Wednesday, September 10, 2008

paglia on palin

Interesting post by Camille Paglia, Philadelphia's own iconoclastic postfeminist, on Sarah Palin in Salon today:

"Conservative though she may be, I felt that Palin represented an explosion of a brand new style of muscular American feminism. At her startling debut on that day, she was combining male and female qualities in ways that I have never seen before. And she was somehow able to seem simultaneously reassuringly traditional and gung-ho futurist. In terms of redefining the persona for female authority and leadership, Palin has made the biggest step forward in feminism since Madonna channeled the dominatrix persona of high-glam Marlene Dietrich and rammed pro-sex, pro-beauty feminism down the throats of the prissy, victim-mongering, philistine feminist establishment."

Not sure about the last sentence, nor how Paglia, who I believe has described herself as a bisexual who prefers women (something like that), would get on with Palin face to face. Still there's more than a grain of truth to her argument. Certainly younger women, forced to choose between the I'll-nurse-my-fifth-child-while-tearing-your-lungs-out approach of Palin and the don't-have-more-than-one-kid-and-do-it-after-tenure approach of the old-line feminists, may not find it much of a choice.

I'm also fascinated, although not surprised, by the Obamaite response. The Obama campaign encouraged a cult of youth and personality without articulating any substantial differences from the Clinton candidacy. Now they are complaining about McCain/Palin's lack of substance and their substitution of a vague "change" mantra for detailed policy programs. Maybe there's something to this criticism. But is their candidate really the one to be making it?


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