University of the Arts President defends Camille Paglia’s freedom of speech after she makes controversial statements

I’ve seen Camille Paglia speak in person once (I barely remember what she said), and haven’t followed her work, but what I do remember is that her scholarship is larded with an alarming amount of self-promotion.  (She’s a professor at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.) But I plead ignorance and may be wrong. Still she did offend a lot of people in an interview with Spiked in which she criticizes the #MeToo movement and the in loco parentis attitude of many American colleges and universities, as well as the entitled attitudes of college women.

There are two videos here; the one causing most of the trouble is the second:

Inside Higher Ed (IHE) reports on the fracas:

In the video, [Paglia] criticizes “girls” who are “coached” about complaints they bring, and she focuses on college students and those who bring a complaint of rape months after an incident over “a mistake they may make at a fraternity party.” She said bringing complaints in this way “is not feminism” but is part of a “bourgeois culture of excuses.”

Critics also point to comments Paglia made in a 2017 interview with The Weekly Standard in which she touched on transgender issues.

“It is certainly ironic how liberals who posture as defenders of science when it comes to global warming (a sentimental myth unsupported by evidence) flee all reference to biology when it comes to gender. Biology has been programmatically excluded from women’s studies and gender studies programs for almost 50 years now. Thus very few current gender studies professors and theorists, here and abroad, are intellectually or scientifically prepared to teach their subjects,” she said. “The cold biological truth is that sex changes are impossible. Every single cell of the human body remains coded with one’s birth gender for life. Intersex ambiguities can occur, but they are developmental anomalies that represent a tiny proportion of all human births.”

The results of this kind of talk, all of which is worth at least pondering and discussing, if only to rebut it, were predictable. After Paglia gave a public lecture, students at the University of the Arts created a change.org petition demanding that she be fired for “mocking survivors of sexual assault and the #MeToo movement,” “mocking and degrading transgender individuals,” and not considering “any sexual assault cases reported more than six months after the incident, because she thinks those cases just consist of women who regret having sex and falsely see themselves as victims.”

The petition makes demands, too:

Here is what we demand of UArts:

1) Camille Paglia should be removed from UArts faculty and replaced by a queer person of color. If, due to tenure, it is absolutely illegal to remove her, then the University must at least offer alternate sections of the classes she teaches, instead taught by professors who respect transgender students and survivors of sexual assault.
2) The University of the Arts must cease to provide Camille Paglia additional platforms such as public events and opportunities to sell her books on campus.
3) The University of the Arts must apologize for its embarrassing response to this situation, and specifically President David Yager must apologize for his wildly ignorant and hypocritical letter.
4) The University of the Arts must sit down with a group of transgenders [sic] students and survivors of sexual assault to discuss how they can best be supported moving forward. This group must include students of color.

UArts: you are disrespecting your students and putting them in danger. Do better.

Regardless of what you think of Paglia’s remarks, they fall under the aegis of academic freedom as well as the First Amendment, and firing her for saying these things is risible. Replacing her “by a queer person of color” is just about as risible, as Paglia is queer, though not “of color.” I’m not quite sure why a person of color should be a replacement since Paglia said nothing about ethnicity.

The “wildly ignorant and hypocritical letter” of College President David Yager can be found here. Contrary to the petition’s claim, it’s an eminently reasonable letter that defends Paglia’s right to speak while implicitly criticizing some of her views. One can differ in whether a University should do the latter, but I don’t have a big problem with a university saying that some views expressed by a speaker or faculty member are contrary to its values. Here’s a portion of Yager’s letter:

I firmly believe that limiting the range of voices in society erodes our democracy. Universities, moreover, are at the heart of the revolutionary notion of free expression: promoting the free exchange of ideas is part of the core reason for their existence. That open interchange of opinions and beliefs includes all members of the UArts community: faculty, students and staff, in and out of the classroom. We are dedicated to fostering a climate conducive to respectful intellectual debate that empowers and equips our students to meet the challenges they will face in their futures.

