Wolf vs. wolf

In an upcoming New York magazine, Naomi Wolf will attack an elderly Yale professor for sexual harassment, according to The Telegraph. I love the quotes from Camille Paglia, also a former student of the eminent prof.

“It really grates on me that Naomi Wolf for her entire life has been batting her eyes and bobbing her boobs in the face of men and made a profession out of courting male attention by flirting and offering her sexual allure.”

I’m confused by this bit.

The professor inspires fierce loyalty from many of his students and his learning, warmth and charisma have been described as “overwhelmingly, destructively, seductive” for female undergraduates.

So he’s just too darn learned, warm and charismatic? Is Wolf saying that he charms women or that he gropes them against their will? And if the man deserves to be destroyed, why did she wait till he’s old and sick to go public with her accusations?

Update: The professor is literary critic Harold Bloom.

About Joanne


  1. The real question is: What was she doing inviting this “overwhelmingly, destructively, seductive” professor over to her appartment to listen to her poetry? If he did indeed get the “wrong idea” and grope her. Big Deal – as long as it ended there and there was no threat of retaliation. She was an adult and put herself in that situation.

    I also found this quote fron the NY Daily News enlightening:

    “Paglia recalled that when Wolf’s best seller, “The Beauty Myth,” launched her to fame and fortune in 1991, she did an interview at her Manhattan apartment with Philadelphia Inquirer book editor Carlin Romano. She greeted him, Romano wrote, wearing “a pair of flimsy see-through orange harem pants, scarcely obscuring black panties.””

  2. Paglia’s comments are right on the mark.

    In the mid-90s, just about every U.S. corporation hired a woman fresh out of college whose role was to play feminist morals cop. And that woman was the most likely the be guilty of the very sins she was hired to purge.

    In my company, the feminist morals cop was a desparately lonely woman who announced every three or four months that she had finally met the love of her life and that she would be leaving to get married. As the date for marriage approached, talk of the romance would evaporate, and nothing happened. She was notorious for wearing revealing clothing, for giving crotch shots to men, for leaning over to give men a full view of her bosom, and for spreading herself out on top of men’s desks while she talked with them. She repeatedly gave me long, full body hugs.

    And, she would talk endlessly in the office about how daring and sexual avant garde she was outside of the office.

    The feminist morals cop turned out to be the problem, not the answer to the problem. Thankfully, she is now gone, having announced too many embarassing non-existent marriage vows.

  3. Paglia has Naomi’s number, for sure.

  4. I love Pagla’s comments; Naomi Wolf has grated on my nerves since day 1.

    The human mess that Stephen describes is a sorry story indeed, but it is bizarre to make the claim that “In the mid-90s, just about every U.S. corporation hired a woman fresh out of college whose role was to play feminist morals cop.”

    I doubt that Stephen has the data to support such a peculiar claim. The lady was a mess, evidently; the notion that she represented a pervasive reality is nonsensical.

  5. Well, no, Nancy, I wasn’t reporting “data”. I was reporting the my own experience and the nearly universal experience of my friends, my wife and my co-workers.

    Think about it. Take a look at the feminist mantra. They know how to really make sex work for women (i.e., The Vagina Monologues). They claim to be sexually daring and knowledgeable in a way that has escape humans for centuries. Take a look at the thousands of websites in which they claim that sex toys, vibrators, etc. will bring sexual happiness and eradicate all human problems.

    And they were given carte blanche within every organization I know of to remake the system according to their demands and wishes. In one of the most bizarre instances, the major Philadelphia newspaper hired a feminist morals cop to essentially ride herd over their entire operation. This happened without even a demonstration of the need to do so.

    Given this type of power, and the human inclination to abuse power, what other outcome was possible? I am not a person who spends much time on “data,” but I’ll bet the house I’m right.

  6. Nancy,

    I forgot.

    The diversity program, which exists at every U.S. corporation, is the work of that feminist morals cop. That was the passion of the feminist morals cop. Those programs were enacted because the CEOs and boards of virtually every U.S. corporation, despite the belief of the left, are overwhelmingly liberal. They wanted to do the right thing.

    It backfired on them. The feminist morals cop wasn’t the answer to the problem Invariably, she was the problem.

  7. Yale in the early ’80s was hardly a repressed place. If Ms. Wolf felt that she had been harrassed, that was the time to complain. To wait 20 years to complain about harrassment throws the entire feminist movement into disrepute.

  8. Look out Bill, here comes Monica!

  9. I don’t like Wolf, Paglia or Bloom.

    I probably like Bloom the least.

    But Paglia is saying that since Wolf courted male attention that she deserves being groped?

    Sheesh. Does Paglia lecture at the University of Colorado?

  10. I wanna be a feminist morals cop! What a great job. Why didn’t I ever see those positions when *I* was a freshly minted college grad in the early 90’s. Darn it all. Another opportunity missed.

