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mzteris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-19-07 07:24 PM
Original message
bell hooks (and others) on Camille Paglia
Chapter Seven, "Camille Paglia: 'Black' Pagan or White Colonizer?"

In this chapter, hooks indulges in a deliciously sarcastic shredding of Paglia's work, arguing that Paglia and her followers "make feminism most palatable when they strip it of any radical political agenda that would include a critique of sexism and a call to dismantle patriarchy, repackaging it so that it is finally only about gender equality with men of their class in the public sphere."(p.87)
hooks, bell. Outlaw Culture: Resisting Representations. New York: Routledge, 1994.


******


She writes sarcastically of Camille Paglia, "Girlfriend just wanted to be right there in the middle of that white supremacist capitalist patriarchal stage doing her thing. Go, girl! You got it! It's all yours!"
Outlaw Culture: Resisting Representations, by bell hooks (Routledge, 1994).


********


Like Paglia and Roiphe, hooks urges women to voice their sexual desires boldly. But she asserts that when women speak frankly and graphically about their heterosexual desires they need not be asking for a violent male sexuality to satisfy them. And she accuses both Roiphe and Paglia of encouraging the same old story of male sexual dominance, of being conservative at heart. hooks's prescriptions for heterosexual sex can seem surprisingly didactic, and she presents the transformation of her sex life as an example other women might find unappealing. For example, concerning her long-term struggle to suppress her own attraction to aggressive male behavior, she says, "I had to reconstruct myself as a heterosexual, desiring subject in a manner that would make it possible for me to be fully aroused by male behavior that was not phallocentric." hooks dismisses heterosexual women who valorize aggressive male sexuality as agents of the white male hierarchy, leaving no room for a separation of public and private lives. As she says in "Moving Into and Beyond Feminism," "we're never going to end the forms of domination if we're not willing to challenge the notion of public and private." But her integration of public and private seems to go too far when she accuses feminists of political deviance based on their sexual desires.

. . . As hooks makes clear, the young women who are billed as the "new" feminists, the ones who get the air-time and magazine covers, are white, privileged, and pose far less of a threat to powerful white males than someone like hooks, who refuses to ignore racial and economic inequalities to raise a few corporate women's salaries. hooks accuses Paglia, Roiphe, and Wolf of opportunistically disguising as feminism their support of the white male power structure; she implies that they are so popular because they quell popular fear of a feminist revolution. http://www.digitas.harvard.edu/~perspy/old/issues/1995/...


***********


From Publishers Weekly
Either you like the polysexual, pagan Paglia, or you don't-and this collection by the author of Sexual Personae isn't going to change that. Perfectly aware of her image, Paglia early on compares herself to Ross Perot, Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern, in her "raging egomania and volatile comic personae tending toward the loopy." On this outing, Paglia revisits the same fire hydrants, sniffs the competition and then marks them once more as her own. Pornography continues to be great; Lacanians, bad; Freud, underrated; feminists, undersexed. Although her main essay "No Law in the Arena," is not as solid as "Junk Bonds and Corporate Raiders," the analysis of academe that anchored Sex, Art, and American Culture, many of her essays expand on her gritty common-sense understanding of the nasty realities of sex. Particularly good are "Rebel Love: Homosexuality"; "Lolita Unclothed" and "Woody Allen Agonistes." Paglia is at her bilious ad feminem best skewering one-time idol Susan Sontag in "Sontag, Bloody Sontag," or Catharine MacKinnon ("the dull instincts and tastes of a bureaucrat") and Andrea Dworkin ("The Girl with the Eternal Cold") in "The Return of Carry Nation." As usual, there's much about tabloid icons-Amy Fisher, Lorena Bobbit, Jackie O-but Paglia herself has become just such an icon, appearing in movies and TV specials whose transcripts she rather tediously includes. Still, when Paglia is good, she is palatable; when Paglia is bad, she's terrific. Author tour.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews
Those who missed them in Playboy, The New Republic, and other media can catch up with culture diva Paglia's latest performances here. The special effects are as spectacular as ever; the act, however, is getting old. . .Paglia's production is like a three-ring circus. . . The really compelling action comes in the center ring, where the carnival of Paglia's construction of her own persona never stops. Her straightforwardly autobiographical writing is brilliant. . . she often seems miscast as an intellectual leader, mirroring as she does another aspect of her image of Sontag: ``no argument, only collage.'' -- Copyright 1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
http://www.amazon.de/Vamps-Tramps-Essays-Camille-Paglia...


