June 10, 2009

"Sotomayor's vainglorious lecture bromide about herself as 'a wise Latina' trumping white men is a vulgar embarrassment..."

"... a vestige of the bad old days of male-bashing feminism when even the doughty Ann Richards was saying to the 1988 Democratic National Convention: 'After all, Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did. She just did it backwards and in high heels.' What flatulent canards mainstream feminism used to traffic in! Astaire, idolized even by Mikhail Baryshnikov, was one of the most brilliant and peerless dancers and choreographers of the 20th century. The agile but limited Ginger Rogers, a spunky, smart-mouthed comedian, is only a footnote. Get real, girls! This is the kind of mushy balderdash I doggedly had to plow through for five years in trying to find a good feminist poem for my collection, 'Break, Blow, Burn.' I never found one. Rule of art: Cant kills creativity!"

A Paglia paragraph on Sotomayor and everything else.

30 comments:

Treacle said...

My Pedro sez "c*nt kills creativity", but he tends to use different vowels than our Camille.

traditionalguy said...

Thank goodness we still have a wise Italiano to open our minds.

MadisonMan said...

The way Paglia throws phrases down on paper is thrilling. But I think writing like that would be exhausting.

John said...

Camille is crazy. So she sometimes makes points in really obtuse ways. This would be one of those times. She is crazy but she is right. It is condescending and sexist to pretend that women are somehow equal to all things by virtue of their sex rather than the individual ability of the woman. It is sexist to pretend that Ginger Rogers is as important a figure as Fred Astaire or that a judge is as good as any other judge by virtue of being a magic latina.

gaywrites said...

Conservatives get all up in arms because Sotomayor says something about a Latina doing something better than a white male. And that makes her a racist, apparently. Why do you think she would say something like that? Perhaps it's because there's a cultural presumption that whitness and as much or more than that, maleness, is the standard of excellence that all other groups of people must meet or surpass. So many times in the comments on this blog I hear things like "Why do people assume that women are as qualified or more qualified than men just by virtue of being women?" You can insert any status in that box and it shakes out similiarly. I think that's the price society pays for the presumption that women are not equal and therefore we cannot take them at their word when they say are as capable or more capable as men. And then when they do say such things, they're labeled feminazis or racists. Why is it that women and minority groups are always the ones that have to prove themselves? Imagine a world where in almost all facets of life the presumption is that men will not be as successful as women.

AllenS said...

It's time to stand behind Sonia Sotomayor. Joe Biden, one of the smartest people in government, had this to say about her:

Flanked by a dozen District of Columbia police officers, Biden said Sotomayor, a former prosecutor, could be counted on to support law enforcement while on the high court.

Let's not worry about the facts, if the police say you're guilty, Sonia will back them up. So, there.

garage mahal said...

Paglia wrote that Bill Clinton would naturally be attracted to Paula Jones because she had a big wide mouth, and a slackness in her jaw that porn starts learn to relax to better give oral sex. This was based on her long and exhausting research of porn pictures and videos. So yea, Paglia would know a thing or two about being a vulgar embarrassment.

Ron said...

Must we throw Ginger under the bus to praise Fred? Back then, Fred's one movie without Rogers bombed; Ginger's movies without Astaire did not, and, well, RKO let him go. Subsequent events prove RKO wrong? Ah, well... Perhaps without Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire might well have wound up a footnote. Gower Champion anybody?

Frodo Potter said...

John said it quite well, though I don’t know if I would call Paglia crazy, per se. I do think she is offbeat and unpredictable, and that is what I love about her. Let’s face it; most feminists (at least on the left) are as predictable as snow in Wisconsin in January. To be perfectly fair, Tammy Bruce has become a pretty predicable feminist on the right. With Paglia, you never know exactly where she will come down on any particular issue, though you usually have a rough idea based on past writings.

