Camille Paglia: Lady GaGa, the death of sex

Worm

Taste the diffidence
Oh, Paglia's been annoying people for decades. Age isn't improving her outlook very much, that's for sure.
Wasn't there something a little Morrissey-esque about her article? Well, better written of course. :rolleyes:

As for Gaga - it's not her lack of emotion that's at issue for me
Whatever the flaws of Paglia's essay, and there are many, it's probably a point worth considering: is she right that sex and/or emotion have died of natural causes and passed away from the world? Or, put differently, perhaps these things are still in the world but GaGa is the canary in the coalmine telling us they will soon be gone. She strikes me as slightly Ballardian: she announces that sexuality in the twenty-first century will consist of a carefully controlled matrix of benevolent psychopathologies (hence "little monsters" is an apt description for her fans). She is one of the first big "sex symbols" who grew up after the official much-discussed "death of affect", which leads me to:

Gaga - nothing new at all, and very studied.
Perhaps this is her innovation? To be as studied and artificial as possible? Isn't there something Wildean about her artifice? Even her lack of sexual appeal is, in a way, true to the aesthetic ideal inasmuch as she is totally asexual in her appeal. Wilde would approvingly compare her to a Japanese print or something. :)

Somewhere in Pakistan there's a kid who is going to turn pop music on its head.
Sorry to be the insufferable bore at the party who always goes here, but I can't resist ( :) ): the kid in Pakistan who changes pop music will first have to dodge remote-controlled U.S. drone missiles and survive catastrophic floods caused by global warming without aid from the West. After that, yeah, we'll have ourselves another Elvis. :rolleyes:
 
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Worm

Taste the diffidence
There's even a woman's erotic sigh which I would swear on my cat's grave was sampled from one of the songs on Music for the Masses.
Good catch. Which song, "I Want You Now?" I always thought that was Martin L. Gore sighing as he listened to Dave belting out a vocal in the booth.

She might have started the avalanche, but we're now buried in snow.
When trying to make sense of the culture there are two dimensions to every problem which confronts us: what the problem is itself, and the bastard children sired by the problem. (You ain't seen Lourdes yet...)

The avalanche metaphor raises a very interesting point: would it have been possible, in looking at Madonna's use of (say) Catholic imagery, to predict a Lady GaGa? And if so, would we or should we have acted to stop it?

The objection to Madonna might well have been justified, not on the grounds of hoary old blasphemy or protecting "good taste", but because she was doing it as an act of pure manipulation and, consequently, opening the floodgates for the Lady GaGas of the world. But nobody could oppose Madonna at the time, just as nobody can oppose GaGa now. And GaGa will spawn her own daemonic spawn just as Madonna did. In twenty years' time GaGa herself will be thought of as corny and innocent. By then five year olds will be taught how to bring themselves to super-orgasms and "America's Got Massacre!" will be the new hit TV show.

Paglia would have done well to think about how she enabled GaGa and everything else she deplored in her article. Whereas Morrissey, who called Madonna "the closest thing to organized prostitution", looked like a cranky (young) bore at the time and now looks rather prescient. Madonna was "sexy, empowered feminity" when she fellated a crucifix, but Morrissey understood she was really empowering the opposite of sex and the opposite of feminity. Why will the world not listen to Morrissey? The mind reels.
 
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sistasheila

tjekket
one comment i have to add to camille`s article. she said that being froma rich parents she(gaga) cant be claiming herself as the outdider then.
well beside the fact that she stems from very privileged parents doesnt automatically makes everything great. why cant she feel like a outsider to others as camilla claimed?.. im sure one can feel as the odd one out even though parents being terribly wealthy. and yes being from privileged background helped her into the music. biz of course but...
i stem from rather the opposite.i..e from a rather poor background and still am not well off (the concerts in the uk i could only visited through saving money for sth like that prior- and not spending money on sth else like electronic gadges, clothes( i was never a person crazy into shopping so that doesnt fox me) plus using a credit card for which i pay low ratesmonthly. ti never use the credit card except for this.
but i still think one can be a outsider even with her background.
im sure here are some well off persons on here who as a child even with their wealthy background did feel the odd one out as well?