not sure why I'm unable to post this elsewhere? (torn between :wtf: and :shrug:)
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HarukaTheTrophyWife Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-20-07 02:20 AM
Response to Original message
1. Okay, I have a serious issue with one part of this...
And she accuses both Roiphe and Paglia of encouraging the same old story of male sexual dominance, of being conservative at heart. hooks's prescriptions for heterosexual sex can seem surprisingly didactic, and she presents the transformation of her sex life as an example other women might find unappealing. For example, concerning her long-term struggle to suppress her own attraction to aggressive male behavior, she says, "I had to reconstruct myself as a heterosexual, desiring subject in a manner that would make it possible for me to be fully aroused by male behavior that was not phallocentric." hooks dismisses heterosexual women who valorize aggressive male sexuality as agents of the white male hierarchy, leaving no room for a separation of public and private lives.


Okay, I'm a lesbian, but I don't understand why she would need to "struggle to suppress her own attraction to aggressive male behavior." Honestly, what's wrong with aggressive sex. Why would she want to "reconstruct" herself to be "fully aroused by male behavior that was not phallocentric." If that's what she enjoyed, then what was the issue? I simply don't understand women who feel that certain aspects of their sexual nature are "wrong." If that's what got her "fully aroused," then what was the real issue? There is nothing wrong with aggressive, phallocentric sex. Honestly, I find it most enjoyable (on both sides). I couldn't imagine attempting to change what turned me on to fit some feminist "ideal."
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mzteris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-20-07 11:36 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. you'd have to read
more of bell hook's to really understand; these snippets can't possibly convey who the woman is. And she's VERY complex.

I HATED her when I first started reading her books, (and I still don't agree with everything she says) - but as I read through her I began to really see things in a different way.

As far as ***If that's what she enjoyed, then what was the issue? I simply don't understand women who feel that certain aspects of their sexual nature are "wrong." ***

Sometimes it is just "wrong". Or wrong for that person - for whatever reason. If you'd like to take this to PM I think I can be a bit more forthright in describing *why* this might be an important issue for some women.
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Donald Ian Rankin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-23-07 01:02 PM
Response to Original message
3. Is Ms Hooks really stupid, or is it just selective quotation making her look that way, I wonder?
"Girlfriend just wanted to be right there in the middle of that white supremacist capitalist patriarchal stage doing her thing. Go, girl! You got it! It's all yours!"

Is as good an example of substituting buzzwords for thought as one could possibly wish for - there any thought in that sentence a parrot couldn't produce, and it certainly wouldn't make anyone sensible think any less of Ms Paglia.


"Hooks dismisses heterosexual women who valorize aggressive male sexuality as agents of the white male hierarchy"... "agents of the white male heirarchy"... "the white male heirarchy"... yes, of course, there's a secret heirarchy of white men who sends out agents to try and preserve its dominance.


". . . As hooks makes clear, the young women who are billed as the "new" feminists, the ones who get the air-time and magazine covers, are white, privileged, and pose far less of a threat to powerful white males than someone like hooks, who refuses to ignore racial and economic inequalities to raise a few corporate women's salaries."

Of course, being white makes one less of a feminist, and enabling women to compete on an equal footing for good jobs is not an important issue.


While it's not enough to base an informed opinion on, this article makes its subject sound like a self-satisfied parrot-teacher devoid of original thought. Whether she really is or not is, of course, another matter.
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nashville_brook Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-23-07 05:00 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. meet bell hooks... as well as your intellectual brethren (David Horowitz)
Edited on Tue Jan-23-07 05:01 PM by nashville_brook
"self satisfied parrot-teacher devoid of original thought..." -- see below, CRITICISM

btw, what's a "parrot-teacher"?





bell hooks (born Gloria Jean Watkins on September 25, 1952) is an American intellectual, feminist, and social activist.

hooks focuses on the interconnectivity of race, class, and gender and their ability to produce and perpetuate systems of oppression and domination. She has published over thirty books and numerous scholarly and mainstream articles, appeared in several documentary films, and participated in various public lectures. Primarily through an African American female perspective, hooks addresses race, class, and gender in education, art, history, sexuality, mass media, and feminism.