I believe this resolve holds even greater importance at an art school. Artists over the centuries have suffered censorship, and even persecution, for the expression of their beliefs through their work. My answer is simple: not now, not at UArts.

The University of the Arts is committed to the exercise of free speech and academic freedom, to addressing difficult or controversial issues and ideas through civil discussion, with respect for those who hold opinions different from our own. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis’ 1927 advice still holds true today: that the remedy for messages we disagree with or dislike is more speech and not enforced silence.

We must at the same time be aware that the freedom to express ourselves carries with it consequences, and we must be mindful of how exercising that right may impact others. While, in general, opinions with which we disagree, or even are offended by, are legally protected, we strongly affirm the importance of respect for others and the value of civil discourse. A university—and a society—is made greater by the variety of voices talking to, rather than at, one another.

This is a unique institution in which students and faculty regularly collaborate across disciplines. We must use that same model of collaboration with others to work on the difficult issues that would otherwise divide us, and in so doing bring us together.

Even Paglia, as IHE reports, praised the letter as an “eloquent statement affirming academic freedom [as] a landmark in contemporary education” and “hoped other colleges would view the statement as a model for how to ‘deal with their rampant problem of compulsory ideological conformity.'”

Would that all college presidents had such backbone! It would seem to be a no-brainer to defend freedom of speech on campus, but given that many students don’t want it, but, like those at Williams College, want all “hate speech” banned, this puts college administrators at serious odds with their students. (Note that Paglia’s statements are considered “hate speech”, which shows you the dubious nature of this characterization.) It happens, though, that in this case the students are wrong.

61 Comments

  1. DrBrydon
    Posted April 17, 2019 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Paglia has always been an iconoclast, if not a contrarian. I am not sure whether the petitioners are just ignorant of who she is (queer) or are just denying her that status because of her views. I could see either being the case. Good to see her school backing her up, though.

  2. Ken Kukec
    Posted April 17, 2019 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    I … haven’t followed her work, but what I do remember is that her scholarship is larded with an alarming amount of self-promotion.

    I’m no student of Pagliacana myself, but I’ve read her writing for a while now in an intermittent and detached sort of way, and she seems often to have courted controversy for controversy’s sake.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted April 17, 2019 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

      She’s kind of academia’s answer to Howard Cosell. 🙂

      • freiner
        Posted April 17, 2019 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

        Wow! What a great analogy. That is terrific!

      • merilee
        Posted April 17, 2019 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

        +1

    • Posted April 17, 2019 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

      I agree. Her views are not coherent. She says she is a libertarian, but she supports socialist (US style) Bernie Saunders. She says she voted for the Green Party’s Jill Stein, yet she doubts global warming. The impression is that she simply wants to be contrary.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted April 17, 2019 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

        Oh how weird that you actually are able to criticize her points instead of just put your hands over your ears and yell so you can’t hear her. 🙂 I really don’t understand all these movements to ban or silence people….what fun is it if you can’t argue?

        • Posted April 17, 2019 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

          You are so right, Diana. In college we’d argue all day about opposing points of view and then continue over beer. I used to like to argue against my own point of view—you learn things that way. Today, people freak out if they hear something they don’t like. I can’t figure out how it all changed.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted April 17, 2019 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

            Yes and I remember a professor saying once, “I find so and so’s views repugnant, but he has some good points that I have to accept”. That was in reference to a student. The professors encouraged us to argue especially against them.

            • merilee
              Posted April 17, 2019 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

              Those were the days!

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted April 17, 2019 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

            In law school, they’d have “moot court” competitions, where the competitors were assigned to argue a particular side in a case with made up facts (based on an amalgamation of actual cases). If you proceeded through the tournament bracket and eventually ran into a competitor who’d been assigned to the same side of the argument, you had to flip a coin, with the loser switching to the opposite side.

