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No Longer Writing, Philip Roth Still Has Plenty to Say

With the death of Richard Wilbur in October, Philip Roth became the longest-serving member in the literature department of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, that august Hall of Fame on Audubon Terrace in northern Manhattan, which is to the arts what Cooperstown is to baseball. He’s been a member so long he can recall when the academy included now all-but-forgotten figures like Malcolm Cowley and Glenway Wescott — white-haired luminaries from another era. Just recently Roth joined William Faulkner, Henry James and Jack London as one of very few Americans to be included in the French Pleiades editions (the model for our own Library of America), and the Italian publisher Mondadori is also bringing out his work in its Meridiani series of classic authors. All this late-life eminence — which also includes the Spanish Prince of Asturias Award in 2012 and being named a commander in the Légion d’Honneur of France in 2013 — seems both to gratify and to amuse him. “Just look at this,” he said to me last month, holding up the ornately bound Mondadori volume, as thick as a Bible and comprising titles like “Lamento di Portnoy” and “Zuckerman Scatenato.” “Who reads books like this?”
In 2012, as he approached 80, Roth famously announced that he had retired from writing. (He actually stopped two years earlier.) In the years since, he has spent a certain amount of time setting the record straight. He wrote a lengthy and impassioned letter to Wikipedia, for example, challenging the online encyclopedia’s preposterous contention that he was not a credible witness to his own life. (Eventually, Wikipedia backed down and redid the Roth entry in its entirety.) Roth is also in regular touch with Blake Bailey, whom he appointed as his official biographer and who has already amassed 1,900 pages of notes for a book expected to be half that length. And just recently, he supervised the publication of “Why Write?,” the 10th and last volume in the Library of America edition of his work. A sort of final sweeping up, a polishing of the legacy, it includes a selection of literary essays from the 1960s and ’70s; the full text of “Shop Talk,” his 2001 collection of conversations and interviews with other writers, many of them European; and a section of valedictory essays and addresses, several published here for the first time. Not accidentally, the book ends with the three-word sentence “Here I am” — between hard covers, that is.
But mostly now Roth leads the quiet life of an Upper West Side retiree. (His house in Connecticut, where he used to seclude himself for extended bouts of writing, he now uses only in the summer.) He sees friends, goes to concerts, checks his email, watches old movies on FilmStruck. Not long ago he had a visit from David Simon, the creator of “The Wire,” who is making a six-part mini-series of “The Plot Against America,” and afterward he said he was sure his novel was in good hands. Roth’s health is good, though he has had several surgeries for a recurring back problem, and he seems cheerful and contented. He’s thoughtful but still, when he wants to be, very funny.
I have interviewed Roth on several occasions over the years, and last month I asked if we could talk again. Like a lot of his readers, I wondered what the author of “American Pastoral,” “I Married a Communist” and “The Plot Against America” made of this strange period we are living in now. And I was curious about how he spent his time. Sudoku? Daytime TV? He agreed to be interviewed but only if it could be done via email. He needed to take some time, he said, and think about what he wanted to say.
C.M. In a few months you’ll turn 85. Do you feel like an elder? What has growing old been like?
P.R. Yes, in just a matter of months I’ll depart old age to enter deep old age — easing ever deeper daily into the redoubtable Valley of the Shadow. Right now it is astonishing to find myself still here at the end of each day. Getting into bed at night I smile and think, “I lived another day.” And then it’s astonishing again to awaken eight hours later and to see that it is morning of the next day and that I continue to be here. “I survived another night,” which thought causes me to smile once more. I go to sleep smiling and I wake up smiling. I’m very pleased that I’m still alive. Moreover, when this happens, as it has, week after week and month after month since I began drawing Social Security, it produces the illusion that this thing is just never going to end, though of course I know that it can stop on a dime. It’s something like playing a game, day in and day out, a high-stakes game that for now, even against the odds, I just keep winning. We will see how long my luck holds out.

