Camille Paglia is my favorite liberal.
The claim is not due to similarities of religious or political conviction, but rather because she accurately explains my viewpoints despite our disagreements. I am able to listen as she describes my beliefs without constantly wanting to clarify or correct.
It seems odd to admit that someone possesses more intellect in the same breath as “but I disagree.” The assumption is, this person is intelligent, therefore I agree with her position. Or, the order may be, I know this person is intelligent because of our agreement.
Look across social media platforms and what do you find, ad hominem and straw man tossed about as if the reverberations are clearly ringing outside of ones echo chamber.
Politicians are simultaneously champions and fools. Consider your reaction to names such as Elizabeth Warren, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Sarah Palin, Ted Cruz, Donald Trump. The names you respect have other people laughing, the names that instill the passion for your arguments are causing your opposition to cringe.
Another characteristic of Paglia that I admire is her grounding in historical context. She does not labor to describe a hypothetical utopia and then complain to no end that reality does not match. She is knowledgeable of the rise and fall of civilizations, able to recognize strengths and errors of previous ages with objective eyes on current trends.
Political discussions tend to be obnoxious, and there is no need for my input. People that were angry in 2016 are still bitter, and those who were elated are still anxious for the next election.
However, typing my thoughts do distract me from yelling about the need for CONTEXT when scrolling on social media.
< // >
I say these things as a member of Paglia’s target audience for Glittering Images. The first traveling art exhibit I went to was a collection of Monet paintings in Raleigh, and I returned to see Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks. I have sat in front of Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon at the MoMA in New York, I have walked among Renaissance paintings at the Getty in Los Angeles, and I went to the MASS MoCA specifically to view the retrospective of Sol LeWitt’s wall drawings. My interest in art goes beyond such things, but those specifics enhance my art degree.
On the one hand, I am aware of conservatives who repudiate Modern/Post Modern/Contemporary Art. During my early teens I was condemned to Hell by a stranger for having long hair and at another church, someone called me a spawn of Satan for playing Rock music.
On the other hand, her criticism against the Left is familiar to me as well.
Earlier this year I was in New York visiting the Strand Bookstore. Across the outside of the building were stickers that read, “Hermione 2020” and “Read Banned Books.” This was my third visit to the store, so I expected these things. However, at the time of this vacation, 12 Rules for Life was a best seller in multiple markets, and yet suspiciously absent from the entrance to the bookstore. The “Read Banned Books” motto reminded me of my upbringing during the 90’s/00’s, a time in which the Religious Right sought to censor sexual content from books, television, and music. Yet, it seems clear to me that the censors of the 2010’s are the Virtuous Left. Upon entering Strand I was presented with rows of similar books dedicated to the mind of Karl Marx, the boldness of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and the depravity of Donald Trump.
Eventually, I found a stack of 12 Rules for Life in the basement, which is far from the table of best sellers, but within the section of the store devoted to Philosophy, Psychology, and Religion.
I spent a few minutes pacing the basement as I debated whether or not to buy the book. My arms already held other books waiting to be purchased, and I didn’t want to cause a scene in front of my wife. Perhaps I could make the purchase while she was upstairs, maybe the clerk would not call me a Nazi for buying a book by Peterson. I moved toward the stack to pick one. “Oh, my gawd! Look, can you believe they have this?!” Someone jumped out in front of me, looking to an older man coming down the stairs. “Yes, we all laugh at Peterson,” said the gentleman while looking at me. He paused for a moment in order to read my reaction, but no other words were spoken.
My plan for the trip back home was to stop at Princeton University for the purchase of the book. I assumed this hub of rigorous discourse and diversity would have 12 Rules for Life in the student bookstore. Once again, front and center were items dedicated to the brilliance of Marx and disdain for Trump. Though this time, Peterson was nowhere to be found, despite having the best selling book on Amazon.
< // >
Have I mentioned the time I went to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte? I am almost certain of my position as the only registered Republican in the group. The event was at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. My favorite professor was a featured artist at the museum during the first day of the convention and I volunteered to assist with public interactions. (SHERYL ORING)
I had a minor role in the activity, but I was interviewed by NPR. Yet, I am humbled by my inability to find the interview online.
Speaking of NPR and perhaps circling back to the beginning of this post, I am reminded of the past two times this station was on my radio. Each situation, the topic at hand was Charlottesville and how that particular event was indicative of white southern Republicans. Yet, Antifa was only mentioned briefly with the two seconds required to say, “peaceful protestors.”
The hosts of the program did touch on Republicans not trusting the media, but they provided no introspection of themselves or distinction between the Alt-Right and the conservative Right. I kept yelling at the radio to address WHY Republicans distrust the media, but they were quickly blaming Trump for other things.
So, I’m supposed to be outraged that the President gets 2 scoops of ice cream while other people only get 1 scoop. (THIS IS CNN)
And I’m supposed to be impressed by the way Hillary breathes. ( HERE’S WHY YOU SHOULD, TOO )
Remember when Ivanka gave her daughter a dog? ( ‘ALL WHITE’ DOG )
< // >
Honestly, I could mention more, but that seems rude considering this post began with a link to a 68-minute video.