Originally published on October 29, 1996
Paglia, eh? Great. You're a leg up on me with that pair of trousers, but yes, she's plugged into my short shorts of writers I intend to exploit on my own terms, buttressing hers, by reading a fuller body of her work.
You are waving at battleship clowns though, in pointing out what you read as gross generalizations on maleness, presuming, as we agree, the topic is her announced speciality, because far too many books I have read on race, gender, even pop ass religion & nuclear physics are written by ascendant experts guilty of similar transgressions against their own daring models of zero, not zero. But if her generalizations of "her men" are just that, aren't those of "her women" just as general and no less caricatured than those of Henry Miller, Mick Jagger, or Gloria Steinum?
If the defining factor of her work can be said to bestow truth to the fact that the man on the hipper side of the manhood schematic is as driven to be "a man" by forces he struggles to control and improve against great odds of acrimony and self-doubt as those which women bear inside themselveswhich they, grabbing their own perspective, conclude as just and feminine (but perhaps not righteous for all?). As a woman speaking on this topic, your subjectivity remains the trait you can never escape regardless of race, gender, creed or dvisibility by zero...no less than anything I have to say on this or any subject matter. Such is the human condition in reality. All else is politics, art, and the place on earth where stupid remarks are taken for granted because human frailty and the language they have invented has made it that way.
Absolute gender essence is a fiction, but factors forcing us into certain camps are just & natural all the same. While we may find it fascinating to sit under a banana shrub tree with a cool drink to pine for a formula that would equalize the world, nothing is further from the true, and is simply a fuzzy concept developed to bring a better cohesion between differences in a crowd. While some political theories have tried to erase, other smudge the inherent differences between men and other men, women and other women, alliances and enemies cross pollinating the lines, so the best we can hope for is an active intelligence when this whistling dixie of topics is brought to the table.
If Johnny can't read. That's a problem Johnny has. If nobody in Johnny's class can read, maybe that's a class problem, or perhaps a rude statistical anomaly. Solving for a class problem is a one Johnny at a time scenario, no matter how many times Billy's, or Rachel's or Al-Amid's class (who can all read after a fashion, but in emphatic degrees of speciality, one to and against another, and so we say there is no class problem, but an individual level of compliance to a standard which suffers in a state of flux, never at rest, but always evolving with new imput). And so it goes. Natural selection. Crowd warfare disguised as crowd fanfare. We both know the issue is more complicated than Johnny. His home life, his specific subculture, and the tumultuous uber culture drive the imagination into places no young mind can handle without strong guidance, and simply overwhelm the attention span where little teaching, even if made interesting and important to the student can penetrate. I'd like to know, Landry, of a few Paglia clichés you find utterly testing reality. It could prove an interesting exchange between us.
While I'm still probably not back to fifty percent normal, the Dollhouse clutter piled up for days until I couldn't help myself but to storm around all day picking up in a slow painful hobble. Of course everyone including Lizbeth& Chris last weekend has predicted my left foot without a cast will heal to an ouchy mess, even though my choice to forego the cast was one of the doc's original options as he groped the swollen mob of purple toes and x-rays last week. So I'm taking my chances with Providence, but haven't I always?
She ain't no JUNKY by any stretch. We're just talking over the counter stuff, but she's really blows a goose whenever the pillbox is passed around. In my case, it's as ifif she can just get me to pop a pillshe has performed a recognizable measure of social work in heading me in the right direction of the fit & well. But I DO have to give her credit for some fine sweet words of caring as she nagged me into submission about finally going to see Doctor Ford. Do it for MEEEE, she pleaded in the sweet pitched cajoling voice of protestant communion she pulls out for these special darling occasions which will eventually all blur together after a while and I guess that's what we for lack of a better word call love. And so I did.
And I am redeemed with honors (called GETTING THE CREDIT in Dollhouse parlance) for having been right as a pat hand of three aces and a greenhaired Jack in both diagnosing & proscribing a laissez faire attitude in the first place, but it was good to get professional confirmation. That's the best health care I can suffer. Emergency blockades. Damage control. Squeaky clean is somebody's else triumphant life. Blind faith in OVERCOMING the body in all these war wounds is the method of least resistence I cling to, it's a motto, a white flag, black flag, label of a thousand filthy warthogs rutting in the mud...
As for this blurring of categories I often speak of, especially in what Miller sarcastically loathed as literature, I do not stand on ceremonial demarcations of fiction, biography, lasting truth, evidence of genius, email correspondence, men of letters, rogue pundits, cultural betters, dry bone or snot-nosed detractors. Distractions, all of it. Like a drop or two of kerosene in a steaming pot of outdoor stew, it'll all boil off in the end.