Pen name

hooks adopted her pen name from those of her mother and grandmother. Her name uses an unconventional lowercasing, which, to hooks, signifies that what is most important in her works is the "substance of books, not who I am.

Early life

hooks was born Gloria Jean Watkins on September 25, 1952 in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. She grew up in a working class family with five sisters and one brother. hooks' father, Veodis Watkins, was a custodian, and her mother, Rosa Bell Watkins, was a homemaker. She was raised in an abusive family in an all black community. She writes that the experience of growing up poor, black, and female had a profound effect on her that continues to inform her writing and activism.

hooks' early education took place in racially segregated public schools, and she writes of great difficulty making the transition to an integrated school, where the teachers and students were predominantly white. She graduated from Crispus Attucks High School in Hopkinsville. She received her B.A. in English from Stanford University in 1973 and her M.A. in the same subject from the University of Wisconsin in 1976. In 1983, after several years teaching and writing, hooks completed her doctorate in the literature department from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a dissertation on African American author Toni Morrison.

Career

hooks began her teaching career in 1976 as an English professor and senior lecturer in Ethnic Studies at the University of Southern California. During her three years there, Golemics (Los Angeles) released her first published work, a chapbook of poems titled "And There We Wept" (1978), and written under her pen name, bell hooks.

She taught at several post-secondary institutions in the early 80s, including the University of California, Santa Cruz and San Francisco State University. South End Press (Boston) published her first major work, Aint I a Woman?: Black Women and Feminism, in 1981, written while she was an undergraduate student. In the decades since its publication, it has gained widespread recognition as an influential contribution to modern feminist thought.

Aint I a Woman? examines several themes that recur in hookss later work. Namely, the history and impact of sexism and racism on black women and the consequential devaluation of black womanhood; the role of the media, the education system, and the white supremacist patriarchal capitalist systems in the marginalization of black women; and the displacement of black women and the disregard for issues of race, class, and gender within feminism.

Since the publication of Aint I a Woman?, hooks has become a well-known as a leftist political thinker and cultural critic. Hooks tries to reach a broad audience by presenting her work in a variety of media and using writing and speaking styles that are audience-specific. As well as writing books, hooks publishes numerous articles in scholarly journals and mainstream magazines, lectures at widely accessible venues, and appears in various documentary films.

She has published over thirty books, ranging in topics from black men and masculinity to self-help, engaged pedagogy to personal memoir, and sexuality to the politics of visual culture. A theme in hookss most recent writing is the ability of community and love to overcome race, class, and gender. In three conventional books and four children's books, she tries to demonstrate that communication and literacy (the ability to read, write, and think critically) is the key to developing healthy communities and relationships that are not marred by race, class, or gender inequalities.

She has held positions as Professor of African and Afro-American Studies and English at Yale University, as Associate Professor of Womens Studies and American Literature at Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, and as Distinguished Lecturer of English Literature at the City College of New York.

hooks gave a controversial commencement speech in 2002 at Southwestern University, then her employer. Eschewing the congratulatory mode of traditional commencement speeches, hooks spoke of government-sanctioned violence and oppression, and admonished students who went with the flow. The speech was booed by many in the audience, though "several graduates passed over the provost to shake hooks' hand or give her a hug."

In 2004 hooks joined the faculty of Berea College in Berea, Kentucky as Distinguished Professor in Residence, where she participates in a weekly feminist discussion group, "Monday Night Feminism", a luncheon lecture series, "Peanut Butter and Gender" and a seminar, "Building Beloved Community: The Practice of Impartial Love".

bell hooks believes that in order for the feminist perspective to make a difference in the world, feminists must return back to their original grassroots efforts. hooks believes that today most feminist thinkers and theorists do their work in the elite setting of the University and, because of this, their work is written in highly academic language that is not easily understood by those who have not completed post-secondary education. hooks believes this type of language is evident in the works that she herself produced during the first half of her career. hooks believes she is doing her part to return feminism to its roots by striving to write her works in language that is more accessible to all people.

Influences

Hooks' influences include abolitionist and feminist Sojourner Truth (whose speech Ain't I a Woman? inspired hooks' first major work), Brazilian educator Paulo Freire (whose persectives on education hooks embraces in her theory of engaged pedagogy), theologian Gustavo Gutierrez, playwright Lorraine Hansberry, Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, writer James Baldwin, black nationalist leader Malcolm X, and civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.

