A Paglia Riff

It’s here, in the NY Times

Does it matter if various parts don’t fit together?  Here’s the situation she’s addressing: All the middle class white people have the sexual blahs.  Why?  Well, on the one hand:

  The real culprit, originating in the 19th century, is bourgeois propriety. As respectability became the central middle-class value, censorship and repression became the norm. Victorian prudery ended the humorous sexual candor of both men and women during the agrarian era, a ribaldry chronicled from Shakespeare’s plays to the 18th-century novel.

But there are some good non-white non-middle-class things:

A class issue in sexual energy may be suggested by the apparent striking popularity of Victoria’s Secret and its racy lingerie among multiracial lower-middle-class and working-class patrons, even in suburban shopping malls, which otherwise trend toward the white middle class. Country music, with its history in the rural South and Southwest, is still filled with blazingly raunchy scenarios, where the sexes remain dynamically polarized in the old-fashioned way

Is Victoria’s Secret and country music old-fashioned in the Shakespearean way or the 1950’s way.  I always thought both were very 50’s fantasies, but nevermind.

Her important indictments actually are disappointingly full of cliches.  Stop me if you’ve heard this one:

Meanwhile, family life has put middle-class men in a bind; they are simply cogs in a domestic machine commanded by women. Contemporary moms have become virtuoso super-managers of a complex operation focused on the care and transport of children. But it’s not so easy to snap over from Apollonian control to Dionysian delirium.

That’s despite the research that says that feminist have more fun in bed (to put it loosely). 

There is one notable observation; Rob found it for us here.

3 thoughts on “A Paglia Riff

  1. Here is a little poem I wrote for Paglia (and for Katie Roiphe). It keeps not wanting to post, but I’ll give it one last shot before I write in.

    My imaginary boyfriend is a very manly man,
    There’s masculine machismo in his stride,
    He wrestles with Komodo dragons just because he can,
    His hairy chest is muscle-bound and wide,
    His chin is cleft, his biceps bulge, his voice is deep and bassy,
    He always knows exactly what to do,
    He’s as sexy as James Bond and as intrepid as Dick Tracy,
    And he’s twenty-two times manlier than you!

    My imaginary boyfriend always drinks his liquor neat:
    No froufy, fruity, girly drinks for him!
    And porterhouse and T-bone are the only things he’ll eat:
    He doesn’t care if salads keep you slim.
    He scarfs Doritos, ogles babes, and grabs for the remote,
    He’ll match you drink for drink until you spew,
    You’ll never catch my boyfriend condescending to emote,
    And he’s thirty-three times manlier than you!

    My imaginary boyfriend sure knows how to shoot a gun,
    And a slingshot and a cannon and a bow.
    Those bears and wolves may think they’re tough, but you should see them run
    When Mr. Boyfriend blasts them in the toe!
    He wrassles grizzlies, tackles tigers, pierces porcupine,
    He even stalks the wily kangaroo!
    His taste for random violence makes me glad to call him mine
    And he’s forty-four times manlier than you!

  2. Rachel, thanks for letting us know that the spam filter took against your poem. I suspect it was the line breaks, which real spam often has.

  3. Rachael, that’s adorable! Synaesthetik went on to me about Paglia when she was working on her degree, but this is the first time I’ve ever actually read anything she’s written. I see why S went on about her now. Her work has a kind of My Name Is Earl quality about it, don’tcha think?

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