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Camille Paglia On Seminal Images

Critic, provocateur Camille Paglia on the vanishing visual arts and American souls at risk.

Untitled (Green Silver), ca. 1949. (Jackson Pollock)

Untitled (Green Silver), ca. 1949. (Jackson Pollock)

Critic, provocateur Camille Paglia brings a tough, earthy, brilliant edge to everything she touches.  Her politics can be a street fight.  Her intellect a razor blade.  Her insight, a joy.  Now Camille Paglia is looking at what we see.  What we look at these days.  A flood of pixels.  Facebook photo albums.

A jittery dollhouse of You Tube fancy.  And precious little real visual art.  In a sea of images we are losing our connection, she says, to the great messages of art.  Its wisdom.  Its insight.  Its glory.

This hour, On Point:  Camille Paglia on our missing art, and – she says – our souls at risk.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Camille Paglia, author, teacher, and social critic. Her new book is Glittering Images: A Journey Through Art from Egypt to Star Wars. You can read an excerpt here.

C-Segment: Mo Yan Wins Nobel Prize

Sabina Knight, professor of Chinese and Comparative Literature at Smith College, in the On Point studios. (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

Sabina Knight, professor of Chinese and Comparative Literature at Smith College, in the On Point studios. (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

Sabina Knight, professor of Chinese and Comparative Literature at Smith College.  She’s the author The Heart of Time: Moral Agency in Twentieth-Century Chinese Fiction and Chinese: Literature: A Very Short Introduction.

From Tom’s Reading List

Salon “A feminist critic of feminism, a Democrat frequently infuriated by Democrats (now is one of those times), she thrives at being a bomb-thrower from the inside. And she’s at it again! During an interview last week about her new book, she held forth on subjects as varied as the state of the arts, Bravo’s addictive “Real Housewives” franchise, her old nemesis Naomi Wolf and, yes, politics — where she gave us her surprise pick for president.”

Bloomberg “The painting was executed over three months in 1907 in Picasso’s jammed, squalid one-room studio apartment in bohemian Montmartre in Paris. Its fleshy pinks are a survival from the artist’s Rose Period but with a stunning change of tone. There is no longer any humor or pleasure.”

New York Times “The impetus for her visit was the Oct. 16 publication of “Glittering Images: A Journey Through Art From Egypt to Star Wars” (Pantheon), Ms. Paglia’s sixth book and her first to focus squarely on visual art. Asked to meet at the museum, she had responded with an enthusiastic e-mail, calling the choice “ideal” because “it made such a huge impression on me as a small child.” Now 65, she first visited in the early 1950s, on a trip from Endicott, N.Y., the upstate working-class enclave where she had been born and raised, and the foray had been so formative that “I’ll never forget it!!!,” she wrote.”

Photos

Here’s a gallery of some of Paglia’s “glittering images.”

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  • Expanded_Consciousness

    For local listeners, the great Camille Paglia will be at The Brattle Theater in Harvard Square on Tuesday, Oct 16th.

    “Harvard Book Store is pleased to welcome cultural critic CAMILLE PAGLIA for a discussion of her new book, Glittering Images: A Journey Through Art from Egypt to Star Wars.”

    http://brattlefilm.org/2012/10/16/camille-paglia/

  • RolloMartins

    PLEASE explain Pollock’s paintings (No. 5, 1948). I just don’t get it.

    • sickofthechit

      For me, the white image in the center is “Man falling into chaos”.  Or maybe it is a future vision of one of us connected to the internet or some social site. For you it is something different I am sure.  That is the beauty of this kind of art. charles A. bowsher

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       What’s the difference between Pollock and a housepainter?

      While both make a messy dropcloth, the housepainter also leaves you with something that you want.

      • sickofthechit

         Please see my previous comment then go view the painting again.  Might want to try an altered state as well.

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

          Taking a chemical to understand a painting is like taking one to win the Tour de France.

          • sickofthechit

             Greg, my altered state comment was said in jest.

    • stillin

      It was explained to me this way, and I hope  I have this correct. Pollock painted beautifully,skillfully and later, covered these paintings with his splat’s…that morphed into just experimenting with splats and string dipped paint, things of that nature. By doing this, Pollock freed up the artist, to do whatever they felt, artistically, and they were no longer confined to the human figure, still life, per se. I am an artist, and an art teacher. Art saves my life every day. I love art.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=798021623 Adria Arch

         To me, it is music made visible, full of rhythm.

