What should I ask Camille Paglia?

I’ll be doing a Conversations with Tyler with her, Tuesday, April 12.  What should I ask her?


Of course you should ask her about Trump, but I would frame it indirectly. The question that's interesting to ask Camille Paglia is:

What are the failures of Hillary Clinton as a candidate and as a (sexual) persona that have allowed someone like Trump to get as far as he has? Do you view Trump as oppositional to Hillary Clinton?

"Do you view Trump as oppositional to Hillary Clinton?"

That's an interesting question.

Seriously, I mock this web site all the time, but this - 'What are the failures of Hillary Clinton as a candidate and as a (sexual) persona that have allowed someone like Trump to get as far as he has?' would make Prof. Cowen appear like a fool.

Trump and Clinton are not yet opponents. And to think that Clinton has anything to do with the Republican nomination process is mind boggling.

"Trump and Clinton are not yet opponents."

I think they are. And I think most people would agree. Clinton has already shifted her attacks to Trump and is basically ignoring Sanders.

"Hillary Clinton Denounces Donald Trump Before Pro-Israel Lobby Group" http://www.wsj.com/articles/hillary-clinton-denounces-donald-trump-before-pro-israel-lobby-group-1458575750

"And to think that Clinton has anything to do with the Republican nomination process is mind boggling." -This comment just seems like a straw man post. Nobody made the claim that Clinton is directly involved with the Republican nomination process.

'I think they are. And I think most people would agree. Clinton has already shifted her attacks to Trump and is basically ignoring Sanders.'

The same story line that was repeated before Sanders won Michigan - how the consensus forms and shifts and reforms.

'Nobody made the claim that Clinton is directly involved with the Republican nomination process.'

I guess you read this sentence - 'What are the failures of Hillary Clinton as a candidate and as a (sexual) persona that have allowed someone like Trump to get as far as he has?' differently than I did, as currently, Trump is running in the Republican primaries to become the Republican candidate for the office of president. Hillary's failures and sexual persona would only matter if she is influencing those primaries and the resultant naming of Trump as the Republican candidate for the presidency.


Are you aware of this: http://www.salon.com/2016/03/10/i_was_wrong_about_donald_trump_camille_paglia_on_the_gop_front_runners_refreshing_candor_and_his_impetuousness_too/

NNM prbabably should have said "What are the failures of Hillary Clinton as a candidate and as a (sexual) persona that have allowed someone like Trump to get attractive to you? Do you view Trump as oppositional to Hillary Clinton?"

"Trump and Clinton are not yet opponents. And to think that Clinton has anything to do with the Republican nomination process is mind boggling"

It's still early but this gets my vote for stupidest sentences on the internet for March 21.

'It’s still early but this gets my vote for stupidest sentences on the internet for March 21.'

Thanks - tell me, who are the official candidates for president for both the Republican and Democratic parties at this point?

And to think that candidates of the other party influence primary races is likely to the most intelligent comment on the Internet to this point, March 21. Especially considering that Clinton has been running for president since 2007 or so - please do tell me how both McCain and Trump, along with all the other potential Republican presidential nominees both then and now, were so deeply influenced by her (to this point, not yet successful) attempts to become the Democratic party presidential candidate.

The consensus that both Trump and Clinton will be their respective party's nominee is certainly firming, and that both of them are beginning to focus on each other is standard Washington Post fodder - just like it was before Sanders won Michigan, one might point out.

What odds do you give Sanders of winning at this point? 0.1%?

The longer Sanders stays in the game, the longer Clinton has to pander left to keep those odds at 0.1%, and the easier it will be to use such positioning against Clinton in the general election. I don't understand why he hasn't closed the campaign yet and directed all that organizational capital to one or two of the key issues resulting in his support. For example, campaign financing and corruption - he is the only candidate whose actions and words demonstrate a commitment to constraining the excesses of corrosive influence of money in politics. Why not drop out and repurpose all that energy to shifting Clinton on one or two key policy areas?

Mormons....overrated or underrated?

There's a gay talk show host here on Philippines TV, several actually, but the one I'm think of is bald and his favorite question in a series of rapid fire questions, is "Lights On or Lights Off?". You're supposed to answer quickly. Not sure if it's an original question or not (they copy stuff here from the USA rather quickly).

Well, I would ask her if she feels pornography is mainstream now. I think it's a 'softball question' since the answer is clearly YES. When I visited the sex town of Patayya in Thailand, I felt I was in a porn movie, staring myself. And I'm pretty prudish. People around me were doing a lot more. Since this is a family site I won't mention more. I think I caught an STD there, but it's fixed now, I'm pretty sure. BTW you can get herpes from a monkey. Mine is so cute I want to kiss it, and I do (on its pointy little head; it has a fashionable tuff of hair like teen boys have nowadays).


