Camille Paglia’s Defense of Jordan Peterson, Excerpted from a Longer Statement Sent in Response to Queries from a Brazilian JournalistPosted: March 29, 2018
From Camille Paglia: excerpted from a longer statement sent in response to queries from a Brazilian journalist writing a profile of me for a major Brazilian magazine, Epoca.
The ‘dissident feminist’ on the intersection between feminism and debate.
Camile Paglia writes: History moves in cycles. The plague of political correctness and assaults on free speech that erupted in the 1980s and were beaten back in the 1990s have returned with a vengeance. In the United States, the universities as well as the mainstream media are currently patrolled by well-meaning but ruthless thought police, as dogmatic in their views as agents of the Spanish Inquisition. We are plunged once again into an ethical chaos where intolerance masquerades as tolerance and where individual liberty is crushed by the tyranny of the group.
The premier principles of my new book, Free Women, Free Men, are free thought and free speech—open, mobile, and unconstrained by either liberal or conservative ideology. The liberal versus conservative dichotomy, dating from the split between Left and Right following the French Revolution, is hopelessly outmoded for our far more complex era of expansive technology and global politics. A bitter polarization of liberal and conservative has become so extreme and strident in both the Americas and Europe that it sometimes resembles mental illness, severed from the common sense realities of everyday life.
My dissident brand of feminism is grounded in my own childhood experience as a fractious rebel against the suffocating conformism of the 1950s, when Americans, exhausted by two decades of economic instability and war, reverted to a Victorian cult of domesticity that limited young girls’ aspirations and confined them (in my jaundiced view) to a simpering, saccharine femininity. Read the rest of this entry »
The social critic and academic blames 1960s disruptions of gender roles (and not the entertainment industry) for Madonna’s and J. Lo’s difficulty letting go of their youth as she chastises them to “stop cannibalizing the young.”
Camille Paglia writes: In December, at the Billboard Women in Music Awards in New York City, Madonna was given the trophy for Woman of the Year. In a rambling, tearful acceptance speech that ran more than 16 minutes, she claimed to be a victim of “blatant misogyny, sexism, constant bullying and relentless abuse.”
It was a startling appropriation of stereotypical feminist rhetoric by a superstar whose major achievement in cultural history was to overthrow the puritanical old guard of second-wave feminism and to liberate the long-silenced pro-sex, pro-beauty wing of feminism, which (thanks to her) swept to victory in the 1990s.
Madonna’s opening line at the awards gala was edited out of the shortened official video: “I stand before you as a doormat — oh, I mean a female entertainer.” Merciful Minerva! Can there be any woman on Earth less like a doormat than Madonna Louise Ciccone? Madonna sped on with shaky assertions (“There are no rules if you’re a boy”) and bafflingly portrayed the huge commercial success of her 1992 book, Sex, as a chapter of the Spanish Inquisition, in which she was persecuted as “a whore and a witch.”
I was singled out by name as having accused her of “objectifying” herself sexually (prudish feminist jargon that I always have rejected), when in fact I was Madonna’s first major defender, celebrating her revival of pagan eroticism and prophesying in a highly controversial 1990 New York Times op-ed that she was “the future of feminism.”
Crawford exhibits “crazed willpower and misery in her facial muscles,” says Paglia. Getty Images
But I want to focus here on the charge of ageism that Madonna, now 58, leveled against the entertainment industry and that received heavy, sympathetic coverage in the mainstream media. Her grievances about the treatment of women performers climaxed with this: “And finally, do not age, because to age is a sin. You will be criticized, you will be vilified and you will definitely not be played on the radio.”
First of all, lack of radio airplay may indeed hamper new or indie groups, but in this digital age, when songs go viral in a flash, rich and famous performers of Madonna’s level fail to get airplay not because of their age, but because their current music no longer is attracting a broad audience. When was the last time Madonna released hit songs of the brilliant quality of her golden era of the 1980s and ’90s? Lavish, lucrative touring rather than sustained creative work in the studio has been her priority for decades. Read the rest of this entry »
Christina Hoff Sommers and Camille Paglia examine the origins of intersectional feminism and “safe spaces”, and discuss Paglia’s own interpretations of feminism—what she labeled over the years as “amazon feminism”, “drag queen feminism”, and “street smart feminism.”
This is part three of a nine part series featuring Christina Hoff Sommers and Camille Paglia. The other videos in the series can be found here:
Part 1 – The state of contemporary feminism: https://goo.gl/nRJ0ss
Part 2 – The fight for student liberties: https://goo.gl/dS1QKF
Part 3 – Intersectional feminism and safe spaces: https://goo.gl/cmbj8g
Part 4 – Based Mom and Based Goddess on #Gamergate: https://goo.gl/ZFfuzh
Part 5 – Trigger warnings and the danger of overprotecting students: https://goo.gl/WE29Yc
Part 6 – The “male gaze”: https://goo.gl/hRWfhi
Part 7 – Fixing a broken university curriculum: https://goo.gl/pWmpwh
Part 8 – The absence of biology in gender studies: https://goo.gl/QrZQEU
Part 9 – The danger of looking at history through a contemporary political lens: https://goo.gl/D82LYB
Hillary Clinton IT specialist Bryan Pagliano invoked the Fifth more than 125 times during a 90-minute, closed-door deposition Wednesday with the conservative watchdog Judicial Watch, a source with the group told Fox News.
The official said Pagliano was working off an index card and read the same crafted statement each time.
“It was a sad day for government transparency,” the Judicial Watch official said, adding they asked all their questions and Pagliano invoked the Fifth Amendment right not to answer them.
Pagliano was a central figure in the set-up and management of Clinton’s personal server she used exclusively for government business while secretary of state. The State Department inspector general found Clinton violated government rules with that arrangement.
He was deposed as part of Judicial Watch’s lawsuit seeking Clinton emails and other records. A federal judge granted discovery, in turn allowing the depositions, which is highly unusual in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. The judge cited “reasonable suspicion” Clinton and her aides were trying to avoid federal records law.
Pagliano’s deposition before Judicial Watch is one of several interviews with high-profile Clinton aides, taking place as the FBI separately is continuing its federal criminal investigation.
A federal court agreed to keep sealed Pagliano’s immunity deal struck with the Justice Department in December, citing the sensitivity of the FBI probe and calling it a “criminal” matter.
The next Clinton aide to testify is Huma Abedin. In an earlier deposition, lawyers for senior Clinton aide Cheryl Mills, during a nearly five-hour deposition in Washington, repeatedly objected to questions about Pagliano’s role in setting up the former secretary of state’s private server.
