But that title is not exactly the rallying cry of contemporary feminists like young Hanna Rosin, author of the feminist book The End of Men (2012). So will other young feminists respond to Rosin's rallying cry: "The End of Men"? I hope not. So I was happy to see Time publish Paglia's spirited rejoinder to Rosin's rallying cry.
Even more recently, the Wall Street Journal published a thoughtful interview of Paglia titled "Camille Paglia: A Feminist Defense of Masculine Virtues" (dated
But feminists are not exactly famous for offering a defense of masculine virtues. Yes, Paglia does consider herself to be a feminist, even though she criticizes the views of other feminists in the women's movement.
I should mention that Paglia has also published op-ed commentaries about politics, but her liberal political views are not mentioned in the lengthy WSJ piece. For this reason, some liberals might see her spirited critiques of feminism in the WSJ piece as contributing to the Republicans' war on women.
Now, both Camille Paglia (born 1947) and Walter J. Ong, S.J. (1912-2003), are multi-directional cultural critics. Each takes the long view of culture, going back to ancient times. Each has also defended certain kinds of male behavior. In this respect, each has countered the anti-male criticisms of certain brash feminists.
But their respective ways of countering certain anti-male criticisms of brash feminists have been strikingly different. Paglia has engaged in polemics with the brash feminists. By contrast, Ong has been irenic and contemplative in his works about male agonistic tendencies. In light of his commitment to being irenic and contemplative, he did not publish op-ed commentaries about his political views, as Paglia has.
As a spirited cultural critic, Paglia has undoubtedly had a bigger impact on the American reading public than Ong had -- perhaps because she writes about subject matter that seems closer to the immediate experience of the American reading public than Ong does. But Ong liked to say that we need both closeness (proximity) and distance to understand something. If this is true, as I think it is, then Ong's cultural critiques might supply the American reading public with the distance they need to get their cultural bearings about the kinds of cultural changes we in Western culture are undergoing today.
To show this, I will first review briefly Paglia's and then Ong's careers as multi-directional cultural critics. Next, I will pivot to David Bakan's important insights and relate them to Ong's thought. Finally, I will review and examine some of Paglia's specific criticisms in the WSJ piece.
CAMILLE PAGLIA'S CULTURAL CRITIQUES
Trained as a literary critic, Paglia received her Ph.D. in English from
Subsequently, Paglia has distinguished herself as an extraordinary polemicist, commenting on politics, popular culture, and contemporary feminism. But she is also a stylist. She expresses her critiques with admirable style. Because of her style, her polemics can be delightful to read. But the authors who decide to write responses to her polemics usually cannot match her style. Very few writers can. I, for one, cannot. Nor can Ong. She knows how to deploy the language very effectively.
Now, as is well known, many brash feminists have expressed anti-male views. However, for understandable reasons, many men have shied away from publicly criticizing brash feminists for their anti-male views. I guess that many men figure that a strategy of containment might work best as the way to fight against the anti-male views of certain brash feminists -- you know, like the strategy of containment that the United States famously used in the Cold War against the (now former) Soviet Union.
Hey, if your wife published a feminist book titled The End of Men, as Hanna Rosin did in 2012, you might want to consider a strategy of containment for dealing with her and her like-minded brash feminist friends.
But if many men dare not to criticize publicly the anti-male views expressed by certain brash feminists, Paglia is not afraid to take on their anti-male views publicly. She's a veteran warrior in the intra-feminist culture wars. Yes, in addition to conducting their anti-male culture wars on many fronts, feminists have been known to engage also in intra-feminist culture wars.
WALTER J. ONG'S CULTURAL CRITIQUES