Is It too Much ?

Script Taken from

Has Feminism Gone Too Far?

Think Tank Transcripts:

Has Feminism Gone Too Far?

ANNOUNCER: ‘Think Tank’ has been made possible by Amgen, arecipient of the Presidential National Medal of Technology. Amgen,bringing better, healthier lives to people worldwide throughbiotechnology.

Additional funding is provided by the John M. Olin Foundation, theWilliam H. Donner Foundation, the Randolph Foundation, and the JMFoundation.

MR. WATTENBERG: Hello, I’m Ben Wattenberg. There are manyfeminists and scholars who contend that America is still apatriarchal place where women are victims and adversaries of men. Wewill hear that point of view in a future program. But for the nexthalf-hour we will hear a different idea from two prominent andcontroversial feminists: Camille Paglia and Christina Sommers.

The topic before this house: Has feminism gone too far? This weekon Think Tank.

Joining us on this special edition of Think Tank are two authorswho have made themselves unpopular with much of the modern feministmovement. Camille Paglia is professor of humanities at the Universityof the Arts in Philadelphia and best-selling author most recently of’Vamps and Tramps.’ Her criticisms of modern feminism caused oneauthor to refer to her as the spokeswoman for the anti-feministbacklash.

Our other guest, Christina Sommers, is an associate professor ofphilosophy at Clark University. In her recent book, ‘Who StoleFeminism,’ she accuses activist women of betraying the women’smovement. She wrote the book, she says, because she is a feminist whodoes not like what feminism has become.

Christina Sommers, what has feminism become?

MS. SOMMERS: The orthodox feminists are so carried away withvictimology, with a rhetoric of male-bashing that it’s full of femalechauvinists, if you will. Also, women are quite eager to censor, tosilence. And what concerns me most as a philosopher is it’s becomevery anti-intellectual, and I think it poses a serious risk to youngwomen in the universities. Women’s studies classes are increasingly akind of initiation into the most radical wing, the most intolerantwing, of the feminist movement. And I consider myself awhistle-blower. I’m from inside the campus. I teach philosophy. I’veseen what’s been going on.

MR. WATTENBERG: Camille, what has feminism become?

MS. PAGLIA: Well, I have been an ardent feminist since the rebirthof the current feminist movement. I’m on the record as being — asrebelling against my gender-role, as being an open lesbian and so on.In the early 1960s I was researching Amelia Earhart, who for mesymbolized the great period of feminism of the ’20s and ’30s justafter women won the right to vote. When this phase of feminism kickedback in the late ’60s, it was very positive at first. Women drew theline against men and demanded equal rights. I am an equal opportunityfeminist. But very soon it degenerated into a kind of totalitarian’group think’ that we are only now rectifying 20 years later.

MR. WATTENBERG: Is this the distinction between equity feminismand gender feminism? Is that what we’re talking about?

MS. SOMMERS: That’s right. Yes.

MR. WATTENBERG: Could you sort of explain that so that we get ourterms right?

MS. SOMMERS: An equity feminist — and Camille and I both areequity feminists –is you want for women what you want for everyone:fair treatment, no discrimination. A gender feminist, on the otherhand, is someone like the current leaders in the feminist movement:Patricia Ireland and Gloria Steinem and Susan Faludi and EleanorSmeal. They believe that women are trapped in what they call asex-gender system, a patriarchal hegemony; that contemporary Americanwomen are in the thrall to men, to male culture. And it’s so silly.It has no basis in American reality. No women have ever had moreopportunities, more freedom, and more equality than contemporaryAmerican women. And at that moment the movement becomes more bitterand more angry. Why are they so angry?

MS. PAGLIA: Mmm-hmm. (In agreement.) This is correct. In otherwords, I think that the current feminist movement has taken creditfor a lot of the enormous changes in women’s lives that my generationof the ’60s wrought. There were women in the mid ’60s when I was incollege who did not go onto become feminists. They were baudy andfeisty and robust. Barbra Streisand is a kind of example of a kind ofpre-feminist woman that changed the modern world and so on.

Now, I think that again what we need to do now is to get rid ofthe totalitarians, get rid of the Kremlin mentality —

MR. WATTENBERG: Now, hang on, when you say —

MS. PAGLIA: Wait — and here are the aims of my program. We’ve gotto get back to a pro-art, all right, pro-beauty, pro-men kind offeminism. And —

MS. SOMMERS: I think she’s right to call it a kind oftotalitarianism. Many young women on campuses combine two verydangerous things: moral fervor and misinformation. On the campusesthey’re fed a kind of catechism of oppression. They’re taught ‘one infour of you have been victims of rape or attempted rape; you’reearning 59 cents on the dollar; you’re suffering a massive loss ofself-esteem; that you’re battered especially on Super Bowl Sunday.’All of these things are myths, grotesque exaggerations.

MR. WATTENBERG: Well, why don’t you go through some of those mythswith some specificity?

MS. SOMMERS: Well, for example, a few years ago feminist activistsheld a news conference and announced that on Super Bowl Sundaybattery against women increases 40 percent. And, in fact, NBC wasmoved to use a public service announcement to, you know, encouragemen ‘remain calm during the game.’ Well —

MR. WATTENBERG: How can you remain calm during the Super Bowl!(Laughter.)

MS. SOMMERS: Well, they might explode like mad linemen and attacktheir wives and so forth. The New York Times began to refer to it asthe ‘day of dread.’ One reporter, Ken Ringle at the Washington Post,did something very unusual in this roiling sea of media credulity. Hechecked the facts — and within a few hours discovered that it was ahoax. No such research, no — there’s no data about a 40-percentincrease. And this is just one of so many myths. You’ll hear —

MR. WATTENBERG: Give me some others.

MS. SOMMERS: According to the March of Dimes, battery is thenumber — the leading cause of birth defects. Patricia Irelandrepeats this. It was in Time magazine. It was in newspapers acrossthe country. I called the March of Dimes and they said, ‘We’ve neverseen this research before.’ This is preposterous. There’s no suchresearch. And yet this is being taught to young women in thecolleges. They’re basically learning that they live in a kind ofviolent — almost a Bosnian rape camp.

