very effectively during the Bush years. And that he did the work of critiquing and fact-checking Fox and others on the right who helped create this debased media culture? What’s your sense of his influence?
PAGLIA: I think Stewart’s show demonstrated the decline and vacuity of contemporary comedy. I cannot stand that smug, snarky, superior tone. I hated the fact that young people were getting their news through that filter of sophomoric snark. Comedy, to me, is one of the major modern genres, and the big influences on my generation were Lenny Bruce and Mort Sahl. Then Joan Rivers had an enormous impact on me–she’s one of my major role models. It’s the old caustic, confrontational style of Jewish comedy. It was Jewish comedians who turned stand-up from the old gag-meister shtick of vaudeville into a biting analysis of current social issues, and they really pushed the envelope. Lenny Bruce used stand-up to produce gasps and silence from the audience. And that’s my standard–a comedy of personal risk. And by that standard, I’m sorry, but Jon Stewart is not a major figure. He’s certainly a highly successful T.V. personality, but I think he has debased political discourse. I find nothing incisive in his work. As for his influence, if he helped produce the hackneyed polarization of moral liberals versus evil conservatives, then he’s partly at fault for the political stalemate in the United States.
I don’t demonize Fox News. At what point will liberals wake up to realize the stranglehold that they had on the media for so long? They controlled the major newspapers and weekly newsmagazines and T.V. networks. It’s no coincidence that all of the great liberal forums have been slowly fading. They once had such incredible power. Since the rise of the Web, the nightly network newscasts have become peripheral, and the New York Times and the Washington Post have been slowly fading and are struggling to survive.
Historically, talk radio arose via Rush Limbaugh in the early 1990s precisely because of this stranglehold by liberal discourse. For heaven’s sake, I was a Democrat who had just voted for Jesse Jackson in the 1988 primary, but I had to fight like mad in the early 1990s to get my views heard. The resistance of liberals in the media to new ideas was enormous. Liberals think of themselves as very open-minded, but that’s simply not true! Liberalism has sadly become a knee-jerk ideology, with people barricaded in their comfortable little cells. They think that their views are the only rational ones, and everyone else is not only evil but financed by the Koch brothers. It’s so simplistic!
Now let me give you a recent example of the persisting insularity of liberal thought in the media. When the first secret Planned Parenthood video was released in mid-July, anyone who looks only at liberal media was kept totally in the dark about it, even after the second video was released. But the videos were being run nonstop all over conservative talk shows on radio and television. It was a huge and disturbing story, but there was total silence in the liberal media. That kind of censorship was shockingly unprofessional. The liberal major media were trying to bury the story by ignoring it. Now I am a former member of Planned Parenthood and a strong supporter of unconstrained reproductive rights. But I was horrified and disgusted by those videos and immediately felt there were serious breaches of medical ethics in the conduct of Planned Parenthood officials. But here’s my point: it is everyone’s obligation, whatever your political views, to look at both liberal and conservative news sources every single day. You need a full range of viewpoints to understand what is going on in the world.

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25 Responses to Camille Paglia strikes again!

  1. benedetta says:

    Really interesting! Planning on reading the whole thing in entirety later on when I have a break. I love that she disapproves of the way the media has been force-feeding people pre-chewed and already digested reaction for so long now such that so many are comfortable with being truly uninformed. There is no truth or life to American elite political or celebrity culture, there are so few true eccentrics and creative people around, and they support each other in the lame and bland corporatization and big box mass opinion making it just makes you want to open your tenement window and scream that you are mad and you can’t take it anymore…Contemporary American culture: so. mind. numbingly. boring. and. predictable…It’s all about frat party or barroom zingers televised to make people have the impression that they are not intellectually lazy and are currently thinking for themselves because we are all just like each other but then there are whole universes of things that cannot be mentioned. What a joke.

  2. FrAnt says:

    The comedians of yesterday played to an educated audience who could follow and understand what the comedian was saying. Today the masses are uneducated indentured servants, but they don’t realize it and when you point it out to them they are offended.

  3. richly says:

    I respect Ms. Paglia highly because she embodies what a true liberal is as opposed to what a leftist is. She may be a lesbian, atheist, and feminist, but she is one deeply respectful of all religious and political views. Can’t say the same for many – perhaps most – on the Left.

  4. iamlucky13 says:

    ” I’m sorry, but Jon Stewart is not a major figure. He’s certainly a highly successful T.V. personality, but I think he has debased political discourse. I find nothing incisive in his work. As for his influence, if he helped produce the hackneyed polarization of moral liberals versus evil conservatives, then he’s partly at fault for the political stalemate in the United States.”

    I think she’s partially right about his contribution to polarization, but the real problem with Jon Stewart is not really his satirical style, even though he only mocks at a shallow level.

    The problem with Jon Stewart is that for a large number of young voters, it’s not merely comedy, but their main source for news and political discourse.