            The hardest thing in the competition came if you continued to proceed through the tournament and ever had to switch again, back to your original side of the argument. Once you had gone through the effort of psyching yourself into arguing the justice of the side you had originally opposed, it was damn near impossible to re-psyche yourself to argue your original position again.

  3. CJColucci
    Posted April 17, 2019 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    The letter is perfectly fine, and I entirely agree with it, but “backbone” involves defying someone who can do something to you. Lots of silly students have demanded that X or Y be fired for his or her, or their, views. As far as I can tell, these demands are routinely ignored, whether the college president writes a lofty letter or not. Again, that is perfectly fine; I care a lot more what they do — or don’t do — than what they say.

    • max blancke
      Posted April 17, 2019 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

      I have been thinking along the same lines, as a “list of demands” without the power to enforce it or at least a threat of some sort, is just a “list of requests”.
      I think administrators often comply because they agree somewhat with the protesters, or possibly have been looking for an excuse to purge the target of the demands, for unrelated reasons.
      I have to believe that the echo chamber these folks reside in has given them the mistaken impression that they have the power and momentum to push their revolutionary ideas on the rest of us. They can certainly engage in limited physical attacks, and lots of doxing and accusations of various hates and phobias.
      The problem with escalating the conflict to that level without the power to go all the way, is that at some point the general population will realize that they have nothing to fear.

      In my experience, people who wield such tactics have a bad time of it when their perceived power over others evaporates.

  4. Randall Schenck
    Posted April 17, 2019 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    She does not seem to be a fit for any students in college today. I am not sure what she is a fit for? Her politics are rather boring as she spends a lot of time finding fault with everyone else, voters, politicians you name it. She can ware you out pretty quickly and seems to have an opinion on everything. Sometimes we do better by shutting up and just listening but this is not her bag. Maybe she gets paid by the word. Her writing give one the idea that she has discovered all the faults but none of the solutions are there either. Just boring.

  5. Ken Kukec
    Posted April 17, 2019 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    … Paglia is queer, though not “of color.”

    I dunno; she’s of Italian ancestry. And there’s 19th century US caselaw that speaks of Italians (and Greeks and Jews and the Irish) as belonging to distinct “races.”

    Plus, I’m not sure whether her people hail from the Boot itself, or whether it might be from Sicily, which was invaded by the Moors — and we True Romance fans know what Dennis Hopper had to say about that. 🙂

    • Deodand
      Posted April 17, 2019 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

      To the followers of ‘Six Race’ theory (e.g. the Woke.) there are no such things as Italians, Greeks, Irish et al. They are classified as ‘White (Other)’. The other two subraces of White are ‘White (American)’ & ‘White (English)’ and Jews are a whole other category of evil.

      Only those ‘of color’ can be good.

  6. Jay
    Posted April 17, 2019 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    I found her comments to be a breath of fresh air in a world of increasing insanity and inanity.

    • Ty Gardner
      Posted April 17, 2019 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      That’s funny, I found her to exemplify both of those. I’m tempted to agree with her on assault, but the fact that her position is in the same proximity as mine in regards to delayed reporting makes me want to reevaluate my position.

  7. Ken Pidcock
    Posted April 17, 2019 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    On this day when we were earlier celebrating Christopher Hitchens, I can only say that, while I find Paglia quite full of herself, I’d hate to see her shut up. A few years back, I recall her observing that cultural studies programs had to be created out of thin air and staffed with people who couldn’t compete for positions in the traditional humanities. Nasty with a grain of truth, that’s Camille.

    • BJ
      Posted April 17, 2019 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      Yes, she often says some stupid things, but she also often says some very incisive things that nobody else with her platform and name recognition within feminist studies is willing to say. I appreciate her voice greatly, even if I often disagree with it.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted April 17, 2019 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

        Dang, Beej, figured to get a rise outta a cinéaste like you to the reference to the famous “Sicilian Scene” in comment #5 above. 🙂

        • BJ
          Posted April 17, 2019 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

          Shit, sorry I disappointed you. For some reason, I didn’t read only the last sentence fragment of your post.

