taking sides: Naomi Wolf vs Camille Paglia

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I wish this had been a Calum thread.

DV (dirtyvicar), Friday, 20 February 2004 13:59 (seventeen years ago) link

Don't look at me, I think Paglia is a fucking asshole.

C-Man (C-Man), Friday, 20 February 2004 14:25 (seventeen years ago) link

You've changed your tune about her then, haven't you? What happened?

Pashmina (Pashmina), Friday, 20 February 2004 14:31 (seventeen years ago) link

I always thought that. I brought her up in an arguement because you seemed intent in arguing that all porn is evil. One thing I side with Paglia on is in her arguements that there's nowt wrong with a pornography. But I don't take her stance that it is in anyway liberating or progressive for a woman to be involved with it (well, hardcore porn anyway).

C-Man (C-Man), Friday, 20 February 2004 14:32 (seventeen years ago) link

"It really smacks of the Salem witch-hunts and all the accompanying hysteria," Paglia said.

Everything has to be a literary or historical tableau with this woman. I guess contemporary reality is too dull for her.

Kerry (dymaxia), Friday, 20 February 2004 14:53 (seventeen years ago) link

I think Paglia has something of a point, though. Perhaps the sexual harrassment did occur. And perhaps it's understandable that Wolf wouldn't report it as a young, powerless undergraduate. But she was a famous author by 1991. She's had 13 years to accuse Bloom from a position of relative power. Making the accusation now does smack of opportunism. Especially since so much time has elapsed that it will be impossible either for her to make a reasonable case or for him to reasonably defend himself. And yet he will probably end up worse off, because this kind of mud tends to stick.

Jonathan Z. (Joanthan Z.), Friday, 20 February 2004 15:01 (seventeen years ago) link

Paglia was a bit gratuitous, no? Doesn't exactly make her sound fair and objective.

Kerry (dymaxia), Friday, 20 February 2004 15:08 (seventeen years ago) link

She's got a distasteful way of putting things. But her point was sound.

Jonathan Z. (Joanthan Z.), Friday, 20 February 2004 15:11 (seventeen years ago) link

Paglia may have a point w/r/t Wolf taking so long to complain about this, but my god, she's obnoxious. As per usual, I suspect her subtext = "WRITE ABOUT ME!! ME!! NOT ALL THOSE OTHER LOSERS!!!!1!"

Pashmina (Pashmina), Friday, 20 February 2004 15:16 (seventeen years ago) link

Yeah, but when she throws porno mags at fat wimmin outside adult book stores it is kinda funny. No?

C-Man (C-Man), Friday, 20 February 2004 15:40 (seventeen years ago) link

Not really, no.

Pashmina (Pashmina), Friday, 20 February 2004 15:41 (seventeen years ago) link

Why not?

C-Man (C-Man), Friday, 20 February 2004 15:42 (seventeen years ago) link

Well, it's just kind of stupid and desperate isn't it, you know "LOOK AT MEEEEE! I AM SO CONTROVERSIAL." It's a bit pathetic.

Pashmina (Pashmina), Friday, 20 February 2004 15:43 (seventeen years ago) link

But then the common arguement against anti-porn crusaders is that

A) They are inherently jealous (i.e. they won't be turning up in Playboy any time soon)

B) Scared of sex.

I kinda agree with both of these. While I think the minute someone is being paid to fuck you're into something a bit more morally dubious (I'm basing this upon the fact that women get paid more for certain acts in the industry and are therefore relegated to being tied to a wage dependent on ever increasing demands) but as for chicks posing naked... I see no moral objection at all. If you're fit and have a hot body then why no flaunt it? If someone offered me moolah to get me wanger out I'd be all for it.

C-Man (C-Man), Friday, 20 February 2004 15:47 (seventeen years ago) link

No, the common arguments are about exploitation, intimidation, etc. Pr0n != Playboy-type organizations. Other arguments are about the effect that pr0n has on relations between the sexes, that women become meat in the eyes of the habitual pr0n user, and that the body-images promoted (not just by pr0n) account for numerous psychological and physical ailments especially in young and adolescent women.

