So, the picture made me go on a Wikipedia reading frency (as it so happens).
Anti-intellectualism is hostility towards and mistrust of intellect, intellectuals, and intellectual pursuits, usually expressed as the derision of education, philosophy, literature, art, and science, as impractical and contemptible. Alternatively, self-described intellectuals who are alleged to fail to adhere to rigorous standards of scholarship may be described as anti-intellectuals although psuedo-intellectualism is a more commonly, and perhaps more accurately, used description for this phenomenon.
In public discourse, anti-intellectuals usually perceive and publicly present themselves as champions of the common folk — populists against political elitism and academic elitism — proposing that the educated are a social class detached from the everyday concerns of the majority, and that they dominate political discourse and higher education.
Because “anti-intellectual” can be pejorative, defining specific cases of anti-intellectualism can be troublesome; one can object to specific facets of intellectualism or the application thereof without being dismissive of intellectual pursuits in general. Moreover, allegations of anti-intellectualism can constitute an appeal to authority or an appeal to ridicule that attempts to discredit an opponent rather than specifically addressing his or her arguments.
Anti-intellectualism is a common facet of totalitarian dictatorships to oppress political dissent. The Nazi party’s populist rhetoric featured anti-intellectual rants as a common motif, including Adolf Hitler‘s political polemic, Mein Kampf. Perhaps its most extreme political form was during the 1970s in Cambodia under the rule of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, when people were killed for being academics or even for merely wearing eyeglasses (as it suggested literacy) in the Killing Fields.
Dictators, and their dictatorship supporters, use anti-intellectualism to gain popular support, by accusing intellectuals of being a socially detached, politically dangerous class who question the extant social norms, who dissent from established opinion, and who reject nationalism, hence they are unpatriotic, and thus subversive of the nation. Violent anti-intellectualism is common to the rise and rule of authoritarian political movements, such as Italian Fascism, Stalinism in Russia, Nazism in Germany, the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, and Iranian theocracy.
In the English-speaking world, especially in the US, critics like David Horowitz (viz. the David Horowitz Freedom Center), William Bennett, an ex-US secretary of education, and paleoconservative activist Patrick Buchanan, criticize schools and universities as ‘intellectualist‘
- the two most salient traits of the radical movement are its anti-intellectualism and its hostility to the university as an institution. […] Intellectuals by definition are people who take ideas seriously for their own sake. Whether or not a theory is true or false is important to them independently of any practical applications it may have. [Intellectuals] have, as Richard Hofstadter has pointed out, an attitude to ideas that is at once playful and pious. But in the radical movement, the intellectual ideal of knowledge for its own sake is rejected. Knowledge is seen as valuable only as a basis for action, and it is not even very valuable there. Far more important than what one knows is how one feels.
In 1972, sociologist Stanislav Andreski warned readers of academic works to be wary of appeals to authority when academics make questionable claims, writing, “do not be impressed by the imprint of a famous publishing house or the volume of an author’s publications. […] Remember that the publishers want to keep the printing presses busy and do not object to nonsense if it can be sold.”
Critics have alleged that much of the prevailing philosophy in American academia (i.e., postmodernism, poststructuralism, relativism) are anti-intellectual: “The displacement of the idea that facts and evidence matter by the idea that everything boils down to subjective interests and perspectives is — second only to American political campaigns — the most prominent and pernicious manifestation of anti-intellectualism in our time.”
In the notorious Sokal Hoax of the 1990s, physicist Alan Sokal submitted a deliberately preposterous paper to Duke University’s Social Texts journal to test if, as he later wrote, a leading “culture studies” periodical would “publish an article liberally salted with nonsense if (a) it sounded good and (b) it flattered the editors’ ideological preconceptions.” Social Texts published the paper, seemingly without noting any of the paper’s abundant mathematical and scientific errors, leading Sokal to declare that “my little experiment demonstrate[s], at the very least, that some fashionable sectors of the American academic Left have been getting intellectually lazy.”
In a 1995 interview, social critic Camille Paglia described academics (including herself) as “a parasitic class,” arguing that during widespread social disruption “the only thing holding this culture together will be masculine men of the working class. The cultural elite–women and men–will be pleading for the plumbers and the construction workers.”