Criticism

Some writers have criticized hooks. David Horowitz mocks her statement that "it is difficult not to hear in standard English always the sound of slaughter and conquest" (Teaching to Transgress, p.169). Peter Schweizer accuses her of hypocrisy in sexual politics,<7> and Jamie Glazov accuses her of "gutter hate diatribes."

One passage Horowitz and Glazov specifically object to is a discussion in the first chapter of Killing Rage, in which hooks states that she is "sitting beside an anonymous white male that longs to murder". She explains that her impulse was occasioned by a ticket/boarding pass dispute involving her black and female friend. To hooks, the dispute was symptomatic of the role of racism and sexism in American society, describing her reaction to this man, and of another white man who was similarly given preferential treatment:

It was not a question of your giving up the seat, it was an occasion for you to intervene in the harassment of a young black woman and you chose your own comfort and tried to deflect away from your complicity in that choice by offering an insincere, face saving apology... It was this sequences of racialized incidents involving black women that intensified my rage against the white man sitting next to me. I felt a 'Killing Rage.' I wanted to stab him softly, to shoot him with the gun I wished I had in my purse. And as I watched his pain, I would say to him tenderly 'racism hurts.'-bell hooks, Killing Rage



Awards and nominations

* Yearning: Race, Gender, and Cultural Politics: The American Book Awards/ Before Columbus Foundation
Award (1991)
* Aint I a Woman?: Black Women and Feminism: One of the twenty most influential womens books in the
last 20 years by Publishers Weekly (1992)
* bell hooks: the Writers Award from the Lila Wallace- Readers Digest Fund (1994)
* Happy to Be Nappy: NAACP Image Award nominee (2001)
* Homemade Love: The Bank Street College Children's Book of the Year (2002)
* Salvation: Black People and Love: Hurston Wright Legacy Award nominee (2002)
* bell hooks: Utne Readers 100 Visionaries Who Could Change Your Life
* bell hooks: The Atlantic Monthly's One of our nations leading public intellectuals

Select bibliography

* Aint I a Woman?: Black Women and Feminism (1981) ISBN 0-89608-129-X
* Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center (1984) ISBN 0-89608-614-3
* Talking Back: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black (1989) ISBN 0-921284-09-8
* Yearning: Race, Gender, and Cultural Politics (1990) ISBN 0-921284-34-9
* Breaking Bread: Insurgent Black Intellectual Life (1991) (with Cornel West) ISBN 0-89608-414-0
* Black Looks: Race and Representation (1992) ISBN 0-89608-433-7
* Sisters of the Yam: Black Women and Self-recovery (1993) ISBN 1-896357-99-7
* Teaching to Transgress: Education As the Practice of Freedom (1994)ISBN 0-415-90808-6
* Outlaw Culture: Resisting Representations (1994) ISBN 0-415-90811-6
* Art on My Mind: Visual Politics (1995) ISBN 1-56584-263-4
* Killing Rage: Ending Racism (1995) ISBN 0-8050-5027-2
* Bone Black: Memories of Girlhood (1996) ISBN 0-8050-5512-6
* Reel to Real: Race, Sex, and Class at the Movies (1996)
* Wounds of Passion: A Writing Life (1997) ISBN 0-8050-5722-6
* Happy to be Nappy (1999) ISBN 0-7868-0427-0
* Remembered Rapture: The Writer at Work (1999) ISBN 0-8050-5910-5
* All About Love: New Visions(2000) ISBN 0-06-095947-9
* Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics (2000) ISBN 0-89608-629-1
* Where We Stand: Class Matters (2000)
* Salvation: Black People and Love (2001) ISBN 0-06-095949-5
* Communion: The Female Search for Love (2002) ISBN 0-06-093829-3
* Homemade Love (2002) ISBN 0-7868-0643-5
* Be Boy Buzz (2002) ISBN 0-7868-0814-4
* Rock My Soul: Black People and Self-esteem (2003) ISBN 0-7434-5605-X
* The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love (2003) ISBN 0-7434-5607-6
* Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope (2003) ISBN 0-415-96817-8
* We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity (2004) ISBN 0-415-96926-3
* Skin Again (2004) ISBN 0-7868-0825-X
* Space (2004) ISBN 0-415-96816-X
* Soul Sister: Women, Friendship, and Fulfillment (2005) ISBN 0-89608-735-2
* Witness (2006) ISBN 0-89608-759-X



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Donald Ian Rankin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-23-07 05:13 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. It's from Much Ado About Nothing.
I think Beatrice calls Benedict one - "well, you are a rare parrot-teacher" but it may be him calling her one.

