In her book Glittering Images, Paglia praises icons like Andy Warhol as a true genius of modern art and she describes 19th-century art critics like Walter Pater and Oscar Wilde as visionaries who helped create modern gay-male style. Throughout the book it is clear that Paglia has a clear and deep love for gay culture which supports her frustration overall with today’s movement. Glittering Images is a book that celebrates the gay community for keeping the art deco style alive and Paglia’s aim is to challenge social conservatives to rethink what she describes as a puritanical rejection of sensual pleasure and the arts. The author and art critic recently spoke at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto and she had a lot to day about gay culture and gay youth.
“Gay culture today is becoming totally marginal and irrelevant,” says Paglia. “Gay youth have been done a terrible disservice by the movement, which doesn’t teach them about their great heritage of art and style.”
She attacks the modern transgender rights movement comparing it to the 60’s when drag queens and transsexuals were “fierce and powerful”. She believes youth today lack an understanding on the deeper issues of the movement which she believes is focused “on manipulating the physical, through surgery”. She says as humans we have the responsibility and obligation to explore our inner selves and seek self-understand apart from “the social and physical”.
Paglia says that Chaz Bono is mutilating his body by going through a sex-change operation and believes because he is a public figure he is bringing the sex-change procedure into the mainstream which she fears will bring about an “easy solution” for youth who may see it as an “easy fix” solution and avoid true introspection.
Paglia does not stop there. She also has an opinion about pop culture which she feels is in “decline”. She compares gay icon Lady Gaga to David Bowie pointing out the contrasts of the two pop icons.
“Lady Gaga is a fraud. She’s surrounded by all these gay men who are advising her, telling her what to wear, what to say, but everything about her is derivative. Everything is stolen from another artist.”By contrast she says David Bowie’s music was that of genius. She saw his music as revolutionary with sexual energy and a man of true art. Gaga, in her opinion, is just “fake”.