Rock Music as Masculine Energy—Sex, Art, and American Feminism
Asher introduces the rock music writings of non-traditional feminist Camille Paglia (in extenso). Quoted with interspersed commentary by Asher, Paglia's paean to RAWK comes through, effectively "mansplained" by Asher (because just reading books on the air is not fair use). Asher underscores Paglia's observation that one cannot simultaneously laud masculine energy and denigrate the experience out of which it arises. Paglia calls rock musicians "America's most wasted natural resource."
This is Asher black, your host, and this is the podcast about being a man. I want to pick up where
The last two episodes left off, which is about music and about rock music in particular and take this in a bit of a different direction. Now I'm a huge fan of a particular feminist, not the only one, by the way, I've read some Gloria Steinem and stuff like that, but there's a particular one that I did just because her way of cutting through and talking is I think it's very man hearted. And, you know, granted, she is an outcast by what I would call mainstream feminism, but she is ardent and is, you know, has much more extreme views than I do that are quite feminist, but she's a lightening rod very much like iron Rand another person I'm fond of or Hannah, aren't a person. I, I like a lot is a lightning rod. These days. One has trouble disagreeing with somebody's views without sort of nuking their whole village in sort of cancel culture on both the left and the right, what you end up with is if you don't agree with me, I have to completely block you out and reject your entire being.
And I've never found that useful. I think that's a fad. I think it's anti-intellectualism, I think it is part of the decline of, of Western culture. And so I reject it because you know, when we're talking about rock and roll, man where do you think that stuff comes from Western culture? I'm into it. You can derive what you want. I'm sure somebody in the comments sections will say, oh, you know, let me tell you everything that's wrong. Western culture never denied it. I was there for Vietnam where you, but I will tell you that you can't say everything is wrong with it without finding the good. If you can't find the good, then I call into question your perspective in the first place. So what I want to talk about with regard to Camille Paglia is a particular book that she's written. Now, she's known for this massive tome, which is kind of a literary philosophical work called sexual persona.
And that's not the one, I mean, this one's called sex art and American culture. And it's about that. It's about sex, art, American culture. I dig it. So you'll find articles in there about prince Madonna, rock and roll, the rolling stones, you know, it's quite awesome. And Puglia, by the way, writes for Playboy. I mean, in that sense, she's kind of in the vein of an iron Rand who wrote quite pithy articles for the New York times among other places and would, would have rather controversial interviews it campuses. And in this particular book, much like Iran's book on romanticism and aesthetics, Paglia is talking about rock and roll and sex and almost in the same breath. And so I want to read a few excerpts from the book and make a few points based on it. So, whereas my view, and this is a quote, whereas my views on sex are coming from the fact that I'm a football fan and I'm a rock fan and football are revealing something true and permanent and eternal about male, energy and sexuality.
They are revealing the fact that women, in fact, like the idea of flaunting, strutting, wild, masculine energy, the people who criticized me, these establishment feminists, these white upper-middle-class feminists in New York, especially who think of themselves as so illiterate, the kind of music they like is like Suzanne Vega, you know, women's music and the, the ho the, the host at spin. This is from spin magazine. The host says yuck. I found that hilarious, that word, that one word yuck. So sums that all up. Now don't get me wrong. I dig Susan Vega. I listened to that angsty women's college music. I like some of it, anything that Tom strata something I don't like a lot of the clones that play in coffee shops, but I, I like some of that stuff. Lilith fair, man. So you can call me what you want and you know, they'll call me a Westman for one thing it's not safe, but for now the thing I dig the clash, man, what do you mean?
I'm a west. I did Glen Zeppelin, you know, eat it. So another quote though I dig this she's talking about, and this could be taken out of context. It could be taken to mean, you know, everything that men do that now gets called toxic masculinity is sort of, okay. Don't think that's what she's saying at all. If one reads it, but here's another quote from this book now back to my little survey here. So by the time the women's movement broke forth in 1969, it was practically impossible for me to be reconciled with my quote sisters unquote. And there were like screaming fights. The big one was about she, the word, like all the time. And there were like screaming fights. The big one was about the rolling stones. This was where I realized this was 1969. Boy. I was bounced fast right out of the movement.
