Camille Paglia – Atheist – Says Religion Should Be At the Center of Culture Curriculum – IOTW Report

Camille Paglia – Atheist – Says Religion Should Be At the Center of Culture Curriculum

Excerpts of Salon Interview-

What do you make of Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens and the religion critics who seem not to have respect for religions for faith?

“Sneering at religion is juvenile, symptomatic of a stunted imagination.”

I’m speaking here as an atheist. I don’t believe there is a God, but I respect every religion deeply. All the great world religions contain a complex system of beliefs regarding the nature of the universe and human life that is far more profound than anything that liberalism has produced.

We have a whole generation of young people who are clinging to politics and to politicized visions of sexuality for their belief system.  They see nothing but politics, but politics is tiny.  Politics applies only to society. There is a huge metaphysical realm out there that involves the eternal principles of life and death. The great tragic texts, including the plays of Aeschylus and Sophocles, no longer have the central status they once had in education, because we have steadily moved away from the heritage of western civilization.

I find it completely hypocritical for people in academe or the media to demand understanding of Muslim beliefs and yet be so derisive and dismissive of the devout Christian beliefs of Southern conservatives.

But this sneering thing!  I despise snark.  Snark is a disease that started with David Letterman and jumped to Jon Stewart and has proliferated since. I think it’s horrible for young people!   And this kind of snark atheism–let’s just invent that term right now–is stupid, and people who act like that are stupid.

You mentioned Jon Stewart, who leaves the “Daily Show” in two weeks. There’s handwringing from folks who think that he elevated or even transcended snark, that he utilized irony very effectively during the Bush years. And that he did the work of critiquing and fact-checking Fox and others on the right who helped create this debased media culture? What’s your sense of his influence?

I think Stewart’s show demonstrated the decline and vacuity of contemporary comedy. I cannot stand that smug, snarky, superior tone. I hated the fact that young people were getting their news through that filter of sophomoric snark.

He’s certainly a highly successful T.V. personality, but I think he has debased political discourse.  I find nothing incisive in his work.  As for his influence, if he helped produce the hackneyed polarization of moral liberals versus evil conservatives, then he’s partly at fault for the political stalemate in the United States.

I don’t demonize Fox News. At what point will liberals wake up to realize the stranglehold that they had on the media for so long? They controlled the major newspapers and weekly newsmagazines and T.V. networks. It’s no coincidence that all of the great liberal forums have been slowly fading. They once had such incredible power.  Since the rise of the Web, the nightly network newscasts have become peripheral, and the New York Times and the Washington Post have been slowly fading and are struggling to survive.

Historically, talk radio arose via Rush Limbaugh in the early 1990s precisely because of this stranglehold by liberal discourse.

Liberals think of themselves as very open-minded, but that’s simply not true!  Liberalism has sadly become a knee-jerk ideology, with people barricaded in their comfortable little cells. They think that their views are the only rational ones, and everyone else is not only evil but financed by the Koch brothers.  It’s so simplistic!

Now let me give you a recent example of the persisting insularity of liberal thought in the media.  When the first secret Planned Parenthood video was released in mid-July, anyone who looks only at liberal media was kept totally in the dark about it, even after the second video was released.  But the videos were being run nonstop all over conservative talk shows on radio and television.  It was a huge and disturbing story, but there was total silence in the liberal media.  That kind of censorship was shockingly unprofessional.  The liberal major media were trying to bury the story by ignoring it.  Now I am a former member of Planned Parenthood and a strong supporter of unconstrained reproductive rights.  But I was horrified and disgusted by those videos and immediately felt there were serious breaches of medical ethics in the conduct of Planned Parenthood officials.  But here’s my point:  it is everyone’s obligation, whatever your political views, to look at both liberal and conservative news sources every single day.  You need a full range of viewpoints to understand what is going on in the world.

What is your media diet like?

The first thing I always turn to is the Drudge Report,,, and Arts & Letters Daily.

So far this year, I’m happy with what Trump has done, because he’s totally blown up the media!  All of a sudden, “BOOM!”  That lack of caution and shooting from the hip. He’s not a president, of course. He’s not remotely a president. He has no political skills of any kind. He’s simply an American citizen who is creating his own bully pulpit.  He speaks in the great populist way, in the slangy vernacular.  He takes hits like a comedian–and  to me he’s more of a comedian than Jon Stewart is!  Like claiming John McCain isn’t a war hero, because his kind of war hero doesn’t get captured–that’s hilarious! That’s like something crass that Lenny Bruce might have said!  It’s so startling and entertaining.

Our politicians, like our comedians, have been boring us with their canned formulas for way too long.  So that’s why Donald Trump has suddenly leapt in the polls.  He’s a great stand-up comedian. He’s anti-PC–he’s not afraid to say things that are rude and mean.  I think he’s doing a great service for comedy as well as for politics!




13 Comments on Camille Paglia – Atheist – Says Religion Should Be At the Center of Culture Curriculum

  1. I support the freedom to worship at every religion that does not want to kill me.
    For them (it – let’s get real) all bets are off.

  2. I’m wishing she would start reading here and dump her current reading list… maybe she could add to her logical thinking skills.

  3. You read her stuff then ? Not disagreeing with you. I don’t know her… have never read anything of hers other than this bit. But yeah, that reading list she gave indicates a large empty space in her skull.

  4. Ms. Paglia should consult with Christopher Hitchens before continuing on her tirade. He is no longer an atheist, my dear.

  5. I’ve read her for years. She’s my favorite feminist lesbian agent provocateur. She’s been an iconoclastic pain in the ass & thorn in the side of the lock step Left for four decades. She’s an old school Moynihan-style Democrat that has genius flashes of brilliance and then says idiotic vagina driven jabberwocky like she’d vote for Martin O’Malley. She’s fearless in confronting & slaughtering the sacred cows of the hard core feminist Left.

    You keep on keepin’ on, Camille.

  6. I used to listen to her and people like Daniel Patrick Moynihan on the Sunday shows. That was a long time ago. Back when the left was still coherent…like I said a long time ago.

  7. Over the years I’ve read some of Ms. Paglia’s writings and she will at times leave you boiling, kettle whistling mad about what she has said and at other times you’ll be wondering why the hell can’t other liberal progs understand the problem and offer solutions like she can. Hell, sometimes she’ll have you doing both at the same time. However, she never throws a grenade into a room and run, she calls a spade a spade and doesn’t give a damn about what others say about her and like her or hate her, she’s always interesting and reasonably respectful of people with honest views. I’ll have to go over to Salon and read the whole interview. I’ll bet the Salon editors were sweating about whether they could figure out a way to spike the story without getting her mad.

  8. I support the freedom to worship at every religion that does not want to kill me. Or tell me how to run my life…

Comments are closed.