Paglia on the Democrats, Gore and Young Hollywood
June 13, 2007 08:21 AM
Camille Paglia is out with another profoundly insightful essay on American culture and politics. After watching the Democratic debates, she suggests that her party may be in trouble:
Despite numerous polls claiming that registered Democrats like myself are happy with their current field of presidential contenders, the Gore boomlet betrays subterranean tremors of doubt. After two major televised debates by both parties, only a Pollyanna on helium would believe that any of the top-tier Democrats will definitely be able to defeat a leading Republican like Mitt Romney or Rudy Giuliani.
But, she explains, Gore is not the answer:
As a global warming agnostic, I dislike the way that Gore's preachy, apocalyptic fundamentalism has fomented an atmosphere of hysteria around this issue and potentially compromised the long-term credibility of environmentalism. Democrats who long for his return as the anti-Hillary may not realize how Gore has become a risible cartoon character for much of the country at large. Anyone who listens to talk radio has been repeatedly regaled by clips of Gore bizarrely going off the deep end at one speech or another. And Gore, far worse than Hillary, is the Phantom of a Thousand Accents -- telegraphing his supercilious condescension to whatever audience he's trying to manipulate.
And her armchair psyschological quarterbacking of young Hollywood is dead on:
What links the Lohan and Hilton cases is the weird behavior of the parents -- either flaky and dysfunctional or overbearing and coddling. The Lohan and Hilton mothers seem to reject aging by trying to keep their daughters in developmental limbo. Paris in particular seems to have become a psychic prisoner, turned into a flash-frozen marzipan doll by her belligerently benevolent mom. Neither family is typical, of course, but are the Hiltons exposing an unhealthy symbiosis in recent American family life? Adulthood keeps getting postponed for white middle-class girls, who even after they arrive at college are obsessively linked by umbilical cellphones to their hovering parents, who want to shield their progeny from all of life's nicks and scrapes.