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(The gross audience for her two 2015 shows at New York’s Madison Square Garden was 28,371; Taylor Swift’s single show at Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands had 110,105.) Meanwhile, Camille Paglia keeps thrusting and feinting at being outrageous, but people aren’t that interested.At one point, a year or two ago, she was claiming to be a “transgender being,” which seems a rather odd play for fresh ink—I mean considering you’re .Reviewing it in the , Terry Teachout wrote, “[T]here is nothing intentionally funny about ‘Sexual Personae,’ which is all too clearly the work of a humorless, lapel-grabbing fanatic with a universal theory to hawk.” But the author’s eccentric bombast brought her attention, and she knew how to deploy it. Bush’s vaunted addiction to fried pork rinds, and just as unforgettable. It represents a sophisticated European sexuality of a kind we have not seen since the great foreign films of the 1950’s and 1960’s.Her most famous, least credible pose was her gushing endorsement of the entertainer Madonna Ciccone as a great artist and thinker. It defined Paglia’s public persona for years to come. That over-the-top , you don’t have to think too hard to figure out why Paglia liked Madonna then and now doesn’t like Taylor Swift.It’s not really much of an attack on Taylor; its real target is the “girl squad,” that media-contrived phenomenon whereby we are served up endless images and stories about gorgeous models and actresses and singers who like to together. It’s done to get headlines, provoke feedback and controversy, and maybe refurbish the Paglia brand. but which now is—let us say—a bit too magazine cover story (written by onetime Yale fashion-plate and Bloom student, Francesca Stanfill).Paglia singles out the Swift name apparently because that’s the moniker that will bring in the most eyeballs: In our wide-open modern era of independent careers, girl squads can help women advance if they avoid presenting a silly, regressive public image — as in the tittering, tongues-out mugging of Swift’s bear-hugging posse. That marque was once stratospherically successful, like some 00 Italian handbag everyone wanted 25 years ago . For the next few years, Paglia was lit-crit’s most visible talking head. Whatever subject you threw at her, Camille Paglia would field it with a tart, quotable sound-bite.
“Fascist blondes” she now calls them, still rationalizing the choices she made in her youth by claiming the Popular Girls who hung out together were shallow, unambitious conformists.
Her family moves to Nashville when she’s 14 to help enable her singing/songwriting career.
(I don’t know about you, but my family wouldn’t cross the street to help my career, and I doubt Paglia’s was much nicer.) The Pennsylvania girl was quickly embraced as a teenage country star, and treated as the embodiment of healthy Southern values.
That whole storyline must be so alien and off-putting to Camille Paglia—second-generation Italian from Upstate New York, fan of the Marquis de Sade, lesbian-in-recovery (or denial)—I imagine her in a state of steam-from-ears seething every time she sees a picture of Taylor Swift.
And there’s yet another aspect to Paglia’s animosity most people don’t want to get near, but of course I will.