July 28, 2015

Camille Paglia says "Everything is boring because of our failure to ask psychological questions" (in the course of comparing the Bills, Cosby and Clinton).

A Salon interview:
In most of these cases, like the Bill Clinton and Bill Cosby stories, there’s been a complete neglect of psychology. We’re in a period right now where nobody asks any questions about psychology. No one has any feeling for human motivation. No one talks about sexuality in terms of emotional needs and symbolism and the legacy of childhood. Sexuality has been politicized–“Don’t ask any questions!” “No discussion!” “Gay is exactly equivalent to straight!” And thus in this period of psychological blindness or inertness, our art has become dull. There’s nothing interesting being written–in fiction or plays or movies. Everything is boring because of our failure to ask psychological questions...

Young feminists need to understand that this abusive behavior by powerful men signifies their sense that female power is much bigger than they are! These two people, Clinton and Cosby, are emotionally infantile–they’re engaged in a war with female power. It has something to do with their early sense of being smothered by female power–and this pathetic, abusive and criminal behavior is the result of their sense of inadequacy....

We are formed by all kinds of strange or vague memories from childhood. That kind of understanding is needed to see that Cosby was involved in a symbiotic, push-pull thing with his wife, where he went out and did these awful things to assert his own independence. But for that, he required the women to be inert. He needed them to be dead! Cosby is actually a necrophiliac... to give a woman a drug, to make her inert, to make her dead is the man saying that I need her to be dead for me to function. She’s too powerful for me as a living woman. And this is what is also going on in those barbaric fraternity orgies, where women are sexually assaulted while lying unconscious. And women don’t understand this! They have no idea why any men would find it arousing to have sex with a young woman who’s passed out at a fraternity house. But it’s necrophilia–this fear and envy of a woman’s power.

And it’s the same thing with Bill Clinton: to find the answer, you have to look at his relationship to his flamboyant mother.  He felt smothered by her in some way...
Oh, for the old days, when we analyzed the minds of others and made up stories — Oedipus and all! It was so interesting. And it's so boring now. And these young girls today just don't understand. They don't know the joys of the intellectual life. It's so thin and dull dull dull today. We made up a lot of stuff back then. Sigmund Freud and the antics he unleashed. Now, you can't say a thing that the young people can hear and understand. You can't talk about what it meant when Hillary served Bill carrot sticks instead of onion rings. No one knows how to have deep fun with celebrities and their psyches anymore.

77 comments:

El Camino Real said...

Still bitter I see...

surfed said...

You girls from the 60's and 70's were tough, fun and could dish the shit right back from whence it came. I have chances to date much younger women (and have) but prefer you gals. Beside being able to carry a conversation you're - interesting.

buwaya said...

Paglia is living in another universe.
I have never seen such an insistence on feelings in literature.
Or know of a time when all this "soft' stuff was held to be so important.

Too many women, to put it bluntly.

Terry said...

The same psychological issue that caused Clinton to diddle the help in the Oval Office is at the source of his liberalism. He looks at people as instruments to achieve what he wants to achieve. I am certain that a lot of liberals, maybe most of them, see nothing wrong with this. What else are people for, anyhow?

buwaya said...

Did people care so much for celebrities and psychologizing them in the 19th century ?
I don't think so. People gossiped about people they knew in person.
Substituting a celebrity seems a sad substitute for people who don't personally know anyone to gossip about.

rhhardin said...

Paglia takes the gloves off. Gloves are a vagina symbol.

rhhardin said...

Did you know that Derrida never said logical phallacies? Quine accused him of it.

damikesc said...

The same psychological issue that caused Clinton to diddle the help in the Oval Office is at the source of his liberalism. He looks at people as instruments to achieve what he wants to achieve. I am certain that a lot of liberals, maybe most of them, see nothing wrong with this. What else are people for, anyhow?

That sounds plausible. The youth have been told since the 1960's that they are special and can do anything. Little about their responsibilities in the world. So, they are given the ego but none of the restraints on said ego.

rhhardin said...

Paglia can't follow Derrida for some reason. He's better at virtuoso reading than she is.

The Bergall said...

Camille could have written this differently bit her point is taken...........

rhhardin said...

I have a sense of adequacy. This comes from not fighting with women.

rhhardin said...

Shortest path in the thesaurus from adequacy to inadequacy

adequacy
capability
potentiality
predisposition
susceptibility
frailty
impotence
inadequacy

(If done right, any three in a row mean the same thing; any four do not. Most thesaorus shortest paths turn on aspect changing, giving a storyline, rather than a hot-to-cold gradation.)

tim in vermont said...

Damn Paglia blew it. She gave Althouse an out on Clinton, a way to duck his obvious serial abuse of powerless women, both during his sexual assaults and rapes, and after in attacking the victim.

Instead this is the easy out Althouse was looking for, like saying it was all about a consensual blow job.

Edmund said...

@The Bergall
This wasn't a written piece by Paglia, it was an interview. Some imprecision is to be expected.

Anonymous said...

Let's have some (psychological) fun!

Paglia once said that you're not born gay, it comes from drama. Gay men are closer to their mother than their father. We discussed this on Althouse some time ago, and other commenters posted her son is gay and it's Ann's fault. At least, it seems, this is what Paglia would say, although perhaps not quite so harshly.

But what if Ann doesn't want to be blamed? Well, you can't be blamed for something that isn't wrong, can you? It's like saying, "Ann is to blame for a wonderful birthday party." You get credit, not blame, for that.

Which leads us back to homosex. There is psychological value in both the homosexual and those responsible for the homosexual to deny there is anything wrong with it. If your son or daughter is gay, you may be to blame. But so what? It's not wrong. So blame me!

See how much fun this psychology is? Try and say this on CNN. The gay man on the show will grab you by the back of the neck and threaten to send you home in an ambulance. Fortunately here on Althouse, that threat isn't going to happen. We can have psychological fun. Sure, a white knight may appear with his sparkling sword made of words to defend his mistress, but, that's just more psychology, isn't it?

chuck said...

I don't think modern feminism forgot psychology, but rather that it was seduced by the promise of power in return for cooperation.

Anonymous said...

Let me be specific in how a mom can cause her son to be gay. This will only make sense to people who A: understand that generalizing can be an important too and B: women and men are different.

Women don't understand hate sex. Not in the same way that men do. A man can actually be disgusted and still reach orgasm. Women don't comprehend this. A man doesn't need to like a woman who will have sex with. A man can be perfectly rational, sane, well nourished, not on drugs, as normal as they come, and still get aroused enough to have sex with a woman he cannot stand. A woman who is otherwise psychologically normal, no Daddy issues, not starving to death or in need of a drug fix, doesn't do as well having sex with a man she doesn't like. Why would she? She doesn't like him!

A young man or boy doesn't understand male sexuality anymore than a woman does. He doesn't understand that he can come to orgasm even when he doesn't like what's happening to him. A young boy doesn't understand that just because he likes other boys and even men, it doesn't mean he likes them sexually.

Almost every boy goes through a period in his life where he's rather not have girls around him. They have cooties. They are gross, and stupid, and silly, and whatever. Boys are much better to be around. Why would anyone ever want to be around a woman?

If you happen to be a boy who is taken advantage of by another boy, or by a man, and brought to orgasm, it's not too hard (especially today) to be convinced that you're gay. I mean, why else did you come to orgasm? Surely if you were straight, you'd never have come to orgasm.

This is the evil of today's left and those who deny homosexuality is a choice. If it's not a choice, it might be a mistake. And if it's a mistake, there are some responsible people to be held to account. Like parents.

Nah, let's just agree they are born that way. Shut up!

Fernandinande said...

Young feminists need to understand that this abusive behavior by powerful men signifies their sense that female power is much bigger than they are!

I usually enjoy Paglia, but this is Freudian-esque nonsense.

rhhardin said...
Did you know that Derrida never said logical phallacies?


Phalluses don't care about logical fallacies.

Sebastian said...

“Everything is boring because of our failure to ask psychological questions”

It’s not “failure”; it’s successful promotion of the new Narrative. It’s not boring to Progs, it’s their path to power.

“And these young girls today just don't understand”

Meant snarkily, I know, but still: Paglia doesn’t understand “these young girls today” have seized on a superior form of power. They can have the sex they think they want and destroy the men they have it with. Psych is old-girl BS.

Mike Sylwester said...

Before we begin to psychoanalyze a person's motivations, we first should establish the correct facts about his behavior. Establishing facts can be painstaking and even boring.

Gradually we progress from the boring establishment of facts to the more interesting psychoanalysis of motivation. The general public's careful progression seems to have been too slow for impatient Camille Paglia. She jumped quickly into the interesting pool and is yelling at everyone to jump right in with her, because the water's warm.

I agree with her that it's time to start psychoanalyzing. Her article is a good start for everyone.

Cosby's method of drugging women into unconsciousness is puzzling, because he surely could have seduced a steady stream of beautiful women into willing compliance. It seems to me that he found the drugging itself to be gratifying.

One question I have is whether he ever used those quaaludes and other drugs on himself. Aside from the sexual aspect, did he privately advocate that people should use such drugs recreationally?

From what I have read, I have the impression that he himself did not use the drugs that he encouraged the women to use. I don't remember reading that he even drank alcohol with the women.

Drugging women seems to be a separate perversion with a strange motivation of its own.

rhhardin said...

Female power

Suddenly the target of assassins who know her every move, Mallory unleashes the fury of her fighting skills to uncover the truth and turn the tables on her ruthless adversary.

Amazon recommends

rhhardin said...

Speaking of quaaludes, here's a powerful woman writing to a Mr. Quistgaard.

Jim in St Louis said...

I love Paglia , Her spoken delivery is so fast and staccato that when she is on the page I try to up my reading speed to simulate what she would sound like when she is talking.
It also helps if you don’t dwell *too* terribly long on what she is actually saying.

n.n said...

Perhaps the ivory towers need a fresh coat of lackluster, rainbow paint. It's done wonders for The White House.

Mary Beth said...

buwaya said...

Did people care so much for celebrities and psychologizing them in the 19th century ?
I don't think so. People gossiped about people they knew in person.
Substituting a celebrity seems a sad substitute for people who don't personally know anyone to gossip about.

7/28/15, 1:01 PM


Penny press and tabloids became popular in the 1800s.

traditionalguy said...

Paglia has guts, for sure But i object to anyone who dares to talk about men digging up dead women's bodies and hiding them under the bed and raping their inert bodies later. That sounds too much like the fate of our favorite Playboy issues with special centerfolds on dead paper.

I officially object to demeaning all of the 12 dead women per year in this way.

But as Trumps lawyer advises, it's not lagally possible to rape a magazine.

damikesc said...

Instead this is the easy out Althouse was looking for, like saying it was all about a consensual blow job.

Going with modern "rape theory", can a blowjob ever be REALLY consensual? Aren't they primarily done to please the man, which indicates that the man might not be pleased, which indicates that he might leave the women --- if she doesn't do that one act?

traditionalguy said...

The question is whether it is legally possible to emotionally rape a spouse. Aren't they conquests won fair and square?

Trump like men don't so much have Trophy Wives as Triumph Wives. Like the successful Roman Generals granted a Triumph parade by the Senate through Rome in a chariot with the conquered people being drug along behind.

Laura said...

Wait until you get to the theory that fatherless sons romanticize and sexualize the bonding they were supposed to have around age two when children start to develop relationships beyond the primary caregiver.

The promotion of single motherhood just became more interesting, no?

Michael K said...

Paglia lost me with the psychology but Clinton and Cosby are two peas in a pod. Powerful men diddling willing young women who were drawn to power. Then, of course they learned there was money to be made from Cosby. Not from Clinton, though. He is too powerful.

Plus, of course, Hillary would scare anyone away.

Laura said...

Cosby's method may not be that complex: inert women are one less audience, one less performance, and one fewer critic.

Roughcoat said...

Talking about sex is boring.

Talking about love is fascinating.

"Four things greater than all things are:
Women, and horses, and power, and war...
But since no man knows what war may prove
Heart of my heart, let us talk of love."

paminwi said...

A basic premise I have is that Clinton screwed way, way more women than Cosby did. Just more of them liked it so much we don't know about them. Who knows what Bill gave them, if anything, to make them compliant.

Laura said...

"He is too powerful."

Are you so sure? Little Charlotte could prove a rare vulnerability.

EDH said...

It has something to do with their early sense of being smothered by female power–and this pathetic, abusive and criminal behavior is the result of their sense of inadequacy....

Why look to the childhood influence of Mom? Isn't the common denominator that Clinton and Cosby have domineering wives? Cosby used to always talk of his wife in the "she wears the pants" way. And Hillary held Bill's fate in her hands largely because of his indiscretions and infidelities.

Roughcoat said...

A basic premise I have is that Clinton screwed way, way more women than Cosby did.

Don't think so. I knew people in the entertainment industry, in the 70s, who dealt with Cosby. Concert promoters and such. They described him as being truly profligate, on the level of Wilt Chamberlain.

David said...

Roughcoat said...
A basic premise I have is that Clinton screwed way, way more women than Cosby did.

Don't think so. I knew people in the entertainment industry, in the 70s, who dealt with Cosby. Concert promoters and such. They described him as being truly profligate, on the level of Wilt Chamberlain.