Philip Roth at home in New York City in January 2018. Philip Montgomery for The New York Times
C.M. Now that you’ve retired as a novelist, do you ever miss writing, or think about un-retiring?
P.R. No, I don’t. That’s because the conditions that prompted me to stop writing fiction seven years ago haven’t changed. As I say in “Why Write?,” by 2010 I had “a strong suspicion that I’d done my best work and anything more would be inferior. I was by this time no longer in possession of the mental vitality or the verbal energy or the physical fitness needed to mount and sustain a large creative attack of any duration on a complex structure as demanding as a novel.... Every talent has its terms — its nature, its scope, its force; also its term, a tenure, a life span.... Not everyone can be fruitful forever.”
C.M. Looking back, how do you recall your 50-plus years as a writer?
P.R. Exhilaration and groaning. Frustration and freedom. Inspiration and uncertainty. Abundance and emptiness. Blazing forth and muddling through. The day-by-day repertoire of oscillating dualities that any talent withstands — and tremendous solitude, too. And the silence: 50 years in a room silent as the bottom of a pool, eking out, when all went well, my minimum daily allowance of usable prose.
C.M. In “Why Write?” you reprint your famous essay “Writing American Fiction,” which argues that American reality is so crazy that it almost outstrips the writer’s imagination. It was 1960 when you said that. What about now? Did you ever foresee an America like the one we live in today?
P.R. No one I know of has foreseen an America like the one we live in today. No one (except perhaps the acidic H. L. Mencken, who famously described American democracy as “the worship of jackals by jackasses”) could have imagined that the 21st-century catastrophe to befall the U.S.A., the most debasing of disasters, would appear not, say, in the terrifying guise of an Orwellian Big Brother but in the ominously ridiculous commedia dell’arte figure of the boastful buffoon. How naïve I was in 1960 to think that I was an American living in preposterous times! How quaint! But then what could I know in 1960 of 1963 or 1968 or 1974 or 2001 or 2016?
C.M. Your 2004 novel, “The Plot Against America,” seems eerily prescient today. When that novel came out, some people saw it as a commentary on the Bush administration, but there were nowhere near as many parallels then as there seem to be now.
P.R. However prescient “The Plot Against America” might seem to you, there is surely one enormous difference between the political circumstances I invent there for the U.S. in 1940 and the political calamity that dismays us so today. It’s the difference in stature between a President Lindbergh and a President Trump. Charles Lindbergh, in life as in my novel, may have been a genuine racist and an anti-Semite and a white supremacist sympathetic to Fascism, but he was also — because of the extraordinary feat of his solo trans-Atlantic flight at the age of 25 — an authentic American hero 13 years before I have him winning the presidency. Lindbergh, historically, was the courageous young pilot who in 1927, for the first time, flew nonstop across the Atlantic, from Long Island to Paris. He did it in 33.5 hours in a single-seat, single-engine monoplane, thus making him a kind of 20th-century Leif Ericson, an aeronautical Magellan, one of the earliest beacons of the age of aviation. Trump, by comparison, is a massive fraud, the evil sum of his deficiencies, devoid of everything but the hollow ideology of a megalomaniac.

