Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Agreeing With...Camille Paglia?!?!

Back in November 2007, I watched the special edition of 2001: A Space Odyssey. At the time, I described the movie this way:

First of all, the movie is long and boring. There’s also some monkeys in it, a talking computer that gets disconnected, and it’s really long. Plus boring.

Other than that the movie was…well, underwhelming isn’t weak enough.
In addition to this rather apt description (if I do say so myself), I also mentioned something about the special commentaries they had:

Ask ten people and they’ll give you two hundred answers about what the movie is about. My favorite [is] Camille Paglia, a feminist whacko, who concludes that when Dave turns off HAL 9000, it’s really a depiction of a sociopathic man raping a woman.
I concluded: “if Dave’s killing of HAL 9000 constitutes a metaphor for rape, then the rest of the movie is a metaphor showing that if you leave a woman unsupervised for five minutes she’ll kill everyone on board the ship…”

So why do I bring this up? Because Camille Paglia has a column in Slate, and I’ve read it semi-consistently for about a year now. Despite her overt liberalism and being in the tank for Obama, I...I agree with almost the entirety of her latest column. She still won’t admit that Obama is the problem (it’s always his advisors who make mistakes, and never him for nominating such incompetent people), but the rest of the article savages Democrats. For the record, I even agree with most of what she says about Republicans, although really her paragraph about Republicans seems to be tacked on as an afterthought, as if she realized “Whoa, the leftist nutroots aren’t gonna let me get away with saying this unless I throw in at least SOMETHING about Republicans too.”

Here are some excerpts from her column (be sure to read the whole thing, linked above):

As an Obama supporter and contributor, I am outraged at the slowness with which the standing army of Democratic consultants and commentators publicly expressed discontent with the administration's strategic missteps this year. … (Who is naive enough to believe that Obama's [healthcare] plan would be deficit-neutral? Or that major cuts could be achieved without drastic rationing?)

At this point, Democrats' main hope for the 2012 presidential election is that Republicans nominate another hopelessly feeble candidate.

An example of the provincial amateurism of current White House operations was the way the president's innocuous back-to-school pep talk got sandbagged by imbecilic support materials soliciting students to write fantasy letters to "help" the president (a coercive directive quickly withdrawn under pressure). Even worse, the entire project was stupidly scheduled to conflict with the busy opening days of class this week, when harried teachers already have their hands full. Comically, some major school districts, including New York City, were not even open yet. And this is the gang who wants to revamp national healthcare? [Ed.--bold mine]

Why has the Democratic Party become so arrogantly detached from ordinary Americans? Though they claim to speak for the poor and dispossessed, Democrats have increasingly become the party of an upper-middle-class professional elite, top-heavy with journalists, academics and lawyers (one reason for the hypocritical absence of tort reform in the healthcare bills). Weirdly, given their worship of highly individualistic, secularized self-actualization, such professionals are as a whole amazingly credulous these days about big-government solutions to every social problem. They see no danger in expanding government authority and intrusive, wasteful bureaucracy. This is, I submit, a stunning turn away from the anti-authority and anti-establishment principles of authentic 1960s leftism.

Elite education in the U.S. has become a frenetic assembly line of competitive college application to schools where ideological brainwashing is so pandemic that it's invisible. The top schools, from the Ivy League on down, promote "critical thinking," which sounds good but is in fact just a style of rote regurgitation of hackneyed approved terms ("racism, sexism, homophobia") when confronted with any social issue. The Democratic brain has been marinating so long in those clichés that it's positively pickled.
There is much more there too. It’s hard to believe this is the same woman who obsessed over male genitalia in her review of 2001 (see here--the comparison of turning off HAL to a psychopath raping a woman begins around the 5:55 mark). I mean, after turning that entire movie into one sexist comment after another (sexist in the sense that the bone at the beginning of the film is a phallic symbol (see also: the ship in space) so everything is sexualized), she here points out that that is exactly what you get from academia.

Most of her article could have been written by a conservative. When a leftist feminist starts thinking this way, it doesn’t bode well for Democrats in 2010.


  1. I like this blog, except for the taste in film here. Wowee. Alpha Dog is good, and 2001 is boring?

  2. 2001 is definitely boring.

    If you sleep through the first 15 minutes and the last 7 and a half hours, you'll miss nothing.

  3. The funny thing is, despite the exaggeration on your part, one of my favorite films is 7½ hours long.