The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

07 April 2006

Camille Paglia, Al Franken, Feminism


Feminist Paglia Slams Al Franken Show, Praises Limbaugh

From feminist author and social critic Camille Paglia, there's never a dull media moment. And in a new interview with Madison's Capital Times, she continues to keep us wondering about her true political leanings.

Never one to take up firm residence in any particular ideological camp (though she considers herself a liberal Democrat), Paglia's decidedly un-PC books have at times turned the women's movement upside-down.

Now, Camille's throwing her legendary verbal grenades at liberal talk radio, with Al Franken's name stamped on at least a few of them.

"Good lord! I want to fall asleep. Narcolepsy," is how she described his show (or was it Al in general?) to the Wisconsin newspaper.

On Air America: "It's even slower than NPR. Like a record being played at the wrong speed."

Meanwhile, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh were singled out for praise.

From the story by Samara Kalk Derby:

Media, schmedia: In the interview this week, Paglia was in the mood to take shots at publications and pundits on the liberal-to-left end of the media spectrum.

• The New Yorker: Although she has a weakness for the cartoons, she calls the writing "glossy" and says there is a "slipperiness" in the way articles are packaged. "I despise the New Yorker. ... I perceive the agenda underneath it. ... I don't respect it and I think the feeling is mutual. The New Yorker ignores me and I ignore it. It's been going on a very long time."

• The New York Times: It had a glory period in the 1970s, when she never missed a day reading it, but eventually she grew disillusioned. "Their political agenda became very slick. ... I really object to the distortion of journalism by ideology, either overt or covert." The writing? "Upper middle class comfortable elitist liberalism."

• Hollywood: It has the same problem, she said. "It's the reason my party, the Democratic Party, is in such bad shape. It's because of the insularity and the arrogance of those views."

• Al Franken: "Good lord! I want to fall asleep. Narcolepsy."

• Air America: It isn't even broadcast in Philadelphia because of low ratings. "It's even slower than NPR. Like a record being played at the wrong speed."

• Terry Gross: "Oh god. Awful. I never listen to her show." Gross broadcasts "Fresh Air" from a studio a couple of blocks from where Paglia teaches. "She is such a PC queen that when I first came on the scene in the early '90s with 'Sexual Personae,' she refused to have me on the show."

• Katie Couric: (Laughs) "I was on that show once. Katie Couric is such a little hypocrite." She says it's amazing that "in America, you would consider a person without the slightest news experience to occupy the chair of Walter Cronkite! Apparently that is what is going to happen at CBS."

Paglia added, "I don't watch Katie Couric for a second. Not for a microsecond."

Paglia reads her city's paper, the Philadelphia Inquirer, for its local news, but even though she generally shares its political views, she knocks its ideology. "It's even worse than the Times."

She also goes to the Web for her news, first looking at the Drudge Report, then checking, the BBC and the New York Times.

But mainly she loves to listen to talk radio, she said, even when the politics is different from hers.

Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity do great radio, Paglia says.

"People on the liberal side, people on my side, have not mastered that medium yet and they need to figure out what it is. They are out of touch with the mass audience, that's for sure. If there is any sign of the problems with my party, it is that."

If we assume Paglia really does belong in the liberal camp, why isn't her point worthy of the left's attention? A film, TV sitcom, book or radio talk show is either entertaining, or it isn't, right?

If enjoyable, should it matter whether we agree with any particular political slant? Or, just because Franken is "progressive", why does that make him unquestionably interesting?

Does Rush Limbaugh have a decent number of left-leaning listeners? They certainly call him, so at least a few are tuning in. Why is that?

Can that be said for conservatives and Franken? Possibly, but we have our doubts.

As for Paglia, her approach here is refreshing: I think for myself, you're not going to easily peg where I stand. At 59, she's less afraid than ever to stick her neck out, enduring the often-nasty consequences.

By the way, when it comes to Katie Couric, she's right on target.

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FrankeneX: David A Lunde for the Radio Equalizer, Franken image: KCRA-TV


  • >>>f we assume Paglia really does belong in the liberal camp, why isn't her point worthy of the left's attention? A film, TV sitcom, book or radio talk show is either entertaining, or it isn't, right?<<<

    Your serious? Good Swet Jesus, You're Number One in Needing a Kick in the Kit.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 08 April, 2006 11:15  

  • I listen to Alan Colmes on WPTF Raleigh every once in awhile when I am driving at night. While I do not agree with him, and he can get that good old Liberal seethe going, he is tolerable to listen too.

    Air Deadbeat, on the other hand, is horrendous, on all levels.

    TC: time to install Wordpress!

    By Blogger William Teach, at 08 April, 2006 15:02  

  • Alan Colmes wouldn't want to upset his employer, Rupert Murdoch, now would he? Be Fair-and-Balanced or get your walking papers. Great radio - Barf.

    By Blogger pbrauer, at 08 April, 2006 20:22  

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