Paglia is absolutely right though: “cant kills creativity.” This is why, when academics do write fiction, it almost invariably sells poorly (though their little friends in literary magazines praise the book or story to the heavens). This is very likely why A.S. Byatt and her sister Margaret Drabble hate J.K. Rowling. Rowling, by her own admission, is left of center; Byatt and Drabble are doctrinaire leftists. Doctrinaire people (left or right) are, as a rule of thumb, very boring.

former law student said...

doughty Ann Richards was saying to the 1988 Democratic National Convention: 'After all, Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did. She just did it backwards and in high heels.' What flatulent canards mainstream feminism used to traffic in!

Ann might have said it, but the doughty (and male) Bob Thaves, author of the Frank and Ernest cartoon, created that flatulent canard:

http://www.frankandernest.com/cgi/view/display.pl?82-05-03

Astaire, idolized even by Mikhail Baryshnikov, was one of the most brilliant and...

Of all people to compare Fred Astaire to, in an attempt to make this particular point. Male ballet dancers only have to have a quarter of the skills that a ballerina has. They are required to be little more than props and supports. If we support Paglia's thesis, manifestly Baryshnikov is in the Ginger Rogers class, not the Fred Astaire class.

Cant kills creativity.

Mebbe so, but Thaves won several awards for his work around the time of his Ginger Rogers cartoon.

Kirby Olson said...

Identity politics is so boring, though, just the same. People should make fun of their identity, as a kind of preemptive first strike. Sotomayor should say things like -- I'm a member of the bloated Spanish colonial anti-Reformation system which produced such beautiful inspirational people as Imelda Marcos and Eva Peron, we go back to Queen Isabella who figured out who to fund, and set off the race for global empires, which in retrospect seems so incredibly wise. We've left half the world bankrupt and bereft of science, and now we've washed up on your Protestant Reformation shores and with all our wisdom can turn your country into a place that people will walk out of with the clothes on their back, too. Hey, there's still Canada and Greenland's opening up, be happy. That's off the top of my head.

Everybody should cool the boasting about their culture and get real. Every culture sucks, and people should be real about it. The Spanish cultures suck especially. I mean what has Puerto Rico given to the world except barely functioning immigrants?

former law student said...

what has Puerto Rico given to the world except barely functioning immigrants?

Chita Rivera, Tito Puente, Jose Feliciano, Roberto Clemente, Orlando Cepeda, Roberto Alomar, et al.

traditionalguy said...

Relax Kirby... The youthful Pilgrims came to Cape Cod to escape the half-Catholic Anglicans, and now the Puerto Ricans are coming here to escape the half-facist Catholics. That's quite a powerful Church that Isabella set loose on the new world. It's really all China's fault anyway. China was the target of Spain, and all they got was lousy Puerto Rico and Phillipine Islands.

NKVD said...

Good one, fls - they can sing and dance real nicely. And play ball. Wow - what great gifts to civilization. That, and hopelessly corrupt governments, soon to be playing in a neighborhood near you.

Not an intelligent person on your list, as near as I can tell. Where is the list of honest politicians from PR? Oh, right...

Shanna said...

Must we throw Ginger under the bus to praise Fred?.

Amen. Entirely unecessary!

What does everybody have against Ginger Rogers all of a sudden? Couldn’t this actually be one of those situations where Fred Astaire (who was a lovely dancer, don’t get me wrong) stands out precisely because he is a man good male dancers of that type may not be as common as women? I mean, if you have a room full of people and there are 10 women who dance lovely and 1 man who does, who stands out?

Cedarford said...

FLS unleashes this howler:

"Astaire, idolized even by Mikhail Baryshnikov, was one of the most brilliant and..."

Of all people to compare Fred Astaire to, in an attempt to make this particular point. Male ballet dancers only have to have a quarter of the skills that a ballerina has. They are required to be little more than props and supports.
.


Yeah, that's the ticket. NO choreography for males in dance. They exist purely as adornments....