According to a transcript of that deposition which Judicial Watch released, Mills attorney Beth Wilkinson – as well as Obama administration lawyers – objected to the line of questioning about Magliano….(read more)
Source: Fox News
“Mr. Pagliano will invoke his right under the Fifth Amendment and decline to testify at the deposition. Given the constitutional implications, the absence of any proper purpose for video recording the deposition, and the considerable risk of abuse, the Court should preclude Judicial Watch, Inc. … from creating an audiovisual recording of Mr. Pagliano’s deposition.”
Josh Gerstein reports: A former information technology adviser to Hillary Clinton plans to exercise his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination at a deposition next week and wants to prevent any video recording being made of the session. Lawyers for former State Department tech specialist Bryan Pagliano said in a court filing Wednesday that there’s no valid reason to make an audio or video recording of the session since Pagliano doesn’t plan to answer any of the questions he’s asked by the conservative group Judicial Watch, which is pursuing a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit related to Clinton’s private email server. The group is scheduled to take Pagliano’s deposition on Monday.
“Judicial Watch may move to unseal the materials at any time. Furthermore, in the event of a leak or data breach at the court reporting company, Mr. Pagliano would be hard-pressed to prevent further dissemination and republication of the video.”
“Mr. Pagliano will invoke his right under the Fifth Amendment and decline to testify at the deposition,” Pagliano’s lawyers Mark MacDougall and Connor Mullin wrote. “Given the constitutional implications, the absence of any proper purpose for video recording the deposition, and the considerable risk of abuse, the Court should preclude Judicial Watch, Inc. … from creating an audiovisual recording of Mr. Pagliano’s deposition.”
“Given that there is no proper purpose for videotaping the deposition in the first place, Judicial Watch’s preference should yield to the significant constitutional interests at stake.”
Acting on a request from another former aide to Clinton, Cheryl Mills, U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan already ruled that videos of the sessions should be put under seal. However, Pagliano’s lawyers say there’s still a chance the video could emerge later either with or without permission from the court. Read the rest of this entry »
“Most of the American electorate has probably been ready for a woman president for some time. But that woman must have the right array of qualities and ideally have risen to prominence through her own talents and not (like Hillary Clinton or Argentina’s President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner) through her marriage to a powerful man.”
Camille Paglia writes: Why has the U.S., the cradle of modern democracy, never had a woman president?
Incredulous young feminists, watching female heads of state multiply from Brazil and Norway to Namibia and Bangladesh, denounce this glaring omission as blatant sexism. But there are systemic factors, arising from the Constitution, popular tradition, and our electoral process, that have inhibited American women from attaining the highest office in the land.
The U.S. president is not just chief executive but commander-in-chief of the armed forces, an anomaly that requires manifest personal authority, particularly during periods of global instability. Women politicians, routinely focused on social welfare needs, must demonstrate greater involvement with international and military affairs.
“The protracted and ruthlessly gladiatorial U.S. electoral process drives talented women politicians away from the fray. What has kept women from winning the White House is not simple sexism but their own reluctance to subject themselves to the harsh scrutiny and ritual abuse of the presidential sweepstakes.”
Second, the president has a ceremonial function, like that of the British royal family, in symbolically representing the history and prestige of the nation. Hence voters subliminally look for gravitas, an ancient term describing the laconic dignity of Roman senators. The president must project steadiness, sober reserve, and deliberative judgment. Many women, who tend to talk faster and smile more than men, have trouble with gravitas as performance art.
[Order Paglia’s book “Glittering Images: A Journey Through Art from Egypt to Star Wars” from Amazon]
Third, the complex, coast-to-coast primary system in the U.S. forces presidential candidates into well over a year of brutal competition for funding and grass-roots support. Their lives are usurped by family-disrupting travel, stroking of rich donors, and tutelage by professional consultants and p.r. flacks. This exhausting, venal marathon requires enormous physical stamina and perhaps ethical desensitization to survive it.
In contrast, many heads of state elsewhere ascend through their internal party structure. They are automatically elevated to prime minister when their party wins a national election. This parliamentary system of government has been far more favorable for the steady rise of women to the top. Read the rest of this entry »
Everything’s Awesome and Camille Paglia is Unhappy!
I nearly bypassed this interview, having enjoyed Paglia’s memorable social and cultural critiques over the last 15 years or so, I expected it to be good, but easy to put off for later viewing. Boy was I wrong. A potent, and revealing conversation. Free Range Big Thinkers like Paglia, in culture and media — especially ones who identify as Democrats but talk like libertarians — are few and far between. It makes the rare good ones even more valuable. We’ve not seen Camille’s familiar Madonna-loving, pop-culture-riddled smart commentary as much as we did in the 1990s, at the now-diminished pioneering Salon magazine, where she was a regular. Fast-forward to 2015: Paglia represents a senior figure, as a public intellectual. A long way from those early days at Yale in the 1960s. She’s older, crankier, controversial, and impossible to categorize, but that’s how we like it.
I’d seen other references and links to this new Paglia interview, but it was the Twitter feed of noted media critic Mollie Z. Hemingway than finally got my attention. Yesterday, she’d collected a string of individual excerpts (well chosen clips, too, a few samples below) Thanks to MZH, otherwise I might have missed this. Included here is the hour-long video, and just a fraction of the transcript. If you don’t see anything else this weekend — or this year — don’t miss this. Brilliant work by REASON‘s Nick Gillespie & Todd Krainin. Go get the whole transcript. And tune into Mollie Z. Hemingway’s articles here, and tweets here.
“gender identity has become really almost fascist” —Paglia http://t.co/ZrvHhCGhLs
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) March 20, 2015
Paglia’s counterintuitive defense of reading comments (that I’ve found to be true as well): pic.twitter.com/5trxLOoAIE
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) March 20, 2015
Why grad students are stupider than “southern evangelicals” who dropped out of high school. — Paglia pic.twitter.com/FGMYcfFfWr
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) March 20, 2015
INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT: This is a rush transcript. Check against video for accuracy.
reason: Let’s talk about the state of contemporary feminism. You have been in a public life or in an intellectual life since the late 1960s, a proud feminist, often reviled by other feminists. Gloria Steinem most famously said you were an anti-feminist and that when you denied that, she said that would be like a Nazi saying they’re not anti-Semitic. You’re mixing it up. What is going on with the state of “professional feminism” in this country. It seems if you look at from, say, the early ’70s, things have gotten better for women. Men are less uptight about gender roles. Women are more in the workforce, they get paid equally, sexual assaults and sexual violence are down. In so many ways, things are going better than ever, and yet from sites like Jezebel or Feministing, all you hear is that things have never been worse.
Paglia: Feminism has gone through many phases. Obviously the woman’s suffrage movement of the 19th century fizzled after women gained the right to vote through the Constitutional amendment in 1920. Then the movement revived in the late 1960s through Betty Freidan co-founding NOW in 1967. Now, I preceded all that. I’m on record with a letter in Newsweek, I was in high school in 1963, where I called for equal rights for American women and so on. I began thinking about gender, researching it, I loved the generation of Amelia Earhart and all those emancipated women of the ’20s and ’30s, and because I had started my process of thought about gender so much earlier, I was out of sync with the women’s movement when it suddenly burst forth.
reason: It became a huge kind of cultural moment in the late 60s—it had been percolating before…
Paglia: It was literally nothing. There was no political activism of any kind from women getting the right to vote in 1920… when Simone de Beauvoir wrote her great magnum opus, The Second Sex, published in the early 1950s, she was thought to be hopelessly retrograde. Nobody could possibly be interested again in gender issues.
reason: You were living in upstate New York. Did you already know what your sexuality was? What was it like to be a woman, a lesbian, in 1963?
Paglia: Well, the 1950s were a highly conformist period. Gender had repolarized after really great gains it seems to me in the ’20s and ’30s, and one must be more sympathetic to the situation of my parents’ generation. They had known nothing but depression and war throughout their entire lives. My father was a paratrooper, when he got out of the army, everyone married, and I’m the baby boom. They wanted normality. They just wanted to live like real people, man and wife in a home. I found the 1950s utterly suffocating. I was a gender nonconforming entity, and I was signaling my rebellion by these transgender Halloween costumes that were absolutely unheard of. I was five, six, seven, eight years old. My parents allowed me to do it because I was so intent on it.
reason: What were you dressing up as?
Paglia: A Roman solider, the matador from Carmen. My best was Napoleon. I was Hamlet from the Classics Comics book. Absolutely no one was doing stuff like this, and I’m happy that this talk about medical sex changes was not in the air, because I would have become obsessed with that and assumed that that was my entire identity and problem, so this is why I’m very concerned about the rush to surgical interventions today. At any rate, I was attracted to men—I dated men—but I just fell in love with women and always have. Yes, there’s absolutely no doubt. I was on the forefront of gay identification. When I arrived at graduate school at Yale 1968-1972, I was the only openly gay person, and I didn’t even have a sex life. To me, it was a badge of militance. And I was the only person doing a dissertation on a sexual topic. It’s hard to believe this now.
reason: What was the topic?
Paglia: Sexual Personae, which was the book finally published in 1990 after being rejected by seven publishers and five agents, and that was unheard of again. I’m delighted I had the sponsorship of Harold Bloom that pushed the topic through the English department, I think possibly that they allowed me to do such a thing on sex was actually kind of amazing.
My clashes with other feminists began immediately. Read the rest of this entry »
The disappearance of University of Virginia sophomore Hannah Graham two weeks ago is the latest in a long series of girls-gone-missing cases that often end tragically. A 32-year-old, 270-pound former football player who fled to Texas has been returned to Virginia and charged with “abduction with intent to defile.” At this date, Hannah’s fate and whereabouts remain unknown.
Wildly overblown claims about an epidemic of sexual assaults on American campuses are obscuring the true danger to young women, too often distracted by cellphones or iPods in public places: the ancient sex crime of abduction and murder. Despite hysterical propaganda about our “rape culture,” the majority of campus incidents being carelessly described as sexual assault are not felonious rape (involving force or drugs) but oafish hookup melodramas, arising from mixed signals and imprudence on both sides.
Colleges should stick to academics and stop their infantilizing supervision of students’ dating lives, an…
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The age 21 rule sets the United States apart from all advanced Western nations, and it has pushed kids toward pills and other anti-social behavior.
The National Minimum Drinking Age Act, passed by Congress 30 years ago this July, is a gross violation of civil liberties and must be repealed. It is absurd and unjust that young Americans can vote, marry, enter contracts, and serve in the military at 18 but cannot buy an alcoholic drink in a bar or restaurant. The age 21 rule sets the United States apart from all advanced Western nations and lumps it with small or repressive countries like Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Indonesia, Qatar, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates.
Congress was stampeded into this puritanical law by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), who with all good intentions were wrongly intruding into an area of personal choice exactly as did the hymn-singing 19th-century Temperance crusaders, typified by Carrie Nation smashing beer barrels with her hatchet. Temperance fanaticism eventually triumphed and gave us 14 years of Prohibition. That in turn spawned the crime syndicates for booze smuggling, laying the groundwork for today’s global drug trade. Thanks a lot, Carrie!
Now that marijuana regulations have been liberalized in Colorado, it’s time to strike down this dictatorial national law. Government is not our nanny. The decrease in drunk-driving deaths in recent decades is at least partly attributable to more uniform seat-belt use and a strengthening of DWI penalties. Today, furthermore, there are many other causes of traffic accidents, such as the careless use of cell phones or prescription drugs like Ambien – implicated in the recent trial and acquittal of Kerry Kennedy for driving while impaired. Read the rest of this entry »
The cultural critic on why ignoring the biological differences between men and women risks undermining Western civilization itself
Bari Weiss writes: ‘What you’re seeing is how a civilization commits suicide,” says Camille Paglia. This self-described “notorious Amazon feminist” isn’t telling anyone to Lean In or asking Why Women Still Can’t Have It All. No, her indictment may be as surprising as it is wide-ranging: The military is out of fashion, Americans undervalue manual labor, schools neuter male students, opinion makers deny the biological differences between men and women, and sexiness is dead. And that’s just 20 minutes of our three-hour conversation.
When Ms. Paglia, now 66, burst onto the national stage in 1990 with the publishing of “Sexual Personae,” she immediately established herself as a feminist who was the scourge of the movement’s establishment, a heretic to its orthodoxy. Pick up the 700-page tome, subtitled “Art and Decadence From Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson, ” and it’s easy to see why. “If civilization had been left in female hands,” she wrote, “we would still be living in grass huts.”
The fact that the acclaimed book—the first of six; her latest, “Glittering Images,” is a survey of Western art—was rejected by seven publishers and five agents before being printed by Yale University Press only added to Ms. Paglia’s sense of herself as a provocateur in a class with Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern. But unlike those radio jocks, Ms. Paglia has scholarly chops: Her dissertation adviser at Yale was Harold Bloom, and she is as likely to discuss Freud, Oscar Wilde or early Native American art as to talk about Miley Cyrus.
Ms. Paglia relishes her outsider persona, having previously described herself as an egomaniac and “abrasive, strident and obnoxious.” Talking to her is like a mental CrossFit workout. One moment she’s praising pop star Rihanna (“a true artist”), then blasting ObamaCare (“a monstrosity,” though she voted for the president), global warming (“a religious dogma”), and the idea that all gay people are born gay (“the biggest canard,” yet she herself is a lesbian).
But no subject gets her going more than when I ask if she really sees a connection between society’s attempts to paper over the biological distinction between men and women and the collapse of Western civilization.