Surely Paglia is right about that.
In the first decade after the Russian Revolution of 1917, the Bolsheviks suspected the Tsarist intelligentsia as potentially traitorous of the proletariat, thus, the initial Soviet government comprised men and women without much formal education. Lenin derided the old intelligentsia with the expression (roughly translated): ‘We ain’t completed no academies’ (мы академиев не кончали). Moreover, the deposed propertied classes were termed Lishentsy (‘the disenfranchised’), whose children were excluded from education; eventually, some 200 Tsarist intellectuals were deported to Germany on Philosophers’ ships in 1922; others were deported to Latvia and to Turkey in 1923.
During the revolutionary period, the pragmatic Bolsheviks employed ‘bourgeois experts’ to manage the economy, industry, and agriculture, and so learn from them. After the Russian Civil War (1917–23), to achieve socialism, the USSR (1922–91) emphasised literacy and education in service to modernising the country via an educated working class intelligentsia, rather than an Ivory Tower intelligentsia. During the 1930s and the 1950s, Joseph Stalin replaced Lenin’s intelligentsia with a “communist” intelligentsia, loyal to him and with a specifically Soviet world view, thereby producing the most egregious examples of Soviet anti-intellectualism — the pseudoscientific theories of Lysenkoism and Japhetic theory, most damaging to biology and linguistics in that country, by subordinating science to a dogmatic interpretation of Marxism.
Deliberate brain drain? That must be a new low.
Equality of outcome, equality of condition, or equality of results is a controversial political concept. Although it is not always clearly defined, it usually describes a state in which people have approximately the same material wealth or, more generally, in which the general economic conditions of their lives are similar. Achieving this requires reducing or eliminating material inequalities between individuals or households in a society. This could involve a transfer of income and/or wealth from wealthier to poorer individuals, or adopting other institutions designed to promote equality of condition from the start. The concept is central to some political ideologies and is used regularly in political discourse, often in contrast to the term equality of opportunity. A related way of defining equality of outcome is to think of it as “equality in the central and valuable things in life.”
Equality of outcome is often compared to related concepts of equality. Generally, the concept is most often contrasted with the concept of equality of opportunity, but there are other concepts as well. The term has been seen differently from differing political perspectives, but of all of the terms relating to equality, equality of outcome is the most “controversial” or “contentious”.
- Equality of opportunity. This conception generally describes fair competition for important jobs and positions such that contenders have equal chances to win such positions, and applicants are not judged or hampered by unfair or arbitrary discrimination. It entails the “elimination of arbitrary discrimination in the process of selection.” The term is usually applied in workplace situations but has been applied in other areas as well such as housing, lending, and voting rights. The essence is that job seekers have “an equal chance to compete within the framework of goals and the structure of rules established,” according to one view. It is generally seen as a procedural value of fair treatment by the rules.
In political philosophy, there are differing views whether equal outcomes are beneficial or not. One view is that there is a moral basis for equality of outcome, but that means to achieve such an outcome can be malevolent. Equality of outcome can be a good thing after it has been achieved since it reflects the natural “interdependence of citizens in a highly organized economy” and provides a “basis for social policies” which foster harmony and good will, including social cohesion and reduced jealousy. One writer suggested greater socioeconomic equality was “indispensable if we want to realise our shared commonsense values of societal fairness.” Analyst Kenneth Cauthen in his 1987 book The Passion for Equality suggested that there were moral underpinnings for having equal outcomes because there is a common good––which people both contribute to and receive benefits from––and therefore should be enjoyed in common; Cauthen argued that this was a fundamental basis for both equality of opportunity as well as equality of outcome. Analyst George Packer, writing in the journal Foreign Affairs, argued that “inequality undermines democracy” in the United States partially because it “hardens society into a class system, imprisoning people in the circumstances of their birth.” Packer elaborated that inequality “corrodes trust among fellow citizens” and compared it to an “odorless gas which pervades every corner” of the nation.
