Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Camille Paglia Skewers Dem Wussies, Ann Coulter

Sexual persona politico Camille Paglia is an acquired taste, but her iconoclastic rages trash china-shop figurines sacred to both left and right. So when she got her latest diatribe
about gutless Dems, whacko Ann, and Fox News as an 800-pound gorilla, I figured it was worth a read, even if it is in the left-plumb-line Salon. Here is her take on the pomaded Breck-boy pulling out of the Nevada debate [she expresses admiration for JE elsewhere!]:
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.

But Fox is certainly disingenuous with its absurd "fair and balanced" motto. Oh, come on, give it up! Why can't Fox honestly admit its conservative agenda, as do major radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, and simply argue that it represents a culturally necessary antidote to the omnipresent liberal line? Yet for Democratic presidential candidates, who will be assessed by voters for their ability to stand up to China, North Korea or al-Qaida, to run squealing from a Fox moderator as if he or she were a boogeyman with blood-dripping fangs makes the whole pack of them look like simpering wusses. Dennis Kucinich was quite right to express his scorn and offer to debate anyone anywhere and under any sponsorship. Nice job of skewering the sacred cow!

When lil' Dennie is the bravest candidate in the Dem stable, looks bad for the hermaphroditic Donkey-cons! Paglia takes on Coulter without the usual fecal-fixations of the ultra-left slingers of nasty:
Coulter is a smart woman with formidable energy, and whether liberals like it or not, she is a high-profile feminist role model in her appetite for aggressive debate. But Coulter seems to be regressing rather than growing intellectually and sharpening her analytic skills. She evidently leaves no room in her life for study and reflection. I take books seriously (which is why I left the scene for five years to write "Break, Blow, Burn") and thus hold against Coulter the part she has played in the debasement of that medium. Her books may rake in millions but won't last because they are shoddily constructed. Coulter should be using her syndicated column for her topical opinions but her books for more considered contributions. "Godless," for example, which intriguingly postulates the quasi-religiosity of contemporary liberalism, should have stimulated wide discussion but was so thrown together and full of holes that it was easy to dismiss and went unread outside her core audience.

Didn't read Godless, so I can't comment, but an earlier book of AC's was pretty well put together, although its able defense of Joe McCarthy was bound to rankle everyone to the left of Duncan Hunter. And finally, her takes on Cheney and Bush are predictably negative, but somewhat thoughtful compared with the robotic hyperventilation of most leftist commentators:
It's always baffled me why the mainstream media can't seem to get a handle on Cheney and treats him as a stone-faced enigma. Time, for example, oddly avoids psychoanalysis when it quotes Cheney's daughters as saying that when his mind leaves the room, he becomes the unreachable "Bull Walrus."

I detest Cheney for having led the country into this disastrous, wasteful war, whose repercussions will be felt for generations here and in the Mideast. I know absolutely nothing about Cheney's family background, but I would bet on some ambivalent dynamic in his past with masculine authority figures, whom he internalized and carries around as a visibly heavy burden but whose oppression produced his sarcastic sneer, his one facial mannerism. Cheney seems as static, convoluted and self-entombed as Orson Welles' haunted, aging Citizen Kane.

The relationship between Cheney and George W. Bush is also perplexing. Despite the nearness in their ages, Cheney acts like Bush's father (no coincidence since Cheney served in George H.W. Bush's administration). There's something creepy about how Cheney, after heading the candidate search, insinuated himself into the vice presidency. He locked onto Bush like a limpet, using the more extroverted and physically dynamic president as his proxy. Bush's independent judgment was paralyzed, as if by snakebite. It's an unsavory, toxic relationship, a vampiric pseudo-marriage like that of the shadowy, Machiavellian Roger Chillingworth and the impressionable, waffling Arthur Dimmesdale in Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter."

Hence I've always felt that liberals' hatred of Bush is misplaced. I feel pity for him -- he is a genuinely tragic figure who made the wrong choices and destroyed the promise of his presidency. His sense of divine election and destiny, a defense mechanism that allows him to survive that crushing job, is of course positively dangerous for the country. At this point, it seems Bush's persona will never mature in office. As he blustered with dangling arms and stiff cowboy legs to the podium during last week's South American junket, I felt embarrassed at his lack of diplomatic courtesy and simple savoir faire. Confident manhood does not need to constantly strike poses.

Paglia may not be exactly "fair and balanced," but she is serious, a rare commodity among Salon writers.

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