How do you organize or fund a monkey rescue?

I sure hope you're talking cold sores and not genital herpes. Although if it's the second case, the "test subject" surely deserved at least as bad as he/she got.

Yes. Let me quickly offer some advice so somebody can avoid the same mistakes I did. Never go to Pattaya or any sex town alone. It's dangerous (I did not go alone BTW). Second, watch out for peer pressure, even as an adult. So keep in mind your company may push the envelope (mine did, I should have gone with another group, though the guys I was with were OK, just hard core sex tourists, or, see below, best, not gone at all). Third, you cannot just go to a sex place "and just watch". Classic mistake that even travel writer Paul Theroux made (he once went to a brothel in India and tried to 'just watch the girls in the lobby, alone, but of course not with a customer' and almost got beat up or worse over it...very common mistake, they don't want you to watch, they want you to pay first then do what you will: watch, talk, have sex, etc). This is true in Russia too, even slowing down to watch street girls from a passing car will get you into trouble --I kid you not--they expect you to stop and pay, not stop and watch. Finally --this is a common problem--in Pattaya the *standard greeting* is for a complete stranger to 'French kiss' you. They stick their tongue in your mouth. Keep in mind throat cancer is a virus, and this person, who is attractive if you're a heterosexual but might be a ladyboy (hard to tell, trust me, especially after surgery, it is said only a DNA test is definitive), has kissed 1000s of people before you. Never fight a ladyboy or get aggressive with her. The tourist police on the famous Walking Street in Pattaya will NOT save you. You will go to hospital. This is common. Did not happen to me but I saw it. Best to just smile, be polite, say no, move on.

I could go on about the bragging pedophiles I met while there, but let's not. Best advice I can quickly give you, is, maybe sadly, maybe not, is the same as your prudish aunt might give: don't even go. You're not missing anything and you might end up with some awful disease, and I'm not talking lifelong herpes. BTW, I did not have throat cancer but other STDs and for now I'm OK, but it made some of my hairs turn grey. Not something enjoyable, even at the time. Nuff said and if I warned even a single person I've done my job and feel better. Take care Nathan W and catch you on another thread amigo!

Ps--the ladyboy has friends, lots of them, that's how you will get beat up. There's even a T-shirt I saw in Bangkok that shows silhouettes of what look like a bunch of women encircling and beating up a guy, and it says something like "Teamwork" underneath it. It's that common, it's been memorialized on a T-shirt.

I've got "Sprockets" from that Saturday Night Live skit on my mind, you know, "Touch my monkey!" Just don't spank it...

You can't handle Camille Paglia. Pass the task of interviewing her off on Stanley Kurtz, who might know the right questions to ask.

1. Why is Machiavelli not better known or appreciated for his comedies (Mandragola, Woman from Andros, Clizia)?
2. Which English contemporary playwright of Shakespeare's--Kit Marlowe, Ben Johnson, John Webster--most deserves enhanced visibility on our contemporary British and US stages? and why?

(apologies to all Sons of Ben: Jonson it is . . . out out, damned typo!)

No, never heard this one before. How stupid we all were!

Ask her view on some broad economic issue, like taxation, regulation, or government subsidies to the arts.

She has extensively spoken/written on politics/culture/Hillary/Trump, but very rarely on economics. Paglia is hard to pin down ideologically, sort of a progressive, Democrat, independent, libertarian.

Q: Has the reduction in socially acceptable female modesty helped or hurt women overall?

Does feminism raise or lower status of hetero men+women pairings?

Families as incentives for men to be productive beyond providing for themselves?

Working women choosing to be subservient to employer versus husband?

Voting gaps between men and women, between married women and single women, between married men and single men? Any other voting gaps?

You use Freudian analysis a lot in your writings. For example, saying that Bill Cosby and Bill Clinton's predatory behavior is because they had a suffocating mother and now they want to control women.

Are you aware that behavioral genetics shows that him environment has very little lasting influence on personality? What scientists influence your views on human development?

Excellent choice of guest. Ask her everything. Extend it to an 8 hour interview. Make it a weekly show. Sell it to broadcast TV, I predict it will be that good.

Overrated - Underrated: Arthur Danto, William Faulkner, New Formalism, ethnic restaurants, New York city, rural life, parenthood, economics, psychology, Chomsky

- What does she think of the idea of "sapieosexuals"? Have straight guys ever tried using that as a line on her? Did it work?