An opposing view is that equality of outcomes is not beneficial overall for society since it dampens motivation necessary for humans to achieve great things, such as new inventions, intellectual discoveries, and artistic breakthroughs. According to this view, wealth and income is a reward needed to spur such activity, and with this reward removed, then achievements which would benefit everybody may not happen.
If equality of outcomes is seen as beneficial for society, and if people have differing levels of material wealth in the present, then methods to transform a society towards one with greater equality of outcomes is problematic. A mainstream view is that mechanisms to achieve equal outcomes––to take a society and with unequal wealth and force it to equal outcomes––are fraught with moral as well as practical problems since they often involve force to compel the transfer.
And there is general agreement that outcomes matter. In one report in Britain, unequal outcomes in terms of personal wealth had a strong impact on average life expectancy, such that wealthier people tended to live seven years longer than poorer people, and that egalitarian nations tended to have fewer problems with societal issues such as mental illness, violence, teenage pregnancy, and other social problems. Authors of the book The Spirit Level contended that “more equal societies almost always do better” on other measures, and as a result, striving for equal outcomes can have overall beneficial effects for everybody.
Philosopher John Rawls, in his A Theory of Justice (1971), developed a “second principle of justice” that economic and social inequalities can only be justified if they benefit the most disadvantaged members of society. Further, Rawls claims that all economically and socially privileged positions must be open to all people equally. Rawls argues that the inequality between a doctor’s salary and a grocery clerk’s is only acceptable if this is the only way to encourage the training of sufficient numbers of doctors, preventing an unacceptable decline in the availability of medical care (which would therefore disadvantage everyone). Analyst Paul Krugman writing in The New York Times agreed with Rawls’ position in which both equality of opportunity and equality of outcome were linked, and suggested that “we should try to create the society each of us would want if we didn’t know in advance who we’d be.” Krugman favored a society in which hard-working and talented people can get rewarded for their efforts but in which there was a “social safety net” created by taxes to help the less fortunate.
Krugman’s view is pretty similar to mine. Some equivality of outcome is good (cf. Spirit Level above), but too much is bad.
Both equality of outcome and equality of opportunity have been contrasted to a great extent. When evaluated in a simple context, the more preferred term in contemporary political discourse is equality of opportunity which the public, as well as individual commentators, see as the nicer or more “well-mannered” of the two terms. And the term equality of outcome is seen as more controversial which connotes socialism or possibly communism and is viewed skeptically. A mainstream political view is that the comparison of the two terms is valid, but that they are somewhat mutually exclusive in the sense that striving for either type of equality would require sacrificing the other to an extent, and that achieving equality of opportunity necessarily brings about “certain inequalities of outcome.” For example, striving for equal outcomes might require discriminating between groups to achieve these outcomes; or striving for equal opportunities in some types of treatment might lead to unequal results. Policies that seek an equality of outcome often require a deviation from the strict application of concepts such as meritocracy, and legal notions of equality before the law for all citizens. ‘Equality seeking’ policies may also have a redistributive focus.
One newspaper account criticized discussion by politicians on the subject of equality as “weasely”, and thought that terms using the word were politically correct and bland. Nevertheless, when comparing equality of opportunity with equality of outcome, the sense was that the latter type was “worse” for society. Equality of outcome may be incorporated into a philosophy that ultimately seeks equality of opportunity. Moving towards a higher equality of outcome (albeit not perfectly equal) can lead to an environment more adept at providing equality of opportunity by eliminating conditions that restrict the possibility for members of society to fulfill their potential. For example, a child born in a poor, dangerous neighborhood with poor schools and little access to healthcare may be significantly disadvantaged in his attempts to maximize use of talents, no matter his work ethic. Thus, even proponents of meritocracy may promote some level of equality of outcome in order to create a society capable of truly providing equality of opportunity.
While outcomes can usually be measured with a great degree of precision, it is much more difficult to measure the intangible nature of opportunities. That is one reason why many proponents of equal opportunity use measures of equality of outcome to judge success. Analyst Anne Phillips argued that the proper way to assess the effectiveness of the hard-to-measure concept of equality of opportunity is by the extent of the actual and easier-to-measure equality of outcome. Nevertheless, she described single criteria to measure equality of outcome as problematic: the metric of “preference satisfaction” was “ideologically loaded” while other measures such as income or wealth were insufficient, according to her view, and she advocated an approach which combined data about resources, occupations, and roles.