          You’re a cantaloupe.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted April 17, 2019 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

            Hopper’s speech is, allegedly, an almost verbatim recitation of what Tarantino, as a teenager, heard a black guy who was staying on his mom’s couch say to a Sicilian guy who dropped by their apartment for a visit.

            Once of the finest scenes ever committed to celluloid in American cinema history, for my money.

            Two of America’s finest film actors, at the peak of their game, going at it face-to-face seated in close quarters (the way Michael Mann used De Niro and Pacino in their scene together in the diner in Heat). It has the essential rhythm and structure of a bullfight, with el toro turning the tables on the matador (for the time it takes to smoke a Chesterfield) before succumbing to its ultimate fate, with two great character actors (J. Gandolfini and Paul Ben-Victor) serving as the picadors assisting in the kill.

            Not that I know squat about bullfighting (other than what I’ve picked up reading Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises and Death in the Afternoon), but I think we should award an ear each to Walken and Hopper for their performances, the tail to Tony Scott for his direction, and a ride out of the corrida on the shoulders of the aficionados to Tarantino for the script. 🙂

            • merilee
              Posted April 17, 2019 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

              What am I missing re: cantaloupes?

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted April 17, 2019 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

                It’s what Walken calls Hopper, after Hopper tells him he’s “part eggplant” (moulinyan, the Italian word for eggplant, being an Italian-American slur against black folk, eggplants being a dark black, almost-purplish color).

              • merilee
                Posted April 17, 2019 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

                Duh, Ken, thanks. I twigged right after I posted…

              • Lorna Salzman
                Posted April 18, 2019 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

                Didactic here, please pardon me: the Italian word for eggplant is melanzana. The one used here may be some dialect version. Paglia means straw by the way. I like her verve, her chutzpah and what otherwise might be called balls. As for censuring her, the only thing justifying this is her skepticism on climate change. Any academic who takes this position is incompetent. She and Jordan Peterson’s skepticism and reliance on the
                blatherings of Bjorn Lomborg bring all the
                morons out of the woodwork.

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted April 17, 2019 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

              All set to the rising strains of the “Flowers Duet” from Léo Delibes’s opera Lakmé.

              I forgot to mention that part. 🙂

              The full scene is here.

              • merilee
                Posted April 17, 2019 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

                I like me some Lakmé😻 I hope I don’t visualize that scene every time I hear the flower duet. Never saw the film and my library doesn’t seem to carry it.

            • BJ
              Posted April 17, 2019 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

              I’m being genuine when I say that comment was beautifully written.

              Anyway, yeah, I’ve read a lot about True Romance, and I read the same thing about that scene. Apparently, he has a feel for that kind of dialogue from the people he was around as a kid and he’s used multiple phrases and conversations overheard from such times in his films.

              That scene really is brilliant. The pacing is just perfect and the camera often cuts between a close-up of Hopper when he’s talking and a sort of Hopper POV when Coccotti is talking, conveying just how fucked Hopper is and what a brave face he’s putting on in that situation. Hopper all alone tied to a chair and beaten up, with Coccotti and his cadre of callous criminals looming over him, the audience wondering the same thing Hopper is: “When are they finally going to kill him,” because it sure doesn’t seem like a question of “if.” If the audience has any doubt about whether Hopper will make it out alive, his last stand cigarette request strips them of any such hopes.

            • Michael Waterhouse
              Posted April 18, 2019 at 4:19 am | Permalink

              Absolutely.

  8. Ty Gardner
    Posted April 17, 2019 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    She seems broadly ignorant to me. I suppose someone can present any views they wish, but I’d be more concerned with replacing her with someone who understands the science of global warming than with someone who will have the same political views as the most vocal students.

    • Posted April 17, 2019 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

      She is in the field of humanities. It is not her business to understand the science of global warming. Nor should her eventual successor be chosen according to this criterion.

