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Paglia on Palin

An honest Democrat takes an honest look at the honest Sarah Palin and finds that not only is she not afraid of Palin as she would be of some right-wing ideologue but, indeed, she kinda likes her. I know the feeling. That’s how I always feel when I read Camille Paglia as opposed to reading some left-wing feminist ideologue. She is a worthy opponent because she always attempts to understand her opposition as they understand themselves.   

Discussions - 16 Comments

Good for her. In the meantime, though, the Democratic Party's attacks on Palin have gotten even more disgraceful, if that is possible.

To me, the most interesting part of that essay is near the end, when Paglia discusses abortion and complains about "the fascism" of nature. She wants not simply to use reason to direct nature but rather to combat and overwhelm it. But isn't that what the Germans who gave us Nazism wanted?

Admittedly, I read the first two pages and stopped. I'm still really stunned by the viciousness of the personal attacks on Palin. In Paglia, here some honesty about what it means to be a "feminist" these days. I took military history as an undergrad and I was the only girl in the class. I was (and still am) thrown off by the strident grievance-laden diatribes of women's studies professors. My mother, who raised me alone, always said that you have rise above it all, if you can. Don't stoop to that level. My mother was a feminist of sorts - seeking to allow women to more say in their lives from their bodies (although she was pro-life) to their career choices. She was a teacher and an excellent example of grace under pressure.

Mom would have liked Palin. She wouldn't care that Palin is on the Republican ticket; to her, it would be a monumental achievement. Never mind that Palin wouldn't be the first woman VP candidate; she is going to be the first female VP, Mom would have said with confidence. I agree. Sarah Palin is not one of these sissy, whining, excoriating feminists wearing chunky boots and no make-up, as if to prove a point about being female means to have to cater to the "male" part of that label in order to be accepted by the guys. Palin overturns every radical feminist view about how relations between men and women should be, especially the notion that women should act more like men in every capacity at every level to gain some nebulous ideal of equality.

So beauty queens, grab your guns and head for the woods. Hockey moms, dare to wear lipstick and stacked heels to the game. Our Sarah just gave a whole new meaning to "You go, girl!".

Conservatives need to take an honest look at Palin as well. In that spirit, I recommend this article detailing Palin's support for Alaska earmarks. It really sounds like Alaska business as usual, and if the Dems drive this home, Palin won't just be a cute hockey-mom anymore. Her lobbyist raked in $6-7 million a year in federal money for Wasilla; my goodness that's a ton of money for such a small town! Rural counties in Ohio operate on budgets not much bigger. It pisses me off.

Part of Palin's change, is that we hope she's changed. Did she have the prison experience McCain had that makes her put "Country First" over self-interest?

Palin is an exciting and decent choice for VP. But let's have straight talk on her record and not pretend she is our Obama-some small town girl who transcends politics with beauty, charm, intelligence, oratory. She's just another politician-doing grimey political things-with a center-right worldview.

God bless Clint's honesty.

Clint, I would say "fine" without hesitation. But it's not her record that rankles feminists and Democrats. It's the fact that she's not "one of them". ANY politician, given time, will work with the status quo in order to get things done. It's part of the reality of being an elected official. Gridlock works for a reason.

Unfortunately, for the Dems, they are in "damage control" mode. Anything they say after this point, true or not, will seem like so much melodrama. They've completely botched their perfectly good opportunity to handle the situation in a cool and calculated manner with their unofficial knee-jerk reactions to our Sarah, promulgated and perpetuated by the leading Dems and their MSM allies. Sure, Palin has faults and flaws as a human being and a politician. I wouldn't deny that. At this point, it's quite possible that any issues with her political record will be for naught because of the incredible rancor over her personal life. We still have a couple of months to go and a lot can change. But almost everyone agrees that the attacks on a 17 year old girl (for keeping her baby AND for not having an abortion AND for marrying the father rather than handling it herself) are out of line and the contempt apparently held by the Democratic Party elite about religious, gun-owning, small town residents has cost the Dem's self-proclaimed messiah his holy status. Perhaps he is simply holier-than-thou...

I agree Jennifer that the Democrats have stupidly focused on her faults as a human being. She seems to be a fine person. However, there are plenty of legitimate political faults that will and should be pointed out.

Part of my dislike of wild Obama supporters is that they ignore his political faults. He has some dubious ties from Chicago and a less than perfect "change" record as well. Yet in some circles people treat him as the rebirth of democracy, holiness, etc. Wake up. He's a politician (one with many views that I disagree with). Conservatives just need to wake up too and realize that Palin shouldn't be seen in this same naive light. Yes, she takes positions that I tend to agree with, but she has some worriesome ones as well.

Precisely, Richard. She is Nietzschean about human Nature (and sex differences, in particular). She observes it honestly not in order to be guided by it but, rather, in order to honestly evaluate the enemy so that she might determine a better strategy for overcoming and crushing it. I appreciate her honesty because it brings us to a certain kind of clarity. Too many other feminists are either too confused to be clear or they deliberately choose to obfuscate.

The "fascism of nature" and the desire to conquer it is at that the heart of modernity. It is not first and foremost Nietzschean but Baconian. To suggest that we today live according to nature or simply use reason to guide it is to fail to appreciate why we have feminists like Paglia in the first place and why we will always have feminists like Paglia. We can lament Paglia's view of nature but it is our own. Not even "our Sarah" will stop it.

No, she won't. But do you honestly think that Bacon (though perhaps he was the first to write about it) was the first to think or express it? I think, rather, that the eternal choice has always been between accepting, rejecting, or rationally accommodating nature. And I don't think the human mind--though it is certainly burdened by it--is a captive of its time and place.

Bacon is the first to really argue that the only reasonable option is to conquer nature. Machiavelli being perhaps more cautious.I don't believe that the human mind is, or at least has to be, captive of its time and place either. I do believe that the mind liberated from its time and place is an exceptionally rare one however. I doubt one would find one on NLT or any blog for that matter. The choice that you speak of is made by few. We should be aware of what such a full choice would entail, it is not a question of where your opinions stand with regard to the relation between the sexes, it is a way of life. It would seem to me to involve a far less technological life than can be easily lived in today's world. It is moreover a choice that has very little, if anything, to do with who is the running mate of who.

Clearly, this is a conversation with implications that are well beyond any presidential race, any blog, and certainly Camille Paglia's views on nature. Never mind all of that. My point was that not only will we "always have feminists like Paglia" but that we have always had them. Bacon or Nietzsche or no.

I haven't read much Camille Paglia but I got the feel/impression that her desire to transcend the "fascism" of nature followed Schopenhauer. In this sense then discipline and self-restraint is about the capacity to stand over biological drives.

The human body and the human mind are both captive of its time and place. Notice that Camille Paglia also declines to live in LA or New York...Schopenhauer had some choice words for the popularity and popularizing of Hegel.

I happen to be of a minority opinion in thinking that this strange intersection in german thought, is worth following in terms of understanding this election(unfortunately I can't read german)

Hegel, as I understand him claims that to be a good man or a good citizen is to be in tune with the spirit of the age and in sync with the laws and mores of the state. My Hegel is at least as compatible with Toqueville as it seems that what I would call Schopenhauer is compatible with Nietszche.

Therefore, I will simply quote Democracy in America: "It is true that from time to time in democratic societies aspiring and ambitious citizens do arise who are not content to follow the beaten track. Such men love revolutions and hail their approach. But they have great difficulty in bringing them about unless extraordinary events play into their hands. No man can struggle with advantage against the spirit of his age and country, and however powerful a man may be, it is hard for him to make his contemporaries share feelings and ideas which run counter to the general run of their hopes and desires."

Did she have the prison experience McCain had that makes her put "Country First" over self-interest?

McCain has never put his country first and I don't expect that to change. There is room for only one sun in John McCains solar system, and that's John McCain.

Yes, she takes positions that I tend to agree with, but she has some worriesome ones as well.

No doubt. But by comparison with her running mate (to say nothing of the opposition) she is Burke, Blackstone, Washington and Reagan rolled into one.

Her lobbyist raked in $6-7 million a year in federal money for Wasilla


If you find yourself citing Joe Conason approvingly, you should take it as a sign that you're gone off the rails.

Either that or you're a big fan of The Village Voice, a rag that makes TNR look like National Review.

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