as i posted elsewhere her music and lyrcs are not my thing, very simple lyrics
which it is considering it being still mainstream pop (which I do hear too, cause there is good stuff out there) i dont expect some uber-deep lyrics but sth over ohh..lalala ro.ro..romance.or popopopokerface ;)
im sure she can write good lyrics if she really wants to
.or using other , more experimental sounds that what she uses now which resembles
90ties euro trash pop with somr trancey sounds to my ears.
but if that would sell as well then?

also one good thing:
also rarely any mainstream artist speaking loudly out for gay rights. one recent exception is lady gaga who brought along excomminucated US soldiers to the vmas and spoke about it in the pre show as well as in the main show, regardless of her music/lyrics which is not my kind of thingas stated its a good thing to hear about it.
this seems to be not the onyl exception as she did get a glaad award for doing that/similar actions concerning gay rights some time ago.




off topic: when speaking of vma: .weird event..mostly disney pop this year
and some reality stars
why am i still tune in..boredom i guess.:lbf:
only good exception
florence and the maschine :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZo9WtDqkIk
 
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Anaesthesine

Angel of Distemper
Whatever the flaws of Paglia's essay, and there are many, it's probably a point worth considering: is she right that sex and/or emotion have died of natural causes and passed away from the world? Or, put differently, perhaps these things are still in the world but GaGa is the canary in the coalmine telling us they will soon be gone. She strikes me as slightly Ballardian: she announces that sexuality in the twenty-first century will consist of a carefully controlled matrix of benevolent psychopathologies (hence "little monsters" is an apt description for her fans). She is one of the first big "sex symbols" who grew up after the official much-discussed "death of affect"
It is a point worth considering, but the death of sensuality has been announced many times over the past hundred years, and it hasn't happened yet. Women's education didn't kill it, corseting didn't kill it, World War didn't kill it, women's emancipation didn't kill it, birth control didn't kill it, virtual, digital reality didn't kill it, the World Wide Web didn't kill it, and I doubt the death of privacy will kill it, either. Sensuality (that is, women's sensuality) is immortal.

Gaga may be cold, but there are still plenty of hotties around. And she's not a sex symbol, anyway.

Perhaps this is her innovation? To be as studied and artificial as possible? Isn't there something Wildean about her artifice? Even her lack of sexual appeal is, in a way, true to the aesthetic ideal inasmuch as she is totally asexual in her appeal. Wilde would approvingly compare her to a Japanese print or something. :)
WWWD?

Are you saying that Gaga is the ultimate green carnation? She has perfected the art of artifice?

I don't know what Wilde would have made of her; I doubt he could have conceived of the notion of dandyism carried to such an extreme. I sense that, while he adored a highly refined sense of artifice, he valued substance as well.

Sorry to be the insufferable bore at the party who always goes here, but I can't resist ( :) ): the kid in Pakistan who changes pop music will first have to dodge remote-controlled U.S. drone missiles and survive catastrophic floods caused by global warming without aid from the West. After that, yeah, we'll have ourselves another Elvis. :rolleyes:
No, not another Elvis. Elvis is soooo 20th Century. His hard-knock life was a walk in the park compared to the kid in Pakistan.

Great musical innovation comes from personal genius and resistance. That kid in Pakistan is right in the middle of a clash of cultures, violent religious fanaticism, a protracted regional war, and the most visible sign yet of an environmental apocalypse.

She's gonna rock it, hard.
 

Theo

Active Member
also rarely any mainstream artist speaking loudly out for gay rights. one recent exception is lady gaga who brought along excomminucated US soldiers to the vmas and spoke about it in the pre show as well as in the main show, regardless of her music/lyrics which is not my kind of thingas stated its a good thing to hear about it.
this seems to be not the onyl exception as she did get a glaad award for doing that. some time ago.


Conservatives For Equality vs The Obama Administration
10 Sep 2010 11:09 am


The Log Cabin Republicans score a major victory against DADT ["Don't ask, don't tell"]:

U.S. district judge Virginia A. Phillips wrote in the 85-page opinion handed down late Thursday that the DADT statute violates the Fifth and First amendments. Log Cabin Republicans are entitled to a "permanent injunction barring its enforcement," Phillips wrote. "The evidence at trial demonstrated that [DADT] does not further significantly the Government's important interests in military readiness or unit cohesion, nor is it necessary to further those interests," Phillips wrote.

The Justice Department has until a September 23 deadline to submit objections to the court regarding Phillips's permanent injunction, which it is likely to do. Justice Department attorneys have argued that Phillips does not have the authority to issue an injunction against the ban on openly gay service members. DOJ officials have not yet issued a statement on the decision and whether the department intends to appeal.
And so we have the Obama administration now actually battling Republicans to prevent gay servicemembers from serving openly.... How the Obama administration has found itself to the right of even many conservatives on marriage equality and now military service is one of the more spectacular backfires of political expediency in our time.
Barack Hussein Obama -- Mmm, Mmm, Mmm.....
 
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PregnantForTheLastTime

Hideous trait.
Good catch. Which song, "I Want You Now?" I always thought that was Martin L. Gore sighing as he listened to Dave belting out a vocal in the booth.
Yes, exactly.

The avalanche metaphor raises a very interesting point: would it have been possible, in looking at Madonna's use of (say) Catholic imagery, to predict a Lady GaGa? And if so, would we or should we have acted to stop it?

The objection to Madonna might well have been justified, not on the grounds of hoary old blasphemy or protecting "good taste", but because she was doing it as an act of pure manipulation and, consequently, opening the floodgates for the Lady GaGas of the world. But nobody could oppose Madonna at the time, just as nobody can oppose GaGa now. And GaGa will spawn her own daemonic spawn just as Madonna did. In twenty years' time GaGa herself will be thought of as corny and innocent. By then five year olds will be taught how to bring themselves to super-orgasms and "America's Got Massacre!" will be the new hit TV show.

Paglia would have done well to think about how she enabled GaGa and everything else she deplored in her article. Whereas Morrissey, who called Madonna "the closest thing to organized prostitution", looked like a cranky (young) bore at the time and now looks rather prescient. Madonna was "sexy, empowered feminity" when she fellated a crucifix, but Morrissey understood she was really empowering the opposite of sex and the opposite of feminity. Why will the world not listen to Morrissey? The mind reels.
I know objections were raised to Madonna. They were largely dismissed out of hand as fuddi-duddiness. Censorship. This was in the days of Tipper Gore and debates over flag burning, remember. It seemed impossible to cede any ground in that battle. I don't know how specific the predictions were.

Nobody really listens to Morrissey because he's too discreet. He keeps his sex life a secret. That's just not done. With Madonna on the stage, the only way most people would read him as... the way that they have. If sexual liberation meant personal liberation, and Morrissey didn't broadcast his habits, he was not going to be read as clued-in. It's like a sex advice column written by a nun. Because sex was shorthand for all forms of expression, and the only position he took was one of abstinence (on aesthetic grounds!) he effectively silenced himself for a wider audience.

And he's not a scholar. His statements are too passionate, not visibly supported. He delivered his message in a different language, and only by slowing down, paying attention, and opening all senses to his work could you hear what he was saying.

one comment i have to add to camille`s article. she said that being froma rich parents she(gaga) cant be claiming herself as the outdider then.
well beside the fact that she stems from very privileged parents doesnt automatically makes everything great. why cant she feel like a outsider to others as camilla claimed?.. im sure one can feel as the odd one out even though parents being terribly wealthy. and yes being from privileged background helped her into the music. biz of course but...
She's from New York. She had money. She could run around with club kids and junkies and slum on (well, wherever slumming was done ten years ago) and be an outsider, too. That's the thing, in America it's easy to be an outsider. All you have to is call yourself one. Say it with me, "I'm different. No one understands me." See? Done.

Also, bear in mind that "rich" means something different in New York. Sums which would enable the life of a king in Indianapolis buy what looks like a middle-class life here. It's a different place, it works on a different scale. There are cockroaches in all the apartments, whether they rent for $1500 a month or sell for $8 million.
 

PregnantForTheLastTime

Hideous trait.
No matter what I say about Gaga, I still must acknowledge that if she did, in fact, anticipate everything we're saying here, that the entire package is the performance, then it succeeds as art, because it is making a massive statement about our culture and where we are. It's possible, but... unlikely. My fear is that in time she will be credited with the full value of what you can read into her performance. The problem is that a performance art piece that entails slaughtering a boxful of kittens to make a profound, important point still ends with a pile of dead kittens.
 

Anaesthesine

Angel of Distemper
Before reading the article, I flipped over to Youtube to watch the Alejandro video. It's a total trainwreck of mixed imagery. You've got your S&M Nazis--Bob Fosse choreographs a Nurnberg rally; you've got Eva Peron grandiosity, you've got a Captain & Tenille jumpsuit and bobbed hair, you've got machine gun tits and Godfather violins, and musical lines directly lifted from Madonna's True Blue album. There's Catholic imagery gone to the extreme--Madonna gave us a crying statue of a saint, come to life; Gaga gives us a bloody heart wrapped in barbed wire, on a pillow, and a dying S&M nun who fellates a rosary. There's even a woman's erotic sigh which I would swear on my cat's grave was sampled from one of the songs on Music for the Masses. At best, it's a confused mess. At worst, it represents (here I go, climbing up on my dead horse to beat him some more) the breakdown in context and continuity which the internet era has brought us, and the concomitant loss of meaning and structure.
Totally.

Underlying it all is the banality of the music. It's not subversive. It sounds great and summery booming out of the speakers at the fruit market at my corner. This is the danger: pairing lightweight nonsense with images that carry meaning can do one of two things (;)): it can add meaning to the nonsense, or it can strip the powerful images of their weight. This was a critique of Madonna's work, that she risked stripping the Catholic images of their meaning and power by associating them with pop music. She might have started the avalanche, but we're now buried in snow.
Yes, the banality of evil has finally met the evil of banality.

Do I think this is a serious problem? Yes. It's a drop in the bucket, but it's a drop of poison. Put it this way: I don't care if my kids watch a Jonas Brothers video, or Owl City, or most pop. This, though, requires supervision and a long explanation of what all this stuff means. It's utterly inappropriate for an audience of teens and kids. And how many parents will take that position? How many parents will hear the music and dismiss it as harmless fun? I do not want my kids desensitized to such strong images of sex and violence and death--let alone the militaristic images. Fortunately, they're a little young to take interest in this stuff, but only by a few years. This is pop culture, now. Contrast it with what pop culture was when you were younger. See the difference?
Now that Nazi style and gang rape is basically fodder for kiddie videos, there's not that much further to go. Perhaps the next pop queen can don some striped pajamas, shave her head and starve herself for her first music video. Maybe she can squeeze out a tear or two before stripping off for that awesome shower scene.

That's the problem with out-punking the punks: You run out of transgressions, and you end up crossing boundaries that you cannot uncross.
 

Theo

Active Member
There are cockroaches in all the apartments [in NYC], whether they rent for $1500 a month or sell for $8 million.
And now they're infested with bedbugs, too. Like a freaking Third World hellhole.

But, increasingly, New Yorkers are calling them Bloombugs, after stupid Mayor Bloomberg.
 

Worm

Taste the diffidence
It is a point worth considering, but the death of sensuality has been announced many times over the past hundred years, and it hasn't happened yet. Women's education didn't kill it, corseting didn't kill it, World War didn't kill it, women's emancipation didn't kill it, birth control didn't kill it, virtual, digital reality didn't kill it, the World Wide Web didn't kill it, and I doubt the death of privacy will kill it, either. Sensuality (that is, women's sensuality) is immortal.
Not sure I agree 100% with your detective work, there. :)

I don't know that sensuality has been declared dead many times over the last few centuries, and even if it was, the sexual revolution of the 1960s-- a large-scale reawakening of sensuality-- was fairly profound. Never before has there been such freedom and never before has there been such encouragement to "realize one's sexuality". The problem here isn't one of Puritanical restrictions or male domination but the opposite: freedom to enjoy, freedom to choose a sensuality unmarked by male control. Then, also, there's the impact of technology, which has made all of our lives much different. Sexuality is changing for men and women. I think that's what Paglia was getting at.

The sex drive is immortal for men and women, yes, but it can be significantly altered or-- more accurately-- re-routed. I wasn't really referring to sex per se, anyway. The death of affect has to do with the feelings surrounding sex. The sex of the future is going to be loveless, mechanical, deviant, sterile, and probably mixed with overt violence. Maybe we shouldn't call it "the death of sex" but "the birth of fascist sex". Lady GaGa is a fascist version of Madonna, basically.

Are you saying that Gaga is the ultimate green carnation? She has perfected the art of artifice?
I'm saying it's one legitimate point of view. She has raised sterility to an art, and is transparently deliberate about it. Maybe she isn't trying to fool anyone at all. Maybe she is specifically targeting the sort of people who know that her Rilke tattoo is skin-deep.

I sense that, while he adored a highly refined sense of artifice, he valued substance as well.
I agree and I disagree. :rolleyes: :)
 
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Worm

Taste the diffidence
No matter what I say about Gaga, I still must acknowledge that if she did, in fact, anticipate everything we're saying here, that the entire package is the performance, then it succeeds as art, because it is making a massive statement about our culture and where we are. It's possible, but... unlikely. My fear is that in time she will be credited with the full value of what you can read into her performance. The problem is that a performance art piece that entails slaughtering a boxful of kittens to make a profound, important point still ends with a pile of dead kittens.
Yes, but following on what I said to Anaesthesine, part of GaGa's talent may lie precisely in the ways her artifice is transparently transparent, i.e., a second-level postmodernism which is targeted at people who are already self-consciously steeped in postmodernism. The holes and gaps in her "total" art-- and GaGa is all about holes, I'm sure-- are also part of the "art", which is what you are saying, but she may deserve credit for throwing the matter even further out into orbit around Jupiter. Consider that we are trying to ascertain the "authenticity" of an artist whose entire persona is based on a postmodern manipulation of the notion of "inauthenticity". This is a different level of mindfuck from, say, trying to determine the authenticity of a self-proclaimed artificial person, e.g. piecing together the ways a dandy like Oscar Wilde had "substance". The authentic/inauthentic binary has collapsed on itself twice with Lady GaGa.

The question is, does the collapse signal nothing more than a final spluttering and failure of meaning? Has the already-compromised symbolic efficiency of simulacra finally dead-ended completely? To use Anaesthesine's analogy, are we seeing the limit of out-punking punks? Has the final copy of a copy of a copy come out as a pixellated cloud of gibberish? Or is GaGa intelligently pointing the way toward something beyond what we can imagine? This is why I say we probably can't know what The Meaning of GaGa is until a few years have passed, at least.
 

PregnantForTheLastTime

Hideous trait.
Yes, but following on what I said to Anaesthesine, part of GaGa's talent may lie precisely in the ways her artifice is transparently transparent, i.e., a second-level postmodernism which is targeted at people who are already self-consciously steeped in postmodernism. The holes and gaps in her "total" art-- and GaGa is all about holes, I'm sure-- are also part of the "art", which is what you are saying, but she may deserve credit for throwing the matter even further out into orbit around Jupiter. Consider that we are trying to ascertain the "authenticity" of an artist whose entire persona is based on a postmodern manipulation of the notion of "inauthenticity". This is a different level of mindfuck from, say, trying to determine the authenticity of a self-proclaimed artificial person, e.g. piecing together the ways a dandy like Oscar Wilde had "substance". The authentic/inauthentic binary has collapsed on itself twice with Lady GaGa.

The question is, does the collapse signal nothing more than a final spluttering and failure of meaning? Has the already-compromised symbolic efficiency of simulacra finally dead-ended completely? To use Anaesthesine's analogy, are we seeing the limit of out-punking punks)? Or is GaGa pointing the way toward something beyond what we can imagine? This is why I say we probably can't know what The Meaning of GaGa is until a few years have passed, at least.
In the meantime, we are stuck looking at her ugliness and vulgarity knowing that most people will read it as beauty because it is presented for their admiration. That's the growing pile of dead kittens. We can't read her merely as a statement when she's really forcing a conversation.
 

Worm

Taste the diffidence
I know objections were raised to Madonna. They were largely dismissed out of hand as fuddi-duddiness. Censorship. This was in the days of Tipper Gore and debates over flag burning, remember. It seemed impossible to cede any ground in that battle. I don't know how specific the predictions were.
That's how I remember it, too. Another way of saying observers were powerless to stop her. Leaving aside the religious folks and the conservatives and the 'family values' nuts, there were still reasonable objections to Madonna. They were aired, and some even gained traction. But nobody had the power to stop the avalanche, just as nobody has the power to stop the avalanche now. It's a straight drop to the bottom. The only mystery is how long it will take to reach it.

If sexual liberation meant personal liberation, and Morrissey didn't broadcast his habits, he was not going to be read as clued-in. It's like a sex advice column written by a nun.
You're right to an extent, but I think The Smiths weren't asexual at all but rather put forward an alternate form of sexuality. I don't think Morrissey wanted to put the brakes on the sexual revolution out of prudishness or sterility, or for that matter a teasing privacy. I think he probably understood-- maybe only intuitively-- that the end result of Madonna was Lady GaGa. Unfortunately, as you rightly said, his argument was dismissed as that of a conservative because, as a general observation of the times, it is impossible to complain about fourteen year-olds dressing like prostitutes without sounding like a bitter Taliban commander.
 
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Anaesthesine

Angel of Distemper
Not sure I agree 100% with your detective work, there. :)

I don't know that sensuality has been declared dead many times over the last few centuries, and even if it was, the sexual revolution of the 1960s-- a large-scale reawakening of sensuality-- was fairly profound. Never before has there been such freedom and never before has there been such encouragement to "realize one's sexuality". The problem here isn't one of Puritanical restrictions or male domination but the opposite: freedom to enjoy, freedom to choose a sensuality unmarked by male control. Then, also, there's the impact of technology, which has made all of our lives much different. Sexuality is changing for men and women. I think that's what Paglia was getting at.
Every step forward for women (and a step or two back) was considered a threat to what made a woman a woman. I suppose they didn't refer to it as "sensuality" away back when, they called it "womanliness." Increasing freedom meant a "coarsening" of the nature of woman, and her appeal as a woman (to a man, and to society as a whole). Education, doing a "man's" job, controlling reproduction, it was all seen as a threat to femininity.

Paglia was right, sexuality is changing (thank you Margaret Sanger), and the results of the digital revolution are ongoing, but I don't see this any of this as the beginning of the end of a healthy sexuality. Maybe as it is portrayed in the media, but not as it is practiced in the real world.

The sex drive is immortal for men and women, yes, but it can be significantly altered or-- more accurately-- re-routed. I wasn't really referring to sex per se, anyway. The death of affect has to do with the feelings surrounding sex. The sex of the future is going to be loveless, mechanical, deviant, sterile, and probably mixed with overt violence. Maybe we shouldn't call it "the death of sex" but "the birth of fascist sex".
That kind of describes the sex of the past, no?
 

Worm

Taste the diffidence
Paglia was right, sexuality is changing (thank you Margaret Sanger), and the results of the digital revolution are ongoing, but I don't see this as the beginning of the end of a healthy sexuality. Maybe as it is portrayed in the media, but not as it is practiced in the real world.
Well, I don't necessarily disagree, but it's important to clarify terms here. Are people more "in touch" with their bodies and their own sexuality? Yes. Are they more "in touch" with each other emotionally? Are happy, healthy couples who engage in healthy sexuality the norm or the exception these days? And what do you think the norm is going to be once a few generation of Internet-raised children are walking the relationship minefield?

That kind of describes the sex of the past, no?
Perhaps it is a description of sex in the past, but sublimation is not to be forgotten as a crucial part of that sequence of terms. There will never be another Lord Byron, but teenagers will have mastered fistfucking before they've learned algebra. Progress!
 
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mozmic_dancer

One of the Good Guys
Paglia loves Madonna, although critical of her as of late.

This is a little off topic. I always enjoyed how Camille drew these far out parallels of classical figures and poets to modern pop culture icons. Below may be of interest.

Dear Camille:

Reading the essays of Jean Cocteau, I am struck by the similarity between his elaborate self-description as a celibate (and history's evidence to the contrary) and the self-promotion of the modern singer known as Morrissey. While I can't presume to know Morrissey's private life, I'm curious: Is there a long tradition of strenuously gay artists who go to great lengths to portray themselves as morose celibates? Can such a trend (if it exists) be the product of more than simple protection from societal prejudice? A flamboyantly celibate mini-genre?

A real-life, albeit unwilling, celibate

Her response, scroll down a little bit:
http://www.salon.com/march97/columnists/paglia970304.html
 
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Anaesthesine

Angel of Distemper
Well, I don't necessarily disagree, but it's important to clarify terms here. Are people more "in touch" with their bodies and their own sexuality? Yes. Are they more "in touch" with each other emotionally? Are happy, healthy couples who engage in healthy sexuality the norm or the exception these days? And what do you think the norm is going to be once a few generation of Internet-raised children are walking the relationship minefield?
I don't know if we are materially more or less sexually healthy today than we were twenty years ago. Judging from the people I know in their 20s (and a few in their teens), people are having the same sorts of relationship difficulties and successes that my generation had. They don't seem materially sexually more dysfunctional than the people I grew up with.

In some ways they are much better off. My best friend in High School was a lesbian, and she had nowhere to go, no immediate community, and a family that was woefully ignorant. There was a terrible sense of isolation and shame that is probably inconceivable today. Progress!
 
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