Philip Montgomery for The New York Times
C.M. One of your recurrent themes has been male sexual desire — thwarted desire, as often as not — and its many manifestations. What do you make of the moment we seem to be in now, with so many women coming forth and accusing so many highly visible men of sexual harassment and abuse?
P.R. I am, as you indicate, no stranger as a novelist to the erotic furies. Men enveloped by sexual temptation is one of the aspects of men’s lives that I’ve written about in some of my books. Men responsive to the insistent call of sexual pleasure, beset by shameful desires and the undauntedness of obsessive lusts, beguiled even by the lure of the taboo — over the decades, I have imagined a small coterie of unsettled men possessed by just such inflammatory forces they must negotiate and contend with. I’ve tried to be uncompromising in depicting these men each as he is, each as he behaves, aroused, stimulated, hungry in the grip of carnal fervor and facing the array of psychological and ethical quandaries the exigencies of desire present. I haven’t shunned the hard facts in these fictions of why and how and when tumescent men do what they do, even when these have not been in harmony with the portrayal that a masculine public-relations campaign — if there were such a thing — might prefer. I’ve stepped not just inside the male head but into the reality of those urges whose obstinate pressure by its persistence can menace one’s rationality, urges sometimes so intense they may even be experienced as a form of lunacy. Consequently, none of the more extreme conduct I have been reading about in the newspapers lately has astonished me.
C.M. Before you were retired, you were famous for putting in long, long days. Now that you’ve stopped writing, what do you do with all that free time?
P.R. I read — strangely or not so strangely, very little fiction. I spent my whole working life reading fiction, teaching fiction, studying fiction and writing fiction. I thought of little else until about seven years ago. Since then I’ve spent a good part of each day reading history, mainly American history but also modern European history. Reading has taken the place of writing, and constitutes the major part, the stimulus, of my thinking life.
C.M. What have you been reading lately?
P.R. I seem to have veered off course lately and read a heterogeneous collection of books. I’ve read three books by Ta-Nehisi Coates, the most telling from a literary point of view, “The Beautiful Struggle,” his memoir of the boyhood challenge from his father. From reading Coates I learned about Nell Irvin Painter’s provocatively titled compendium “The History of White People.” Painter sent me back to American history, to Edmund Morgan’s “American Slavery, American Freedom,” a big scholarly history of what Morgan calls “the marriage of slavery and freedom” as it existed in early Virginia. Reading Morgan led me circuitously to reading the essays of Teju Cole, though not before my making a major swerve by reading Stephen Greenblatt’s “The Swerve,” about the circumstances of the 15th-century discovery of the manuscript of Lucretius’ subversive “On the Nature of Things.” This led to my tackling some of Lucretius’ long poem, written sometime in the first century B.C.E., in a prose translation by A. E. Stallings. From there I went on to read Greenblatt’s book about “how Shakespeare became Shakespeare,” “Will in the World.” How in the midst of all this I came to read and enjoy Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography, “Born to Run,” I can’t explain other than to say that part of the pleasure of now having so much time at my disposal to read whatever comes my way invites unpremeditated surprises.
Pre-publication copies of books arrive regularly in the mail, and that’s how I discovered Steven Zipperstein’s “Pogrom: Kishinev and the Tilt of History.” Zipperstein pinpoints the moment at the start of the 20th century when the Jewish predicament in Europe turned deadly in a way that foretold the end of everything. “Pogrom” led me to find a recent book of interpretive history, Yuri Slezkine’s “The Jewish Century,” which argues that “the Modern Age is the Jewish Age, and the 20th century, in particular, is the Jewish Century.” I read Isaiah Berlin’s “Personal Impressions,” his essay-portraits of the cast of influential 20th-century figures he’d known or observed. There is a cameo of Virginia Woolf in all her terrifying genius and there are especially gripping pages about the initial evening meeting in badly bombarded Leningrad in 1945 with the magnificent Russian poet Anna Akhmatova, when she was in her 50s, isolated, lonely, despised and persecuted by the Soviet regime. Berlin writes, “Leningrad after the war was for her nothing but a vast cemetery, the graveyard of her friends. … The account of the unrelieved tragedy of her life went far beyond anything which anyone had ever described to me in spoken words.” They spoke until 3 or 4 in the morning. The scene is as moving as anything in Tolstoy.
Just in the past week, I read books by two friends, Edna O’Brien’s wise little biography of James Joyce and an engagingly eccentric autobiography, “Confessions of an Old Jewish Painter,” by one of my dearest dead friends, the great American artist R. B. Kitaj. I have many dear dead friends. A number were novelists. I miss finding their new books in the mail.

#MeToo, or not?

Atitudinea Catherinei Deneuve sustinuta de un grup de femei franceze a nascut cel putin atatea comentarii si dispute precum si infiintarea miscarii #MeToo de peste ocean.  Tema e foarte cunoscuta, voi reda doar doua luari de pozitie: una din partea unui intelectual, barbat, a doua un punct de vedere relativ la impactul societal al noii probleme de pe firmament:

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Am dat peste un articol în care apare observația actriței Catherine Deneuve, legată de “libertatea bărbaților de a inoportuna”, prin care ea blamează extremismul culturii feministe. Teoretic îi cam dau dreptate fiindcă teoretic, din teama de a nu fi acuzați de alte alea, bărbații vor evita la maxim interacțiunea cu femeile, acel prim pas pe care îl au de făcut, nu va fi făcut niciodată. Pe de altă parte, a pipăi o femeie în autobuz, e o mizerie, nu o manifestare a libertății de a inoportuna. Înclin totuși spre Denevue mai mult decât spre metoo, dar sunt conștient că perspectiva mea e părtinitoare și afectată de faptul că sunt un om educat și capabil să vadă rapid, dacă o femeie îmi dorește atenția sau nu sau dorește o atenție pe care nu sunt dispus să i-o ofer.
Acum niște ani, un individ gay s-a băgat în seamă cu mine, și-a permis să mă inoportuneze cu un compliment legat de “aspectul meu de artist”, eu i-am explicat că nu sunt artist, că sunt destul de praf la simțul estetic, care se rezumă la pasiunea mea pentru șoldurile femeilor. Am mai schimbat politețuri, iar omul s-a retras în treaba lui. Ne-am înțeles rapid că nu e cazul de insistențe, fără revolte, mofturi sau rotiri de ochi peste cap. Sunt destui bărbați straight care n-au educația și bunul simț al respectivului tovarăș gay. Când ești prostovan, nu faci diferența între o femeie care nu te vrea și una care “se lasă greu”, o femeie ușoară și una care te dorește în mod special și personal. Dacă ești prostovan, e mai bine să îți fie frică. Poate că madam Deneuve n-a avut ocazia de a interacționa cu maimuțoi d-ăștia pe care nu-i vrea nimeni și care se dau peste cap pentru a exploata diverse vulnerabilități feminine, pentru a mai diversifica deprinderea onanistă.
Alt aspect e acela că și femeile “inoportunează”, a judeca lucrurile ca și cum ar fi același lucru, e stupid. Cum ar putea să mă inoportuneze pe mine, o ființă fragilă fizic? Poate doar prin a mă pune în situația de a refuza direct apropierea, ceea ce e stânjenitor, cel mult. Pe când un prost care îi reproșează femeii care îl refuză că ar fi “arogantă” sau “cu nasul pe sus”, e ridicol. De asemenea, a sugera unei femei din mediul de lucru, că dacă “îți dă atenție” va avea niște avantaje sau că ar putea avea dezavantaje dacă n-o face, este un gest specific unui spirit bolnav și impotent, care din păcate adesea își găsește răspuns pozitiv.
Un alt aspect legat de a profita de slăbiciunea unei femei, este inclusiv acela de a profita de nevoia ei de sex. Este tot exploatarea unei vulnerabilități. Convingerea generală conform căreia în mare parte, bărbații sunt mai ispitibili sexual decât femeile și cu o nevoie mai mare de sex, este un mit cretin, nefondat și nejustificat. El apare din pricină că dacă o femeie vrea sex e suficient să lase ușa deschisă și să aștepte, pe când un bărbat trebuie să se agite, iar agitația e mai vizibilă decât așteptarea. Sexualitatea e cea mai mare vulnerabilitate a unei femei, iar a profita de această vulnerabilitate, este o meschinărie.
În final, sexualitatea e o chestiune foarte complicată și căzută în tabu din pricina prostiei generalizate, ale cărei șanse de remediabilitate sunt scăzute. Blogurile destul de jalnice despre relații și sexualitate sunt în general citite tot de femei, care în disperarea lor de a întâlni un bărbat, ajung să se amăgească prostește în cazurile unora ceva mai dresați comportamental.
În ambele cazuri, pentru mine, și meschinăria și prostia sunt la fel de culpabile, chiar dacă prostia e ceva mai iertabilă atunci când promite îndreptare și dovedește trezire. Când hoțul păgubește prostul, pedepsim doar hoțul, pentru că prostul e deja “pedepsit” prin paguba suferită, dar ambii sunt culpabili în zona lor. Singurul motiv pentru care nu pedepsim tentativa de sinucidere, ca tentativă de omor e pentru că victima și criminalul se confundă, iar a pedepsi o victima nevinovată e mai grav decât a ierta un criminal vinovat.
Dacă madam Deneuve e dispusă să rabde pipăieli inoportune și ajunge să pătimească de pe urma lor, o privește. Găsesc reacția ei totuși ca binevenită în contrapondere cu extremismele feministe. Ideea e că noi ăștia masculii, trebuie să ne dezvoltăm niște simțuri mai acute și să ne educăm mai bine privitor la maniera de interacțiune cu femeile, iar femeile trebuie să aibă curajul de a reteza abrupt avansurile nedorite, chit că uneori le gâdilă orgoliul și să priceapă că dacă nu le convine ceva la un bărbat care forțează nota prin insistențe, argumente sau fizic, vor găsi întotdeauna susținere în jur, o susținere pe care sunt datoare s-o ofere celorlalte femei la rândul lor.