NERQ (Enrique), Friday, 20 February 2004 15:51 (seventeen years ago) link

I have absolutely no idea how anti porn crusaders stack up, looks-wise, actually I don't really care. My wife thinks porn is inherently a load of fucking shit, and she's hot, and she likes sex as well (shrugs)

Pashmina (Pashmina), Friday, 20 February 2004 15:52 (seventeen years ago) link

ALL porn shit? Don't you guys fantasise about ANYTHING?

C-Man (C-Man), Friday, 20 February 2004 16:13 (seventeen years ago) link

The fuck? Like I need fucking pron to fantasise about stuff??!!

Pashmina (Pashmina), Friday, 20 February 2004 16:14 (seventeen years ago) link

And is your wife giving an informed opinion. I do recall Derek Malcolm rated "Behind the Green Door" as one of the finest films ever made, so I'm not so sure she's giving a scholarly observation (nor am I mind, but then that's because I've not seen the movie and don't really like hardcore porn anyway).

C-Man (C-Man), Friday, 20 February 2004 16:14 (seventeen years ago) link

So - you're, like, fantasising about some strangers you met? Dude, what's the difference between that and www.amatuerhotties.com? (I don't know if Amatuer Hotties is a web site by the way - but if anyone wants to check let me know).

C-Man (C-Man), Friday, 20 February 2004 16:15 (seventeen years ago) link

Or alternately - "I fantasise about my wife".


C-Man (C-Man), Friday, 20 February 2004 16:15 (seventeen years ago) link

I don't really give much of a shit about what derek malcolm thinks, to be honest. My wife's opinion is an informed one, yes.

Pashmina (Pashmina), Friday, 20 February 2004 16:16 (seventeen years ago) link

You married a porn star?


C-Man (C-Man), Friday, 20 February 2004 16:17 (seventeen years ago) link

I'm agnostic as it goes, but your characterisation of anti-pr0n campaigners was wrong.

NERQ (Enrique), Friday, 20 February 2004 16:17 (seventeen years ago) link

If Playboy type pics are exploitation then so are all beauty advertisements and women should just cover up full stop.

C-Man (C-Man), Friday, 20 February 2004 16:19 (seventeen years ago) link

No, I don't think Playboy is exploitation, but a lot of web pr0n probably is.

NERQ (Enrique), Friday, 20 February 2004 16:20 (seventeen years ago) link

to have an informed opinion about pr0n, one must be a pr0n star??

One must fantasise only about pr0n stars, or strangers? Am I allowed to fantasise about my wife? Other people I have had sex w/?

Pashmina (Pashmina), Friday, 20 February 2004 16:22 (seventeen years ago) link

what is boring about fantasising about my wife?

Pashmina (Pashmina), Friday, 20 February 2004 16:23 (seventeen years ago) link

nothing, I do it all the time. That wife of yours is a stunna.

DV (dirtyvicar), Friday, 20 February 2004 16:23 (seventeen years ago) link

Dude, if that gets you off then cool.

C-Man (C-Man), Friday, 20 February 2004 16:24 (seventeen years ago) link

Haha DV, the old ones are the best aren't they.

Pashmina (Pashmina), Friday, 20 February 2004 16:25 (seventeen years ago) link

yes, the old ones are the best. by the way, I did not actually want this thread to become a Calum thread, for all that he is saying not uninteresting things. Let's get back to Paglia & Wolf!

On balance I like CP more than NW because she is madder. I can't really answer about the case in hand, but I think there is something in what CP is saying about how it's a bit late to be now bandying about accusations of sexual harrassment from twenty years ago.

DV (dirtyvicar), Friday, 20 February 2004 16:34 (seventeen years ago) link

See, I read "Sexual Personae" years ago, not long after they interviewed her in "Melody Maker", actually, and I hated it. I find her whole schtick so annoying, in that it's all about her at the end of it all, that I tend to automatically take the side of whoever she's arguing with EVEN IF IT'S JULIE BURCHILL.

Pashmina (Pashmina), Friday, 20 February 2004 16:44 (seventeen years ago) link

You can separate the person from the work though. Granted, she's irritating as hell and has a gigantic ego. I didn't know much about her when I read "Sexual Personae" though and I found it interesting at least. I can't honestly say I've read anything by Wolf - although the glosses I've read of her work hasn't compelled me to seek it out.

Jonathan Z. (Joanthan Z.), Friday, 20 February 2004 16:51 (seventeen years ago) link

They're both so dopey.

tokyo rosemary (rosemary), Friday, 20 February 2004 16:55 (seventeen years ago) link

Plenty of pot-shots at the unprepossessing characters of Wolf/Paglia here but none at the equally unlikeable Bloom. Possibly THE most high profile advocate of The Canon (admittedly a literary one in his case - I can't imagine any non Western Classical music would sneak into his musical Canon though). Not that I agree with the logically untenable anti-Canon position popular at ilx, but I thought his advocacy of its polar opposite might gain him a certain notoriety round here.

Also the author of possibly the worst, and among the dottiest, books on Shakespeare I've ever read. I've no idea if he sexually harrassed Wolf, but if he did this smug, sanctimonious charlatan deserves all the discomforting revelations she can dish out.

ArfArf, Friday, 20 February 2004 17:30 (seventeen years ago) link

Some more background here:

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--02/19/2004--On Monday, February 23, a story will run in New York Magazine about sexual misconduct at Yale University.

In it, I include an account of Professor Harold Bloom's sexual approach toward me when I was an undergraduate student at Yale in 1983, as well as the stories of a number of other Yale students who experienced sexual misconduct involving other Yale faculty members and students over the past twenty years.

After Yale contacted me to help them raise money, I felt I had to tell them why I was reluctant to do so. I then had many conversations with Yale authorities over a period of recent months, telling my story, hoping for an off-the-record meeting to address my concerns about the school's grievance procedures. I got nowhere.

Several distinguished women have come forward in my piece to attest to the fact that there is a systemic problem at Yale University. Their intention in doing so, as is mine, is simply to make sure that women students are as safe today as they deserve to be.

To clarify reports in recent news stories, a letter Professor Bloom wrote to support my application for a Rhodes scholarship in 1983 was written before the incident I describe. That application was rejected. I was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship in 1985, and Bloom was not one of my seven referees.

SOURCE: New York Magazine

From another listserv:

In her 1997 book Promiscuities, Ms. Wolf wrote about an unnamed college professor who placed his hand between her legs after showing up at her apartment to discuss her poetry. Other classmates, she claimed, had had similar experiences, but she thought she could resist. "My whole body, my whole self-image, once again, again, burned with culpability," she wrote. "It felt so familiar: this sense of being exposed as if in a slow-moving dream of shame. I could practically hear my own pulse: What had I done, done, done?"

Kerry (dymaxia), Friday, 20 February 2004 19:10 (seventeen years ago) link

She did write about this in promescuties, which was published in 1998. (she didnt name names, and she should have, but you could read b/w the lines.)

anthony, Sunday, 22 February 2004 18:23 (seventeen years ago) link

harold bloom is (or used to be) one of my heroes, and this news really depresses me. (by the way, what's wrong with his shakespeare book?)

J.D. (Justyn Dillingham), Sunday, 22 February 2004 18:53 (seventeen years ago) link

its shit.

anthony, Sunday, 22 February 2004 18:56 (seventeen years ago) link

ok anthony, that's pretty hard to argue with BUT could you give reasons?

J.D. (Justyn Dillingham), Sunday, 22 February 2004 19:01 (seventeen years ago) link

its horribly reductionist, it slavours over the cannon for no real reason, he's eurocentric and his lists are male, stale and pale, it has a silly fetish for falstaff, it mocks or dismisses "progressive" readings ie a post colonial tempest or a feminst macbeth, it tries to explain away the awfulness of titus by pretending its a satire, it plays up a silly, most likely non existant rivalry(sp) b/w him and marlowe, he doesnt pay enough attention to the sonnets, he doesnt queer the sonnets, he wouldnt know what to do do with a woman writer. (only 26 were mentioned in the western canon)

anthony, Sunday, 22 February 2004 19:29 (seventeen years ago) link

i won't defend the "western canon" business (or his book on same), that's bloom at his worst.

