An Interview with Paglia

Definitely the most interesting voice currently participating in that movement broadly called 'feminism,' Camile Paglia has given one of her periodic long and wide-ranging interviews. They are usually worth reading, and this one is no exception. For me there is always much to disagree with, but surprising points of commonality. For an example of the latter:
Claire Lehmann: You seem to be one of the only scholars of the humanities who are willing to challenge the post-structuralist status quo. Why have other humanities academics been so spineless in preserving the integrity of their fields?

Camille Paglia: The silence of the academic establishment about the corruption of Western universities by postmodernism and post-structuralism has been an absolute disgrace.... Most established professors in the 1970s probably believed that the new theory trend was a fad that would blow away like autumn leaves. The greatness of the complex and continuous Western tradition seemed self-evident: the canon would surely stand, even if supplemented by new names. Well, guess what? Helped along by a swelling horde of officious, overpaid administrators, North American universities became, decade by decade, political correctness camps. Out went half the classics, as well as pedagogically useful survey courses demonstrating sequential patterns in history (now dismissed as a “false narrative” by callow theorists). Bookish, introverted old-school professors were not prepared for guerrilla warfare to defend basic scholarly principles or to withstand waves of defamation and harassment.
It's hard to find anyone in academia now who will openly proclaim that the Western canon represents something categorically superior to, well, anything else. Western philosophers will still quietly murmur to each other their recognition that what they are doing is both categorically different from, and better than, what goes by the name of "Eastern philosophy." But they won't say it in public, and in private only among trusted friends.


Eric Blair said...

Cultural Marxism taking advantage of the collapse of confidence among the western elites since WW1.

Grim said...

What's strange is pushing them on it. They'll start with 'Western chauvinism is just racism,' but then you point out that it's not per se racist to argue that Western philosophy is categorically superior to 'Eastern philosophy.' A lot of throat-clearing follows. 'Well, of course that's not racist... I believe it myself... I mean, obviously... but.... but... and... and...'

That's the real trick, for me. Once I realize that we're just not saying what we really think, the game is over.