Smaranda Dobrescu

Se pare ca polemica iscata pune in priza doua generatii de feministe: cele mai in varsta care considera #MeToo o amenintare pentru libertatea sexuala obtinuta in anii 1960 si cele mai tinere pentru care lupta impotriva hartuirii sexuale constituie ultima etapa in lupta pentru drepturile femeilor.
Din 1960 pana in prezent lupta sustinuta a femeilor indemnate de corectitudinea politica in progres a adus femeilor mai multa independenta materiala, o cariera dupa posibilitati si pofta inimii, le-a adus curajul de a-si sustine drepturi. Pe planul national acest lucru a insemnat o descrestere demografica cauzata si de factorul inegalitatii sociale in crestere. Feminismul in unele cazuri a prevalat asupra unor instincte probate secole la rand inainte iar ca rezultat, factorul demografic pe parte de natalitate este in mare suferinta..
Aceasta noua miscare, dupa cea de emancipare ar putea aduce un element nou la nivel societal si anume respingerea ab initio a barbatilor, potentiali hartuitori sexuali. Ar putea fi o etapa premergatoare celei de-a treia etape care ar multiplica nasterile pe fond genetic, fara contributii "clasice" ale parintilor. Adica si fara parinti. In extremis, peste decenii, omenirea va deveni asexuata. Parcurgem etapele pas cu pas... 
Evident, cele de mai sus sunt deocamdata doar o presupunere pesimista...

Ierarhizarea ne-naturala a societatii

Umanismul este în mod inerent împotriva oricărei discriminări bazate pe criterii rasiale, etnice, de gen, religioase etc. Corectitudinea politică impune însă, un respect nejustificat pentru categoriile discriminate istoric. Non-discriminarea coincide cu neutralitatea în fața oricărei categorii umane generice. Respectul față de categoriile cândva victimizate este un abuz deoarece nu sunt întrunite criteriile care îl atrag în mod natural. Respectul presupune existența unui merit. Faptul de a fi femeie, trans-sexual, bisexual, sectant nu reprezintă un merit. În aceasta constă malignitatea gândirii corect politice. Cheia corectitudinii politice din faza actuala este ruginita tocmai pentru ca categorii de oameni se bucura de un plus de respect din partea societatii. Se formeaza o discriminare in sens opus celei care a dus la aparitia tezelor corectitudinii politice si umanismul are de suferit. E vorba de un dezechilibru. Din antichitate si pana in present, respectul il ofera o societate meritocratiei sale si nu victimelor care merita compasiune.
Prin incercarea de reparatii morale acordate  victimelor, distrugem meritocratia
Ierarhiile intr-o societate sunt un lucru firesc, o impunere naturala . Cei din varful piramidei ar trenbui sa elaboreze regulile de functionare a societatii. “Cel mai inteligent ar trebui sa faca legea” spunea Platon in Republica.
Ierarhia este insasi structura sociala. Ea e necesara; fara aceasta exista totalitarism si entropie comunistoida. De aceea cand puterea e de stanga (daca mai exista cumva analogie intre doctrina si actiune politica) si mai ales daca avem o stanga regresiva, e de bun simt ca societatea sa compenseze dezechilibrele eventuale prin manifestari individuale proprii dreptei. Bunul simt are in vedere si cealalta prezumtie.
Este destul de delicat cazul actual al Romaniei cand puterea si opozitia institutionalizate au demersuri de dreapta. Ca lucrurile sa fie si mai complicate, masurile de stanga nu sunt propuse decat de o stanga neinstitutionalizata, radicala, care neintelegandu-si menirea prea bine poate folosi fie un ortodoxism extrem fie aceleasi tehnici ale corectitudinii politice. 
Ne confruntam asadar cu un capitalism extrem la baza in sens economic, cu propaganda de stanga slab sau deloc manifesta en plain air si cu propaganda incoerenta total din partea societatii civile.  Asa se formeaza forta centrifuga care poate aduce aproape legic puterea totala.  Cel care va putea asigura hrana populatiei si o buna propaganda religioasa va reprezenta puterea totala sau totalitara.
Vorbeam de umanism, de meritocratie? Ne pastram asadar in termenii corectitudinii politice. Deocamdata.



Léon Krier

When Florence was the cultural and financial capital of the Renaissance, it contained scarcely 70,000 inhabitants. On foot, one could traverse this glorious city in twenty minutes from one side to the other. In the fifteenth century the most populous cities of Europe -- Paris, Milan and Venice -- contained no more than 100,000 people and already Leonardo da Vinci was proposing to divide his city into five autonomous riones (quarters).

Before 1800, and with the exception of Cologne, each of the most powerful and prestigious of the 150 German cities had no more than 35,000 inhabitants; Nuremberg had about 20,000. If the German architect, urbanist and teacher Heinrich Tessenow affirmed that there was a strict relationship between the economic and cultural wealth of a city on the one hand, and the limitation of its population on the other, he was advancing not a hypothesis but a historical fact. By cultural and material wealth he did not mean absolute power, but the just and harmonious relationship established between the citizens of a city and its territory.