      • Ty Gardner
        Posted April 17, 2019 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

        So then the issue is the she doesn’t understand her own ignorance. That does make more sense. She should just be ignored then. That is probably what the university should tell its students.

        • Posted April 18, 2019 at 1:26 am | Permalink

          If the students choose to take information about global warming from a humanities expert, I think the fault is in the students. And why should the university explicitly tell them to ignore irrelevant, unsubstantiated opinions? Why should it act on the premise that students are morons? (To be fair, the post proves that some of them are.)

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted April 17, 2019 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

        I think any educated person, Humanities or otherwise, should understand global warming. I don’t consider a person well educated if they only know specific things in their field and cannot participate culturally with a sound basic understanding of arts and science.

        But I have a high standard and I’m often disappointed.

  9. Greg Geisler
    Posted April 17, 2019 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    “global warming (a sentimental myth unsupported by evidence)”
    Wow, that is either completely ignorant or deliberately contrarian. I’ve read some of her essays and always felt like she was intelligent but that statement is embarrassing.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted April 17, 2019 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

      I thought so as well. Good grief.

  10. Posted April 17, 2019 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    The protesting students disgust me with their obsession with identity politics. It inevitably brings a relentless wish to discriminate and sends professional qualification down the drain.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted April 17, 2019 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

      Not to mention that it most likely silences people and that affects innovation because ideas can’t be shared – at least not the really nuts ideas that often lead to interesting discussions and interesting innovations.

  11. Jenny Haniver
    Posted April 17, 2019 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    Paglia has been saying things like this, not for years but for decades, from the get-go. I’m surprised only in that it took the students there so long to make these demands that I’d begun to think that school was an exception to the new rule. Alas, not.

    The title of her most recent book, published late last year, is “Provocations.” The title speaks for itself and for Paglia. However, that doesn’t mean that she doesn’t believe in her provocations because, she does and most often with great if not excessive passion.

  12. David S Hammer
    Posted April 17, 2019 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    I went to school with Camille, sometime before the Civil War. She’s definitely an original, and not very easy to categorize. It’s true she’s a self-promoter but, unlike many self-promoters, she recognizes excellence in others. It’s also true that her views can be inconsistent and even incoherent, her off-the-cuff observations can be brilliant. Sometimes, she really can hit the nail on the head.

    One thing more: Camille has spine.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted April 17, 2019 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

      “I went to school with Camille, sometime before the Civil War.”

      Damn, you guys look good for your age. I figured the two of you for not a day older than Class of 1875. 🙂

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted April 17, 2019 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

      “It’s also true that her views can be inconsistent and even incoherent, her off-the-cuff observations can be brilliant. Sometimes, she really can hit the nail on the head.
      One thing more: Camille has spine.”

      I agree with that statement. Whether or not I agree with Paglia, she does have a way with words, so I find reading her quite entertaining and stimulating to the language centers of my brain; and when I disagree (frequently), even then I find food for thought.

      As for Paglia’s feminism, I’d say it’s sui generis; and from what I know, from the time she emerged on the scene. back in the 1980s, she’s been despised by most feminists, mainstream and radical, as well as most lesbian feminists (she claims an affinity with gay men) and she returns the compliments in spades. She absolutely despises Gloria Steinem, who once said of Paglia “Her calling herself a feminist is sort of like a Nazi saying he’s not anti-Semitic.” The “feminism” section of her wiki https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camille_Paglia#Feminism, contains a list of feminists she’s attacked, and those who’ve attacked her.

      Whatever one thinks of Paglia and her ideas, she’s been a determined advocate of free speech and the liberal arts. It’s unfortunate that her scientific education is deficient. In truth, I’m surprised she’s a climate change denier but perhaps I shouldn’t be because she does tend to align herself with some strange, retrograde notions.