The modern economy is a male epic, in which women have found a productive role—but women were not its author
Camille Paglia writes: If men are obsolete, then women will soon be extinct—unless we rush down that ominous Brave New World path where females will clone themselves by parthenogenesis, as famously do Komodo dragons, hammerhead sharks, and pit vipers.
A peevish, grudging rancor against men has been one of the most unpalatable and unjust features of second- and third-wave feminism. Men’s faults, failings and foibles have been seized on and magnified into gruesome bills of indictment. Ideologue professors at our leading universities indoctrinate impressionable undergraduates with carelessly fact-free theories alleging that gender is an arbitrary, oppressive fiction with no basis in biology.
Is it any wonder that so many high-achieving young women, despite all the happy talk about their academic success, find themselves in the early stages of their careers in chronic uncertainty or anxiety about their prospects for an emotionally fulfilled private life? When an educated culture routinely denigrates masculinity and manhood, then women will be perpetually stuck with boys, who have no incentive to mature or to honor their commitments. And without strong men as models to either embrace or (for dissident lesbians) to resist, women will never attain a centered and profound sense of themselves as women.
From my long observation, which predates the sexual revolution, this remains a serious problem afflicting Anglo-American society, with its Puritan residue. InFrance, Italy, Spain, Latin America, and Brazil, in contrast, many ambitious professional women seem to have found a formula for asserting power and authority in the workplace while still projecting sexual allure and even glamor. This is the true feminine mystique, which cannot be taught but flows from an instinctive recognition of sexual differences. In today’s punitive atmosphere of sentimental propaganda about gender, the sexual imagination has understandably fled into the alternate world of online pornography, where the rude but exhilarating forces of primitive nature rollick unconstrained by religious or feminist moralism.
Camille Paglia: “It remains baffling how anyone would think that Hillary Clinton is our party’s best chance”Posted: August 21, 2013
I can vividly remember the first time I read Camille Paglia. I was visiting New York with my mom during college and we happened across “Vamps and Tramps” at a bookstore near our hotel. Lying in neighboring twin beds, I read passages out loud to her. Explosive things like, “Patriarchy, routinely blamed for everything, produced the birth control pill, which did more to free contemporary women than feminism itself.” I didn’t always agree with Paglia, but I enjoyed her as a challenging provocateur.
I still have that copy of the book. There are asterisks in the margins, double-underlined sentences and circled paragraphs. Reading it was a satisfying rebellion against the line-toeing women’s studies classes I was taking at the time — and at a college with an infamously anti-porn professor, no less. Since then, I have moments of genuine outrage and fury over Paglia’s writing and public commentary (see: this, this and this, for examples of why) — but she is still compelling and occasionally brilliant. The truth is that many people still want to hear what she has to say — about everything from BDSM to Lady Gaga.
The paperback release last week of her book “Glittering Images: A Journey Through Art From Egypt to Star Wars” — which Salon interviewed her about last year, and which is an example of Paglia at her intellectual best and an antidote to her birther moments — is a great excuse to check back in with the so-called bete noire of feminism. I spoke with Paglia by email about contemporary feminism, Anthony Weiner and the “end of men.”
Hillary Clinton finally submitted her court-ordered written response to 25 questions posed by Judicial Watch regarding her private email practices. And if there’s one thing we’ve learned from the deposition it’s this: Clinton has absolutely committed perjury.
Why? Let’s break down the facts.
In Clinton’s sworn deposition to Judicial Watch she says she never got permission for her private, unsecure email server, and that she got the idea from former Secretary of State Colin Powell. But she told the FBI in July that she didn’t get the idea from Powell. She also told the House Select Committee on Benghazi she’d gotten permission for her server.
All three of those stories can’t be true.
Deductive reasoning says:
- If her Judicial Watch testimony is true, then she lied to the FBI about Powell. That’s a crime.
- If her Judicial Watch testimony is true, then she lied to the Benghazi Committee about the server. That’s a crime.
- If her FBI testimony is true, then she lied in a deposition. That’s a crime, and it’s what got Bill Clinton impeached and disbarred.
- If her Benghazi Committee testimony is true, then she lied in a deposition. That’s a crime, and it’s what got Bill Clinton impeached and disbarred.
Furthermore, the fact that she wasn’t under oath when speaking to the FBI is irrelevant. It is a crime to lie to the FBI in any interview setting.
The Judicial Watch press release is below, along with all of Clinton’s answers.
Judicial Watch Releases New Hillary Clinton Email Answers Given under Oath
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch today released received responses under oath from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton concerning her email practices. Judicial Watch submitted twenty-five questions on August 30 to Clinton as ordered by U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan.
The new Clinton responses in the Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit before Judge Sullivan was first filed in September 2013 seeking records about the controversial employment status of Huma Abedin, former deputy chief of staff to Clinton. The lawsuit was reopened because of revelations about the clintonemail.com system (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:13-cv-01363)).
Judicial Watch has already taken the deposition testimony of seven Clinton aides and State Department officials.
Below is text from the document filed with the court today:
NON-PARTY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON’S RESPONSE
TO PLAINTIFF’S INTERROGATORIES
Pursuant to the Court’s August 19, 2016 order and Rule 33 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Non-Party Hillary Rodham Clinton hereby responds to Plaintiff’s Interrogatories dated August 30, 2016. The General Objections and the Objections to the Definitions set forth below are incorporated into each of the specific responses that follow. Any specific objections are in addition to the General Objections and Objections to the Definitions, and failure to reiterate a General Objection or Objection to the Definitions does not constitute a waiver of that or any other objection.
- Secretary Clinton objects to the Interrogatories on the ground that any discovery of Secretary Clinton is unwarranted in this case, for the reasons set forth in Secretary Clinton’s Opposition to Plaintiff’s Motion to Depose Hillary Rodham Clinton, Clarence Finney, and John Bentel (Dkt. #102) and Surreply in Further Opposition to Plaintiff’s Motion to Depose Hillary Rodham Clinton, Clarence Finney, and John Bentel (Dkt. #109), and as stated by Secretary Clinton’s counsel during the Court hearing on July 18, 2016. Secretary Clinton will answer the Interrogatories notwithstanding this objection, subject to the other objections stated herein.
- Secretary Clinton objects to the Interrogatories insofar as they request information outside the scope of permitted discovery in this case. The Court permitted discovery of Secretary Clinton on the topics of “the purpose for the creation and operation of the clintonemail.com system for State Department business,” as well as “the State Department’s approach and practice for processing FOIA requests that potentially implicated former Secretary Clinton’s and Ms. Abedin’s e-mails and State’s processing of the FOIA request that is the subject of this action.” Dkt. #124, at 14, 19 (internal quotation marks omitted). Secretary Clinton will answer the Interrogatories insofar as they seek non-privileged information related to those topics.
