As I begin serious work (but a bit too sporadically of late) on my dissertation on the goddess Athena, I intend to consult the iconoclastic columnist and scholar Camille Paglia as she makes frequent reference to the gray-eyed Greek deity in her seminal study, Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson.
While Paglia has little in common with the columnist I have dubbed “My Athena,” (well, they are both smart women who write about politics, but other than that . . . ), neither seems to care much for the Former First Lady who currently hopes (against ever increasing odds) to turn her husband into the first First Laddie.
Within twenty-four hours last week, each woman in her own unique style got at Hillary Clinton’s weaknesses as her presidential campaign slowly implodes. Finding Mrs. Clinton in “Godzilla mode,” Camille contends that people who assume the New York Senator will “withdraw gracefully in a few weeks are living in cloud cuckoo land. The Clintons are ruthless scrappers who will lock their bulldog teeth in any bloody towel.”
This scholar of gender and culture wonders about the politician’s feminist credentials, noting how her husband has “masterminded” her bids for public office:
Hillary has tried to have it both ways: to batten on her husband’s nostalgic popularity while simultaneously claiming to be a victim of sexism.
Well, which is it? Are men convenient sugar daddies or condescending oppressors?
These are not the qualities of the woman who should serve as our nation’s first female chief executive who, in Camille’s view, “must have a consistent character and steady demeanour.” In similar vein, Peggy compares the former First Lady to three great female leaders, Golda Meir, Indira Gandhi and Margaret Thatcher, contrasting their failure to blame their setbacks on sexism with Hillary’s regular complaints that “that sexism has been a major dynamic in her unsuccessful bid for political dominance:”
Meir and Gandhi and Mrs. Thatcher suffered through the political downside of their sex and made the most of the upside. Fair enough. As for this week’s Clinton complaints, I imagine Mrs. Thatcher would bop her on the head with her purse.
As with anything by these two ladies, you’d do better to read their works in the original than to read my poor attempts to capture their eloquence and insight. So just check out Camille here and Peggy here!