Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Paglia on Obama and lessons from the Illiad, Limbaugh, Pope Leo X

The always delightful Camille Paglia--a thoughtful and independent-minded supporter of Barack Obama--thinks Obama needs to do some deep soul-searching. She’s inclined still to give him too much credit and blame his missteps on stupid advisers, but with great lines like this: "The orchestrated attack on radio host Rush Limbaugh, which has made the White House look like an oafish bunch of drunken frat boys," who cares? But what I especially liked about this article was its closing paragraph. It’s too good for me to attempt a clumsy summary, so here’s the whole thing:

President Obama should yank the reins and get his staff’s noses out of slash-and-burn petty politics. His own dignity and prestige are on the line. If he wants a second term, he needs to project a calmer perspective about the eternal reality of vociferous opposition, which is built into our democratic system. Right now, the White House is starting to look like Raphael’s scathing portrait of a pampered, passive Pope Leo X and his materialistic cardinals -- one of the first examples of an artist sending a secret, sardonic message to posterity. Do those shifty, beady-eyed guys needing a shave remind you of anyone? Yes, it’s bare-knuckles Chicago pugilism, transplanted to Washington. The charitably well-meaning but hopelessly extravagant Leo X, by the way, managed to mishandle the birth of the Protestant Reformation, which permanently split Christianity.

Discussions - 3 Comments

Paglia is neither always--she's arbitrary--nor delightful--she's shrill.

Why do people take her serioulsy? Because she wrote a 700 page book of derivative drivel?

She's smart, quirky and she thinks for herself--drawing on a wide variety of sources and experiences and not beholden to any one (or all) of them. Even when I disagree with her (which is often and deeply), she teaches me things and makes me think. Anyone who can do that is someone I can admire and an intellectual friend. This is not to say that she is not sometimes completely off the mark, it is merely to say that I find her work interesting, thought provoking and entertaining. Bully for you if you don't . . . but I still feel the richer for my view.

Did you see the Ramirez potrait of Obama?

I have not heard Paglia, only read her, so I don't know if she is shrill. I like her turn of phrase, even when I do not agree.

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