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« "Straw Dogs," the Board Game | Main | Book Publishing Advice »

December 12, 2006


Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* Did you know that more than 6000 people die in mining disasters in China every year?

* Even pro-sex feminist Camille Paglia thinks that the young and the pantyless have been taking things a little too far lately. The mystery! What's become of the mystery? (Link thanks to Dave Lull.)

* Slow Food ... Slow Cities ... Slow Travel ... Slow Exercise ... And now, Slow Painting. (I blogged about the Slow movement here and here. Carl "In Praise of Slowness" Honore's website is here.) One easy way to eat less: Eat slowly.

* It's sad that diet and exercise -- and even slowness -- can't entirely thwart time, isn't it? Here's an all-too-vivid look at some of the things that happen to your body as it ages.

* Do more megapixels always make for better image quality? David Pogue ran a little test ...

* My YouTube music-vid find of the day features not just a great tune but some of the suavest suit-wearing I've had the pleasure of witnessing in a long time:

Motown stylin' at its finest, no? Oh, to be worthy of singing and dancing backup for the Temptations! (That's David "Dead at 50 from a cocaine overdose" Ruffin on lead vocals. "My Girl," btw, was composed by Ronald White and Smokey Robinson, and was arranged by Alan Billingsley. I raved about the documentary "Standing in the Shadows of Motown" here.)



posted by Michael at December 12, 2006


On one hand, Camille Paglia is a hero, and in my view, a key player on the cultural scene in delegitimizing the "Gender is a social construct" school of feminism.

On the other hand, her promotion of "sex-positive" feminism -- in other words, glorification of sexuality that's outside of either marriage or discretely conducted private business, is a big negative.

To speak in the kind of fatalist-deterministic way that she's fond of, Madonna, whom she celebrates, inevitably leads to Britney Spears.

All in all, though, having met her once, I think that Paglia's a fascinating and charismatic lady and I always look forward to her commentary.

Posted by: PA on December 12, 2006 12:30 PM

Can someone explain to me what "torch" Madonna was passing to Britney Spears (Paglia's phrase) when Madge planted the fake lesbian kiss on Louisiana at the MTV awards show?

Posted by: ricpic on December 12, 2006 4:53 PM

"Pro-sex feminist?"

Please. Why does every academic, publishing hustler who's female have to swear allegiance to some arcane wing of feminism. What goofy crap!

I know Paglia's supposed to be the "good form" of feminism. Feminism is a fraud. Why is the "good form" of this fraud better than the bad form?

Paglia's just another spoiled brat claiming a bitch that she doesn't have. Why does the nerdy crowd feel the need to applaud this pretending?

Over twenty years ago, I ceased all personal relationships with spoiled brat women who want to pretend that they have some sort of political bitch. My life is so much better for it. Believe me, you can find women out there who are smart, make a good living, and who don't play this unprincipled, foolish game.

And, for the nutjobs who'll start the pissing war by claiming that I "don't respect strong women," my women friends and my girlfriend are strong women. They just have more sense than to live the ridiculous lie that Paglia and her friends live.

Paglia is Exhibit A in what happens to women who don't have a family, and are drowning in too much time and money. I wouldn't be surprised if her lesbianism is a fraud, a pretend game for the academic crowd and the press. What a boring, childish act! Paglia's existence is a complete lie.

Any time spent reflecting on Paglia would be better spent going to the gym or watching a basketball game on TV.

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on December 12, 2006 7:05 PM

So, Shouting Thomas. Hi. Why didn't you go to the gym or watch a basketball game on T.V. then?

Posted by: wileywitch on December 13, 2006 3:29 AM

Shouting Thomas: It's remarkable how you started that last paragraph with the opinion, "I wouldn't be surprised if her lesbianism is a fraud" - without providing any supporting facts for why you believe this to be the case, & concluded with the ridiculously hyperbolic statment, "Paglia's existence is a complete lie", also without evidence other than your resentment of what you believe she stands for.

Incidently, Paglia has a son so she unfortunately cannot be your Exhibit A of the horrors that befall women without families.

Posted by: Alan on December 13, 2006 5:57 AM

I have to agree. I can't stand these "feminists" who believe their feminism is the only right one. Isn't the idea behind feminism to NOT follow those who tell you "it's my way or the highway"? So Brit wants to hang with Paris sans knickers, who is Paglia to decide she's a slut? (No, she doesn't come out and say it in so many words, but the intention is there).