- Secretary Clinton objects to the Interrogatories insofar as they request information relating to events that occurred, or actions taken by Secretary Clinton, after her tenure as Secretary of State. Such post-tenure actions or events are not within the scope of the permitted topics of discovery set forth in General Objection No. 2.
- Secretary Clinton objects to the Interrogatories insofar as they request information about Secretary Clinton’s use of her clintonemail.com account to send and receive e-mails that were personal in nature, as such use is not within the scope of the permitted topics set forth in General Objection No. 2. Secretary Clinton will construe the Interrogatories to ask only about her use of her clintonemail.com account to send and receive e-mails related to State Department business.
- Secretary Clinton objects to the Interrogatories insofar as they request information about management, retention, and/or preservation of federal records. This action arises under FOIA, which does not govern management, retention, or preservation of federal records. See Kissinger v. Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, 445 U.S. 136, 152 (1980). Accordingly, management, retention, and/or preservation of federal records are not within the scope of the permitted topics of discovery set forth in General Objection No. 2.
- Secretary Clinton objects to Instruction No. 1 insofar as it purports to require Secretary Clinton to provide information that is not within her personal knowledge. The purpose of the limited discovery permitted by the Court is to obtain Secretary Clinton’s “personal knowledge of her purpose in using the [clintonemail.com] system.” Dkt. #124, at 16; see also id. at (directing Plaintiff “to propound questions that are relevant to Secretary Clinton’s unique first-hand knowledge”). Secretary Clinton is answering these Interrogatories based on her direct personal knowledge. She is not undertaking to provide information known only to other persons, including but not limited to her attorneys, representatives, persons acting under, by, or through her, or subject to her control or supervision, or other persons acting on her behalf.
- Secretary Clinton objects to these Interrogatories to the extent that they call for the production of information that is privileged or otherwise protected from discovery by the attorney-client privilege, the work product doctrine, or any other applicable privilege, protection, or immunity. Secretary Clinton will respond only to the extent privileged or otherwise protected information is not required and to the extent that the Interrogatory is not otherwise objectionable.
- Secretary Clinton objects to Instruction No. 5 insofar as it purports to require Secretary Clinton to identify the factual and legal basis for a claim of privilege. Secretary Clinton is not providing herewith a privilege log.
OBJECTIONS TO DEFINITIONS
- Secretary Clinton objects to the definition of “Clintonemail.com email system” insofar as it refers to e-mail system(s), server(s), provider(s), and infrastructure used to host her clintonemail.com e-mail account after her tenure as Secretary of State. Information concerning the e-mail system(s), server(s), provider(s), and infrastructure used to host her clintonemail.com account after her tenure as Secretary of State is not relevant to the purpose for the creation and operation of the clintonemail.com account during her tenure as Secretary of State, and therefore is outside the scope of the permitted discovery. In answering these Interrogatories, Secretary Clinton will construe the term “Clintonemail.com email system” to refer to the e-mail system(s), server(s), provider(s), and infrastructure used to host her clintonemail.com e-mail account during her tenure as Secretary of State.
- Secretary Clinton objects to the definition of “Clintonemail.com account” insofar as it refers to e-mail addresses used by other individuals ending in the domain name “clintonemail.com.” In answering these Interrogatories, Secretary Clinton will construe the term “Clintonemail.com account” to refer to firstname.lastname@example.org, which was the clintonemail.com account used by Secretary Clinton during her tenure.
RESPONSES TO INTERROGATORIES
- Describe the creation of the clintonemail.com system, including who decided to create the system, the date it was decided to create the system, why it was created, who set it up, and when it became operational.
Response: Secretary Clinton objects to Interrogatory No. 1 as outside the scope of permitted discovery. The clintonemail.com system, as that term is defined in the Instructions and subject to Secretary Clinton’s objection to that definition, consisted of equipment set up to host e-mail for President Clinton’s staff. Information regarding the creation of that system, including the reasons for its creation, is irrelevant to this lawsuit and outside the scope of permitted discovery. The Court permitted discovery in this case on the question of “the purpose for the creation and operation of the clintonemail.com system for State Department business.” Dkt. #124, at 17 (emphasis added). That question is the subject of Interrogatory No. 2, which is answered below.
- Describe the creation of your clintonemail.com email account, including who decided to create it, when it was created, why it was created, and, if you did not set up the account yourself, who set it up for you.
Response: In the Senate, when Secretary Clinton began using e-mail, she used a personal e-mail account for both work-related and personal e-mail. Secretary Clinton decided to transition from the account she used in her tenure at the Senate to the clintonemail.com account. She recalls that it was created in early 2009. Secretary Clinton did not set up the account. Although Secretary Clinton does not have specific knowledge of the details of the account’s creation, her best understanding is that one of President Clinton’s aides, Justin Cooper, set up the account. She decided to use a clintonemail.com account for the purpose of convenience.
- When did you decide to use a clintonemail.com email account to conduct official State Department business and whom did you consult in making this decision?
Response: Secretary Clinton recalls deciding to use a clintonemail.com e-mail account to conduct official State Department business in early 2009. She does not recall any specific consultations regarding the decision to use the clintonemail.com account for official State Department business.
- Identify all communications in which you participated concerning or relating to your decision to use a clintonemail.com email account to conduct official State Department business and, for each communication, identify the time, date, place, manner (e.g., in person, in writing, by telephone, or by electronic or other means), persons present or participating, and content of the communication.
Response: Secretary Clinton objects to Interrogatory No. 4 insofar as it purports to request information about communications after her tenure as Secretary of State, which communications would be irrelevant to the purpose for the creation and operation of her clintonemail.com account while she was Secretary of State. Subject to the foregoing objection, Secretary Clinton states that she does not recall participating in any communications before or during her tenure as Secretary of State concerning or relating to her decision to use a clintonemail.com account to conduct official State Department business. Read the rest of this entry »
The disclosure came as the FBI released its second batch of documents on Clinton’s email investigation.
President Barack Obama used a pseudonym in email communications with Hillary Clinton and others, according to FBI records made public Friday.
The disclosure came as the FBI released its second batch of documents from its investigation into Clinton’s private email server during her tenure as secretary of state.
The 189 pages the bureau released includes interviews with some of Clinton’s closest aides, such as Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills; senior State Department officials; and even Marcel Lazar, better known as the Romanian hacker “Guccifer.”
In an April 5, 2016 interview with the FBI, Abedin was shown an email exchange between Clinton and Obama, but the longtime Clinton aide did not recognize the name of the sender.
“Once informed that the sender’s name is believed to be pseudonym used by the president, Abedin exclaimed: ‘How is this not classified?'” the report says. “Abedin then expressed her amazement at the president’s use of a pseudonym and asked if she could have a copy of the email.”