having read 1,340,000,000 papers on shakespeare in general and Hhenry IV in particular last year for a college paper i can say that bloom's interpretation of falstaff is (mostly) right-on and refreshingly anti-monarchist. (he is especially OTM about the merry wives of windsor being a rotten play and a travesty of the character)

i don't think that was his interpretation of titus at all: as i remember he argues AGAINST that view of the play. if you want pomo readings of shakespeare there's plenty of em out there already, but i think bloom's intensely personal, pseudo-gnostic take on the plays is worthy in its own right.

my main problem with the book is that it is HORRIBLY organized and under-edited: you could chop two-thirds out of the text and it'd be a lot more readable.

agreed on the sonnets.

J.D. (Justyn Dillingham), Monday, 23 February 2004 01:14 (seventeen years ago) link

i will admit that i went off bloom quite a bit after i saw him quoted dismissing all of orson welles's shakespeare films as "dreadful" with no further elaboration.

J.D. (Justyn Dillingham), Monday, 23 February 2004 01:16 (seventeen years ago) link

They are both insane egotistical jerks who are totally worthless both academically and otherwise.

Dan I., Monday, 23 February 2004 02:42 (seventeen years ago) link

And so is Bloom.

Dan I., Monday, 23 February 2004 02:43 (seventeen years ago) link

Ha, I love how when people (like me, and Calum too at the top of this thread, I notice) want to insult these two people in particular we feel the need to use only insult words that would otherwise be applied mostly to men, rather than the one that first comes to mind.

Dan I., Monday, 23 February 2004 02:45 (seventeen years ago) link

two years pass...

Michael Daddino (epicharmus), Monday, 13 March 2006 05:57 (fifteen years ago) link


The Equator Lounge (Chris Barrus), Monday, 13 March 2006 17:55 (fifteen years ago) link

She is such a joke. That whole "I'll talk to 20 people just like me and call it sociology" is a laugh. Figures she'd go Jesus.

shookout (shookout), Monday, 13 March 2006 22:55 (fifteen years ago) link

“I was a 13-year-old boy sitting next to him [Jesus] and feeling feelings I’d never felt in my lifetime, of a 13-year-old boy being with an older male who he really loves and admires and loves to be in the presence of. It was probably the most profound experience of my life. I haven’t talked about it publicly.

m coleman (lovebug starski), Monday, 13 March 2006 23:04 (fifteen years ago) link

She should have kept it that way.

shookout (shookout), Monday, 13 March 2006 23:05 (fifteen years ago) link

twelve years pass...

I had no idea Wolf was all-in on chemtrail and HAARP conspiracy theories these days.

Elvis Telecom, Tuesday, 27 November 2018 06:31 (two years ago) link

yeah she went weird. also I keep mentally confusing her with Naomi Klein who is not a nutter which makes it doubly confusing to me.

akm, Tuesday, 27 November 2018 06:52 (two years ago) link

she now sounds like someone who was/is very bright but also spends 99% of their waking (and possibly sleeping) life stoned.

akm, Tuesday, 27 November 2018 06:54 (two years ago) link

five months pass...


(tbf, that legalese is quite something)

mookieproof, Friday, 24 May 2019 19:18 (two years ago) link

Sweet's Inventing the Victorians is great.

I am so not surprised that Wolf has incorrect information in her books.

tokyo rosemary, Friday, 24 May 2019 19:22 (two years ago) link

kinda ouch but mostly lol

specific goats my way (Noodle Vague), Friday, 24 May 2019 19:52 (two years ago) link

dropping "a major premise of your book is completely wrong" in the middle of an interview makes for some great dialogue

mh, Friday, 24 May 2019 20:12 (two years ago) link

two years pass...

Naomi Wolf suspended from Twitter, presumably for some bonkers tweet suggesting the feces of covid-vaccinated people could be harmful to others

Josefa, Saturday, 5 June 2021 05:33 (two weeks ago) link

Let's see *you* eat it, then. Trust the science!