  • Gregg Smith

    I am a huge fan of Ms. Paglia. She is what’s right about America. I disagree with her on most issues but her intellect and passion for truth (ideology be damned) sets her apart from most liberals. And she even likes Rush.

    • sickofthechit

       Likes Rush?  I guess you mean the band?
      Limburger? Say it ain’t so Gregg, say it ain’t so!

      • Gregg Smith

        I don’t want to put words in her mouth and I wouldn’t say she agrees with him on much. But there is respect, they like each other. Google “Camile Paglia Rush Limbaugh” (without the quotes) and see for yourself. 

        I don’t know why it would be hard to believe. I have a very dear friend I play music with on a semi-regular basis and she happens to be gay. We did a show that featured a bunch of Elton John tunes and she was dumbfounded when I told her Elton played at Rush’s wedding and they were friends. I have no idea why that was a surprise.

        One of the things that impresses me so much about Ms. Paglia is she says she has awesome respect for religious people… but she’s an atheist.  She say she loves and respects men… but she’s a lesbian. She would never vote for a ticket with Sarah Palin on it but she says Palin was brilliant for coining the phrase “death panels”. I sometimes find her slightly difficult to read because she’s so much smarter than I but I enjoy her work immensely. 

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       Limbaugh or the band from Canada?

      • sickofthechit

         Finally, I beat you to it!

      • Gregg Smith

        Limbaugh of course.

      • Gregg Smith

        “As a student of radio and a longtime listener of Rush’s show, I have gotten a wealth of pleasure and insight from him over the years.”

        http://www.salon.com/2009/03/11/mercury_3/

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/GYOKNNUKGSRTSA4RNFMUJRO5WE Greg

     Camille we are holding on for sheer survival out here.
    No time to worry about art.

    • sickofthechit

       Find a free show, go to a local schools end of semester art show, imbibe a little and you will realize your time was well spent.  Hang in there.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/GYOKNNUKGSRTSA4RNFMUJRO5WE Greg

        I mean creating it.

        Creating art is a luxury.

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

           Looking at the whole of human existence, I say that creating art is a necessity.

        • Gregg Smith

          For some, yes. For others creating art is like breathing.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       If you have no time for art, you’re not even surviving as a human being.

  • Rex Henry

    What do you think of Ashcroft covering nude statues?

    http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/2002/01/29/statues.htm

    • sickofthechit

       That’s his art then isn’t it?

  • M K

    If secular humanism is dead, shoot me now.  I like Paglia but she seems to be attacking a straw dog here — eg, by equating it with post-structuralism.   “Turning to religion” for aesthetic values is a bland cop-out.

    • ThirdWayForward

      The problem is that she lives in the post-modern psychoanalytic hermeneutic hall of mirrors where you can assert anything you want without fear of being disproven. So, she has held positions critical of French psychoanalysis/feminism/post-modernism, but she has adopted their style and lack of substance in attaining her celebrity.

      She is the intellectual equivalent of Lyndon LaRouche, who is a shadowy, elusive figure who spouts far left rhetoric in service of a far right, neo-fascist political agenda. It’s very confusing, and this is their point, to disrupt coherent discourse and thought. In her case, it’s being intellectually transgressive for the sake of transgressively (and for garnering the celebrity of an intellectual shock jock). Yes, she is a “contrarian”, in the bad sense of someone who takes a contrary position just to spite.

      To paraphrase a physicist, her positions are so badly posed that her perspectives are not even wrong.Truth, clarity, and sincerity are not absolutes, and everyone is fallible, but these are goals to which we should aspire, even in discourses about something as slippery and subjective as art.

      The alternative is to not take these discourses seriously as some sorts of sincere insights into the world or our experience, but to take them as entertainment that amuses us and provokes.
      Maybe that is the better mode for taking Paglia — she comes off better if you don’t take her at face value.

  • sickofthechit

    So who is she supporting for president and why?

    Digital art is just a new medium.  Remember we started with painting on a cave wall.