In contrast to the zones of an industrialized territory, the measurements and geometric organization of a city and of its quarters are never the result of chance or accident or simply of economic necessity. The measurements and geometric order of a city and of its quarters constitute a project which is moral and legislative, technical and aesthetic.

As the glove and the shoe are the accomplished forms used to cover hands and feet, similarly the house and the street, the palace and the square are the just types and forms to shelter and protect the social life of a people.

It is a fact that a city of more than 50,000 inhabitants will not succeed in living solely on the resources of its surrounding territory unless blessed by the most clement of climates. Beyond a certain size, the mere logistics of supply and distribution become the principal aim of civic life; thus the majority of citizens are employed in the branches of distribution, administration, and services. Instead, we should realize that the right form of the city exists only in the right scale. An object that imitates a glove but which weighs ten tons is not a glove.

In violent opposition to the designers of industrial projects, in contrast to the numerous teachings of the Bauhaus, the Deutscher Werkbund, or the Nazi Deutsche Arbeits Front (DAF), there is no reason to believe that the measurements of the city and of its parts lie in mathematical precision. We are not interested in utopias or ideal projects and we refuse to occupy ourselves with ideal and abstract measurements. Such preoccupations are characteristic of merchants and policemen; they always confuse the notions of type and standard, of normality and norm. Monsters and midgets define the limits of normality; one by excess, the other by insufficiency. In order to define a normal measure it is thus sufficient for us to indicate limits, that is to say, the maximum and the minimum.

But measure does not only concern the geometric dimension of spaces and objects of the city and its quarters, but also the size of human communities. Like a tree or a man, a human community cannot exceed a certain dimension without becoming a monster; either a giant or a dwarf. As Aristotle said: "To the size of cities there is a limit as is the case with everything, with plants, animals, tools; because none of these can retain its natural power if it is too large or too small, for it then loses its nature or it is spoilt" (Aristotle, Politics).

Similarly, Galileo maintained that a man of 100 meters in height made of flesh and bone would imprison himself and would be incapable of living on this planet. The Pythagoreans taught that evil belonged to the realm of the limitless and that good belonged to that which was limited. Aristotle made this truth the foundation of everything: philosophy, ethics, and by consequence, of politics and culture.

Just as proper measure is the condition of all life, so the vitality of a community overdevelops or atrophies according to the number of its inhabitants; a city can die by an abnormal expansion, density or dispersion. And just as a family does not grow through the swelling of the parents' bodies but through the birth of children, so an urban civilization cannot with impunity grow beyond the exaggerated swelling of human agglomerations. "A tree grows freely --", wrote the progressive German industrialist and anti-Nazi statesman Walther Rathenau, "-- that doesn't mean that it is going to decamp or for that matter grow up to the sky".

The free and harmonious growth of an urban civilization cannot be accomplished except by the right and judicious geographical distribution of its cities and communities, which have to be autonomous and finite. Only then will cities know how to respond to the economic functions of a community and satisfy the highest aspirations of the spirit.

20080603 florence la pietra manifold views from the villa unmodified mb

Florence, La Pietra manifold views from the villa

A radial set of views from the villa a La Pietra to the different surrounding features. Perspective sketches sized according to visual prominence and base height of view. Unmodified version.

Modern Times: Camille Paglia & Jordan B Peterson

Dr. Camille Paglia is a well-known American intellectual and social critic. She has been a professor at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (where this discussion took place) since 1984. She is the author of seven books focusing on literature, visual art, music, and film history, among other topics. The most well-known of these is Sexual Personae (, an expansion of her highly original doctoral thesis at Yale. The newest, Free Women, Free Men: Sex, Gender, Feminism, was published by Pantheon Books in March 2017 ( Dr. Paglia has been warning about the decline and corruption of the modern humanities for decades, and she is a serious critic of the postmodern ethos that currently dominates much of academia. Although she is a committed equity feminist, she firmly opposes the victim/oppressor narrative that dominates much of modern American and British feminism. In this wide-ranging discussion, we cover (among other topics) the pernicious influence of the French intellectuals of the 1970's on the American academy, the symbolic utility of religious tradition, the tendency toward intellectual conformity and linguistic camouflage among university careerists, the under-utilization of Carl Jung and his student, Erich Neumann, in literary criticism and the study of the humanities, and the demolition of the traditional roles and identity of men and women in the West. A Facebook page is maintained for Dr. Paglia by Pantheon at Penguin Random House in New York: Relevant Links: JB Peterson Patreon: Self Authoring: NEW: BFAS Personality Assessment: Jordan Peterson Website: Podcast: Reading List: Twitter: