Wednesday, February 13, 2008

david learn on camille paglia on hillary clinton

So a friend of mine asked me to read a column on Salon by Camille Paglia, about Hillary Clinton.

How does something that harsh and acidic warrant publication? It makes a bunch of assertions, fails to back any of them up, either with a pertinent comment from someone familiar with the situation or at least from some professional who can say "This is characteristic of blah blah blah situation"; and comes so laden with caustic language it was an effort to read it through to the end. Clinton's supporters aren't committed to her election effort, they're "mostly of adoring women, with nerdy or geeky guys forming an adjunct brain trust." She's not allowed to find football a ho-hum boring affair, no, somehow it's worthy of mentioning 20 years later that she had the unmitigated gall to read a book during a football game. (Ruddy resourceful of her, if you ask me. Wish I had thought to bring a book when I got conned into attending a college game. Our host spent two-thirds of the game somewhere else, and I nearly went into a coma from boredom watching a group of geology majors running up and down the field.)

My favorite irony: While Paglia with some justification castigates Clinton for her contributions to the sharp tone of the political debate the last 20 years, she seems oblivious to just how inexcusably sharp her own column is. If she really thinks Obama is setting a good example of how we should be, then she should follow his lead.

Here's a shocking possibility: Maybe she just doesn't like Clinton. I've met or covered plenty of politicians I found I just didn't care for as people, and I've known from personal experience (both sides of it) that if that dislike is intense enough, it becomes impossible to be fair, reasonable or objective about what they do. You've seen and commented on this yourself. Sometimes people have hated President Bush so intensely that he could end hunger worldwide and they would be up in arms for his impeachment because it relied too much on healthy food and didn't allow enough for chocolate and cola.

Given the extreme and visceral reaction Paglia has to Clinton, I'm unconvinced that there's anything going on here more sophisticated than old-fashioned hatred.

I don't see how this is printworthy. I'd send it back to Paglia and tell her to back up her claims and tone down the vitriol. Opinion or not, it has to be reasoned and reasonable.

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