The humanities have destroyed themselves over the past 30 years…Through an obsession with European jargon and a shallow politicization of discourse, the humanities have imploded…There’s hardly a campus you can name where the most exciting things that are happening on campus are coming from the humanities departments…I think the entire profession is in withdrawal at the moment. This is a national problem. It’s not just a Harvard problem.
Camille Paglia, in a conversation with Open Source, 2/27/06
When we asked scholar and cultural critic Camille Paglia for her take on Larry Summers’ resignation from Harvard, we knew she’d give us her unique brand of fiery insight and acerbic wit. We weren’t necessarily prepared for the severe tongue lashing she gives everyone involved, and how bad both sides come out looking under her lens: a faculty too long pampered and a president retreating with his tail between his legs. But her critique goes beyond the Harvard gates, to academia in general and the humanities in particular. The problem, she says, is not just a power struggle between faculty and administration, but an overall decline that encompasses everything from shoddy scholarship to rampant grade inflation. Take a listen.