Thursday, November 15, 2012

It's Not Just Me



 She's back.

Camille Paglia, who wrote one of the most important books written by a woman , (or a man) on art and culture has a new book. I'm so stoked because she is really a lot of fun and one of the few cultural critics who writes about art as if she still has a pulse. Paglia can be a polarizing figure...but the thing is...it doesn't matter if you agree with her views or not...she is an exciting thinker and passionate about art. In fact, Paglia's book Sexual Personae isn't just one of the best books written by a woman it is a great book period. A rare accomplishment making a huge contribution to discussions on art and culture.

I've written about The Real Housewives tv series before here at my blog
and how much I love it so it's a treat to hear someone else appreciate it's cultural insight and value.

Here is a quote from Paglia's introduction in her new book Glittering Images ..."the genre of painting has lost it's primacy and authority. Yet for five hundred years after the dawn of the Renaissance, the most complex and personally expressive works of art ever produced in the world were executed in paint-from tempura and oil to acylics. The decline of painting has cut aspiring artists off from their noblest lineage.

In most leading countries, art is regarded as central to national history and identity and is routinely funded by ministries of culture. Art is omnipresent in europe. which is littered with three millenia of monuments and ruins. European museums are treasure troves of cultural patrimony-works commisioned by church and state and later amassed by royal collectors, whose estates became public property after the rise of democracy. In the still relatively young United States, a practical nation founded by Puritans, the arts have never taken deep root. Much of the general public has fitfully regarded the fine arts as elitist or alien and chronically begrudged them government funding, which remains minuscule and is recurrently threatened with extinction."

You can see she is up and running! Below is an interview about her new book from here
...



What does inspire you that’s out there now?
Bravo’s “Real Housewives” series! Whoever is doing the photography and editing for “Real Housewives of New Jersey” and also for “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” and “Real Housewives of Orange County” — this is absolutely cutting edge. I can watch the same episode — while I’m cooking and eating dinner – five, six, or seven times. I savor how visually interesting they are — how long each shot lasts and how much information it contains. This is intelligent and sophisticated documentary filmmaking that really needs to be honored.
Documentary? Isn’t it just pop spectacle?
The early episodes of that series were bland and dull, even amateurish. Through trial and error, they eventually found a technical groove. It’s not just the sensational drama. As a soap opera fan, I’ve been in the depths of gloom for over 20 years as TV soaps declined. I was already lamenting this in a piece for TV Guide in 1992. I always adored soap operas. I was listening to “The Romance of Helen Trent” on the radio when I bicycled home for lunch in fifth grade. My grandmothers watched soaps, even though they barely spoke English. In the 1970s, I wrote down great lines from TV soaps. That’s when they were aimed at stay-at-home moms — all the tear-jerking emotion from the women’s pictures of the Lana Turner era. But there was this terrible decline when soaps suddenly wanted respectability — so then came the socially conscious message scripts and the crime drama. And they really missed the boat, because in the ’90s, drag queens got big! It was “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” and everything else – that flamboyant drag queen style was exactly the way the great soap opera queens used to behave. But the soap operas played it prim and safe. They receded and receded, and now they’re dead. The producers didn’t catch what was happening. The mass audience wanted theatricality and flamboyance! And that’s what this Bravo “Real Housewives” series is supplying in spades. I don’t like reality shows and have never watched them, but I’m addicted to “Real Housewives” because it’s authentic old-time soap opera reborn!
But beyond that, the shows are all about glamour — make up, hair, fashion. And sex! They show women trying to balance being sexy with being mothers. Most of the women on “Real Housewives of New Jersey” never went to college. So it’s great to see strong and outspoken women who are outside the elite zone of attaché-carrying careerists working their way up on Wall Street.
And these shows are archetypal bitch fests! I read a few months ago that Gloria Steinem hates “Real Housewives of New Jersey” and would be glad to picket it. Well, there’s the big difference between Steinem and me. She sees the show as a distortion of women, while I see it as a revelation of the deep truth about female sexuality. Right there is the proof of why feminism has faded. Those second-wave feminists had a utopian view of women — they constantly asserted that anything negative about women is a projection by men. That’s not what I see on “Real Houswives”! It’s like the Discovery Channel — sending a camera to the African savannah to watch the cheetahs stalking the gazelles! What you’re seeing is the primal battles going on among women. Men are marginalized on these shows — they’re eye candy, to use Obama’s phrase, on the borderlines of the ferocity of female sexuality.
The criticism is that the shows are heavily scripted and staged, though I would guess the pressure to create drama creates its own reality.
Well, there is no doubt that many scenes are staged. Women arrive at a restaurant and are clearly cued to talk about some topic or prior clash. But the conflicts and emotions are real — ending up with people walking out on each other or almost coming to blows. And there are real-life consequences from the eruption of hostilities.
And it’s being filmed, which raises the stakes.
Yes, the whole world is watching. I’m such a private person that I just can’t imagine this kind of intrusion into my private life. But “Real Housewives” is authentic about a stratum of New Jersey Italian life that was badly done in “The Sopranos,” which I hated.
Camille Paglia

4 comments:

Eugene Knapik said...

Well, I think she may be right about painting and I'm certain my sadness about that is deeply infused in my own little paintings, which rarely leave my little basement studio.

Candy Minx said...

Eugene, I feel the same way. We're just ol sentimental suckers lol...

BUT...there aren't enough images in the world...we need more and more non-verbal stories so keep on keeping on!

Anonymous said...

There are some interesting points in time in this article but I don’t know if I see all of them center to heart. There is some validity but I will take hold opinion until I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we want more! Added to FeedBurner as well


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