Now, naturally, the more sensitive young women —

MR. WATTENBERG: What about rape? Is that exaggerated by the modernfeminists?

MS. SOMMERS: Completely. This idea of one in four girls victims ofrape or attempted rape? That’s preposterous! And there’s also a kindof gentrification of rape. You’re much more likely to be a victim ofrape or attempted rape if you’re in a high crime neighborhood. Thechances of being raped at Princeton are remote. Katie Roiphe talkedabout being at Princeton. She said she was more afraid — she wouldwalk across a dark golf course and was more afraid of being attackedby wild geese than by a rapist. And yet the young women at Princetonhave more programs and whistles are given out and blue lights.There’s more services to protect these young women from rape than forwomen in, you know, downtown Newark.

MR. WATTENBERG: Where do you come out on this?

MS. PAGLIA: Well, one of the things that got me pilloried fromcoast to coast was when I wrote a piece on date rape for Newsday inJanuary of 1991. It got picked up by the wire services, and thetorrent of abuse that poured in. I want women to fend for themselves.That essay that I wrote on rape begins with the line ‘Rape is anoutrage that cannot be tolerated in civilized society.’ I absolutelyabhor this broadening of the idea of rape, which is an atrocity, tothose things that go wrong on a date –acquaintances, you know,little things, miscommunications — on pampered elite collegecampuses. MS. SOMMERS: I interviewed a young women at the Universityof Pennsylvania who came in in a short skirt and she was in theWomen’s Center, and I think she thought I was one of the sisterhood.And she said, ‘Oh, I just suffered a mini-rape.’ And I said, ‘Whathappened?’ And she said, ‘A boy walked by me and said, `Nice legs’.’You know? And that — and this young woman considers this a form ofrape!

MS. PAGLIA: That’s right.

MR. WATTENBERG: What role in the development of this kind ofthought that the idea of sexual harassment and whole Anita Hill thinghave? Was that sort of a —

MS. PAGLIA: That’s fairly recent, actually. It was in the late’80s that started. I mean, that was a late phase. I think probablythe backlash against the excesses of sexual harassment have — youknow, have really finally weakened the hold of PC. I believe, forexample, in moderate sexual harassment guidelines. I lobbied fortheir adoption at my university in 1986. But I put into my proposal astrict penalty for false accusation. All right? I don’t like thesituation where the word of any woman is weighed above the testimonyof any man. And I was the only leading feminist that went out againstAnita Hill. I think that that whole case was pile of crap.


MS. PAGLIA: Well, I think it was absurd. First of all, again,totalitarian regime, okay, is where 10 years after the fact you’renominated now for a top position in your country and you are beingasked to reconstruct lunch conversations that you had with someonewho never uttered a peep. Okay? This is to Anita Hill: ‘All right,when he started to talk again about this pornographic films at lunchin the government cafeteria, what did you do?’ ‘I tried to change thesubject.’ Excuse me! I mean, that is ridiculous. I mean, so many ofthese cases —

MS. SOMMERS: He never touched her.

MS. PAGLIA: He never touched her. Okay? That was such a trumped-upcase by the feminist establishment.

MR. WATTENBERG: Do you sign onto that?

MS. SOMMERS: Well, I’ve changed. I mean, initially I was justcarried away with the media and thought, ‘Oh, Saint Anita.’ And laterI thought about it and actually learned from some experts on sexualharassment that her behavior was completely untypical. She did notact — the career lechers –usually a woman is repulsed and will notfollow him from place to place, and usually there are many women whowill come forward who have had the same experience. These things werenot true in his case. It now seems to me quite likely that he wasinnocent of these charges.

MS. PAGLIA: Completely innocent. And I must say, as a teacher of23 years, if someone offends you by speech, we must train women todefend themselves by speech. You cannot be always running totribunals. Okay? Running to parent figures, authority figures, afterthe fact because you want to preserve your perfect, decorous,middle-class persona.

MR. WATTENBERG: This is Catherine MacKinnon, who says speech isrape?

MS. PAGLIA: Yes, I’m on the opposite wing. Catherine McKinnon isthe anti-porn wing of feminism. I am on the radically pro-porn wing.I’m more radical than Christina. I —

MR. WATTENBERG: Are you pro-pornography?

MS. SOMMERS: For adults. I’m trying to be very careful about itfor — you know, I feel in our society — for children. But I’mhorrified at the puritanism and the sex phobia of feminism. How didthat happen? I mean, feminism — it used to be fun to be a feminist,and it used to have a lot of — it attracted all sorts of livelywomen. Now you ask a group of young women on the college campus, ‘Howmany of you are feminists?’ Very few will raise their hands becauseyoung women don’t want to be associated with it anymore because theyknow it means male-bashing, it means being a victim, and it meansbeing bitter and angry. And young women are not naturally bitter andangry.

MS. PAGLIA: We had a case at Penn State where an Englishinstructor who was assigned to teach in an arts building where therehad been a print of Goya’s ‘Naked Maja,’ a great classic artwork, onthe wall for 40 years. All right? She demanded it be taken downbecause she felt sexually harassed by it, because the students in theclassroom were looking at it instead of her. Okay? Now, this isridiculous. This is part of the puritanism of our culture. I want akind of feminism that is pro-beauty, pro-sensuality. Okay? That isnot embarrassed and upset by a spectacle of the beauty of the humanbody!

MR. WATTENBERG: What about this argument that came up recentlythat girls in elementary and high school are neglected by theirteachers? Is that — have either of you —

MS. PAGLIA: A bunch of crap.

MS. SOMMERS: It’s a hoax.

MS. PAGLIA: A bunch of crap.