    • nj_v2

      Jill Stein. She supported Obama in 2008, but is having second thoughts.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Karen Armstrong does an analysis of fundamentalism in The Battle for God.  Her claim is that fundamentalists insist on making religion an exercise in logic and history only.  Paglia here reminds us that religion, in fact, is storytelling and awe.

  • Sharon Spivak

    As a child I was under the impression that art was equivalent to visual art. Recently I’ve begun to understand that anything has the capacity to be done artistically. In my opinion, art is a mindset rather than a result. I want to devote my life to living artistically and seeing what comes out of it.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/IGZTA3WQNYSS5OK5LDAAKKR3BQ RobertC

    I think she is dead on when it comes to cross-pollinating art. My wife and I are about to release a project that we have been working on for a long time. We describe it as follows: A collaboration of sight and sound. Walk through a gallery with music
    paired with images from the road trips taken together. A soundtrack for
    still pictures. more info here:
    http://www.castagnastudio.com/

    Secondly she’s totally correct in that visual art is an object to be contemplated. NOT a pixel-based internet slideshow. You need to see the art in person to appreciate it.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    So what she’s saying is that she’s a humanist.  The word, secular, doesn’t have to be attached to her philosophy.  She’s identifying a need for the sacred, whether we call the gods or art or nature sacred.

  • Michiganjf

    I have the same sort of criticism for modern movements in poetry.

    Some of it, like Slam Poetry, is contagious and has it’s own merits, but it tends to be more melodic prose, or even lyricism, rather than being worthy of sharing the title of Poetry, which was once sacred and of the highest level of true “Art.”

    • Michiganjf

      BTW, I don’t believe that makes “true Poetry” any less accessible to the masses.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    There’s a difference between supporting the right of the person to make the piece and the value of the work itself.  I suspect that Paglia would agree here that people have the right to make rubbish, just as we have the right to call it such.

  • http://bethanytobin.com/ Bethany Tobin

    I am a visual artist and a Christian, and I find Paglia’s reflection very true to my experience with liberal secular art theory. My spirituality was suspect and unsavory because of the love affair with deconstruction, irony- and to put it frankly- meaninglessness. I think reclaiming a contemplative stance is essential for humans to learn to KNOW and not exploit the world around us. The present consumption of images only drives us further into alienation. My question is: How much is your critique based on Adorno’s critique of art as consumer commodities?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000315079302 Helen C. Weatherall

    No art of any consequence being made today?????!
    Wrong. Here’s some new music of absolute consequence. Furthermore it is informed by the likes of Bach and Mozart. Paglia why do you feel the need to condemn all new art to make your point? It’s lazy and wrong of you to do so.

     https://www.facebook.com/chrisfloriomusic#!/chrisflorio.nanjing

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       Care to provide examples of what you see as worthy today?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000315079302 Helen C. Weatherall

        I included a link to composer Chris Florio’s work Nan Jing https://www.facebook.com/chrisflorio.nanjing. As for writing- the example I would point to is books by Annie Proulx. As for visual art – Banksy who’s images are marvelous an terrifically meaningful.

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

           Proulx?  I’ll pass, thanks.  Paglia was talking about visual arts, not literature, anyway.

    • Acnestes

       I believe she’s confining herself to visual art.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Caller, a person doesn’t have to believe in your God to have a sense of awe or to practice a moral life.

  • ThirdWayForward

    Bad art itself is not a threat to the funding of education. Put the responsibility where it lies, in those on the right who seize on bad art to justify cuts in education and arts programs.

    Paglia is great as a provocateur and poseur, but this can’t make up for bad philosophy and bad politics.

    Make her justify/clarify her liking of Rush, be it the band or the neo-fascist demagogue.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       Rush is a brilliant band, both musically and philosophically.

      • ThirdWayForward

        You can’t argue with Music!

      • Gregg Smith

        I tend to find Rush to be a bit over-aggrandizing. Obviously there is a great amount of talent but where’s the harmony?

  • http://www.facebook.com/julia.gandrud.9 Julia Gandrud

    When I went for my MFA I made work that mixed the spiritual with the mundane, and was routinely told to remove the spiritual element to improve the work… The work that was promoted was, I felt, usually depressing, or winking, but never generous or genuine unless it was on the darker side of life. I became very disillusioned, and very timid about showing my work now.

