University Of Maryland University College
ENGLISH 101 Term I
Intruduction To Writing
Journal # 3
Paglia's Education, Wasted on this Paper
On "Rape and Modern Sex War: by Camille Paglia""
By: Cristian Rodriguez
Thursday, Sept 15, 2005
Undoubtedly, the worst paper I have read for this class so far, Camille Paglia's "Rape and Modern sex War" is a genuine prodigality of words in an attempt to offer an argument. If anything else, it is an example of what a persuasive argument should not be-bursting with ad hominems, question begging's, straw man settings, non sequiturs, hasty and sweeping generalizations, polarizations, contradictions, and not even a touch of humor to help with the "digesting" of it all. One thing that stands out, and that I could not comprehend, is how Camille Paglia claims to be a feminist while attacking the very principles of the feminist institution. Is she trying to establish a different form of feminism of her own, or is she just befuddled? It is hard to tell. Throughout the entire paper she takes cheap shots at feminism, such as in paragraph four, where she saiys that "Feminism has not prepared them…(women)". Is it "feminism's" responsibility to prepare, anyone? Also, in paragraph six, "Academic feminism is lost in a fog…", and in paragraph ten she even accuses feminism of "ignorance". It is clearly erratic and inconsistent to attempt to make an argument against what, nonetheless, you, yourself, claim to be. Surprisingly, the paper is not a complete waste; I did find a few statements that stand-alone logically and serve as helpful comments. The very first sentence of the essay, "Rape is an outrage that cannot be tolerated in civilized society"; and on paragraph six "We must remedy social injustice whenever we can"; as well as the comments on young women going to a fraternity party, "If she goes, she should be armed with resolute alertness. She should arrive with girlfriends and leave with them."
As I mentioned, the oodles of logical fallacies are overwhelming in this paper: use of Ad hominems, attacking Rousseau's (18th century French philosopher) idea by suggesting that academic feminism is "Emboldened by dumb French language theory" Paglia, exceedingly begs the question in her paper, assuming the truth of a debatable point in more than seven occasions, as is the case in paragraphs seven, eight, and ten, respectively when she refers to male identity "…left their mothers and are questing…male identity", over dramatic statement "The sexes are at war", and acting as the expert when she asserts that "Hunt, pursuit, and capture are biologically programmed into males…". She does not provide convincing evidence for none of these statements. Coming to a conclusion and attacking it, such as in the following sentence, "feminists have convinced young women that they must give consent as explicit as a legal contract's before sex" is a straw man set up that is also used. Additionally, what are the logical thought processes that lead to the following conclusions? "Today's young women don't know what they want. They see that feminism has not brought sexual happiness." The answer is none. These statements, alternatively, are nothing but non sequiturs. Period. Moreover, on paragraph thirteen, Paglia makes yet another fallacy in the form of a hasty generalization when she talks about the reason "why men and women misunderstand each other", citing an untypical example. Also, by polarizing the rape issue (suggesting it is almost exclusively in women's hands to control it and that men can't help it), the writer neither helps convey her thesis as credible nor reaches a broad audience efficiently. Furthermore, Somewhere towards the middle of the paper, the author attacks women for putting themselves in situations like "going upstairs alone with a brother at a fraternity party" (even referring to those women as "idiots"); but later, though in another sense, she almost praises such women as Clara Bow, Marilyn Monroe,and Cher for doing or conveying practically the same actions. This seems quite contradictory.
Secondly, instead of following Michael Jackson's next trial, why don't we analyze America's and our government's claims as to be concerned and lead the world in the fight against scourges like world poverty, world hunger, AIDS, and to provide generous support for countries facing world natural disasters in the world. How concerned are we really? Of the 50 poorest countries in the world, 34 are in Africa. Many developed and developing countries, including the United States, contribute Official Development Assistance or ODA to aid Africa in their struggle against hunger and AIDS and other issues. Although the United States gives the largest amount in quantity to aid Africa, about 4 billion in ODA in 2003, it still gives the lowest (0.018%) in percentage of GDP compared to all other developed counties, ranking 20th in the overall list. Now, what does that say about our commitment to help end world hunger and poverty? Moreover, the Asian Tsunami that occurred last December claimed the lives of an estimated 170,000 to 250,000 people. The U.S. has donated approximately 2 billion dollars for the disaster relief, half constituting government funds and the other half from the private sector; Phillip Morris pays twice that amount in taxes to continue to "kill" more than 400,000 Americans every year. Another powerful quote: "Hunger does not breed reform; it breeds madness, and all the ugly distempers that make an ordered life impossible." Wilson, Woodrow 28th President of the United States (1856-1924).
For this journal, I tried to be as self-righteous as the author is on her paper; however, I realize I could not even scratch the surface she reaches. It is a waste.