When i think of equality of opportunities, i think of free access to education.
Greater equality of outcome is likely to reduce relative poverty, purportedly leading to a more cohesive society. However, if taken to an extreme it may lead to greater absolute poverty if it negatively affects a country’s GDP by damaging workers’ sense of work ethic by destroying incentives to work harder. Critics of equality of outcome believe that it is more important to raise the standard of living of the poorest in absolute terms. Some critics additionally disagree with the concept of equality of outcome on philosophical grounds .
The term dumbing down describes the deliberate diminishment of the intellectual level of the content of literature, film, schooling and education, news, and other aspects of culture. Conceptually, the term “dumb down” originated (c. 1933) as movie-business slang, used by screenplay writers, to mean “revise so as to appeal to those of little education or intelligence”. The occurrences of dumbing down vary in nature, but usually involve the oversimplification of critical thought to the degree of undermining the concept of intellectual standards — of language and learning — whereby are justified the trivialization of cultural, artistic, and academic standards of cultural works, as in popular culture. Nonetheless, the term “dumbing down” is subjective, because what someone considers as “dumbed down” usually depends upon the taste (value judgement) of the reader, the listener, and the viewer. Sociologically, Pierre Bourdieu proposes that, in a society, the cultural practices of dominant social classes are made legitimate culture to the social disadvantage of subordinate social classes and cultural groups.
Mickey Mouse degrees is the dysphemism built from the common usage of the term “Mickey Mouse” as a pejorative. It came to prominence in the UK after use by the national tabloids of the United Kingdom to label certain university degree courses worthless or irrelevant.
The term was used by education minister Margaret Hodge, during a discussion on higher education expansion. Hodge defined a Mickey Mouse course as “one where the content is perhaps not as rigorous as one would expect and where the degree itself may not have huge relevance in the labour market”; and that, furthermore, “simply stacking up numbers on Mickey Mouse courses is not acceptable”. This opinion is often raised in the summer when exam results are released and new university courses revealed. The phrase took off in the late 1990s, as the Labour government created the target of having 50% of students in higher education by 2010.
In 2000, Staffordshire University was mocked as providing ‘David Beckham Studies’ because it provided a module on the sociological importance of football to students taking sociology, sports science or media studies. A professor for the department stressed that the course would not focus on Beckham, and that the module examines “the rise of football from its folk origins in the 17th century, to the power it’s become and the central place it occupies in British culture, and indeed world culture, today.” Similarly, Durham University designed a module centred around Harry Potter to examine “prejudice, citizenship and bullying in modern society” as a part of a BA degree in Education Studies.
Other degrees deemed ‘Mickey Mouse’ include golf management and surf science. One thing these courses share is that they are vocational, which are perceived to be less intellectually rigorous than the traditional academic degrees. Perception has not been helped in the United Kingdom by the conversion of polytechnics to New Universities. These universities then have trouble competing with the more established institutions instead of being judged as polytechnic universities (though some Polytechnics have been around since 1838 – London Polytechnic) and have been offering bachelors, masters and doctorate degrees in academically challenging subjects such as engineering, physics and mathematics and natural sciences since the early 1900s.
Defenders of these courses object that the derogatory comments made in the media rely on the low symbolic capital of new subjects and rarely discuss course contents beyond the titles. Another factor is the correct or incorrect perception that the take up of these subjects, and the decline of more traditional academic subjects like science, engineering, mathematics, is causing the predictable annual grade rise in the United Kingdom.
Although it is perceived as a recent phenomenon, accusations of “dumbing down” have historical roots. In 1828, University College London was criticised for teaching English literature, a subject which has now become relatively prestigious.
The A-level in General Studies is seen as a Mickey Mouse subject, as well as A-level Critical Thinking, with many universities not accepting it as part of the requirements for an offer.
