Camille Paglia interview on Reason TV

Posted by plusaf 5 years, 4 months ago to Culture
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Published on Mar 19, 2015

Growing up as "a gender nonconforming entity" during Eisenhower's America wasn't easy for cultural critic and best-selling author Camille Paglia. Her adolescence in small-town, upstate New York was marked by rejection, rebellion, and cross-dressing—all in reaction to the stultifying social norms of the 1950s and early '60s.

So what does Paglia think of contemporary culture, with its openness to a wide variety of ever-proliferating gender, racial, and sexual identities?

Not much.

"I do not feel that gender is sufficient to explain all of human life," Paglia tells Reason TV's Nick Gillespie. "This gender myopia, this gender monomania, has become a disease. It's become a substitute for religion. It is impossible that the feminist agenda can ever be the total explanation of human life."

Whether the subject is feminism or the fate of Western civilization, Paglia is no Pollyanna. In this wide-ranging discussion, she says higher education is going to hell, the Fourth Estate is an epic FAIL, millennials are myopic, contemporary criticism has croaked, and Hillary Clinton might singlehandedly destroy the universe. Even Madonna, once Paglia's ideal of sex-positive feminism, seems to have lost her way.

Does the celebrated author of Sexual Personae and Break Blow Burn have any reason to get out of bed in the morning? Does she have any hope for the universe at all? Watch the video to find out.


2:55 - Growing up as a "gender nonconforming entity" in Eisenhower's America.

7:50 - What is feminism? The limits of identity politics.

14:35 - Rape, paternalism, and Madonna on the university campus.

19:30 - How the country club model of university life has debased contemporary cultural criticism.

24:38 - The decadent obsession with cultural identity in the modern world.

29:13 - Authentic multiculturalism and critical theory.

32:42 - Is there any hope for the humanities?

37:25 - Contemporary journalism is bad and it makes politics even worse.

45:18 - What sort of image does a great president project?

47:27 - The importance of "working class people".

51:08 - Hillary Clinton is a disaster. Dianne Feinstein is presidential.

54:46 - What are you optimistic about? Students are more ignorant than ever.

58:16 - Paglia's upcoming work: religion and the paleo-Indian period.

Runs about one hour.

Produced by Todd Krainin. Hosted by Nick Gillespie. Cameras by Meredith Bragg and Krainin.

Visit for full transcript, downloadable versions, and more.


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  • Posted by khalling 5 years, 4 months ago
    I had watched it last week, thanks for sharing it. she's a little excitable in this interview, but I already knew that once CP winds herself up-just let her go-interview questions not needed. I especially appreciate criticisms of gender focus and college campus culture. Also, I am fascinated with her failed love affair with Catholicism. I think the unrequited love with religion is why she ultimately, politically, defaults to progressivism. I do so love when feminists throw all the other feminists under the bus, though :)
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    • Posted by 5 years, 4 months ago
      :)... and her 'imitation' of a hummingbird as she flaps her wings and flits around in her replies was, to me, cute and amusing, too. I have an artist friend who sounds like her, too. Lots of fun energy in her presentation. I appreciate her openness and candor and straight-forward replies. There was a link to another TV appearance about five years ago, and her dress- and hair-styles were remarkably different...
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  • Posted by Herb7734 5 years, 4 months ago
    I understand all the hoo-ha of Camille, but for me personally, it is a non-issue. When judging a person, their sexuality rarely comes into my mind unless they make a big deal of it. My youngest son was gay. He was one of the best, most productive, creative, inventive people I ever knew. It had absolutely nothing to do with his sexuality. I'm sure that the passions raging around this issue are justified, but to me they are just white noise.
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    • Posted by 5 years, 4 months ago
      Herb, maybe listen to more of the video... very little was focused on her sexuality or preferences. There were other issues... the ones she focused on. Her sexual inclinations were 'merely' factoids about herself as they related to bigger issues.

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