Camille Paglia is a personal hero of mine.
“The universities are an absolute wreck right now, because for decades, any graduate student in the humanities who had independent thinking was driven out. There was no way to survive without memorizing all these stupid bromides with this referential bowing to these over-inflated figures like Lacan, Derrida, Foucault, and so on. Basically, it's been a tyranny in the humanities, because the professors who are now my age – who are the baby boomer professors, who made their careers on the back of Foucault and so on – are determined that that survive. So you have a kind of vampirism going on.
Enough already of Lacan, Derrida, and Foucault poured like ketchup over everything. Lacan: the French fog machine; a grey-flannel worry-bone for toothless academic pups; a twerpy, cape-twirling Dracula dragging his flocking stooges to the crypt. Lacan is a Freud T-shirt shrunk down to the teeny-weeny Saussure torso. The entire school of Saussure, inluding Levi-Strauss, write their muffled prose of people with cotton wool wrapped around their heads; they're like walking Q-tips. Derrida: a Gloomy Gus one-trick pony, stuck on a rhetorical trope already available in the varied armory of New Criticism. Derrida's method: masturbating without pleasure. It's a birdbrain game for birdseed stakes. Neo-Foucaldian New Historicism: a high-wax bowling alley where you score points just by knockng down the pins.
So I've been getting letters for 25 years since Sexual Personae was released in 1990, from refugees from the graduate schools. It's been a terrible loss. One of my favorite letters was early on: a woman wrote to me, she was painting houses in St. Louis, she said that she had wanted a career as a literature professor and had gone into the graduate program in comparative literature at Berkeley. And finally, she was forced to drop out because, she said, every time she would express enthusiasm for a work they were studying in the seminar, everyone would look at her as if she had in some way created a terrible error of taste. I thought, 'Oh my God', see that's what's been going on – a pretentious style of superiority to the text.
[When asked what can change this]: Rebellion! Rebellion by the grad students. This is what I'm trying to foment. We absolutely need someone to stand up and start criticizing authority figures. But no; this generation of young people have been trained throughout middle school and high school and college to be subservient to authority.
“We cannot have a world where everyone is a victim. "I'm this way because my father made me this way. I'm this way because my husband made me this way." Yes, we are indeed formed by traumas that happen to us. But then you must take charge, you must take over, you are responsible. We must accept our pain. Change what we can and laugh at the rest.
― Camille Paglia