- Why has the novel died as an art form in the U.S.? If Underworld and American Pastoral are being passed off as the acme of the contemporary US novel we can pretty well conclude its dead here, no?

- How is her study of the indigenous peoples of the Northeast United States going? Marx also studied American indigenous peoples, has she found his work useful or inspiring? Does she ever turn to any economic works in her studies on this topic?

- A number of recent books have tried to bring literature to economics, not just Piketty, but books like Madame Bovary's Ovaries. Has she had any interest in that? Has she ever taken any economics classes?

- She has described herself as a student of American culture. If she had a second choice for a national culture to study what would that be?

- If she had not encountered that Irish nun as a child but had instead grown up in Catholic community that incorporated more of the mysterious and pagan culture around it, like Ted and Dana Gioia, does she think there is any chance she might have remained Catholic?

- Rather than ask about Trump, ask about Bernie Sanders whom she supports. One can understand his having a personal appeal to her, but does she believe that socialism would have any consequences for art? It seems like artists are always socialists until they are under socialism and then they turn dissident or party-line hack.

Why don`t women wear socks?

Good question. Related: should I be as indignant as I am that women get away with wearing open-toed shoes which are basically sandals in the workplace all the time despite the general proscription against such footwear?

High end office wear producers LOVE people like you. The difference between a $50,000+ lifetime budget on footwear.

Because you can actually tell a lot of things about people by the footwear the wear, like their compliance with comformism and their need to show off status.

Difference between 1k and 50k budget ...

A little of both.

Paglia's statements are often far-out there, to say the least, so asking her to clarify or expound on a few of them are a must. For example:

* Here(https://youtu.be/xut4-BBt4V4?t=112) she says our modern "efflorescence of transgender phenomena" is historically a "symptom of cultural collapse." First of all, what is a cultural collapse, and what is western culture on the brink of losing?

* In a Time article she wrote: "the majority of campus incidents being carelessly described as sexual assault are not felonious rape (involving force or drugs) but oafish hookup melodramas, arising from mixed signals and imprudence on both sides." How does she know that?


* We know Paglia doesn't like Christopher Hitchens for his atheism, but what about his views on women and comedy? What does she think of this generation's comediennes (Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Bridesmaids, Ghostbusters, etc.)?

* Favorite opera?

* Is there any merit in reducing the status of old movies (Philadelphia Story, Seven Brides, Kiss Me Kate) for sexism?

Re: Sexist Movies. How about "The Baker's Wife" as well?

Ask her if she is familiar with Tyrone and then whatever the next question is that comes to mind.

Will she vote for Trump for the performance art alone?

If Trump IS Hitler and offers to let her head the NEA to remake the American art scene, what would she do?

Lewis Carroll: “When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’
’The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’
’The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.”

Ms. Paglia, the anti-feminist feminist, challenges conventional wisdom, or conventional wisdom as she sees it. We seem to have arrived at a cultural moment when words mean so many different things, when war means peace, oppression means freedom, deficits means surpluses, perhaps nobody embodying it more than Donald Trump, the billionaire wheeler-dealer who speaks for the common man. Ms. Paglia describes herself as a libertarian. I would ask her if being a libertarian means, for her, being free to make words mean many different things or being free to expose the abuse of language that has become commonplace? In other words, does she feel an affinity for Trump or does she wish to expose him for making words mean so many different things?

All words have a large scope of meaning, and rhetoric successfully applied by one group will be appropriated by others to the opposite end, in part to latch onto the success of the rhetoric and in part to nullify the successful application of such rhetoric to things they disagree with.

We should always be pinpoint focused on underlying meanings, and most of the time that involves extensive reading between the lines and a fair degree of guesswork. If someone is unwilling to offer credibly concrete explanations of their choice of rhetorical tools and their underlying meaning in plain words, they should not be trusted, regardless of where the fall on diverse spectrums.

Is there a possible anarchic gender equilibrium in which gender roles are viewed as personal idiosyncrasies instead of preferred social norms? It seems to me that both the right and left are very heavily invested in gender roles (and racial roles and all kinds of identity roles) and just differ on what those roles are supposed to be.

Paglia has produced several books of art and poetry criticism that do not lend themselves at all well to current ebook formats, and indeed, an ideal ebook would be better than a print book for allowing you to look at an image or poem while you view the text. Where does she the ebook in 5-10 years?

I would love to hear her views on Kanye West. I personally do not like rap music but I acknowledge there are a significant number of people who think Kanye West is the most important artist of this generation despite being a massive f1cking 1sshole. And don't get sidetracked about this latter part - have the meta discussion if you wish - but I want her views on his actual art.

Also, to the extent Steph Curry is an artist, I'd like her views on him too.

Ask her about the TV show UnREAL. It's both a) shockingly good and b) highly Paglian. I wrote a little about it here.

IIRC Paglia likes the Real Housewives, which I... don't.

This is not going to end well. Paglia's hyperintelligent but cryptic books bear fruit upon careful re-reading, but mark my words, these two faux-contrarians are not going to understand what the other is saying. Each cannot bear to utter a sentence that might be clearly understood, and this is going to be like the proverbial toddlers in the sandbox, making word piles in adjacent solipsistic bubbles. I predict a race to the bottom, with inscrutable cleverness as the currency. Study the transcript for the absence of follow-up questions that reflect an understanding of what was just said.

"The New York Times has described you as 'first and foremost an educator.' What is your philosophy of teaching?"

Also, "Is higher education primarily about signaling or learning?"

Regarding the latter, I would frame it like this: even if you would like it to be about learning, in the end don't you don't it's mostly about signaling, at least among the more-selective schools?

Most people don't like to be asked leading questions in interviews. Among other things, it sets an adversarial tone. The question is far better as originally posed, imo.

Any opinions on Kanye's work -- I mean, serious appraisals and interpretations of his work, not just commentary on his Twitter feed/Reality TV show? I have a feeling like she isn't clued into hip-hop, but maybe that's all the more reason to ask her.

Ask her something about the value of men today. What does an ideal of masculinity look like now? What should be our social expectations of (cis-gender) males be?

What should our social expectations for Trans men and women be?

She's said some good things about The Phantom Menace. Ask her was she just trolling.

Have we reached Peak Theory? That is to say, what is the current state of Literary Theory? Or are they all Zizekians now!

Ask her if she has noticed that her theories have become more accepted over time within Feminist circles. I was at her talk at MIT in 1991 and she was as warmly received among a large part of the crowd (mostly the women but also many men) as I think Donald Trump would be today. There was a palpable sense of outrage in the crowd among those who disagreed with her. Several years later she gave a talk at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and it was a much more agreeable crowd. Has Feminism changed because of her influence?

How does she feel about bring called the American Nietzsche.

Moustache envy

Ask her about her thoughts on Brazil and Daniela Mercury. http://latincorrespondent.com/2016/02/when-amazon-feminist-camille-paglia-speaks-brazil-listens/ Also, is Lana Del Rey hot or not?

Which living or dead policy maker do you most admire and why? Do you admire them more for the battles they fought for their policies, or for the content of their policies?

Hi, I'd really like to know her opinion of trigger warnings.

I'm also curious at the differences between Tyler's interview and this speech from 1991 http://gos.sbc.edu/p/paglia.html

"You may be the only commentator to identify 'managing a bureaucracy' as a necessary qualification for a president. This is a skill unknown to politicians 'friends to all ' and to big issue populists preaching ideas and courting government unions but not organization. Do you expect to ever see a professional manager in the White.House?"

She writes courageously, so give her a chance to be courageous and slay a few sacred cows. Ask her about contemporary feminism, trigger warnings and safe spaces, the migrant crisis, Islam, etc. Let her freely associate.

Ask her how Western Civilization went wrong, then do not interrupt her answer.

Ask her why she believes in astrology, in the absence of any evidence for it.

1. If young women and don't learn feminism through rote learning, how else would they learn it?

2. Does the pro-war side of her extend to settling international disagreements?

If you talk film with her, she did write a lovely little book about The Birds which I highly recommend. Read it recently and rewatched the film. Lots of fun.

Ask her about David Brooks.

Ask her if she considers catch-and-release sport fishing animal torture. Ask also if she regrets supporting John Edwards as the Democratic candidate for the presidency.

Ask her: 1) why do some people think she is the closest thing to the living embodiment of Ayn Rand (and what she thinks about that): and 2) why wasn't Suzanne Pleshette a bigger movie star?

"You have talked about what it takes for a presidential candidate to appeal to the voters. Governing requires a different skill set - where does that leave us?"

Ask, how has Allen Bloom influenced your thinking?

oops, Harold Bloom

How do you feel about the right adopting you as it's pet feminist?

Feminism in popular culture (e.g Beyonce's feminism). What would hillary clinton have to do to win her fervent support.

Since she uses "bourgeois" as a term of invective, I would ask her about bourgeois virtues and Deirdre McCloskey's work. Also, ask her what contemporary writers she reads and finds valuable. Try to get her to talk about worthy intellectuals other than herself.

Request her to write a book explaining all the poems of Emily Dickinson.

She is one of very few people with interesting views on 'Millennials'. Also:

How will American culture change as religious observance continues to decline?

What makes her optimistic/pessimistic about the future of American art and popular culture?

Ask her if she believes that the Puritan/Protestant influence on the US has been a positive and what she thinks of Emma Goldman.

What does she think of online learning and where does she think it is heading by 2025? Will tenure exist in 2025?

Is the PUA community a source of liberation for women trapped in today's culture?

I was in New Mexico once and read in the local newspaper of a conference that was conducted by some physicists and members of the Hopi tribe. The physicists were trying to find out if Native American languages were better at describing subatomic processes than English. I would like you to ask her what should we know about Native American culture and is there relevance in today's complex world.

Does the concept of the Long Tail - in which the tech era allows consumers to splinter into countless sub groups exploring obscure music and other services - also apply to social organization in that society seems to be getting increasingly tribal along lines of sex, race, class.

So ubiquitous communication isn't leading to the erasure of differences, but a retreat into differences.

And isn't this being increasingly exploited by politicians who pit groups against each other in order to justify more centralised control?

Giving us the irony of more statism even as technology liberates the individual.

"the tech era allows consumers to splinter into countless sub groups " - Back in the day, there was much optimism about how people could find their own micro-tribes in the wider world. Now, the realities of echo chambers are coming to light. It's not clear to me that the benefits outweight the costs in that sense, but this is the world we live in.

The idea about this being exploited by politician to justify more centralized control hadn't occurred to me. I'm not strictly convinced that this is what's going on, but it definitely sounds worth exploring.

In elections in which the main currencies are fear and paranoia of the "other", the politician can occupy a role as protector. They just need a little more power.

One broad difference between the right and left in this respect, is that the GOP tended to see their tribe as Americans and the "other" as the outside world, whereas the left is atomizing into mini tribes where the "other" is usually other Americans.

Listening to Harry Reid go full Tourette's on the Kochs in the House is one example of this othering. Personally I don't think he buys into it himself - but it's the language of the left now.

America has been very unique in having such a large disparate population share such a close and common belief in the American identity and idea. It's fracturing now. And it's getting ugly.

I just saw an hour long interview with her a year ago by a guy at Reason magazine.

At the very end, she says that as an atheist, she wants to "restore the prestige of religion to that of secular humanism, which has gotten more cynical and less and less creative."

I think this is an example of her just rambling, which she does ...oh, around 30 percent of the time in the interview. You could ask her to expand on how she wants to raise the religious profile in America and ask if she would vote for Cruz over Clinton, who she hates.

The most interesting to me was the last 10 minutes from 49:00 about the Clintons and having what she says is a sex criminal back in the White House.


Is microaggression a real thing?

Which of Disney's two main recent princess-heroines, i.e. Anna in Frozen and Rey in The Force Awakens, does she prefer?

There's a flourishing arts and cultural atheist grouping in LA recently which has been maturing, I would offer as names in it David Lynch, Marilyn Manson and Fiona Apple. Possibly Johnny Depp too. Many of them are in their 40s but are still productive and getting referenced by the next generation, for instance recently Justin Bieber, Father John Misty, and Lana Del Rey. Manson was influential in a recent TV series Salem which focused on power and religious dynamics in the witch hunt period. And there has been a flowering of plots revolving around secret dissidents among us -- often good aliens, or Goths. Are there common threads in these developments and where might they lead?

I liked Sexual Personae a lot but there does not seem to much meat to the rest of her career. She is not particularly insightful off the cuff and her ideas are basically a self-parody by now.

Here's a question from an IT drone with a liberal arts degree. How do you feel about the fact that Silicon Valley dominates our economy and culture? Is there any tech guru you are interested in?

Unrelated: Do you miss Umberto Eco?

And what do you think about parody religions, like Discordianism or Pastafarianism?

Any serious, hard-hitting interview with a Freudian HAS to ask why the Freudian persists in their mistake when most of Freud's work has been invalidated and was unscientific nonsense to begin with. (However important it may have been as the start of a field.)

Paglia has often decried the enfeebled culture of the West and especially the sad state of its art and literature. So--is it curtains for the West, to be replaced by a more vibrant Third World-based culture (she loves energetic Bollywood melodramas)--or is there hope of a revival? And if there is to be one, from what segments of Western society does she think it will come?

Please ask Paglia how she perceives the culture and beliefs of her students to have changed over the last 30 years. Are young adults becoming more infantile, seeking increasing support from government materially, along with government-mandated protections to their psyches and fixating on Bernie as their protector-savior?

Ask her for her thoughts on the works of Thomas Pynchon, Cormac McCarthy, and Philip Roth. Then ask her for her thoughts on recent films she's liked.

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