Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Paglia the Poltergeist

The headline of the lead article in tomorrow's Salon reads like a veiled threat:

Camille's Back!

No, it's not a tagline promoting a Tobe Hunter movie. Instead, it announces the return of one of the silliest and vainest darlings offered by the publishing world since Erich von Däniken.

Only two weeks ago, I took Salon editors to task for scolding their audience for a lack of civility, arguing that the trendsetters in that department had been their own colleagues in the media--"insult mongers like Ann Coulter, Camille Paglia, Dinesh D'Souza, Dale Peck, and Bill O'Reilly."

Apparently, the folks at Salon had a change of heart. They now feel that spurious insults and shoddy writing make up a market best not left to their readers. Presumably, the other five on my list weren't available at the moment, so they had to settle for Camille Paglia. (And, I'm sure they will be shocked--shocked--that their unhappy readers are responding in kind.)

In the inaugural relaunch, Paglia takes credit for getting Andrew Sullivan fired, shakes Mitt Romney's hand and predicts he's going to be president (that ought to make K. Lo. jealous), and brags about telling African Americans that Anna Nicole Smith died (huh?). We are treated intermittently to various pleas for relevance:
"I burst on the national scene in 1990 . . . I addressed this matter last week in "Religion and the Arts in America," the 2007 Cornerstone Arts Lecture at Colorado College . . . By 1996, I was writing a controversial cover story about Hillary for the New Republic . . . I was asked to review Hillary's memoir, "Living History," by the Times of London in 2003 . . . While waiting to go on the David Brudnoy Show . . . ABC's "Nightline" called via my publisher for comment, but I felt far too upset to go on TV . . . The current February issue of Interview magazine, where I am a contributing editor."

Rarely has so uninteresting a resume padded such a lengthy article filled with so little substance.

The endless stream-of-unconsciousness blather includes such valuable tidbits as:

This past Sunday night, there was a floating, mesmerizingly sensuous moment on Matt Drudge's radio show as he segued long from the midnight news with Yaz's "Winter Kills" ("Green in your love on bright days/ You grew sun blind/ You thought me unkind/ To remind you how winter kills"). No one but Drudge these days uses AM radio for artistic mood and ambience. People who know Drudge simply through his Web site are clueless about his eclectic musical sensibility.

Sorry, Camille, I don't need Matt Drudge to dust off the Yaz albums in my vinyl collection. Nor do I need Camille Paglia to tell me that one of Edward's "problems" is that he sports "a dated hairstyle that looks femme and foofy at a time when military buzz cuts and Caesarian close crops are in." After all, look who's talking.

Update: Let's all remember what the late Molly Ivins had the prescience to say about Paglia way back in 1991.