Best I know nobody every claimed that Wilt raped them.

Carol said...

If you happen to be a boy who is taken advantage of by another boy, or by a man, and brought to orgasm, it's not too hard (especially today) to be convinced that you're gay.

Not to mention, the fact that a man might be giving attention on a boy who badly needs it at the time. Or even on a young man who never really had a father.

It galls me that the LGBT?? crowd has done such a good job of convincing impressionable young kids and their stupid teachers otherwise.

tim in vermont said...

It used to be said that consent could not exist between a far more powerful man and a relatively powerless woman, then women realized that would be like saying that a woman couldn't give true consent if the man was too attractive and they came to their senses.

Anonymous said...

Why would it make any difference if their actions were from a sense of inadequacy or not?

Beyond being irrelevant to the victims, these are very old men and young feminists today are still young.

If it were a guy they consider attractive, they'd likely ponder more - see 50 Shades.

Will Cate said...

Ms. Paglia might be too-clever-by-half, as the old saying goes, but she's right about the Clinton/Cosby similarity.

Mid-Life Lawyer said...

Paglia is the most interesting person in America. I'm going to order Sexual Personae for my Kindle the next time I settle something, as a reward. I looked it up the other day; it's expensive, even for Kindle.

William said...

Bettelheim claimed that autism was caused by women who were "icebox" mothers. Freud thought that women who had vaginal orgasms were more emotionally mature than women who had clitoral ones. There was quite a lot that Freud and his disciples did not know about sex and the upbringing of children. When it comes to Clinton and Cosby, medieval humors are just as likely as Freudian insights to provide an explanation of their behavior. There are thousands of variables in both the expression and repression of the sex drive. Sex doesn't make sense........Who can explain why Bill Cosby likes to have sex with unconscious women? Who can explain why George Michael likes to have sex with a total stranger in a public bathroom? Why would Hugh Grant want to use the service of a streetwalker?........We can understand why Leonardo Decaprio wants to gave sex with super models on a luxury resort, but that's only because he's acting out a common fantasy. It's no more logical or psychological than the other conditions. Sex doesn't make sense.

AReasonableMan said...

Twaddle.

Roughcoat said...

Best I know nobody every claimed that Wilt raped them.

Didn't say he did. The two men had a lot of sex with a lot of women. That was my only point.

Scott said...

Sometimes a banana is just a banana Anna....

Michael K said...

"There was quite a lot that Freud and his disciples did not know about sex and the upbringing of children."

It was famously said that Freud saw incest in middle class Jewish women in Vienna where there wasn't any and completely missed the fact that there was plenty in the rest of Vienna's population.

Curious George said...

“Gay is exactly equivalent to straight!”

Let me clear this up. It isn't. I have never had a cock in my mouth or my ass. Nor has mine been in either.

walter said...

“Don’t ask any questions!” “No discussion!”


Ah..she left out "no judging".

But as alluded to above, men's sexuality can be quite compartmentalized..and Paglia seems extremely reluctant to consider the two guys just wanted some and had no qualms about how they got it. In Bill's case, getting it at home seems like a non-starter...

Original Mike said...

Test.

Laslo Spatula said...

"Let me clear this up. It isn't. I have never had a cock in my mouth or my ass. Nor has mine been in either."

You've never had a woman give you a blow-job, or is there a grammatical disconnect?


I am Laslo.

Drago said...

ARMeltdown: "Twaddle."
I applaud your attempt at introspection, but the topic is Paglia.

mccullough said...

It's more about their relationships or lack of relationships with their fathers. Obama is much more astute than Clinton or Cosby. It's always more about the absent parent.

Laslo Spatula said...

In college I had a girlfriend who was a Psychology Major. Every conversation seemed to be subject to a Freudian filter: after awhile we would go out for dinner and I could only eat eggs.


Sometimes we would have sex and she would moan "Baby, Baby," only later to explain that this was due to being subjected to a Patriarchal Society in which women were brainwashed into equating sex with childbirth.

On other occasions, during sex she would mutter "Daddy, Daddy," to later explain that the Patriarchal Society forced women to model all male figures after the Father.

Then once, when having anal sex, she exclaimed "Uncle, Uncle!" because her Uncle Donald had performed anal sex with her when she was twelve.

Due to age, I think that was Jungian.

I am Laslo.

Original Mike said...

"You've never had a woman give you a blow-job, or is there a grammatical disconnect?"

That would explain why he's always so cross.

Laslo Spatula said...

"Due to age, I think that was Jungian."

Jungian / young-ian?