MS. SOMMERS: I mean, it’s all — it’s really an incredible case ofjust junk science. The American Association of University Womenhastily threw together a survey of 3,000 children and asked themabout their sense of well-being and their self-esteem, and they neverpublished it. It’a not — it hasn’t been replicated by scholars.Adolescents don’t see significant differences — the majority don’tsee significant differences — between levels of self-esteem betweenyoung men and young women. Yet the AAUW said it was true. It’s anadvocacy group. Their membership was drying up. They were losing, youknow, several thousand members a year. They needed an issue. Theybrought in a new group and they got on the gender-bias bandwagon andbasically struck gold. They now — you can call an 800 number. Theyhave short-changing girls mugs and t-shirts. (Laughter.) And theywere so positively reviewed in the media that they can use —

MS. PAGLIA: Oh, the media was utterly credulous. I couldn’tbelieve it when MacNeil/Lehrer totally — they fell for it likesuckers that night.

MS. SOMMERS: Well, they would ask young men, ‘What do you want tobe when you grow up?’ And boys would say things like rock star orsports star. And girls would say lawyer and doctor. So they declareda glamor gap and said that there’s a glamor gap, that girls don’tdream their dreams. Well, most children don’t have the talent to berock stars. The sensible ones know this. So the way I would interpretthose findings is that girls mature earlier and boys suffer a realitygap.

MS. PAGLIA: Right, right.

MS. SOMMERS: But this was the kind of question that was asked. Yetnot one journalist that I’m aware of, except the Sacramento Bee,because they wrote to me and said, ‘We question this’ — they didn’tdo what Ken Ringle did at the Washington Post. They didn’t send awayfor the data. They relied on the glossy brochures.


MS. PAGLIA: And the question of attention in the classroom, too.As experienced teachers, okay, this idea that you measure, okay, howmuch attention the teacher is paying to the boys and girls todetermine how much that the student is valued, and it was discoveredthat the teacher was making more remarks to the boys. You’re keepingthem in line! Okay? The boys you have to say, ‘Shut up, be quiet! Dothis thing. Are you doing your homework?’ Like this. The girls, allright, they do their homework. They’re very mature. And girls at thatage are rather sensitive, and I as a teacher am very aware — as ateacher of freshmen, all right — that the girls are sitting therepleading with you with their eyes, ‘Don’t embarrass me in front ofthe entire class.’ Okay? I’m very aware that I seem to be talkingoften to the boys. Tut that is just because they’re so — their egosare completely — I mean, they’re so unconflicted. Okay? They loveattention. They’re like yapping puppies. You know what I mean? Theydon’t care about making fools of themselves once they start.


MS. PAGLIA: The boys make fools of themselves, blah, blah, blah,blah! Okay? The most intelligent students hang back. All right? I wasvery silent in class, myself. Okay? And so I — and I like to justtake notes. All right?

MR. WATTENBERG: That sounds like you’re anti-male now. You’resaying, ‘Now I’m offended.’

MS. PAGLIA: No, no!

MS. SOMMERS: But they can be immature.

MS. PAGLIA: The boys are immature.

MS. SOMMERS: The AAUW would ask children: ‘I’m good at a lot ofthings.’ And you could say, all the time, some of the time, usually,but you know — and a lot of little boys, the 11 to — would say,’All the time, I’m good at everything all the time.’ And girls, beinga little more reflective, will give a more nuanced answer. The AAUWcounted everything except ‘always true’ meaning that they weresuffering from a dangerous lack of self-esteem. They declared anAmerican tragedy. American girls don’t believe in themselves.

MS. PAGLIA: Right, and the girls’ are doing better in school.

MS. SOMMERS: Girls are getting better grades.

MS. PAGLIA: Right.

MS. SOMMERS: More go to college.

MS. PAGLIA: Right.

MS. SOMMERS: More boys drop out. More boys are getting into drugsand alcohol.

MR. WATTENBERG: And most of the teachers are women in any event —

MS. SOMMERS: Yes. And to add to that, it’s supposed to beunconscious —

(Cross talk.)

MR. WATTENBERG: — a point you made, I guess, in that.


MR. WATTENBERG: The — what about the argument — you hear lessabout it now, and perhaps the data has changed, but that women onlymake 59 cents for every dollar that —

MS. PAGLIA: First of all, what was omitted from that is what kindof jobs are women gravitating toward? I mean, Warren Farrell, in hisbook, ‘The Myth of Male Power,’ has a lot of statistics that show menare taking the dangerous, dirty jobs like roofing, okay, the kind ofgritty things that pay more — commissioned sales that are veryunstable. Okay?

It appears that a lot of women — where the real biases occur,okay, those barriers must be removed. But this is an inadequate kindof a figure. It doesn’t allow for the fact that most women, in fact,in my experience, too, like nice clean, safe offices, nicepredictable hours and so on, and they don’t want to, like, knockthemselves out in that kind of way. I mean, every time I pass –after reading Warren Farrell’s book, every time I pass men doing thatroofing tar, okay, breathing those toxic fumes and so on, okay, Ihave a renewed respect for the kind of sacrifices that men have made.

MR. WATTENBERG: That 59-cent number —

MS. SOMMERS: It hasn’t been for —

MR. WATTENBERG: — is now 71, but even that was —

MR. SOMMERS: It’s now 71 cents, and that is not correct becauseyou have to control for age, length of time in the work place. And ifyou look at younger women now, the age — the wage gap is closed.It’s now — when they have children, it’s 90 cents. But if they don’thave children, it’s now closer to what —

MS. PAGLIA: It would be outrageous if people were doing exactlythe same thing and being paid a different wage. Okay? But that is notat all the basis for this figure.

MR. WATTENBERG: Legalized abortion has come to be viewed as thecentral issue of the feminist movement. Is that an appropriate spotfor it to be? That —

MS. SOMMERS: It’s an important issue. I believe, in choice, but Ithink there’s an obsession with feminists with that issue, which is– and it’s also very — it leaves a lot of women out of themovement. There should be a place in women’s studies, there should bea place in women’s scholarship for traditionally religious women.There are Christian — conservative Christian women who are scholars,Orthodox Jewish women who are scholars, Islamic women who arescholars. Why don’t — why isn’t there any place for them in women’sstudies? Because there’s a litmus test —


MS. SOMMERS: — and you have to be pro-choice or you need notapply.

