Paglia the nihilist

In a recent article, Camille Paglia (pronounced PAHL-ya) criticizes Taylor Swift and Katy Perry as too “white bread” and lauds the decadent black-Hispanic eroticism of Rihanna and Beyoncé. On this basis, Mark Richardson observes—though he says he’s not sure because he hasn’t read her earlier work—that Paglia has revealed herself as a vitalist nihilist, meaning that she doesn’t believe in the good but just in excitement. But of course Paglia is a vitalist nihilist who doesn’t believe in the good but just in excitement. That’s been true of her from the start. I wrote her a letter (a real letter) twenty years ago saying pretty much the same, based on my reading of the first chapter and other sections of Sexual Personae. I don’t know that I used the phrase “vitalist nihilism” in that letter, since I’m not sure that I had yet read Eugene (Fr. Seraphim) Rose’s Nihilism in which he coined the concept. But I do remember that I told her that she lacked the Aristotelian idea of the good, in which man attains happiness by fulfilling what is best in his nature. At the time I thought that she would dismiss me as a hopeless square for saying that.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 01, 2013 09:53 PM | Send

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