Joyce himself would've given that a golf-clap.


I am Laslo.

walter said...

Curious George is just stating the usually obvious..unless extremely well endowed or deformed at birth.

Cynicus said...

Sounds like an interpretive rabbit-hole.

Dave Duffy said...

Get married young and then go through a lifetime of ups and downs, illnesses and deaths, kids and holidays, business failures and successes, talking and fighting and working and loving and arguing your why through it all. After a lifetime together, when you think you know a little bit about only one other person in the world, then you will realize you don't have a clue about other people.

Roughcoat said...

Laslo:

Be funnier.

Mark Caplan said...

Many men (and a few women) have sexual fetishes, but their causes aren't well understood. There is usually no cure.

Paglia appears to be saying, even though we don't have a scientific explanation for these fetishes, it's fun to follow in the footsteps of Sophocles and Freud and just make up stories that purport to explain sexually deviant human behavior.

PBandJ_LeDouanier said...

She seems shrill. If I want to hear a fussy gal's POV, I choose Elizabeth Wurtzel. Hot, naked, giving the finger, and in praise of difficult women.

Btw, has she passed the bar yet?

PBandJ_LeDouanier said...

I decided to dig a bit myself. She's got a book about the constitution. WTF? Anywho, this is probably at time for folks to use the Althouse portal.

And, she did pass the bar!

Original Mike said...

"Get married young and then go through a lifetime of ups and downs, illnesses and deaths, kids and holidays, business failures and successes, talking and fighting and working and loving and arguing your why through it all. After a lifetime together, when you think you know a little bit about only one other person in the world, then you will realize you don't have a clue about other people."

Or, get married old.

Dave Duffy said...

Mr. Mike

"Or, get married old."

There are times when I completely understand.

Fen said...

Interesting that Julie C the Pedophile isn't on this thread. Sockpuppet?

Smilin' Jack said...

No one knows how to have deep fun with celebrities and their psyches anymore.
Well, Paglia ain't much of a celebrity, and only feminists take Freud seriously anymore, but it's still fun to point out that Paglia has a massive penis envy problem.

Blue@9 said...

You've got to admit, Paglia always has something interesting to say.

There is something unsettling about a guy--a rich celebrity!--who feels that he has to drug girls into paralysis in order to have sex with them. I was thinking about Darren Sharper in this context the other day as well. Here's a guy who made millions in the NFL, won a Super Bowl ring, appeared regularly on the NFL network as a commentator, and he's fairly young and pretty good-looking to boot-- and yet he went out and raped a bunch of women after slipping drugs into their drinks. These are guys who could have walked into any random bar in any major city and gone home with a different beautiful woman every night. Just... why?

Mark said...

Curious George and his schoolyard taunts and continual anger make a lot more sense after knowing he is so repressed he has never had a blowjob. Poor guy.

I wonder if his wife has ever had an orgasm. Seems a shame to miss out on, just to try to demonstrate how homophobic you are.

Laura said...

"Due to age, I think that was Jungian."

Didn't you watch "A Dangerous Method"? Jungian was spanking, not anal.

And if you slogged through the book, Freudian was the incest, but apparently would have made the movie too long. Or something.

Laura said...

"I liked it!" -- Billy Joe McAllister

mikee said...

Hillary's response to Paglia would certainly include the following, in no particular order:

1. Bill's alleged misbehavior? Old news. What does any of that matter to the current news, which is that Hillary will be president soon.

2. When Hillary is president (soon) this sort of interview will not be allowed.

3. Hillary will be president soon.

CStanley said...

I generally like reading Paglia but I'm annoyed by her suggestion that sexual predation should be a topic for our amusement. If she had framed it differently, as a means toward understanding behavior in an attempt to better prevent this, then I'd be more in agreement. Her pseudo psychology isn't very helpful either though.

ken in tx said...

According to what I have read, Quaaludes do not leave a woman lying there like a peace of dead meat. Her reptile hind-brain continues to work just fine, leading to dramatic orgasms and nail gouges in a man's back.

Rockport Conservative said...

Today's second part of the interview is extremely interesting. She addresses snark and makes some very good points. http://www.salon.com/2015/07/29/camille_paglia_takes_on_jon_stewart_trump_sanders_liberals_think_of_themselves_as_very_open_minded_but_that%E2%80%99s_simply_not_true/

walter said...

That doesn't sound very "rapey", Ken...

Unknown said...

Althouse is inexplicably jealous of Paglia. Maybe because Paglia is about twice as smart as Ann. Divas, divas, everywhere.