By the way, this is from Camille Paglia, a feminist, lesbian, scholar. I find almost everything that she writes to be interesting.
… Paglia seemed to be on the winning side of the wars over feminism and political correctness in the 1990s, but recently those battles have been reopened. Suddenly we’re talking again and in very different ways about sexual culture on campus. Comedians like Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Maher talk about the return of a stifling political correctness. And we’re staring at the potential rematch of a Clinton and a Bush.
There were so many stories that we wanted Paglia’s take on: Bill Cosby, Donald Trump, the state of the Democratic Party. So we spent two hours discussing all of them on Monday, and we’ll present her thoughts over the next three days. Stand back: Paglia does not hold back on anything.
The banner on the Drudge Report this morning is that Kathleen Willey is starting a site to collect harassment claims against Bill Clinton. New York magazine, meanwhile, has the stories of 35 women who say they were raped or assaulted by Bill Cosby. I wonder if you see a connection between the two stories: Would Bill Clinton’s exploits be viewed more like Cosby’s if he was in the White House now, instead of in the 1990s?
Right from the start, when the Bill Cosby scandal surfaced, I knew it was not going to bode well for Hillary’s campaign, because young women today have a much lower threshold for tolerance of these matters. The horrible truth is that the feminist establishment in the U.S., led by Gloria Steinem, did in fact apply a double standard to Bill Clinton’s behavior because he was a Democrat. The Democratic president and administration supported abortion rights, and therefore it didn’t matter what his personal behavior was.
But we’re living in a different time right now, and young women have absolutely no memory of Bill Clinton. It’s like ancient history for them; there’s no reservoir of accumulated good will. And the actual facts of the matter are that Bill Clinton was a serial abuser of working-class women–he had exploited that power differential even in Arkansas. And then in the case of Monica Lewinsky–I mean, the failure on the part of Gloria Steinem and company to protect her was an absolute disgrace in feminist history! What bigger power differential could there be than between the president of the United States and this poor innocent girl? Not only an intern but clearly a girl who had a kind of pleading, open look to her–somebody who was looking for a father figure.
I was enraged! My publicly stated opinion at the time was that I don’t care what public figures do in their private life. It’s a very sophisticated style among the French, and generally in Europe, where the heads of state tend to have mistresses on the side. So what? That doesn’t bother me at all! But the point is, they are sophisticated affairs that the European politicians have, while the Clinton episode was a disgrace.
A cigar and the intern is certainly the opposite of sophisticated.
Absolutely! It was frat house stuff! And Monica got nothing out of it. Bill Clinton used her. Hillary was away or inattentive, and he used Monica in the White House–and in the suite of the Oval Office, of all places. He couldn’t have taken her on some fancy trip? She never got the perks of being a mistress; she was there solely to service him. And her life was completely destroyed by the publicity that followed. The Clinton’s are responsible for the destruction of Monica Lewinsky! They probably hoped that she would just go on and have a job, get married, have children, and disappear, but instead she’s like this walking ghoul.
Here’s what I think: Young women don’t care about this stuff; they will vote for Clinton if they bother to vote at all. Most of the college educated Millenials are struggling economically and would benefit from some economic sanity, but every role model – teachers, most parents, professors, etc., have instilled liberal/leftist values in them throughout their lives. Turning away from the nonsense would feel like a betrayal of their entire world. So they will continue to struggle; they will live in basements or crappy apartments; they won’t buy homes or start families (because young men are in the same predicament.) I am good with all of this. My only regret is that they could somehow see, Dickens-like, what life could have been if we’d had adults running the country during their early adulthood.