And I had this huge argument because I said, you cannot apply a political agenda to art when it comes to art and we have to make other distinction. And I like this. She is acknowledging something, which is you can't jump up and down scream and laud masculine heroes in every category vote for a president. You regard as strong because of its strength. Go out there. You know, when Aerosmith comes on stage, get to the concert, jump up and down and be happy. You can't do that stuff. And then turn around and say that masculine energy is inherently toxic. That masculine sexuality is abusive. And all of that, she points out in her book that this is all sort of a temporary moment in human culture, that this is all being said. It's a very white moment. It's a white academic liberal educated female moment in which a particular culture has been created, where, you know a man can't look you up and down and whistle and say, sister, you look fine without somebody having you arrested by the campus police.
And she points out that look, Latin women in general, don't have a problem with this African women. Don't have a problem with this French women. Don't have a problem with this Russian women. Don't have a problem with this. Most of the world, doesn't, it's only sort of, you know, Northeast Eastern universities and their Southern clones that get this sort of vibe. Now you may disagree. I want you to keep in mind, this is Camille Paglia is writing. And if you disagree with Camille Paglia, feel free to argue with Camille Paglia, but I dig what she's saying. And so she goes on a bit more. She has a whole chapter called rock is art. And she says, rock is eating its young rock musicians are America's most wasted, natural resource, popular music and film are the two great art forms of the 20th century. In the past 25 years, cinema has gained academic prestige film courses in our standard part of the college curriculum and grants are routinely available to non-commercial directors, but rock music has yet to win the respect.
It deserves as the authentic voice of our time, where rock goes, democracy follows the dark poetry and surging DNA and rhythms of rock have transformed the consciousness and permanently altered the sensoriums of two generations of Americans born after world war II, rock music should not be left to the Darwinian laws of the marketplace. This natively American art form deserves national support foundations, corporations, and federal and state agencies. That award grants in the arts should take rock musicians as seriously as composers and sculptors. And she goes on to say that, you know, what colleges and universities and so on should do. But the point is interesting because she picks up where that leaves off and talks about these romantic archetypes, that rock as sort of the last bastion of romanticism in our time where it might've been the poetry of Lord Byron or Milton back in the day.
And she says these archetypes of energy, passion, rebellion, and demon ism are still evident in the brawling, boozing, bad boys of rock storming from city to city on their lusty groupie dogs trail. And she goes on to talk about where the power comes from and, and it's freak, streamers and malcontents who drew their lyricism and emotional power from the gritty world, traditions of white folk music and African-American blues. And I just think God preach it, sister. Yeah. Yes. It's so weak now. And in a culture where she talks about this, she talks about, you know, you can't go to rock concert and cheer a guy for shaking his leather pants and his naked torso in front of you screaming about how [inaudible]
Do you like
It. You can't, you can't share that on on Saturday night and then go into college the next day and wonder why the nerds who are so polite and seem to ask you for permission to look at you, why those guys aren't very interesting and why you're sort of bored with them. They spend all their time hanging out with their bros, playing video games you know, pick one. She, sexuality is a Y nailed for us. It's not meant to be bottled up and sold as a product it's when it's free and it's loose and it is fully expressed. It has an edge to it. It's a little bit dangerous go down this path of, well, what about rape, et cetera. And if you're interested in what she says about that read book, sex art in American, by Camille Paglia, it's classics, where at the time what I find interesting is that this is somebody who doesn't take any crap, even if the, the standard academic feminine, this consider her an outcast as a feminist wouldn't get away with anything that demeaned women, but her view about what is demeaning to women does not include things like women responding to a man's sexuality or men shaking their things, so to speak.
So she talks about the rock music. Since the sixties has been sort of the dominant form of, of music but the, the moment we sort of switched from singles to albums and albums to these massive stadium concerts, you know, the Beatles couldn't hear themselves sing over the shrieking of the women. And so you've got these bigger and bigger sound systems. These giant Marshall stacks, all of this expensive stuff sort of led the music labels to take over and start dictating what rock music could be. And I can't help, but think referencing two episodes ago that this is one of the forces in the decline of rock music, the, the decline of music in general, that has roots of substance and integrity. If you both deny the sexuality the raw masculine sexuality of it and like it or not, you know, Joan, Jett and Blondie, and those women were anomalies.
Not because they weren't cool, not because they weren't great. You know, heart is great in its own, right. You know, really brings the rock, but it's noticeable. Precisely the exception proves the rule. It's noticeable precisely because largely it's a male driven art form. It is about the peacock male strutting his stuff. And what I find interesting is you water that down and tell men that's not safe. That's edgy, that's toxic. That's dangerous. Go back in your hole. You're all a bunch of dice clays. I like dice clay, but whatever, you know, you're all a bunch of bill burrs, sorry, bill. I adore you too, man. And then you follow that up with record companies doing sort of research and deciding what the data says. Rocks should be in using their cloud because they're buying all the equipment and funding all of that stadium stuff, and you get something less than you had before.
Something that may be does lack the integrity, the substance and the rates. So read a little bit more from Camille Paglia, just cause I think it's worth quoting her as a fan of football and rock music. I see in the simple swaggering masculinity of the jock and in the noisy posturing of the heavy metal guitarist, certain fundamental unchanging truths about sex masculinity is aggressive, unstable combustible. It is also the most creative cultural force in history. Women must reorient themselves toward the elemental powers of sex, which can strengthen or destroy. So pair that with the following quote, if you live in rock and roll, as I do, you see the reality of sex of male lust and women being aroused by male lust, it attracts women. It doesn't repel them. And again, you take that stuff out of context, you decide like people do. If you, you don't say exactly the thing they want to hear, the comment gets bent and reapplied without context, and it can seem to mean something.
It doesn't, but I encourage you to take a look at what she's written in her book, read some of her articles, read the Playboy article for goodness sake, or just listen to some of her interviews. It's hard to listen to her. Her speech style is a bit off putting at times cause it's it's well, you watch it and you'd tell me, but man, this stuff is emphasizing a key point, which is that what is inherently masculine includes the sexuality, the aggressiveness the creativeness, the power that you see when the rolling stones take the stage, those things there's nothing inherently wrong with and you can't just amputate one of those portions of manhood and throw it out and just have a cleaner, nicer male who doesn't start wars. You're going to have something that isn't masculine at all. And secondly, for all that, it gets criticized for hurting the culture.
It also adds a lot to the culture and one could argue that the most significant thing it's added to the culture in our time. If we want to just talk about culture, if we want to, you know, not think about politics and not think about, you know, business and other things it would be rock music. If you really want to know where man heartedness lives put on a rolling stone album, put on a led Zeppelin album, if you really want to get a sense of what it is to be man hearted, you need look no farther than the progressive rock or the kind of music that I was listening to you back in the eighties. You really want to know what being man hearted sounds like flip on Billy idol or Eddie money. These days, those lyrics would get those guys, you know, hashtag they'd have their own hashtag.
There'd be boy cots in the street. And I miss that stuff. I really do want to mention a particular service called Ezra that's E Z R a a as red.com. Ezra is a way to scan for things that might be wrong with you before they would even be found by your average physical doctor's visit, et cetera. So cancer is a big one. What you can do is you can have your entire body scan, head to toe, just like you're on the star ship enterprise and they will locate, pinpoint and give you the next step for anything that might be wrong. It's kind of interesting. There's so many things that happen to Americans that they don't find until it's just too late and an early warning system, a well-priced investment in finding out what is wrong with you. If anything's wrong with you is something we just haven't really thought of.
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There's no amount of salary or pay that you can get for that, that a makes it worthwhile. It's gotta be worthwhile for other reasons. And B can compensate for the risk you take in a situation like that. And he was beaten by cowards. He fought cowards, he stood up against cowards and he stood bravely for the rest of us. We'd be remiss if we didn't honor Brian signific with an EIMA. So he gets the excellence and manhood award and we'll be remembering him all month long. Well, it is time to hand out another Lily livered whistle award. The L L w a. You probably remember it from our first episode and this one is going to attorney Linwood. Yeah, the Q Anon conspiracy theorist, except that I don't actually think he is. He's just a Q Anon conspiracy coattail writer, but you remember him you know, the Trump attorney and the guy that is associated with the Kyle Rittenhouse crap.
He was in Oklahoma recently. And basically started going down the path of associating the Q Anon conspiracy with a fundamentalist belief in Jesus and himself as a persecuted hero to quote would they've accused me of being a Q Anon conspiracy theorist. Why? Because they're telling you I'm a bad messenger. They're trying to attack me because they can't attack you because he is the truth. This is about the children for God's sake. That was in fitness the other day. I just got to say, God, what a wine, but on top of that, it's like men that go around with some other man's name prominently displayed on their clothing, you know, just giant letters putting out, you know, what brand they're associated with. I asked them some kid one time, why do you do that? Why do you wear these names on your clothes?
And he was like, well, because, you know, then I acquire the traits associated with the brand and like, oh God, you know, I just want to put my name on my clothes. I'll be my own man. Thanks. But here's a guy doing it with a whole conspiracy movement that I w I doubt he actually believes at all, you know, this whole state tannic, conspiracy, gait, you know, child, blood drinking crap with supposedly Hillary Clinton at the center, you know, I mean, obviously debunked and full of crap and...