  11. Robert,

    Does courting male attention mean that Wolf _deserves_ to be groped? No, of course not. Should she have recognized the sexually ambiguous situation she was putting herself in? Most definitely, and she needs to acknowledge her own responsibility. This does not mean blaming the victim; it does mean that determining victimization in this particular case may be a bit more complicated.

  12. Robert, you’ve got a point there, but ask yourself this: “Groping” describes a behavior that could also be described in other less negative ways, depending on the circumstances. Suppose that a woman *wanted* some sexual contact with a man. I’m not going to assume that no woman does, and I hope you don’t either. How would that woman act? If it’s never right for a man to *assume* that sexual contact is what a woman wants, then what does she have to do if she actually wants some?

    It behooves people to act like grownups and think about how their behavior would reasonably be interpreted by other people. Of course, it also behooves people (men) to think about the situation they are getting into if they yield to a seductive woman they don’t know and put themselves in a position to be falsely accused.

  13. Believe me, Rita, you should thank God every day that you weren’t one of those feminist morals cops.

    The result for them was a disaster, as I have related. In their personal lives, they were and are invariably desolate and lonely. The men are not stupid, you know. They ran the other way as far and fast as possible.

    The diversity office is located within HR. If you were educated within HR, you could have had one of those jobs. I’m not just speculating here. Read one of the management textbooks from that era. (I have.) Hell, they haven’t changed that much. Read them now.

    There is no possible way to discredit feminism more than it is already discredited. Feminism is a public triumph and a personal disaster. It was a movement built on completely phony pretexts. Betty Friedan was the ultimate poser, a Marxist revolutionary supported by a rich publisher husband. She never did a lick of housework in her life. She was just a liar. A movement built on the work of a liar can never be anything but a lie.

    I don’t know the specifics of what happened between Bloom and Wolf, but hey, the world doesn’t come to an end over an unpleasant sexual encounter. It happens to every person at some point in their lives. And, when a person blunders in some way, as Bloom is alleged to have done, he is doing so because he is attempting to find love and happiness. Punishing a person relentlessly for this is the mark of a demonic and vicious person. Wolf is disgracing herself.

  14. Folks, I want to say this is the kindest, most compassionate way that I can. It is not directed at any particular person. And, believe me, Joanne, I’m trying to be civil in saying a very difficult thing.

    If a person thinks that the sexual practices and attitudes of other people are generally malicious, exploitive and mean, then I think that you can guarantee that that person is malicious, exploitive and mean in his or her sexual practices and attitudes. You get what you give in the area of life.

    I believe that people are seeking love, happiness and sexual satisfaction. They are often ham fisted, stupid and clumsy in their attempts. That does not mean that they are deliberately attempting to hurt.

    Think about it. Thank you, Joanne, for providing me a place to say it.

  15. Actually, Stephen, I have had some really terrific jobs in my life, including the one I have now. Wouldn’t trade them. HR holds no interest for me.

    I think, despite its excesses, that feminism has achieved a lot of good. Even though I eventually went into a very femininized profession, I appreciate that I was a member of the first generation that really had all options open to me. I appreciate that girls can now get sports scholarships. I appreciate that I didn’t have to quit my job when I got pregnant (even though I chose to and stayed home for a few years). I love that men are now freed up to do more childrearing. I don’t like man-bashing — I think that’s wrong — but I do like some of the other things feminism has accomplished, and when I call myself a feminist, it is because I know that there’s a vast difference between the opportunities my mother had and the opportunities my daughter has.

  16. Rita, I appreciated your point of view.

    Although I am a white man, I was born into poverty. I am the first member of my extended family to graduate from a four year college. The kind of opportunities I have had are unprecedented in my family.

    I certainly wanted the same for my daughters. I’m from that Boomer generation. My friends and I were all conscientious and devoted fathers. I deliberately worked part time (as did my wife) when my children were young so that somebody was always there for the girls.

    It’s hard for people to entirely remember, but the opportunities weren’t there for men or women 60 or 70 years ago. Most men in that era were not executives or high paid techies. They were factory workers or farmers, working at dirty and dangerous jobs for very little money. Remember, the Great Depression was only 80 years ago.

    Feminism has promoted a very false vision of the past.

  17. Feminist morals cop? What planet are you on? Think about it: Carte blanche? Sex toys? Crotch shots?

    You’ve spent waayyyy too much time thinking about this one, dude. Sounds like Venus envy to me. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  18. Gee, Rita C, how terribly bold of you to think that the idea that male-bashing is wrong, even though you qualify it as a personal opinion (‘I don’t like it because I think it’s wrong.’)

    As for Ms. Wolf – “Oh, the horror! 20 years ago someone put his hand on my thigh!” This, from the woman who touches anyone seated next to her on a talk show. . .

    I think this is more of a publicity ploy than anything else. “I’m a Victim! I’m a Victim! Buy My Book!!”

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