21 Sep 2008, Comments Off on Lie down with these dogs and you’ll get up with a world o’fleas

Lie down with these dogs and you’ll get up with a world o’fleas

Author: Helen

On one of my link-following jaunts I noticed a conservative blogger quoting approvingly from Camille Paglia’s latest “WTF is she saying now?” piece.

Conservative though she may be, I felt that Palin represented an explosion of a brand new style of muscular American feminism. At her startling debut on that day, she was combining male and female qualities in ways that I have never seen before. And she was somehow able to seem simultaneously reassuringly traditional and gung-ho futurist. In terms of redefining the persona for female authority and leadership, Palin has made the biggest step forward in feminism since Madonna channeled the dominatrix persona of high-glam Marlene Dietrich and rammed pro-sex, pro-beauty feminism down the throats of the prissy, victim-mongering, philistine feminist establishment.

I think that in their haste to welcome Paglia as the enemy of their enemy, some people are ignoring what some of her chest-pounding libertarian rhetoric implies.

Futurism was a very nasty movement. Yes, it had some cool elements like appreciating the beauty of the machine and it predated the cyberpunk ethos, I suppose. But otherwise:

Woman — even in the limited role as a means of reproduction — was deficient and should be abandoned and replaced by some prosthetic device as soon as science had made the required discoveries. Seeing an airplane lift its passengers into the sky makes Futurist poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti reflect:

I confess that before so intoxicating a spectacle we strong Futurists have felt ourselves suddenly detached from women, who have suddenly become too earthly, or, to express it better, have become a symbol of the earth that we ought to abandon. […] We have even dreamed of one day being able to create a mechanical son, the fruit of pure will, a synthesis of all the laws that science is on the brink of discovering. (Marinetti 1991, p. 83)

The politics of Futurism was proto-fascist. Their enthusiasm for the future was closely tied to a hatred for the past (and a few other things as well). Their enthusiasm was reserved for technology, speed, noise, power, pollution and war. Futurist founding father Marinetti was standing beside Mussolini at the 1919 inception of the Italian Fascist Party. He was elected to its Central Committee and for a short time ranking second in the party hierarchy, just eclipsed by Il Duce himself.
Part of the Futurist program was clearly designed to terrify and to shock the public. In the Futurist Manifesto, Marinetti spews forth his hate for humanity (in general) and women (in particular).

Art, in fact, can be nothing but violence, cruelty, and injustice. […] We will demolish museums, libraries, academies, moralism, feminism, every opportunistic or utilitarian cowardice. […] We will glorify war — the world’s only hygiene — militarism, patriotism, the destructive gesture of freedom-bringers, beautiful ideas worth dying for, and scorn for woman. (Marinetti 1909) [My bold]

By tagging Palin approvingly as “futurist”, admirers like Camille Paglia are aligning her with people like Oswald Mosley. Is that what they really want?

Comments (0)

  • Meself says:

    OTOH if you lie down with Mosleys and you get up the Mitfords.

    (Runs away quickly, and unlike Lot’s missus I aint lookin’ back.)

  • Helen says:

    Not all of them surely, GG? I’m a bit hazy on my Mitfords but it was only Unity who was actually literally in bed with Nazis. I think.

  • shula says:

    If I’d actually been present for Marinetti’s speech, I think I would have had to moon him.

  • Helen says:

    Shula
    I will treasure that image.
    And, if CP ever does a lecture tour of Oz we must arrange a mooning committee!

  • Zoe says:

    I will stand with you to moon Camille Paglia.

  • su says:

    I will always have a place in my heart for CP because she was instrumental in my one and only radio quiz win. It was “name this feminist” on a long defunct radio national feminism programme and they played a soundbite of CP. The prize was a couple of books which were kind of average but, hey, better than a poke in the eye with a bent stick, or reading one of Paglia’s own rants. The two can be almost indistinguishable.

  • Fine says:

    Unity was a huge fan of Hitler and actually met him, whereas Diana married Mosley, the leader of the British Fascists.

  • brownie says:

    if, as you mention, CP’s futurist tag aligns NotMichael Palin with Oswald Mosley, then she may have a point. OM’s son has just whipped through a S&M scandal, and from the look of the SarahPalin brood of Notifiable Names, Trig Track Pipes and Bristols are set for murky futures also. puerile of me but highly prescient.
    otherwise, peace and love from me

  • brownie says:

    Paglia’s not so bright: she says
    “prissy, victim-mongering, philistine feminist establishment”

    a prissy philistine? is that a tranny truckie?

  • Helen says:

    Notifiable names – oh yes!

  • Hattie says:

    Oh puke. When will that Paglia woman sit down and shut up?

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