Camille Paglia On Modern Victorianism

Camille Paglia notes the attempt to create a female version of Viagra, and uses it as a launching point for looking at our desexualized society-

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/27/opinion/27Paglia.html

Camille Paglia is the one person I can think of who has a really original viewpoint on culture. Anything she writes is well worth reading. She had a monthly column at Salon which she has set aside to write a book, but in any case Drudge links everything she writes.

My delineation of the Victorian ascendancy ended in the 50’s. That was a long time ago, and I’ll go into more detail about what happened in the meantime later, but let me say this about Ward Cleaver, as he is affectionately portrayed, or the Organization Man, in the more skeptical view. He is not a boozing, ass-grabbing alpha. But he is a man. He works in an all-male environment with a distinct hierarchy. If he is diligent he can rise within it. It asks a lot of sacrifices from him- he sacrifices his personal life, he curbs his impulses, he obeys even when it smarts and even when it is humiliating- but it provides him with a position, an income, and an identity, possibly with some prestige. Barring some disaster, whether he is a factory or office worker he will stay there until he receives a pension. The organization then provides for him for life.

This is a social contract as old as the Roman army. This man despite all his repression still plays a masculine role. Ward Cleaver has his June and Ralph Kramden has his Alice.

Men still go to work in offices, not so much factories any more, but the workforce is not all male, in fact it’s getting to be more than half female. The behaviors that men use to cope with boredom such as dirty jokes and roughhousing are taboo. There is a hierarchy but it is very flat and the chances of moving up are pretty slim. Employment is for as long as they need you, which might be a year or two, or three, no more.

Men aren’t men anymore, not even beta providers, and women aren’t women. What camaraderie that had existed is replaced by a barrel of crabs mentality. For the home Paglia mentions the “supermom” phenomenon; whether moms are all that super I question but if two people live together and split expenses, they are basically just roommates, whether or not they have sex or are married. The kids are already taken care of all day by somebody else so dissolving the relationship is little more difficult than dissolving any other roommate relationship.

Paglia mentions that men wear casual clothes until late in life. White people started this in the 60’s; black people started doing it in the 80’s. If guys prefer to keep wearing the same clothes they did as children it may be because they associate them with the last time they felt free and relaxed. It used to be wearing a suit meant you were somebody; even if you weren’t you could put on a suit and feel like one. Now it just means you go to a place you hate and pretend to like people you can’t stand.

As a side issue fat people can’t wear nice clothes. People have been getting fatter all this time, due to the awful diet of Americans, which I’ll save for another time.

One of the things Gregory Clark talks about in “A Farewell To Alms” is how some societies have devolved technologically. In relatively recent times hooking up with and having fun with women was something the average illiterate peasant could do with little effort or self-consciousness. People mate normally and instinctually, you have to crush the ability out of them.

For me dealing better with people, including women, is more a matter of deprogramming than programming. But it’s a combination of the two.

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2 Responses to Camille Paglia On Modern Victorianism

  1. Sheila Tone says:

    That is such a load of BS. Women, at least me, gain a lot from anything that increases or quickens blood flow to that area. It’s not the whole answer, but it’s part.

    I suspect that’s a big part of why women like to play rough sometimes. Guys like you do way too much navel gazing and armchair philosophizing about that.

  2. […] Man: Camille Paglia On Modern Victorianism and […]

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