Author: has written 5298 posts for this blog.

Jill began blogging for Feministe in 2005. She has since written as a weekly columnist for the Guardian newspaper and in April 2014 she was appointed as senior political writer for Cosmopolitan magazine.
Return to: Homepage | Blog Index

48 Responses

  1. brandann
    brandann November 14, 2007 at 6:14 pm |

    *still scratching my head*

    it’s like she just blathers on and on…but what is the point? my brain hurts…

  2. preying mantis
    preying mantis November 14, 2007 at 6:17 pm |

    “Sometimes she has to be saying to herself, “You’re killing the memory of a beautiful fuck.””


  3. The14thOpossum
    The14thOpossum November 14, 2007 at 6:18 pm |

    after reading that, my brain hurts

  4. Magis
    Magis November 14, 2007 at 6:22 pm |

    Ya know, when I see a big red button with a sign that says “Don’t push this button…” Well, I just gotta.

    So I read Camille’s article and now I feel like a well used ping pong ball. I shoulda just read Jill’s explanation and let it go at that. But nooooo…..

    In the future I promise to read no more Camille and avoid the near occassions of Camille. Amen.

  5. kali
    kali November 14, 2007 at 6:31 pm |

    Just on what you’ve quoted, Mailer sounds crazier than Paglia. But both of them sound like they should be ranting at the wind on street corners, rather than being people whose names are taking up real estate in my head that would surely, in a rational universe, be occupied by writers with something worthwhile to say.

  6. livvysidhe
    livvysidhe November 14, 2007 at 6:36 pm |

    I was having a bit of an existential crisis before I read this post. I skimmed Paglia on Salon, and the void grew darker. Fortunately, Jill revived my sense of purpose and meaning.

    …and wonder what sort of stuntery is performed by lesbo stunt-women. (Extreme softball? Parachute-free muff-diving?)

    I want a “Parachute-Free Muff Diving Team” t-shirt. Actually, forget about that. I want the parachute, too! That’s a REAL lesbo stunt.

    I wish it surprised me that Paglia would champion Mailer, but it doesn’t.

  7. zuzu
    zuzu November 14, 2007 at 6:45 pm |

    Madonna probably avoided Paglia because Paglia was acting all stalkerish about Madonna.

  8. Hugo
    Hugo November 14, 2007 at 6:55 pm |

    But if a woman has a great fuck, and then has to abort, it embitters her.

    There are no words. Oh Christ on a pogo stick, there are words:

    Inane, insensitive, and whatever is three degrees up from narcissistic and mired in excrement. The sheer effort to sound edgy and cool and insightful and oh-so-daring is painful. Camille, give it a rest. Please. A long, Oxycontin and vodka rest.

    As for lesbo stunts, I’m envisioning overall-clad acrobats, swinging on trapezes, throwing howling cats through the air.

  9. Thene
    Thene November 14, 2007 at 6:59 pm |

    When Madonna doesn’t want to meet with her, Camille “attributed Madonna’s skittishness at the time to her uncertainties about her education (she had dropped out of college after one semester to seek fame in New York

    Someone has class anxiety, and I don’t think it’s Madonna…

  10. anna
    anna November 14, 2007 at 6:59 pm |

    All I need to know about Camille is that she said “If civilization had been left in female hands, we would still be living in grass huts,” and she wasn’t kidding. And people still call her a feminist.

  11. Victoria Marinelli
    Victoria Marinelli November 14, 2007 at 7:12 pm |

    Would that I were still eligible to join some Parachute-Free Muff-Diving League. Thanks for the laugh!

    And re: Mailer, oddly enough I had just begun reading the memoir (ordered from Amazon the previous week) by his ex-wife Adele (the one he stabbed) the same day I learned he’d finally keeled over. I’d always meant to read Norman Mailer’s stuff, I just didn’t want to do it until I’d read her book first. And also, re-read Kate Millett’s Sexual Politics which was, I’m pretty sure, the first major feminist critique of Mailer’s work… (Mailer wrote The Prisoner of Sex largely in response to same) though it perhaps was not as entertaining as these “lesbo stunts” by Jill Johnston.

    And Paglia? I tried for years to summon enough interest in Sexual Personae, without luck. Maybe it would be good bathroom material?

  12. Orodemniades
    Orodemniades November 14, 2007 at 7:13 pm |

    I thought Camille was a lesbian?

    And if she is, she should totally be kicked out of that club. Actually, I’d like to kick her out of the human genome club entirely, but I don’t think it’s possible.

  13. Mnemosyne
    Mnemosyne November 14, 2007 at 7:15 pm |

    Paglia thinks that “Dianne Feinstein, not Hillary Clinton, has already created the paradigm for a female commander in chief.”

    As someone who has lived in California for almost 20 years of my adult life and has seen much of Dianne Feinstein, I can only say … are you fucking kidding me? Feinstein, who’s never seen a boot she wouldn’t lick or a Republican she wouldn’t bend over for?

    I don’t like Hillary, but give me her as the CoC any day over Feinstein. At least I’d have some confidence that Hillary had made her own decision.

  14. Jeff Fecke
    Jeff Fecke November 14, 2007 at 7:23 pm |

    That pro-sex wing of feminism (to which I belong)

    Ha! Oh, Camille Paglia, your hilarious, self-deprecating japes never get old!

    I mean, she was obviously joking about being sex-positive, right?

  15. rootlesscosmo
    rootlesscosmo November 14, 2007 at 7:31 pm |

    Glad to see Victoria Marinelli citing Millett’s Sexual Politics which subjected Mailer, Henry Miller, and D.H. Lawrence (among others) to strong feminist criticism. Millett’s book deserves to be better known–if it were, maybe Nawmin wouldn’t have got a NY Times front page obit that ran over to two full pages inside, a sidebar of quotes etc.

  16. Red Queen
    Red Queen November 14, 2007 at 7:50 pm |

    I think Paglia is confusing “pro sex” with rape apologist.

    I tried to read Mailer once. It was a short story that started out describing a blonde with nipples that pointed east and west. I couldn’t get through it, the misogyny- it burned. I’ve avoided him like the plague ever since (I think I was 17 when I read that so 16 plus years of studious avoidance).

  17. micheyd
    micheyd November 14, 2007 at 7:59 pm |

    Oh damn, Red Queen, you beat me to it. Pro-sex my arse…

    I also have no idea why Paglia is taken seriously either. Maybe it’s a combination of “ooh, i’m sooo controversial!” and populist anti-feminism with the thin veneer of intellectualism, but I just groan every time I hear she’s written something new.

  18. RodeoBob
    RodeoBob November 14, 2007 at 8:24 pm |

    Yep, it’s classic Camille crap…

    Shameless name-dropping? Yup.

    Self-promotion, including at least one reference to “Sexual Personae”? Yup, plus a plug for one of her other books!

    Making claims to be liberal and/or a feminist? Yup.
    Bashing liberals and/or feminists? Yup.

    Advocating/plugging for Fox News/Rush Limbaugh/other conservative meida figures? Well, I suppose the name-dropping of the Drudge Report fits…

    Being critical of liberal politicians/political issues, but ignoring the conservative counter-point? Yup.

    To listen to her, you’d never know there were Republicans running for president too. California wildfires? Just an excuse to rail against leftists who talked about global warming. Sure, Fox News ran a story suggesting arab terrorists were behind the wildfires, but that’s not nearly as interesting as talking about hurricanes 40 or 60 years ago.

    Ten years ago, this kind of cruddy writing was ‘edgy’. Now I believe the proper internet response is “GYOFB”

  19. alsojill
    alsojill November 14, 2007 at 8:49 pm |

    Note to self: do not read Camille Paglia.

    You know what really turns me off in all of this? Her praise of Germaine Greer. I still haven’t forgiven Greer for the utter crapitudinousness that is her scholarship in Slip-Shod Sibyls, and any mention of her just sends me to that dark place where I want to beat people about the head with their own massive, poorly-researched tomes.

    (Why, yes, Mailer IS on that list. It’s just a question of whether I not I could lift a book made of his collected works high enough to effectively drop it on him. Which is less fun to imagine now that he’s dead.)

  20. Gayle
    Gayle November 14, 2007 at 8:53 pm |

    She’s still obsessing on Madonna? After all these years?

    I don’t blame Madonna for avoiding her. . .creepy!

    I think she calls herself a feminist to set herself up as a contrarian. She’s sooo not a feminist, it’s almost funny.

  21. MizDarwin
    MizDarwin November 14, 2007 at 8:57 pm |

    Camille Paglia died in 1998. Anything currently published under her name is the work of a secret cabal of Lacanian psychoanalysts, computer programmers, and MRAs trying to create a text-generation program that can pass the Turing test. They are particularly keen to do so because they consistently fail said test in real life; i.e., they are unable to convince other people that they are human.

  22. Cara
    Cara November 14, 2007 at 9:06 pm |

    I know that I should be asking what the fuck is wrong with Camile Paglia, but really, what the fuck is (was) wrong with Normal Mailer?

  23. Cecily
    Cecily November 14, 2007 at 9:12 pm |

    She’s so dreadful she can run a thinking person from “Who’s that?” to “I hate her so much” in one fifteen-sentence video clip. Really, my partner and I saw her in a documentary.

    Documentary: Paglia appears.
    Cecily: Shit, I hate CP so much.
    Partner: Who’s that?
    Paglia: raves for two sentences about how men rape civilization into being, more or less.
    Partner: Shit, I hate CP so much.


  24. Tobes
    Tobes November 14, 2007 at 9:30 pm |

    Parachute-free muff-diving

    Milk just squirted out of my nose. Seriously.

  25. Natalia
    Natalia November 14, 2007 at 11:17 pm |

    The really sad thing about Camille is that I believe (I am a person of faith) that she’s a perfectly sane and even intelligent individual. But, like helpless kittens in a sack, the sanity and intelligence are drowned by her narcissism and bizarre insistence on arguing any old point as long as it might seem dimly “controversial.”

  26. Lizzie (greeneyed fem)
    Lizzie (greeneyed fem) November 15, 2007 at 9:18 am |

    As for lesbo stunts, I’m envisioning overall-clad acrobats, swinging on trapezes, throwing howling cats through the air.

    HAHAHAHAHA*snort*heeheeheeeeeee. I am in love with that visual.

  27. Australian Atheist
    Australian Atheist November 15, 2007 at 9:19 am |

    More on what a sick misogynist Norman Mailer was.

    The fawning after his death was disgusting.

  28. kate
    kate November 15, 2007 at 10:13 am |

    Penthouse magazine had similarly tried to bring Madonna and me together, as had HBO, which proposed filming a “My Dinner with André” scenario of the two of us chatting in a restaurant. But Madonna, no conversationalist, always refused. When Newsweek asked her in a 1992 cover story whether she would like to meet me, she said, “First, I’d like to see her across the room and then I’d like to decide whether I want to approach her.” and Camille still goes on rationalizing the snub.

    Paglia serves as a reminder of what money and class position can get one if they try hard enough. That is absolutely the lamest, most pathetic writing I’ve read in awhile. How much does she paid for that? I want to punch her.

    Thank you Victoria, I was wondering how to approach Mailer and I think I’ll follow your lead, didn’t even know his ex wrote a memoir.

  29. kate
    kate November 15, 2007 at 10:14 am |

    Sorry about the all-quotes, the cat walked over the keyboard.

  30. Holly
    Holly November 15, 2007 at 10:45 am |

    It’s just like Paglia to glorify Norman Mailer. In case anyone’s not clear, The Prisoner of Sex was an early example of a long line of MRA screeds about “Men have feelings too! Men suffer because they want sex all the time and can’t have it! Stop attacking my manhood, nasty womens!” Mailer was a classic mid-century misogynist and a pretty brilliant wordsmith; his legacy would be entirely brighter if he had never said a single word about women. I don’t know why Paglia is complaining that nobody knows about Mailer anymore; at my college he’s a staple of 20th century lit. And if he’s become irrelevant to current thought… well, I think it’s clear from all the quotes whose fault that is.

    As for Jill Johnston, it really was a fairly amazing lesbo stunt (well, for the time). Here’s a description I found of her Abbie-Hoffman-style performance:

    At that point the scene and the film bursts open with Jill Johnston — in shades, sackcloth, and long shaggy hair — a) putting down the gorgeousness of Germaine Greer, b) loudly proclaiming: “All women are lesbians who don’t know it yet, just the way all men of course are homosexuals,” c) deploring the fact that Abraham, the begatter of sons and grandsons who all have names while his daughters and granddaughters do not, lived 350 years, d) talking on and on and on, nonstop, past 10 minutes, past 15 minutes, past Norman Mailer’s several polite entreaties until at last he loses his temper with: “Jill, either play with the team or pick up your marbles and get lost … ”

    Instead of picking up her marbles, Ms. Johnston rushes to the rear of the hall, picks up, literally, in her arms, a girlfriend waiting there for her, and falls with girlfriend to the floor of Town Hall to demonstrate for all the world to see what lesbians (in full clothing) like to do with one another. “We’re going down on Women’s Lib,” she cheerfully announces.

    I think Mailer also commented sarcastically that it wasn’t very ladylike of her. Which you know, is kind of funny, except apparently he was unable to hide his annoyance at being upstaged.

  31. D.N. Nation
    D.N. Nation November 15, 2007 at 11:48 am |


    Norman Mailer loved him some violence, especially when it crossed demographic borders (man vs. woman, black vs. white, etc.).

  32. Theroigne
    Theroigne November 15, 2007 at 12:12 pm |

    Camille is a “lesbo stunt.”

  33. Betty Boondoggle
    Betty Boondoggle November 15, 2007 at 2:13 pm |

    The only thing I know about Mailer is that he was once a brief guest star on “Gilmore Girls”.

    And now that I’ve learned more about him, I wish that’s still all I knew about him.

    The thing that’s grossed me out are all the supposedly feminist men who got all “well he was a woman-hater, but please don’t ignore his genius!” after he kicked it.

  34. ekf
    ekf November 15, 2007 at 2:22 pm |

    HBO, which proposed filming a “My Dinner with André” scenario of the two of us chatting in a restaurant. But Madonna, no conversationalist, always refused.

    That’s hilarious! This is the same Madonna that did “Truth or Dare” and did a movie where she talked incessantly about herself, right? Awesome. Poor, deluded Camille, thinking that someday she’ll be able to starfuck her brightest star, Madonna.

    Paglia is irrelevant in every way, which would be much easier to take if only she’d realize that very simple fact.

  35. Meowser
    Meowser November 15, 2007 at 4:31 pm |

    Paglia is irrelevant in every way, which would be much easier to take if only she’d realize that very simple fact.

    Never mind her recognizing it. If the people who cut the checks would just recognize it, that would work for me.

  36. Thomas, TSID
    Thomas, TSID November 15, 2007 at 4:33 pm |

    Okay, I’ll bite: I always thought muff-diving with a parachute was a lot more challenging, depending of course on how much weight you hang from it.

    (The link does not depict use. For those unfamiliar, google for images of “parachute cbt”.)

    I can’t speak to extreme softball.

  37. EG
    EG November 15, 2007 at 4:41 pm |

    Sometimes she has to be saying to herself, “You’re killing the memory of a beautiful fuck.

    Because nine months of unwanted physical ailments and distress followed by hours and hours of protracted agony is always the best way to commemorate good sex.

  38. meggygurl
    meggygurl November 15, 2007 at 4:46 pm |

    The only thing I know about Mailer is that he was once a brief guest star on “Gilmore Girls”.

    Who was he on GG? I don’t know anything about him either, and it seems my brain is happier for it.

  39. kate
    kate November 15, 2007 at 5:34 pm |

    Thanks Holly for your description of Johnston and criticism of Mailer. I’ve learned more about Mailer from feminist blogs in one week than I knew in all the 43 years of my only partially educated life.

    I started reading, awhile ago, “The Naked and the Dead” having heard it was some great literature. I had to put it down before going too far beyond the first two pages. Reading sex from a man’s perspective, especially when the receiver is described as nothing more than a china vessel, gets old quickly.

    I agree with Meowser, who are the sheltered morons who keep Paglia published and paid? Why? Last I knew, literate women aren’t that rare. She’s a fool.

  40. alsojill
    alsojill November 15, 2007 at 5:35 pm |

    Who was he on GG?


    He was eating in the Dragonfly Inn when Sookie realized she was pregnant for the second time. The episode is titled “Norman Mailer, I’m Pregnant!”

  41. ostrova
    ostrova November 15, 2007 at 7:57 pm |

    Camille Paglia said women couldn’t make great art because we can’t commit rape. Norman Mailer announced “I am a White Negro.” Twin souls.

  42. Mnemosyne
    Mnemosyne November 15, 2007 at 8:10 pm |

    I know that I should be asking what the fuck is wrong with Camile Paglia, but really, what the fuck is (was) wrong with Normal Mailer?

    He was an upper-class Jewish man who spent his entire life trying to prove that he was actually a working-class WASP. Pretty much everything he did in his life was a performance to show that he was a tough guy, not the effete intellectual that he actually was.

    The Executioner’s Song is pretty good, though it’s best read in conjunction with Mikal Gilmore’s Shot In the Heart. Mailer was a crappy novelist but a decent journalist. Plus I suspect that, in Gary Gilmore, he found someone even more fucked up than he was, and it scared him a little.

  43. Isabel
    Isabel November 15, 2007 at 10:22 pm |

    Madonna probably avoided Paglia because Paglia was acting all stalkerish about Madonna.

    OH MY GOD SERIOUSLY. Paglia is freaking obsessed with Madonna. We read an essay by her in my contemporary US history course in 11th grade and, honestly, the points she made about Madonna (of whom I am a fan) were pretty decent, but the essay suffered from two major drawbacks:
    1) her needless namecalling, like, Camille sweetie, your criticism of the mainstream feminist establishment (which often did, in my opinion, misinterpret Madonna, though they had their reasons for doing so) would carry a lot more weight if you didn’t comport yourself like a five-year-old in the process (“twits”? really?); and
    2) her BLATANTLY GIGANTIC CRUSH on Madonna, especially creepy drooling over Madonna’s erotic curves, like, ENOUGH ALREADY, WE GET THAT YOU THINK SHE IS HOT. It was weird and unprofessional and just… unnecessary. Ugh.

  44. Bitter Scribe
    Bitter Scribe November 15, 2007 at 11:12 pm |

    How exactly does a rape apologist get tagged as a feminist?

  45. wriggles
    wriggles November 18, 2007 at 6:47 am |

    I enjoy reading Camille Paglia I like some of her phrase making, even if I don’t always agree with who she applies it to. She really makes me think and try to analyse what she is saying, she rarely winds me up if she does, I still am able to think about what she is getting at before I agree or disagree with it.
    I find her crush on Madonna to be quite touching actually, especially as I don’t get it, we are rarely at our best when those feelings are unrequited. I like the way she puts her judgement on the line by offering an alternative instead of just vitriol. I enjoy her energy as well, as for her ego we’ve all got one and I think frankly that a lot of us protest too much on that one. She doesn’t play the coquette pretending to a ‘niceness’ she clearly doesn’t feel. She seems to me to actually say something, I’ve yet to get the feeling that she rants pointlessly even if I disagree.

  46. Camille's Above Your Heads
    Camille's Above Your Heads December 11, 2007 at 9:24 pm |

    Ditto to #45 and then some. Camille came of age in a different era than most people reading her today. Although nominally belonging to a sexual minority, she insists on self-reliance which she learned pre-Stonewall, pre-NOW, pre-HRC — because it pre-existed all these “movement” organizations and pre-fabricated opinions and party lines that are current today.

  47. katlyn
    katlyn January 12, 2008 at 9:56 pm |

    Camille Paglia said women couldn’t make great art because we can’t commit rape.

    Ostrova, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, but when the fuck did she say that? I don’t think she could be any more atrocious.

  48. Crazy Camille « his vorpal sword
    Crazy Camille « his vorpal sword February 18, 2009 at 6:31 am |

    […] PUTRID PAGLIA. — You may not realize this, but I loathe Camille Paglia. Jill / Feministe: Wherein I disrupt Camille Paglia’s column with lesbo stunts Wonker / HazZzMat: The Latest Hill and Huma Siting JammieWearingFool: A Simple Question for Mrs. […]

Comments are closed.

The commenting period has expired for this post. If you wish to re-open the discussion, please do so in the latest Open Thread.