Camille & Co.

Author Camille Paglia


A few readers named Thomas L. Friedman. One said, “I seldom agree with him, but he writes with some intelligence and little toxicity.” I’m glad to hear it. When I read him, years ago, there was too much toxicity for me.

Several readers named Susan Estrich — I agree. Worth reading, worth listening to, about politics (and policy, I suppose).

Still others said Lanny Davis, and Juan Williams, and Kirsten Powers. Of the third of these, one or two readers said, “She’ll be conservative in a few years. She’s a conservative-in-waiting, a conservative-in-progress.”

So that may be “cheating” too, for our present purposes.

Says a reader, “I look at CNN and listen to NPR to see what the liberal who believes he is getting political variety is being fed. I read The Nation to see what the current liberal red meat is, and also because Katrina vanden Heuvel is gorgeous.”

Hear, hear. Ten or fifteen years ago, I encountered her in a green room. I said, “Ah, the world’s most beautiful leftist.”

A reader cites Leonard Pitts, of the Miami Herald. Another reader cites Eric Zorn, of the Chicago Tribune: “Rarely if ever does he play the race card . . . He also seems to be genuinely interested in dialogue with the opposite side, and appears to understand the conservative arguments he rejects (or sometimes accepts with caveats).”

A nice commendation.

Another reader says, “Max Brantley at the Arkansas Times. Followed him throughout the ’90s when I lived there. He is left of center but pretty honest.” (Liberals will love that “but”!)

A reader describes Ruth Gavison as “a serious but leftist jurist.” (“Leftist but serious”?) Another reader says, “Rick Salutin is a thoughtful lefty.” He adds, “As a former lefty myself, I agree with you that most writers on the left are whiny feminists, hysterical environmentalists, or race-baiting charlatans.”

Did I say that? I guess it sounds like me. Anyway, continuing:

“I know of only one left-winger, in any kind of media, who behaves honorably,” says a reader. Who, pray tell? “Dr. Paul Shackley, who calls himself a ‘Zen Marxist.’”

A friend of mine writes, “I live in terror of inhabiting a political cocoon — as my parents, teachers, and classmates’ parents did (on the left).” When it comes to racial matters, “Orlando Patterson is a decent sort and always worth reading, despite his left politics.”

Several readers said they looked at RealClearPolitics, for a range of writers and views.

Quite a few readers cited National Public Radio. “But,” says one of them, “I can’t call NPR honorable because it tries to conceal its liberal bias behind a pretense of objectivity.” Another reader has a different view: “Every morning I listen to NPR. In general they seem to represent the intellectual wing of liberalism. Generally not shrill, clearly slanted, but not intentionally so, more like reflexively so.”

I loved that: “not intentionally but reflexively.”

Says a reader,

My favorite liberal writers work for The New Republic, and I usually read them only on certain topics . . . Jonathan Cohn on health care, Alec MacGillis on politics or the horse race, and Julia Ioffe on Russia. Noam Scheiber is an exception to the one-subject rule — I’ll read anything he writes, as he is a good reporter and usually fair minded.

Outside TNR, John Cassidy of The New Yorker gives a good liberal take on all things financial.

Good to know. And I smiled broadly at these sentences, from a different reader: “I skim the New York Times for self-parodying liberalism. The Washington Post is liberalism that gets the joke.”

Not just clever, I think, but true.

That’s about it. Thank you for playing, everybody. Talk to you soon. (I’m headed just now back to the ghetto.) (Haven’t left it, really.)