  • ThirdWayForward

    Some people have a great deal of religious feeling, others very little or none.

    There is no inherent reason that good art (art that moves us in some significant, meaningful way) must or must not deal with this mode of experience. Religious feeling is simply one of many diverse dimensions of human experience.

  • Vince Ross

    What a wonderful guest and discussion! I believe Camille Paglia is one of the few guests who can keep up with Tom Ashbrook and intellectually give him a run for his money. It is also refreshing to hear a strong repudiation of the nastiness so often found in secular humanism.  Being right doesn’t give one the right to be unkind! Amen to that!!

  • viacarrozza

    I think it is time to follow the lead of the great filmmakers and graphic novelists.  The mythologies of the Western Canon need to be reinvigorated and reinvented.  These narratives are our human stories that have rocked the world for millennia.  Post-modernist irony is now academia…tired, old, static…We long for the dynamism of the human mythos.

  • Jess_In_Boston

    Good Lord, can I just say that I am so tired of people saying that they have a “Native American” sense of spirituality? No, you don’t! You have a sense of spirituality that is based on stereotypes and western misinterpretations of certain Indian American religions. Stop appropriating entire populations of people and claiming their religion as your own when you don’t even know what you are talking about, and you don’t even know what they believe. It’s offensive. I highly doubt she would agree with the Indian people who do not believe in the theory of evolution in favor of their religion’s version of creationism.

    • Jess_In_Boston

      The Indian people are not a catch-all for abstract and amorphous spirituality. Some have their own religions which are very different from one another and have very specific stories, some are Christian or other “major” religions, some are atheists and agnostics. Saying you have a Native American-like spirituality is about as useful as saying you have a European-like spirituality.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Spence-Blakely/1251757037 Spence Blakely

    Ms. Paglia struck a chord with me with her ideas about non-supernatural “spiritual” components to our atheism. For me it’s often related to the forces and results of nature on microscopic, earthly, and cosmic scales.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       In that way, she reminds me of Carl Sagan.

      • ThirdWayForward

        Billions and billions of stars………….

    • Acnestes

      Yes, her emphasis on awe, referring to the Native American world view.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VRTQ3CUFV6YTJKJLQQAOI74IUE B.T,

    Re. Chris Hitchens.  I urge Camille not to let one aspect of his work define her entire understanding of him.  He was a great polymath and contrarian (rather like Camille sees herself).  If she read his article on the new Acropolis Museum in Athens, she would find his views on art and the classical world very similar to her own.

  • Ed75

    Please comment on the mammoth new cathedral in Barcelona, thanks.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    George Lucas is far too deep in his bastardized version of Eastern philosophy for my tastes.

  • johnsloth

    What about Magic Realism, Psychedelia, Ernst Fuchs, Mati Abdul Klarwein, Stanislav Szukalski, Rick Griffin… all modern visionary mystics never given their due by the “fine art” scene? I’m completely digging what this Lady is putting down. We need Renaissance! Rebirth and revival of ancient wisdom.

  • skeptic150

    I think she’s confusing issues here.
    1) Whether secular humanism offers us an alternative to religion.
    It is easy to compare, for example, the most recent Humanist Manifesto of the American Humanist Association with the core beliefs of all the major religions.  Personally, I find the most recent version of the Humanist Manifesto far more appealing than the core “beliefs” of all the major religions (Buddhism, however, is an exception and, imo, is also appealing). 
    2) Whether art appreciation is related to secular humanism or a religious tendency.
    I would have to see arguments for this. Certainly, it would have to be corrected for the proportions of religious v non-religious, etc.
    Much of the more “snippy” atheism, imo, is responding to the increasing imposition of policies/laws clearly based on theistic/Christian ideology – examples include laws in several states related to science and evolution, opting out of classes if they are not in line with religious beliefs, abstinence only sex ed, school vouchers used for private/Christian schools, etc.  These are not necessarily related to art.
    Sorry if some atheists seem “snippy,” but I think Greta Christina raises some legitimate issues for being “snippy” with “Why Are Atheists So Angry.”

  • geraldfnord

    As a man who gets erections, but who is also possessed of other hardware, notably (at least to itself) a brain that can run moral and ethical and survival code, I took offence years back at her statement with regard to date rape to the effect of ‘Men get erections—deal with it.’

    Please tender me and others of my gender the respect due morally responsible beings who do not lose our moral agency or our minds the moment we’re horny, and are fully capable of stopping whatever it were we might do, be it fighting or swiving, the moment it became plain that someone were about to get hurt. 

  • taisut

    Talk about sneering intellectuals.  I’m not sure if Ms. Paglia is at all familiar with the spirit, writings, and talks of both Hitchens and Dawkins.  Both have spoken and written extensively about the immeasurable contributions to literature and culture that the Bible, as well as religious artwork, has contributed to our culture.  What they don’t agree with is the literal belief behind those writings. Please do your homework!

  • geraldfnord

     The Yetsyny must have Slack!

  • L armond

    What she says is true to what I have seen.  If you violate or slap anyone thru words, gestures, or any other form of communication, on the person-to-person level, as in snarkiness, aspersion, etc., all your gestures, words, etc.  transfer over and become the first emotional info to that person, thus shutting down the possibility of communication to them, or anyone they connect with you.  You lose the opportunity to engage them, and they will arm themselves against you and your ‘sort’ with talk shows, rallys, or actual weapons.  You can not operate as a diplomat on the world stage without respecting or showing deference to local leaders until a communication channel opens.
    Steven Pinker, neurobiologist, said, we think in metaphor.  The less experience in forms of communication and culture one has, the less ability to think, and to ‘take leaps’ of understanding like a deer or horse, from having made the attempt to understand what is held sacred in art and culture.
    Art communicates on so many levels.  To deprive anyone of the potential for making leaps of consciousness, even if the leap takes place 50 years later, is what is ‘obscene.’   So do not make others blind to what art can do by offending them on a spiritual or cultural level.  
    Etchings from books at grandparents and from 60 years ago, still connect reside prominately in my brain.  Learning How to See and How to Listen, and How to tread softly, keeps one open to constant revelations.

  • geraldfnord

     I agree…and would point out that my awe and gratitude feel all the greater for their not having a neat, humanoid-writ-large, object on which to obsess….I think a pointing finger is a thing of beauty and of wondernment even when there _is_ no Moon.

  • CarlHugmeyer

    I find it hard that Camille can not find anything of value in the modern at world. I understand that many complaints can be lobbied against the private party of the modern at world but I could have lived for a week in the sound work of Cardiff & Miller that was featured in the woods as part of Documenta 13. I will go back to the finale of Star Wars but seriously doubt it can inspire my spiritual self the way these “art world” artists were able to.

  • DanDempster

    The profound gift of art is that it can act as a window to that which lies beyond endless words and concepts. Art offers freedom from the burden of self when an artist, despite the initial aim of technique or genre, is able to dissolve the ego in the process, a spaciousness and fluidity recorded in the object or performance itself. It thus is beyond symbolism, and becomes a window to that state of non-duality, through which the viewer is ushered to their great relief and peace of mind. That is art’s highest purpose – making such an effortless, compassionate state accessible to anyone and everyone. Anything less is mere self-indulgence.

  • aSomervilleArtist

    Ms. Paglia is right on! I’m an art photographer who went through art school during that awful postmodernism of the late 80s, I agree it’s trash and has killed the soul of art.

    Just wanted to suggest a good book out there: John Stilgoe’s book “Outside Lies Magic: Regaining History and Awareness in Everyday Places”- he encourages readers to get out there and look around. In his lectures at Harvard University’s Visual & Environmental Studies he laments the disappearance of visual education in children and adults: how to draw, explore, look at light & color in the natural environment…  He encourages us to turn off the technology and look around. It’s a message that’s not taught as often as it should be.

  • Davesix6

    Camille Paglia tell’s the truth about the left and has been viciously attacked for it by them. Guess tolerance of opinion is in the “mind” of the beholder. 

    Here are a few quotes attributed to her;  

    “Why has the Democratic Party become so arrogantly detached from ordinaryAmericans? Though they claim to speak for the poor and dispossessed, Democrats have increasingly become the party of an upper-middle-class professional elite, top-heavy with journalists, academics and lawyers.”

    “It is capitalist America that produced the modern independent woman. Never in history have women had more freedom of choice in regard to dress, behavior, career, and sexual orientation.”  

    “A serious problem in America is the gap between academe and the mass media, which is our culture. Professors of humanities, with all their leftist fantasies, have little direct knowledge of American life and no impact whatever on public policy.” 

    “When anything goes, it’s women who lose.”

  • Peter Van Erp

    I’m usually conflicted when I hear Ms. Paglia, and today was no exception. I agree with her contempt for the abandonment of the knowledge of history, (not only in art), but her blanket statement that no art of any worth is being produced today drives me nuts. WaterFire, a sculpture installation in Providence, Kansas City, Singapore, and Rome, was created by Barnaby Evans in reaction to the trends Ms. Paglia discussed. He has created a work with deep references to history, which is accessible to people at many levels. To date, some 15 million people have been to WaterFire. I would hope Ms. Paglia has the opportunity to see it, to see one direction that contemporary art can take.

  • sigmund5

    She wants to appeal to home schooling moms and the cuts to arts education is the fault of artists…what BS.

  • sigmund5

    Whatever bit of critique she makes gets lost in her bombastic self promoting.  She sounds like Rush Limbaugh with an art degree.  She is offering nothing to think about…no imagination just griping
     

  • http://twitter.com/JoeBradford JoeBradford

    As a recent graduate from an art and design college, I found Paglia’s views on the current state of art completely unfounded. While I do agree that art education, particularly “classical” art education should be instituted earlier in the education system and more intensely, her dismissal for “post-modern” art, and what seemed like anything that wasn’t directly inspired by faith or religion, is baffling. Not to mention, anyone who considers George Lucas and “Revenge of The Sith” to be “the best art in any medium from the last 30 years” is clearly out of touch and in bad taste.

    • tember2

      Totally agree with the Sith part. I think she was engaging with it visually, but even then, it was overwrought nonsense. She’s also weak on music — I think she picked Madonna’s Deeper and Deeper as one of the greatest disco tracks ever. Still, Paglia is such a breath of fresh air. Always interesting.

    • Gregg Smith

      It’s up to the viewer/listener to decide what art is. If a song, painting, sculpture or any other artwork moves souls and evokes emotion then it’s a beautiful thing. It doesn’t take a degree.  

  • http://twitter.com/linzstringer Lindsey F Stringer

    Here is what I got out of tonight’s show.
    1. Secular humanism is at a dead-end because of bullies like Richard Dawkins and post-structuralist critics.
    2. Great art will save secular humanism.
    3. Revenge of the Sith is “the best art in any medium from the last 30 years.”

    My synopsis: Obi-wan, you’re their only hope.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       This social critic is not the social critic that you’re looking for.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tripdavis Trip Davis

    I’m sorry, but “Revenge of the Sith” is probably the last piece of art I would pick to be the “the best art in any medium from the last thirty years.” It’s not even visually appealing; it’s like having a seizure. Just lots of flashing lights interspersed between painful dialogue and held together by a story that doesn’t make any sense. Most of the characters have no depth whatsoever, and the direction is probably the laziest I’ve ever seen. In fact, the only thing worse than “Revenge of the Sith” is probably “The Phantom Menace”.

    I’m in shock. Really. Who signed off on that? What editor said, “‘Revenge of the Sith’? Yeah, that sounds right. Send this to the printers.” Are you kidding me? 

     Why is George Lucas the greatest living artist? Even if you limit yourself to film, it doesn’t even come close. What about Scorsese? Or the Coen Brothers? THAT’S art. Not the fever dream of a washed up has-been who can’t keep from ruining his most popular franchises.

    • SomeGuyNamedMark

       Maybe she needs to see some Stanley Kubrick films too

  • Brandi Mattison

    Tom, I LOVE your show, however this guest, Ms. Paglia comes across as a pompous straw man killer.  I graduated w/ my masters degree in 2006, and attended 3 public universities prior.  All of these schools took art/humanities and “survey” courses seriously.  There was no sneering at great works, and all of my profs showed tremendous reverence for their subjects.  This guest made no sense to me. She seemed like a fictional charactor. 

  • jiminri

    Piss Christ was a response to widespread religious oppression of homosexuals and others in our society.  It WAS the Martin Luther of its time created by someone oppressed-a response to society’s oppression.  Paglia’s discontent is based in complete stupidity.  She is far more immersed in her own so-called intellectualism she cannot empathize with the human condition in any way.  Her words are simply false and unfounded and ridiculous.  They are provocative, but she’s a far-right winger posing as an art critic or whatever….and her words re: C. Hitchens are unfounded and downright evil.  She’s an idiot.  PS:  Dali embraced religion at the end of his life, and if she was an “actual” atheist, she would not ever talk about the human soul…belief in the soul, is not atheism.  Maybe she should start with looking up the word “atheism” in the dictionary.  And c’mon—Star Wars?  Great movie, but the best art?  You gotta be kidding, what a stupid stupid fool.

    • Gregg Smith

      She’s a lefty voting for the Green Party. 

      Piss Christ is gross but that’s fine until you consider taxpayers chipped in. That makes it obscene. Let him piss on his own dime. The irony is the lack of outrage compared to the silly anti-Muslim video that allegedly caused all the stir in the Middle East.

      • jiminri

        Freedom of Speech and Expression is great until someone’s feelings or religion gets assaulted according to ignorance and the like.  If you believe the anti-Muslim vid made everyone violent, you need to look further.  If you believe that gays and lesbians should be banished from the public’s tax dollars because their ideas conflict with your religious beliefs, you are a bigot.  The work of ART was meant to be obscene, “PISS” in the face of the homophobic bigotry that is often taught as religion these days may be controvertial, but FREEDOM OF SPEECH needs to continue to be the highest ideal in our society above each person’s individual religious thoughts.  Piss Christ does not STOP anyone from creating their own beautiful God-inspired art, it does not do anything but put forward a particular point of view.  Your tax dollars go to support all American ideas of art, not just the artists that don’t offend you or are not of your own personal tastes. 

        • Gregg Smith

          i don’t believe any of those things. That’s why I wrote “allegedly caused” regarding the video. And the banishing gays thing is just weird. I’ll put my freedom of speech credentials up against anybody. I am not in favor of taxpayer funded art at all. It has nothing to do with being offended or taste. It has nothing to do with freedom of speech.

        • Gregg Smith

          Would you support taxpayer funded gay-bashing Bible art? Can you cite any? I don’t believe it would be tolerated. It’s best government stay out of it.

  • jiminri

    Further, Jackson Pollack was a complete drunk immersed in the particular intellectualism that Paglia rails about.  If Ab Expressionism wasn’t exactly the art world completely falling all over itself, high formal cerebral work—and by the way, at the time, completely rejected as junk by people like Paglia.  Pollack did NOT chase after God.  Ever.  Rothko and Pollack both killed themselves clearly flying away from any spiritual content.  There is no denying that ALL artwork has spiritual value, (incl. Piss Christ).  Paglia’s half-truths should simply be ignored. 

    I see she loves receiving praise…who doesn’t, but she does not deserve praise for carrying Republican Party lines disquised as free-thinking.  She is an enemy of art of all kind and her monolithic POV is completely founded in institutional control of the world.  Look at her CV, reaks of conservatism and her bitter words seem pompous and frankly disgusting.  She hates Piss Christ, because she hates homosexuals and lesbians, as she has stated in prior interviews.  For someone that proclaims to be atheist, she seems awfully hung up on her own denial of God.  She can’t get response from the public being open-minded and thoughtful, so she must resort to provocative BS for the sake of being provocative and to get more Twitter followers.  Pathetic!

    • Gregg Smith

      Dude, she is a lesbian. She’s to the left of Nader. What are you talking about? What makes your opinion more valid?

    • jiminri

      If she’s a Green Party Athiest Lesbian, then she’s a self-hating one.  Perhaps she’s so far left, she became a right winger.  Don’t fall for the ‘grass roots’—I came up with this crap myself stuff….she is neither lesbian, nor athiest, nor left wing…her words speak louder than her so-called identity!  We should be aware that there are many people these days “posing” as grass-roots, “posing” as democrats..etc.  We must be very careful to identify subversion of this type.  Look into the ALEC group and their so-called “grass roots” efforts to limit women’s reproductive and medical rights.  It is a tactic that is becoming more and more apparent, and we should be very wary of anyone “posing” as liberals and then espousing the opposite.  This woman is attempting to further a right wing agenda on the arts in the U.S. –think about it…why else would she pick on a 2 decade old photo and compare it to ANY classical art.  It just doesn’t make sense.  Apples and Oranges.  And frankly, who but her even remembers “Piss Christ” as being so important?  Andres Serrano was more a provocateur like Paglia then a ‘classical artist’ of any real importance.

      If you don’t think art is important in society, then that’s what you think.  I believe art is the most important part of our society and is the basis of free-thought and Freedom in general, technological progress, and democracy.  This is why it always should be supported by our government, and not manipulated by the likes of people who want to limit freedom of expression when it perhaps ‘insults’ other people.  Would you perhaps like to live in China, where the artists are persecuted except when they tow the party line?  Would you perhaps like to see only religious art supported by our government?  Or maybe we can stop black people from being free thinkers as we did 100 years ago.  If you stop one group due to bigotry of this conceded “veiled in some distorted form of liberalism” type, it is a slippery slope that will lead to much worse forms of divisive political agendas.  Freedom for ALL people is how I read our Constitution.  Not just the people we like, or find tasteful, or find classical, or intellectual. 

  • RHSU

    A poem.

    If you go to Philadelphia, Don’t forget to visit the University of Arts.
    And talk to Camille Paglia,
    Mentioning to her this is how I see art.

    What’s art?
    Art is human soul found itself,
    Art is human endeavor into perfection,
    Art is the symbolism of humanity becoming,
    Art is our traveling companion, in this lonely path,
    To humanism.

    Without art,
    What we are?

    by RHSU

  • Ed75

    Ms. Paglia kind of said that she is an atheist, but not a follower of naturalism. I’m not sure how that can be, but it’s mentioned in:

    Platinga ‘Where the conflict lies’, 2011.

  • http://profiles.google.com/gjackschultz Jack Schultz

    It’s probably too late, but I’ll post anyway, Prof. Paglia needs to get her history straight. She claims that Martin Luther started the process of destroying art and linked him to the iconoclasts of the 16th Century. The claim is not true. Luther was himself an opponent, a pretty fierce one, of the iconoclastic acts that took place in Germany while he was in hiding from the Emperor, translating the Bible into German. When he returned to Wittenberg, he threw Andreas Carlstedt out of the leadership that he had assumed because of  his (Carlstedt’s) iconoclasm and reductionism of faith to a flat rationalism. It is no wonder. Luther was an extraordinarily gifted artist, himself. He was a remarkable composer and poet. At the core of his theology and the heart of his opposition to his Reformed opponents is the belief that “finitum capax infiniti:” the finite can bear the infinite. While it was meant to show how ordinary matter (bread and wine) could be vehicles of divine presence, it reflected Luther’s high view of materiality, that the earth and its earthiness are capable of bearing the divine. A powerful view of what art is. Dear Camile, check your history and come back and talk to us again.

  • David Barsalou

    Eye See It Now ?

  • Adrian_from_RI

    Tom, thanks for having Camille Paglia as your guest. She is a tireless defender of Western Civilization against the attacks by the post-modern multiculturalists who believe in the dogma that all cultures are equally valid. To understand what brought about this post-modern nihilism you must look to philosophy for answers. To that end I have found the “History of Philosophy” lecture series by Dr. Leonard Peikoff priceless and indispensable. Therefore, I recommend to the curious minded to buy part 1 “Founders of Western Philosophy: Thales to Hume” at:
     
    https://estore.aynrand.org/p/95/founders-of-western-philosophy-thales-to-hume-mp3-download
     
    If you want to understand what brought about the post-modern era you have to also listen to part 2 “Modern Philosophy: Kant to the Present.”
     
    My art appreciation and, therefore, my understanding of what your guest was talking about was greatly helped by reading the booklet “The Romantic Manifesto” by Ayn Rand.
     
    Another just published book looking at the decline of the West is “The DIM Hypothesis: Why the Lights of the West Are Going Out.”

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