Whether you're feeling bummed or elated after last night's big electoral doings in the Acela Primaries, maybe it's time to turn to culture–which is more basic, after all, than politics anyway–and, if you turn to culture, nobody is more interesting than Camille Paglia.
Tyler Cowen did a terrific interview with Paglia and I supply some snippets to whet your appetite to read the whole thing.
Camille Paglia on global warming versus the grandeur of nature:
Yes, instead of these silly little arguments that, “Oh, climate change is causing the end of the world.” Oh my God. Anyone who talks like that does not understand the grandeur and the power of nature. To imagine that we can make a change in it is so absolutely absurd.
I was really very hopeful about Rihanna for a while there. Unfortunately, she’s not really working with the top producers any longer. The new album is an atrocity. It’s really terrible. It’s sad, because there are so many people with talents who are not being developed.
It’s because our music industry is now very formulaic. Young people can’t really move along studying their instruments and getting their chops over a period of time. There’s nothing to draw on in the way that the musicians of my generation could draw on the folk tradition, the folk music.
On Shakespeare and his time:
I’m just saying there’s certain moments, certain magic moments, of fertility or creativity that happened in many of the arts. You can find certain key moments where there’s a confluence of influences and a certain richness. In that very moment, it’s a great time to be alive, to be young.
For example, Shakespeare would not be Shakespeare if he were alive today. As it happens, he left Stratford?—?for whatever reason?—?went to London at a magic moment when theater was flourishing, which was only for a few decades, and then it was out again. There’s a certain kind of luck. If you’re the right person at the right time in any one of the artistic genres.
On education today:
I think the idea of sending young people abroad is great. I think that is a proper use of the money that’s going down the tubes at the major universities right now. For parents to think?—?it would profit young people a lot to be exposed to the world. Right now, our primary school education is absolutely appalling in its lack of world history and world geography.
I know because I get everyone in my classroom. I’m lucky I teach at a kind of school where I’m getting students from a wide range of preparation. There might be a couple private school people, but people from the inner city, from good schools, from bad schools. I really have a very clear sense, after 40 years of teaching, what’s going on at the primary school level.
It is unbelievable how little they know. It is absolutely shocking how little they know. This is a recipe for a disaster. I say yes, send them abroad. Fantastic idea.
This other thing of the online thing, I don’t believe this online thing at all. I think that you need a live person, and you need a live person who can talk extemporaneously and respond to the moment. Not just people who are reading the same old damn lecture over and over again.
Also, the kind of teaching that goes on in the Ivy League where there’s a flattering. There’s these small seminar things.
COWEN: The A-minus seminar, right?
PAGLIA: There’s all this practice and learning how to talk in a slightly pretentious way about things and impressing each other. So what? They’re all packaging them for the bourgeoisie.
Don't miss this very good read!