=====================
gaywrites - that's the price society pays for the presumption that women are not equal and therefore we cannot take them at their word when they say are as capable or more capable as men. And then when they do say such things, they're labeled feminazis or racists. Why is it that women and minority groups are always the ones that have to prove themselves? .

You start off wrongly by claiming it is purely a "white male" thing - claiming that they alone have millenia long records of achievement in most fields. Most Asians, Indians, Muslims believe they have long established their abilities - and are in the same "wait and see" mode to see if women and more backwards 3rd World ethnic cultures and nations can rise to match them.

What the established groups rail against is the presumption of women and minorities that there are no global differences in capacities of people, and that any deviation from "equal results" shows clear lack of societal equal opportunit - or - racism, sexism, discrimination. The fact that black New Haven firefighters tested lower than whites and hispanics is clear evidence of such racism to such people.

And some exceed that, arguing the contrary case they think their "supposedly more accomplished counterparts in society argue every day." That is were you get the claims that blacks make BETTER PhD Math candidates than "Oppressor Peoples" who suppress the inherently higher gifted black minds from dominating MIT and Cal Poly. Or feminist supremacists stating that women are automatically better fighter pilots than *spit!* men....(who are just rapists in flight suits).

And the constant claim that - affirmative action to the contrary - the likes of Michelle Obama had to be twice as smart and work twice as hard to "prove" they were as good or better than any *spit!* pasty-skinned white male of "privilege".

In the workplace and politics, with silly feminist assertions that if Women Were In Charge - war would end, all jobs would be done in exemplary manner with female problem-solving brainpower and superior concentration and stamina, courts would dispense perfect justice, and cancer long ago cured completely. And no fires would be a problem if only female firefighters ran the show. And "female prison guards" are actually "better than male guards" to deal with male prisoners - from "Max" prisons right down to the Atlanta sheriff's courtroom jail.

And when you combine Latin and Woman in an insecure, plump Sonia - you end up with "the Wise Latina"..more capable in practicing law than not only black and white males, but also Latin men and pasty-skinned white females..

downtownlad said...

Why are Republicans so obsessed with Sotomayor's ethnicity? Are her judicial opinions so mundane and non-controversial that this is the only thing they can bring up?

former law student said...

Male ballet dancers only have to have a quarter of the skills that a ballerina has. They are required to be little more than props and supports..


Yeah, that's the ticket. NO choreography for males in dance. They exist purely as adornments....

What part of "skills" did you not understand? Have you ever seen ballet? Men are still stuck at the level girls leave when they're eight years old. Let me know when "Misha" goes en pointe, and we'll talk.

MadisonMan said...

Anyone who loves Fred Astaire should watch Funny Face and be creeped out by him chasing after a woman 1/10th his age. His lecher old man destroys that movie.

former law student said...

Why are Republicans so obsessed with Sotomayor's ethnicity?

In a true meritocracy, picking anyone but a white male is impossible by definition.

former law student said...

Good one, fls - they can sing and dance real nicely. And play ball. Wow - what great gifts to civilization.

Not a bad record compared to Hawaii, the possession the US acquired around the same time. What has Hawaii ever given the US, besides the surfboard?

Ron said...

Anyone who loves Fred Astaire should watch Funny Face and be creeped out by him chasing after a woman 1/10th his age. His lecher old man destroys that movie.

If that were really true, Audrey Hepburn would have been almost 6, and, THAT would have been creepy. It's Fred's next-to-last musical, and everyone cast opposite Hepburn at that point was too old, (Holden, Peck, Bogart) so I cut him some slack.

MadisonMan said...

Yeah, I exaggerated, it was "just" a 60-year old running after a 30-year old waif. (shudder)

Cedarford said...

FLS - While dancing is not my forte` - I have watched many a ballet, modern dance, break dancing, flash dancing, ballroom dance, ice dancing - being dragged to those events or watch them on TV by some female out to uplift me...including the now-wife.

