Camille Paglia

From Quotes
Outer space is no place for a person of breeding.
Violet Bonham Carter
Jump to: navigation, search

Camille Paglia (born 1947-04-02) is an American author, scholar and critic.


Sexual Personae (1990)

  • The Bible has come under fire for making woman the fall guy in man's cosmic drama. But in casting a male conspirator, the serpent, as God's enemy, Genesis hedges and does not take its misogyny far enough. The Bible defensively swerves from God's true opponent, chthonian nature. The serpent is not outside Eve but in her. She is the garden and the serpent.
  • Even the best critical writing on Emily Dickinson underestimates her. She is frightening. To come to her directly from Dante, Spenser, Blake, and Baudelaire is to find her sadomasochism obvious and flagrant. Birds, bees, and amputated hands are the dizzy stuff of this poetry. Dickinson is like the homosexual cultist draping himself in black leather and chains to bring the idea of masculinity into aggressive visibility.
  • Human life began in flight and fear. Religion rose from rituals of propitiation, spells to lull the punishing elements.

Response to criticism

  • It was intended to please no one and to offend everyone. The entire process of the book was to discover the repressed elements of contemporary culture, whatever they are, and palpate them. One of the main premises was to demonstrate that pornography is everywhere in major art. Art history as written is completely sex free, repressive and puritanical. I want precision and historical knowledge, but at the same time, I try to zap it with pornographic intensity.

Vamps and Tramps (1994)

  • I want a revamped feminism. Putting the vamp back means the lady must be a tramp. My generation of Sixties rebels wanted to smash the bourgeois codes that had become the authoritarian totems of the Fifties. The 'nice' girl with her soft, sanitized speech and decorous manners had to go. Thirty years later, we're still stuck with her — in the official spokesmen and the anointed heiresses of the feminist establishment... Equal opportunity feminism, which I espouse, demands the removal of all barriers to woman's advance in the political and professional world — but not at the price of special protections for women which are infantilizing and anti-democratic.

Break, Blow, Burn (2005)

  • The only antidote to the magic of images is the magic of words.

On herself

  • 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.[1]
  • I have lesbian impulses, so I understand how a man looks at a woman.[1]
  • I have been studying it since before it became fashionable. At the Yale Grad School, for example, where I was from 1968 to 1972, I was literally the only person in the humanities departments doing a dissertation on sex - hard to believe now, but I was a real pioneer and I took the career hit for it. It was considered tacky, low, not serious - my dears, I was absolutely scouring the Yale archives for every bit of dirt on homosexuality, sadomasochism, transvestism - you name it. That is the basis of the research for my first book, Sexual Personae, which was my dissertation.[2]
    • When asked "why you write about sex?"

On others

  • I'm so sick of the brainless overpraise of her shrill show. She's oafishly unfunny and phony to boot. I liked her as a newcomer stand-up comedian, but her humor's become adolescent and predictable. And that forced Long Island accent that she no longer has in real life — ugh![3]
  • I loathe Meryl Streep. She was good in Silkwood, but she began to take herself very seriously. I'm reacting to the horrendous overpraise she has received. She is a calculated actress, a victim of her own WASP culture. I find her totally unconvincing. She has no passion. She has no deep elemental vibration. Jodie Foster is overpraised, too. I thought she was good in The Silence of the Lambs, and The Accused, but she's getting on my nerves.[1]
  • She is so deluded that she genuinely believes she speaks for all women. She's a victim of her own success. I liked the early Steinem. There was once a survey conducted for Time about who would make a good candidate for the first female president, and I wrote in Gloria Steinem. But now? Gloria Steinem is dissing men and dissing fashion and she's out having her hair streaked at Kenneth's. She became a socialite with a coterie. A lot of middle-aged white ladies still love her, but the media have been negligent regarding her.[1]
  • Clinton is in trouble and she (Joycelyn Elders) opens her mouth about masturbation. Can't she control herself? She was in the wrong job. In some ways she's like me — she says what she thinks. But then you shouldn't be part of politics. I would like Joycelyn Elders to be in a position to speak her mind and not worry about political consequences. You cannot have a nondiplomatic figure in a political appointment.[1]
    • On Joycelyn Elders and Clinton's firing of her
  • She is a brittle, relentless manipulator with few stable core values who shuffles through useful personalities like a card shark ("Cue the tears!"). Forget all her little gold crosses: Hillary's real god is political expediency. Do Americans truly want this hard-bitten Machiavellian back in the White House? Day one will just be more of the same.[4]
  • I plan to vote for Barack Obama in the Pennsylvania primary because he is a rational, centered personality who speaks the language of idealism and national unity. Obama has served longer as an elected official than Hillary. He has had experience as a grass-roots activist, and he is also a highly educated lawyer who will be a quick learner in office. His international parentage and childhood, as well as his knowledge of both Christianity and Islam, would make him the right leader at the right time. And his wife Michelle is a powerhouse. The Obamas represent the future, not the past."[4]


  • Leaving sex to the feminists is like letting your dog vacation at the taxidermist.
  • There is no female Mozart because there is no female Jack the Ripper.
  • 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.[1]
  • Let's get rid of Infirmary Feminism, with its bedlam of bellyachers, anorexics, bulimics, depressives, rape victims, and incest survivors. Feminism has become a catch-all vegetable drawer where bunches of clingy sob sisters can store their moldy neuroses.
  • If civilization had been left in female hands, we would still be living in grass huts.


  1. a b c d e f Playboy interview, May 1995 by David Sheff
  2. Paglia on AOL, September 11, 1996
  3. "Ask Camille", January 13, 1997.
  4. a b "Camille Paglia on Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Iran and More, January 08, 2008. Retrieved on 6-17-08.

External links

Wikipedia has an article about: