Stat Counter

Monday, June 27, 2016

Cars & Garages On Her Mind

Touching Camille Paglia's Sexual Personalities: Is she fascinated by sex, preoccupied by it, or obsessed? This is a work of criticism that finds untold layers of meaning in the ancient game of cars and garages. She speculates about the extent to which the thinking of men and women is shaped (controlled?) by their profound anatomical differences; the relationship of women to slime, ooze, and the chemical that accounts for the smell of rotting fish and her historic dominance, in various areas, of man (woman "flees in order to dominate," ... "Male power can never surpass female power."); art as the product of an unending conflict between healthy sexual exhilaration and disgusting sexual cruelty ("Sex is poetry, poetry is sex"), Apollonian restraint and Dionysian insanity, joy and sadomasochism,  comedy and Sadean cruelty, kindness and rape, culture and what she sees as the morally indefensible world of Nature (despite the fact that Nature feeds us and provides the materials we rely on for clothing and shelter), hermaphroditism/homosexuality and nymphomania/satyrism. She gravitates to taboo subjects, writes in short sentences on whose abrupt periods one is constantly stubbing one's toe and tripping, loves the word "chthonian."

Slightly shocking, illuminating reading that goes deep into the forbidden.

She recommends reading Sade. ("He must be confronted, in all his ugliness.") Must? Really? Can anyone here spell fascist? Cf. Kandinsky supra: "There are no 'musts' in art.")

Her interpretation of Blake's lyric "Infant Joy," is subtle and momentarily interesting in its shock value, but the license, the cynicism, the demonic Negativity of her viewpoint propels it deep into the realm of the laughably academic.

She views nature as a cage of horrors from which there is no escaping and sex as a bottomless pit of intractable problems. In discussing women, she gives careful attention to transvestites, lesbians, and vampires. As of the halfway point, there has been little if any mention of women as bona fide nurturers worthy of respect and admiration, and next to none of the aesthetic magnificence nature can exhibit. Rousseau and Wordsworth are scorned as ingenuous nature lovers who cannot see the full meaning of what is before their eyes. But there exist in the world cloud formations so beautiful they are beyond comprehension and flowers that are salve to the wounded! One senses an effort by Paglia to attract attention by deliberately presenting her ideas in a one-sided extremism custom-designed to shock the general reader.

One does go on reading though.

November 29, 2016 @ 1:36 PM

As to her view of the hideousness of Nature, consider this promotional copy for M. McCarthy's nonfiction work The Moth Snowstorm: Nature & Joy: "Nature has many gifts for us, but perhaps the greatest of them all is joy; the intense delight we can take in the natural world, in its beauty, in the wonder it can offer us, in the peace it can provide--feelings stemming ultimately from our own unbreakable links to nature, which mean that we cannot be fully human if we are separate from it."

July 14, 2016 @ 12:17 PM

She sees the Western literary and visual arts canons as permeated, as to content, by androgyny and hermaphroditism. Sexual pathology or ultimate freedom? Profoundly revelatory or flat-out creepy?

One of the interesting claims she makes is that no one spoke the way Shakespeare wrote. I guess one sensed that, but to see it spelled out on a page brought it into focus in a way one will not forget.

July 22, 2016 @ 10:33 AM

She presents the case that the Western literary canon drips with erotic eccentricity, or erotic liberation, or erotic pathology, citing any number of bizarre sexual escapades in major texts. As of p. 468 one is becoming weary of the repetitiveness of the theme, which she pursues with unrelenting single-mindedness.

July 26, 2016 @ 7:22 AM

She has a taste for making grandiose and "glamorous" generalizations, somewhere early on (where? well somewhere!) saying something to the effect: "There are no non-exploitative relationships in male-female relations in the West." Cynics' delight!

Saturday, July 30, 2016 @ 7:54 AM

Sex sex sex, this author never lets up: women are portrayed as spongy erotic predators and cold-blooded tyrants driven by the chthonian (i.e., the animalistic underworld of the id; pron. "THO-nian"), men as willing sadomasochistic slaves, writers as solitary and often incestuous hermaphrodites, nature as a torture festival.

I wanta go outside and have a catch with the football!

No comments: