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Wildly overblown claims about an epidemic of sexual assaults on American campuses are obscuring the true danger to young women, too often distracted by cellphones or i Pods in public places: the ancient sex crime of abduction and murder.Paglia then implies that women could somehow prevent being sexually assaulted by just not doing things that will purportedly get them raped, like looking at their i Pods or cell phones instead of vigilantly policing the perimeter as they walk to biology. Here, Paglia joins a chorus of men’s rights activists and Fox News hosts that would suggest women are at fault for their rapes.
Despite hysterical propaganda about our “rape culture,” the majority of campus incidents being carelessly described as sexual assault are not felonious rape (involving force or drugs) but oafish hookup melodramas, arising from mixed signals and imprudence on both sides.
What Paglia would call “oafish hookup melodramas” are what the rest of us would call date rape, something that is pervasive on college campuses.
Whatever your political inclination or literary and artistic touchstones, Paglia’s takes are compulsively readable, thought provoking, galvanizing, and an essential part of our cultural dialogue, invariably giving voice to what most needs to be said. She is still at her fiery intellectual best as a teacher, whether she's throwing out odd but intriguing comparisons—Captain Ahab and Ziggy Stardust are both ‘scarred by lightning,’ each ‘a voyager who has defied ordinary human limits and paid the price’—or deciphering poetry, happily butchering sacred cows along the way. The author is showing us what she sees ahead.” —Patricia E.
CAMILLE PAGLIA is the University Professor of Humanities and Media Studies at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Excerpted by permission of Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site. The scholar and culture warrior comes out swinging.
Beyond that, harmful statements like these make it even more difficult for victims who are already blaming themselves, or who are attacked by people other than these mythical “sexual stalkers,” to find closure and achieve justice.
These types of claims have real world implications, especially in a culture that already refuses to address the fact that a third of women will experience sexual assault in their lives.
Two particular events have shaped my approach to writing: the first was a lecture I attended as a schoolboy in the early 1980s, given by Terry Jones of Monty Python fame.
The topic was not dead parrots or the unexpected nature of the Spanish Inquisition but Chaucer’s “Knight’s Tale” on which he had just published a scholarly book.
One of the Best Books of the Year: Kirkus Reviews A timely and lavishly comprehensive collection from the inimitable critical firebrand—hailed as "a fearless public intellectual and more necessary than ever” (The New York Times)—tackling sex, art, feminism, politics, and education, and covering the full span of her wide-ranging and important career.