Sunday, March 15, 2020

Is there anything more affected, aggressive, & relentlessly concrete than a Parisian intellectual behind his/her turgid text? The Parisian is a provincial when he pretends to speak for the universe.

Is there anything more affected, aggressive, & relentlessly concrete than a Parisian intellectual behind his/her turgid text? The Parisian is a provincial when he pretends to speak for the universe. Camille Paglia's Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson, 1990.

[...] Furthermore, arguments by the French about the rationalist limitations of their own culture have been illegitimately transferred to England and America, with poor results. The English language was created by poets, a five-hundred-year enterprise of emotion and metaphor, the richest internal dialogue in world literature. French rhetorical models are too narrow for the English tradition. Most pernicious of French imports is the notion that there is no person behind a text. Is there anything more affected, aggressive, and relentlessly concrete than a Parisian intellectual behind his/her turgid text? The Parisian is a provincial when he pretends to speak for the universe. Behind every book is a certain person with a certain history. I can never know too much about that person and that history. Personality is western reality. It is a visible condensation of sex and psyche outside the realm of word. We know it by Apollonian vision, the pagan cinema of western perception. Let us not steal from the eye to give to the ear.

Word-worship has made it difficult for scholarship to deal with the radical cultural change of our era of mass media. Academics are constantly fighting a rearguard action. Traditional genre-criticism is moribund. The humanities must abandon their insular fiefdoms and begin thinking in terms of imagination, a power that crosses the genres and unites high with popular art, the noble with the sleazy. There is neither decline nor disaster in the triumph of mass media, only a shift from word to image—in other words, a return to western culture’s pre-Gutenberg, pre-Protestant pagan pictorialism.

That popular culture reclaims what high culture shuts out is clear in the case of pornography. Pornography is pure pagan imagism. Just as a poem is ritually limited verbal expression, so is pornography ritually limited visual expression of the daemonism of sex and nature. Every shot, every angle in pornography, no matter how silly, twisted, or pasty, is yet another attempt to get the whole picture of the enormity of chthonian nature. Is pornography art? Yes. Art is contemplation and conceptualization, the ritual exhibitionism of primal mysteries. Art makes order of nature’s cyclonic brutality. Art, I said, is full of crimes. The ugliness and violence in pornography reflect the ugliness and violence in nature.

Pornography’s male-born explicitness renders visible what is invisible, woman’s chthonian internality. It tries to shed Apollonian light on woman’s anxiety-provoking darkness. The vulgar contortionism of pornography is the serpentine tangle of Medusan nature. Pornography is
human imagination in tense theatrical action; its violations are a protest against the violations of our freedom by nature. The banning of pornography, rightly sought by Judeo-Christianity, would be a victory over the west’s stubborn paganism. But pornography cannot be banned, only driven underground, where its illicit charge will be enhanced. Pornography’s amoral pictorialism will live forever as a rebuke to the humanistic cult of the redemptive word. Words cannot save the cruel flux of pagan nature.

The western eye makes things, idols of Apollonian objectification. Pornography makes many well-meaning people uncomfortable because it isolates the voyeuristic element present in all art, and especially cinema. All the personae of art are sex objects. The emotional response of spectator or reader is inseparable from erotic response. As I said, our lives as physical beings are a Dionysian continuum of pleasure-pain. At every moment we are steeped in the sensory, even in sleep. Emotional arousal is sensual arousal; sensual arousal is sexual arousal. The idea that emotion can be separated from sex is a Christian illusion, one of the most ingenious but finally unworkable strategies in Christianity’s ancient campaign against pagan nature. Agape, spiritual love, belongs to eros but has run away from home.

