I'm a professor of media studies as well as humanities, and I'm an evangelist of popular culture, but when there's only media, then there's going to be a slow debasement of language, and that's what I think we're fighting.
The North American intellectual tradition began, I maintain, in the encounter of British Romanticism with assertive, pragmatic North American English - the Protestant plain style in both the U.S. and Canada, with its no-nonsense Scottish immigrants.
High Romanticism shows you nature in all its harsh and lovely metamorphoses. Flood, fire and quake fling us back to the primal struggle for survival and reveal our gross dependency on mammoth, still mysterious forces.
Our liberal, New York/Washington-based media would never in a million years put Liberal Godfather Ted Kennedy on the spot about his clan's bad behavior, to whose lurid history he himself has contributed so much.
A serious problem in America is the gap between academe and the mass media, which is our culture. Professors of humanities, with all their leftist fantasies, have little direct knowledge of American life and no impact whatever on public policy.
It's high time for the art world to admit that the avant-garde is dead. It was killed by my hero, Andy Warhol, who incorporated into his art all the gaudy commercial imagery of capitalism (like Campbell's soup cans) that most artists had stubbornly scorned.
Madonna remains the most visible performer on the planet, as well as one of the wealthiest, but would anyone seriously say that artistic self-development is her primary motivating principle? She is too busy with Kabbalah, fashion merchandising, adoption melodramas, the gym, and ill-starred horseback riding to study art.
Madonna is her own Hollywood studio - a popelike mogul and divine superstar in one. She has a laserlike instinct for publicity, aided by her visual genius for still photography (which none of her legion of imitators has). Unfortunately, her public life has dissolved into a series of staged photo ops.
I say the law should be blind to race, gender and sexual orientation, just as it claims to be blind to wealth and power. There should be no specially protected groups of any kind, except for children, the severely disabled and the elderly, whose physical frailty demands society's care.
Ever since Romanticism, an oppositional mode, artists have the right, and indeed the duty, to attack social convention. But it is ridiculous and in fact self-infantilizing for them to expect to be financially supported by the general public whom they are insulting.
I want to promote the introduction of art history in primary schools and to convince the general public that, even in a period of economic crisis, arts funding is an absolute necessity at the federal, state, and local levels.
I was the first to advocate the Web. But I am very troubled by this thing that every kid must have a laptop computer. The kids are totally in the computer age. There's a whole new brain operation that's being moulded by the computer.
What has been forgotten is that there were major intellectual breakthroughs in the 1960s, thanks to North American writers of an older generation. There was a rupture in continuity, since most young people influenced by those breakthroughs did not enter the professions.
It's time for a recovery and reassessment of North American thinkers. Marshall McLuhan, Leslie Fiedler and Norman O. Brown are the linked triad I would substitute for Jacques Lacan, Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault, whose work belongs to ravaged postwar Europe and whose ideas transfer poorly into the Anglo-American tradition.
My generation of bossy, confident, baby-boom women were something brand new in history. Our energy and assertiveness weren't created by Betty Friedan, unknown before her 1963 book, or by Gloria Steinem, whose political activism, as even the Lifetime profile admitted, did not begin until 1969.
Because most of my career in the classroom has been at art schools (beginning at Bennington in the 1970s), I am hyper-aware of the often grotesque disconnect between commentary on the arts and the actual practice or production of the arts.