      I do think that, despite the fact that the president of her school admirably defended her and his statement holds across the board for anybody similarly attacked, even if she stays on she’s already down for the count because, like it or not, it’s the 21st century and a new day has dawned — she’s 75, a cis white woman, albeit lesbian, and snowflakes rule. Their ideas about “free speech” and “academic freedom” are akin to Trump’s, if turned inside out as far as who gets the freedom of what kind of speech. Both sides want to co-opt the term for their own ideologies and impose their ideas of free speech and academic freedom on academia.

  13. Rich Sanderson
    Posted April 17, 2019 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    I do giggle at the “replaced with a queer person of colour” meme.

    I increasingly see it. The only thing missing is “one-legged”, to complete the old Daily Mail joke about PC-gone-mad tick-box madness.

    • Posted April 17, 2019 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

      Once a feminist heroine, Paglia is now just another Kulak who needs to be replaced by prole sufficiently dedicated to the ideal fo the Revolution.

  14. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted April 17, 2019 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    Oy, “excuses”, “birth gender”?

    Seems Paglia is confusing sex and gender. But she raises an interesting point, what I read the delay in reporting sex crimes is statistically valid. (And among causes has such opinion that it is “excuse”.) I should make sure of that.

    But I don’t see a principle problem. The limitation time for rape seems to be 10 years in Sweden, 15 years for severe rape crime.

    Note that Paglia’s statements are considered “hate speech”, which shows you the dubious nature of this characterization.

    You should know the answer to that: make it a crime, so everyone “know” how the courts set a characterization. (It has not worked well in Sweden mind, very few cases has been taken to court and there is AFAIU as of yet no court standard. “So it goes.”)

    • Torbjörn Larsson
      Posted April 17, 2019 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

      So I can’t easily find statistics over delays.

      But I see repeated claims that the statistics show that the rate of reporting crime is still low (but increasing) in Sweden, about half the rate of reporting for battery, say [ https://www.bra.se/download/18.31d7fffa1504bbffea0abf49/1450440526618/2015_V%C3%A5ldt%C3%A4ktsbrottets_hantering_i_r%C3%A4ttskedjan.pdf , page 21].

      So a certain hesitation is certainly consistent with the statistics, even if I cannot exclude there are no “natural” sub-populations with long delays.

    • BJ
      Posted April 18, 2019 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      Since we already have laws and rulings that very clearly delineate what speech is and is not allowed, you’re not advocating for laws to give people knowledge. All you’re advocating for is further restriction on speech, which you have shown to be your position in the past. Your reason for this position in the past hasn’t been clarification, but because you genuinely think the US is too liberal in its freedom of speech.

  15. tubby
    Posted April 17, 2019 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    So I attended UARTS back in the stone age. Camille taught art history (would probably be called Western art history now. Before anyone asks, even then you had a bouquet of non-western art history classes you could take as electives.). I’m surprised that the students could even muster the energy for outrage. Not because we were stoners who were too busy smearing our bodies in paint and rolling around on canvases, but because every department hated every other department with a barely controlled, seething hatred that knew few bounds. Animators lower themselves to work with lowly illustrators? Not happening. A graphic designer tolerate a painter? How gross, they smell like turpentine. We were also slammed with work. Art ain’t easy, nor is it quick.

    But ya know, in traditional UARTS fashion, I’m going to blame the college of performing arts. Those actorlets and dancerlings must have too much time on their hands hanging out in front of the main building chain smoking their way to lung cancer. I bet they and the ‘creative’ writers were all over this because they couldn’t hack it in industrial design.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted April 17, 2019 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

      “Art ain’t easy, nor is it quick.”

      Ars longa, vita brevis, brother.

    • tubby
      Posted April 17, 2019 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

      I forgot to mention that art history 1 and 2 were required for all graphic arts majors, and as such there were a lot of professors running those classes. Neither I nor anyone I knew took Camille’s sections. I only knew she taught there because I worked on her slide set for the course. I am unsure if she teaches anything else that’s required, so I am not sure that avoiding her classes is even hard. Maybe some lit courses?

