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 salon.com 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.