The State Department has refused to make public that and other emails Clinton exchanged with Obama. Lawyers have cited the “presidential communications privilege,” a variation of executive privilege, in order to withhold the messages under the Freedom of Information Act.
The report doesn’t provide more details on the contents of that particular email exchange, but says it took place on June 28, 2012, and had the subject line: “Re: Congratulations.” It may refer to the Supreme Court’s ruling that day upholding a key portion of the Obamacare law.
A report on the FBI’s June 7, 2016 interview with “Guccifer” confirms FBI Director James Comey‘s claim that Lazar falsely asserted that he’d surreptitiously accessed Clinton’s server.
“Lazar began by stating that he had never claimed to hack the Clinton server. [An FBI agent] then advised that Fix News had recently published an article which reported that Lazar had claimed to have to Clinton server. Read the rest of this entry »
The FBI’s Blind Clinton Trust.
The closer we look at the FBI’s investigative file on Hillary Clinton’s emails, the more we wonder if Director James Comey always intended to let her off the hook. The calculated release before the long Labor Day weekend suggests political favoritism, and the report shows the FBI didn’t pursue evidence of potential false statements, obstruction of justice and destruction of evidence.
“The notes also show the G-men never did grill Mrs. Clinton on her “intent” in setting up her server. Instead they bought her explanation that it was for personal convenience. This helped Mr. Comey avoid concluding that her purpose was to evade statutes like the Federal Records Act. Mr. Comey also told Congress that indicting her without criminal intent would pose a constitutional problem.”
Mr. Comey’s concessions start with his decision not to interview Mrs. Clinton until the end of his investigation, a mere three days before he announced his conclusions. Regular FBI practice is to get a subject on the record early then see if his story meshes with what agents find. In this case they accepted Mrs. Clinton’s I-don’t-recall defenses after the fact.
“Ms. Mills has a particular reason for denying early knowledge of the server: She became Mrs. Clinton’s personal lawyer after they both left State. If Ms. Mills knew about the server while at State, she’d be subject to questions about the server. But if she didn’t know about the server until leaving State, she can argue that conversations with Mrs. Clinton are protected by attorney-client privilege. The FBI ignored all this, and it even allowed Ms. Mills to accompany Mrs. Clinton to her FBI interview as Mrs. Clinton’s lawyer.”
The notes also show the G-men never did grill Mrs. Clinton on her “intent” in setting up her server. Instead they bought her explanation that it was for personal convenience. This helped Mr. Comey avoid concluding that her purpose was to evade statutes like the Federal Records Act. Mr. Comey also told Congress that indicting her without criminal intent would pose a constitutional problem. But Congress has written many laws that don’t require criminal intent, and negligent homicide (for example) has never been unconstitutional.
The FBI notes also blow past evidence that Clinton advisers may have engaged in a cover-up. Consider page 10 of the FBI report: “Clinton’s immediate aides, to include [Huma] Abedin, [Cheryl] Mills, Jacob Sullivan, and [redacted] told the FBI they were unaware of the existence of the private server until after Clinton’s tenure at State or when it became public knowledge.”
That’s amazing given that Ms. Abedin had her own email account on the private server. It is also contradicted by page 3: “At the recommendation of Huma Abedin, Clinton’s long-time aide and later Deputy Chief of Staff at State, in or around fall 2008, [ Bill Clinton aide Justin] Cooper contacted Bryan Pagliano . . . to build the new server system and to assist Cooper with the administration of the new server system.”
The FBI must also have ignored two emails referred to by the State Inspector General showing Ms. Mills and Ms. Abedin discussing the server while they worked at State: “hrc email coming back—is server okay?” Ms. Mills asked Ms. Abedin and Mr. Cooper in a Feb. 27, 2010 email. Read the rest of this entry »
…Clinton could not even recall when she got her security clearance. She told FBI agents she wasn’t sure if she carried it over from the U.S. Senate or if she got it from State. But perhaps even worse, Clinton told FBI agents she couldn’t even remember any briefing or training by State “related to the retention of federal records or handling of classified information.”
That admission could raise the question if Clinton was ever trained at all in handling secret information.
Below is the list of things Clinton could not recall in the FBI interview:
- When she received security clearance
- Being briefed on how to handle classified material
- How many times she used her authority to designate items classified
- Any briefing on how to handle very top-secret “Special Access Program” material
- How to select a target for a drone strike
- How the data from her mobile devices was destroyed when she switched devices
- The number of times her staff was given a secure phone
- Why she didn’t get a secure Blackberry
- Receiving any emails she thought should not be on the private system
- Did not remember giving staff direction to create private email account
- Getting guidance from state on email policy
- Who had access to her Blackberry account
- The process for deleting her emails
- Ever getting a message that her storage was almost full
- Anyone besides Huma Abedin being offered an account on the private server
- Being sent information on state government private emails being hacked
- Receiving cable on State Dept personnel securing personal email accounts
- Receiving cable on Bryan Pagliano upgrading her server
- Using an iPad mini
- An Oct. 13, 2012, email on Egypt with Clinton pal Sidney Blumenthal
- Jacob Sullivan using personal email
- State Department protocol for confirming classified information in media reports
- Every briefing she received after suffering concussions
- Being notified of a FOIA request on Dec. 11, 2012
- Being read out of her clearance
- Any further access to her private email account from her State Department tenure after switching to her HRCoffice.com account
Justin Fishel reports: The State Department said today it can’t find Bryan Pagliano’s emails from the time he served as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s senior information technology staffer during her tenure there.
Pagliano would have been required to turn over any official communications from his work account before he left the government. State Department officials say he had an official email account, but that they can’t find any of those records he would have turned over and continue to search for them.
“It’s hard to believe that an IT staffer who set up Hillary Clinton’s reckless email server never sent or received a single work-related email in the four years he worked at the State Department. Such records might shed light on his role in setting up Clinton’s server, and why he was granted immunity by the FBI. But it seems that his emails were either destroyed or never turned over, adding yet another layer to the secrecy surrounding his role.”
— Raj Shah, RNC’s Deputy Communications Director
“The Department has searched for Mr. Pagliano’s email pst file and has not located one that covers the time period of Secretary Clinton’s tenure,” State Department spokesman Elizabeth Trudeau said today, referencing a file format that holds email.
“To be clear, the Department does have records related to Mr. Pagliano and we are working with Congress and [Freedom of Information Act] requesters to provide relevant material. The Department has located a pst from Mr. Pagliano’s recent work at the Department as a contractor, but the files are from after Secretary Clinton left the Department,” Trudeau added.
After this story was posted, Trudeau reached out to ABC News, amending her previous statement to say that despite the absence of his original pst file, some small amount of Pagliano’s email has been recovered, suggesting they were gleaned from other email accounts. Read the rest of this entry »
The hacker spoke freely with Fox News from the detention center in Alexandria, Va., where he’s been held since his extradition to the U.S. on federal charges relating to other alleged cyber-crimes. Wearing a green jumpsuit, Lazar was relaxed and polite in the monitored secure visitor center, separated by thick security glass.
Catherine Herridge, Pamela K. Browne report: The infamous Romanian hacker known as “Guccifer,” speaking exclusively with Fox News, claimed he easily – and repeatedly – breached former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s personal email server in early 2013.
“For me, it was easy … easy for me, for everybody,” Marcel Lehel Lazar, who goes by the moniker “Guccifer,” told Fox News from a Virginia jail where he is being held.
“I was not paying attention. For me, it was not like the Hillary Clinton server, it was like an email server she and others were using with political voting stuff.”
— Marcel Lehel Lazar
Guccifer’s potential role in the Clinton email investigation was first reported by Fox News last month. The hacker subsequently claimed he was able to access the server – and provided extensive details about how he did it and what he found – over the course of a half-hour jailhouse interview and a series of recorded phone calls with Fox News. Fox News could not independently confirm Lazar’s claims.
The former secretary of state’s server held nearly 2,200 emails containing information now deemed classified, and another 22 at the “Top Secret” level.
The 44-year-old Lazar said he first compromised Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal‘s AOL account, in March 2013, and used that as a stepping stone to the Clinton server. He said he accessed Clinton’s server “like twice,” though he described the contents as “not interest[ing]” to him at the time.
“I was not paying attention. For me, it was not like the Hillary Clinton server, it was like an email server she and others were
using with political voting stuff,” Guccifer said.
The hacker spoke freely with Fox News from the detention center in Alexandria, Va., where he’s been held since his extradition to
the U.S. on federal charges relating to other alleged cyber-crimes. Wearing a green jumpsuit, Lazar was relaxed and polite in the monitored secure visitor center, separated by thick security glass.
“For example, when Sidney Blumenthal got an email, I checked the email pattern from Hillary Clinton, from Colin Powell from anyone else to find out the originating IP. … When they send a letter, the email header is the originating IP usually. Then I scanned with an IP scanner.”
— Marcel Lehel Lazar
In describing the process, Lazar said he did extensive research on the web and then guessed Blumenthal’s security question. Once inside Blumenthal’s account, Lazar said he saw dozens of messages from the Clinton email address.
Asked if he was curious about the address, Lazar merely smiled. Asked if he used the same security question approach to access the Clinton emails, he said no – then described how he allegedly got inside.
“For example, when Sidney Blumenthal got an email, I checked the email pattern from Hillary Clinton, from Colin Powell from anyone else to find out the originating IP. … When they send a letter, the email header is the originating IP usually,” Lazar explained.
He said, “then I scanned with an IP scanner.”
Lazar emphasized that he used readily available web programs to see if the server was “alive” and which ports were open. Lazar identified programs like netscan, Netmap, Wireshark and Angry IP, though it was not possible to confirm independently which, if any, he used.
In the process of mining data from the Blumenthal account, Lazar said he came across evidence that others were on the Clinton server.
“As far as I remember, yes, there were … up to 10, like, IPs from other parts of the world,” he said.
With no formal computer training, he did most of his hacking from a small Romanian village.
Lazar said he chose to use “proxy servers in Russia,” describing them as the best, providing anonymity.
Cyber experts who spoke with Fox News said the process Lazar described is plausible. The federal indictment Lazar faces in the U.S. for cyber-crimes specifically alleges he used “a proxy server located in Russia” for the Blumenthal compromise. Read the rest of this entry »
report: The company that managed Hillary Rodham Clinton’s private e-mail server said it has “no knowledge of the server being wiped,” the strongest indication to date that tens of thousands of e-mails that Clinton has said were deleted could be recovered.
“Platte River has no knowledge of the server being wiped. All the information we have is that the server wasn’t wiped.”
Clinton and her advisers have said for months that she deleted her personal correspondence from her time as secretary of state, creating the impression that 31,000 e-mails were gone forever. There is a distinction between e-mails being deleted and a server being wiped. If e-mails are deleted or moved from a server, they appear to no longer exist on the device. But experts say, depending on the condition of the server, underlying data can remain on the device and the e-mails can often be restored.
“There is a distinction between e-mails being deleted and a server being wiped. If e-mails are deleted or moved from a server, they appear to no longer exist on the device. But experts say, depending on the condition of the server, underlying data can remain on the device and the e-mails can often be restored.”
“Platte River has no knowledge of the server being wiped,” company spokesman Andy Boian told The Washington Post. “All the information we have is that the server wasn’t wiped.”
Clinton and her staff have avoided directly answering whether the server was ever wiped.
In a memorable exchange at a campaign event in Las Vegas last month, Clinton turned aside a question about whether the server had been wiped with a joke: “Like what, with a cloth?” she said, adding, “I don’t know how it works digitally at all.”
Campaign spokesman Brian Fallon gave a similar answer this month, telling CNN: “I don’t know what wiped means. Literally the e-mails were deleted off of the server, that’s true.”
Read the rest of this entry »
George Mason University also becomes the third green light institution in the state of Virginia, joining the University of Virginia and The College of William & Mary
WASHINGTON, April 21, 2015—George Mason University (GMU) has eliminated all of its speech codes, earning the highest, “green light” rating from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). After working with FIRE to ensure its policies comply with the First Amendment, the Virginia university has joined a select group of colleges and universities nationwide to earn FIRE’s most favorable rating for free speech on campus.
“Freedom of speech and academic freedom are core values of a university’s mission. I’m delighted that George Mason has joined the ranks of universities that have committed themselves to the full protection of free speech. Thank you to our administration for their dedicated work in providing a context where students and faculty can express controversial ideas freely, and even inartfully, without fear of reprisal.”
“We commend George Mason University for improving its policies and fully upholding the First Amendment rights of its students and faculty members,” said Azhar Majeed, Director of FIRE’s Individual Rights Education Program. “GMU is now a national leader in terms of respecting free speech in higher education, and the university’s actions should serve as a positive example for other institutions to follow.”
Foundation for Individual Rights in Education Awards Highest Free Speech Rating to George Mason University
FIRE has been advocating for speech code reform at GMU for nearly a decade. In May 2014, Majeed and GMU Director of Special Diversity Projects Dennis Webster began working together to revise seven university policies, including a flyer posting policy, a sexual harassment policy, two provisions from the student conduct code, and a policy on leafleting. GMU Foundation Professor of Law Todd Zywicki also assisted in the effort.
