I suppose we should be grateful that she’s finally not talking about Madonna.
Diana and Rihanna began as sensitive, wounded, but appealingly bubbly and good-natured provincial girls who slowly discovered their own photogenic virtuosity and began to conceptualize themselves as living sculpture for the lens. Both developed a false intimacy with photographers and the public and began to cannibalize themselves in their futile search for security in love. Diana, rebuffed, eventually accepted her exile. But Rihanna, in the classic syndrome of the battered woman, still pities and hopes to change and save her abuser…
This is part of Paglia’s central thesis, which is that the Decadent Western Eye is the driving force of culture, and that Woman is mentally and emotionally dominant. Which, I don’t disagree. But God’s Wounds, do I find the prospect of giving a crap about Rihanna (or Diana, for that matter) terrifying.
7 thoughts on “Rhianna is Diana, or Camille Paglia Grasps for Relevance”
I’m sure peter griffin would use that phrase even in the face of useful and important data, while I think you give Paglia more credit than she wants. At this point, lifted from the era where she was “different”, she’s now just a producer of juicy celeb scoop copy with better prose. You could just as easily classify her current media statements as “fun time judging other women and girls”.
Can’t believe people bother to mention, and then bitchy feminists bother to hate on, this one hit wonder. I guess it’s like “whatever happened to…” tabloid reporting. You’re always hoping that, just maybe, they’ve come up with another hit while you weren’t looking.
The lady is 60+, dude. It’s over and I don’t think she’s “trying for” any comeback performances. It isn’t relevance she seeks but the occasional, highly controlled limelight (and you don’t get to control your image more than when you’re the reporter, as you know very well, my blogging friend).
Fair points, all. Her most recent book did daringly praise George Lucas, but overall, she seems to have done her work already.
I wasn’t always so vicious but I’m going to rebut with: her praise of Lucas is not so much daring (she’s not losing sales by it) as parasitic (she’s gaining notice for a book on art, which, being on art, will likely struggle to find an audience, so needs something more relatable, i.e.Bella Stellarum). Just like her article on Rihanna is pure parasitic glory hogging.
The Lucas claim won’t please pretentious indie movie fans, I’ll grant you that.
And Rihanna’s publicity system responded marvellously to the condescending dissection: dismissive but delighted with it, having the star discover the article left by her publicist on her doorstep, coming home drunk, on her way to the toilet, as it were. Wonder on what chair riri was reading and if she gave it the toilet paper treatment when done. In fact, only the headline and the Times graphic work was praised. The article itself received no notice.
oh my god, I tracked down the episode of that scene. It’s perfect. Some nothing girl comes to class with show and tell of a barbie DOLL !! Made my day with the image.
And given the fact that, in interviews about the book, she blamed the history of conservative right wing success as being a righteous backlash against andres serrano’s piss christ, and that pollock’s creative process “isn’t wild, it’s highly organized”, such spineless apologetics make me think this is not a person to whom the adjective “daring” can be applied without a lot of doubt and second guessing. I finally leafed through the book. Totally appalling how she picked the most boring, least sexy, least fun images she could find and it’s a snore to read. And the only contempo art is an inoffensive boots postcard and a mealy patriotic image of a black woman with dyed hair painted as sitting on the statue of liberty. Not a great painting, obviously chosen to sycophantically show racist right wingers that “black people are all american, too”.
Just really sad and lame.
The Lucas claim and section is indeed the only thing even mildly notable about it. When they fall, they crumble and when they’re finished, man are they drained. This one is way past the expiry date. In fact if you look up anything recent by her, it’s amazing how poor the argumentation, how thin the thinking. I think she’s gone senile or something.
While I can hardly fault her for making an argument about Serrano that Buckley made at the time, I’ve found her dull of late. She needs to stop with the pop-culture commentary; she just sounds old.