    “I don’t demonize Fox News. At what point will liberals wake up to realize the stranglehold that they had on the media for so long?”

    The fact that the liberals have a veritable stranglehold on the media (usually while claiming the opposite is true) doesn’t do anything to absolve Fox News for misleading, over-hyped reporting that is every bit as bad as most of the staunchly liberal outlets. The poor reporting and often flawed logic in their editorial commentaries goes a long ways to discredit conservative viewpoints. Speaking of which, since we’re reading a Salon article, from what I’ve seen, Salon is little better than a liberal equivalent of Fox.

    “I find it completely hypocritical for people in academe or the media to demand understanding of Muslim beliefs and yet be so derisive and dismissive of the devout Christian beliefs of Southern conservatives.”

    Incredibly on-point.

    “He (Hitchens) sold that book on the basis of the brilliant chapter titles. If he had actually done the research and the work…”

    I don’t remember if it was Scott Hahn who first said this or if he was quoting someone else: “There are millions of people who hate the Church for what they think it teaches. There are incredibly few who hate the Church for it really teaches.” (paraphrased)

    “So far this year, I’m happy with what Trump has done, because he’s totally blown up the media!”

    I can’t at all fathom this, especially with her comments on the polarization politics. I’ve yet to see any redeeming value in Trump’s political activities. His main accomplishment has been to further cement the alarmingly common impression of Republicans as privileged, self-centered, cowboys who don’t think before acting and view anybody who isn’t financially successful as a drain on society. Hence, the liberal media positively LOVE Trump.

    “Politics has always been performance art. “

    Yes! Nobody should be granted a high school diploma (I’d almost even say “or be allowed to vote”) in this country unless they can explain why this is true and what it means in our political system. If they make the connection to Douglas Adams’ quote, “Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job,” and don’t merely see it as humorous, odds are good they get it.

  5. steve51b31 says:

    Fr. Z,
    I am ever thankful that you are out there finding these gems for our edification. Meanwhile, the liberal media has ballyhooed the african lion case, a “cause-distraction”
    instead of the horrendous action$ of planned – murder for hire – parenthood.
    Thanks!!

  6. pseudomodo says:

    Iamlucky13,

    The quote was from Bishop Fulton J. Sheen. One of his best zingers.

  7. djc says:

    I always feel a little disappointed that Ms. Paglia isn’t a practicing Catholic.

    She’s great. Most of my atheist friends are pretty good people too actually.

    djc

  8. Benedict Joseph says:

    Was it Camus who explored the possibility of the “atheist saint”?
    I have always held this woman in a certain esteem. She got some fortitude! Lets pray she will find her way to the Master’s harbor.

  9. Scott Woltze says:

    “You need a full range of viewpoints to understand what is going on in the world.”

    That’s why I read Fr. Z, and then Fr. Z fisking the NcReporter/Crux/Amerika. I got it all covered!

  10. frjim4321 says:

    “But here’s my point: it is everyone’s obligation, whatever your political views, to look at both liberal and conservative news sources every single day. You need a full range of viewpoints to understand what is going on in the world.”

    I agree with her on that.

  11. DavidJ says:

    I find it hard to look at viewpoints that make no pretense whatsoever of objectivity on either side of the fence. When those viewpoints are geared more towards ratings than they are information, they’re worse than worthless. Both sides are incredibly guilty of this.

  12. Matthew K says:

    When I read the article I had to say a quick prayer that the Holy Spirit can soften her heart and bring her out of her atheism. Can you imagine her rhetoric if she was to defend Truth?

  13. pmullane says:

    “It was Jewish comedians who turned stand-up from the old gag-meister shtick of vaudeville into a biting analysis of current social issues, and they really pushed the envelope”

    A fairly succinct summation of why I have no use for most ‘comedy’ these days.

  14. I am a longtime diehard Camille Paglia fan, and have been for something like 25 years now. She has the ability to cut through the cr*p like no one’s business. My everlasting regret is her spat with Julie Burchill, who I also admire greatly for much the same reasons. And yes, I think she will find her way to our Father’s house. In fact, I think both of them will, because they are both fundamentally honest.

  15. +JMJ+ says:

    A brilliant interview.

  16. DonL says:

    “…a strong supporter of unconstrained reproductive rights.”
    It’s not reproductive rights” Ms. Paglia, that are at issue. It is the evil processes you and other people who espouse such claptrap that you choose, under the guise of rights, to utilize in order to meet your personal wants and desires–namely the destruction of other innocent life completely unique and precious and created by God.
    How dare we reduce anyone’s life to being merely being expendable at the service of the whims of another’s fictitious rights?

  17. Scott W. says:

    “But here’s my point: it is everyone’s obligation, whatever your political views, to look at both liberal and conservative news sources every single day.”