We are voyeurs at the perimeters of art, and there is a sadomasochistic sensuality in our responses to it. Art is a scandal, literally a “stumbling block,” to all moralism, whether on the Christian right or Rousseauist left. Pornography and art are inseparable, because there is  voyeurism and voracity in all our sensations as seeing, feeling beings.  The fullest exploration of these ideas is Edmund Spenser’s Renaissance epic, The Faerie Queene. In this poem, which prefigures cinema by its radiant Apollonian projections, the voyeuristic and sadomasochistic latency in art and sex is copiously documented. Western perception is a daemonic theater of ritual surprise. We may not like what we see when we look into the dark mirror of art.

"Society is woman’s protection against rape, not, as some feminists absurdly maintain, the cause of rape"; the rapist is a man with too little socialization rather than too much

"Society is woman’s protection against rape, not, as some feminists absurdly maintain, the cause of rape"; the rapist is a man with too little socialization rather than too much. Camille Paglia's Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson, 1990.

[...] Every woman’s body contains a cell of archaic night, where all knowing must stop. This is the profound meaning behind striptease, a sacred dance of pagan origins which, like prostitution, Christianity has never been able to stamp out.  Erotic dancing by males cannot be comparable, for a nude woman carries off the stage a final concealment, that chthonian darkness from which we come.

Woman’s body is a secret, sacred space. It is a temenos or ritual precinct, a Greek word I adopt for the discussion of art. In the marked- off space of woman’s body, nature operates at its darkest and most mechanical. Every woman is a priestess guarding the temenos of daemonic mysteries. Virginity is categorically different for the sexes. A boy becoming a man quests for experience. The penis is like eye or hand, an extension of self reaching outward. But a girl is a sealed vessel that must be broken into by force. The female body is the prototype of all sacred spaces from cave shrine to temple and church. The womb is the veiled Holy of Holies, a great problem, as we shall see, for sexual polemicists like William Blake who seek to abolish guilt and covertness in sex. The taboo on woman’s body is the taboo that always hovers over the place of magic. Woman is literally the occult, which means “the hidden.” These uncanny meanings cannot be changed, only suppressed, until they break into cultural consciousness again. Political equality will succeed only in political terms. It is helpless against the archetypal. Kill the imagination, lobotomize the brain, castrate and operate: then the sexes will be the same. Until then, we must live and dream in the daemonic turbulence of nature.

Everything sacred and inviolable provokes profanation and violation.  Every crime that can be committed will be. Rape is a mode of natural aggression that can be controlled only by the social contract. Modem ferninism’s most naive formulation is its assertion that rape is a crime of violence but not of sex, that it is merely power masquerading as sex. But sex is power, and all power is inherently aggressive. Rape is male power fighting female power. It is no more to be excused than is murder or any other assault on another’s civil rights. Society is woman’s protection against rape, not, as some feminists absurdly maintain, the cause of rape. Rape is the sexual expression of the will-to-power, which nature plants in all of us and which civilization rose to contain. Therefore the rapist is a man with too little socialization rather than too much. World-wide evidence is overwhelming that whenever social controls are weakened, as in war or mob rule, even civilized men behave in uncivilized ways, among which is the barbarity of rape.

Androphilic women’s vaginal, vulvar & clitoral responses tend to be gender-nonspecific, meaning that their genital responses to male and female sexual stimuli are relatively similar

Assessing gender-specificity of clitoral responses. Kelly Suschinsky, Samantha Dawson, Meredith Chivers. The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, e20190061, March 11, 2020.

Abstract: Androphilic (i.e., sexually attracted to men) women’s vaginal and vulvar responses tend to be gender-nonspecific, meaning that their genital responses to male and female sexual stimuli are relatively similar. Men’s genital responses are gender-specific, in that penile responses are greater to preferred sexual stimuli than nonpreferred sexual stimuli. To date, however, no research has been conducted on the specificity of clitoral responses (i.e., the organ homologous to the penis). The purpose of the current study was to assess gender-specificity of self-reported sexual arousal, vaginal, and clitoral responses in androphilic women. We expected women’s self-reported and vaginal responses to be gender-nonspecific and their clitoral responses to be gender-specific. Forty androphilic women were presented with 90 sec sexual (female masturbation and male masturbation) and neutral (nature scene) audio-visual stimuli. Responses were recorded continuously throughout the stimuli using a keypad and combination vaginal and clitoral photoplethysmograph. Consistent with our predictions, self-reported sexual arousal and vaginal responses were gender-nonspecific, such that androphilic women responded similarly to the male and female masturbation stimuli. Counter to our prediction, clitoral responses were also gender-nonspecific. Given that this is the first study to use clitoral photoplethysmography to assess gender-specificity, we discuss the results in the larger context of sexual psychophysiological research, including the importance of contextual features in stimuli, and offer directions for future research.