Additionally, although not considered Mickey Mouse subjects as such, some qualifications are not preferred by top universities and are regarded as “soft options“. A 2007 report stated that the sciences were more challenging than subjects such as English, which might be taken by students to get higher grades for university applications. An American example is a degree in physical education. These have been issued to members of the college’s athletics teams, to make them eligible to play; otherwise they would fail to pass traditional subjects.
Academic inflation is the process of inflation of the minimum job requirement, resulting in an excess of college-educated individuals with lower degrees (associate and bachelor’s degrees) competing for too few jobs that require these degrees and even higher, preferred qualifications (master’s or doctorate degrees). This condition causes an intensified race for higher qualification and education in a society where a bachelor’s degree today is no longer sufficient to gain employment in the same jobs that may have only required a two- or four-year degree in former years.  Inflation has occurred in the minimum degree requirements for jobs, to the level of master’s degrees, Ph.D.s, and post-doctoral, even where advanced degree knowledge is not absolutely necessary to perform the required job.
Elitism is the belief or attitude that some individuals, who form an elite — a select group of people with a certain ancestry, intrinsic quality or worth, higher intellect, wealth, specialized training or experience, or other distinctive attributes — are those whose views on a matter are to be taken the most seriously or carry the most weight; whose views and/or actions are most likely to be constructive to society as a whole; or whose extraordinary skills, abilities or wisdom render them especially fit to govern.
Alternatively, the term elitism may be used to describe a situation in which power is concentrated in the hands of a limited number of people. Oppositions of elitism include anti-elitism, egalitarianism, populism and political theory of pluralism. Elite theory is the sociological or political science analysis of elite influence in society – elite theorists regard pluralism as a utopian ideal. Elitism also refers to situations in which an individual assumes special privileges and responsibilities in the hope that this arrangement will benefit humanity or themselves. At times, elitism is closely related to social class and what sociologists call social stratification. Members of the upper classes are sometimes known as the social elite. The term elitism is also sometimes used to denote situations in which a group of people claiming to possess high abilities or simply an in-group or cadre grant themselves extra privileges at the expense of others. This form of elitism may be described as discrimination.
Attributes that identify an elite vary; personal achievement may not be essential. As a term “Elite” usually describes a person or group of people who are members of the uppermost class of society and wealth can contribute to that class determination. Personal attributes commonly purported by elitist theorists to be characteristic of the elite include: rigorous study of, or great accomplishment within, a particular field; a long track record of competence in a demanding field; an extensive history of dedication and effort in service to a specific discipline (e.g., medicine or law) or a high degree of accomplishment, training or wisdom within a given field. Elitists tend to favor systems such as meritocracy, technocracy and plutocracy as opposed to radical democracy, political egalitarianism and populism.
Some synonyms for “elite” might be “upper-class,” “aristocratic,” or “big-headed” indicating that the individual in question has a relatively large degree of control over a society’s means of production. This includes those who gain this position due to socioeconomic means and not personal achievement. However, these terms are misleading when discussing elitism as a political theory, because they are often associated with negative “class” connotations and fail to appreciate a more unbiased exploration of the philosophy.
Academic elitism is the criticism that academia or academicians are prone to elitism, or that certain experts or intellectuals propose ideas based more on support from academic colleagues than on real world experience. The term “ivory tower” often carries with it an implicit critique of academic elitism.
Some of economist Thomas Sowell‘s writings (Intellectuals and Society) suggest that academicians and intellectuals have an undeserved “halo effect” and face fewer disincentives than other professions against speaking outside their expertise. Sowell cites Bertrand Russell, Noam Chomsky and Edmund Wilson as paradigmatic examples of this phenomenon. Though respected for their contributions to various academic disciplines (respectively mathematics, linguistics, and literature), the three men became known to the general public only by making often-controversial and disputed pronouncements on politics and public policy that would not be regarded as noteworthy if offered by a medical doctor or skilled tradesman.