I don't think she's really a lesbian, either. She's really just the reincarnation of Ralph Kramden.

Posted by: Upstate Guy on December 13, 2006 9:18 AM

It's sad that I'm completely unmusical, because I agree with MB--it would have been an honor to sing (and dance, or move, whatever) for the Temptations.

Posted by: Friedrich von Blowhard on December 13, 2006 11:05 AM

We've certainly answered the question of what people will do once they reach that great plateau of material plenty and a life a leisure: They will manufacture a phony grievance.

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on December 13, 2006 6:10 PM

Sports commentators have different opinions. So what? Historians have different opinions. So what? What do you want, Upstate Guy? Conformity? Or not? Pick ONE.

I don't like seeing "feminism" taken to the degree that boys and men are being treated badly, and women are acting like victims when they're not---that is not what I wanted, at all---but what's the big deal about a feminist expressing her opinion about Britney Spears and Paris Hilton showing their snatches in public? That's remarkable, no matter what your opinion of it is.

I have to wonder how the public would react to paparazzi photos of male stars getting out of limos sporting their penises. How different do you think that would be? How do you think it would be different?

It's not like Paglia's remark turned the whole boat of history around so that women were always allowed to go to the university, and rape became a fairy tale.

I don't hear Paglia TELLING anyone to agree with her, either.

I'm sorry that "feminism" bothers you so much. Most of us just wanted equal protection under the law and to be treated like individuals by other individuals.

I think some of the ridiculousness in feminist academic circles is just like the ridiculousness in the social "sciences" and liberal arts colleges, in general.

We need a man's movement, I think, to complete the feminist movement.

PS. I wanted to be a Supreme, Friedrich--- not a ballerina---like most other white girls of my time. Those dresses---wow!

Posted by: wileywitch on December 13, 2006 6:39 PM

Smoky Robinson's Motown music (his own performances, the Temptations, etc.) represents a real pinnacle of 20th-century American music. No other group has so combined the elegance of jazz and big band at its best with the vitality and drive of rock and roll. Along with this soaring romantic quality unique to Smoky. And the band...what a rhythm section! The best bass playing in rock history?

Posted by: MQ on December 13, 2006 11:44 PM

And to even talk about Madonna and Britney like they represented something artistically important....well, you only need to listen to one great Motown song to give the lie to that.

Madonna was certainly better than Britney, but that's about all you can say.

Posted by: MQ on December 13, 2006 11:45 PM

Ah, but in the world of feminism, Paglia isn't a sportscaster is she? She's the self-appointed "Commissioner of Feminism". She sets the rules and then penalizes those who don't follow them. Would you be quick to state it was just a difference of opinion if hers was "Look at these two. Why aren't they at home popping out babies and cooking for their husbands?!" Both are statements designed to condemn Brit & Paris for living their lives how THEY want to live them. By telling them how they shouldn't be living their lives, she's telling them how they should.

The problem, as you stated, isn't with feminism. It's with people like these "intellectuals" who substitute the evil rules of male domination with their own set of limiting rules like...women must have careers, if you stay at home to raise your kids you're a failure as a woman. To them, feminism is simply restating the opposite of everything they're against without any care towards what a woman might actually want. It's not feminism that bothers me, it's oppression. Especially when it is merely cloaked in good intentions. She's forcing her narrow world view (and for all her self-importance, she does have a very narrow view) on others.

As to the male stars running around with willies in full salute...that's really not a fair comparison. Brit did not lie down, spread her legs and scream to the world "look at my vagina!!" She went out sans panties and a scumbag photographer, looking to find the worst he could, caught a shot of her snatch. Whoopty-do! For a man, it would take a conscious act to leave his penis hanging out of his zipper. Or, he could wear a kilt, I guess, without boxers. In either case, we would still get a stir. It's not about Brit, it's about the fact that she didn't cover it up. And in our hyper-hypocritical puritanical country, no one wants to see anything that even closely resembles a sex organ!

Unless, of course, the recipient didn't know the shot had been taken. Then, it's news.

Posted by: Upstate Guy on December 14, 2006 9:21 AM

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