Little Ladies' Sewing Circle


To the Editors of The Crimson:

Professor Catherine Clinton's objection to Camille Paglia's personal attacks on big-shot Harvard professors is off the mark.

I don't know whether she belongs to the little ladies' sewing circle known as "Women's Studies," but if not, she should watch its behavior carefully. When confronted with wimpy males, the "agonistic" feminist warhorses paw the ground and snort fire. But when Camille Paglia comes to town, they fall silent in hurt shock, too noble or too scared to reply. Or else they go whimpering to whimpering to Daddy for protection, "Daddy" is Harvard University, formerly a bastion of male arrogance and exclusiveness, now suddenly transformed into a monument of civility and scholarly courtesy.

The theory of deconstructionism has its vogue among feminists because it enables them to call Abraham Lincoln a racist, William Shakespeare a sexist, Jonathan Swift a homophobe and so on. But when their turn comes to be deconstructed," they who have been so free with names discover an aversion to name-calling.

Those who did not see Camille Paglia last March 19 missed on the great rhetorical performances in my 40-plus years at Harvard. But the speech also had substance, and it was this: Today's radical feminism knows nothing of love or of sex, and so knows nothing about women and men. It denies human nature, and it can't stand fun. Harvey C. Mansfield   Frank G. Thomson Professor of Government