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 5 June 2021 13:23 (two weeks ago) link

Wolf’s science presupposed that the problem was not knowing which faeces is not vaccine-tainted and therefore safe to eat

bobo honkin' slobo babe (sic), Saturday, 5 June 2021 13:58 (two weeks ago) link

she should put that hypothesis to the test

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 5 June 2021 14:07 (two weeks ago) link

She literally called for the sewage of vaccinated people to be separated from the general sewage, so that the water supply wouldn't be contaminated with mRNA. I fail to see any downside to this plan.

Btw the Johnson & Johnson vaccine doesn't use mRNA so if you had that one, your shit's good.

Josefa, Saturday, 5 June 2021 14:28 (two weeks ago) link

Wolf has also been posting about how nice conservatives turn out to be and how empowering shooting a gun is, seems like only a matter of time before she apologizes to Harold Bloom for saying groping was bad

Guayaquil (eephus!), Saturday, 5 June 2021 14:29 (two weeks ago) link

I keep saying this! pic.twitter.com/R6nLAAJ32Z

— Zack Budryk (@BudrykZack) June 5, 2021

Heavy Messages (jed_), Saturday, 5 June 2021 15:50 (two weeks ago) link

I recently read N Klein’s 2014 book on climate change & there is a recurrent healthy scepticism of miraculous technological solutions from “the scientific community” as an article of faith that saves anyone from having to think about necessary political/economic change; in light of this shit it’s very “you vs the Naomi she told you not to worry about”

The 💨 that shook the barlow (wins), Saturday, 5 June 2021 15:59 (two weeks ago) link


Left, Saturday, 5 June 2021 17:57 (two weeks ago) link

That must have been posted up thread, instant classic

The 💨 that shook the barlow (wins), Saturday, 5 June 2021 17:59 (two weeks ago) link

oh 2019 I assumed it was new

Left, Saturday, 5 June 2021 18:26 (two weeks ago) link

no!!! pic.twitter.com/H3qa3X4eQg

— flglmn (@flglmn) May 29, 2021

ufo, Sunday, 6 June 2021 04:27 (two weeks ago) link

My one Naomi Wolf story is that my wife and I were at a public lakeside beach with our two kids when Wolf, a complete stranger to us, asked us to watch her two kids. She disappeared to god-knows-where for 90 minutes. Upon reappearing, she did not thank us. Fin.

— David Kamp (@MrKamp) June 5, 2021

that’s hilarious but also kinda genuinely horrifying

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Sunday, 6 June 2021 05:13 (two weeks ago) link

telling thread

Now that Naomi Wolf has been suspended, worth remembering that her Beauty Myth was published in the same year as Black Feminist Thought by Parricia Hill Collins. In 1990.

Publishing CHOSE to make shoddy non-feminist hot air its ‘big’ book and the aithor into THE feminist.

— Sunny Singh (@ProfSunnySingh) June 6, 2021

Left, Sunday, 6 June 2021 21:31 (two weeks ago) link

LOL @ that Belfast post.

Are Animated Dads Getting Hotter? (Tom D.), Monday, 7 June 2021 07:28 (two weeks ago) link

Very nice.

Naomi Wolf is headlining an anti-vax "liberation" event on Juneteenth.

Organizers told me conflating the holiday celebrating the end of chattel slavery and Covid restrictions was appropriate because "we have been enslaved by our government."https://t.co/eAytxIyFxd

— Eoin Higgins (@EoinHiggins_) June 8, 2021

but also fuck you (unperson), Tuesday, 8 June 2021 12:53 (two weeks ago) link

She's leaning in

Guayaquil (eephus!), Tuesday, 8 June 2021 17:00 (two weeks ago) link

oh...my god.

horseshoe, Tuesday, 8 June 2021 18:04 (two weeks ago) link

If you help smuggle people out of heavily vaccinated areas into places where they can freely get themselves and others sick is it an Underground Ailroad

Guayaquil (eephus!), Tuesday, 8 June 2021 18:15 (two weeks ago) link

It’s too bad they’re not dumb enough to have that shit in Texas.

Joe Bombin (milo z), Tuesday, 8 June 2021 18:18 (two weeks ago) link

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