I have appreciated the athletic skill, the physical demands, the extensive lifetime training needed for the females AND males who dance at the highest level. And about how many world-class athletes are ballet trained.

Alas, FLS, another subject you don't know what you are talking about.

Ralph L said...

Let me know when "Misha" goes en pointe, and we'll talk

When all those nameless ballerinas start jumping even 2 feet in the air, I'll listen. The boys may have a quarter of the skill, but they have twice the ass, and that's what's important.

What has Hawaii ever given the US, besides the surfboard?

One day, Honolulu will be as famous as Bethlehem.

traditionalguy said...

DTL: You got it. If you don't ever tell anyone we agreed on anything, then I wont tell either.

veni vidi vici said...

"I have watched many a ballet, modern dance, break dancing, flash dancing, ballroom dance, ice dancing..."

That's nothing. I've watched many a pole dance, lap dance, and even a private dance or two.

kentuckyliz said...

Sotomayor is obsessed with being The Wise Latina. She's mentioned it several times in several speeches to several audiences.

I am going to call myself The Wise Caucasiana.

Christopher said...

Former Law Student,

If you were to argue that Eleanor Powell was as good a dancer as Fred Astaire, you might have something. But if you're seriously arguing that Ginger Rogers was as good a dancer, then you really only demonstrate that you don't know what you're talking about.

Rogers had excellent comic timing, enthusiasm, and charm. She was also an underrated actress -- certainly better than Astaire in that respect. The two of them complemented each other in lovely ways, they had amazing chemistry, and there's certainly a reason that they became one of the most beloved screen couples in history.

However, Astaire was the better dancer. But you don't have to take my word for it -- watch his "Putting on the Ritz" or "Say it with Firecracker" solos, or watch him in either of the two numbers he does with Eleanor Powell in "Broady Melody of 1940" -- the jukebox sequence and the legendary "Begin the Beguine" sequence.

Ginger Rogers could not have performed any of these sequences forward in flats, let alone backward in high heels. That's a fact. It's an unfortunate fact, but it's a fact nonetheless.

To see her at her best, see her solo in "Follow the Fleet". It's a wonderful number. Her limits as a dancer are on full display -- she has trouble traveling, her upper body movements are stiff and jerky as she concentrates on her footwork, and there are moments where it seems as though she might topple over.

However, her strengths are also on full display -- she uses her unique combination of comedic timing, acting, enthusiasm, and charm to balance out her lack of technical proficiency, making us forget that she is Ginger Rogers and convincing us instead that she's a fresh-faced young newcomer eager to become a star.

That's something that Astaire was never good at -- whenever we see him dance, we're always aware that he is Fred Astaire.

Also, if you expect anyone to take your opinion on any sort of dancing seriously, you might want to avoid claiming that Baryshnikov is a hack. By doing that, you not only descend into self-parody, but you also demonstrate that Paglia's thesis is correct.

Ron,

Paglia's not exactly known for being understated, so take the 'footnote' comment with a grain of salt.

And no, it's not necessary to throw Rogers under the bus to praise Astaire. However, as Former Law Student has demonstrated, it *is* necessary to throw great dancers under the bus in order to elevate Rogers to Astaire's level as a dancer -- which is precisely Paglia's point.

ardvarc said...

Camille...You are a polemicist, not a dance critic. This is what Fred said about Ginger: "She was brilliantly effective. She made everything work for her, and in fact made everything very fine for both of us, and deserves the major credit for our success.". Paired dance was part of Fred's achievement...and Rogers, according to Croce, Mueller, and Hyam, was his best dance partner. To denigrate F&G's achievement, you also denigrate Fred...the guy you CLAIM you are protecting. You are not even logical. A good description of great paired dancing is that, one soul inhabits two bodies. The sum is greater than the individual parts. You are dividing your readers, just as you divide Fred and Ginger. What's wrong with you?