Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Lady of the Camillias

I used to read Salon, the online cultural magazine a lot back in the late 90s when I did most of my surfing in the cyber café below the video shop I used to work in. I have been out of touch a lot since then but the glory of RSS feeds has effected a rapprochement.

The first piece I read was an interview with Camille Paglia, the great American maverick feminist, one of the few of the type possessed of genuine wit, charisma and a thrilling ability to excoriate the true fools of this world. I hadn't heard much about Paglia either lately so it was good to get back in the groove. She has pertinent things to say about the Democrats' rabid zeal in throttling the Mark Foley case to death for short-term political gain, restates her view that Clinton was the biggest sexual harasser in the US for what he got up to as both governor of Arkansas and in the White House, and she also has this hilarious spiel about Bush's foreign policy and its wilful vindication of Noam Chomsky, a man whom I have begun to tire of more and more these past few years:

The feckless behavior of the Bush administration has been a lurid illustration of Noam Chomsky's books -- which I've always considered half lunatic. Chomsky's hatred of the United States is pathological -- stemming from some bilious problem with father figures that is too fetid to explore. But Chomsky's toxic view of American imperialism and interventionism is like the playbook of the rigid foreign policy of the Bush administration. So, thanks very much, George Bush, you've managed to rocket Noam Chomsky to the top of the bestseller list!

Well there was Hugo Chavez too... There are few militant leftists in the US willing to think and pronounce lucidly on real political matters, in a way that might mean defending political enemies and criticising seemingly natural allies. We should all be thankful for Paglia, a breath of fresh air in the stagnant fug of political discourse in the United States.