KEY WORDS: Clitoral photoplethysmography, gender-specificity, sexual arousal, vaginal photoplethysmography

Trends in Time Spent Alone in Finland: Between 1987 & 2010 the time spent alone increased by 124 min per day, due mostly to structural factors, such as aging and an increase in the number of single households

Disconnected Lives: Trends in Time Spent Alone in Finland. Timo Anttila, Kirsikka Selander & Tomi Oinas. Social Indicators Research, Mar 14 2020.

Abstract: Discussions about social isolation have been extensive over the past few decades. A less sociable nature of social ties has been identified in Western societies. The phenomenon has been associated with demographic changes such as aging and living alone as well as changes in the use of new technologies. In this study we employ representative Finnish Time Use Surveys from three decades, 1987–1988 (n = 1887), 1999–2000 (n = 2673) and 2009–2010 (n = 1887) to examine the trends in social isolation, measured as time spent alone. Our results showed that between 1987 and 2010 the time spent alone increased by 124 min per day. The increase was linear and occurred in nearly all population groups. Structural factors, such as aging and an increase in the number of single households, are strongly associated with increased time spent alone. Time spent alone has increased, especially during leisure activities. Specifically, time spent watching television and using computers is associated with the decreasing tendency for face-to-face interaction.


Many international studies have examined the change in social interaction and its less sociable nature in recent decades. This phenomenon has been identified largely in Western societies, and has been associated with societal changes such as demographic changes (aging), cultural changes (individualization) and changes in the use of new technologies. And indeed, several researchers have raised their concern over how the new information technologies reduce our time with face-to-face interaction. Also, economic development has generated wealth and modern welfare states provide social security, both of which have enabled people to live alone.
Our approach focuses on structural factors of social isolation and uses an objective indicator measuring time spent with face-to-face interaction. The detailed information from ‘with-whom’ coding in time use surveys and a nationally representative data set from three decades are clear strengths of the study. Time use surveys are underutilized in studying changes in social connections. Our study significantly contributes to the scarce literature on trends in time spent alone. Although time use surveys have included columns for participants to report time spent alone for decades (Fisher 2015), to our knowledge, the literature is restricted to only few descriptive studies (Turcotte 2007; Clark 2002).
The strength of time use diary data in assessing objective face-to-face social interaction is evident. Compared to retrospective survey questions on the time devoted to social interaction, time use diary data provides detailed information about time spent together with someone or alone and, in addition, connects this time to specific activities (Kingston and Nock 1987; Michelson 2005; Glorieux et al. 2011). At the same time, we emphasize that time spent alone cannot be judged as a purely good or bad phenomenon. People may seek solitude as it enables them to be free of social commitments and thus to just relax. Solitude, as one deliberately seeking to spend time alone, can be a constructive stimulus, e.g. for psychological well-being and creativity.
This study identified a number of factors associated with a decrease in face-to-face interaction. Our results showed that structural factors, such as aging and an increase of single households, are strongly associated with increased time spent alone. We expected that rapid urbanization would also effect social context of time use. However, the living area did not have an effect in time spent alone after controlling for other factors. The increase in time spent alone has been faster for men than for women. There are also important gender differences between weekdays and weekends. Men report more time alone on weekdays than women. On weekends, however, differences between genders do not exist and the situation has been stable over the study period.
With regard to weekly variation in time spent alone, our results showed that differences between weekdays and weekends have stayed rather steady. Time spent alone has increased on both weekdays and weekends, but on average, weekends still provide more shared time. Public debate on changing societal rhythms and the thesis of 24/7 society implicitly predicts that the special nature of weekdays is disappearing and that the special nature of weekdays and weekends is increasingly less determined by collectively shared rhythms of work, consumption or leisure time. An earlier Finnish time use study (Anttila and Oinas 2018) showed, however, that despite the deregulation of working hours and opening hours, the time structure of weekends has not begun to resemble weekdays to any significant degree. Weekend time is still spent resting, free of work, and socialising.
With regard to social connections, new technologies may be considered disruptive, because they reduce the time potential for face-to-face activities (Stern 2008). Our analysis showed that time spent alone increased in particular during leisure activities. The most remarkable increase was found in activities that can be classified as passive leisure. Television and computers seem to be technologies that are associated with the decreasing tendency for face-to-face interaction. The findings are in line with previous studies showing a connection between digital media use and time spent alone (Thulin and Vilhelmson 2019).
At the same time, we acknowledge, that activities in social media are possibly associated with several beneficial social networks, including discussion networks that are more likely to contain and connect people from different backgrounds (Vriens and van Ingen 2018). In addition, new social media is efficient in regard to network maintenance in quantitative terms, as it decreases the average amount of time devoted per connection and therefore potentially increases the number of friends and acquaintances.

