From the London Independent, the gaily contrary, always entertaining, and often off-base Camille Paglia:
English has evolved over the past century because of mass media and advertising, but the shadowy literary establishment in America, in and outside academe, has failed to adjust.
From the start, like Andy Warhol (another product of an immigrant family in an isolated north-eastern industrial town), I recognised commercial popular culture as the authentic native voice of America. Burned into my memory, for example, is a late-1950s TV commercial for M&M's chocolate candies. A sultry cartoon peanut, sunbathing on a chaise longue, said in a twanging Southern drawl: "I'm an M&M peanut / Toasted to a golden brown / Dipped in creamy milk chocolate / And covered in a thin candy shell!" Illustrating each line, she prettily dove into a swimming pool of melted chocolate and popped out on the other side to strike a pose and be instantly towelled in her monogrammed candy wrap. I felt then, and still do, that the M&M peanut's jingle was a vivacious poem and that the creative team who produced that ad were folk artists, anonymous as the artisans of medieval cathedrals.
Would those be the same neglected souls even now lolling in their own kidney-shaped pools, flush with advertising awards whose value Paglia wouldn't think of considering? If she wants sexy peanuts, she should try some poetry outside the limited arena she's clearly sampling (and sampling is a generous term). Paglia also says, as usual putting herself in the position ("like Andy Warhol…") as singular visionary of a fairly obvious point:
Another of my unfashionable precepts is that I revere the artist and the poet, who are so ruthlessly "exposed" by the sneering poststructuralists with their political agenda. There is no "death of the author" (that Parisian cliché) in my world view.
I think she's giving theory too much power; in my experience, the new generation of poets isn't corseted by it. If Paglia looked just a little harder (especially at the internet, which she claims to love even as she bemoans its promotion of sloppy language), she'd find that the author is thriving, breathing beautifully even without Camille Poetry Resuscitation.
Rhyme and Reason [Independent, via Arts & Letters Daily]The Camille Paglia IMterview [Andrew Sullivan]Bite Me, Camille Paglia! [American Politics; this is nauseating on many levels, but I include it because it reinforces my real affection for Paglia—I don't like it when fools like this attack her—and demonstrates how reactionaries are constantly falling right into subversives' traps, e.g. "Women like her are enough to turn straight men gay!" Paglia would beam.]
What do you think of women, colorful candy, poetry, The New Yorker, the Constitution, Andy Warhol, and British newspapers? Yes, www.emdashes.com likes them too.Powered by Sidelines