MS. PAGLIA: I’m radically pro-choice, unrestricted right toabortion. However, I have respect for the pro-life side, and I amdisgusted by the kind of rhetoric that I get. I support the abortionrights groups with money and so on, but I cannot stand the kind ofstuff that comes in my mailbox, right, which stereotypes all pro-lifepeople as being fanatics, misogynists, and so on, radical and far,you know, right and so on. I mean, it is

MS. SOMMERS: It is so condescending and so elitist.

MS. PAGLIA: It’s condescending. It’s insulting. It’s elitist. It’santi-intellectual. It’s a deformed —

MS. SOMMERS: It’s very anti-intellectual. The arguments onabortion philosophically — and I teach applied ethics — if youreally understand the issues, you have to have some questions,especially about second trimester abortions where you are quitelikely dealing with an individual.

MR. WATTENBERG: What is your view today? How would the averageAmerican woman, if we could ever distill such a body, how does sheview this new feminism?

MS. SOMMERS: Well, the average American women, first of all, israther fond of men. Okay? She has a husband or a father or a brotheror — you know? So the male-bashing is out of control right now. Imean — and if you look at a lot of the statistics that I deconstructin my book. You know, that men are responsible for birth defects,that men — Naomi Wolff has a factoid she has since corrected, butshe says 150,000 girls die every year starving themselves to deathfrom anorexia. This was in Gloria Steinem’s book. It got into AnnLander’s column. It’s in women’s studies textbooks. The correctfigure, according to the Center for Disease Control, is closer to 100deaths a year, not 150,000.

MS. PAGLIA: Three-thousand times exaggerated or something.

MS. SOMMERS: It’s, you know — so Naomi Wolff put is this way. Shesaid young — it’s a holocaust against women’s bodies. We’re beingstarved not by nature, but by men. And —

MS. PAGLIA: They want to blame the media for anorexia, when inpoint of fact anorexia plays white middle-class households. It is aresponse to something incestuous going on within these nuclearfamilies.

MS. SOMMERS: Mainly upper-middle-class —

MS. PAGLIA: Yes, right.

MS. SOMMERS: — overachieving white girls.


MS. SOMMERS: And by the way, if 150,000 of these girls wheredying, you would need — it would be — you would need to haveambulances on hand at places where they gather like Wellesley Collegegraduation and like you do at major sporting events. (Laughter.) Butwhy didn’t anyone — it’s funny, but no one caught the error.

MS. PAGLIA: No one caught it. The media was totally servile! Everyword that came out of Gloria Steinem’s mouth or Patricia Ireland’smouth is treated as gospel truth. For 20 years the major media, whenthey want ‘what is the women’s view?’ they turn to NOW. Okay? NOWdoes not speak for American women. It does not speak even for allfeminists.

MR. WATTENBERG: NOW is the National Organization —

MS. PAGLIA: National Organization for Women, which —

MR. WATTENBERG: National Organization for Women.

MS. PAGLIA: — for Women, which Betty Friedan founded, but whichsoon expelled even her. Okay? They’ve been taken over by a certainkind of ideology. All right? I’m in constant war with them as adissident feminist and so on, and — you know, and it’s taken me along time, you know, to fight my way into the public eye.

MR. WATTENBERG: All right, let me ask this question: What are thepolicy implications of this idea of feminine dictumhood?

MS. SOMMERS: It’s a disaster. These women are — I will give themone thing. They’re brilliant work-shoppers, networkers, organizers,moving in, taking over infrastructure. They’re busybodies. There hasnever been a more effective, you know, army of busybodies. And theyknow how to work the system. So they will hastily throw together astudy designed to show women are medically neglected or women have amassive loss of self-esteem — one in four. And then they move to keysenators. Senator Biden seems to be especially vulnerable.

MS. PAGLIA: Oh! What a weak link. What a weak link.

MS. SOMMERS: Patricia Schroeder, Senator Kennedy. But it’sRepublicans, too. They’re quite carried away. Congressman Ramstadfrom Minneapolis.

MR. WATTENBERG: Yeah, they’re afraid of the TV commercials runningagainst them, which is —

MS. SOMMERS: That’s right.

MS. PAGLIA: Yeah, that’s right.

MS. SOMMERS: And then we’re getting — we now have a gender-biasbill that went through Congress that’s going to provide millions ofdollars for gender-bias workshops. What the politicians don’t realizeis that feminism is a multi-million dollar industry. The gender-biasindustry is thriving. They’re the work-shoppers and the networkersout there.

MS. PAGLIA: The bureaucrats are really profitting —

MS. SOMMERS: Consultants and bureaucrats.

MS. PAGLIA: It’s a tremendous waste of money.

MS. SOMMERS: And it’s not based on truth.

MS. PAGLIA: It should go into education. That money should godirectly into education to improve the system.

MS. SOMMERS: I spoke to a teacher yesterday who taught inBrooklyn, and there were no books to teach English.

MS. PAGLIA: Oh, pathetic!~

MS. SOMMERS: And yet there are going to be — there’s going to be$5 million now, plus a lot more from the education bill, forworkshops on gender-bias in the classroom, which is a non-problemcompared to far more serious problems. So I consider many feministsto be opportunists. They move in on real problems. There is a problemof violence in our schools. They’ll turn it into a problem of sexualharassment —


MS. SOMMERS: — which is nothing compared to the problem ofviolence and instability. They’ll move into under-performance of ourkids.

MS. PAGLIA: All this money should be going into keeping publiclibraries open so that the poor can go in and take out a book the waymy immigrants, you know, parents were able to and the way I was ableto. It’s outrageous that we have the closing-down of publiclibraries, and the conditions of inner-city schools is disgraceful.And all this money wasted going to bureaucrats?

