Camille Paglia
Quotations


A serious problem in America is the gap between academe and the mass media, which is our culture. Professors of humanities, with all their leftist fantasies, have little direct knowledge of American life and no impact whatever on public policy.

Elizabeth Taylor is pre-feminist woman. This is the source of her continuing greatness and relevance. She wields the sexual power that feminism cannot explain and has tried to destroy. Through stars like Taylor, we sense the world-disordering impact of legendary women like Delilah, Salome, and Helen of Troy. Feminism has tried to dismiss the femme fatale as a misogynist libel, a hoary cliché. But the femme fatale expresses women’s ancient and eternal control of the sexual realm. The specter of the femme fatale stalks all men’s relations with women.

Teenage boys, goaded by their surging hormones . . . run in packs like the primal horde. They have only a brief season of exhilarating liberty between control by their mothers and control by their wives.

There is no true expertise in the humanities without knowing all of the humanities. Art is a vast, ancient interconnected web-work, a fabricated tradition. Overconcentration on any one point is a distortion.

Beauty is our weapon against nature; by it we make objects, giving them limit, symmetry, proportion. Beauty halts and freezes the melting flux of nature.

Cats are autocrats of naked self-interest. They are both amoral and immoral, consciously breaking rules. Their “evil” look at such times is no human projection: the cat may be the only animal who savors the perverse or reflects upon it.

Cinema is the culmination of the obsessive, mechanistic male drive in western culture. The movie projector is an Apollonian straightshooter, demonstrating the link between aggression and art. Every pictorial framing is a ritual limitation, a barred precinct.

All objects, all phases of culture are alive. They have voices. They speak of their history and interrelatedness. And they are all talking at once!

In the theory of gender I began from zero. There is no masculine power or privilege I did not covet. But slowly, step by step, decade by decade, I was forced to acknowledge that even a woman of abnormal will cannot escape her hormonal identity.

I believe that history has shape, order, and meaning; that exceptional men, as much as economic forces, produce change; and that passé abstractions like beauty, nobility, and greatness have a shifting but continuing validity.

When anything goes, it’s women who lose.

Madonna is the true feminist. She exposes the puritanism and suffocating ideology of American feminism, which is stuck in an adolescent whining mode. Madonna has taught young women to be fully female and sexual while still exercising control over their lives.

Men know they are sexual exiles. They wander the earth seeking satisfaction, craving and despising, never content. There is nothing in that anguished motion for women to envy.

Every man must define his identity against his mother. If he does not, he just falls back into her and is swallowed up.

My generation of the Sixties, with all our great ideals, destroyed liberalism, because of our excesses.

Woman is the dominant sex. Men have to do all sorts of stuff to prove that they are worthy of woman’s attention.

The Dionysian is no picnic.

The Bible has come under fire for making woman the fall guy in man's cosmic drama. But in casting a male conspirator, the serpent, as God's enemy, Genesis hedges and does not take its misogyny far enough. The Bible defensively swerves from God's true opponent, chthonian nature. The serpent is not outside Eve but in her. She is the garden and the serpent.

Even the best critical writing on Emily Dickinson underestimates her. She is frightening. To come to her directly from Dante, Spenser, Blake, and Baudelaire is to find her sadomasochism obvious and flagrant. Birds, bees, and amputated hands are the dizzy stuff of this poetry. Dickinson is like the homosexual cultist draping himself in black leather and chains to bring the idea of masculinity into aggressive visibility.

Human life began in flight and fear. Religion rose from rituals of propitiation, spells to lull the punishing elements.

The only antidote to the magic of images is the magic of words.

Leaving sex to the feminists is like letting your dog vacation at the taxidermist.

There is no female Mozart because there is no female Jack the Ripper.

Let's get rid of Infirmary Feminism, with its bedlam of bellyachers, anorexics, bulimics, depressives, rape victims, and incest survivors. Feminism has become a catch-all vegetable drawer where bunches of clingy sob sisters can store their moldy neuroses.

If civilization had been left in female hands, we would still be living in grass huts.



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