Sanity Injection

Injecting a dose of sanity into your day’s news and current events.

January’s Paglia Injection

Posted by sanityinjection on January 14, 2009

Camille Paglia’s latest column is devoted to answering reader e-mails. Most of the time when columnists do this, it’s a boring ego trip. Not so here, as the quality of the letters Paglia quotes and her responses set the standard for others to follow.

This month’s column includes discussion of President-elect Obama, Democrat leaders in Congress, Sarah Palin, 60s radicalism, the Fairness Doctrine, climate change, Jesus Christ, the causes of homosexuality, and pop music, among others. That’s one column, people. Go forth and read.


2 Responses to “January’s Paglia Injection”

  1. tubby said

    Reading Paglia is always a nice jolt of fresh thinking. I want to quickly respond to Henry Delahunt’s question about homosexuality. I think she dismisses homosexuality’s biological connections a bit too abruptly. In a book called “Genome”, Matt Ridley describes a study whereby a pool of boys with older brothers had a noticeably higher rate of homosexuality than those without older brothers. I think it had something to do with the influx of testosterone from the firstborn affecting the mother’s hormonal system in such a way as to affect the second child’s brain chemistry.

    Paglia seems to be claiming that homosexuality is caused by nurture alone. She seems to open herself up to argument when she states that a claim of being gay since childhood is really the memory of “being different for some reason”. From where does this sense come? Family dynamics and social conditioning alone? I haven’t read “Vamps & Tramps”, so I’m not familiar with her full theory on this. I can dig the idea of being born with spectrum of bisexual “responsiveness”. However, “shyness”, “super-sensitivity”, and the “failure to bond with bumptious peers” as primary causes of a homosexual tendency seems somewhat reductionist. I’d argue that the manifestation of homosexuality is a result of complex inborn brain chemistry which causes the potential for certain socialization to affect sexual preference. In other words, I don’t think the socialization itself is enough.

    • sanityinjection said

      It seems clear to me that biology must play at least some factor in the development of homosexuality, as we find it present in so many species within the animal kingdom. However, there are undeniably individuals who have changed their sexual preference as a result of negative experiences. So many aspects of human behavior have been shown to result from the combination of “nature” and “nurture”, I see no reason why homosexuality would be an exception.

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