Saturday, September 29, 2012

Book Review: Glittering Images by Camille Paglia

If you try to take Camille Paglia seriously, despite the occasional insight you might find along the way, in the end it’s impossible to avoid the suspicion that you’ve made a category error.

Glittering Images: A Journey Through Art from Egypt to Star Wars by Camille Paglia. Pantheon, 224 pages, $30.

By Harvey Blume

It’s no fun to take Camille Paglia seriously. Not rewarding. It could be the effort is, as someone remarked similarly about Slavoj Zizek, a category error. But in thinking about the opening pages of Paglia’s new book, it occurs to me that there is a simple way of describing her. Her pronouncements about art, literature and assorted other topics over the course of her career (including, back in her heyday, when she regularly mounted a soapbox, strictures about how Madonna should sing and Hillary Clinton dress) have this in common: behind them there is a demagogue trying to get out.