“We commend George Mason University for improving its policies and fully upholding the First Amendment rights of its students and faculty members. GMU is now a national leader in terms of respecting free speech in higher education, and the university’s actions should serve as a positive example for other institutions to follow.”
— Azhar Majeed, Director of FIRE’s Individual Rights Education Program
“Freedom of speech and academic freedom are core values of a university’s mission,” said Zywicki. “I’m delighted that George Mason has joined the ranks of universities that have committed themselves to the full protection of free speech. Thank you to our administration for their dedicated work in providing a context where students and faculty can express controversial ideas freely, and even inartfully, without fear of reprisal.” Read the rest of this entry »
As the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus returns to Brooklyn Thursday, membership at the country’s largest clown organizations has plunged over the past decade amid declining interest, old age and higher standards for the jokesters…
Natalie Musumeci reports: The tears of a clown may be because no one’s around to take the place of today’s performers. Here, Roberto Alagna (center) performing with Nuccia Focile in ‘Pagliacci’ during a dress rehearsal at the Metropolitan Opera.
Send in the clowns — please!
As the “Greatest Show on Earth” returns to Brooklyn Thursday, circus folk fear a national clown shortage is on the horizon.
“What happens is they go on to high school and college and clowning isn’t cool anymore,” he said. “Clowning is then put on the back burner until their late 40s and early 50s.”
Membership at the country’s largest trade organizations for the jokesters has plunged over the past decade as declining interest, old age and higher standards among employers align against Krusty, Bozo and their crimson-nosed colleagues.
Can Christina Hoff Sommers Save Feminism?
Freedom Feminism: Its Surprising History and Why It Matters Today, by Christina Hoff Sommers, AEI Press, 127 pages, $3.95.
Sharon Presley writes: Some libertarians look askance at feminism, seeing it only as a leftist push to use the state to benefit women. Many conservatives see it something as far worse. But Christina Hoff Sommers of the American Enterprise Institute wants to change all that. In Freedom Feminism, Sommers sets out to provide a manifesto for moderate and conservative women (and, some say, for libertarians) because they “must be at the helm” if they are to raise broad support for the kind of feminism that she thinks is worthwhile. Sommers asserts that her “freedom feminism” is a synthesis of 19th century “radical egalitarianism” and a conservative “maternal school,” and that the results avoid the problems of leftist feminism.
This raises two questions for libertarians: Is feminism salvageable? And if so, is Sommers’ new blend the right mix?
In addressing the first question, it is useful to recognize that leftists didn’t invent feminism. Mary Wollstonecraft, the leading influence on First Wave feminism, was an individualist. So were such 19th-century American feminists as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who believed that “nothing adds such dignity to character as the recognition of one’s self-sovereignty; the right to an equal place, everywhere conceded—a place earned by personal merit.” In addition to working for the vote, 19th-century feminists struggled to undo unjust and unfair laws that made women the property of their husbands. They sought equal rights, not governmental privilege.
Hamilton writes: Camille Paglia, the liberal-conservative lesbian who adores men, observed recently that nations must never neglect their basic strengths and survival skills. As she put it, “The earth is littered with the ruins of empires that believed they were eternal.” Perhaps she was thinking of the United States; this is, after all, a time when the gap between our towering international presumption is being undermined by our crumbling domestic reality.
The same Paglia-esque thoughts of political mortality came into Hamilton’s mind when he read the news about the near collision, on December 5, of a US Navy ship and a Chinese Navy ship.
So suppose we did end up in a war with China–maybe not today, but in five or 10 years. Who would win? Let’s remember, this hypothetical war wouldn’t necessarily be anything like what we have seen before; it could be waged with little more than cyber-hacking, satellite-blinding,and a few long-range missiles–which could be enough to establish military dominance.
In the meantime, we can see plenty of signs that our ability to prevail is ebbing. In 2010, for example, the website ZDNet reported that 80 percent of the world’s communications have a Chinese “back door”–and that China is working on accessing the remaining 20 percent. In other words, America could pass a law preventing the US National Security Agency from snooping on us, but we would still not be able to stop the Chinese from snooping on us.
Scholars’ rude awakenings
“In the German context, a question is either an attempt to present one’s own view or an attack meant to question the authority of the speaker”
Bloom’s first book, The Occult Experience and the New Criticism (1986), was greeted with a review claiming that it “mentions every orifice except the arsehole from whence [it] emerged”. Such “bitchiness”, he believes, comes from many reviewers thinking to themselves: “I wanted to write the book I’m reviewing” or “I’m the expert (but no one has noticed).”
And this, in Bloom’s cheerfully jaundiced view, is part of a wider sense of “resentment and defensiveness” resulting from the fact that most academics “don’t really produce anything that people want”. In extreme cases, this can lead to “hatred of the public and the world generally”. On one occasion, he recalls, his place of employment, at that time Middlesex Polytechnic, was visited by the mayor and mayoress of Haringey, “a small, olive-skinned Greek Cypriot couple, both in their chains of office. We gathered to meet them in the common room. As we stood in line with drinks and nibbles, one colleague turned to me and exclaimed rather too loudly: ‘Oh my God, they’ve invited the cast of EastEnders!’”
You aren’t alone in your fear of makeup-clad entertainers; people have been frightened by clowns for centuries
By Linda Rodriguez McRobbie via Smithsonian.com
There’s a word— albeit one not recognized by the Oxford English Dictionary or any psychology manual— for the excessive fear of clowns: Coulrophobia.
Not a lot of people actually suffer from a debilitating phobia of clowns; a lot more people, however, just don’t like them. Do a Google search for “I hate clowns” and the first hit is ihateclowns.com, a forum for clown-haters that also offers vanity @ihateclowns.com emails. One “I Hate Clowns” Facebook page has just under 480,000 likes. Some circuses have held workshops to help visitors get over their fear of clowns by letting them watch performers transform into their clown persona. In Sarasota, Florida, in 2006, communal loathing for clowns took a criminal turn when dozens of fiberglass clown statues—part of a public art exhibition called “Clowning Around Town” and a nod to the city’s history as a winter haven for traveling circuses—were defaced, their limbs broken, heads lopped off, spray-painted; two were abducted and we can only guess at their sad fates.
Even the people who are supposed to like clowns—children—supposedly don’t. In 2008, a widely reported University of Sheffield, England, survey of 250 children between the ages of four and 16 found that most of the children disliked and even feared images of clowns. The BBC’s report on the study featured a child psychologist who broadly declared, “Very few children like clowns. They are unfamiliar and come from a different era. They don’t look funny, they just look odd.”
But most clowns aren’t trying to be odd. They’re trying to be silly and sweet, fun personified. So the question is, when did the clown, supposedly a jolly figure of innocuous, kid-friendly entertainment, become so weighed down by fear and sadness? When did clowns become so dark?
Maybe they always have been…