Camille Paglia has become one of my favorite Leftist commentators, because she calls them like she sees them; rather than throwing away her credibility by defending the indefensible, as most of her contemporaries on the Left do nowadays. Her latest column, entitled “Obama’s early stumbles,” is classic Camille addressing many subjects in answer to reader’s e-mails.
However, you are quite right to call the controversy over the indictment of buffoonishly sly Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich a “mess.” That the normally deft Obama team mishandled its rapid response to it was obvious from the get-go. Obama’s first statements about his and his staff’s communications with Blagojevich were inadequate at best and misleading at worst. Then there was a second stage of needless blunders when Obama opposed the tarnished Blagojevich’s perfectly legal appointment of Roland Burris to fill Obama’s vacated Senate seat — a foolishly hard line that the president-elect inevitably had to reverse.
On the other hand, I agree with you that Congress has come across lately like a clumsy, flea-bitten bunch of “bozos.” Its poll ratings are lower than stinking swamp mud. I have a soft spot for the nimble Nancy Pelosi, a master of the ladylike stiletto thrust, but Harry Reid is a cadaverous horse’s ass of mammoth proportions. How in the world did that whiny, sniveling incompetent end up as Senate majority leader? Give him the hook! As for the “radical change” that you fear, it’s hard to imagine (short of a crisis-driven imposition of martial law) how that will ever happen in our sluggish, consensus-driven political system.
As I have repeatedly said in this column, I have never had the slightest problem in understanding Sarah Palin’s meaning at any time. On the contrary, I have positively enjoyed her fresh, natural, rapid delivery with its syncopated stops and slides — a fabulous example of which was the way (in her recent interview with John Ziegler) that she used a soft, swooping satiric undertone to zing Katie Couric’s dippy narcissism and to assert her own outrage as a “mama grizzly” at libels against her family.
Ideology-driven attacks on Palin became clotted liberal clichés within 24 hours of her introduction as John McCain’s running mate. What a bunch of tittering lemmings the urban elite have become in this country. From Couric’s vicious manipulations of video clips to Cavett’s bourgeois platitudes, the preemptive strike on Palin as a potential presidential candidate has grossly misfired. Whatever legitimate objections may be raised to Palin on political grounds (explored, for example, by David Talbot in Salon) have been lost in the amoral overkill that has defamed a self-made woman of concrete achievement in the public realm.
On the “Fairness Doctrine”:
Instead of bleating for paternalistic government intervention, liberals should get their own act together. Radio is a populist medium where liberals come across as snide, superior scolds. One can instantly recognize a liberal caller to a conservative show by his or her catty, obnoxious tone. The leading talk radio hosts are personalities and entertainers with huge rhetorical energy and a bluff, engaging manner. Even the seething ranters can be extremely funny. Last summer, for example, I laughed uproariously in my car when WABC’s Mark Levin said furiously about Katie Couric, “What do these people do? Open fortune cookies and read them on air?”
In the 1980s, I was similarly skeptical about media-trumpeted predictions about a world epidemic of heterosexual AIDS. And I remain skeptical about the media’s carelessly undifferentiated use of the term “AIDS” for what is often a complex of wasting diseases in Africa. We should all be concerned about environmental despoliation and pollution, but the global warming crusade has become a hallucinatory cult. Until I see stronger evidence, I will continue to believe that climate change is primarily driven by solar phenomena and that it is normal for the earth to pass through major cooling and warming phases.
On the “gay gene”:
After the American Psychiatric Association, responding to activist pressure, removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders in 1973, psychological inquiries into homosexuality slowly became verboten. To even ask about the origins of homosexuality was automatically dubbed homophobic by gay studies proponents in the ’80s and ’90s. Weirdly, despite the rigid social constructionist bias that permeated the entire left, gay activists in and out of academe now leapt on the slightest evidence that could suggest a biological cause of homosexuality. The very useful Freudian concept of “family romance” (typified by the Oedipus and Electra complexes) is almost completely gone. Yet the intricate family dynamic of every single gay person I’ve ever known seems to have played some kind of role in his or her developing sexual orientation.
On vocational ed vs. college:
Perhaps there’s hope of change because of the tens of thousands of liberal arts graduates with expensive degrees who are finding themselves out of work and depressingly marginalized in a society where the manual trades offer guaranteed employment at relatively high wages. A dose of Buddhism might do people good: Sweeping garden sand into oceanic designs around ornamental rocks is considered a spiritual exercise in Asia. I say that landscaping, construction, carpentry, metalworking and all the other trades should be promoted by primary education as worthy careers for both men and women. The pre-college rat race is a sadomasochistic imposition on the young that robs them of free will and saps their vital energies. When will they rebel?
On humanities professors:
Why are American professors forcing American students to plow through a boneless blob of a book that is predicated on now totally passé French manners and mores? Why is egregious theoretical verbosity being force-fed to cyber-savvy, text-messaging young people who barely read as it is and who still haven’t found their own writing voices? The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind — yes, the big wind of elite school flatulence, which may be the true cause of global warming.
Her columns are only published monthly and I wouldn’t miss one. ◄Dave►