Camille Paglia on making a career in ideas
By Alberto Mingardi
Tyler Cowen’s conversation with Camille Paglia is a must watch. The two are a very good match and the conversation is most entertaining. Paglia is very Paglia-esque on Harold Bloom, how the first feminists admired and didn’t despise men, George Lucas etc.
At the end of the interview, Tyler asks her how she would advise a young person who aims to enter the world of ideas.
Here are Paglia’s suggestions:
Get a job. Have a job. Again, that’s the real job. Every time you have frustrations with the real job, you say, “This is good.” This is good, because this is reality. This is reality as everybody lives it. This thing of withdrawing from the world to be a writer, I think, is a terrible mistake.
Number one thing is constantly observing. My whole life, I’m constantly jotting things down. Constantly. Just jot, jot, jot, jot. I’ll have an idea. I’m cooking, and I have an idea, “Whoa, whoa.” I have a lot of pieces of paper with tomato sauce on them or whatever. I transfer these to cards or I transfer them to notes.
I’m just constantly open. Everything’s on all the time. I never say, “This is important. This is not important.”
I also believe in following your own instincts and intuition, like there’s something meaningful here. You don’t know what it is, but you just keep it on the back burner. That’s basically how I work is this, the constant observation. Also, I try to tell my students, they never get the message really, but what I try to say to them is nothing is boring. Nothing is boring. If you’re bored, you’re boring.