Either way, the sense is of someone who keeps repeating the same form of words rather than thinking, as though trying to teach them to a parrot (or at least, I think it is, and that's certainly what I'm using it to mean).

This article on her makes me think that the OP is probably a fair representation of her, I'm afraid.
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nashville_brook Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-23-07 06:03 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. other poets you'd hate: Audre Lorde, Sojourner Truth, Ntozake Shange,
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Donald Ian Rankin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-23-07 06:50 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. I've never heard of the first or third.
Edited on Tue Jan-23-07 06:51 PM by Donald Ian Rankin
What little I know of Sojourner Truth inclines me to admire her greatly, both as a person and for her ability as a polemicist.

There's a *world* of difference between her perfectly-judged "ain't I a woman" speech and ms hook's (it appears I've been capitalising her name incorrectly) spoutings, both in terms of content and context and in terms of grasp of language, clarity of expression, and eloquence ("rhetoric", in the old sense of the word).

Ms hook knows words like "patriarchal" and "heirarchy", but has no idea how to use them - in the (admittedly few) quotes I've seen the use of language is even poorer than the ideas behind them. Sojourner Truth said "and now old Sojourner ain't got nothing more to say", at the end of one of the most effective phillipics I've come across.

It's possibly also worth noting that bell hook has adopted a far more extreme position than Sojourner Truth did, in a far less extreme time. Truth never, so far as I know, expressed a desire to kill someone for being white and male.
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Donald Ian Rankin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-24-07 08:31 AM
Response to Reply #6
8. Something I just noticed and find interesting:

bell hooks was born Gloria Jean Watkins
Gamba Adisa was born Audre Lorde
Sojourner Truth was born Isabella Baumfree
Ntozake Shange was born Paulette Williams

Coincidence?

(Although grouping Truth in with the other three is somewhat misleading - she lived a hundred years earlier, and was a very different person; the other three are all roughly contemporaries with fairly similar views; I suspect their reasons for changing their names may well have been similar, but hers will almost certainly have been very different).
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femrap Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-24-07 10:55 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. And what was Donald Ian Rankin born?
Don't you some numbers after your name as well?

To be frank, you seem pretty full of yourself. You enjoy coming over to the Women's Forum and a making a big old fool of yourself?

You are a boring cliche. You're easy to ignore. Yawn.
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Donald Ian Rankin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-25-07 08:59 AM
Response to Reply #9
10. I'm very easy indeed to ignore. So was Cassandra.

Just because lots of people say something doesn't mean it isn't true.

I'm not sure what you mean by "Don't you some numbers after your name as well?". Donald Ian Rankin isn't my real name, it's the name of my favourite jig. http://trillian.mit.edu/~jc/cgi/abc/tunefind?P=donald+I...

Using a pseudonym for posting on the internet isn't remarkable, for whatever reason (my understanding is that there are security concerns; I suspect this is largely an urban myth but see no reason to go against convention). Using a pseudonym or changed name in everyday life *is* remarkable, and the fact that all of the people the post I was replying to named do so is well worth remarking on.
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femrap Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-25-07 08:48 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. Can't say I'll miss ya....Donald Ian Rankin III.
You're just full of yourself...must be lonely.
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Donald Ian Rankin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-26-07 08:44 AM
Response to Reply #11
13. The third?
I'm genuinely confused now. What are the numbers intended to imply?
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Nikia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-25-07 09:20 PM
Response to Reply #3
12. I don't think any of these quotes sound stupid
Maybe, I think differently than you, but I think that she makes good points.
Women who believe that flaunting their sexuality in order to achieve equality are misguided because that isn't the way to equality for a number of reasons and many men consider more women acting like sex objects to be positive for men as a group. It strengthens patriarchy because women being sex objects has always been part of patriarchy.
I agree with her that we are not achieving enough through feminism if only professional class women are achieving equal pay. Feminism cannot ignore less fortunate women. Feminism cannot ignore other issues either.
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