Talkin' trash to the garbage around me.

14 March, 2007

What octane gasoline is Camille Paglia huffing?

Why, Salon, why? Why are you subjecting us to four pages of Camille Paglia's idiotic ramblings every month? Must we be subjected to someone who really believes this?
Of course, any Salon readers who still follow the mainstream media out of numbed habit will never have heard Hillary's most extreme flights of faux gemutlichkeit. All that Sunday, network radio news, for example, betrayed its liberal bias by running clips of only her noblest phrases. Heaven help any Republican who had made so lurid a gaffe! Fortunately, alternative media now exist: On his radio show that night, Matt Drudge ran huge, hilarious swatches of prophesyin' Hillary camping it up.

Paglia obviously missed the cable news network yuck-a-thon (documented here by Bob Somerby) that followed Clinton's statements. And are we to take her seriously when she holds out Matt Drudge as an example of a credible alternative media source, rather than as the right-wing shill that he is? The "liberal media" canard is sooooo mid-90s, Camille - but I suppose I should forgive you for wanting to wallow in the myths of the era when you somewhat approached relevance.

Why I continued reading after that gaffe is beyond me, but I did:
Hence my unhappy surprise when Edwards, who has an attractively comprehensive social policy and strong oratorical skills, was the first to pull out of the scheduled August debate moderated by Fox News. What is this morbid obsession that liberals have with Fox? It's as if Democrats, pampered and spoiled by so many decades of the mainstream media trumpeting the liberal agenda, are so shaky in their convictions that they cannot risk an encounter with opposing views. Democrats have ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, the New York Times, Newsweek, Time and 98 percent of American humanities professors to do their bidding. But no, that's not enough -- every spark of dissent has to be extinguished with buckets of bile.

Sigh. Here Paglia is either being contrarian (which is just obnoxious) or is completely oblivious to the fact that Fox News is a de facto PR department for the Republican Party, attacking Dems at every opportunity and passing on unfiltered RNC talking points as news. If the latter is the case, Paglia should probably dispense with the "I'm an intellectual giant" and "I'm a Democrat" schtick. Because really, if you can't see that it's not a good idea to grant legitimacy to a network that regularly labels members of your party as "traitors," I'm a little dubious of your ability to suss out the "deeper meaning" of popular cultural.
It is one of the many gifts of capitalism that are invisible to academic leftists, who nevertheless expect the light switch to work, their cars to start, and the grocery store to be constantly stocked with fresh milk, orange juice and produce.


Capitalism, which spawned modern individualism as well as the emancipated woman who can support herself, is essentially Darwinian. It expands any society's sum total of wealth and radically raises the standard of living, but it leaves the poor and weak without a safety net. Capitalism needs the ethical counter-voice of leftism to keep it honest. But leftists must be honest in turn about what we owe to capitalism -- without which Western women would have no professional jobs to go to but would be stuck doing laundry by hand and stooping over pots on the hearth fire all day long.

Jeebus! Paglia, of course, doesn't cite any of these "academic leftists" who refuse to recognize the many, many gifts of capitalism, but by way of rebuttal, it should be noted that the patron saint of academic leftists, Karl Marx, was very lavish in his praise of capitalism as the social force which helped liberate Europe from feudalism and built the greatest productive engines the world had seen. So let's stop with the very old, very tired "academics hate capitalism but want to revel in its riches" meme. No one fails to recognize what capitalism accomplished, but voices which point out the many flaws inherent in the current social structure are dismissed by blowhards like Paglia on the basis of a narrative that was stale ten years ago. And don't get me started on the teleological assertion that the liberation of Western women could only have happened in a capitalist political-economy.

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