    Let me recommend Christian-with-Marxist-leanings, Jacques Ellul and his book Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes:

    “To the extent that propaganda is based on current news, it cannot permit time for thought or reflection. A man caught up in the news must remain on the surface of the event; be is carried along in the current, and can at no time take a respite to judge and appreciate; he can never stop to reflect. There is never any awareness — of himself, of his condition, of his society — for the man who lives by current events. Such a man never stops to investigate any one point, any more than he will tie together a series of news events. We already have mentioned man’s inability to consider several facts or events simultaneously and to make a synthesis of them in order to face or to oppose them. One thought drives away another; old facts are chased by new ones. Under these conditions there can be no thought. And, in fact, modern man does not think about current problems; he feels them. He reacts, but be does not understand them any more than he takes responsibility for them. He is even less capable of spotting any inconsistency between successive facts; man’s capacity to forget is unlimited. This is one of the most important and useful points for the propagandist, who can always be sure that a particular propaganda theme, statement, or event will be forgotten within a few weeks. Moreover, there is a spontaneous defensive reaction in the individual against an excess of information and — to the extent that he clings (unconsciously) to the unity of his own person — against inconsistencies. The best defense here is to forget the preceding event. In so doing, man denies his own continuity; to the same extent that he lives on the surface of events and makes today’s events his life by obliterating yesterday’s news, he refuses to see the contradictions in his own life and condemns himself to a life of successive moments, discontinuous and fragmented.”

    Paglia’s solution to read both views every day is no solution. It just ensures that one is imprisoned in someone else’s Americanist paradigm.

  18. cowboyengineer says:

    While I disagree with just about everything that she says, she is a brilliant woman. Would love to see her and Krauthammer go after it in a Point/Counterpoint type show.

  19. iamlucky13 says:

    “The quote was from Bishop Fulton J. Sheen. One of his best zingers.”

    Thanks! Glad to know the source.

  20. Gregory DiPippo says:

    She uses the backs of bozos like Dawkins and Hitchens as diving platforms from which to launch herself into a reflecting pool filled by the waters of her own genius, and she is even less restrained in her use of first-person pronouns and adjectives than the president. An interesting thinker in many respects, but exhausting to read.

  21. Giuseppe says:

    As Jon Stewart’s show winds down, last night had a good example of the humor Paglia describes. This segment was about discrimination against Christians in Arkansas:
    http://on.cc.com/1JxpUDo
    Much of young America gets its news from The Daily Show, either watching it on TV or internet clips.

  22. stephen c says:

    Well, the very talented young lady has elsewhere described her disaffection with Irish-style Catholicism (a disaffection that would be instantly cured if she were to spend one little weekend writing an essay on the Irish-American Solanus Casey, the future saint of the miracles of the bees and the greater miracles of the excitingly and heaven-bound reformed alcoholics of the great Midwest who heard his preaching), and she has also described her blissful memories of the Italian-American Catholicism of her youth (brilliant statues in heartbreaking candlelight, neighborhood festivals nocturnally lit as if by the geniuses of the Renaissance, and the endless bounty of one unsurpassable and wonderful holy day meal after another prepared con amore by the Italian wives of men who wanted – and who wouldn’t, given the opportunity – lots of little Italian-American children and grandchildren). For the sake of the brilliant young lady I suggest a compromise prayer – from the patron saint of Switzerland, Nicolas di Flue (and I have no doubt Miss Paglia understands Italian) – MIO SIGNORE E MI DIO, toggle da me tutto quello che mi divide da TE; MIO SIGNORE E MI DIO, dammi tutto quello che mi conduce a TE; MIO SIGNORE E MI DIO, toglime a me e dammi tutto a TE … ( nimm mich mir und gib mich ganz zu eigen dur).

  23. Prayerful says:

    I could never watch Jon Stewart. His smugness could power the lights of several continents, no need for power plants. Unbearable.

  24. benedetta says:

    She makes a great point about banal popular American culture, snark, the way the media is set up, and politics being a case of “we’ll chew your food for you” for young people today. And I quite respect her atheism as opposed to pop culture and internet combox faux debate atheism which seems to be about confronting and harassing people personally with prefab questions and foregone conclusions, whereas her analysis is rooted in courage to analyze objectively before coming to a conclusion. She also doesn’t appear interested in celebrity marketing of herself through corporate branding to proseltyse others to her own atheism, as if one person’s individual examination of these things can, as she rightly points out, ever stand up as meaningfully culturally compared to Christianity over millenia. She obviously reaches a different conclusion than most readers of this blog, and a great many the world over, however, that sort of intellectual honesty and the courage to look at things honestly also tends to bear up some of the greatest saints ever known, and it is for that reason that I will personally remember her to intercession by a saint whom I think she would appreciate greatly and a favourite patron of mine, St. Mary of Egypt.