I’m in Kiev. There is a beautiful, drippy sunset outside my room, Fedya the cat is stalking my shoes, and I’m playing Nelly Furtado’s first album. Why am I blogging about this crap? Don’t answer that question.
Dear old Camille. Just when you think she can’t sink any lower in her victim-blaming, the woman burrows through a tectonic plate to prove you wrong.
From her argument against hate-crime legislation on Salon (I’m not linking for fear of resulting in even more pageviews on her column):
Only a week before, [Matthew] Shepard had expressed fears about being killed. Given that apprehension, it is still inexplicable — if the case is examined only through a political lens — why Shepard would leave a public place in the company of such blatant thugs.
He was a human being and screwed up? He thoughts those dudes seemed like they were alright? He was tired of being afraid?
Oh, I know, I know! He wanted to be brutally murdered! Isn’t that what you’re wondering about, Camille, having chided him for his “lack of conventional masculinity”? All those uninteresting, traditionally unmasculine (whatever that even means) men, they couldn’t possibly want to exist on the same mortal plane as noble, testosterone-dripping Spartans such as Rush Limbaugh, now would they?
A hate crimes law that claims to be able to penetrate the mind of the perpetrator should be equally open to questions about the victim. If, out of fairness or pity, one avenue of inquiry is shut down, then the other must be too.
You know, being in favour of reasonable debate on most issues, I feel that… Wait, WHAT?!?!?!?!
So if we’re going to dissect the motives of the killer, we should also dissect the motives of the victim. I can see it playing out in cop dramas from all the major networks already: “But just what was the victim’s motivation in getting clobbered to death, Olivia?” “I don’t know, Elliott, but this entire situation kind of makes me wish that you’d take off your shirt and show us your tattoo just to ease the tension.”
I know that both Salon, as commercial entity, and Camille Paglia, as writer, think such writing is brilliant because it gets everyone’s attention. What they fail to realize is that the huge hits on Paglia’s columns are similar to horrendous traffic jams on the freeway, wherein everyone slows down and takes a look at the gnarled, twisted carnage of a roadside wreck.
And the thing is, I want to like Camille Paglia. I tend to like people who are contrarian in general. You can say I have a soft spot. Or a predilection. Kind of like how some of us have a predilection for menthol cigarettes or a slice of lemon with the morning coffee. But when you begin sounding like a subtler version of Fred Phelps, you might want to stop and think.
All of those people who shout in the letters section after each one of your columns, Camille, are not doing it because they are secretly in awe of your brilliance and originality or else because they are so uncomfortably challenged and put on the spot by your awe-inspiring cultural philosophy. Most of them are shouting the way someone shouts when they discover a great big spider crouching on their bathtub in the morning. Just a thought.