Further Research

During the study period the technologies found in homes have changed, and along with new technology new activities have occurred. The density of televisions in households was in association with leisure time spent alone as family members watch television from their own TV screens. Thus, our results suggest that the increase in time spent alone not only reflects a growing proportion of the Finnish people living alone but also that more people who live in family homes are spending time apart from each other in front of separate screens when at home. This ‘alone together’ is interesting finding, which calls for future research. We observe the increasingly common phenomenon of groups of people in the same space, but paying more attention to content on digital devices than to the people with whom they are in close proximity. Being alone with other people is a very relevant concept. We propose further research with more sophisticated research design to address this issue. For example, time use surveys with household sample allow for construction of shared time episodes, which estimate how many household members were at home, but perhaps reporting being alone.
It is evident that family routines and cultural traditions differ between countries. For example, an earlier comparative study on children’s time use (Gracia et al. 2019) shows that Finnish children do have a markedly different organization of their daily lives than British children, and especially compared to Spanish children, because of cultural differences in their daily structure of time. The study showed that after controlling for multiple demographic and socioeconomic factors, Finnish children spent 127 min per day with parents compared with 235 min in the United Kingdom and 280 daily minutes in Spain. By contrast, Finnish children spent a large proportion of their time alone (235 daily minutes), representing more than 1 h per day, compared to Spain and the UK. We propose that researchers take advantage of rich harmonized time-diary data from different countries to study between-country differences in the social context of time use.


The objective nature of our indicator is a limitation in our study. The data here cannot address the subjective qualities or meanings that a person attaches to time spent alone. For instance, not all people who spend time alone are isolated or feel lonely which heightens the need to have a better understanding of peoples’ views on time alone. More in-depth information about the qualities in time spent alone cannot be accessed with diary data and qualitative approaches are needed. Other possible limitations relate to comparability across surveys from three decades. However, we found linear increase in the time spent alone, which occurred in nearly all population groups. In the more detailed analysis on daily timing of time spent alone, the results remained stable over the years. We also conducted further analysis separately for weekdays and weekends and the results indicated only minor differences. Another possible limitation is the restriction of the analyses to September–November as in 1987–1988 data there was no ‘with-whom’ information available for other months. For years 1999–2000 and 2009–2010, we find that time spend alone varied significantly depending on time of year. However, the autumn season (September to November) did not differ significantly from the rest of the year. Thus, the seasonal restriction should not bias our analyses i.e. underestimate or overestimate the amount of time spend alone.


This study attempts to contribute one more piece to the puzzle of how social connections are changing in the information age. Our contribution to public discussion is to provide important views on societal processes that create both hindrances to, and opportunities for, face-to-face social interaction, which is critical for the well-being of individuals and communities.
The knowledge on societal processes producing social isolation can give useful input to policy programmes and interventions that can improve social connectedness and social capital. The topic is important in many respects. For example, social interaction is central to human well-being and is critically involved in the maintenance of health. Social isolation has been compared to obesity and smoking in terms of potential association with negative health effects (Holt-Lunstad et al. 2015). Roeters et al. (2014) found that for both women and men, spending a high proportion of leisure time alone is associated with negative mental health consequences. Young adults and older people are identified as risk groups for social isolation. Children’s time spent alone can strengthen their individual autonomy or self-reflection, but, on the other hand, when children spend excessive amount time alone, the risks of suffering from well-being problems increase. Our results showed that in the youngest age group (10–20 years old) the amount of time spent alone increased by 75 min over the study period. In the oldest age group people spent almost 10 h per day without face-to-face interaction. This amount of alone time may raise health concerns. Researchers have found that older people with fewer human contacts are more likely to die—even if their perceived loneliness is controlled—than are people with richer social connections (Steptoe et al. 2013). Thus, identifying the risk groups of social isolation can help target those factors that are the most crucial to preventing welfare inequalities and promoting equal prospects for well-being.

We men are different, able to separate sex & emotion, gladly going to temptation, promiscuity, & disease, able to seek "ecstasy in the squalor of public toilets, for women perhaps the least erotic place on earth."

We men are different, able to separate sex & emotion, gladly going to temptation, promiscuity, & disease, able to seek "ecstasy in the squalor of public toilets, for women perhaps the least erotic place on earth." Camille Paglia's Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson, 1990.

Ms Paglia didn't know that not only gay males seek sordid abandoned buildings, dirty industrial environments to have sex; heterosexual porn also use such stage to represent more authenthic, more savage, more thrilling sex. See a paper about the prevalence of paraphilic interests & how the high prevalence of some paraphilic patterns might render their pathologization problematic:
The Prevalence of Paraphilic Interests in the Czech Population: Preference, Arousal, the Use of Pornography, Fantasy, and Behavior. Klára Bártová et al. The Journal of Sex Research, Jan 9 2020.

That said, let me add what she says in her book about the distance betwwen feminist women ideals and masculinity & related ideas...

The male genital metaphor is concentration and projection. Nature gives concentration to man to help him overcome his fear. Man approaches woman in bursts of spasmodic concentration. This gives him the delusion of temporary control of the archetypal mysteries that brought him forth. It gives him the courage to return. Sex is metaphysical for men, as it is not for women. Women have no problem to solve by sex. Physically and psychologically, they are serenely self-contained.  They may choose to achieve, but they do not need it. They are not thrust into the beyond by their own fractious bodies. But men are out of balance. They must quest, pursue, court, or seize. Pigeons on the grass, alas: in such parkside rituals we may savor the comic pathos of sex. How often one spots a male pigeon making desperate, self-inflating sallies toward the female, as again and again she turns her back on him and nonchalantly marches away. But by concentration and insistence he may carry the day. Nature has blessed him with obliviousness to his own absurdity. His purposiveness is both a gift and a burden. In human beings, sexual concentration is the male’s instrument for gathering together and forcibly fixing the dangerous chthonian superflux of emotion and energy that I identify with woman and nature. In sex, man is driven into the very abyss which he flees. He makes a voyage to nonbeing and back.

Through concentration to projection into the beyond. The male projection of erection and ejaculation is the paradigm for all cultural projection and conceptualization—from art and philosophy to fantasy, hallucination, and obsession. Women have conceptualized less in history not because men have kept them from doing so but because women do not need to conceptualize in order to exist. I leave open the question of brain differences. Conceptualization and sexual mania may issue from the same part of the male brain. Fetishism, for instance, a practice which like most of the sex perversions is confined to men, is clearly a conceptualizing or symbol-making activity. Man’s vastly greater com¬ mercial patronage of pornography is analogous.

An erection is a thought and the orgasm an act of imagination. The male has to will his sexual authority before the woman who is a shadow of his mother and of all women. Failure and humiliation constantly wait in the wings. No woman has to prove herself a woman in the grim way a man has to prove himself a man. He must perform, or the show does not go on. Social convention is irrelevant. A flop is a flop. Ironically, sexual success always ends in sagging fortunes anyhow. Eveiy male projection is transient and must be anxiously, endlessly renewed. Men enter in triumph but withdraw in decrepitude. The sex act cruelly mimics history’s decline and fall. Male bonding is a self-preservation society, collegial reaffirmation through larger, fabricated frames of reference.  Culture is man’s iron reinforcement of his ever-imperiled private projections.

Concentration and projection are remarkably demonstrated by urination, one of male anatomy’s most efficient compartmentalizations.  Freud thinks primitive man preened himself on his ability to put out a fire with a stream of urine. A strange thing to be proud of but certainly beyond the scope of woman, who would scorch her hams in the process.  Male urination really is a kind of accomplishment, an arc of transcendance. A woman merely waters the ground she stands on. Male urination is a form of commentary. It can be friendly when shared but is often aggressive, as in the defacement of public monuments by Sixties rock stars. To piss on is to criticize. John Wayne urinated on the shoes of a grouchy director in full view of cast and crew. This is one genre of self- expression women will never master. A male dog marking every bush on the block is a graffiti artist, leaving his rude signature with each lift of the leg. Women, like female dogs, are earthbound squatters. There is no projection beyond the boundaries of the self. Space is claimed by being sat on, squatter’s rights.

The cumbersome, solipsistic character of female physiology is tediously evident at sports events and rock concerts, where fifty women wait in line for admission to the sequestered cells of the toilet. Meanwhile, their male friends zip in and out (in every sense) and stand around looking at their watches and rolling their eyes. Freud’s notion of penis envy proves too true when the pubcrawling male cheerily relieves himself in midnight alleyways, to the vexation of his bursting female companions. This compartmentalization or isolation of male genitality has its dark side, however. It can lead to a dissociation of sex and emotion, to temptation, promiscuity, and disease. The modem male homosexual, for example, has sought ecstasy in the squalor of public toilets, for women perhaps the least erotic place on earth.

Man’s metaphors of concentration and projection are echoes of both body and mind. Without them, he would be helpless before woman’s power. Without them, woman would long ago have absorbed all of creation into herself. There would be no culture, no system, no pyramiding of one hierarchy upon another. Earth-cult must lose to sky-cult, if mind is ever to break free from matter. Ironically, the more modem woman thinks with Apollonian clarity, the more she participates in the historical negation of her sex. Political equality for women, desirable and necessary as it is, is not going to remedy the radical disjunction between the sexes that begins and ends in the body. The sexes will always be jolted by violent shocks of attraction and repulsion.

Androgyny, which some feminists promote as a pacifist blueprint for sexual utopia, belongs to the contemplative rather than active life. It is the ancient prerogative of priests, shamans, and artists. Feminists have politicized it as a weapon against the masculine principle. Redefined, it now means men must be like women and women can be whatever they like. Androgyny is a cancellation of male concentration and projection.  Prescriptions for the future by bourgeois academics and writers carry their own bias. The reform of a college English department cuts no ice down at the corner garage. Male concentration and projection are visible everywhere in the aggressive energy of the streets. Fortunately, male homosexuals of every social class have preserved the cult of the masculine, which will therefore never lose its aesthetic legitimacy. Major peaks of western culture have been accompanied by a high incidence of male homosexuality—in classical Athens and Renaissance Florence and London. Male concentration and projection are self-enhancing, leading to supreme achievements of Apollonian conceptualization.