How Camille Paglia gets date rape — and human evil — so desperately wrong

So. Camille Paglia said some stupid and cruel things about rape yesterday in a column that she wrote for Time. It’s what she does. But she also said some fairly stupid things about human evil.

You see, Camille subscribes to what an old internet friend of mine calls the Slavering Beast Theory, which states that predators (sexual and otherwise) are fundamentally different than normal people. Only purely evil, psychotic men commit rape – and they’re easy to recognize and avoid if feminism hasn’t trained you to be too confident.

In answer, I’d like to tell you a story. My first-year dorm at St. Lawrence University held 45 people of both sexes. Four of the women were raped at some point in our first year. Two of them – one who was raped by her boyfriend and another by a long-time friend – would probably be dismissed by Camille as “oafish hookup melodramas, arising from mixed signals and imprudence on both sides”. She would be wrong and evil to do so, but I’m sure she would.

But then there were the other two, both raped by the same frat boy. And it would count as rape, even by Camille’s definition, since roofies were involved.  I met the guy. He was no slavering beast. He was handsome and charming. He was not a fucking orc.

We all wish that bad things were only done by bad people who are easy to recognize because of their badness. But a woman of 67 should know by now that it’s not true.

we hunted the mammoth

Camille Paglia: "Young women do not see the animal eyes glowing at them in the dark." Camille Paglia: “Young women do not see the animal eyes glowing at them in the dark.”

That powerful and obnoxious odor of bullshit you may have noticed in the air? That’s just Camille Paglia, evidently aiming for a bit of a comeback.

One of the first-generation of antifeminist feminists who came to public attention in the 1990s, Paglia is less a scholar than an intellectual entertainer, astonishingly adept at generating controversy by packaging rather conventionally reactionary ideas as bold contrarianism. And then getting everyone to talk about her rather than the issues at hand.

If Paglia was feeling a little starved for attention, the short piece she published on Time.com yesterday (donotlink version here) with the portentous title “The Modern Campus Cannot Comprehend Evil” should fix that problem in a hurry. An appalling bit of rape apologia gussied up as a bold meditation on human evil, it’s already…

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