MR. WATTENBERG: Camille, let me ask you this: Does the case youmake undermine traditional family values? Would a conservativelistening to what you are talking about in terms of sensuality andsexuality and pornography and so on, would they say you areundermining and corroding family values in America?

MS. PAGLIA: Probably they would, but my argument in all my booksis rather large. I say that Western culture was formed as two greattraditions — the Judeo-Christian and the Greco-Roman — and theyhave contributed to each other and they’re in conflict with eachother. And I — what I — my libertarian theory is of a publicsphere/private sphere. Government must remain out of the privatesphere for abortion and drug use and sodomy and so on. The publicsphere is shared by both traditions. I have respect for theJudeo-Christian side. I’m calling in ‘The Activism in Feminism’ for arenewed respect for religion, even though I’m an atheist. So I thinkthat there is much in my thinking that I think would reassure peopleof traditional family values.

MR. WATTENBERG: Let me ask you this question to close of both ofyou: What should the 1990s equity feminist believe in and believeremains to be done for women?

MS. SOMMERS: The first thing, I think we have to save young womenfrom the feminists. That’s at the top of my agenda. And I say that asa very committed feminist philosopher. I went into philosophy. It wasa field traditionally dominated by males. I got my job as a professorto encourage more young women to enter this field, to be analyticthinkers, to be logicians and metaphyscians. And, instead, infeminist philosophy classes you’ll often have young women sittingaround honoring emotions and denigrating the great thinkers insteadof, you know, studying them, mastering them and benefitting fromthem.


MS. SOMMERS: That’s one thing. The other thing, more traditionalfeminist issue, is probably the double-shift. As women, we’re doing alot of things men traditionally did; they’re not doing what wetraditionally did. And so women do bear more responsibility at home.But if we’re going to solve that problem, I think we have to approachmen as friends —

MS. PAGLIA: We have to — yes —

MS. SOMMERS: — in a spirit of respect instead of calling themproto-rapists and harassers and —

MS. PAGLIA: The time for hostility to men is past. There was thatmoment. I was part of it. I have punched men, kicked men, hit themover the head with umbrellas. Okay? I am openly confrontational withmen. As an open lesbian, I have been — you know, I express my angerto men directly. I don’t get in a group and whine about men. So,oddly, I give men a break and admit the greatness of male, you know,achievements and so on. What we have to do now is get over that angertoward men, all right, and we have to bring the sexes back together.Reconciliation between the sexes is the first order of business.

MR. WATTENBERG: Okay. Thank you, Christina Sommers and CamillePaglia for your critique of modern feminism. We will be hearing anopposing view on a future program.

And thank you. We enjoy hearing from our audience. Please sendcomments and questions to: New River Media, 1150 17th Street, NW,Washington, DC, 20036. Or we can be reached via e-mail

For Think Tank, I’m Ben Wattenberg.

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Shattered Dreams Have The Power To Change Our Lives For Good

“Everyone needs wishes and dreams, because the bridge you build between them and reality is your life.” – Marilyn Bagel

Many people are afraid to dream, either they simply don’t know how to, or more often because they are mired in only knowing how to color within their comfortable world-view box. So many of us are afraid to color outside our limited lines. Sometimes the fear of failure and imagined pain keeps an individual from reaching higher. So, many people don’t dare to dream!

Many walking wounded have walked through my psychotherapy doors in pain, hopeless, and hurt. Often, life has dealt them a harsh blow and their ache from something they wanted that went awry has resulted in a sense of helpless defeat. Then there are others who have reached too high without laying the necessary groundwork and planning the requisite steps to get where they want to go. They come bringing shattered dreams with little sense that a better outcome is possible.

One dream may die, only to be replaced with different dreams holding deeper appreciation and greater joy. The journey, though, is not without times of despair, eventually to be replaced with hope.

A less threatening and often more realistic way to follow your dream is something I call “The Three Bears Rule.” Finding the right balance between too little, too much, and one that is just right is a process that entails the ability to be both focused and flexible. Focus keeps your eye on the goal. Flexibility allows you to let in new potentially useful information, to try new ways of being, and to let go of emotional and pragmatic tools that simply don’t work. It also allows that magical “aha” moment when an idea suddenly takes a new shape and answers seem to appear from out of the blue. This is rarely an easy balance, and few are prepared for it without flips, flops, and failures along the way.

Those in creative fields tend to be our most imaginative and frequently leading-edge dreamers. They do dare where others fear to tread. The most productive of these dreamers are often born with and/or given the opportunity to create without being stifled. Not only do they have talent, but also they usually score high on a measurable scale with a quality known as Emotional Intelligence, what we loosely term intuition or a sixth sense. More pragmatic types such as scientists can also dream big. However, they tend to follow their dreams in a more logical, systematic, and goal-oriented fashion.

Whatever type or combination you may be, it’s always a mix of luck, timing, ability, and the discipline to practice as a great athlete, dancer or musician must to achieve one’s dream.

Ah, but, as Shakespeare might say, “There’s the rub.” Life is not linear and neither is the achievement of dreams. Anyone who has tried to dream beyond their current status knows they risk physical and emotional injuries. Frequently one feels like a small sailboat tossed by turbulent waves. Yes, we often get “seasick” when we follow our dreams. Shattered dreams happen every day in everyone’s real world. At the end I will list some ways to go beyond enduring pain, growing, and, in fact, learning to thrive.

A few exceptional people are akin to Cervantes’ Don Quixote or Voltaire’s Candide who live for their dreams and, a sin the latter’s case, are carried by an eternal optimism that whatever happens “this is the best of all possible worlds.” We humans embrace this sense of a hopeful dream. That’s why the varied, eternal productions of Man of La Mancha are sure to be available in a play, ballet, opera, or some other creative art form in a theater near you at several points in your life.

What is a shattered dream? It isn’t always not flying to the moon or not winning a Nobel Prize. In the world of the mundane, most of us fall short of expectations daily. Our positive attitude, how we “roll with the punches,” makes all the difference.

  1. Perhaps we didn’t get the “A” we anticipated.
  2. Or, we didn’t get selected to be on the baseball team we always dreamed of playing for.
  3. Or, the marriage we anticipated holding for “better or worse” forever didn’t last.
  4. Possibly we became a caregiver and gave up our own desires for someone we loved, as illness took over our life.
  5. Our child became a drug addict, not the star we raised her to be.

The list is endless. Yet, we can reframe our expectations and a cathartic change can occur. In that change we may find greater joy in small accomplishments or in a transformational love that we never dreamed possible.

Shattered dreams are never fun and always require time to heal and the ability to morph into what will be. In fact, many believe the very act of dreaming during sleep is one way we stay balanced and heal. Old dreams may die. New ones can always emerge. One only needs to believe they can succeed.

Dr. Dorree Lynn

Used by permission from Life’s Journey Magazine

Dr. Dorree Lynn is a well-respected psychotherapist, mentor, consultant, life coach, author, educator and workshop presenter. Her lectures are peppered with humor and salted with wisdom. She is available for presentations. Dr. Dorree can be contacted at:





Have you ever wondered how children can sit through replay after replay of their favorite Lion King or Little Mermaid video? It amazes me that they’ll voluntarily watch the same show every day without a single complaint or request for something new.

What’s more amazing, though, is that adults do the very same thing with their days.

The majority of men and women play “movies” in their heads again and again, relentlessly focusing on the review of past events, most of which are unpleasant and disturbing experiences that have come their way.

If they’re actually able to stop their contemplation of past events, they allow impressions of their current surroundings and results to govern their lives. And, once in a while for variety’s sake, they’ll contemplate the future by either worrying about it, or daydreaming and wishing that something better might come along. And then they wonder why bad things keep happening to them, or why they never rise above the issues and obstacles in their lives.

Frankly, they would be better off watching The Lion King 40 times a day – because at least then, they’d be immersed in a creative and upbeat, positive process. See, most people have never learned how to “program” creative and upbeat “movies” in their heads because they’ve never been taught the value of creative visioning and purposeful thinking.

If you doubt me, listen to the varied conversations going on around you. Sadly enough, I can readily predict that you’ll hear a Dante’s nightmare of disconnected thoughts with very little effort put forth in carrying on a purposeful (much less positively-minded) conversation. While it is true that people are free to think anything they please, as long as they remain set in their ways, there is very little that can be done to change the unpleasant experiences that keep cropping up in their lives.

There is, however, a strong movement that is stirring the multitudes into a new conception of living. The study of the mind – and its veritable unearthly power – is at last taking its proper place in modern civilization. Proper use of the mind and its various faculties will give you anything you choose – but the emphasis here is on the word “proper.” To move in this favored direction requires study and focused, consistent effort … with a good measure of creative juices stirred in.

In the classic movie, Miracle on 34th Street, Kris Kringle tells young Susie Walker she can become whatever she chooses through the aid of her imagination. Kris went on to explain, the “Imagi-Nation” is a place we can all go … just like the British nation or the French Nation.

Although this may seem a cute line from a movie, it’s also a very healthy way to view the imagination.

Your mind is a place you can purposely go to. And FREE WILL is your passport. No one is ever refused entry. There are no borders or limits put on the size of what can be built. And best of all, it’s a universal nation that allows all of us citizenry!

Just as the oak tree develops from the gene that lies within the acorn, and a bird develops from the gene that lies asleep in the egg, so too will your achievements grow from the organized plans that first begin with your imagination. An image in your mind is the first stage of the creative process in life. From your imagination your visions and plans arise.

In his bestselling book, Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill wrote, “You will never have a definite purpose in life; you will never have self-confidence; you will never have initiative and leadership unless you first create these qualities in your imagination and see yourself in possession of them.” He went on to say that, “… imagination is the most marvelous, miraculous, inconceivably powerful force the world has ever known.”

Now, let’s use our imagination and start to build a picture. I want to introduce you to an interesting concept that I have taught in my seminars for years. If you grasp this concept to the fullest, you can BE, HAVE or DO anything your heart desires … and I mean anything.

I want to talk about Fantasy – Theory – Fact. The premise underlying this concept is that everything has its origination in the form of Fantasy, which some adventurous soul dared turn into a theory and then became bold enough to turn into a fact. The entire transition, of course, is the result of the highest form of positive thinking, concentration and what could very easily be construed as erratic behavior.

Give this serious thought for a moment. The idea of moon landings, communicating by email, traveling on jets, cellular phones or wearing synthetic garments was, a very short time ago, sheer fantasy. Today, they are considered commonplace. How did that happen? Well let’s take a few moments and give it some thought.

This entire cosmos is filled with thought stuff – a creative form of energy. Your marvelous mind has factors that you can, with little effort, develop to use to improve the quality of life, not just for yourself, but for human kind. Imagination is one of those creative faculties.

The individuals who were responsible for the conception and creation of the email, cell phones and any of the thousands of modern conveniences we enjoy today had a highly developed imagination. Furthermore, they were not easily influenced by the opinions of the masses, the naysayers who historically have criticized and ridiculed anything they do not understand. These pioneers used their mental faculties to fantasize, to build wild and wonderful pictures in their mind. Then, holding their thought with their will, they began to watch their fantasy unfold into a theory and then into fact. They seemed to have an innate awareness that if they could visualize it, they could do it.

Hence, the fantasy was turned into a theory followed by thoughts of how they could, not why they couldn’t. That is how we got out of the cave and into the condominium.

Let your mind play. Fantasize a much better form of life than you presently enjoy. Try it – you’ll like it! Draft your future with imagination, ponder and calculate with intelligence and awareness, then knit it carefully with care.

Your mental growth or development will determine what the future holds for you. Go to your mental nation and build a beautiful picture of where you want to find yourself one year from today. Then, devise paths and find tools to help get you there.

A few ideas:

  • Design an effective program for your own personal development.
  • Build a worthwhile library.
  • Make a list of 12 good books you will read and refer to – one each month.
  • Select programs that will help you understand the awesome powers you possess and how to utilize those powers in practical ways to improve the quality of your life.
  • Commit to reaching new goals. The only barrier separating you from your goal is ignorance – ignorance of how simple … and simply powerful … your mind really is.
  • Replace the ignorance with knowledge. And replace your old movies with the movies you’ve always wanted to write – they’re there, just waiting for you in your Imagi-Nation.

Use your imagination.

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Rafting through life

Have you ever had one of those days, or weeks, or months, or years, where everything you do seems to not work out as you expected? You lay your plans and try to implement them, and for some reason, no matter where you turn, it all falls apart.

I’ve had a few months like that, where it seemed that all the things I was carefully putting together were unraveling. As annoying as it’s been, it’s reminded me that control is just an illusion and that regardless of the best-laid plans, life will do what it wants.

I like to think of life as similar to riding down a river in a raft without a paddle! When things are good my raft is in the middle of the river, floating quickly and smoothly towards my destination. However, for no apparent reason the river may suddenly push it towards the edge, where the trees overhang and the rocks are plentiful.

As my raft continues to move, the low-hanging branches knock me around, we bang into rocks, and all I can do is hang on and try to stay in the boat. At other times my raft and I may end up in an eddy, where we go around in circles and I feel quite stuck. Occasionally the raft and I may actually go over the falls and I might be thrown into the water. When this happens my job is to remember to breathe as I attempt to get to the surface and climb back into the raft.

Whether my raft is floating effortlessly down the middle of the river, or headed for the falls, is often out of my control. My job is to continue to hang on, make sure I’ve done all I can (like wear a life jacket and tie everything down), stay with the raft at all costs, and know that eventually the situation will change.

This is what I’ve been focusing on these past several days, and as I move into a new week I can already feel my raft coming out of the eddy and once again moving smoothly down the river.

As much as I’d like to think things happen in my time, I‘m reminded once again that everything has its own time. So I have faith that the eventual outcome will be what I need, and persistence and tenacity are what will get me there.


Not Seeing What’s Right in Front of Your Eyes

It all started this morning , when I started my search for my i-phone. I searched for almost 30 minutes and then I realised that it had camouflaged itself on the bed-sheet, the same bed where I was sitting , and I came to realise that we at time do not use our “real eyes” and are often blindfolded from the truth where what’s in front of us is not seen due to lack of perception.

Some things are too sensitive to be discussed. No wants to talk about the eight-hundred pound gorilla in the room, as the saying goes. The ‘gorilla’ could be a problem that causes defensiveness or embarrassment or something so potent that to acknowledge its presence is dangerous to yourself or the group. So there is the looking away, the pretending that it isn’t there. No one talks about the real problem, the eight-hundred pound gorilla. It is the unspoken presence.

The phrase “eight hundred pound gorilla” (or the six hundred and nine hundred pound variations) refers to something that everyone knows about and refuses to comment upon. But what if it weren’t figurative but a real gorilla in the room? Is it possible that while in the room it won’t be seen?

For example, if you are the beach and someone is drowning nearby, if you have your earbuds in and are engrossed in your book so that you don’t either hear or see the person, you can’t be judged immoral for not responding to the cries for help.

There was an experiment done by a professor in a psychology class

“So let’s end the class with something fun,” He said. He then showed them the following video:

What they watched was the Chabris and Simons demonstration in which two teams, one in white shirts and the other in black shirts, pass a basketball back and forth. Viewers are instructed to count the number of passes made by the white-shirt team. My students, mostly working adults taking the nighttime class, diligently counted the passes and reported the results. Nearly all were right.

“Did you notice anything else?” He asked.

About half said they saw a gorilla walk across the court. The other half was incredulous, including one who was a surgeon and chief of a volunteer fire department. He then showed them the rest of the video. And sure enough there was a woman dressed in a gorilla suit who walks amongst the teams, thumps her chest and walks off camera, in view for 10 seconds.

That’s right, a gorilla in front of their eyes and half the class didn’t see it! This was consistent with other findings. Thousands have watched this video and about half don’t notice the gorilla.

In summarising the Chambris and Simons findings, Daniel Kahneman, in Thinking, Fast and Slow, says that those who fail to see the gorilla are initially sure it wasn’t there—as were my students. “The gorilla study illustrates two important facts about our minds: we can be blind to the obvious, and we also blind to our blindness.”

When we focus intently on one thing, we don’t see other things. This helps get the immediate task done but can also be a severe limitation. Real gorillas in real rooms are dangerous.




What is the Third Eye?

third eyeThe third eye is the ability to see what might be: In other words the third eye is our ability to see potential.

It’s a sense and it can be developed to be more refined and accurate than only being a hunch.

The Third Eye is a natural part of every person, but it’s a “meta” organ. In other words: it consists of all the senses and mind working together as a larger more powerful sensory organ. The Third Eye is a very clever bit of natural evolution: a meta organ designed to sense, connect to patterns and then relay that data back in overlays of information on top of your other senses.

Once opened it’s a very powerful ability, powerful enough that it literally can drive people insane if not understood, accepted or developed correctly. Also due to lack of understanding more people than not mislabel, run away from the ability or take it to strange descriptions… which further muck and murk the waters of what the Third Eye truly is.

The Third Eye as a sense can be used in many different ways. It opens up our senses to patterns around us. It’s used by seers to make connections and answer questions. It’s used by energy workers to feel the energy and then manipulate that energy. It’s part of empathy where a person can touch and feel the emotions of others. Many other examples exist for how people use the Third Eye.


The Third Eye and Energy Work

Let’s look at one use. It’s possible to use the Third Eye to learn how to sense and visually interpret energy around us. This helps people work with the process of Motion, Activity and Interchange more easily and completely. Energy instead of being abstract concept then becomes a tangible property of life to work with once you learn how to sense it and interact with it.

Does a Taoist / Shaman really see energy? Not directly. Anyone can see the end results of energy in action, seeing energy directly is another thing all together. However, the Third Eye can develop the ability to process information and then overlay that information over our other senses in such a way we can then interpret and interact with energy in a more precise manner. In this way, we can “see” energy.

third eye openingThis can appear as being a mystical power due to the relative nature of the skill. But it’s a very real and tangible skill.

Some people do take this and go too far, make it fantasy. So you do need to be careful with people saying they are energy workers. Another problem is the relative nature of the skill. What one energy worker will sense, is different than another energy worker. Some commonalities exist. We are human, and our form, our shape help push us towards common baselines. However, the unique experiences and nature of each person also ensures that each energy worker will see things from a different angle.

Lets use Aura’s as an example.

Some people do see an “aura” or “light”. With training many people can be taught how to view aura’s in a “standard way”.

However: it’s not what most people think it is. Your eyes only “see” what they are designed to see. But the mind can overlay additional information over each sense. Auras are such an information overlay.

The brain has the ability to process visual information, and it has the ability to use all that circuitry to pump back information in the form of visual response: which doesn’t have to be from the eyes.

Your whole neural network, your mind and sense organs form a larger more sensitive “antenna” to pick up on energy and patterns. The mind then has the problem of how to send that information back to you. It has to use what it already has access to: the 5 normal senses. For example: at times in energy work, it can send back the images for you as an “aura” to then interpret. In reality what you are seeing is slightly different than that: but it’s the best method the “third eye” has to relay the information back to you. This becomes the “aura” as the translated result.


Developing the Third Eye

Because so much of this depends on your ability to interpret the results: this creates lots of room for mis-translation between the “facts” and what your third eye returns to you. Also because we see things differently, it can be problematic to exchange the information back and forth between each other in a clear fashion. This opens up quite a bit of room for mystical practices to open up within. Some truly work, others which might vary from person to person in how they tune the 3rd Eye sense, and others such as tricksters to use for deception.

Taoist/Shamanic practice has quite a bit of training regarding how to use and work with the Third Eye. It’s a real sense, but it’s a “meta” sense and it must be “used and tuned” in order to be developed, rather than it being something that just works out of the box of birth.

As a Taoist I have been developing my third eye since I was 5 or 6 years old and had my first vision. When I shared my first vision, I discover immediately, most people don’t see the world in this fashion. Even worse, I was persecuted when sharing this ability. Being so young, I quickly learned to keep it to myself and explore it silently and patiently on my own terms. Until recently I haven’t opened up on this part of my Taoist practice, on purpose, since it’s so easily mis-understood and so many misconceptions exist about this ability.

I have spent 35 years exploring this ability, reviewing materials, and using my background in both Taoism and the sciences to understand it. I have now placed the 3rd Eye into terms which can be acceptable to most everyone. So hence, I am now sharing it in my teachings.

Many people naturally suppress this ability to prevent it from hurting them, to prevent others from making fun of them or labeling them as crazy. With enough suppression any ability goes away. The Third Eye must be used in order for it work. Also how one uses the Third Eye will shape the abilities and capabilities of what it will be able to sense. For all of these reasons and more, this why the Third Eye is such a mysterious ability.
Many different cultures use many varied techniques to develop this skill. Taoists are very patient, taking decades in order to refine and define this ability. The nature of the interpretive aspects of this ability means experience helps improve this ability and it’s a slow process to master.



– Excerpt from

Despite the fact that I spent my childhood in Rameswaram – Dr A.P.J Abdul Kalam



“Despite the fact that I spent my childhood in Rameswaram, an isolated island in the south of India, I could get educated, find a job and overcome many obstacles to become the President of my country. If I could overcome all the hardships and achieve what I have, so can you or anyone else. It does not matter where you start from or what you have achieved till date, the important thing is that from this point onwards, you decide what you want and work towards creating your own future. This is the message I want to convey through this book and if it can inspire even one young person to achieve his or her dream, I will feel that my effort has been truly worth it.

In the last fifteen years I have interacted with more than 16 million youth, in face-to face meetings, through emails and over Facebook, and wherever I go I am asked questions. Everyday I receive about 300 emails and spend two hours reading and answering them. This book is based on the questions that I have been asked over the years. In their questions, people are mostly seeking solutions to problems that they are facing in their lives. Answering these questions, I realized that what we call problems may probably be a result of the way we ‘process’ events and situations in our lives and everything that happens in our world. ‘Process’ means the way we perceive and think about them. If we could change the way we ‘process’, then we could possibly change the way we think about our problems and hence also about their solutions. I believe it is possible to do so and that is the underlying theme in my answers.

My answers are based on what I have learnt from my own experiences of life, and from reading books and my interactions with political and spiritual leaders. The replies in my book are presented in a way that they provide a generic message for any one who may be undergoing a similar problem in his or her life.

Your life should be a manifestation of your dreams. That is why I always call upon the youth to dream lofty dreams and invoke in them a vision of their future. And in achieving your dreams, you are bound to face difficulties and obstacles, but with determination and discipline you can always overcome them, just as I have been able to do.” -From the Introduction of the book

It is remarkable that how, APJ Abdul Kalam, the 11th president of India continues to be such a popular public figure even seven years after demitting office. Much sought, much admired, he is an inspiration for the Indian youth and they turn to him for advice, guidance, inspiration, or simply just seeking to be in touch with him. The mentoring, the solutions, the direction, the philosophy he provides are based on the wisdom of his own experiences, as he knows well the trials and tribulations of the hard rocky road of life that he has walked from Rameswaram to the Rashtrapati Bhawan. This book is like a roadmap for life which one can to turn to when needed, and come away reassured that there is always a way out of any situation and that we will be able reach our dream destination. Inspiring and intimate, it provides an insight into the mind and heart of one of the most remarkable leaders of contemporary India. A leader, who at the age of 84 continues to inspire young Indians towards living the life of their dreams.


– Amazon , on Dr A.P.J Abdul Kalam’s New Upcoming Book.


You Can Pre Order Your Book of Dr A.P.J Abdul Kalam Online on Amazon on the given link Below :