• Document: CAMILLE PAGLIA SEX, ART, AND AMERICAN CULTURE
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X, A R T , A N P ' CAMILLE PAGLIA SEX, ART, AND AMERICAN CULTURE Camille Paglia is Professor of Humanities at the Uni- versity of the Arts in Philadelphia. She is the author of Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson, Vamps £sf Tramps, and the forthcoming Break, Blow, Burn. SEX, ART, AND AMERICAN CULTURE ESSAYS C A M I L L E P A G L I A Vintage Books A Division of Random House, Inc. New York A Vintage Original, September 1992 FIRST EDITION Copyright © 1992 by Camille Paglia All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. Published in the United States by Vintage Books, a division of Random House, Inc., New York, and simultaneously in Canada by Random House of Canada Limited, Toronto. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Paglia, Camille, 1947- Sex, art, and American culture : essays / Camilie Paglia. — 1st ed. p. cm. "A Vintage original." Includes index. ISBN 0-679-74101-1 (pbk.) 1. United States—Popular culture—History—20th century. I. Title. E169.12.P33 1992 306.4Ό973—dc20 91-50933 CIP Pages 336-337 constitute an extension of this copyright page. Design by Maura Fadden Rosenthal Manufactured in the United States of America C987654 CONTENTS INTRODUCTION VII MADONNA I: ANIMALITY AND ARTIFICE 3 MADONNA II: VENUS OF THE RADIO WAVES 6 ELIZABETH TAYLOR: HOLLYWOOD'S PAGAN QUEEN 14 ROCK AS ART 19 HOMOSEXUALITY AT THE FIN DE SIECLE 22 THE JOY OF PRESBYTERIAN SEX 26 THE BEAUTIFUL DECADENCE OF ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE A Response to Rochelle Gurstein 38 THE STRANGE CASE OF CLARENCE THOMAS AND ANITA HILL 46 RAPE AND MODERN SEX WAR 49 THE RAPE DEBATE, CONTINUED 55 CLEOPATRA SOLD DOWN THE RIVER Lucy Hughes-Hallett's Cleopatra: Histories, Dreams and Distortions 75 ALICE IN MUSCLE LAND Samuel Wilson FusselPs Muscle: Confessions of an Unlikely Bodybuilder 79 THE CRITIC AT GRACEFUL EASE Wendy Lesser's His Other Half: Men Looking at Women Through Art 83 THE BIG UDDER Suzanne Gordon's Prisoners of Men's Dreams 86 VI CONTENTS BRANDO FLASHING Richard Schickel's Brando: A Life in Our Times 91 WHAT A DRAG Marjorie Garber's Vested Interests: Cross-Dressing and Cultural Anxiety 96 SEXUAL PERSONAE: THE CANCELLED PREFACE 101 MILTON KESSLER: A MEMOIR 1 25 EAST AND WEST: AN EXPERIMENT IN MULTICULTURALISM 1 36 JUNK BONDS AND CORPORATE RAIDERS: ACADEME IN THE HOUR OF THE WOLF 1 7O THE M I T . LECTURE: CRISIS IN THE AMERICAN UNIVERSITIES 249 APPENDICES 299 A Media History 3O1 Cartoon Personae 3O9 Profiles, Interviews, Debates, Exotica 315 INDEX 326 INTRODUCTION The essays in this collection are united by common themes. I want to rethink American cultural history in order to clarify the heritage of my generation of the Sixties, which heroically broke through Fifties conformism but which failed in many ways to harness or sustain its own energies. Popular culture is my passion. It created Sixties imagina- tion. I define pop culture as an eruption of the never-defeated paganism of the West. Its brazen aggression and pornographic sexuality are at odds with current feminism, whose public pro- ponents are in a reactionary phase of hysterical moralism and prudery, like that of the Temperance movement a century ago. We need a new kind of feminism, one that stresses personal responsibility and is open to art and sex in all their dark, uncon- soling mysteries. The feminist of thefinde siecle will be bawdy, streetwise, and on-the-spot confrontational, in the prankish Sixties way. My essays often address the impasse in contemporary pol- itics between "liberal" and "conservative," a polarity that I con- tend lost its meaning after the Sixties. There should be an examination of the way Sixtie

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