  16. KD33
    Posted April 17, 2019 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    I read her book on the Gnostic Gospels and thought it was quite good. Disappointed to see this, though: “…global warming (a sentimental myth unsupported by evidence).” For me, this is pretty much a disqualifier of any aspirations of a person’s intellectual seriousness, whether or not they are a contrarian by nature. I just can’t see how anyone can arrive at such a conclusion.

  17. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted April 17, 2019 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    I’m a cynic about these delayed rape cases. If it wasn’t worth reporting at the time, howcome it is now?

    As a practical matter, if you’ve been burgled, you should report it straight away, so the cops (if they’re competent) can collect what evidence there is before 5000 other people walk across the scene of the crime. If you wait three months, don’t expect the cops to show much enthusiasm.

    I don’t see why rape or any sort of assault should be any different (in most cases). Reporting one that’s months old not only makes it far more difficult to prove anything happened forensically, it also makes it far more difficult for the accused to prove his/her innocence. So then it comes down to which one is a more credible liar in court. I do suspect that’s a motive in some (maybe only a few) of these cases. If you don’t know you’ve been wronged until after talking it over with numerous people then it can’t have been a very traumatic experience.

    I think delayed reporting should be a question the defence can raise and it should carry a lot of weight unless there’s some good reason for it.

    (Do I need to say that I’m not excusing rape or burglary, I just think false accusations are an even worse crime because they subvert the law into a weapon).

    cr

  18. Posted April 17, 2019 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    “global warming (a sentimental myth unsupported by evidence)”

    Funny, you could just look at what the polar ice caps looked like a few years ago and then search it on google maps today.

    Also I guess if I was raped exactly six months and a day ago then I was never raped in the first place.

    • David Hammer
      Posted April 17, 2019 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

      The assertion that there’s no evidence that the planet is warming is beyond ridiculous. Who even denies global warming anymore — the current line is that the planet may be warming, but the phenomenon isn’t “man made”. Here Camille is simply being dishonest, probably because she despises the save-the-earth crowd.

      Yet Camille doesn’t just call global warming untrue — she calls it a “sentimental myth”. And this throw-away characterization does, I think, capture something about segments of the green movement, including the fanatic opposition to nuclear power.

      Camille isn’t the universal genius she thinks she is. But she is interesting.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted April 18, 2019 at 12:24 am | Permalink

      “I guess if I was raped exactly six months and a day ago then I was never raped in the first place.”

      So why didn’t you lay a complaint six months ago when there was, like, possible forensic evidence and witnesses?

      cr

      • dvandivere
        Posted April 18, 2019 at 1:09 am | Permalink

        Really? Do a little googling and you’ll find plenty of stories from women who were harassed or assaulted and waited to report it for a myriad of reasons: fear of repercussions, fatalism because they assume they won’t be believed, internalized misogyny, pressure from above not to rock the boat, and so on.

        When metoo started up and women started sharing their stories, I was shocked and really pissed off at how many of my friends (across nationalities) had been assaulted, in academia, the private sector, and in private life.

        I don’t agree with those demands, but I can definitely empathize with the rage her pooh-poohing of sexual assault her comments might cause.

  19. Joe Dickinson
    Posted April 17, 2019 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    All comments discussing the validity of her opinions miss the point. Freedom of speech (and even academic freedom) does not hinge on the “correctness” of that speech.

    • dvandivere
      Posted April 18, 2019 at 1:19 am | Permalink

      Sure, what she says it’s covered under free speech. But I do think members of an institution, including students at a university, should be able to say that they don’t want assholes (my opinion: TERFs are assholes) representing their institution. Of course it’s an extreme example, but imagine if you had a David Duke as a chem professor.

      Putting conditions on a replacement, though, is a different story.

  20. Posted April 18, 2019 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    As usual, these progressive fools make the point with their language and behavior. Paglia is right.


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