Camille Paglia Compares the Cases of Bill Cosby and Bill Clinton

Source: Salon, July 28

Camille PagliaThe political and cultural critic Camille Paglia has been a brave and brilliant provocateur on Salon for almost 20 years now. Paglia seemed to be on the winning side of the wars over feminism and political correctness in the 1990s, but recently those battles have been reopened. Suddenly we’re talking again and in very different ways about sexual culture on campus. Comedians like Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Maher talk about the return of a stifling political correctness. And we’re staring at the potential rematch of a Clinton and a Bush. So have the times and standards changed enough that Clinton would be seen as Cosby, if Clinton was president today?


Oh, yes! There’s absolutely no doubt…. Clinton would be seen as Cosby, if he was president today…. There’s absolutely no doubt, especially in this age of instant social media. In most of these cases, like the Bill Clinton and Bill Cosby stories, there’s been a complete neglect of psychology. We’re in a period right now where nobody asks any questions about psychology. No one has any feeling for human motivation. No one talks about sexuality in terms of emotional needs and symbolism and the legacy of childhood.

Sexuality has been politicized – “Don’t ask any questions!” “No discussion!” “Gay is exactly equivalent to straight!” And thus in this period of psychological blindness or inertness, our art has become dull. There’s nothing interesting being written – in fiction or plays or movies. Everything is boring because of our failure to ask psychological questions.

So I say there is a big parallel between Bill Cosby and Bill Clinton – aside from their initials! Young feminists need to understand that this abusive behavior by powerful men signifies their sense that female power is much bigger than they are! These two people, Clinton and Cosby, are emotionally infantile – they’re engaged in a war with female power. It has something to do with their early sense of being smothered by female power – and this pathetic, abusive and criminal behavior is the result of their sense of inadequacy.


One response to “Camille Paglia Compares the Cases of Bill Cosby and Bill Clinton

  1. Jan Krouzil

    Psychoanalytically speaking, as evidenced by the above-noted and other social pathologies, the male psyche ‘being smothered by female power’ is bound to externalize itself in unpredictable ways.