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We will never get great art from women if their education exposes them only to the second-rate and if the idea of greatness itself is denied. Greatness is not a white male trick. Every important world civilization has defined its artistic tradition in elitist terms of distinction and excellence.
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French rhetorical models are too narrow for the English tradition. Most pernicious of French imports is the notion that there is no person behind a text. Is there anything more affected, aggressive, and relentlessly concrete than a Parisan intellectual behind his/her turgid text? The Parisian is a provincial when he pretends to speak for the universe.
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We must take the best from the left and the best from the right to devise new strategies for the global twenty-first century. The reluctance of liberal professors to speak out against rampant abuses committed on their side (e.g., suppression of free speech, the excesses of women's studies and French theory) has simply increased the power of the right.
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Elizabeth Taylor is, in my opinion, the greatest actress in film history. She instinctively understands the camera and its nonverbal intimacies. Opening her violet eyes, she takes us into the liquid realm of emotion, which she inhabits by Pisces intuition. Richard Burton said that Taylor showed him how to act for the camera. Economy and understatement are essential. At her best, Elizabeth Taylor simply is. An electric, erotic charge vibrates the space between her face and the lens. It is an extra-sensory, pagan phenomenon.
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It was in reading Tristam Shandy that I noticed how it is primarily men who gravitate towards the game-playing self-reflexive style. There is an alienation from emotion in it, a Nervous Nelly fear of letting go and being "exposed." As an attitude towards life, it betrays a perpetual adolescence. Those who hurled themselves after Derrida were not the most sophisticated but the most pretentious, and least creative members of my generation of academics.
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In 1974 I nearly got into a fistfight with some early academic feminists in a restaurant when I casually alluded to a hormonal element in sex differences. It was utterly unacceptable at that time to think or say such a thing. ... If you have any doubts about the effect of hormones on emotion, libido and aggression, have a chat with a transexual, who must take hormones medically. He or she will set you straight.
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