Dwight Garner at the New York Times:
One reason Paglia gets under people’s skin is that she has no sacred cows. Reviewing “Break, Blow, Burn” in The New York Times Book Review, Clive James got at why she made some readers uncomfortable.
“The most threatening thing about her, from the American viewpoint, is that she refuses to treat the arts as an instrument of civil rights,” he wrote. “Without talent, no entitlement.”
It’s worth recalling how good Paglia can be, because in between major books, she does her best to help you forget. Her essay collections — “Sex, Art, and American Culture” (1992), “Vamps & Tramps” (1994) and now this one — display her worst qualities (we will get to these), which swamp her obvious intellect.
The pieces in “Free Women, Free Men” have two primary targets. One is modern feminism, at least the spongy wing of it she considers to be puritanical and man-bashing. Here is the tightest and liveliest summation of her position I can find in this book:
“Women will never know who they are until they let men be men. Let’s get rid of Infirmary Feminism, with its bedlam of bellyachers, anorexics, bulimics, depressives, rape victims and incest survivors. Feminism has become a catchall vegetable drawer where bunches of clingy sob sisters can store their moldy neuroses.”