Critics of academic elitism argue that highly-educated people tend to form an isolated social group whose views tend to be overrepresented amongst journalists, professors, and other members of the intelligentsia who often draw their salary and funding from taxpayers. Economist Dan Klein shows that the worldwide top-35 economics departments pull 76 percent of their faculty from their own graduates. He argues that the academic culture is pyramidal, not polycentric, and resembles a closed and genteel social circle. Meanwhile, academia draws on resources from taxpayers, foundations, endowments, and tuition payers, and it judges the social service delivered. The result is a self-organizing and self-validating circle.
Another criticism is that universities tend more to pseudo-intellectualism than intellectualism per se; for example, to protect their positions and prestige, academicians may over-complicate problems and express them in obscure language (e.g., the Sokal affair, a hoax by physicist Alan Sokal attempting to show that American humanities professors invoke complicated, pseudoscientific jargon to support their political positions.) Some observers [Camille Paglia] argue that, while academicians often perceive themselves as members of an elite, their influence is mostly imaginary: “Professors of humanities, with all their leftist fantasies, have little direct knowledge of American life and no impact whatever on public policy.”
Academic elitism suggests that in highly competitive academic environments only those individuals who have engaged in scholarship are deemed to have anything worthwhile to say, or do. It suggests that individuals who have not engaged in such scholarship are cranks. Steven Zhang of the Cornell Daily Sun has described the graduates of elite schools, especially those in the Ivy League, of having a “smug sense of success” because they believe “gaining entrance into the Ivy League is an accomplishment unto itself.”
I wonder what pronouncements of Russell and Chomsky Sowell was referring to. I don’t recall reading anything bad by Russell, and Chomsky’s ideas about politics are not that bad. I’m not familiar with the last example.
Paglia again made some nice remarks.
In one of the articles quoted above, there is a ref to an interview with Camille Paglia.
It is rather funny. :D Here is a pdf, and some quotes from it.
Stripping is “a sacred dance of pagan origins” and the money men stuff into G-strings is a
“ritual offering.” “The more a woman takes off her clothes, the more power she has ” and
feminists hate strippers because “modern professional women cannot stand the thought that
their hardwon achievements can be outweighed in an instant by a young hussy flashing a
little tits and ass.”
She was asked to resign from Bennington after she kicked one student and got into a
fistfight with another A lawyer helped her stay on for two more years. She left to begin a
successful teaching career at the Philadelphia College of Performing Arts, which is now the
University of the Arts, where she remains.
PLAYBOY: Are you a feminist?
PAGLIA: I’m absolutely a feminist. The reason other feminists don’t like me is that I
criticize the movement, explaining that it needs a correction. Feminism has betrayed women,
alienated men and women, replaced dialogue with political correctness. PC feminism has
boxed women in. The idea that feminism–that liberation from domestic prison–is going to
bring happiness is just wrong. Women have advanced a great deal, but they are no happier.
The happiest women I know are not those who are balancing their careers and families, like
a lot of my friends are. The happiest people I know are the women–like my cousins–who
have a high school education, got married immediately graduating and never went to
college. They are very religious and they never question their Catholicism. They do not
regard the house as a prison.
I seem to recall that women’s happiness are declining as they get more free. Perhaps that’s the data she is refering to. I did a quick Google and found this.
PLAYBOY: Do you support the men’s movement?
PAGLIA: I think it’s absolutely necessary. It’s no coincidence that Tim Allen’s book is vying
with the Pope’s for the top of the best-seller lists. He is one of the voices of men who are
looking to define masculinity in this age. Robert Bly does this, too. We have allowed the
sexual debate to be defined by women, and that’s not right. Men must speak, and speak in
their own voices, not voices coerced by feminist moralists. Warren Farrell, in The Myth of
Male Power, points out how much propaganda has infiltrated the culture. For example, he
says that the assertion that women earn so much less than men is bullshit. The reason
women earn less than men is that women don’t want the dirty jobs. They aren’t picking up
the garbage, taking the janitorial jobs and so on. They aren’t taking the sales commission
jobs that require you to work all night and on weekends. Most women like clean, safe
offices, which is why they are still secretaries. They don’t want to get too dirty. Also, women
want offices to be nice, happy places. What bullshit. The women’s movement is rooted in the
belief that we don’t even need men. All it will take is one natural disaster to prove how
wrong that is. Then, the only thing holding this culture together will be masculine men of the
working class. The cultural elite–women and men–will be pleading for the plumbers and
the construction workers. We are such a parasitic class.
I began to realize this in the Seventies when I thought women could do it on their own. But
then something would go wrong with my car and I’d have to go to the men. Men would stop,
men would lift up the hood, more men would come with a truck and take the car to a place
where there were other men who would call other men who would arrive with parts. I saw
how feminism was completely removed from this reality.
I also learned something from the men at the garage. At Bennington, I would go to a faculty
meeting and be aware that everyone hated me. The men were appalled by a strong, loud
woman. But I went to this auto shop and the men there thought I was cute. “Oh, there’s that
Professor Paglia from the college.” The real men, men who work on cars, find me cute. They
are not frightened by me, no matter how loud I am. But the men at the college were terrified
because they are eunuchs, and I threatened every goddamned one of them.
PLAYBOY: Do you think that feminism is antisexual?
PAGLIA: The problem with America is that there’s too little sex, not too much. The more
our instincts are repressed, the more we need sex, pornography and all that. The problem is
that feminists have taken over with their attempts to inhibit sex. We have a serious
testosterone problem in this country.
PLAYBOY: Caused by what?
PAGLIA: It’s a mess out there. Men are suspicious of women’s intentions. Feminism has
crippled them. They don’t know when to make a pass. If they do make a pass, they don’t
know if they’re going to end up in court.
PLAYBOY: Is that why you’ve been so critical about the growing number 6f sexual
PAGLIA: Yes, though I believe in moderate sexual harassment guidelines. But you can’t the
Stalinist situation we have in America right now, where any neurotic woman can make any
stupid charge and destroy a man’s reputation. If there is evidence of false accusation, the
accuser should be expelled. Similarly, a woman who falsely accuses a man of rape should be
sent to jail. My definition of sexual harassment is specific. It is only sexual harassment–by a
man or a woman–if it is quid pro quo. That is, if someone says, “You must do this or I’m going to do that”–for instance, fire you. And whereas touching is sexual harassment, speech
is not. I am militant on this. Words must remain free. The solution to speech is that women
must signal the level of their tolerance–women are all different. Some are very bawdy.
PLAYBOY: What, about women who are easily offended and too scared or intimidated to
PAGLIA: Too bad. You must develop the verbal tools to counter offensive language. That s
life. Feminism has created a privileged, white middle class of girls who claim they’re victims
because they want to preserve their bourgeois decorum and passivity.
Amen. Recall Sweden’s rape laws?
Sweden has one of the toughest laws on sexual crime in the world – lawyers sometimes joke that men need written permission first.
… (these quotes are from BBC)
There is the most serious kind, involving major violence.
But below that there is the concept of ‘regular rape’, still involving violence but not violence of the utmost horror.
And below that there is the idea of ‘unlawful coercion’. Talking generally, and not about the Assange case, this might involve putting emotional pressure on someone.
The three categories involve prison sentences of 10, six and four years respectively.
Putting emotional pressure on someone? wtf
The case may turn on if or when consensual sex turned into non-consensual sex – is a male decision not to use a condom a case of that, for example?
Under Swedish law, Mr Assange has not been formally charged. He has merely been accused and told he has questions to answer.
The process is for the prosecutor to question him to see if a formal criminal accusation should then be laid before a court.
There would then be a hearing in front of some lay people to see if that formal charge should go to a formal trial.
The attitude towards rape in Sweden – informed by a strong sense of women’s rights – means that it is more likely to be reported to police.
Some 53 rape offences are reported per 100,000 people, the highest rate in Europe.
The figures may reflect a higher number of actual rapes committed but it seems more likely that tough attitudes and a broader definition of the crime are more significant factors.
… (back to Paglia interview)
PLAYBOY: You once said that you look through the eyes of a rapist. What did you mean?
PAGLIA: I have lesbian impulses, so I understand how a man looks at a woman.
PLAYBOY: Why did you say a rapist rather than a man?
PAGLIA: Men do look at women as rapists. When I was growing up, it wasn’t possible for
me to do anything about my attraction to women. Lesbianism didn’t exist in that time, as far
as I knew. If I were young today, when everyone is experimenting-bisexuality is in with a lot
of young women–it would have been different. But I always felt frustrated and excluded,
looking in from a distance. As a woman, I couldn’t rape–it’s not possible–but if I had been a
man with similar feelings, who knows? I developed a stalking thing.PLAYBOY: When does that kind of lust become rape?
PAGLIA: There may have been cases when I would have gone over the line. I understand
when men complain about women giving mixed messages, because women have given me a
lot of mixed messages. I understand the rage that this can cause.
PLAYBOY: Give us an example.
PAGLIA: A woman I’m talking with at some event says, “Let’s leave here and go to this bar,”
which is a lesbian bar. We go to the bar and we’re talking and then she says, “Let’s go have
coffee,” and we go to this coffee shop and end up, at three in the morning, half a block from
her apartment. Finally, she says, “All right, well, goodnight.” She’s ready to go home alone
and I look at her, like, “What do you mean? Aren’t we going to go back to your apartment?”
“No.” “What?” And she says, “Do you think I was leading you on?” Un-fucking-believable. I
can’t tell you the rage. I am, at that point, looking at her and…. All I can say is, if I had been
an 18-year-old street kid instead of a 45-year-old woman, I would have stabbed her. I was
completely humiliated and furious. If I had been a guy with a hard-on, I would have hit her.
PLAYBOY: Would you have been justified in hitting her?
PAGLIA: That’s not the point. The point is that I would have. Women must be aware of the
signals they send out, aware that, at three in the morning, with that flirting, they have created
expectations. If they fail to fulfill those expectations, they can be in trouble. They could be
out with a Ted Bundy or a Jeffrey Dahmer. A woman cannot go on a date, have a bunch of
drinks and go back to some guy’s dorm room or apartment and then, when he jumps on her,
cry date rape. Most people aren’t sure what’s going to happen on a first date. Given that
ambiguity, every woman must be totally aware at every moment that she is responsible for
every choice she makes.
PLAYBOY: Is there a certain personality type that becomes obsessed?
PAGLIA: I collected 599 pictures of Elizabeth Taylor–some people find that obsessive. I
collected 599. Not 600, but 599. I feel that genius and obsession be the same thing. It is rare when a woman is driven by obsession. Similarly, it is rare when a woman is a genius. That’s
why I said one of my most notorious sentences, that there is no woman Mozart because there
is no woman Jack the Ripper. Men are more prone to obsession because they are fleeing
domination by women. They flee to a chess game or to a computer or to fixing a car, or
whatever, to attempt to complete their identities, because they always feel incomplete.
PLAYBOY: Why do cars or computers complete our identities?
PAGLIA: Because they are separate from the emotion that is fixated on women. Very
masculine men are not at home in the world of emotion, which requires judgments that are
not cause and effect. Heterosexuals have a kind of tunnel vision, which is a virtue, in my
opinion. It allows them to make the great breakthroughs in music or science. The feminist
line is that there are no women Mozarts because we have been trained to believe that we
can’t succeed in that field or we were never given the opportunity to excel because we were
being groomed to be wives. I don’t think that anymore. It’s hormones.
PLAYBOY: You have said that you disagree with Germaine Greer’s contrary opinion–that
the greatest artists are not women because “you cannot get great art from mutilated egos.”
PAGLIA: The fact is, you get great art only from mutilated egos. Only mutilated egos are
obsessive enough. When I entered graduate school in 1968, 1 thought women were going to
have all these enormous achievements, that they would redo everything. Then I saw every
one of my female friends–these great minds who were going to transform the world–get
married, move because their husbands moved and have babies. I screamed at them: What are
you doing? Finish your great book! But they all read me the riot act. They said, “Camille, we
are not you.” They said, “We want life. We want love. We want happiness. We are not
happy–like you are–just living off ideas.” I am weird. I am more like Dahmer was or
Hinckley. I’m like one of those obsessives. Or Dante.