Straight outta comments

There were two very good links in the thread yesterday about Mark Schmitt’s TAP piece. (I think I agree with the critiques of the piece — Schmitt’s comparison is flawed and poorly phrased. Nevertheless, I think he’s onto something; a better, similar comparison would be between Wolf and the “radical chic” scene famously chronicled by Tom Wolfe.)

Link #1: Molly Ivins on Camille Paglia 1991 (via Phoenix Woman):

“In any situation, she establishes the lowest common denominator of a point. She says, `This is the feminist point of view,’ and overturns it by standing it on its head. She doesn’t go outside what she critiques; she simply puts out the opposite of it.”

(This is actually Ivins quoting someone else about Paglia, but it’s a perfect description in any case.)

Link #2: Some guy from a motorcycle chat forum on race and Tea Partyism (via The Other Steve):

The workforce may have been integrated, but you still knew who you were better than. Nobody dared yell “You Lie!!” at a white boss.

[….]

And they say they want their Country Back.

Well, Bing-fucking-O.

Now we have it. They want to return to a time and place where they at least knew who they were better than.

Update: I agree with commenter Joey Malone:

Y’all go read that motorcycle guy’s post. It’s a thing of beauty.






71 replies
  1. 1
    Joey Maloney says:

    Y’all go read that motorcycle guy’s post. It’s a thing of beauty.

  2. 2
    Napoleon says:

    Joey, it was a pretty good piece.

    OT, but what is up with the reply buttons not working?

  3. 3
    Clark says:

    If Camille Paglia is the cosmos, so am I.

    Brilliant.

  4. 4
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Thanks for taking time to front-page these two terrific pieces. I read them both yesterday, with awe and admiration, and I’m very glad you’re giving them a wider readership.

    (BTW, small quibble: it’s *Molly* not *Mollie*.)

  5. 5
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    The motorcycle post was really good. I love how even there trollers replied to something they did not read.

  6. 6
    David in NY says:

    @Napoleon:

    Some folks here seem to be able to work some kinda reply button. Not me. Either it’s not here or I can’t figure it out.

    WHAT’S GOING ON?

  7. 7
    Aaron says:

    Jinx post from the motorcycle forum was fantastic. Well written, reasoned, and argued, it is one of the better pieces I have read over the past year regarding the political situation.

  8. 8
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Napoleon: There seems to be a consensus around here that Tunch ate them.

    The more mundane explanation is that everything went all kerflooey in a thread late last week, and in order to fix the kerflooitudinessnous, John had to disable the reply button doohickey whatnots.

  9. 9
    Dreggas says:

    that was one helluva post.

  10. 10
    different church-lady says:

    Motorcycle guy’s rant:

    You can hear it every time a factory closes in this Country and people cheer. No, they really don’t believe that closing the Auto Factories will make America stronger. But it adds a whole bunch of people to the list of those they are better than.

    Ahh, he’s helped me finally understand why 30 years ago conservatives thought it was vital to save American car companies but today they should just die.

  11. 11
    Comrade Mary says:

    @ David in NY: You can fake the reply without the button.

    1) Copy and paste someone’s handle into the reply box adding the @ symbol and a space at the beginning, as I did above.

    2) Look for the date stamp on the top right corner of their comment (e.g. April 6th, 2010 at 1:15 pm). Right click on that underlined/linked timestamp and choose Copy Link Location.

    3) Highlight the @ phrase in the reply box, click the link button above the reply box, and paste in the link address you just copied.

    4) Profit!

  12. 12
    freelancer says:

    [Today’s Conservatives] would be happy living homeless under a bridge cooking sparrows over a trash can fire, as long as the family under the next bridge over didn’t have any sparrows.

  13. 13
    williamc says:

    Thanks for the motorcycle guy’s comment DougJ.

    I feel like this was the best insight into the teatard mind that I’ve yet to see. I also feel like I understand my neighbors a little better now.

  14. 14
    Comrade Mary says:

    And if you want to quote multiple paragraphs, surround them with the opening and closing blockquote tags, but instead of leaving a completely blank line in between each paragraph, put in two underscore characters.

    Joey, it was a pretty good piece.
    __
    OT, but what is up with the reply buttons not working?

    You can’t see my underscore characters once I post this, but they do appear in the reply box while I’m composing.

    Also, in order to avoid unexpected bolded text in the blockquote, make sure you don’t leave an empty line before or after opening a blockquote.

  15. 15
    Karen in GA says:

    The ADV Rider post makes me proud I ride.

    Paglia, to me, always seemed to be saying “Women are equal to men. To prove it, I, a woman, will slam women just as badly as any man could.” (Of course, you have to define “man” as “sexist australopithecine” — but she does have the slamming part down.)

  16. 16
    hatmandu says:

    Damn. Motorcycle wrote the most lucid post I’ve seen in a long time. Crap, I think he is better than me.

  17. 17
    geg6 says:

    Camille Paglia is and always has been a complete and utter embarrassment to my gender. I apologize on behalf of all women for the harridan that she is.

    Molly Ivins, OTOH, was and always will be a national treasure and I will miss her until the day I die.

  18. 18
    Rosalita (Formerly GReynoldsCT00) says:

    Tea-hadists. I’m liking that term.

  19. 19
    Aaron says:

    Wasn’t there a piece posted here a week or so back looking at how people’s happiness is influenced by how well they are doing relative to those around them. i.e. if you are making a million dollars a year, you will still not be happy if those around you are making 2 million?

    It seems like that study hinted at a lot of the same things Jinx had referred to. Perhaps this will lead to a new way to conceptualize conservatism. In addition to the idea of “I got mine, now fuck you,” maybe we can add “I got mine, wait, how much do you have again?”

  20. 20
    pharniel says:

    @ Karen in GA

    (Of course, you have to define “man” as “sexist australopithecine”—but she does have the slamming part down.)

    Most Flesh Golems only have slam attacks.

  21. 21
    Undercover FBI Agent DougJ says:

    In addition to the idea of “I got mine, now fuck you,” maybe we can add “I got mine, wait, how much do you have again?”

    I like it.

  22. 22
    ken says:

    I just find it amusing that no one bothered to read Paglia’s main book (Ivins didn’t read it, read the link)

    Read her books ( Sexual Personae, The Birds, Break, Blow Burn) not her blogs (most of the stuff written on the internet is garbage anyway, for example, this blog before 2005)

    Ken

  23. 23
    Sloegin says:

    Thanks so much for motorcycle guy’s forum post. Amazing that such an ugly truth can be written up in such a beautiful way.

  24. 24
    Mike in NC says:

    And the fact that most of this spittle is flying from the mouths of the poor, the semi-educated, the low information voter, and from By-God Dixie…well, that is only because it is your turn. A lot of the rest of the Country has already gone through this exercise 20-30 years ago.

    The rant is spot-on. I lived in Boston during the busing riots of the 1970s. What an embarrassment that was, playing out to the rest of the world.

  25. 25
    kid bitzer says:

    motorcycle guy? yeah right.

    he was clearly a liberal agitator sent to that forum by acorn. also.

  26. 26
    Progressive Elitist says:

    I interpreted the Schmitt piece as him setting up “arguments” that liberals who play footsie with tea partiers may have, before knocking them down with his last paragraph. I didn’t get the sense that he was actually advocating the views.

    The problem with the piece is that we have to debate his intentions at all and he spends 95% of the article repeating ridiculous right wing talking points about liberals in the freaking American Prospect (!) before rather meekly and subtly saying at the end that I don’t believe those arguments are actually good.

    Terrible writing regardless of intentions.

  27. 27
    RS says:

    A Black man walks into the local welfare office to pick up his check. He marched straight up to the counter and said, hi u know i just HATE drawing welfare. I’d really rather have a job. The social worker behind the counter said, your timing is excellent. We just got a job opening from a very wealthy old man who wants a chauffeur and bodyguard for his beautiful daughter. You’ll have to drive around in his mercedes, and he’ll supply all of your clothes. Because of the long hours, meals will be provided. You’ll be expected to escort the daughter on her overseas holiday trips and you will have to satisfy all of her sexual urges. You’ll be provided with a 2 bedroom apartment above the garage. The salary is 200,000 a year. The guy wide-eyed, said, you’re bullshitin me! The social worker said, yeah, well… You started it.

    Email I got a minute ago. Seems appropriate to share here.

  28. 28
    eemom says:

    Paglia is an insufferable smug-ass toad. She’s also a Palin fangirl. Now there’s a lovely couple.

    And yes, Molly Ivins’ smackdown of Paglia was effin brilliant. Would she were alive today to do the same to Naomi Wolf.

  29. 29
    David in NY says:

    @ Comrade Mary

    Thanks. I probably could have figured that out if I weren’t so lazy. And I somehow keep forgetting that link button is there.

    But what happened to the former automatic reply gizmo, not to mention the more recent “reply” thingy that for a moment inserted replies below the original comment.

    Oh, well, ours not to reason why …

  30. 30
    fishboots says:

    God bless me, I miss Molly Ivins…

    What we have here, fellow citizens, is a crassly egocentric, raving
    twit. The Norman Podhoretz of our gender. That this woman is actually
    taken seriously as a thinker in New York intellectual circles is a
    clear sign of decandence, decay, and hopeless pinheadedness. Has no
    one in the nation’s intellectual capital the background and ability to
    see through a web of categorical assertions? One fashionable line of
    response to Paglia is to claim that even though she may be
    fundamentally off-base, she has “flashes of brilliance.” If so, I
    missed them in her oceans of swill.

    This, for me, sums up Paglia nicely.

    You think perhaps this is a cheap shot, that I have searched her work
    and caught Ms. Paglia in a rare moment of sweeping generalization,
    easy to make fun of? _Au contraire_, as we always say in Amarillo; the
    sweeping generalization is her signature. In fact, her work consists
    of damn little else. She is the queen of the categorical statement.

  31. 31
    David in NY says:

    SiubhanDuinne

    “Tunch ate them”? That’s what they all say.

  32. 32
    Joey Maloney says:

    (Another small quibble: it’s Maloney, not Malone. But since it’s a made-up name, I don’t guess I give a shit.)

    o.0

  33. 33
    geg6 says:

    Ken @21:

    Are you kidding? I’ve read her dreck, both book and blog length. And dreck it is.

    Sexual Personae sucked so bad that it took her years to find some idiot to finally publish it. Julie Burchill had it right when it comes to Paglia: “Fuck off you crazy old dyke.” So did Katha Pollitt when she called her the Charles Murray of sex.

    Funny how it’s always only men or women who hate other women who love Paglia.

  34. 34
    ken says:

    geg @ 32

    Which part is dreck? About Oscar Wilde? Emily Bronte? Or her essay on Sylvia Plath?

    You didn’t read the book(s). I can tell, because the only thing you know about her is what you have heard from other people. That is called group think.

    As I said, read her books not her blogs.

    Do I like the fact that she has abandoned her lover and their child to go gallavanting across Brazil chasing after Daniella Mercury? No, that makes her a shitheel. But I can separate her actions from her book.

    Ken

  35. 35
    Blue Raven says:

    @Ken

    Read her books ( Sexual Personae, The Birds, Break, Blow Burn)

    I did read at least one Paglia book. It’s why I stopped liking her. Sexual Personae was the longest act of mental masturbation set to print that year. Her textual orgasms over her misinterpretations of Madonna and other figures were embarrassing to watch. Ivins was right about her.

    And as for the motorcycle piece? Oh, the truth, it burned. How many of us have been so bad? Or still are in some area? I grew up in New England in the 70s and 80s and my father was so in that better-than camp. It infected me. I still see the damage.

  36. 36
    Noonan says:

    If there’s a Webby Award for Randomly Awesome Forum Post of the Year I’d like to nominate that biker’s rant. Talk about a bullseye.

  37. 37
    Blue Raven says:

    @Ken

    You didn’t read the book(s). I can tell, because the only thing you know about her is what you have heard from other people. That is called group think.

    Oh, good gods. “You disagree with me, so clearly you’re lying about having read her.” Go troll somewhere else on this topic. Not. Amused.

  38. 38
    ken says:

    No, I asked specifically for an example and you called me a troll and told me to move on? Really? I’m sorry I don’t agree with you.

    I was unaware that we are back on a college campus circa 1991. I’ll move on.

    And you didn’t read the books. Don’t get mad because you can’t read big books. Perhaps if you spent a little less time posting comments your attention could be held better.

    The mature person takes it upon himself not to respond. The immature person always needs to have the last word.

  39. 39
    Alex says:

    I don’t know about that biker guy. I can’t quite buy the idea that factory closings and people losing jobs is a good thing because it makes the wingnuts insecure about their whiteness. It’s a petty and ultimately self-destructive argument.

  40. 40
    Mnemosyne says:

    The mature person takes it upon himself not to respond. The immature person always needs to have the last word.

    Okay, I snorted Coke out of my nose at that one.

  41. 41
    Pangloss says:

    @ kid bitzer

    motorcycle guy? yeah right.

    he was clearly a liberal agitator sent to that forum by acorn. also.

    MGINO?

  42. 42
    MattR says:

    @Mnemosyne – Especially after the paragraph that preceded it.

  43. 43
    geg6 says:

    ken @37:

    Well, now we all know why you’re such a big Paglia fan. Birds of a feather and all that.

    I have, actually, read a couple of her books. They are dreck. You know why I won’t quote any of them? Because they are such stupid, facile crap that they are instantly forgettable. Feminists know nothing about art or science or history? Hilarious. Feminists hate men? Fuck. I must not be a feminist then. Feminism teaches women to be victims? No, that would the world of Camille Paglia. Her take on Emily Dickinson? Laughable. She was so wrong about so many things and taken to task on so much of the shit she ladles out in Sexual Personae that she chickened out on the long-promised but never delivered second volume.

    And that’s before we even get to her other blathering idiocies, Sex, Art, and American Culture and Vamps and Tramps, where we get such pearls of wisdom as Anita Hill wasn’t sexually harassed by Clarence Thomas, how fabulous her collection of Liz Taylor photos is, that feminists enable rape by hiding what sex is really all about, that gays choose to be gay, and that conversion therapy has a lot going for it.

    Fuck you for being a condescending asshole just like your hero Camille.

  44. 44
    Aaron says:

    @Alex

    I don’t know about that biker guy. I can’t quite buy the idea that factory closings and people losing jobs is a good thing because it makes the wingnuts insecure about their whiteness. It’s a petty and ultimately self-destructive argument.

    Race is one part of it, but only part. Factory closings and people losing jobs makes wingnuts more secure about their own socio-economic status. The point of “who am I better than” is a broad social phenomenon that incorporates race, also issues of class, gender, sexual orientation (which he doesn’t touch on) etc

  45. 45
    Blue Raven says:

    @Mnemosyne – Oh, yeah, a thing of beauty, that one.

    But if you will excuse me, Celtic Heroic Age is calling my name. Academic books containing translations of Roman, Greek, and Celtic-language materials are elementary-school reading, I know, but I just have to work up to anti-feminist tripe somehow.

  46. 46
    fishboots says:

    @ Mnemosyne

    it does make the poster’s affinity for Paglia understandable, though.

  47. 47
    BethanyAnne says:

    Given the post title, time to link this
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NG2EGOB9-lc

    ooo, it worked, I can link here now. w00t!

    Bethany

  48. 48
    ruemara says:

    Hey RS@27, tell whoever sent you that joke to fuck off, from me. Like a fucking welfare check of about $400 a month with maybe $140 per month for groceries would be more attractive than a real job paying even $30k. Whoever wrote it has no clue what the hell he or she’s talking about.

  49. 49
    Sly says:

    And they say they want their Country Back.

    If you go to a bar and get fucked up enough, someone is probably going to come along and take your car keys. The same principle applies with governance. Conservatives had years to themselves to run the government, and they ran it into the ground. Then they got out of the wreckage and pissed all over it. And then shouted “I pay your salary, asshole!” to the attending police officer wall wandering around in a drunken stooper.

    The Baggers should be thankful, really. Friends don’t let friends drive drunk.

  50. 50
    Gaffa says:

    I don’t blame geg6 for not remembering anything Paglia wrote, because it’s not only atrocious bullshit, it’s utterly forgettable.

    I’ve read Paglia’s work, too, and I think the only reason I might dislike it less than geg6 is that I don’t happen to share a gender with Paglia and thus aren’t personally embarrassed to share a chromosome array with her.

  51. 51
    Blue Raven says:

    @Gaffa

    I’ve read Paglia’s work, too, and I think the only reason I might dislike it less than geg6 is that I don’t happen to share a gender with Paglia and thus aren’t personally embarrassed to share a chromosome array with her.

    As another woman, that’s a large bundle of yes. One Woman is not All Women, to nod at the tokenism problem while dismissing it, but Paglia pretends to the title. If I could create a fourth gender to assign her to, I would. I leave a third gender to the people who voluntarily seek to inhabit it. They don’t deserve her, either.

  52. 52
    Joel says:

    @ ken

    Read her books ( Sexual Personae, The Birds, Break, Blow Burn) not her blogs (most of the stuff written on the internet is garbage anyway, for example, this blog before 2005)

    Why would I want to read her books when every indication that she’s provided (on Salon and elsewhere) is that her work is garbage?

  53. 53
    Splitting Image says:

    Loved the motorcycle guy’s post. I’ve read the Ivins piece before but it’s well worth re-reading.

    Paglia has rubbed me the wrong way from day one. I was never really able to make sense of why until she made the link to Ayn Rand. After that it all made sense.

  54. 54
    les says:

    At least Camille seems to agree with Ken about the value of her current work; she’s still trying to trade on her stunning analysis of Ma-fuckin-donna, those many decades ago.

  55. 55
    asiangrrlMN says:

    I love Motorcycle Guy’s essay. It’s so well-written, I’m a tad bit jealous.

    Joel, yup. I’m with you. Everything I’ve read by Paglia (and I’ve grimly plowed my way through many essays) has shown that she is not only compulsively anti-woman, she’s a lousy writer as well. Why would I want to put myself through many many pages of that shit when I can barely make it through her opinion pieces?

  56. 56
    Little Dreamer says:

    @ David (6):

    Nobody has a reply button. Some of us are/were using the long form HTML with a link to the post. I stopped because it was getting tedious.

  57. 57

    Y’all go read that motorcycle guy’s post. It’s a thing of beauty.

    Dude nails it, especially about the integration in the 70’s. My in-laws thought it was the end of the world, Gaia bless their racist little hearts.

  58. 58
    Little Dreamer says:

    In college, I wrote an essay on Camille Paglia for a philosophy class. I said about the same thing Molly Ivins said, although she said it much more colorfully and better than I ever could.

  59. 59
    BethanyAnne says:

    I loved the motorcycle guy’s post. I’m reading a Jonathan Haidt book at the moment, and in one part, he talks about the brain, and how much of our desires are irrational. Somewhere between the book and the essay, I’m beginning to understand their rage while still wishing they would, could somehow, just grow up.

  60. 60
    BoredNow says:

    @ken

    No, I asked specifically for an example and you called me a troll and told me to move on? Really?

    Dude I’ll freely admit that I havent read the books but even I can spot a troll.

  61. 61

    […] Get Mine Too Posted by curv3ball under Uncategorized Leave a Comment  Gotta agree with Doug E Fresh and the Juicers, this Tea Party breakdown is a thing of beauty: “You know when I was a […]

  62. 62
    Josh says:

    I remember having liked about four pages of the Oscar Wilde section of Sexual Personae but thinking that CP was rather derivative of Uncle Harold and Uncle Leslie. Break Blow Burn had several ideas about teaching poems that I found useful, but the commentaries get incoherent the closer we get to the present day.

    That said, Ivins is absolutely right, as is Mariana Torgovnick in “The Paglia Principle.” And Paglia fans, in my experience, either like the fascism or are looking for a flamboyant lesbian to admire and have settled too soon.

  63. 63
    pattonbt says:

    @asiangrrlMN: I am just testing this random floating reply button that appears when I hover over comments to see if it actually works right.

    On topic though (sorry asiangrrlMN – Im using your comment to test from so this is not a comment on your post – hope you dont mind) – its always been this way. Ive always said that the US is designed for me – a white, upper middle class raised, highly educated, affable, frat type looking (not acting though) male. It is accepted on face value that I am competent and upwardly mobile. And, honestly, I havent had to work for my success (well, not quite true, but I had so many advantages from jump street that I definitely havent had to work as hard as others to get where I am).

    But I realize, I am lucky. And I realize its not fair (in the equitable sense). And I realize it is changing. And this is where I and these people differ.

    I can accept that things change and take advantage while I can and work for a more equitable world which I know will make it harder for me personally.

    But these people wont. Because its just not right! Its their country damn it! So they do want THEIR country back because they know that the preferences they had based on the set up on the society past are slipping away which means they will have to work harder to get what they need and want – and that just will not do in their mind. They will actually have to – gasp! – compete on even footing with “the other”. They see themselves as the owner class – not the worker class (even though they individually may be worker class – they can still claim to have a share in the owner class). They just can not stand that the world is going to change the rules on them whether they like it or not and take away their perceived privilege.

    So they raise their voices, act like spoiled children and sound like irrational fools. Change is coming and it is scary for them. And all they are doing now is fighting a rear guard action. Change may not happen quick enough for someone like me (I want my pony now damn it) but it will come.

  64. 64
    Beej says:

    That is a dynamite post. Totally on-target!

  65. 65
    Tattoosydney says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Okay, I snorted Coke out of my nose at that one.

    Drug use – your doing it rong.

  66. 66
    Steeplejack says:

    I’m seeing a lot of love for the late Molly Ivins in this thread, so I will mention that a new play about her, Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins, starring Kathleen Turner, is currently in a limited run at the Philadelphia Theater Company. It was written by Allison and Margaret Engel. New York Times coverage here.

    I am going to see it on April 17 and will report back.

  67. 67
    dadanarchist says:

    Motorcycle Man spouted more sense than most of our collective media…. If there any justice or actual meritocracy in this country, he’d have Halperin’s, or at the very least Luke Russert’s, job tomorrow…

  68. 68
    Calliope says:

    @ken is also wrong when he claims “I just find it amusing that no one bothered to read Paglia’s main book (Ivins didn’t read it, read the link)”. Um, no, Ken. Reading comprehension is a wonderful thing. Ivins says that she hadn’t read Paglia when she was assigned the story.

    “Read Paglia, says he (Ivin’s editor), you’ll have an opinion. So I did; and I do.”

    The “So I did;” means she then read Paglia. Nice try, fanboy. Btw, I have also read Paglia. Tripe.
    I

  69. 69
    bluesky2702 says:

    The piece is a thing of beauty….and rings a lot of bells for me, since I’ve observed the collapse of American industry and the blue collar middle class for a lot of years here in the great state of Indiana. What motivates a lot of rage in the Tea Party folk is the sense that they’re getting screwed, and it’s got to be somebody’s fault. Which is true enough; it’s not that American auto workers (to name one of the most visible examples) can’t produce a high quality product – witness domestic plants for Toyota, BMW, et al. It’s that for many years, the management of the Big Three domestic auto companies were fuckups of the first order. Time was, and not all that long ago, that a kid could graduate from high school and expect to go to work in a plant and make a decent living, and that didn’t have to change as completely as it has. That being one of many examples, too many to go into in detail in this post and it’s all been documented elsewhere anyway.

    But the sense of rage has been channeled and by experts in the field. It’s got to be somebody’s fault…and the easiest and most visible target is the “other”, usually brown people of whatever description. Pretty easy to channel resentment of those who appear different for whatever reason, and that’s just for people who at heart aren’t bad people. You don’t have to do much channeling of resentment on the part of the large fraction of Tea Partiers who want to return to that Golden Age when white men ran things and could all get good jobs, and when women, children, niggers and spics knew their place and by god kept to it, or else.

  70. 70
    Ab_Normal says:

    (Late to the party, but I can’t resist.)

    @ken:

    You mean “Sexual Personae”, in which the thesis was, “Men invented civilization because they can see where they’re peeing?” Yeah, it’s a HOOT.

  71. 71
    Walt says:

    The chapter in Sexual Personae about The Importance of Being Earnest reads like Paglia has no awareness that Wilde is trying to be funny.

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